Theologian, journalist, and evangelical leader Carl F.H. Henry died Sunday, December 7, at age 90 in his longtime home of Watertown, Wisconsin. Henry made it his life's work to present biblical Christianity as intellectually credible and historically true. On the battlefields of modern theological thought, spanning seminaries, denominations, and media, Henry shaped the defenses of evangelicalism with two goals in mind: preserving truth and attracting nonbelievers.
Born January 22, 1913, to German immigrants in New York City, Henry received no religious instruction at home. Growing up on Long Island, he attended an Episcopal Sunday School and graduated from high school on the eve of the Great Depression in 1929.
His first introduction to personal faith in a living God came as he worked at a weekly newspaper office, proofreading galleys with a middle-aged woman, Mildred Christy. When Henry used the Lord's name as an expletive, Christy commented, "Carl, I'd rather you slap my face than take the name of my best Friend in vain."
In 1932, at age 19, Henry became editor of The Smithtown Star and later a stringer for The New York Times. A career in journalism seemed assured. At age 20, he canceled three Saturday appointments in a row with the young man, Gene Bedford, who eventually led him to Christ. After a chance meeting, they again arranged a time to get together. They spoke for three hours about spiritual matters, and then prayed The Lord's Prayer together. When they were done praying, Henry remembered, "I had inner assurance hitherto unknown of sins forgiven, that Jesus was my Savior, that I was on speaking terms with God as my Friend. A floodtide of peace and joy swept over me. My life's ...1