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This article originally appeared in the April 5, 1993, issue of Christianity Today.

Fourth Presbyterian Church of Bethesda, Maryland, recently sponsored a celebration for the eightieth birthday of Carl F.H. Henry. It was a joyful occasion on which I and many other friends could thank God for Carl's life and witness.

Chuck Colson, who gave the opening address, reminded us that within Richard Nixon's inner circle he had come to know many brilliant minds. Yet, he said, he never met one who was Carl Henry's equal.

But the supreme compliment was voiced by many in different words: "Here is a man of God through whose transparent love for God shines a light from Christ that illumines and brightens the lives of all who know him."

Carl Henry is reckoned the evangelical theologian par excellence of the second half of this century. But Carl almost missed his calling. Like many gifted people, he had to make hard choices.

Carl could have been an entertainer. In college, partly for enjoyment and partly to support himself, he pulled bunnies out of a hat and sawed pretty ladies in two. Even today, if you invite him to your home, he may entertain your children by making coins disappear and then reappear in astonishing places. But, thank God, Carl chose not to be an entertainer.

Carl could have been a journalist. He has written over three dozen books and too many articles to count. As the first functioning editor of Christianity Today, he made it a banner under which evangelicals of all sorts could take their stand without shame or compromise. But thank God, Carl did not become a journalist—at least not the ordinary kind.

Carl could have become a politician—his son did, a good one. Carl used ...

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The Carl Henry that Might Have Been
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