Guest / Limited Access /

I have an account to settle with Carl Henry. It is too late to personally settle it with him—although I hope the Lord eventually gives me the chance to do that in the hereafter. For now, though, I can at least set the record straight in the pages of this magazine, which Dr. Henry served so capably as Christianity Today's first editor.

The story starts in the fall of 1967 when, as a Ph.D. student in philosophy at the University of Chicago, I received a phone call from Henry. A few weeks before I had sent an essay to him, outlining what I took to be a proper evangelical approach to the sub-discipline of social ethics. Henry told me that he very much liked my piece for its critique of liberal Protestantism's approach to the field, and wanted to publish it. He had only one revision to suggest—a minor one, he insisted. At the point where I said that it was indeed important for the church to on occasion take a stand on some specific question of social justice, he preferred to have me speak of the need for individual Christians to take such a stand.

The essay was the first piece I had ever submitted to any periodical beyond the world of on-campus publications. Needless to say, I was thrilled to get this kind of personal attention from one of my evangelical heroes. But I was also troubled by the change he was proposing. This was a period in my life when I had often felt alienated from evangelicalism because of what I saw as its failure to properly address issues raised by the civil rights struggle and the war in Southeast Asia. As a corrective, I wanted the church, as church, to acknowledge its obligation to speak to such matters. So I responded by telling Henry that I did not see his proposed change as ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only More Partners at the Table
Valdir Steuernagel says we need to learn how to serve in a fellowship of rich and poor, Africans and Asians, subsistence farmers and tech professionals.
Current Issue
Subscriber Access Only Healing Power
The operative word behind this issue of CT.
RecommendedHow the American Bible Society Became Evangelical
How the American Bible Society Became Evangelical
A look back at a major turning point in the 200-year history of the storied organization.
TrendingNicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
Nicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
I had no untapped, unanswered yearnings. All was well in the state of Denmark. And then it wasn’t.
Editor's PickLetters with the Mosque Next Door
Letters with the Mosque Next Door
How a budding friendship between a pastor and an imam brought a community together.
Christianity Today
Carl Henry Was Right
hide thisJanuary January

In the Magazine

January 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.