Why We Need Christian Think Tanks

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Carl F. H. Henry talks about the challenge of critical thinking.

In our last issue we announced the formation of the Christianity Today Institute. We have sensed the need for mature, scholarly thought applied to critical issues; the April 19 issue will include a major supplement from the institute’s first meeting on “The Christian As Citizen.”

Contributing to that meeting and the April supplement was Carl F. H. Henry. In light of his present and past experience with think tanks and their relationship to CT and the leadership community, we have interviewed him on the general subject of the need for broadly disseminated Christian thought.

How are the values and national goals of American society becoming restructured?

All the struts of civilized society seem to be giving way today, and the ferment in America is an aspect of that turmoil. The overarching question concerns the meaning and worth of human existence and survival; this embraces all the dilemmas of contemporary life, from the breakup of the family to abuse of drugs.

The church is affected because its families are affected. Humanism has penetrated education, the mass media, and politics, and it has debased God by insisting that he is irrelevant to the public realm. Further, much as it may at times be concerned to advance democracy, it has tended to underestimate the threat of totalitarian atheism.

Is the church providing an adequate response?

If by adequacy we mean effective confrontation, the evangelical community tends to reduce its task in society to negation rather than recognizing the need to construct a full-orbed Christian alternative.

How should evangelical thought leaders begin to shape an adequate response?

There are really three aspects to that: ...

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