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Standing On The Promises

Former CT editors Carl Henry and Kenneth Kantzer evaluate evangelicalism in light of its twentieth-century developments.
1996This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

In the not-too-distant past, Kenneth Kantzer says, evangelicalism almost "went the way of the dodo and the dinosaur." "By 1930," he says, "the centers of American culture had become solidly unevangelical if not antievangelical." Carl F. H. Henry adds to this picture by calling "our century … one of the most turning and churning times in the history of humanity. Nowhere in the religious history of the West have the controlling beliefs of society changed so swiftly and as radically as in our twentieth-century struggle between theism and naturalism."

Both of these leaders, along with a host of others from various sectors, lived through this tumultuous period of ideological realignment and contended vigorously for the preservation and advancement of the faith of the Reformation. Because of their vision, tenacity, and theological acuity, evangelicalism as we know it today was able to regroup and rise from its nadir point of the thirties and, thankfully, did not go the way of the dodo.

Kenneth Kantzer earned a Ph.D. at Harvard and has taught at Wheaton College, served as dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and as editor of Christianity Today from 1978 to 1982. Carl Henry has earned two doctorates (from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary and from Boston University), has taught at Northern, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and served as the first editor of Christianity Today, from 1956 to 1968. He has written many books, including the six-volume set God, Revelation, and Authority (1976-83).

John Woodbridge, professor of church history at Trinity, and CT associate editor Wendy Murray Zoba interviewed Drs. Kantzer and Henry, getting them to reflect on the battles waged and won in ...

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