Monday, September 30, 2013

Carl F. H. Henry (1913-2003), "A Centennial Celebration," September 26, 2013

"If we see Billy Graham as the great public face and generous spirit of the evangelical movement, Carl F. H. Henry was the brains." So wrote David Neff, the editor of Christianity Today, an American national magazine founded by Graham and Henry in 1956.

The year 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the most important 20th-century theologians and leaders within Protestant Evangelicalism. Dr. Henry was born on January 22, 1913, to German immigrants who settled on Long Island in New York.

Carl F. H. Henry (1913-2003): A Centennial Celebration

A Centennial Celebration. Louisville, Kentucky.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
In honor of the anniversary, I had the privilege of attending the one-day conference, "Carl F. H. Henry: A Centennial Celebration" on September 26, 2013. 

With about 100 in attendance, including some relatives of the late Dr. Henry, the conference took place at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. (To my delight, SBTS is located just four miles from my new home and ministry base [June 2013- ] in Louisville, Kentucky-- Immanuel Baptist Church.)

All 5 speakers (Paul House, R. Albert Mohler Jr., Richard Mouw, Greg Alan Thornbury and John Woodbridge) and 4 discussion panelists (David Dockery, Mark Galli, Timothy George and Russell D. Moore) knew or had at least met Dr. Henry. So personal reminisces were interspersed throughout the academic conference, making the event quite insightful and enjoyable.

For a full, post-conference report by SBTS' Towers magazine, see here.

To watch Dr. Mouw's opening 45-minute message during the SBTS morning chapel hour, click here.

To watch the 32-minute panel discussion, with Dr. Mohler as the moderator, see here.

And here is Dr. Mohler's 51-minute talk entitled "The Indispensable Evangelical: Carl F. H. Henry and Evangelical Ambition in the Twentieth Century":

Among the highlights from the "theologian's play day" (so Dr. Mohler, SBTS President) was a free photocopy for conference attendees of the first-ever issue of Christianity Today (vol. 1, no. 1, October 15, 1956). From 1956-68, Dr. Henry served as the magazine's founding editor.

By Greg Alan Thornbury. 2013.
Also, the lecture from the new president (2013) of The King's College (Manhattan, New York City) and author of Recovering Classic Evangelicalism: Applying the Wisdom and Vision of Carl F. H. Henry (Crossway, 2013), Greg Alan Thornbury, was a real treat. Dr. Thornbury is the son of John F. Thornbury, a longtime pastor (1965-2009) of Winfield Baptist Church in central Pennsylvania.

The now semi-retired Dr. J. F. Thornbury wrote the Foreword to my An Uncommon Christian: James Brainerd Taylor [1801-1829], Forgotten Evangelist in America's Second Great Awakening (University Press of America, 2007).

Dr. Henry: Online Resources

For an introduction to Carl F. H. Henry, here are 7 online resources that UCM hopes will prove helpful.

Biography by Bruce J. Evensen via American National Biography Online

"Happy 100th Birthday, Carl F. H. Henry"
(blog entry by Justin Taylor, January 22, 2013)

"Rev. Dr. Carl F. H. Henry, 90, Brain of Evangelical Movement"
(obituary by Laurie Goodstein, New York Times, December 13, 2003 . . . see here for other obituary notices)

"Papers of Carl F. H. Henry - Collection 628"
(stored at the Billy Graham Center Archives at Illinois' Wheaton College . . . provides a detailed biographical summary of Dr. Henry's life and ministry)

Wikipedia article on Dr. Henry

Various articles in Christianity Today, 2003-10

+ Henry Center for Theological Understanding (Deerfield, Illinois)

Henry Center at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS).
Deerfield, Illinois, USA.

Conference (Henry Center)
October 11, 2013
"Remembering Carl Henry:
Evangelicalism Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow."