Is Carl Henry a Modernist? Rationalism and Foundationalism in Post-War Evangelical Theology -- By: Chad Owen Brand
SBJT 8:4 (Winter 2004) p. 43
Is Carl Henry a Modernist?
Rationalism and Foundationalism in
Post-War Evangelical Theology1
Chad Owen Brand is Associate Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is Associate Dean of Biblical and Theological Studies at Boyce College. He is the author of numerous articles and reviews and has served as pastor or interim pastor in a number of churches. Dr. Brand served as an editor for the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionar y (Broadman and Holman, 2003), and also edited and wrote a chapter for Perspectives on Spirit Baptism: Five Views (Broadman and Holman, 2004).
Introduction: Post-War, Post-Fundamentalist Evangelical Theology
If the aftermath of the Scopes Trial witnessed a perceived decline in the public fortunes of fundamentalism,2 the aftermath of the Second World War marked the meteoric climb to prominence of a post-fundamentalist movement, one whose immediate origins are traced to the establishment of the National Association of Evangelicals in 1942, but which became most broadly identified with the work of evangelist Billy Graham.3 This movement4 was post-fundamentalist in that, while it sought to retain the essential theological commitments of such men as William Bell Riley and Curtis Lee Laws, it rejected the separatism and elitism characteristic of some of the fundamentalists and it longed for less dogmatism on peripheral theological issues, such as the nature of millennial expectations.5
Harold John Ockenga, one of the prime movers of the new coalition, was convinced that what was needed was “a progressive fundamentalism with an ethical message.”6 This became the passionate concern of the rising breed of conservative leadership. There soon followed respectable journals, such as Christianity Today, top-notch seminaries, such as Fuller and Trinity, and new forums for theological discourse, such as the Evangelical Theological Society. But one thing was needed in order for these to accomplish their purpose—the arrival of a new generation of intellectuals who could preserve the accomplishments of those who had gone before,7 but who would not be restricted by the doctrinal eccentricities characteristic of the more intransigent and separatist fundamentalists. The one man who soon rose to the top of this new cadre of intellectual leaders was Carl F. H. Henry.
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