The SBJT Forum: Testimonies to a Theologian -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 08:4 (Winter 2004)
Article: The SBJT Forum: Testimonies to a Theologian
Author: Anonymous

The SBJT Forum:
Testimonies to a Theologian

Editor’s Note: Readers should be aware of the forum’s format. D. A. Carson, Timothy George, Harold O. J. Brown, C. Ben Mitchell, Carl Trueman, Mark Dever and Hutz H. Hertzberg have been asked specific questions to which they have provided written responses. These writers are not responding to one another. The journal’s goal for the Forum is to provide significant thinkers’ views on topics of interest without requiring lengthy articles from these heavily-committed individuals. Their answers are presented in an order that hopefully makes the forum read as much like a unified presentation as possible.

SBJT: We know that during the last quarter-century you developed a close friendship with Carl F. H. Henry and his wife Helga. Would you share any personal reminiscences?

D. A. Carson: Although my wife and I are more than a generation younger than Carl and Helga Henry, that would never have deterred them from friendship. The reason was threefold: first, they made common cause with anyone who was passionate about the gospel, and age had nothing to do with it; second, as they became more infirm, they learned, however reluctantly, to accept help from those willing to give it, precisely because they were never proud; and third, and most important, Carl and Helga were never inclined to dwell only in the past. They were always looking ahead to the future—and that meant they welcomed younger friends.

A few paragraphs cannot do justice to the shape of the friendship we forged, especially during the last twenty years—and in any case, some matters should remain private. Nevertheless, it is easy to recall things that should be shared. Occasional meals at our home would find both Carl and Helga quizzing our kids, chatting them up with real interest and without a trace of condescension. My daughter’s first exposure to Carl came when he was preaching one Sunday evening at Eden Baptist Church, Cambridge. Our daughter, then five years old and beginning to read and write, chose that evening to follow, for the first time, what she had observed in her parents: she decided to take notes of the sermon. The great Carl Henry delivered his soul on Ecclesiastes 12: “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them’”—followed by colorful biblical description of physical decay: the grinders cease because they are few (i.e., one’s teeth fall out), the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades (we become deaf), the daylight fades as our eyes grow dim, and we are so arthritic that we drag ourselves around like crippled grasshoppers, clumsy and inept. The silver cord is fin...

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