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Carl F.
Carl Ferdinand Howard Henry (January 22, 1913 – December 7, 2003) was an Americanmarker evangelical Christian theologian who served as the first editor-in-chief of the magazine Christianity Today, established to serve as a scholarly voice for evangelical Christianity and a challenge to the liberal Christian Century.

Early years and education

Henry grew up on Long Island, New Yorkmarker as the son of German immigrants, Karl F. Heinrich and Johanna Vaethroeder (Väthröder). After his high school graduation in 1929, he began working in newspaper journalism. While he was not unacquainted with Christianity, his first experience indicating a personal God came as he worked at a weekly newspaper office, proofreading galleys with a middle-aged woman, Mildred Christy. When Henry used Christ's name as a swear word, Christy commented, "Carl, I'd rather you slap my face than take the name of my best Friend in vain."

He enrolled at evangelical, liberal arts Wheaton College in 1935, where he was greatly influenced by the philosophical teaching of Gordon Clark. While at Wheaton, Henry also taught typing and journalism. It was there that he met Helga whom he married in August 1940. He received both bachelors and masters degrees from Wheaton. He then earned a Doctor of Theology degree from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also earned a PhD from Boston Universitymarker in 1949.

His wife, Helga Bender Henry, published a book, in 1955, about the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles, CA.

His son Paul B. Henry was a U.S. Congressman from Michiganmarker from 1985 until his death in 1993.


In 1942 he took part in the launching of the National Association of Evangelicals, serving on its board for several years and being book editor of their magazine United Evangelical Action.

In 1947 he published his first book, a critique entitled The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism, which, while rejecting modern liberalism, and preserving a doctrinal focus on the Bible, also rejected the rigidness and disengagement of Fundamentalists. The book firmly established Henry as one of the leading Evangelical scholars. In the same year, along with Harold Ockenga, Harold Lindsell and Edward John Carnell, he helped establish Fuller Theological Seminarymarker, founded by radio evangelist Charles E. Fuller.

In 1956, with the urging and support of Evangelist Billy Graham, Henry began publication of Christianity Today. He was the magazine's editor until 1968.

In 1978 signed the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, which affirmed Biblical inerrancy. In the early 1980's Henry was a founding board member of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, with which he remained active until the mid-1990's.

Henry's magnum opus was a six-volume work entitled God, Revelation, and Authority, completed in 1983. He concluded "that if we humans say anything authentic about God, we can do so only on the basis of divine self-revelation; all other God-talk is conjectural." In his magnum opus he presented a version of Christian apologetics called presuppositional apologetics.

His autobiography, Confessions of a Theologian was published in 1986.

Henry died in 2003 at the age of 90.

External link - Biography


  • Confessions of a Theologian: An Autobiography (Waco: Word, 1986).

Select Bibliography

  • The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1947).
  • Christian Personal Ethics (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1957).
  • ed., Revelation and the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1958).
  • Evangelicals at the Brink of Crisis (Waco: Word, 1967).
  • Faith at the Frontiers (Chicago: Moody, 1969).
  • Evangelicals in Search of Identity (Waco: Word, 1976).
  • God, Revelation and Authority, 6 Vols, (Waco: Word, 1976-1983).
  • The Christian Mindset in a Secular Society (Portland: Multnomah, 1984).
  • Christian Countermoves in a Decadent Culture (Portland: Multnomah, 1986).
  • Twilight of a Great Civilization (Westchester: Crossway, 1988).
  • and Kenneth Kantzer, eds. Evangelical Affirmations (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990).

Critical Assessment

  • D. A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge, eds. God and Culture: Essays in Honor of Carl F. H. Henry (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans/Carlisle: Paternoster, 1993).
  • Bob E. Patterson, Carl F. H. Henry (Waco: Word, 1984).
  • R. C. Sproul, John Gerstner and Arthur Lindsley, Classical Apologetics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984).
  • Richard A. Purdy, The Rational Apologetic Methodology of Carl F. H. Henry in the Context of the Current Impasse between Reformed and Evangelical Apologetics (PhD Dissertation, New York University, 1980).
  • Richard A. Purdy, "Carl F. H. Henry" in Elwell, Walter A., editor, Handbook of Evangelical Theologians, 260-75 (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1993).
  • R. Albert Mohler, Jr., "Carl F. H. Henry" in George, Timothy and David S. Dockery, eds. Theologians of the Baptist Tradition, 279-96 (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001).

Other Relevant Sources

  • Joel A. Carpenter, ed. Two Reformers of Fundamentalism: Harold John Ockenga and Carl F. H. Henry (New York: Garland, 1988).
  • George Marsden, Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1987).
  • James DeForest Murch, Cooperation without Compromise: A History of the National Association of Evangelicals (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1956).

See also

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