Know Your Roots is a four-part video series that originates in a 1991 lecture at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, addressing the (then, as now) pressing questions surrounding Evangelical identity. This 1991 lecture, jointly sponsored by Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Intervarsity Christian fellowship, features Carl Henry and Kenneth Kantzer. These two prominent Evangelicals were not merely observers of an emerging movement, but key participants in its development. In the lectures and discussions featured in this series, Henry and Kantzer share both their understanding of the “turning points” in the movement over the second half of the twentieth century and their sober hope for, in the words of Don Carson, a “useful, productive and god-glorifying future.”
Below is the video of the two interviews, accompanied with a brief description of the content of each discussion (the lectures will follow later in the week).
Following the lectures given by Kenneth Kantzer and Carl Henry, the second half of the lecture series is informal conversation, with Don Carson questioning these two distinguished evangelicals. In this session, the topics include the significance of the founding of the National Association of Evangelicals, the distinction between Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism, internal disputes about the nature and authority of the Bible, the place of Evangelicalism within the global church movement, among others.
In this last segment, the conversation turns to the future of the movement: Where we go from here? What pitfalls and possibilities await the future? The conversation is eerie, sounding like they are talking about our future … despite the fact that the conversation took place over two decades ago. Topics include the ongoing significance of the term “evangelicalism,” the influence of Pentecostalism on Evangelicalism, Christian education, Evangelical accommodation, among many others.
Carl Henry: “The important thing right now is for Evangelicals to learn what the church truly is. Because if we are unsure of the nature and purpose of the church, we can get involved in all sorts of tasks trying to save the world or the culture that can miscarry us into a distortion of what Evangelical Christianity ought to be.”
Carl Henry: “We need to stop just firing sporadic scud missiles into the culture, trying to intimidate it at this point or that point. We need a ‘Dessert Storm’ logistics and strategy. Evangelicals have such immense potential. If they only could find a way to stand together and outflank and to outmaneuver and to penetrate.”
Carl Henry: “If only the body could learn what it is to move under the risen head. Remember that the head of this body lives not in Rome, or Geneva, or even Wheaton. He is the crucified and risen head, the returning Lord. And let us be sure to take our daily briefing from him.”