In a recent post, I gave a brief biographical sketch of Carl Henry, who had lent his name to the Henry Center. Following the 100th anniversary of his birth, now is a good time to discuss Henry’s theological legacy. A 1986 profile of Henry in Moody Monthly magazine declared him “a theological mind second to none in our century.” The profile also credits Henry with helping free “orthodox Christianity from its negative image.”
In many ways, the Henry Center represents an extension of Henry’s theological priorities in contemporary society. This post will introduce these priorities and several upcoming posts will talk about the individual priorities in greater detail. In early 1955, Harold Lindsell approached Carl Henry about serving as the editor for a new magazine that would be called Christianity Today. At first, Henry was not enthusiastic about the opportunity. However, Henry had long thought that there was a need for a journal to provide a voice for conservative Christians. He was interested in serving as a contributor, provided that the new magazine be “(a) transcontinental, (b) interdenominational, (c) theologically affirmative, (d) socially aggressive and (e) irenic” (Henry, Confessions of a Theologian, p. 145). Henry would eventually agree to serve as the founding editor of Christianity Today and would use these priorities to help him shape the editorial policies of the magazine. They may also be used to fram a discussion of Henry’s theological legacy.
The next two posts will discuss how Henry sought to pursue a transcontinental vision for evangelical Christianity.