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‘A giant among us’ has passed away, leaders say

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Following are quotes from various evangelicals on the death of theologian Carl F.H. Henry:

— L. Russ Bush, academic vice president, dean of the faculty, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary:

“Carl Henry encouraged a generation of evangelical theological students to engage the culture that was attempting to marginalize us. Henry taught us not only to analyze but also to contribute a theologically perceptive word of hope to a dying culture. His personal kindness to me is a memory I will treasure.”

— Morris H. Chapman, president and CEO, Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee:

“Carl F.H. Henry was indeed a giant among us. While we celebrate his remarkable life and unequalled contributions, we mourn the passing of such an extraordinary Christian. Dr. Henry’s influence as a Christian thinker and gentleman not only had a most profound impact upon the shape of evangelicalism, many view him as the champion in the battle for the Bible. His exemplary scholarship, tenacious devotion, and gracious spirit have left an indelible impression upon the Christian community.”

— David Dockery, president, Union University:

“The death of Dr. Henry, though not unexpected, leaves a huge void in American Christianity. No Christian thinker in this country has done more to advance orthodox theology and full-orbed Christian worldview thinking than Carl F.H. Henry. Evangelicals across this country and the entire world stand in debt to Dr. Henry for his years of service and leadership across the evangelical world.

“With his home-going is the passing of a generation of intellectual and scholarly leadership that has shaped the thinking of Baptists and evangelicals for more than half of a century. Henry’s vigorous spirit and rigorous mind resulted in a comprehensive vision for Christian thinking and living that is now ours to carry forth to the next generation. He will be greatly missed.”

— James T. Draper Jr., president, LifeWay Christian Resources:

“Carl Henry was the dean of Southern Baptist theologians. His contribution to the defense of our Faith and to developing theological soundness among Southern Baptists is beyond compare.

“We all knew that we could trust the works he prepared and have been enriched by his faithfulness. He will be sorely missed, but his influence will only increase in the years ahead.”

— Timothy George, dean, Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and an executive editor of Christianity Today:

“Along with Billy Graham and Harold John Ockenga, Carl F.H. Henry will be remembered as one of the three most formative shapers of American evangelicalism over the past century. He was a man of tremendous vision and enormous gifts, all of which he placed in the service of the Gospel. In an era when many conservative Christians were preoccupied with trivial theological pursuits, Carl Henry beckoned us to think of the world, as Calvin put it, as ‘the theater of God’s glory.’ He challenged Christians to study and to think, as well as to love and to serve. His commitment to the orthodox Christian faith, especially to the unimpeachable authority of Holy Scripture, was solid as a rock, but I never heard him speak in a bitter or disparaging way about anybody, not even those with whom he disagreed.

“Beyond all of his accomplishments, two things about Carl Henry stand out in my mind. On his last visit to Beeson Divinity School, he spoke in chapel and shared the story of his conversion to Christ. He never got over the sheer wonder and joy of having been chosen and rescued by God’s surprising grace. He knew what it meant to be born again. The other thing that stands out was his extraordinary humility and kindness toward others. I saw him last several months ago when Dr. Greg Waybright, president of Trinity International University, and I made a pilgrimage to his bedside at the little Moravian nursing home where he lived with his dear wife Helga in Watertown, Wisconsin. We prayed and read the Scriptures together. Even though he was in pain, his eyes still sparkled with the joy of Christ. As we left, Helga thanked us for coming and said she thought Carl was ready to go home. Now, at last, he is safe at home.”

— Richard Land, president, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission:

“Carl F.H. Henry is hands-down the greatest evangelical theologian of the last one hundred years and must be included on any informed persons’ list of the 20th Century’s half-dozen or so most influential theologians of any doctrinal tradition.

“The value of his massive scholarship, combined with his deep devotion to Christ and His Church to produce a body of writing which continues to be the human standard by which all subsequent evangelical theology must be evaluated, is beyond measure.

“In addition, his bold and courageous stand for the inerrancy and absolute truthfulness of God’s Word against all critics and opponents played an indispensably critical role in the triumph of that view of Scripture as the dominant one among evangelicals worldwide. His willingness to contend for his faith, as well as to merely explain it, made him an inspirational and uniquely influential evangelical statesman.

“His influence in Southern Baptist life, a denominational tradition he identified himself with in his later years and understood to be one of the ‘chief keepers of the flame’ of his passion for Scripture’s absolute truthfulness, cannot be overestimated. That legacy is exemplified by the fact that he was chosen to deliver the address at my installation as head of the Christian Life Commission in 1988, to speak at Timothy George’s installation as dean of Beeson Divinity School also in 1988, and at Albert Mohler’s inauguration in 1993 as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the institution that houses the Carl F.H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement.

“It is with mixed feelings that I greet the news of Dr. Henry’s home-going. I am saddened for the loss of one of Christendom’s greatest servants of any epic, but as I have observed his increasing frailty and physical maladies over the recent years, I rejoice with him that he has now been released from his earthly bonds and is now with his Savior for the ages.

“I can think of no one other than the Apostle Paul, the original human author of these words, for whom they were more appropriate than my dear friend and mentor, Carl Henry: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).”

— R. Albert Mohler Jr., president, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary:

“Carl Henry remained a theologian to the end. He continued to write and lecture well into his 80s, and his greatest legacy may well be found among some of the youngest evangelicals of our times, who have tasted the fruit of the postmodernist tree, drunk from the wells of modern skepticism, and listened to the revisionist calls of the evangelical left — and are looking for the intelligent defense of biblical truth Henry presented in ‘God, Revelation and Authority.’ The entire work was brought back into print by Crossway Books in 1999 and is now available to the rising generation of evangelical students.

“… The race is now over for Carl F.H. Henry, and he ran his race faithfully. The torch has now been passed to a new generation. The real question is now this: Will the present generation of evangelicals run the race — or run from the challenge?” (Quote excerpted from Crosswalk.com.)

— Paige Patterson, president, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary:

“Only once a century does a theologian arise of such incomparable merit as to become virtually an institution within himself. Carl F.H. Henry through the pioneering work of Christianity Today and extending to his multiplied and influential writings established the standard for all writing evangelical theologians of the future. We shall miss him profoundly.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: CARL F.H. HENRY.

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