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Henry discusses his removal as Christianity Today editor

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Renowned theologian Carl F. H. Henry wrote his groundbreaking work “God, Revelation and Authority,” during an “awkward vocational transition from the editorship of Christianity Today,” he told students Jan. 28 at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Regarded by many as the most important evangelical theologian of the 20th century, Henry spoke at the Louisville, Ky., seminary during the inaugural Henry Lectures, named in his honor.
In an address titled, “The Character of a Theologian,” Henry raised his controversial separation from the magazine in 1968 to illustrate the inevitability of life’s difficulties, especially for those in the ministry.
Henry left the position with the prominent evangelical journal due to conflicts with the board over editorial control. He played an integral role in its 1956 founding.
“How a man of God responds to such circumstances has implications for the term ‘theologian’ that either becloud its hallowed sense, or that, with God’s help, can transform ashes of despair to new fires of faith,” Henry said.
“The more prominent an evangelical warrior, the more he or she will run the risk of casualty. The deeper one’s faith, the less such assault will decisively determine the course of his or her life, for the holy Lord of history prevails in human affairs,” Henry said. “In such
circumstances theological character is in the making, and the elements of ego, of personality, of temperament, of self-esteem and self-denial, of public prestige and reputation, create an opportunity for anchoring one’s life and work either to concentrating on the sinfulness of man or
to exhibiting the awesome holiness and grace of God.
“None of us dares forget the clay from which we are all fashioned,” Henry warned the students. “If one’s main ambition is personal survival in a publicly acceptable way, we are all foredoomed to eventual disillusionment. Essential and becoming to all of us is a sense of our
unworthiness in being entrusted models and witnesses of life fit for eternity.”
In spite of the disappointment of leaving the magazine, Henry said, “In that dark hour God gave me grace to hold our children steady for authentic faith, grace to walk head-high with my gifted mate, and to transfer my energies from a travesty on evangelical integrity to
expositing the timeless concerns of ‘God, Revelation and Authority.'”

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  • James A. Smith
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