Carl Henry’s book, The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism

A Passion to Right the World, Part 2

Founder of Christianity Today, Billy Graham, with Carl F.H. Henry (1913-2003), editor, who is holding the first issue.

As I mentioned last week, one of the books I read while away on my sabbatical was an older publication of Carl Henry’s, The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism. Here is another quote that I found relevant and convicting:

“…the Hebrew-Christian tradition historically involved an articulate statement not only of dogmatics [doctrine] but of the social implications of redemption. Today, Protestant Fundamentalism [evangelicalism] …is a stranger in its predominant spirit, to the vigorous social interests of its ideological forebears. Modern Fundamentalism does not explicitly sketch the social implications of its message for the non-Christian world; it does not challenge the injustices of totalitarianisms, the secularisms of modern education, the evils of racial hatred, the wrongs of current labor-management relations, and the inadequate basis of international dealings. It has ceased to challenge Caesar and Rome … The apostolic Gospel stands divorced from a passion to right the world. The Christian social imperative is today in the hands of those who understand it in sub-Christian terms.” p.45

I will be speaking more about justice this Sunday. Coming back to a recent Sunday School class, and the question about  “equity” – the difference between equality and equity is a little hard to work out, isn’t it? But I think I found a helpful example brought to my attention in Dr. Shannon’s book, The Major Themes of the Bible. In his chapter “Principles of Justice and Compassion” he mentions the distribution of the land to Israel and the Jubilee legislation that forgave debts. He points out how the Jubilee legislation kept the land from belonging to fewer and fewer people. In my thinking, the Jubilee legislation was the equity that kept things relatively equal among Israel’s tribes. So perhaps equity can be thought of as the dynamic or ongoing work of keeping things as originally intended. I am going to think about this more and come back to this next week with a final word from Carl Henry.

Dr. Fosters Shannon’s book, The Major Themes of the Bible
Dr. Foster Shannon’s book, The Major Themes of the Bible

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