Founder of Christianity Today, Billy Graham, with Carl F.H. Henry (1913-2003), editor,
who is holding the first issue.
A Passion to Right the World
In a recent Sunday School class, I used the word “equity” and was asked about its meaning. The larger question being discussed was the position or practice of our church on justice issues in society. How much our own ministry should be or will be influenced by concerns about what is happening in our society? To begin, the biblical idea of equity comes from a Hebrew term that basically means “level” like a geographical plain. The idea of equity in society should mean that people are treated “on the level” or fairly. If we pay attention to our society or the people we encounter in life generally, we will become aware of situations where there is inequity.
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. Carl Henry was an American evangelical and Christian theologian who gave leadership to evangelicals in the mid-to-late 20th century. He is perhaps best known for his leadership along with Billy Graham in the founding of Christianity Today. He wrote this book to argue for the active involvement of evangelicals or “fundamentalists” in the social issues of American culture. He was troubled that evangelicals had distanced themselves from societal concerns and that “the apostolic Gospel stands divorced from a passion to right the world (p.45).” Sound relevant? I will be sharing some other notable excerpts next week. Keep in mind that Henry wrote this book in 1947! Given the divisions in our nation and which are reflected among Christians and in our own church, what Henry worried about then, is worth our concern now.