Elusive Unity by Eric Miller

Elusive Unity

Eric Miller on Carl F. H. Henry’s Vision for Evangelicalism

From his years as a Wheaton College student in the 1930s, to his long tenure as a leading Evangelical theologian and spokesman, to his death in 2003 at the age of ninety, Carl F. H. Henry proclaimed a single bold conviction that might be summarized thus: Human history and hope center on the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Evangelical Protestantism is its most faithful expression in our troubled, momentous times.

For Christians, the first part remains unproblematic, of course. It is the second part that even self-identifying Evangelicals—let alone other Christians—may find audacious. What, in twenty-first-century America, does it mean to be an “Evangelical”? And how could anyone claim that Evangelical Protestantism, whatever it is, fares so favorably when placed alongside older, more sturdy incarnations of Christian faith? These days, many Protestants to the left and to the right of Henry have their doubts about the meaning and usefulness of the term Evangelical.

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Eric Miller is an Associate Professor of History at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania (www.geneva.edu). He is writing a biography of Christopher Lasch.

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