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Was Carl Henry A Rationalist?

by G. Wright Doyle

*This paper is a short version of what Dr. Doyle has written in his book, Carl Henry: Theologian for All Seasons which is available from here.


              Perhaps the most commonly-voiced criticism against Henry is that of being a rationalist, and therefore a prisoner of the now-defunct modern project. Bob Patterson, for example, writes that: "Not all evangelicals are happy with Henry’s bent toward rationalism." [1] Stanley Grenz and Roger Olson note that his “critics have also found him to be overly concerned with reason and propositional revelation.”[2] Donald Bloesch says, “The method of Gordon Clark and Carl Henry is deductive, deriving conclusions from given rational principles”[3] In the same vein, Gordon Lewis and Bruce Demarest call Henry and his mentor Gordon Clark deductive rationalists.


                Still, the accusations of rationalism reflected above pale in comparison to the words of Harvey Conn’s repetition and affirmation of Van Til’s description of the approaches of “Neo-evangelicals”:


These men… accept… an emphasis on “the law of non-contradiction” (Carnell) or “logic as an exercise of the reason to test for truth” (Gordon Clark) or what Van Til designates as “Greek theism” (Carl Henry) as one of their operating categories or presuppositions. And precisely here lies the basic weakness of this sort of apologetics. “It is the attempt to join higher forms of non-Christian thought in their opposition to lower forms of non-Christian thought…”[4]

What is “Rationalism”?

                Rationalism has been defined as a “conviction that reason provides the best or even the only path to truth… In theology the term rationalism often designates a position that subordinates revelation to human reason or rules out revelation as a source of knowledge altogether.”[5]

                M.J. Ovey reminds us that “rationalism” carries negative overtones in several communities, and provides a helpful discussion of some of the term’s meanings. [6]     “Rationalism” receives criticism from Christians if it means “the supremacy and adequacy of human reason” to discover truth.

 “Romantic” critics claim that rationalism rules out love and exhibits “sterility and inability to explain the richness of human experience.”[7] Post-moderns reject rationalism for the latter reason, as well as from their reaction to any assertion of ultimate, absolute truths, and the assumption that reason can decipher and describe the multiple mysteries of life.

                In Christian apologetics, “rationalism” may describe the conviction that “if proper evidence is produced in favor of Christian faith a listener will, as a rational being, inevitably come to faith” or that “rational” evidence for the truth claims of the Bible  are sufficient to persuade an honest seeker.[8]

                As Ovey rightly points out, “The current climate of postmodernism is unfavourable to rationalism in many of the above senses.” Postmoderns reject the idea of any universal truth (except their own assertion of universal relativism!) and suspect that “reason” is only a weapon in the hands of those with an agenda. “For this reason the charge that Christian belief is ‘rationalist’ can be devastating in a postmodern context.”[9]

                When Henry’s opponents brand his theological method as “rationalistic,” therefore, they score a rhetorical victory without really having to substantiate their charge.

Response to Criticisms of Rationalism

                In the rest of this paper, I shall try to show tha: Carl Henry’s thought does not fit in any sense the standard definitions of “rationalism” given above. That is, he does not believe that reason alone can ascertain ultimate truth; he does not give reason priority over God’s revelation in the Bible; and he does not believe that rational evidence alone will persuade anyone to believe in Christ.

                At the outset, let us note that Carl Henry himself repeatedly and unequivocally renounced and repudiated rationalism. Early in Volume One, for example, he highlights the reliance of all reasoning upon assumptions and presuppositions.  A chapter on “Theology and Philosophy” in the same volume explains why the evangelical theologian cannot accept the anti-metaphysical bias of much modern philosophy:

                The speculative approach ignores the self-revelation of the living God and it propounds a rationalistic world view and life view on antithetical premises. In so doing it minimizes man’s finiteness and conceals his epistemic predicament in sin.[10]

                Such explicit rejection of rationalism puts the burden of proof upon those who would deny that Carl Henry understood his own theological method. To label Carl Henry a “rationalist” because he does not disavow the use of reason is akin to calling Karl Marx a capitalist because of the title of his book; one has to amass considerable evidence to support such an allegation.

                The criticisms quoted above state that Henry’s supposed “rationalism” is marked by being “overly concerned with reason and prepositional revelation.”[CI1]   We shall look in more detail at some possible meanings of “being overly concerned with reason,” but for now perhaps we might ask, What does “overly concerned” imply?

More concerned with human reason than with divine revelation? The first four volumes of God, Revelation, and Authority constitute a mammoth attempt to assert the nature, means, and priority of divine revelation, particularly written revelation in the Bible.

                More concerned with reason than with emotions? Yes, if you mean emotions as a vehicle for revelation. Henry is not a Romantic. On the other hand, throughout his writings he affirms his belief in what Jonathan Edwards would call “religious affections” as essential to a normal Christina life, and in his autobiography refers several times to his own emotional responses to God’s goodness and greatness. [11]

                More than intuition? If by intuition we mean ineffable mystical intuitions, Henry counters that “mystical intuitionism is implicitly pantheistic. It obscures both the transcendence of the Creator-God and man’s moral waywardness… While there is a mystery side to God, revelation is mystery dispelled and conveys information about God and his purposes.”[12]

                Still, there is a kind of “rational intuitionism” held by Augustine, Calvin, and others, including Henry, which believes that “human beings know certain propositions are immediately to be true, without resort to inference.”[13] These would include the existence of God and the sense of right and wrong, the awareness of self, the laws of logic, and the truths of mathematics. “According to this view, the categories of thought are aptitudes for thought implanted by the Creator and synchronized with the whole of created reality.”[14]

                What about reason as distinct from experience? Henry points out that Thomistic theology builds upon sense impressions as a foundation, and that this made it vulnerable to later secular philosophical attack. He describes the weakness of modern empiricism, especially scientific empiricism and logical positivism, and asserts that it can never lead to anything but tentative conclusions. Divine revelation alone can provide certitude.

What, then, is the role of reason? Very early in God, Revelation, and Authority, Henry lays bare the assumptions of what he calls “the rationalistic method of knowing” that “considers human reasoning as the only reliable and valid source of knowledge.” [15] After tracing the course and fortunes of rationalism in Western philosophy, Henry declares that faith in the role of human reason has been shattered in recent years, thus acknowledging trends which later came to be called “postmodernism.” From a Christian standpoint, “Human reason is not a source of infallible truth about ultimate reality,” because man is both finite and fallen.[16] There is no way that any created person could know all that is necessary for “a comprehensive world-life view,” and the “sinful human spirit slants its own perspectives in a manner that does violence to the truth of revelation, while its very formulations are at the same time made possible because reason is a divine gift whose legitimate and proper use man has compromised.” [17]

That last clause points to the other side of Henry’s view of reason: Its “legitimate and proper use.” Throughout God, Revelation, and Authority, he strenuously opposes the view that “reason must in principle be antirevelational…A deity related to man only in terms of contradiction and paradox can serve neither the cause of revelation, reason or experience.” [18] He espouses, therefore, an “evangelical rational theism.”[19] That is, a theism based on God’s revelation, and not warped by irrational, self-contradictory assertions. Its fundamental assumption – derived from the Bible – is that “the Logos of God is the coordinating reality that holds together thought, life and experience.” [20] “Its basic premise is that the living God should be allowed to speak for himself and to define the abiding role of reason and the meaning of revelation… The rationalistic approach subordinates the truth of revelation to its own alternatives and has speculated itself into exhaustion.” Our choice now is between “human postulation or divine revelation.” [21]

                To continue with the criticisms quoted above, he is faulted for following a fundamentally deductive method. That is, “deriving conclusions from given rational principles.”[22]

                If this means that Henry has fundamental presuppositions, it is true. He starts with the premise that the entire Bible is the Word of God, our only infallible guide to faith and practice. He insists that we must derive our theology from clear statements and legitimate inferences from the Scriptures, not from extra-biblical considerations or concepts. Indeed, most of God, Revelation, and Authority consists of a sustained defense of the Bible as the only proper starting point for theological reflection; Henry repeatedly criticizes those approaches which arise from human ideas and speculation.

                Furthermore, he operates on the conviction that the Bible contains information about God and his ways that is clear enough to be understood. “God in his revelation is the first principle of Christian theology, from which all the truths of revealed religion are derived.”[23] He knows that the Bible conveys not only information, and is intended to lead us to real wisdom – the saving knowledge of God – but he insists that the words in the Bible do reflect, and communicate, intelligible revelation from God.

               But here we must be careful, for Henry thinks that these assumptions arise from a proper reading of the Bible itself. In other words, he did not start with these ideas and construct a theological system upon them. Rather, his preliminary encounter with the Bible as a new believer convinced him that this is the very Word of God, a Word which could be comprehended enough to communicate also with others. So, even his presuppositions arose from his response to what he read in the Scriptures. “The Christian religion does not dangle midair on a postulational skyhook; it is anchored in God’s self-revelation.”[24]

                He has also been charged with:

“Advocating a God who reveals himself only in Euclidean terms…”[25]

                Euclid was a Greek mathematician, famous for his textbook on geometry, the Elements, which argued from axioms to theorems to produce proofs, concluding with the confident, “Q.E.D.”               Let us assume that this criticism refers to Henry’s belief that theology is, in some sense, a “science,” “in the deepest sense because it presumes to account in an intelligible and orderly way for whatever is legitimate in every sphere of life and learning.”

           Of course, Christian theology differs fundamentally from much of modern science, for it does not base itself only – or even chiefly – upon empirical observation derived by the senses, and because it does not exalt human reason above divine revelation as its fundamental way of knowing.  But theology, like any body of knowledge (the original sense of “science”), “is interested no less than any other science in discussing presuppositions and principles, sources and data, purposes or objectives, methods of knowing, verifiability and falsifiability”[26].

                This way of speaking of theology grates upon modern Christian sensibilities, accustomed as they are to think of faith as personal rather than propositional. Our age has lost confidence in “the assured results of science,” and yearns for experience that is not simply cognitive and rational.

                So, we must ask what Henry means. Does he – as the criticism quoted above implies – think that our God is a set of impersonal mathematical proofs, known by cold reasoning and ironclad logic? Of course not! That is a caricature, possible only to those who have not read his works carefully.

                Henry merely means to say that God has revealed himself in such a way that he can be known, his revelation can be understood, the Bible makes sense, and we can talk about God in ways that others can understand. Indeed, those theologians who criticize Henry for being “scientific” themselves try to persuade others by the facts and the logic of their argument! Most Christian writers seek to present their case cogently and coherently, which is all that Henry says he is assaying to do.

                To be sure, Henry does speak of axioms and theorems as appropriate for theology, but does this mean that he envisions a process that is coldly mathematical and leads merely to a set of rationally-deduced principles, rather than a vital knowledge of the living God? Not at all. He is simply trying to recognize that systematic theology, by definition, is systematic – it seeks to present the doctrines of the Bible in an orderly, consistent, and coherent fashion. For Henry, then, “axioms” and “theorems” refer to vital truths derived from the Bible and presented in a way that shows their mutual inter-relatedness. Far from being a set of random observations of, and responses to, the revelation of the Scriptures, theology aims to arrange the treatment of biblical themes in a way that makes sense and carries persuasive power.

                We must admit that Henry possibly did not realize the extent to which his use of the noun “science” to describe theology would generate massive opposition, approaching revulsion, among evangelicals. Though he did his best to define what he meant by “science” and was obviously aware of the revolt against “modern” rationalism, and science in particular, as we have seen, he did not, perhaps, appreciate how viscerally some evangelicals would react to his use of terms like “reason,” “rational,” “axiom,” and “theorem.”

                Or did he? Much of his theological project was aimed at combating the rising anti-rationalism, even irrationalism, of twentieth-century theology, and he often lamented the emotionalism, shallowness, and fuzzy thinking of all too many evangelical leaders and thinkers. Maybe he chose his terms deliberately, in an almost desperate attempt to rescue a baby that was in danger of being thrown out with the bathwater.        

“Insisting that religious beliefs and moral convictions stand up to the test of logic and reason.”

Henry admits: “To be sure [evangelical theology] insists that reason is the test of truth. But by true knowledge it means nothing more or less than truth as God knows and reveals it.[27]  In other words, Henry believes that the Bible, which is God’s self-revelation of the truth, will not contradict itself. Reason does not invent truth; it discovers truth by carefully examining the scriptural witness.

Divine revelation is the source of all truth, the truth of Christianity included; reason is the instrument for recognizing it; Scripture is its verifying principle; logical consistency is a negative test for truth and coherence a subordinate test. The task of Christian theology is to exhibit the content of biblical revelation as an orderly whole.[28].

Divine revelation is thus the “basic theological axiom” of Christian theology[29]. This fact “in no way nullifies the corollary truth that the triune God is Christianity’s basic ontological axiom.”[30] In other words, Henry is not unaware that theology is primarily about God; he is merely saying that to know God, we must seek the truth as it is found in his revelation, especially in the Bible.

“Placing an undue emphasis on ‘the law of non-contradiction.’”

                Carl Henry certainly did insist that the law of non-contradiction plays a crucial role in all human thought and discourse:

Distinctively human experience presupposes the law of non-contradiction and the irreducible   distinction between truth and error; man cannot repudiate these logical presuppositions without sacrificing the intelligibility of what he says and does and his own mental coherence.[31]

                In other words, Van Til, Conn, McGrath, and others who disparage the emphasis that Henry (and his mentor Gordon Clark) place on the law of non-contradiction can do so only by assuming that same “law”! With regard to this matter, either Henry is right or he is wrong; he cannot be both right and wrong at the same time. And his critics say he is wrong!  What does “wrong” mean, unless there is a fundamental contradiction between “right” and “wrong,” between truth and error?

                To claim that Henry believes that the “law of non-contradiction” exists independently of God is to misunderstand his thought. After all, the Bible declares that “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all,”[32] he cannot lie,[33] and Jesus is the Truth.[34] All such descriptions of God imply something like a “law of non-contradiction” within God himself. Not, of course, as an independent “law” standing outside of God that he must obey, but as part of the fundamental constitution of the mind of God – of the Logos – which distinguishes between truth and error, “light” and “darkness,” good and evil, holy and profane, right and wrong.

It is in the context of God’s sovereignty and total freedom that Henry discusses the nature of the law of non-contradiction, which “does not set limits to which God must conform; God himself wills the law of non-contradiction as integral to both divine and human meaning… The laws of logic are the way God thinks; they are the organization of the divine mind.”[35] God cannot speak what is both true and false at the same time; indeed, he cannot directly speak anything that is false (excluding from this discussion the record of Satan’s lies in the Bible). He cannot lie. He has bound himself to truth, for his very mind – his Logos – is truth itself.

                Thus, when Henry speaks of the “law” of non-contradiction, he is only referring to a “law” that underlies all human thought and communication, one that is assumed in everything we say and do. This “law” is implanted in us because we are created in the image of God, who distinguishes absolutely between truth and error, fact and falsehood, reality and non-reality, God and not-God.

                In his own words:

The laws of logic are the “architecture” or organization of the divine mind. They are the systematic arrangement of God’s mind or the way God thinks. The laws of logic, therefore, have an ultimate ontological reality. God is the author of all meaning, the foundation of all facts; his thought is ultimately decisive for all predication. [36]

                We simply cannot escape the fact that our minds distinguish between truth and error, and that all our value judgments assume and express this basic element of our mental nature.

                Another point: Not only Christians, but all humans, think and speak out of this fundamental reality. God addresses humans as “reasonable” (that is, capable of reason) beings. That is what Henry means by the universal presence of the law of non-contradiction in both humans and in their Maker. Or, as he puts it, “Those who argue that God is illogical and then presume to say anything ontologically significant about him, indulge in religious babbling.” [37]

Being “overly concerned with … prepositional revelation.”

                True, Henry does insist upon prepositional revelation throughout God, Revelation, and Authority and especially in Volume III Chapters 24-28.

If revelation is a communication of sharable truth, it will consist of sentences, propositions, judgments, and not simply of isolated concepts.[38]

God… does not utter illogicalities… Meaningful divine revelation involves communication in intelligible sentences.[39]

                Another objection is that “prepositional truth depersonalizes revelation by turning it into abstract statements that dull the call for decision and obedience… But if the call for decision and obedience rests upon imperatives that cannot be logically analyzed, and are not answerable to the claims of truth, then no rational creature ought to be bound by such demands.”[40]

                He goes on:

A reading of the New Testament will quickly show…that the verb believe (pisteuo) does in fact have doctrinal truths or propositional statements as its object; it is therefore untrue to the Gospels and Epistles to say that the object of belief is properly only a person.[41]

A proposition is a verbal statement that is either true or false; it is a rational declaration capable of being either believed, doubted, or denied. [42]

We mean by propositional revelation that God supernaturally communicates his revelation to chosen spokesmen in the express forms of cognitive truths, and that the inspired prophetic-apostolic proclamation reliably articulates these truths in sentences that are not internally contradictory.[43].

                Is God “more” than what he has revealed in the Bible? Of course! But without the propositional revelation in the Bible, we would not know of this transcendence of God. “Apart from meaningful and true cognitive information, one could not know that a presence is that of Yahweh, or speak confidently of God’s personality and selfhood, or even of transcendent reality.” [44]

                After these preliminary definitions and answers to objections, Henry backs his position with an extensive review of the Scriptures, which he finds to be composed of intelligible statements, though of course expressed in various genres, such as poetry. But “The LORD is my shepherd” is still a proposition.

                Furthermore, contrary to the claim by Roger Olson that “Henry’s view of divine revelation may seem to imply that all the nonpropositional forms of revelation are unimportant compared with propositional revelation,”[45] Henry states explicitly that “The Bible itself attests the considerable variety in God’s revealing activity by depicting divine disclosure not by one particular term but by a vast range of descriptive concepts.”[46] Against those who would restrict God’s revelation to the Bible itself, he writes, “The God of the Bible is the God who revealed himself in dreams and visions, in theophany and incarnation, in words and writings. His multiform ways of revelation defy simplistic reduction.”[47]

                Henry understands that not everything in the Bible is a proposition:

It is the case that in the Bible God not only reveals sentences, or propositional truths, but also reveals his Name, or names, and that he gives divine commands. Commands do not assert a truth and are not propositions. Such disclosures assuredly are capable of being formulated propositionally, but that is admittedly something other than expressly identifying them as propositional disclosure. Yet even the revelation of God’s name requires a meaningful context for intelligibility; isolated concepts do not convey truths…

If it is too much to say that divine revelation must be propositionally given to be both meaningful and true, it is nonetheless wholly necessary to insist that divine disclosure does indeed take propositional form.[48]

                One last point to make on this subject: Those who say that revelation is not propositional do so with an abundance of propositions, which they expect to be believed.

                Those who think Carl Henry too “rationalistic” naturally think he is constantly

Forgetting that “our theology will forever fall short of the mind of God … [and that] we do not possess the truth, since reason is always the servant and never the master or determiner of revelation.”

                The third of his Fifteen Theses on Divine Revelation states clearly that “Divine revelation does not completely erase God’s transcendent mystery, inasmuch as God the Revealer transcends his own revelation. The revelation given to man is not exhaustive of God. The God of revelation transcends his creation, transcends his activity, transcends his own disclosure. We do not ‘see everything from God’s point of view.’ Even the chosen apostles concede that their knowledge on the basis of divine revelation is but ‘in part’ and not yet ‘face to face’ (1 Cor. 13:12).”[49]

                Therefore, “It is sheer delusion for any contemporary theologian, however devout or gifted, to think that he or she has fully mastered God’s truth as God knows it.” [50]

.               On the other hand, “Although we cannot know God exhaustively, we can know him truly and adequately. Although we cannot know him apart from our finitude, we can know him as creatures divinely intended to apprehend their Creator. Although we can know him only through the forms of our understanding, these divinely created forms convey reliable knowledge about God.” [51]

                Henry is also faulted for:

Holding that “the truth of revelation can be known prior to becoming a Christian,” “giving reason a creative role prior to faith,” and not emphasizing enough “the idea that the unbeliever’s mind is depraved and the believer’s mind is enlightened by grace, that our knowledge of God is a pure gift and not a rational or philosophical achievement.”

Henry did believe that man was created in the image of God, and thus endowed with a rationality that makes thought and understanding of some truth possible. The image of God in man includes both a rational and a moral component. Even unregenerate men and women can distinguish between good and evil; truth and error; right and wrong; and God and not-God. They may not know the truth about God, but the concepts named above are embedded in every person’s mind.[52].

                On the other hand, Henry refers often to “the noetic effects of sin” and to “what Christian theologians call the epistemic predicament of finite and sinful man,” that incapacitates us from knowing truth apart from revelation.[53] He repeatedly refers to “the Christian demand that the presumptions of every cultural era be tested from the standpoint of transcendent revelation.” [54]

                Despite the Fall, which includes the mind, however, “the nature of truth is such that the Christian revelation is formally intelligible to all men; it convincingly overlaps ineradicable elements of everyman’s experience, and offers a more consistent, more comprehensive and more satisfactory explanation of the meaning and worth of life than do other views.” [55] Thus, the non-believer can understand much of what the Christian is saying, even if he disagrees and fails to submit to God’s truth. As a fellow creature, he can be engaged in meaningful dialogue, even if only faith in God’s revelation alone will bring him true comprehension.

                If the non-believer has no capacity to think reasonably, then all Christian evangelism and apologetics are useless. Henry is merely saying that non-Christians have minds that work the same way the Christian minds work, even though they are darkened and ignorant.

Not understanding that “Revelation, not reason, must be the final authority.”

Henry says, on the contrary, “Human reason is a divinely fashioned instrument for recognizing truth; it is not a creative source of truth.”[56] Why must revelation precede and control reason? Because “human reason is not a source of infallible truth about ultimate reality.”[57]

Christianity depicts itself… not as a supremely constructed metaphysical theory, but as a revelation, differing in kind from secular philosophies grounded in rational reflection….Its basic premise is that the living God should be allowed to speak for himself and to define the abiding role of reason and the meaning of revelation… the rationalistic approach subordinates the truth of revelation to its own alternatives and has speculated itself into exhaustion.[58]

“Holding that revelation can be comprehended by reason alone.”

                In Volume III of God, Revelation, and Authority, Henry devotes an entire chapter to “The Spirit as Divine Illuminator.”

God intends that Scripture should function in our lives as his Spirit-illumined Word. It is the Spirit who opens man’s being to a keen personal awareness of God’s revelation. The Spirit empowers us to receive and appropriate Scriptures, and promotes in us a normative theological comprehension for a transformed life. The Spirit gives a vital current focus to historical revelation and makes it powerfully real. [59]

The ministry of the Spirit of God… is as essential and unique in enlivening God’s revelation in the lives of his people as it is in the phenomena of divine incarnation and divine inspiration.[60]

The Spirit illumines Scripture, evokes trust in God, and regenerates contrite sinners.[61]

Henry’s approach constitutes “Greek theism.”[62]

It is hard to know whether to laugh or to cry at this caricature. The same charge is often leveled against proponents of traditional Christian theism by those advocating “openness” theology, whose own fierce attacks on Carl Henry are thus not surprising. Greek theism was marked by confidence in virtually unaided human reason to understand ultimate truth, ignorance of divine revelation, and a concept of God as impersonal. None of these characterize the theology of Carl Henry.


                I hope that the foregoing discussion has shown that the charge that Carl Henry is in any sense a rationalist is totally without foundation.

G. Wright Doyle

China Institute


[1]Bob E. Patterson, Carl F. H. Henry, in Makers of the Modern Theological Mind (Waco: Word Books, 1983), 164 f. At least one person has charged Henry with being a Thomist. Albert Mohler records that Thomas Reginald McNeal described Henry’s “method as apologetic presuppositionalism” which is “a rationalistic theological methodology dominated by the priority of reason over faith” (“A Critical Analysis of the Doctrine of God in the Theology of Carl F. H. Henry” (Ph.D. diss., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1986) 1. Mohler replies, “Yet Henry has always stressed that revelation is prior to both reason and faith, even as he has championed the role of reason and rationality in human thought…. Henry may be rationalistic, if by this we indicate his reliance upon reason as an instrument of understanding; but he is not a rationalist, if by this he is thought to place reason prior to revelation.” Note,  399. The characterization of Henry as a Thomist borders on the bizarre, given Henry’s explicit repudiation of Aquinas’ theological method at many points. See, for example, GRA I, 4, “The Ways of Knowing.”

[2] Stanley Grenz and Roger Olson, 20th Century Theology: God & the World in a Transitional Age (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1992) 297.

[3] Patterson, Carl Henry, 166, quoting Donald Bloesch, Essentials of Evangelical Theology II (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1979) 267, 268 .

[4] Harvie Conn, Contemporary World Theology, 2nd ed. (Nutley, New Jersey, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1974) 139-140, citing Cornelius Van Til, The New Evangelicalism, unpublished paper, n.d., 62.

[5] C.S  Evans,  “Approaches to Christian Apologetics,” in New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics, W.C. Campbell-Jack and Gavin McGrath, eds. (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press: 2006) 98-99.

[6] M.J. Ovey, “Rationalism” in W.D. Campbell-Jack and Gavin McGrath, New  Dictionary of Christian Apologetics (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 2006) 592-594. The quotations following come from this article.

[7] Ibid., 593.

[8] Ibid., 594.

[9] Ibid., 594.

[10] Henry, GRA I, 195.

[11] “My deepest memories are those spent waiting before God, often praying for others, …sometimes waiting before him in tears, sometimes in joy, sometimes wrestling alternatives, sometimes just worshiping him in adoration. Heaven will be an unending feast for the soul that basks in his presence.” Henry, Confessions, 407

[12]  Ibid., 73.

[13] Ibid., 73.

[14] Ibid., 77. 

[15] Ibid., 85.

[16] Ibid., 91.

[17] Ibid., 91.

[18] Ibid., 93.

[19] Ibid., 94.

[20] Ibid., 95.

[21] Ibid., 95.

[22] Donald Bloesch, Essentials of Evangelical Theology, II, 268.

[23]  Ibid., 215.


[24] Ibid., 219.


[25] As earlier in the paper, these criticisms are quoted from Bob E. Paterson, Carl F. H. Henry (Waco: Word Books, 1983) 164 ff.

[26] Henry, GRA I, 203.

[27] Ibid., 93.

[28] Ibid., 215.

[29] Ibid., 216.

[30] Ibid., 219.

[31] Henry, GRA II, 126.

[32] 1 John 1:5.

[33] Hebrews 6:18.

[34] John 14:6.

[35] Henry, GRA IV, 319.

[36] Ibid., 334.

[37]  Ibid., 334.

[38] Henry, GRA III, 429.

[39] Ibid., 430.

[40] Ibid., 433.

[41] Ibid., 438.

[42] Ibid., 456.

[43] Ibid., 457.

[44] Ibid., 459.

[45] Roger Olson, The Westminster Handbook to Evangelical Theology (Louisville: John Knox Press, 2004) 46.

[46] Henry, GRA II, 79.

[47] Ibid., 80.

[48] Ibid.,480-481.

[49] Henry, GRA II, 9.

[50] Henry, GRA V, 376.

[51] Ibid., 376.

[52] Henry, GRA II, 125-126.

[53]  Henry, GRA I, 91.

[54]  Ibid., 92.

[55]  Ibid., 238.

[56] Ibid., 225.

[57] Ibid., 91.

[58] Ibid., 95.

[59] Henry, GRA III, 273.

[60] Ibid., 278.

[61]  Ibid., 278.

[62] Harvey M. Conn,, Contemporary world theology, 139. In his two chapters on “neo-evangelicalism,” Conn makes a number of sweeping generalizations which would seem to include Henry in their broad rejection of that movement, but which do not apply to Henry. Such sloppiness is both bad scholarship and unreliable polemics, to say the least.




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