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First Editor of Christianity Today Dies

Associated Press, USA
Dec. 9, 2003
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ReligionNewsBlog.com • Wednesday December 10, 2003

WATERTOWN, Wis. (AP) — Theologian Carl F.H. Henry, the first editor of Christianity Today and a leading voice in the evangelical movement, has died. He was 90.

Henry died Sunday at his home in Watertown, according to Christianity Today’s Web site.

He became editor of the magazine in 1955 after Billy Graham wrote a letter proposing the publication, and urging Henry to become its editor. He left the post in 1968.

“He will be singularly remembered as the man who led the evangelical movement out of its wilderness and brought it into the 20th century,” said Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship and former special counsel to President Nixon.

Henry’s death “leaves a huge void in American Christianity,” added Gregory Thornbury, director of Union University’s Carl F.H. Henry Center for Christian Leadership in Jackson, Tenn.

In 1947, the first of Henry’s major books, “The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism,” was published. The same year, evangelical leaders approached him about working at a seminary that was being created. Henry became Fuller Seminary’s first acting dean that fall in Pasadena, Calif.

He later left Fuller to join Christianity Today.

“His book, published in 1947, came just as Billy Graham was preaching, and many people believe, as I do, that Henry and Graham, together, sparked the renewal of evangelicalism that we’ve been experiencing for 40 years,” Colson said.

Henry was born in 1913 in New York City. At 19, he became editor of The Smithtown Star and later was a stringer for The New York Times.

He entered Wheaton College in 1935, where Graham was among his classmates. Henry pursued graduate studies simultaneously at Wheaton and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned a doctorate after being ordained a Baptist minister.

Henry eventually taught theology at Northern while pursuing a second doctorate, from Boston University, which he earned in 1949.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, described Henry as “hands-down the greatest evangelical theologian of the last 100 years.”

After leaving the magazine, he went on to study at Cambridge, England, and to establish the Institute for Advanced Christian Studies. He later returned to the United States to teach at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Henry completed his six-volume work “God, Revelation and Authority” in 1983.

He is survived by his wife, a daughter, a daughter-in-law and two sisters.

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