God Revelation & Authority Volume 1–Preface and Introduction

Posted: January 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

“Evangelical theology is heretical if it is only creative and unworthy if it is only repetitious.”   Carl F.H. Henry God, Revelation and Authority Volume 1, Preface.

Carl F.H. Henry begins his magnum opus by asserting that theology is not a place for intellectuals to play games that are only of interest to fellow academics but neither is it locked in time.  Henry believes that the Christian faith has been delivered once and for all to the saints (Jude 1:3) must speak to the issues of the day in language that is clear backed by thinking that is reasonable. Thus, Henry is concerned with two equal but opposite errors–the theological liberalism that dominates modern academia that is nearly incoherent to those outside of the scholastic bubble and sectarian fundamentalism that feels as relevant as an old calendar and also shares an odd “insider vocabulary.”

Henry writes that the tendency to “speak in enigmatic tongues contrasts sharply with the lucid proclamation of the biblical revelation to ordinary mortals.  The Christian message is good news for the masses, and unless theologians are intelligible in the public mart and in the public press, both will ignore them.” (10)  Thus, Henry is going to argue that God’s revelation in Scripture is clear and coherent and must be communicated as such.  Moreover, Henry will argue that Scripture also makes propositional truth claims that also must be taken seriously.

The project of arguing that God has revealed himself in Scripture for the masses must deal with serious intellectuals challenge to this thesis.  As such, Henry will spend 6-volumes dealing with the various objections to his proposition from the right and the left.  In the introduction, Henry outlines his work as follows:

Volumes One, Two and Three, titled God Who Speaks and Shows, expound the nature of religious knowledge. This initial volume deals largely with theological prolegomena; Volumes Two and Three will develop each of the fifteen theses on divine revelation summarized in the introduction to Volume Two. Volume Four, titled God Who Stands, Stoops and Stays, expounds the nature of God.

Obviously, the tome expanded beyond Henry’s initial vision but this gives you a good idea of where we are going.  Tonight we will look at chapter 1 of volume 1.  Check back.

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