The New Gods are Dying: Carl Henry’s Blueprint for an Effective Evangelical Witness

Carl F. H. Henry, one of the 20th century’s greatest evangelical theologians, dedicated much energy to the study of Western trends. In Christian Countermoves in a Decadent Culture (1986), he observed regarding the landscape as he saw it, “It is neither the best of times nor the worst of times. But it is a time when all the modern gods are sick and dying” (p. 107). His point was that one of Western culture’s fundamental errors was the rejection of God’s supremacy in favor of a functional deity that took the form of impersonal processes. This futile attempt to replace the Creator with secularism had the disastrous effect of bringing proponents “ever nearer to anguished collapse and atheistic suffocation” (Christian Mindset in a Secular Society, 84 [1984]).

Henry’s solution for this alarming drift was a vibrant evangelical witness that concerns itself not only with people’s souls but also their physical needs because Christ provides hope for the whole person. Because of the applicability of his observations to the situation in which 21st century evangelicals find ourselves, the purpose of this proposed paper is to examine Henry’s blueprint for providing tangible hope to desperate people by means of the testimony of our mouths, hearts, attitudes, intellect, and actions.