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Carl Henry’s 1957 critique of fundamentalism


I’ve been surprised no one has commented upon Carl Henry’s 1957 critique of fundamentalism which is posted in one of my comments under the MacArthur post.  Was I the only one who thought it was interesting?

Frankly I was shocked that it was written in 1957! I see these things today but wrongly believed it was a recent “turn” in fundamentalism.

Any thoughts at all?

In 1957 Carl Henry, the Editor of Christianity Today magazine wrote a critique of fundamentalism that accurately summarizes my own critique of the central problem with John MacArthur’s Charismatic Chaos.

Henry wrote:

“The real bankruptcy of fundamentalism has resulted not so much from a reactionary spirit —— lamentable as this was —— as from a harsh temperament, a spirit of lovelessness and strife contributed by much of its leadership in the recent past. One of the ironies of contemporary church history is that the more fundamentalists stress separation from apostasy as a theme in their churches, the more a spirit of lovelessness seems to prevail. The theological conflict with liberalism deteriorated into an attack upon organizations and personalities.

This character of fundamentalism as a temperament and not primarily fundamentalism as a theology, has brought the movement into contemporary discredit… Historically, fundamentalism was a theological position; only gradually did the movement come to signify a mood and disposition as well. In its early [years] leadership reflected ballast, and less of bombast and battle… If modernism stands discredited as a perversion of the scriptural theology, certainly fundamentalism in this contemporary expression stands discredited as a perversion of the Biblical spirit.”

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