The Political Thought of Carl F. H. Henry

Dissertation, Loyola University of Chicago (1991)

In recent decades, evangelical Christians have emerged as a growing body, committed to increased social and political action. Little is known about the intellectual basis of this potent social and political force. ;The evangelicals claim that regardless of humanity's fallen condition, the human race still has access to truth via divine revelation. This truth provides principles that form the basis for and give direction to social and political activism. Thus, evangelicals propose a normative approach to the world of politics. ;This study focuses on Carl F. H. Henry as a representative of mainstream evangelicalism. This respected theologian and scholar was a central figure in the reemergence of a socially aware evangelical movement. He has written extensively on social and political topics and his recently published six volume magnum opus, God, Revelation and Authority, is an extended discourse on the philosophical presuppositions of evangelicalism. ;This study provides a descriptive and critical evaluation of one of evangelicalism's most prolific and authoritative proponents. It demonstrates the basis for and direction of Henry's call for evangelical political activism. The central question is "What is Carl F. H. Henry's understanding of the nature, direction and philosophical foundation of Christian political activism?" ;In terms of methodology, the political and philosophical writings of Henry are scrutinized and the following questions are answered. What are his contributions to political discourse? What are the political principles that he concludes are indispensable in our quest for justice? What are the problems with his analysis? What are the implications for further study for evangelicals? What, indeed, has he contributed to the quest for a just political order?
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