The Simplicity and Essential Nature of the Gospel
Recently I have been enjoying some lectures dedicated to the life, theology, and impact of Carl F.H. Henry (you can find these here and here). It is amazing to hear of this prominent twentieth-century theologian and note what kind of influence he had over such a vast array of organizations. It seems in our day there is a renaissance of not only studying the life and theology of Henry, but also of picking up the mantle to have Christian influence in the public square. He was a precise thinker who readily utilized philosophy, theology, and biblical exegesis in bolstering his points as a premier evangelical scholar.
Perhaps the work for which Henry is best know is his six-volume God, Revelation, and Authority. If you have ever delved into these volumes, then you know they can be quite dense and challenging to get through (for a helpful summary of of Henry’s thoughts on revelation see Recovering Classical Evangelicalism, by Greg Thornbury). And yet, as dense as this work is (and while I say that I must certainly affirm a hundred times over its helpfulness and importance!), Henry ends his magnum opus with a clear call to recall the truth and beauty of the gospel. As we venture into thorough exegesis, theological formulation, philosophical analysis, and cultural engagement, we must recall that our message boils down to a “foolish” message to the world, which is true wisdom to us. Carl Henry never forgot that, and neither should we.
God who stands and stoops and speaks is God who stays: He it is who preserves and governs and consummates his cosmic purpose. But the awesome wonder of the biblical revelation is not his creation and preservation of our vastly immense and complex universe. Its wonder, rather, is that he came as God-man to planet Earth in the form of the Babe of Bethlehem; he thus reminds us that no point in the universe is too remote for his presence and no speck too small for his care and love. He came as God-man to announce to a rebellious race the offer of a costly mercy grounded in the death and resurrection of his only Son and to assure his people that he who stays will remain with them forever and they with him. He is come in Christ incarnate to exhibit ideal human nature and will return in Christ glorified to fully implement the Omega-realities of the dawning future.
Jeremy Kimble (PhD, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Assistant Professor of Theological Studies at Cedarville University. He is an editor for Credo Magazine as well as the author of That His Spirit May Be Saved: Church Discipline as a Means to Repentance and Perseverance and numerous book reviews. He is married to Rachel and has two children, Hannah and Jonathan.