Now Available: Nelson’s Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook, Volume 4

This month, Thomas Nelson publishers released the fourth volume of their Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook edited by O.S. Hawkins, the noted author of The Joshua Code and several other books, pastor, preacher, and president of GuideStone Financial Resources. The Sourcebook aids pastors with their annual sermon planning and provides:

  • Sermons, creative outlines, illustrations, and quotes
  • Worship helps, including hymns, prayers, and Scripture texts
  • Inspirational thoughts and preaching techniques
  • Sermons for special occasions and holidays
  • Disc containing all sermons and sermon starters

This year, the fourth volume contains sermons and sermon ideas from:

In addition, the volume concludes with several articles addressing topics such as preaching and cultural engagement. It was my joy to contribute two chapters to this section and join the following authors:

My two chapters are: “Our Once and Future Theologian: Carl F. H. Henry and Cultural Engagement,” and “Standing Like Steersman in a Storm: Courage to Act Like Men in a Culture That Says Otherwise.”

You can order and learn more about the Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook here.

An Evangelical Chester Copperpot: Recovering “The Uneasy Conscience”

Today in my Baptist Theologians PhD seminar we discussed the life and work of Carl F. H. Henry and to prepare, I had the students read Henry’s The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism(1947), a portion of his God, Revelation & Authority, Vol. 4 (1979), and then Gregory Alan Thornbury’s new Recovering Classic Evangelicalism: Applying the Wisdom and Vision Of Carl F. H. Henry (2013).

While all of Henry’s work has merit and proves prescient for the rising PhD student, I am particularly glad for the opportunity for students to read Henry’s The Uneasy Conscience. New to most, if not all of my students, this work by Henry, though written in 1947, is perhaps one of the best things they could read in terms of an evangelical approach toward engaging the culture. Thornbury, in his chapter “Culture Matters,” puts it this way:

We have come full circle to where Carl Henry began with evangelicals after World War II in The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism (1947). Evangelicals have no consistent program to speak to the sociopolitical climate of our time, and I think that within the confines of our current environment, we need to ask ourselves whether that’s even possible anymore. But before we give up hope, I want to plead ad fontes for my fellow evangelicals to revisit the manifesto that, at least culturally speaking, started it all. We need to return to the central claims of Carl Henry’s landmark book.

Uneasy Conscience exhibited confidence that even in the worst imaginable period in world history, a globe confused and battered emerging from the Second World War could look to the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ and be transformed–not just as individuals, but as a society.

Indeed, why attempt to reinvent fully the wheel of appropriate cultural engagement when an evangelical Chester Copperpot has already blazed a trail and left a map for others to follow.

Here are a few selected passages from Henry’s work:

The “uneasy conscience” of which I write is not one troubled about the great Biblical verities, which I consider the only outlook capable of resolving our problems, but rather one distressed by the frequent failure to apply them effectively to crucial problems confronting the modern mind (xviii).

The troubled conscience of the modern liberal, growing out of his superficial optimism, is a deep thing in modern times. But so is the uneasy conscience of the modern Fundamentalist, that no voice is speaking today as Paul would, either at the United Nations sessions, or at labor-management disputes, or in strategic university classrooms whether in Japan or Germany or America (24-25).

Contemporary evangelicalism needs (1) to reawaken to the relevance of its redemptive message to the global predicament; (2) to stress the great evangelical agreements in a common world front; (3) to discard elements of its message which cut the nerve of world compassion as contradictory to the inherent genius of Christianity; (4) to restudy eschatological convictions for a proper perspective which will not unnecessarily dissipate evangelical strength in controversy over secondary positions, in a day when the significance of the primary insistence is international (53-54).

The message for a decadent modern civilization must ring with the present tense. We must confront the world now with an ethics to make it tremble, and with a dynamic to give it hope (55).

Therefore, the path of evangelical action seems to be an eagerness to condemn all social evils, no less vigorously than any other group, and a determination … when evangelicals are in the minority, to express their opposition to evils in a “formula of protest,” concurring heartily in the assault on social wrongs, but insisting upon the regenerative context as alone able to secure a permanent rectification of such wrongs. Thus evangelicals will take their stand against evil, and against it in the name of Jesus Christ, the deliverer, both within their groups and within other groups.

For more on Carl F. H. Henry, see recent articles:
Seven Summits Worth Climbing in Church History: Carl F. H. Henry
Carl vs Karl: “Footnotes” on Henry/Barth Interactions
At the Mercy of an Air Assault: Footnotes on the Conversion of Carl Henry
Carl Henry’s Vision for an Evangelical University in New York
After 100 years, Grateful for Carl F. H. Henry, our Once and Future Theologian