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The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  341 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Originally published in 1947, The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism has since served as the manifesto of evangelical Christians serious about bringing the fundamentals of the Christian faith to bear in contemporary culture. In this classic book Carl F. H. Henry, the father of modern fundamentalism, pioneered a path for active Christian engagement with the world -- ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published August 29th 2003 by Eerdmans (first published January 1st 1947)
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Bill Higley
Feb 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have a few thousand books on my shelves, and if you took most of them away, I probably wouldn't miss them. But this one, written in 1947, is one I would dearly miss. Carl Henry's words are prophetic. Essentially, he is warning the church about becoming disengaged it the culture / world around it, and thus becoming irrelevant to the world around it. There is much being said & written today about justice; that is, justice from a biblical, or ecclesiastical, perspective. And some of it is pretty ...more
Micah Lugg
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Even though this was written in 1940's, I appreciate Henry's conviction that the Christian worldview has something to say about everything, even societal and cultural issues. I was challenged by his gospel-motivation to be passionate to help people, while also understanding the world will continue to get worse until Christ comes. He sounds like a Kuyperian premillennialist and I appreciate hearing an author holding that tension.

He says on page 67:
"Evangelicalism can view the future with a sober
Ryan Reed
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a classic that every believer should read multiple times. Henry is as prophetic and prominent today as he was when it was written.
Samuel Kassing
Aug 24, 2021 rated it liked it
This classic treatment felt like it could be written yesterday and then at times significantly dated.

Henry’s conclusion is that gospel proclamation and justice go hand-in-hand. He gives primacy to regeneration in the work of cultural renewal.

Overall I think this is a good book and sadly it shows how evangelicalism is still struggling with these questions 60 years later.

I’m not convinced by the crux of Henry’s argument that mass conversion will inherently produce a just society. I think it’s a
Flynn Evans
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superb. An excellent distillation of the key ideas Henry would advocate for throughout the entirety of his career.
Sep 12, 2020 rated it liked it

Great timing on this read since it wrestles with the role of Christians in addressing evil in the world. Thoughtful in his approach, he stays strong on his point of any methodology or formula is a fruitless endeavor unless it’s saturated with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the redemptive power of the Holy Spirit.

“The battle against evil in all its forms must be pressed unsparingly; we [evangelicals / “Fundamentalist” / supernaturalists] must pursue the enemy, in politics, in economics, in s
Jacob Aitken
Ultimately, I am going to disagree with key points of his proposal, but if we are going to err this isn't a bad way.

Henry's book, written sixty years ago, is a clarion call for Christian social action that is grounded in biblical revelation. His thesis is that the Fundamentalist conscience is uneasy because it has not applied biblical truths (11). It sees a radical disjunct between faith and life that is psychologically devastating. It is understandable why conservative Christians have been relu
Though originally published in 1947, Carl F.H. Henry's call to evangelical action, cultural engagement, and speaking up publicly against social evils globally is remarkably relevant today. Some material is slightly dated (e.g. references to stopping the "liquor traffic" and discussion of the cultural context of WWII and "sharing the atom-bomb secret"), however the astute reader can easily find contemporary applications and value his appreciation for the broad sweep of the gospel in all areas of ...more
Ryan Linkous
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reading this book 2018, seventy-one years after its publication in 1947, one can only imagine that had evangelicals tried to follow the suggestions of Henry that things would be at least a little better. Written at the time when neo-evangelicalism was about to explode like a fireworks during Billy Graham's LA crusade, this work reminds evangelicals/Fundamentalists that although doctrine is important and regeneration is essential to our message, the Bible never imagines a "most embarrassing divor ...more
Landon Coleman
Jun 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
I've always found Henry hard to follow in print, and this book is certainly dated (written in 1947). Nevertheless, Henry's questions and suggestions are timely in 2021 as Christians wrestle with questions relating to modernism, liberalism, evangelicalism, fundamentalism, and all the other isms. Helpful critique and prodding for those trying to hold the gospel line while also unleashing gospel power on the world. ...more
Martin Beamer
As long as we wait for Christ’s return, the principles of this book will be helpful. I did, however, struggle with some of his initial thoughts of the connection between the church and state(seemed a bit extreme). And, at times, it seemed necessary to hold to his eschatology to agree with his position. Regardless, this was extremely edifying.

I think Henry’s purpose can be summarized by Paul’s charge to Timothy: “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living
Aaron Carpenter
May 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fundamentalist Pastors
I can't believe this book was written in 1947! It's message is so relevant almost 70 years later. Of course, some of the definitions have changed during that time. For instance, Henry considered himself a Fundamentalist and applied the term to all evangelicals. However, today's Fundamentalists would place themselves far to the right of Henry. Ironically, by doing this, many of them continue to occupy his audience's seats and need his message today just as badly they did in the years following WW ...more
Cody Cunningham
Dec 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book several years ago in college. I remembered finding a few valuable insights, but being largely unimpressed. Having just finished the second reading, I realize that I missed the brilliance and clarity of Henry's overall vision for evangelicalism's cultural engagement. Even though it was originally published in 1947, The Uneasy Conscience addresses issues that are still relevant to modern Christians.

While I'm not sure I agree with every single point of Henry's view, this book
Samuel Parkison
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Had some initial quibbles in how Henry set the stage and framed his approach in the beginning, but all in all, this book is a gem. The vision Henry casts for how evangelicalism should engage in the world is beautiful and robustly gospel-drenched. Simultaneously guarding against indifference toward social evils on the one hand, and capitulation to secular, Christless solutions on the other, Henry argues for a consistent Christianity, one that offers a uniquely Christian perspective on everything.
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I would highly recommend to anyone interested in the discussion of evangelicalism and the broader world. This book, though written in the 40s, is just as timely today.
Jul 07, 2014 rated it liked it
An interesting work on evangelicalism and fundamentalism. Henry write this in 1947, but many of the topics and issues he discusses are still relevant today.
Giovanni Generoso
Aug 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Liberalism vs. Fundamentalism. The battle never ends. The pressing question is, How should Evangelicals think through this tension, practically? In this classic work, Carl F. H. Henry gives his synopsis of the problem, and provides what he thinks to be the greatest way of approach to reestablishing the Christian ideals in a fallen world. Henry says some very profound things.

The thesis of Carl F. H. Henry’s The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism is simple yet profound. Henry argues that t
Jeremy Canipe
This book is a classic of neo-evangelical thought on the early post-WW2 period written by one the movement's most important thinkers. While I have only read this book for the first time in the last week, I am sure to be revisiting it in the future as I continue to think through its implications.

Henry was a founder of the Evangelical Theological Society, the founding dean and professor of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California before leaving to help found Christianity Today, the flag
Mark Warnock
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a book that needs renewed attention today. Henry laments that post-war conservative Christians who had the intellectual resources to make a serious and unique contribution to the improvement of the conditions in the world, esp. by the application of their ethical and moral vision, simply failed to see and lean into the implications of their faith. Their concept of the kingdom and its presence and power were entirely postponed to the eschaton, which rendered them supine in addressing curr ...more
Luke Gorsett
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The foundation layer for modern day Gospel Coalition

Carl Henry was a super intellectual evangelical. One who balanced deep scholarship with a practical and empathetic leaning towards the lost wrapped up in secularists and ungodly culture. What is the best way to address social evils, injustice, poverty? Is it to leave off the gospel? No. Henry argues that evangelicals must bring the gospel to bear in every sphere of life. He recommends formulating dense Christian community that crosses denominat
Tommy Grooms
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carl F.H. Henry's The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism is a short, prophetic read that makes a strong thesis: the Biblical redemption narrative grounded in revelation is not only the true foundation for social action, but also the most attractive when set against the alternatives. Written in 1947, it's eerie to see how applicable the case still is, and mildly depressing to consider how the American church on the whole has fallen into the various pitfalls that Henry outlines. ...more
Caleb Newsom
Mar 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is one of the two works for which Carl F.H. Henry’s known. It is a valid critique of evangelical withdrawal from the public square during the fundamentalist-modernist controversy of the early 20th century, and it still offers an important exhortation to Christians to take the life changing message of the gospel to the world with all its social-ills when there is temptation to withdraw into a Christian subculture.
Jordan J. Andlovec
This tome turns 70 this year, and is still stunningly prescient. The calling out of the myopic and unbiblical views of the Fundamentalists matched many of my frustrations with Evangelicalism today, the difference being in his time it was moral fundamentalism and today we have political fundamentalism. Perhaps the American Christian conscience can once again be awakened by this book.
Stephen Neal
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very important book for evangelicals and especially fundamentalists. Certainly makes you ponder evangelicalisms approach to the culture and how the redemptive message should be presented. A short read, but not the easiest. The overall spirit of the book is easy to follow, though his writing was difficult to follow at times.
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The seventieth anniversary of the publication of this classic is a great reason to pick it up to read in 2017. Henry's wisdom for and challenge to evangelicals is still worth heeding today--and we would still find help from it. ...more
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is more than 70 years old now, but I was regularly reminded by almost preternatural sentences and phrases of Henry's immediate and too-close-for-comfort relevance for evangelicals today, especially in the age of Trump. Read this little book and keep it close for references! ...more
David Carlson
Jun 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Henry needed an editor for clarity. His premise is that an engaged, supernatural, redemptive message will bring some improvements to the world at large and create a better opportunity for that gospel.
It has some amazing optimism on the gospel and society, the UN and the role of education.
Chris Wilder
Aug 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The uneasiness continues

I don't know enough history of the 1940s to speak to the correctness of Henry's analysis, however his description of the uneasiness resonates strongly with me 70 some years later.
Jeff Wiesner
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A still timely analysis of the fundamentalist—modernist (liberal)—especially with respect to the current social justice conversation.
Nathaniel Martin
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Published 72 years ago it reads as relevant as ever. Evangelicals would do well to turn to Henry again in this “just preach the gospel,” moment.
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Carl Ferdinand Howard Henry was an American evangelical Christian theologian who served as the first editor-in-chief of the magazine Christianity Today, established to serve as a scholarly voice for evangelical Christianity and a challenge to the liberal Christian Century.

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  As the summer comes to a close and the days grow shorter, it's natural that we're drawn to what hides in the shadows. Mystery stories are...
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“However marred, the world vessel of clay is not without some of the influence of the Master Molder. God has not left Himself entirely without witness in the global calamity; He discloses Himself in the tragedies as well as the triumphs of
history. He works in history as well as above history. There is a universal confrontation of men and women by the divine Spirit, invading all cultures and all individual lives. There is a constructive work of God in history, even where the redemptive Gospel does not do a recreating work. The evangelical missionary message cannot be measured for success by the number of converts only. The Christian message has a salting effect upon the earth. It aims at a re-created society; where it is resisted, it often encourages the displacement of a low ideology by one relatively higher.”
“The Fundamentalist does not think that the ends can be reached by various means, and that his method is better; if he did, the hostility would not be as serious.” 0 likes
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