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The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  288 ratings  ·  44 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
...more
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.
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
...more
Philip
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 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.
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
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
...more
Galen
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.
Tony
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
...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
...more
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.
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.
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.
Jason
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.
Andrew
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!
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.
Matt Pitts
May 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Good but quite dated.
Russ
Oct 07, 2019 rated it liked it
For such a short book, he still says very little. This is essentially an essay longer on platitudes and hand-wringing than it should be.
Darby Hughes
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: culture
When you make a lot of predictions, some might be right and some will be wrong.

Fixing American fundamentalism/evangelicalism was and is way more complex than I think this book appreciates. And some of the solutions presented back when it was written have turned out to create bigger problems than the original problems that Evangelicals were trying to solve!
Chad
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
A brief, delightful read that convicts and compels the evangelical reader. Carl F. H. Henry essentially argues that “the church needs a progressive Fundamentalism with a social message” (xx). As he declares at the end of his short treatise, “the corporate testimony of believers, in their purity of life, should provide for the world an example of the divine dynamic to overcome evils in every realm” (89).
Providing a brief treatise that simultaneously answers criticisms against Fundamentalism while
...more
Josh
Apr 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: seminary-books
This book was written in 1947 and predicts a massive majority of the issues the modern, biblical evangelical church wrestles with. Topics like the the decline of social engagement by fundamentalist churches and the rise of liberal, gospel-less churches seeking to bring fully bring about a new social order based on human power and effort.

The tension between the already and not-yet-ness of the realization of the hope of Christian is dealt with clearly and definitively and the exclusivity of bibli
...more
Rick Hogaboam
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Old but relevant call to action

Dr. Henry calls the church to action -- or better yet, evangelical fundamentalists to social action. Henry's concerns about escapism were prophetic. His criticisms of social gospel liberalism also proved right with its continued decline. Understanding the kingdom of God as not just spiritual, not just physical, not completely now, not completely withheld till the future, all help to provide the balance necessary in our witness in the world. Because of the incarnati
...more
Bill
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read from one who was a premier evangelical thinker. Indicates the Evangelical's need, oftentimes in spite of their eschatological anticipations, to engage culture--fueled with a rigorous theology. "No framework is really relevant today unless it has an answer to the problem of sin and death in every area of human activity. Confronted with this problem, the evangelical mind will have to work out a satisfactory solution proportionate to its conviction of evangelical relevance." No pieti ...more
Rob
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
A classic work of the nascent evangelical movement. The primary concern is the lack of engagement on social issues that were facing American society - certainly an issue that deserves to be perennially reminded!

A note on vocabulary - the term "fundamentalist" referred to a different group then it does now (this book was written 70 years ago!). The term would be translated to "evangelical" in the world today. However, the book does indeed delineate between fundamentalists and evangelicals and cr
...more
Thomas Kinsfather
Jun 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very insightful critique of the Christian Fundamentalist movement from an insider prior to the Evangelical / Fundamentalist split. Carl Henry was the founding editor of Christianity Today and a friend of Billy Graham. He offers clear and informed criticism of the direction Fundamentalism was heading in the 1940s. His solutions are rooted deeply in theology and in a reexamination of the kingdom of God.

A very helpful read, especially for those of us who grew up in Fundamentalist churches.
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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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“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
“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 (1) when evangelicals are in the majority, to couple such condemnation with the redemptive Christian message as the only true solution; (2) 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.” 0 likes
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