Having read Aaron D. Wolf’s piece on the late Carl F.H. Henry (Cultural Revolutions, February), I wonder: Isn’t it self-evident that, if a Christian remains separated amidst an increasingly depraved culture, he eventually becomes “extremely separated”?  You call it fundamentalism; I call it biblical.  When Paul reasoned with the philosophers in Athens, he did not intellectualize the Word of God.

I agree with Chronicles’ assessment of our culture.  I disagree, however, with the neo-evangelicals’ proposed “engagement” of it.  Intellectually defending Christianity does not accomplish much of anything.  We see where it has led—to such plain, outright worldliness in the Church that it is hard to tell the Christians from the pagans.

The purpose of the Church is not to guard against apostasy nor to foster unity but to advance the spiritual growth of the saints (see Ephesians 4).  The reason She has failed in the first two is that She has failed in the third.  Intellectualizing has exacerbated the problem.

The problem is, and always has been, sin.  If the heathen don’t get it about sin, they won’t get it if you intellectualize the Word of God, either.

I agree with Dr. Henry that many theologians need to be evangelized; most are unbelievers.  Unfortunately, those who do not need saving need pastoring.  I recommend that these “neo-evangelicals” perform the complex calculation of addition by subtraction: They should stop reading their own stupid and vainglorious treatises in order that they might actually understand the Word of God.

        —Gary Manske
Deep River, IA

Mr. Wolf Replies:

Mr. Manske makes several good points, and his criticism that evangelicalism has failed to “engage” the (dying) culture is writ large on the “stages” of its megachurches every Sunday morning (or Saturday night).  A healthy degree of separation, for which fundamentalism continues to stand, was key to the survival of the broad evangelical movement as well as that of ethnic Catholics, Scottish Presbyterians, and German Lutherans.

Part of the Church’s mission to build up the Bride of Christ involves taking the Gospel to unbelievers, however, and there is the rub.  In the late 1940’s, Dr. Henry and his colleagues were right to assert that fundamentalism was so intensely focused on standards of moral purity that it didn’t take into account that those who are yet to be evangelized are still enslaved to sin.  Unfortunately, they also advocated a leftist agenda in response to the problems of race, poverty, and “the liquor traffic” that, instead of winning an audience for the Gospel, only fostered sympathy for the Social Gospel, a confusion of the Kingdoms, and a thirst for centralized government among their heirs.

On the Cover

Regarding the novel photographic cover of your February issue: It is highly ugly.  Boo! Hiss!  I hope you return to original art in the future.

        —Mark Kennedy
New Orleans, LA