The Case for Biblical Christianity
200 Pages

The Case for Biblical Christianity


200 Pages


The Case For Biblical Christianity, in which the full range and development of Carnell's mind is revealed, gives the Christian community ready access to many of Carnell's finest articles. They have been selected and edited by Ronald M. Nash, and in this collection, as in all of Carnell's writings, will be found thoughtful, stimulating, and often thought-provoking essays on a variety of topics, all of contemporary interest.



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Published 01 October 2007
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EAN13 9781725218703
Language English
Document size 17 MB

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An Introduction to Cristian Apologetics,* 1948 Television: Servant or Master, 1950 he heology of Reinold Niebur, 1951 A Pilosopy of te Cristian Religion, 1952 A Cristian Commitment,* 1957 he Case for Ortodox heology,* 1959 he Kingdom of Love and te Pride of Life, 1960 he Burden of Søren Kierkegaard, 1965
he Case for Biblical Cristianity,* 1969
*hese reprint editiOns alsO include Edward Carnell’s Presidential Inaugural Address, “he GlOry Of a heOlOgical Seminary,” presented at Fuller Seminary in 1955. his appears at te end Of tese bOOks.
Wipf and Stock Publishers 199 W 8th Ave, Suite 3 Eugene, OR 97401 The Case for Biblical Christianity Essays on Theology, Philosophy, Ethics, Ecumenism, Fundamentalism, and Separatism By Carnell, Edward J. Copyright©1969 Becker, Jean Carnell and Carnell, John ISBN 13: 978-1-55635-264-5 ISBN 10: 1-55635-264-6 Publication date 2/6/2007 Previously published by Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1969
Edward J. Carnell (1919–1967) is One Of te mOst fascinatingfigures in twentiet-century American evangelicalism. By age fOrty e ad prOduced a cOrpus Of majOr writings mOre impressive tan many scOlars prOduce in a far lOnger lifetime. NOr was e, like sOme, writ-ing essentially te same bOOk in differing fOrms. His writing was marked bOt by creativity and by remarkable develOpment during is relatively sOrt prOductive career. He was alsO, by all accOunts, te mOst pOpular teacer at Fuller heOlOgical Seminary, were e taugt frOm 1948 until 1967 and served as president frOm 1954 tO 1959. FOr a few years, at te peak Of is brief career, e was re-garded as te leading intellectual representative Of evangelicalism in te larger American teOlOgical cOmmunity. AltOug is writings are tOday nOt as well-knOwn as tey were in te past—a regrettable situatiOn tat we can Ope tis vOlume will begin tO remedy—e played a majOr rOle in setting te tOne fOr muc Of future evan-gelicalism, especially te kind Of apprOac represented tese days at Fuller heOlOgical Seminary. he sOn Of a Baptist pastOr, Carnell received is BA frOm WeatOn COllege, were e was influenced by te pilOsOper GOrdOn H. Clark (1902–1986). Graduating frOm WeatOn in 1941, Carnell went On tO Westminster heOlOgical Seminary were e studied wit apOlOgist COrnelius Van Til (1895–1987). In 1944, te same year tat Carnell cOmpleted is BD at Westminster, Clark and Van Til became engaged in a sarp cOntrOversy cOncerning Clark’s mOre ratiOnalistic apOlOgetic and Van Til’s presuppOsitiOnal apprOac. Carnell, wO sided wit Clark, was searcing fOr is Own resOlutiOn Of tese differences. He alsO sOugt tO engage te PrOtestant intellectual mainstream Of te day, gOing On tO Harvard Divinity ScOOl fOr a hD, were e wrOte On ReinOld Niebur. Wile in te BOstOn area e enrOlled in a secOnd dOctOral prOgram in v
vi FoREWoRD pilOsOpy at BOstOn University. He wrOte is dOctOral dissertatiOn tere On Søren Kierkegaard and received is PD in 1949. Eventually e turned tese wOrks intO bOOks On tese prOminent figures. MOre remarkably, wile e was engaged in tese twO dOctOral prOgrams, e prOduced is first majOr bOOk,An Introduction to Cristian Apologetics, publised in 1948. his vOlume, wic ad-dressed issues tat Carnell ad been wrestling wit in is studies wit Clark and Van Til, received te “Evangelical BOOk Award” Of $5,000 (a cOmfOrtable year’s salary) frOm William B. Eerdmans Publising COmpany. Wen in 1948 Carnell tOOk a pOsitiOn at Fuller heOlOgical Seminary in Pasadena, CalifOrnia, e was already establised as a prOdigy Of te “new evangelical” mOvement tat was emerging Out Of fundamentalism. Fuller Seminary ad been fOunded just te previ-Ous year tO be te intellectual flagsip Of tis mOvement. HarOld J. ockenga (1905–1985), pastOr Of Park Street Curc in BOstOn, was te leader Of tis mOvement and served as Fuller Seminary’s presi-dentin absentia. Fundamentalist radiO evangelist Carles E. Fuller (1887–1968) prOvided sOlid funding. he seminary was tO be made up Of teOlOgical “stars” Of te mOvement and Carnell jOined Carl F. H. Henry (1913–2003) as One Of te brigtest yOunger ligts. Having accOmplised sO muc befOre te age Of tirty, Carnell ad te igest ambitiOns fOr te mOvement Of wic e was a part and fOr is rOle in it. In is effOrts tO revOlutiOnize evangelical apOlO-getics, e frankly aspired tO be te evangelical equivalent Of Paul Tillic Or ReinOld Niebur, te best-knOwn PrOtestant teOlOgians Of te era; e lOOked tO ave, as tese teOlOgians did, a majOr na-tiOnal audience. His Opes tO be a pOpular cOmmentatOr sOOn met wit disillusiOn wen is small bOOk,Television: Servant or Master?(1950), despite its balanced apprOac, prOved tO be a cOmmercial failure. NOneteless, is determinatiOn tO cange te face Of te teOlOgical wOrld remained intact. In 1952 e publised a secOnd majOr wOrk On apOlOgetics,A Pilosopy of te Cristian Religion.In tis e departed frOm is ear-lier empasis On te law Of nOn-cOntradictiOn and “systematic cOn-
FoREWoRD vii sistency” and empasized mOre tat Cristianity bestsatisfied te eart’s desire fOr meaningful values. Five years later, in 1957, e pub-lised a tird apOlOgetic wOrk,Cristian Commitment: An Apologetic, tis time wit a majOr cOmmercial publiser, Macmillan in New YOrk. Addressing Cristianity’s “cultured despisers,” tis igly Original vOlume empasized te existential appeal Of Cristianity. Particularly Carnell empasized te cOmmOnalities between te ex-periences Of believers and nOn-believers and Ow Cristianity best accOunts fOr universal mOral sentiments, suc as mOral Outrage Or a sense Of injustice. he bOOk, altOug creative, did nOt ave te impact tat Carnell Oped. Part Of te prOblem was tat Carnell, despite is immense intelligence, was less and less wOrking witin a traditiOn. Béla Vassady, a distinguised RefOrmed teOlOgian frOm Hungary wO was briefly a cOlleague Of Carnell, later cOmmented tat e was amazed at te degree Carnell believed e cOuld recOn-struct Cristian tOugt On is Own. heOlOgian JOn G. StackOuse Jr. as suggested tat Carnell was a sOrt Of “intellectual hOreau,” depending On insigts intO is Own experience and ten general-izing tO all umanity. hese perceived traits may elp tO explain wy Carnell did nOt gain a larger public cOnstituency. In te meantime Carnell ad been elevated tO te presidency Of Fuller heOlOgical Seminary were e encOuntered sOme Oter prOblems. In May 1955 e delivered is inaugural address, “he GlOry Of a heOlOgical Seminary.” In it e empasized te need fOr mutual tOlerance and fOr empasizing Cristian lOve Over fine pOints Of teOlOgical difference. Fuller Seminary in 1955 was tOO clOse tO its partly fundamentalist Origins fOr tese sentiments tO pass uncallenged. COnservatives On te faculty suggested tat Carnell’s sentiments smacked Of teOlOgical cOmprOmise and blOcked te publicatiOn Of is address. (only after Carnell’s deat did is fOr-mer student, President David Hubbard Of Fuller Seminary, ave it publised.) he cOntrOversy Over Carnell’s inaugural address at Fuller was part Of te backgrOund fOr te mOst cOntrOversial part Of is muc-discussed bOOk,he Case for Ortodox heology(1959). By te later
viii FoREWoRD 1950s, even tOug Carnell ad nOt ad te natiOnal impact fOr wic e ad Oped, e did ave te satisfactiOn tat mainline PrOtestant leaders were recOgnizing im as One Of te mOst tOugt-ful evangelical spOkesmen. He was OnOred tO play tis rOle wen e was cOsen by Westminster Press tO write a bOOk On evangelicalism tO cOmplement bOOks On PrOtestant liberalism and neO-OrtOdOxy in a tree-part series. Wile Carnell defended brOadly RefOrmed Or-tOdOxy, te mOst nOtable part Of is bOOk was is pOlemic against fundamentalism. NOt Only did e attack dispensatiOnalist teOlOgy and fundamentalist anti-intellectualism, but e alsO singled Out cOn-servative PrOtestantism’s mOst renOwned scOlar, J. Gresam Macen (1881–1937), fOr sOme Of is strOngest criticism. Carnell caracter-ized Macen, te fOunder Of WestminsterheOlOgical Seminary and te ortOdOx Presbyterian Curc, as prOmOting a “cultic mentality” wic Carnell saw as One Of te wOrst features Of fundamentalism. Even tOug Carnell ad resigned frOm te Fuller presidency at just abOut te same time tathe Case for Ortodoxyappeared, te bOOk brOugt widespread criticism frOm cOnservatives and fundamental-ists tO Fuller heOlOgical Seminary and tO its spOnsOr, Carles E. Fuller. Carnell resigned te presidency largely because Of deteriOrat-ing mental ealt. His cOnditiOn was dOubtless exacerbated by te immense pressures Of te presidency wile alsO cOntinuing wit is scOlarsip. In te subsequent years e suffered frOm bOuts Of severe depressiOn and during te wOrst periOd in 1961–62 e was Ospitalized fOr five weeks and ten cOntinued an extensive series Of sOck treatments Or electrOcOnvulsive terapy. NOneteless, e cOntinued is teacing and sOme writing, altOug as a teacer e was Only a sadOw Of imself. He alsO maintained is rOle as an evangelical spOkespersOn On te natiOnal scene, cOntinuing tO write fOr teCristian Centuryand Oter jOurnals articles tat wOuld be cOllected pOstumOusly inhe Case for Biblical Cristianity, edited by ROnald H. Nas. MOst nOtably e accepted, despite is illness, te great OnOr Of being One Of te “yOung teOlOgians” cOsen tO
FoREWoRD ix dialOgue wit teOlOgian Karl Bart On is muc-eralded visit tO te United States in 1962. BefOre te mOst severe Onset Of is illness, Carnell ad cOm-pleted yet anOter apOlOgetic wOrk,he Kingdom of Love and te Pride of Life(1960). once again e sifted is empasis and tOne. In dealing wit is psycOlOgicaldifficulties e ad been reading Freud and e incOrpOrated insigts frOm mOdern psycOlOgy intO is wOrk. As in muc Of is writing, e generalized frOm persOnal insigt intO te uman cOnditiOn. In tis case e empasized te universal need fOr lOve tat Cristianity Offered as a cOunter tO destructive pride. His Only majOr publicatiOn after is illness washe Burden of Søren Kierkegaard, wic drew On wOrk e ad dOne fOr is BOstOn University dOctOral dissertatiOn. In May Of 1967 Carnell was tO be One Of tree keynOte speakers at a ROman CatOlic ecumenical cOnference in oakland, CalifOrnia. on te day Of te cOnference e was fOund dead in is Otel rOOm frOm an apparent accidental OverdOse Of sleeping pills. Carnell’s spectacular successes, is even iger ambitiOns, is disappOintments, and is prOfOund inner struggles make im One Of te mOst intriguing figures in tis istOry Of American evangelical-ism. His writings Often cOmbine incisive lOgic wit intrOspectiOn. In tem One can bOt find te prOducts Of One Of te finest minds Of te time and get glimpses Of wat migt be caracterized as “te burden Of Edward J. Carnell.”  —GeOrge M. Marsden 2007