Carl Henry and being a Baptist

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Aaron Blumer's picture

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Henry's "insist" language isn't necessarily meant to convey that "coerce." I don't know if Henry was speaking of the use of government power to make people behave or more of the use of our voice as citizens to declare what's true and right. He seems mostly to be speaking of the latter in the quoted portions.

In any case, insisting moral absolutes exist is one thing, insisting that they be obeyed or else is another thing. I really don't think CFH Henry was generally an advocate of the second, though we all are to some degree.

I'd be interested in what he saw as the role of natural law, because the stuff Christians have historically insisted ought to be law/policy for Christians has mostly been stuff that is also very evident in natural law.

I believe the way Christians have to go on this, history aside, is internally-Christian but externally-layered. That is, in our hearts we oppose murder because God made man in His image. Outwardly we might say that also, but not fail to emphasize the natural law case. Likewise for why we oppose violent crime, theft, and lots of other evils. We can affirm (in Carl Henry's language, "insist") publicly that there are revealed moral absolutes that ought to be obeyed, but we can't expect American society to be persuaded by that anymore. So it's a situation of "these are our reasons, but here are some other reasons that are both ours and potentially yours."  It's not like we don't agree with natural law, after all. Rightly understood, it's in harmony with special revelation. So the "secular" reasons are our reasons, too, just not our best reasons.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.