The 75th Anniversary of Carl F. H. Henry’s ‘Uneasy Conscience’ of American Evangelicalism

Event start date

November 9, 2022

American theologian Carl F.H. Henry began his manifesto, The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism, by warning that unless the evangelical church experienced a rebirth of apostolic commitment, evangelical Christianity “will be reduced either to a tolerated cult status” or become “a despised and oppressed sect” in America within two generations. That was in 1947.

Over the last seventy-five years, numerous Christian authors, academics and others have challenged the evangelical church to think much more deeply and biblically about its redemptive role in the world. In a sense, Henry anticipated the work of Charles Malik in The Two Tasks (1980); Francis Schaeffer in A Christian Manifesto (1981); Os Guinness in The American Hour (1993); Mark Noll in The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (1994); Ron Sider in The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience (2005); and James Davison Hunter in To Change the World (2010).

In the 1940s it was a problematic decision for one of the leaders of evangelicalism—or “modern fundamentalism,” as Henry put it—to challenge the church to address the cultural and social issues of the day. Henry did not back away from controversy: He put on the agenda the problems of racism, poverty, labor relations, and international human rights. “A Christianity without a passion to turn the world upside down is not reflective of apostolic Christianity…Whereas once the redemptive gospel was a world-changing message, now it has narrowed to a world-resisting message.”

What would Carl Henry say about the evangelical church in America today? Has it been reduced, as Henry warned, to the status of a “tolerated cult”? Is its message predominantly one of retreat? Or are there signs of genuine renewal and serious cultural engagement?

Featuring various Christian thinkers as Anne Snyder, Thomas Kidd, Jonathan Leeman, Caleb Morell, Joe Loconte, Jedd Medefind, Walter Kim, Glenn Hoburg, Joel Woodruff, Paul McNulty, Scott Redd, Charles Howard, Aaron Graham, Samuel Gregg, and Cherie Harder, The Institute on Religion and Democracy, together with Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy, which is generously cosponsoring the event, invites you to attend this Conference at the Army and Navy Club, located at 901 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20006, where attendees will be treated to an evening reception on Wednesday, November 9, and breakfast and lunch on Thursday, November 10. Tickets to register are $15, and interested readers can register here.

Conference Schedule:

Wednesday, November 9:

6:30 PM – 7:00 PM: Reception and Brief Introduction – Mark Tooley, The Institute on Religion and Democracy, Joseph Loconte, Grove City College

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM: Evening Lecture with Response – Anne Snyder, Comment Magazine, Thomas Kidd, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Jonathan Leeman, 9Marks

Thursday, November 10:

9:00 AM – 9:30 AM: Breakfast

9:30 AM – 10:30 AM: Morning Lecture with Response – Thomas Kidd, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Jedd Medefind, Christian Alliance for Orphans

10:45 AM – 11:45 AM: Morning Panel Discussion – Walter Kim, National Association of Evangelicals, Glenn Hoburg, Grace DC, Joel Woodruff, C.S. Lewis Institute

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Lunch with Speaker – Caleb Morell, Capitol Hill Baptist Church

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Afternoon Lecture with Response – Paul McNulty, Grove City College, Joseph Loconte, Grove City College

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Afternoon Panel Discussion – Scott Redd, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charles Howard, University of Pennsylvania, Aaron Graham, The District Church

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Closing Lecture with Response – Samuel Gregg, Acton Institute, Cherie Harder, The Trinity Forum

Speaker Biographies:

Aaron Graham serves as founder and lead pastor of The District Church in the heart of our nation’s capital. The District Church is a multi-ethnic community of over 70 nationalities committed to impacting the city for Christ one neighborhood at a time. Before moving to DC, Aaron started the Quincy Street Missional Church in a low-income neighborhood of Boston where he served for five years. He is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School and received his doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary. Aaron and his wife Amy are both pastors as well as adoption and foster care advocates. They founded DC127 with the mission to unite churches to reverse the foster care wait list in DC and Just Homes which is committed to building affordable housing in the city. They live in Columbia Heights with their two kids Elijah and Natalie.

Samuel Gregg is Distinguished Fellow in Political Economy at the American Institute for Economic Research, an Affiliate Scholar at the Acton Institute, and a Visiting Scholar at the Heritage Foundation. He writes and speaks on questions of political economy, economic history, ethics in finance, and natural law theory. He is the author of 16 books, including The Next American Economy: Nation, State and Markets in an Uncertain World (2022), The Essential Natural Law (2021), Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization (2019), For God and Profit: How Banking and Finance Can Serve the Common Good (2016), Becoming Europe (2013), and The Commercial Society (2007). Two of his books have been short-listed for Conservative Book of the Year. He has published articles in Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Notre Dame Journal of Ethics and Public Policy, Journal of Markets & Morality, Foreign Affairs, American Banker, Communio, Journal of Scottish Philosophy. and other journals and has written op-ed pieces for The Wall Street Journal, National Review, and other publications. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the Mont Pèlerin Society, the Philadelphia Society, and the Royal Economic Society. He is also a Contributor to Law and Liberty. He sits on the Academic Advisory Boards of Campion College, Sydney; the La Fundación Burke, Madrid; and the Institute of Economic Affairs, London. He holds a doctorate in moral philosophy and political economy from Oxford University.

Cherie Harder serves as President of the Trinity Forum. Prior to joining the Trinity Forum in 2008, Ms. Harder served in the White House as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Policy and Projects for First Lady Laura Bush. Earlier in her career she served as Policy Advisor to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, advising the Leader on domestic social issues and serving as liaison and outreach director to outside groups, and Senior Counselor to the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), where she helped the Chairman design and launch the We the People initiative to enhance the teaching, study, and understanding of American history. She holds an Honors B.A. (magna cum laude) in government from Harvard University and a post-graduate diploma in literature from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, where she was a Rotary Scholar. She is also a Senior Fellow at Cardus, an Editorial Board member of Comment magazine, and has served on the boards of Faith and Law, Gordon College, the C.S. Lewis Institute, and the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution.

Glenn Hoburg serves as Lead Pastor of Grace Downtown Church and Senior Pastor of the Grace DC Network, a cross-cultural church network based in Washington, D.C. Before arriving in the District in 2003 to plant Grace DC, Glenn served as Reformed University Fellowship Campus Minister and Presbyterian Church in America Chaplain at Harvard University while also serving as Assistant Pastor at Christ the King Presbyterian in Cambridge, MA. Prior to that he served on the staff of churches in Nashville and St. Louis. Glenn attended Berklee College of Music (’88) and Covenant Theological Seminary (’97). He and his wife Meg have loved living and raising their now adult daughters on Capitol Hill. When Glenn isn’t involved in ministry he enjoys performing jazz and R&B in the city.

The Rev. Charles (Chaz) Lattimore Howard, PhD serves as The University Chaplain and Vice President for Social Equity & Community at the University of Pennsylvania, his alma mater. Over his more than quarter-century at Penn, he and his team have worked to curate a dynamic spiritual and religious community on and around campus. In addition to his responsibilities as chaplain, Chaz has provided leadership to a range of campus initiatives and taught in Penn’s College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Education. In 2020, he was invited to assume an additional role at Penn as the inaugural Vice President for Social Equity and Community. His writing has been featured in such publications as Sojourners Magazine, Daily Good, Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal, Chronicle of Higher Education, The Huffington Post, The Christian Century, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Forward, Democratic Left, and Slate. He is the author of five books including most recently Black Theology as Mass Movement, Pond River Ocean Rain and The Bottom: A Theopoetic of the Streets. He shares life with his beloved wife, Dr. Lia C. Howard and their three daughters.

Thomas Kidd is Research Professor of Church History at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., and a Senior Research Scholar at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion. He is the author of books including Thomas Jefferson: A Biography of Spirit and Flesh (Yale Press, 2022), and Who Is an Evangelical? The History of a Movement in Crisis (Yale Press, 2019).

Walter Kim, as a pastor, scholar and thought leader, brings a unique combination of skills to lead the National Association of Evangelicals into the next decade as president. He is the son of immigrant parents and has lived in major urban centers such as New York City, Vancouver and Boston, in the suburbs of Chicago and Pittsburgh, and in a fading coal town at the foot of the Appalachians. His experience of America reflects the diversity of the country and of the evangelical community. God used a conversation in a parking lot after watching Star Wars to plant the seeds of the gospel in Walter. A couple of years later, he had an unexpectedly charismatic conversion at a Korean-American Presbyterian conference. This was followed by years of discipleship in white, midwestern evangelicalism, which then ripened in the international reformed theology at Regent College and Park Street Church. Each stage enabled him to enter various denominational streams learning from the best of what each tradition offers. After ministering for 15 years at Boston’s historic Park Street Church, a congregation that played a key role in the NAE’s founding, he served as the pastor for leadership and teacher-in-residence at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia. He currently serves on the boards of Christianity Today and World Relief. Walter has spent nearly three decades preaching, writing and engaging in collaborative leadership to connect the Bible to the significant intellectual, cultural and social issues of the day. He regularly teaches in seminaries, addresses evangelical concerns with elected officials, and provides theological and cultural commentary to leading news outlets, including The Washington Post, Christianity Today, Christian Post, The New York Times and CNN. Walter received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, his M.Div. from Regent College in Vancouver, and his B.A. from Northwestern University in philosophy and history. He has contributed to the “Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics,” “Archaeological Study Bible,” and “The Soul of Medicine.” He is a licensed minister in the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference. Walter is married to Toni Kim, and they have two young adults.

Jonathan Leeman is the editorial director for 9Marks. After doing undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science, Jonathan began his career in journalism where he worked as an editor for an international economics magazine in Washington, D.C. Since his call to ministry, Jonathan has earned a master of divinity and a Ph.D. in theology and worked as an interim pastor. Today he edits the 9Marks series of books as well as the 9Marks Journal and is the co-host of Pastors Talk. He has written for a number of publications and is the author or editor of a number of books. Jonathan lives with his wife and four daughters in a suburb of Washington, DC and serves as an elder at Cheverly Baptist Church. He teaches adjunctively at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the Reformed Theological Seminary.

Joseph Loconte, PhD, is a Senior Fellow and C.S. Lewis Scholar for Public Life at the Institute on Religion and Democracy. He also serves as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. He is the author of The New York Times bestseller A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-1918 (Harper Collins, 2015). Mr. Loconte’s other books include: God, Locke, and Liberty: The Struggle for Religious Freedom in the West (Lexington Books, 2014); The Searchers: A Quest for Faith in the Valley of Doubt (Thomas Nelson, 2012); The End of Illusions: Religious Leaders Confront Hitler’s Gathering Storm (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004); and Seducing the Samaritan: How Government Contracts Are Reshaping Social Services (The Pioneer Institute, 1997). Mr. Loconte is a John Locke scholar who has explored the Christian influences on Locke’s approach to political and religious freedom. His essays have appeared in some of the nation’s leading journals and newspapers, including: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Affairs, The New Criterion, The National Interest, National Review, and Law and Liberty. Mr. Loconte previously served as an Associate Professor of History at the King’s College in New York City; as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University; and as a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

Paul J. McNulty is the ninth president of Grove City College. Prior to returning to his alma mater, Mr. McNulty spent over 30 years in Washington, D.C., as an attorney in public service and private practice. From 2005 to 2007, he served as Deputy Attorney General, the second in command at the U.S. Department of Justice and the Chief Operating Officer of the department’s 100,000 employees. He also served from 2001 to 2005 as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and was a leader in our nation’s response to the terrorist attacks of September 11. Mr. McNulty worked for more than 10 years as a senior attorney in the U.S. Congress, including as Director of Legislative Operations for the House Majority Leader and Chief Counsel for the House Subcommittee on Crime. From 2007 to 2014, Mr. McNulty led the global corporate compliance and investigations practice for Baker McKenzie, one of the world’s largest law firms. He is a co-founder of Faith & Law, a bipartisan Capitol Hill study group focusing on the relationship between Christianity and public policy. He also sits on the boards of The Trinity Forum and the Getty Music Foundation.

Jedd Medefind serves as President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO), which unites 200+ respected organizations in coordinated initiatives to better the lives of vulnerable children and families worldwide. Previously, Jedd led the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives under President George W. Bush. He also held a range of posts in the California State Legislature. He has worked, studied, and served in more than thirty countries. Jedd has authored many articles and four books, most recently Becoming Home (Zondervan). He speaks frequently on issues of human need and restoration, child health and development, technology, and more via in-person events and media outlets from the Wall Street Journal and NPR to Christianity Today. Jedd and his wife Rachel live in Falls Church, VA with their five children.

Caleb Morell is a historian and researcher in residence at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC where he is writing a book on the church’s 19th and 20th century history. He is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service where he majored in International History and was awarded the Davids Medal for the “best history thesis written by a graduating senior” for his thesis on the early-English Baptist’s theological arguments for religious toleration. He is a graduate of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and is currently a doctoral student in historical theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, and an Associate at Newton House, Oxford. His political, theological, and historical writings have appeared at 9Marks, American Reformer, ERLC, First Things, The Gospel Coalition, and Providence Magazine, and been quoted by The Washington Post. He lives with his wife, Clare, and their two children on Capitol Hill.

Scott Redd is president and Stephen B. Elmer Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. He has taught and written extensively on the subject of poetry in the Hebrew Bible, and he is also the author of the recent book, The Wholeness Imperative: How Christ Unifies our Desires, Identity, and Impact in the World (Christian Focus, 2018). Scott began his career at a communications firm in downtown Washington, D.C., where he was involved in media consultation for multiple national and international corporate clients. He left the business world to pursue a Master of Divinity at RTS in Orlando, Fla., and went on to complete his doctoral dissertation in the Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures at the Catholic University of America. During his doctoral studies, he served at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Md., and later at Christ the King Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, N.C. In 2009, Scott came back to his alma mater to join the faculty of RTS Orlando, where he also served as Dean of Students before moving to Washington, D.C. in 2012 to take the position of president. In addition to being president of RTS Washington, Scott is on the board of the Washington Theological Consortium, an ecumenical gathering of theological education institutions in the Washington, D.C. area, and is a Senior Fellow on the North American Action Team at the Religious Freedom Institute. Scott has also written on a range of issues from the Bible to current affairs for the New York Times, Washington Post, First Things, Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, and others. Scott’s interests include literary approaches to the Bible, linguistics and the biblical languages, ancient Near Eastern backgrounds to Scripture, and Old Testament theology. He cares deeply about the teaching of Scripture and its application to all situations in life, particularly in the context of a learning and worshiping community. Due to this interest, he continually finds himself drawn to the learning community of the seminary as well as that of the church. Scott is married to Jennifer, and together they have five daughters.

Anne Snyder is the editor-in-chief of Comment magazine and oversees our partner project, Breaking Ground. She is the host of The Whole Person Revolution podcast and co-editor of Breaking Ground: Charting Our Future in a Pandemic Year, published in January 2022. From 2016 to 2019 she directed The Philanthropy Roundtable‘s Character Initiative, a program seeking to help foundations and business leaders strengthen “the middle ring” of morally formative institutions. Her path-breaking guidebook, The Fabric of Character: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Renewing our Social and Moral Landscape, was published in 2019. Anne is also a 2020 Emerson Fellow, a Senior Fellow of The Trinity Forum, and a Fellow at the Center for Opportunity Urbanism, a Houston-based think tank that explores how cities can drive opportunity for the bulk of their citizens. From 2014 to 2017 Anne worked for Laity Lodge and the H.E. Butt Family Foundation in Texas, and before that, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, World Affairs Journal and The New York Times. She has published widely, including The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, City Journal, and of course Comment, and serves as a trustee for the Center for Public Justice, the Hyde Park Institute, and the Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center. Anne spent the formative years of her childhood overseas before earning a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College (IL) and a master’s degree from Georgetown University. She currently lives in Washington, D.C.

Mark Tooley is president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy and editor of IRD’s foreign policy and national security journal, Providence: A Journal of Christianity & American Foreign Policy. He worked eight years for the Central Intelligence Agency and is a graduate of Georgetown University. In 1994 he joined IRD to found its United Methodist project (UMAction) and became IRD President in 2009. He is the author of Taking Back The United Methodist Church (2008), Methodism and Politics in the 20th Century: From William McKinley to 9/11 (2012), and The Peace That Almost Was: The Forgotten Story of the 1861 Washington Peace Conference and the Final Attempt to Avert the Civil War (2015). He has written for The Wall Street Journal, World, Law and Liberty, National Review and other publications. He contributed chapters to several books: The New Christian Zionism: Fresh Perspectives on Israel and the Land (2016), Race and Covenant: Recovering the Religious Roots for American Reconciliation (2020), The Next Methodism: Theological, Social, and Missional Foundations for Global Methodism (2022), Just War and Christian Traditions (2022), and Social Conservatism for the Common Good: A Protestant Engagement with Robert P. George (2023).

Joel Woodruff, President, C.S. Lewis Institute, has worked in higher education, “tent-making,” nonprofit administration, and pastoral ministries in Alaska, Israel, Hungary, France, and Northern Virginia. He served as Dean of Students, Chaplain, and Professor of Bible & Theology at European Bible Institute, where he helped train Europeans both for professional ministry and to be Christian leaders in the marketplace. Prior to joining the Institute, he was on the leadership team of Oakwood Services International, a nonprofit educational and humanitarian organization. He is a graduate of Wheaton College, earned his M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and has a doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. As a Parish-Pulpit Fellow, he studied Biblical Backgrounds & Archaeology in Israel for a year. He is the author of Discipleship with C.S. Lewis: A Guide to Mere Christianity for Small Groups and Mentoring Relationships.