I have started to read Carl F. H. Henry’s monumental 6-volume set entitled God, Revelation, and Authority. The first volume was written in 1976. For the most part, it feels like it was written yesterday. Henry had a remarkable feel for where culture was headed. Take some of these quotations as examples:
Few times in history has revealed religion been forced to contend with such serious problems of truth and word, and never in the past have the role of words and the nature of truth been as misty and undefined as now. Only if we recognize that the truth of truth-indeed, the meaning of meaning-is today in doubt, and that this uncertainty stifles the word as a carrier of God’s truth and moral judgment, do we fathom the depth of the present crisis…Such preference for the nonverbal is especially conspicuous among the younger generation who increasingly surmise that words are a cover-up rather than a revelation of truth. (vol 1, p. 24).
Neo-Protestant ecumenism, moreover, put its own premium on verbal ambiguity as being useful for promoting ecclesiastical unity. Such semantic juggling is not unlike the commercial practice of abusing sacred symbols for the sake of pushing sales (vol 1, p. 26).
Music and the arts become subjectively introverted and tend to lose significance as a realm of shared experience and communication…But the modern cult of nonverbal experience poses a challenge not only to revealed religion; it makes trivial the whole cultural inheritance of the Western world as well (vol 1, p. 26).