When Evangelicals Tried to Start a Research University

henry

Some of you may be familiar with Carl F.H. Henry, a 20th-century evangelical theologian who tried to lead evangelicalism away from fundamentalism and toward a more intellectual robust brand of conservative Protestantism.  (I took a course with Henry while he was teaching at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in the early 1990s).

Henry’s lifelong dream was to start an evangelical research university.  Over at The Anxious Bench, historian David Swartz writes about Henry’s attempts at establishing “Crusade University.”

Here is a taste:

Henry told potential donors that he needed $100 million for buildings, administration, faculty, and equipment. That would establish a liberal arts school. If that number grew, they would add a college of education and business—then engineering, law, and medicine. $300 million, explained Henry would “include sufficient endowment to guarantee its operation.” For comparison, Harvard at the time boasted an endowment of $350 million.

These outrageous numbers reflected a dazzling vision that teased and frustrated Henry for the rest of his life. My next post will explain why Crusade University does not exist today—and why it never got off the ground in the first place. It’s a story that suggests much about the nature of evangelicalism in the twentieth century.

Read the rest here.