I’m very excited to begin working as the Director of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement (@HenrySBTS) at Southern Seminary. Here are the basic details from the SBTS press release:
Owen Strachan will lead the Carl F.H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, President R. Albert Mohler Jr. announced last month.
“Owen Strachan is one of the finest young scholars and leaders serving the church today,” Mohler said. “He is also a veteran observer of the culture and a faithful theologian of the church. That is a powerful combination, and that explains why Owen Strachan is now the right leader for the Henry Institute. I look forward to seeing what Owen will do with this strategic platform and research center. Carl Henry would be very proud of this appointment.”
The Henry Institute, established in 1998, takes its name in honor of the life and work of Carl F. H. Henry, who is widely regarded as the most important 20th century evangelical theologian.
As noted in the brand-new website, the Henry Institute was led for years by Dr. Russell Moore, then the Dean of the School of Theology at SBTS and now the President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Moore knew Henry and worked closely with him to found the Henry Institute in 1998. I’m honored to follow Dr. Moore in this role.As noted in the press release, President Mohler became close with Henry starting in the 1980s, when Henry visited SBTS and received a chilly welcome. Unlike many of his peers, Mohler recognized a certain genius and theological vitality in Henry despite the fact that the latter was in his seventies. Over the next decade or so, Mohler built a strong friendship with Henry, the figure who is widely considered the preeminent evangelical theologian of the postwar period.
I’ve learned a great deal from Mohler, who learned a great deal from Henry, and so I’m thrilled to serve in this role. I was for a time fellow church members with Henry. During my pastoral internship under Dr. Mark Dever at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in 2003, Carl and Helga Henry were watchcare members while I was a regular member. I thus never got to meet Henry (as Moore, Greg Thornbury, and others did), but I was a fellow CHBC member. Dever, of course, was recruited to the historic Capitol Hill congregation by Henry.
(I should also note that this is the second Henry-related center I’ve worked for. I had three great years as Managing Director of the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, working under Douglas Sweeney. One way or another, Henry can’t seem to get rid of me!)
I do hope that folks will profit from the renewed work of the Henry Institute. We’ve got much to do in terms of engaging both the church and the culture with the gospel and the body of ethics and doctrine it produces. For my part, I hope to emulate Henry in some small way by carrying out this mission with humility, gospel passion, and a genuine love for the church and those outside of it. It’s my hope that we can assist and equip congregations to think well and minister more faithfully in our turbulent but exciting times. Henry lived and worked with a sense that the kingdom really and truly would advance despite the encroachment of darkness. I want to do the same, and to encourage others to serve Christ with great confidence and hope.