When one thinks of Greg Thornbury, the word “polymath” comes to mind. While he was at Union University, he was professor of philosophy, dean of the school of theology, and vice president for spiritual life. He is also a singer, songwriter, and electric guitar connoisseur. Russell Moore calls him “Jonathan Edwards meets Rolling Stone magazine.” The American Spectator said he is “America’s First Hipster College President,” after he was appointed the sixth president of The King’s College in New York City. He’s the kind of guy comfortable with a World Cup game playing in the background while he lectures a summer seminar in the history of philosophy. Reach out to him on Twitter, and he just might give you a cosmic high five.
What might be less obvious about Greg Thornbury is that he is a self-identified evangelical. After all, he earned his Ph.D from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary under Al Mohler’s supervision. Specifically, Thornbury wants to be an evangelical in the classic sense, and that means channeling Carl F. H. Henry. His most recent book, Recovering Classic Evangelicalism, Thornbury gives readers an idea how to do just that.
In his book, offered for free to Christ and Pop Culture members as a part of the Creator Spotlight Rotating Bundle courtesy of Crossway, Thornbury embarks on a recovery journey using Henry’s writings. The goal is to recapture a vision for being an evangelical in the classic sense that Henry embodied. He starts, appropriately, with epistemology (“Epistemology Matters”), before moving on to theology (“Theology Matters”), Scripture (“Inerrancy Matters”) and finally, cultural engagement (“Culture Matters”). He concludes with a chapter on why evangelicalism matters, and makes a solid case for recovery rather than abandonment.
Along the way, we are given a window into Carl Henry’s thought by someone who has done a close reading of his works and can show us the way further up and further in. Thornbury also rehabilitates epistemology as an evangelical concern and shows that it not just the stuff of esoteric ivory tower dwellers. Rather, epistemology affects everything, and is vitally important to take seriously from not just an evangelical perspective in particular but a Christian perspective in general.
Thornbury’s book will give readers a good foundation in epistemological concerns, but with a eye toward winsome cultural engagement. By having strengthened our foundations in theology and philosophy, we are better prepared to not only represent Christ to our culture, but to engage pop culture with the mind of Christ.