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This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

First World Journalism Institute Banquet (remarks)

Asheville
August 20, 1999

When Joel Belz and I began to think and plan and implement the notion of a journalism institute that would produce Biblically minded journalists of the kind that Carl Henry had been talking about for years we didn’t know what to expect. In April, when Joel and I conferred by telephone about the lack of applications, the possibility of canceling the institute for at least this year was raised as an option. There was the matter, after all, of faithful stewardship of the funds from many gracious supporters who had rallied to the challenge to train journalists in the fashion of Marvin Olasky and Nick Eicher. Joel and I decided to press ahead with the institute even with meager applications. And behold the applications started pouring in in May; a bit late according to our timetable, but in time to greatly encourage us.
When I arrived in Asheville in mid-July to prepare for the institute I didn’t know what to expect. I had a new office manager, an unfinished facility, a largely untested faculty, and a completely unknown group of students arriving in a week or so. But you students know the success story because you are part of the story.

Another part of the story that must be recognized, however, is the unheralded support from God’s World Publications staff — staff who gave their time and energy to us, and other staff who were patient with fellow-staff members who were down at the institute doing things for us when they could have been doing things for other divisions.

While the institute has been an example of God’s kind providential goodness and grace, He has used many people who I want to recognize and thank.

GWP staff for hosting us at their annual company picnic at Freedom Escape in the mountains. The members of Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church who welcomed us Sunday after Sunday, Wednesday after Wednesday and at the annual church picnic on Mt. Pisgah.

I want to thank Bill and Linda Newton of GWP Board of Directors for their early hospitality to me. Their graciousness to me with their home and car saved the institute thousands of dollars in rental expense.
I want to single-out Keith Parker, our computer whiz, who at times seemed to live with us helping us through all the computer and printer and wiring problems that arose during the institute. And Brian Campbell, his assistant, who joined Keith in coming early and staying late to constantly help us. I don’t know what the rest of GWP was doing without Parker and Campbell, but we at the Institute were well served.

I’m also thinking of Rich Bishop of Explore! who printed nametags, table tents, bookmarks, and other things against a deadline to give us a colorful identity. David Freeland of World who became an institute fixture in designing our logo, our banquet program, our brochure and many other design needs that we had, as well as providing great activities for us. And in going way beyond our initial request in giving personal attention in magazine design. Bishop and Freeland what a pair. Thank you guys.

Pauli  Elniff for cleaning up double the space now that we have remodeled the institute Facilities.

The finance guys, Eric Zetterholm and George Berry who facilitated honorarium checks and student food checks so that the Institute could treat our people with integrity and timeliness. And these guys facilitated the acquiring of the equipment and furnishings needed to make the institute facilities as pleasant as they are. And all the while, GWP was moving along smoothly because these men were doing double duty. Thank you.

Robin Hylton who had met me only once, took on the odious task of being my alter ego here in Asheville while I was still 3000 miles away in Washington State, and put up with me while we worked for months to try and be faithful to our understanding of what God wanted us to do. In those dark winter months when we were flying blind in the clouds not knowing what to expect from the Lord it seemed that if we took a holiday from this endeavor no one would notice.  This institute would not have happened without you, Robin. Thank you.

To Elizabeth Belz who came on board the end of June to become the permanent staff employee of the institute and to pick up where Robin had left off and to quickly prepare herself for the 50 plus people who would be coming to Asheville in less than a month who expected to be housed, fed, transported, educated, edified and entertained. What a job you did. Thank you, Elizabeth.

To Kathy, my wife, who labors as my personal editor and audience for all my writings and speakings, and who gave up part of her summer to be here with me in Asheville to help host the institute. You complete me, my love. Thank you.

And finally to my hero, Joel Belz, CEO of God’s World Publications, thanks for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this extraordinary endeavor. Joel’s father helped start the seminary that educated me, the college that educated my daughters, and Joel started a magazine that continues to educate the entire Case family, Thank you, my friend.

The transition from Joel Belz to our banquet speaker this evening is really not such a stretch because Carl Henry is a hero of mine, as well. When Joel and I were talking about a closing banquet speaker I suggested several names of prominent Christian journalists and writers such as Cal Thomas, Fred Barnes, and Charles Colson. Joel replied “What about Carl Henry?”  My response was, “Do you think we can get HIM. Well, Joel called, Dr. Henry accepted and the rest is history. This is a special evening for the institute because there is no man living who more exemplifies the faithful Christian journalistic stand against culture than the man we are about to hear. Dr. Henry has been at the vortex of every important theological battle in this country for 60 years and his message has always been the same — sola scriptura, sola scriptura, sola scriptura.  He helped start Christianity Today and Fuller Theological Seminary. He earned his Th.D. from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. from Boston University, and has so many honorary doctorates, important books and articles published that they can’t even be mentioned. I will mention only his monumental 6 volume God. Revelation and Authority. Recently, The Christian Science Monitor named him as one of only 2 evangelicals to be in its list of outstanding religious leaders in the 20m century. (Billy Graham, Dr. Henry’s close friend was the other evangelical.) The great evangelical thinkers and leaders of the 20′ century, men such as Machen, Buswell, Van Till, Schaeffer, Ockenge have all gone to be with the Lord. Only one remains. It is a great honor for us to introduce to you, Dr. Carl F. H. Henry, the last remaining evangelical giant of the 20” century.

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