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date: 19 October 2019

Carnell, Edward Johnlocked

(28 June 1919–25 April 1967)
  • D. G. Hart


Carnell, Edward John (28 June 1919–25 April 1967), theologian and educator, was born in Antigo, Langlade County, Wisconsin, the son of Herbert C. Carnell and Fannie Carstens, a fundamentalist minister and his wife who struggled to support their family by serving several Baptist churches in the Upper Midwest. Carnell attended Wheaton College from 1937 to 1941 and received an A.B. in philosophy. Although he sometimes worked thirty-five to forty hours a week in the dining hall as an undergraduate, Carnell was able to excel in philosophy under the tutelage of Professor Gordon Haddon Clark, whose philosophical defense of Christianity made a lasting impact on a generation of evangelical leaders who attended the midwestern fundamentalist liberal arts college during these years. From Wheaton, Carnell went to Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, an institution that had been founded in opposition to Princeton Seminary in 1929 during the fundamentalist controversy. At Westminster he studied theology with the Dutch Calvinist Cornelius Van Til, whose system of theology stressed the intellectual differences between believers and nonbelievers, and he earned both a Th.B. and a Th.M (1944). Because the U.S. government deferred the draft of seminarians, Carnell did not serve in World War II. In 1944 he married Shirley Rowe, a schoolteacher; they had two children. Carnell went on to complete two doctorates. He first earned a Th.D. at Harvard University (1948), where he wrote a dissertation on the theology of ...

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