Carl Philip Anderson

January 25, 1917 to August 27, 2001

by Phil Johnson

Carl Philip Anderson was a Covenant man of letters. After a number of years of Pastoral Ministry, he became Editor in Chief of Covenant Publications (1948-1970). Subsequently, Carl Phil and his wife, Hazel, owned and managed a Christian bookstore in Fargo, North Dakota, from 1970 to 1974. Then he served as an administrator of the Covenant community, Samarkand, in Santa Barbara, California (1974-1980), and, after working in several capacities for the Board of Benevolence, he became a resident at Covenant Manor in Golden Valley, Minnesota. Pietisten published an interview with Carl Phil in the Winter 1998 issue—"Carl Philip Anderson: An Editor's Story." If you do not have a copy, you may get one upon request from Pietisten.

Anderson's work was key to much of the rich literature created by and for the small Covenant denomination. One example—it is possible for youth and newcomers to get to know the Covenant by means of the remarkable histories by Karl Olsson. Behind the great By One Spirit (1962) stood the work of Carl Philip Anderson. Here are the concluding paragraphs of his fine introduction to that book.

Even the casual reader, we believe, will quickly recognize the immensity of the Covenant's indebtedness to Dr. Olsson for his work in producing By One Spirit. Here is a book which will immediately fill the need for a reliable source book regarding the Covenant Church and which will be invaluable to all future students of Covenant History.
The publication of By One Spirit marks the completion of the most ambitious publishing project in the denominations's seventy-seven-year history, and it is with a sense of pride as well as with deep gratitude to the author that the Board of Publication and the Commission on Covenant History present this volume. May it be both a record of the years that are behind and a challenge for those that lie ahead. (p. xiii)

Glen Wiberg preached at the memorial service for Carl Phil. Using the text "Do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you?" (II Corinthians 3:1), Wiberg asked: "Does Carl Philip need any eulogy from me or anyone else? Just as these believers in Corinth were all Paul needed to validate his ministry, so Carl's life speaks for itself."

Glen continued: "And that is what we are here to celebrate: a life and a faith… 'You show you are a letter from Christ to be known and read by all' (3:2). That's a metaphor that fits Carl—a letter from Christ."

It is our good fortune that Carl Philip Anderson, a letter from Christ, left a good many fine letters behind that are of great value to us.

Phil Johnson is Editor Emeritus of Pietisten.

See all articles by Phil Johnson