"AS I SEE
Volume 4, Number 1, January 2001
["As I See It" is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God. The editor's perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.
AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com. You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address.
All articles are by the editor (unless otherwise noted) and are copyrighted but may be reproduced for distribution, provided the following conditions are met: 1. articles must be reproduced in unedited, unabridged form; 2. the writer must be properly credited; and, 3. such reproduction must be for free distribution only. Permission to distribute in any other form must be secured in writing beforehand. Permission for reproduction in Christian print periodicals will generally be given.]
MAKING SENSE OF THE PAST, FORECASTING THE FUTURE
In view of the fact that January 1,
2001 marks at once the end of a decade, of a century, and of a millennium, and
the beginning of the same, some notice may be profitably taken of an attempt to
chronicle the past and extract from that record some "wisdom for the
ages," with a particular prospect toward forecasting in broad outline the
I have been, since childhood, a large reader of history, and especially biography. I much prefer a well-written history over the best of novels (and I declare the so-called "historic fiction" as the worst sort of abomination). Naturally, there are broad general histories of nations and eras and even whole civilizations--or even whole series of civilizations--as well as histories of particular people or events or even single incidents. These latter are the stuff out of which the former are compiled. Most "popular" general histories are of this sort. We shall examine briefly one of these.
I cannot recall ever having gone into a used bookstore in the past 20 years that did not have at least a stray volume or two--often enough the entire set was present--of The Story of Civilization, the immense 11-volume set written by Will (mostly) and Ariel Durant. Being some 40 years in the making (vol. 1 published 1935, vol. 11 in 1975), the set covers "Western" civilization from its roots in Mesopotamia to the early 19th century. The chief author, Will Durant (1885-1981), was Catholic by upbringing, and planned to become a priest, but extensive reading of rationalist authors in college, especially Darwin, as well as the corruption and superstition of the Roman Catholic Church drove him to skepticism and abandonment of the Church. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy, and came to the task of recording the history of Western civilization by an indirect route. His wife Ariel (1898-1981) was ethnically Jewish, but upon reading Nietzsche abandoned Judaism.
Will Durant's literary first-born was a published series of lectures on philosophy, appearing in 1927 as The Story of Philosophy, a book which topped the New York Times best-seller list (non-fiction) and which has been very frequently reprinted. I suspect that it remains in print to this day. It is to be found in the philosophy section of almost any used bookstore. (Having a lifelong dislike for "philosophy" as abstract, obscure and unproductive, I have never read this book, nor do I own it. Well, maybe someday).
The Durants chronicled their lives in a "dual autobiography," not surprisingly called Will & Ariel Durant: A Dual Autobiography (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1977; 420 pp.), an easily-located volume that gives the reader clear perspective on who Will and Ariel Durant were, and just what prejudices, perspectives and qualifications they brought to the task of recording the history of Western civilization (that anyone could persist for more than four decades in the exhausting reading, research and writing that the 11 volumes required is remarkable in itself). They may be characterized as politically considerably left of center (for a time in the 1920s, Will flirted with communism, but a trip to Russia in 1931 cured him of that insanity), and theologically skeptical though not radically so (Will entertains none of the hyper-radical doubts as to the historicity of Jesus, and accepts much of the New Testament as generally historically reliable)
After completing the first ten volumes of their chronicle of history (volume 11 came as an after thought), the Durants wrote The Lessons of History (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1968. 117 pp.). In it, they give their distillation of the apparent instruction history can give on a variety of subjects that press upon mankind: can superior civilization be ascribed to racial superiority? What is the best form of government? What place does religion have in history? Why do civilizations arise, thrive, decay, and die? Is human progress real? Has human nature changed? Is war an inevitable fact of human existence? While there is much in this little book to disagree with (due in part to its favorable view of socialism, and its theological skepticism), there are still some observations of note, some of which I will reproduce below.
On historical topics relating to Western civilization, the Durants' 11 volumes serve as a convenient starting place, and since they give a fairly extensive bibliography, once can then proceed to other, more authoritative sources as needed. There are times where the Durants' remarks infuriate me, and so I keep my salt shaker, and my red pencil ready to hand. I think in particular of the treatment of Jesus, Paul and the origin of Christianity in volume III. The published sources consulted in preparing that section were all from the higher critical school, and contain numerous provably false or highly dubious remarks, statements or affirmations, to say nothing of Durant's own sometimes clumsy distortions of Scripture passages, or even confounding of multiple distinct incidents into one. I assume that the readers of AISI read with their mental eyes wide open and do not gullibly accept everything any author affirms simply because he affirms it.
Let me say, as an aside, that I have found that it is almost always beneficial to consult several sources when reading on a particular topic in history. And I prefer that the sources be largely or completely independent of one another, from separate eras or even centuries and separate countries. Two sets that parallel in content the greater part of the Durants' set are Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, which covers the development of Western civilization from the 2nd century A.D. to 1453 (he was British and 18th century), and Philip Schaff's History of the Christian Church in 8 volumes which covers from the first century through the 16th century (he was a native Swiss, who taught in America in the 19th century). Gibbon, unlike Durant, was a specialist in Roman civilization, and Schaff, still the pre-eminent church historian, will have far less--indeed, virtually none--of the higher-critical view of Christianity that Durant held, and he had, besides a much fuller acquaintance with the relevant literature. There are other sizable sets of books on history, e.g, numerous sets on different eras have been published by Cambridge University Press. Most of these are highly technical, detailed, and tedious reading, and are of limited use except to specialists.
Some quotes from The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant--
"Is it possible that, after all, 'history has no sense,' that it teaches us nothing, and that the immense past was only the weary rehearsal of the mistakes that the future is destined to make on a larger stage and scale?" (p. 11)
"Our knowledge of any past event is always incomplete, probably inaccurate, beclouded by ambivalent evidence and biased historians, and perhaps distorted by our own patriotic or religious partisanship." (pp. 11-2)
"Perhaps within these limits, we can learn enough from history to bear reality patiently, and to respect one another's delusions." (p. 13)
"It is a precarious enterprise, and only a fool would try to compress a hundred centuries into a hundred pages of hazardous conclusions. We proceed." (p. 13)
"[F]reedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies. Leave men free, and their natural inequalities will multiply almost geometrically, as in England and America in the nineteenth century under laissez-faire. To check the growth of inequality, liberty must be sacrificed, as in Russia after 1917. Even when repressed, inequality grows; only the man who is below the average in economic ability desires equality; those who are conscious of superior ability desire freedom; and in the end superior ability has its way. Utopias of equality are biologically doomed, and the best that the amiable philosopher can hope for is an approximate equality of legal justice and educational opportunity." (p. 20)
"[K]nown history shows little alteration in the conduct of mankind. The Greeks of Plato's time behaved very much like the French of modern centuries; and the Romans behaved like the English. Means and instrumentalities change; motives and ends remain the same. . . . Nor does human nature alter as between classes: by and large the poor have the same impulses as the rich, only less opportunity or skill to implement them. Nothing is clearer in history than the adoption by successful rebels of the methods they were accustomed to condemn in the forces they deposed." (p. 34)
"Out of every hundred new ideas ninety-nine or more will probably be inferior to the traditional responses which they propose to replace. No one man, however brilliant or well-informed, can come in one lifetime to such fullness of understanding as to safely judge and dismiss the customs of institutions of his society, for these are the wisdom of generations after centuries of experiment in the laboratory of history. A youth boiling with hormones will wonder why he should not give full freedom to his sexual desires; and if he is unchecked by custom, morals, or law, he may ruin his life before he matures sufficiently to understand that sex is a river of fire that must be banked and cooled by a hundred restraints if it is not to consume both the individual and the group." (pp. 35-6)
"Even the skeptical historian develops a humble respect for religion, since he sees it functioning, and seemingly indispensable, in every land and age." (p. 43)
(Quoting Joseph de Maistre)--"I do not know what the heart of a rascal may be; I know what is in the heart of an honest man; it is horrible." (p. 51)
"There is no significant example in history, before our time, of a society successfully maintaining moral life without the aid of religion." (p. 51)
"The experience of the past leaves little doubt that every economic system must sooner or later rely upon some form of the profit motive to stir individuals and groups to productivity. Substitutes like slavery, police supervision, or ideological enthusiasm prove too unproductive, too expensive, or too transient." (p. 54)
"Since men love freedom, and the freedom of individuals in society requires some regulation of conduct, the first condition of freedom is its limitation; make it absolute and it dies in chaos. So the prime task of government is to establish order; organized force is the sole alternative to incalculable and disruptive force in private hands." (p. 68)
"Since wealth is an order and procedure of production and exchange rather than an accumulation of (mostly perishable) goods, and is a trust (the "credit system") in men and institutions rather than in the intrinsic value of paper money or checks, violent revolutions do not so much redistribute wealth as destroy it. There may be a redivision of the land, but the natural inequality of men soon re-creates an inequality of possessions and privileges, and raises to power a new minority with essentially the same instincts as in the old. The only real revolution is in the enlightenment of the mind and the improvement of character, the only real emancipation is individual, and the only real revolutionaries are philosophers and saints." (p. 72)
"In America, democracy had a wider base. It began with the advantage of a British heritage: Anglo-Saxon law, which from Magna Carta onward, had defended the citizens against the state; and Protestantism, which had opened the way to religious and mental liberty." (p. 76)
"Every advance in the complexity of the economy puts an added premium upon superior ability, and intensifies the concentration of wealth, responsibility, and political power." (p. 77)
"Democracy is the most difficult of all forms of government, since it requires the widest spread of intelligence, and we forgot to make ourselves intelligent when we made ourselves sovereign." (pp. 77-8)
"All deductions having been made, democracy has done less harm, and more good, than any other form of government." (p. 78)
"A right is not a gift of God or nature but a privilege which it is good for the group that the individual should have." (p. 79)
[This is in bold contrast to our "Declaration of Independence" which declares that we, God's creatures "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." If rights are merely a human creation, then man can be legitimately deprived of them at anytime by the consensus of society. But if those rights are God-given, then no one can legitimately take them away, except for just cause. Here, the Durants are very greatly mistaken]
"War is one of the constants of history, and has not diminished with civilization or democracy . . . . Peace is an unstable equilibrium which can be preserved only by acknowledged supremacy or equal power . . . The causes of war are the same as the causes of competition among individuals: acquisitiveness, pugnacity, and pride; the desire for food, land, materials, fuels, mastery." (p. 81)
"There is nothing so foolish but it can be found in the philosophers." (p. 88)
"There is no certainty that the future will repeat the past. Every year is an adventure." (p. 88)
"Caught in the relaxing interval between one moral code and the next, an unmoored generation surrenders itself to luxury, corruption, and a restless disorder of family and morals, in all but a remnant clinging desperately to old restraints and ways." (p. 93; though written in 1968, this is an almost perfect description of the "Baby Boomer" generation. In context, Durant was describing the typical final generation in a society before that civilization collapses!)
"History is so indifferently rich that a case for almost any conclusion from it can be made by a selection of instances." (p. 97)
"Our capacity for fretting is endless, and no matter how many difficulties we surmount, how many ideals we realize, we shall always find an excuse for being magnificently miserable; there is a stealthy pleasure in rejecting mankind or the universe as unworthy of our approval." (p. 97)
Some Quotes from Will & Ariel Durant: A Dual Autobiography--
"Here I was, not yet delivered of The Story of Philosophy, and already conceiving four volumes more. No one has invented a literary contraceptive; authors are always pregnant, and are naturally swelled up." (p. 100)
"Kasimir Zurawski, a Polish physician from Chicago . . . specialized in dermatology because, he said, a dermatologist's patients rarely get cured and rarely die of their disease." (p. 145)
"I found there [i.e., The New York Times editorial office] a score of men whose range of information humbled me." (p. 154)
" was the year when Stalin's wife, aged thirty-one, killed herself, 'driven to despair by a profound disillusionment, and the impossibility of changing anything.' " (p. 175)
"[W]e who had come to Russia singing hymns to the great experiment, were glad to leave the scene of shattered hopes and broken men. . . . Miserable and happy, we fled from paradise." (175)
"[G]reat civilizations and states must break down from within before they can be conquered from without." (p. 212)
"Education, above all in America, surrendered to the student. For the most part he chose his teachers and his courses, discountenanced discipline, avoided tasks that required concentration, and helped a superannuated curriculum to transform school and college days into an enfeebling isolation from the realities and responsibilities of life. Pedagogy gave up the training of character, and devoted itself to equipping the unmoral intellect with all the armory of science." (p. 214)
"The strongest social forces are the family and religion. I do not know of any nation that long survived the death of its moral code. I don't know how long Western civilization can survive the disintegration of its family life or its religious code." (p. 250)
"I find that every creed--even atheism--persecutes when it has acquired power, and its power is threatened." (p. 256)
While on a tour of Persia--"Nearly all the women here are veiled, on the general principle that imagination is better than reality." (p. 265)
On his 75th birthday--"In my present condition of normal disintegration I know as many questions as before, but not half so many answers. If I live to be ninety I may at last realize that I am a drop of water trying to understand the sea." (p. 343)
"You don't expect human nature to change appreciably in the foreseeable future, and you are grateful that it is not worse." (p. 343)
"But as Machiavelli argued long ago, a nation cannot afford to apply the moral code to its relations with other states; for there is no guarantee that the other states will respond in the same spirit, and there is no system of international law that will protect the 'good' state against the 'bad.' " (p. 351)
"I am far from sure that our ingrained individualistic impulses of greed, hatred, pugnacity, and violence can be controlled without the inculcation of supernatural hopes and fears." (p. 402)
"OF THE READING OF BOOKS THERE IS NO END"
I find myself in a race against time. The hot breath of "the grim reaper" seems to fall ever heavier upon my neck. There is so vastly much more I need and want to learn, and perhaps write about, before I depart this great vale of sorrows, so I have quickened my pace in reading.
I laid out some reading plans on January 1, 2000, with some eighteen titles listed, with another dozen left-overs from the previous year. They were perhaps not among "the best laid plans of mice or men," but they certainly went astray. I succeeded in reading exactly one of the volumes I had planned to read. My reading in the past year developed into reading whatever caught my attention, what came to hand during the year. It was what Samuel Johnson would have described as reading just according to one's inclination. Of course, I also read as my teaching and writing required as well (though in most cases, this too fell under "according to inclination"). Often, the book that I discovered in my latest romp to the used bookstore got read immediately. Perhaps it was reading "while the iron was hot."
During the year, I acquired 160 books (30 were gifts) at a substantial cost (such money spent is an investment in knowledge), and disposed of a few (I didn't keep records of that). Of those acquired, I actually read 26, nearly half of my total reading for the year of 54 books completed, and by actual count 12,452 pages. The subject matter of my year's reading was pretty diverse, ranging from biography (most of them about Christians, particularly missionaries, 23 books), history (7), creation and evolution (5), language and linguistics (3), agriculture and livestock (3), Biblical and theological (3), textual criticism (2), nature (2), literature (2), and one each in education, contemporary Christianity, contemporary culture, and practical Christianity. And of course I did a substantial amount of additional reading in books that I did not read through (commentaries, theologies, reference works and such).
Of my reading, ten of the books were actually re-reads, seven for the second time, and three for the third. Often I need for my mind to be refreshed on a subject that I have studied before.
As for my 2001 plans--I've begun a preliminary list of what I need and ought to read. And I still have almost 60 books staring me in the face from the last two years' lists that went unread; I'm trying to address some of these before I get caught up in whatever comes next. It never ends.
HOW THE IRISH SAVED CIVILIZATION by Thomas Cahill. New York: Anchor Books, 1995. 246 pp., paperback.
One does not normally or readily associate Ireland and the Irish with being either propagators or defenders of high achievements in matters associated with what men call civilization--whether in literature, the arts, law, or general culture. There was, however a period of a couple of centuries in which the Irish and Ireland were the last outpost of the vestiges of Roman civilization, that period being the time of the Germanic invasions into the emaciated Roman Empire in the 5th century and following, during which Roman society, social structure, learning and culture were generally decimated by the barbarian hordes from beyond the Rhine.
According to Cahill, the last flicker of Roman civilization "as they knew it" was Augustine of Hippo, the prolific Christian writer. The city of Rome was sacked by barbarian Germanic hordes in A.D. 411 (it had last been subjugated by a foreign invader more than 8 centuries earlier in 399 B.C.). One consequence of this taking of Rome was the wholesale destruction of countless manuscripts that preserved the literary culture of Rome (and Greece), the collective wisdom of more than half a millennium. As the Goths spread desolation over Southern and Western Europe, more and more of these precious manuscripts were ruined. And the struggle for mere survival meant that the leisure and disposable income necessary to the study and production of literature was gone throughout nearly the whole of continental Europe. The Latin classics fell into disuse and decline and were in imminent danger of eternal oblivion.
Ireland, then known as Hibernia, being isolated off the northwest coast of Europe, was spared the desolation inflicted on Roman civilization, a civilization that had only a generation or two earlier actually become planted on the island. In the mid-4th century, Patrick, son of a British (Celtic) Christian deacon had as an adult brought the good news of the Gospel to the pagan Irish populace. As a teen, Patrick, yet an unbeliever, had been kidnapped and sold into slavery in Ireland. After conversion and escape, he returned to Ireland and for 30 years evangelized, and civilized the Irish, and as a by-product, introduced the Latin language and the study of Latin, since the Scriptures he used were a Latin translation. (What to me is one of the truly inexplicable oddities in church history is the fact that there is no trace of any ancient translation of the Bible into any of the Celtic languages or dialects, whether in Britain, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, or Gaul [France] though Christianity existed and persisted there for centuries, beginning as early as the first century in some places).
It is to be noted that there is not the slightest trace of any Roman Catholicism in the literary remains of Patrick--no mention of Rome, the bishop of Rome, prayers to Saints, veneration of Mary, seven sacraments, tradition or any of the characteristic doctrines of Catholicism. Rome has co-opted Patrick, though he was clearly not "one of them" (for a valuable account of Patrick, his life, labors and teaching, see, Philip Schaff, The History of Christianity, vol. IV, "Medieval Christianity," pp. 45-52).
Within a generation of Patrick's death, the Irish had developed a pre-occupation with the Latin language and Latin literature, which necessitated the propagating of manuscripts to meet demand. The chief center of such copying was in monasteries which had been begun as Christian enclaves planted for the purpose of "evangelizing" parts of Ireland, then Britannia (especially Scotland and England north of the Thames). And so, while Latin manuscripts were being destroyed wholesale on the Continent as the barbarians raged, they were being copied with marked industry by Irish monks. This copying involved both Bible manuscripts and those of classical Latin works.
When Europe resumed some equilibrium, demand for Latin literature returned, but precious few manuscripts and fewer trained and skilled copyists were available, so they sent to the Irish for both manuscripts and scribes. Dozens of Irish-based monasteries were then established in France, the Low Countries, Germany, Austria, Moravia, Italy and Switzerland, with the subsequent spread of the knowledge of the Bible to a previously wholly pagan populace (of course, this Bible knowledge was unfortunately increasingly concealed within the ever-growing trappings of Rome-dominated "Christianity"). Some of finest manuscripts of the Latin Vulgate and Old Latin versions of the Bible still extant were copied by Irish monks or those trained by them, at Iona, off the western coast of Scotland, at Lindisfarne off its eastern coast, or in monasteries started on the Continent. Ultimately, the Irish were overrun by Vikings in the 9th century, and task of preserving and propagating the remains of Roman culture and civilization fell to other hands, but for two centuries, in truth, Irish scribes did preserve for later generations the literary remains of Roman civilization.
Thomas Cahill laboriously describes the state of Irish Celts (originally pronounced "kelts," rather than "selts" or "chelts") before Patrick brought them Christianity. He also focuses extensively on Augustine of Hippo, whom he considers the last vestige of Roman civilization before its collapse. He next turns to the life and labors of Patrick in Ireland, and the transformation of the Irish people under the influence of the Bible, emerging from barbarism at the very time Rome was descending back into it. This is followed by the spread of the Irish to Scotland, and then the Continent.
Cahill's book is likely to prove somewhat tedious to the casual reader, though he who reads much will find flashes here and there to hold attention.
THE CELTS: THE PEOPLE WHO CAME OUT OF DARKNESS by Gerhard Herm. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1975. 312 pp., hardback.
The Celts were a dominant ethnic group in middle Europe for about 1,000 years, from roughly 500 B.C. to 500 A.D. Speaking an Indo-European language (or languages; it is not likely that the widely spread Celtic peoples all spoke one dialect), these people entered Europe, apparently from further east, in the 2nd millennium B. C., and reached the peak of their prominence a millennium later. At their greatest extent, they occupied the British Isles and Ireland (having displaced an earlier unknown people), northern Spain and Portugal, virtually the whole of France (then called "Gaul," scene of Julius Caesar's famous "Gallic Wars"), middle and southern Germany, the northern part of Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, the northern and middle Balkans (the Dacians defeated by Trajan in 101-105 A.D. in present day Romania were Celtic), and even extending into the middle of Turkey (the Galatians of the New Testament were ethnically Celts; they had settled there in mid-Turkey in the 3rd century B.C.). They then numbered in the millions.
The Celts were generally blond-haired and blue-eyed, and were extremely fierce warriors, at least in the earlier period of their prominence. Following centuries of on and off warfare with the Romans (and others), the Celts were gradually subjugated or assimilated everywhere on continental Europe, with their last refuge being in Britain and Ireland. And even there, though they managed to survive centuries of Roman dominance in Britain, they were badly squeezed by invading Angles, Saxons and Jutes in the 5th century A.D., and were left in possession of only Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. The native languages of these regions, along with the related Breton of extreme northwestern France are the only surviving remnants of the once very widely spread Celtic tongue.
Among notable Celts were Decibal, leader of the Dacians, Patrick, missionary to Ireland, and the legendary King Arthur of Camelot fame.
Herm gives an adequate survey of the Celts' history, culture, and achievements.
OUR HERITAGE OF OUTSTANDING FUNDAMENTAL BAPTISTS, edited by Mike Randall. Springfield, Mo.: Tribune Publishers, 1999. 63 pp., paperback.
One of the glaring defects common among present day American fundamental Baptists is what can only be called an unspeakably gross ignorance of our spiritual heritage and the lives and labors of our spiritual forebears. This collection of biographical sketches aims, successfully, to help remedy this defect.
The lives of nine different leading lights among Baptists of the past are presented, with their contribution to Baptist life and progress noted. Those singled out for treatment are William Carey, Adoniram Judson, Charles Spurgeon, J. R. Graves, Augustus Strong, John Broadus, B. H. Carroll, and A. T. Robertson. Every one of these individuals is of high importance and a knowledge of their lives and contribution is indispensable. In most cases, their literary remains are listed so that the interested reader can examine these men further.
The nine life sketches were written by an equal number of authors, all in some way connected with the Baptist Bible Fellowship, as pastors, professors, missionaries or in some other capacity. There is a generally high level of writing maintained throughout, and all of it is readable. Each of the sketches first appeared in the Baptist Bible Tribune. And this being designated "volume 1," we can hope for future additional volumes to discuss other Baptist "worthies."
(There are several errata that deserve note: on pages 21, 22, the Bible text instrumental in Spurgeon's conversion was Isaiah 45:22, not 46:22; the year of his conversion should be listed as 1850; his age at the call to his first pastorate was 17, not 18, and the year was 1851, not 1861. A total of 63, not 62, volumes of his sermons were published).
FIFTY GOLDMAN YEARS IN THE BAPTIST BIBLE FELLOWSHIP INTERNATIONAL by J. Curtis Goldman. N.l.: n.p., . 225 pp., paperback.
The author was present at the start of the Baptist Bible Fellowship in 1950, and is the only man there present who is still active as a pastor (a number of the others are still alive, but retired due to age and health, or are active as evangelists). Goldman has long been pastor at Temple Baptist Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a church he started in the early 1950s.
In this autobiographical account, Goldman strings together numerous anecdotes and incidents from his life and long ministry, most of them highly entertaining, including his World War II stories, and the time as pastor he tried to out-run a cop car in his 1958 Buick--and succeeded, almost (he knows how to tell a story). He is very plain spoken, names names, and tells it exactly how he sees it. He relates information about the events surrounding the split from J. Frank Norris and the founding of the BBF which I have not found in any of the other accounts of those events which I have read. Some might think him a bit of a bull in a china shop or at times something of a loose cannon. Yet, in spite of his personal flaws (and he 'fesses up to them in the book), he has had a strong positive impact for the Gospel's sake in Albuquerque, in world-wide missions, and in the BBF at large. Carry on.