"AS I SEE
Volume 5, Number 1, January 2002
["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.]
A WORD OF EXPLANATION
This issue of "As I See
It" is both delayed and, frankly, inferior in breadth of content to the
standard we set for ourselves. The cause was technological: a couple of weeks
with the computer at first on the fritz, running unspeakably slowly, and then
not running programs at all. This prevented the writing of at least one major
article that we hoped to include in this issue. When we had discovered the cause
of our grief (a greatly over-delayed defragging of the hard drive which took 16
hours to remedy--ultimate cause: Microsoft factory settings) and just as we had
that problem resolved, a long-hidden virus attacked the hard drive and wiped it
clean. While we had many of our most important files saved, we lost many of
lesser import, and endured a great deal of frustration over a week's time trying
to get the system back up, a thing accomplished only late today (January 2).
Anyone in the know about such things could likely have fixed the mess in a
couple of hours-or, more likely, wouldn't have had it happen at all. I plead
both ignorance and gross incompetence in such matters.
I still have to recreate mailing lists (yes, I do have that on a diskette) which will delay the mailing a few days more, I suspect. And then will follow re-organizing and reloading files, and discovering what has and hasn't been permanently lost.
I think I know why I prefer printed books to anything on computer: I've never had a book get infected with a virus, or suddenly lose all its text.
THE YEAR IN RETROSPECT
As one year wanes and a new one
waxes, I find it of substantial advantage to myself to examine the
achievements--and failures--of the old year, and to tentatively chart my course
for the coming year.
In our family, our younger daughter Sarah got engaged in July to a preacher-in-training and was married in December. Three down, one to go. Our younger son, Matthew, graduated with honors from the Citadel in May and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U. S. Marine Corps; he got engaged in August (at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C. in the evening), with a July, 2002 date set for the wedding. The rest of us in the family just continued on pretty much as before, with no major milestones.
As regards the work of the ministry, I continued with my commuting to Eastern Europe, though I was able to make only two trips (a planned Spring trip did not materialize due to several causes), totaling six full weeks and encompassing Romania, Serbia, and Hungary, though I did preach or teach 29 times in those 42 days, and also taught three three-day Bible seminars. On one trip, some 30 young people were converted at the annual summer youth camp in southern Romania which it has been my privilege to participate in each of the past seven years. Along with these and other activities, I became involved with ministering in the Sedgwick County jail through service on a jury in February, and have preached repeatedly and held small group Bible studies there regularly since the early summer. I also taught a seminary course in Minnesota in June. In all, I preached or taught some 120 times, besides the seminar and seminary courses.
Beyond this, I wrote some 150 pages of "As I See It," (saved on diskette) as well as several hundred letters (most were lost in "the Crash"). I read 57 books (it would have been a full 60 if I had not had the computer virus to contend with). My reading this year was of an unusually high quality, that is, the great majority of the books read were decidedly worth reading, and was rather diverse, including 12 books on history, 9 religious biographies, 8 books on Biblical studies, 7 secular biographies, 5 books about Baptists, 4 on Christian ministry, 2 on leadership, a couple of novels (almost the first and the last volumes read for the year), plus odds and ends in other areas. I will say that I find that it is absolutely essential to me that I continue to set the highest priority on reading, aiming at both quality and quantity. Much reading of the best sort opens new vistas, challenges old and often bland thinking, rejuvenates the mind and prevents intellectual stagnation and that dull staleness that often plagues those who speak publicly a great deal or who write much for publication. Perhaps some readers are thinking that I need to read more than I do! At any rate, I know that I need to read much and well, if I am to be of any use to others via the written or spoken word. There are many people who can live without books. I am not one of them. I suspect I shall have to forego golf, fishing and Matlock reruns for yet another year. Such sacrifice!
And I shall "back up" my files with greater regularity, to say nothing of keeping my "anti-virus" program regularly up-to-date.
THE FINAL DAYS by Barbara
Olson. Washington, D. C.: Regnery , 2001. 240 pp., hardback. $27.95
The author Barbara Olson, a noted politically-conservative lawyer and author was among those who died aboard the hijacked plane flown into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. This book was completed just days before those tragic events.
Olson who previously wrote a highly-acclaimed book about Hillary Clinton, Hell to Pay, here records "the last, desperate abuses of power by the Clinton White House," to quote the sub-title. Here, for all to see, with full documentation is the account of the sordid, tawdry, unseemly acts of America's Ahab and Jezebel, as they peddled influence, sold pardons (who they pardoned is just appalling), plundered multiplied thousands of dollars of government property from the White House and sought to extend their binge beyond January 20, 2001 by establishing by far the most expensive and lavish offices of any ex-President and any sitting Senator, all at the expense of the hapless taxpayers. No act was so debased as to be beneath their grasping, greedy, self-aggrandizing, self-serving behavior.
After--and only after--the first "co-presidents" completed their desecration of the White House did the willfully blind (or willfully complicitous) news media, and congressional Democrats begin to see, or at least begin to acknowledge, that Bill and Hill were all the unseemly and vulgar things the "vast right-wing" conspirators had been saying for the previous eight years and before. Typical is the remark of New York Times left-wing columnist Bob Herbert, who after January 20, 2001 suddenly realized: "The Clintons are a terminally unethical and vulgar couple, and they've betrayed everyone who ever believed in them" (p. 199). Well, duh! What gave you your first clue? Olson herself said: "The Clintons are a strange dialectic. Liberal-left progressive politics meets traditional corruption resulting in a synthesis of boundless arrogance and entitlement " (p. 213). Comedian Dennis Miller (pp. 207-8) very aptly (though rather crudely) compared the final flourish of vulgarity of the ultimate power couple as they plundered their way out of Washington to a garish float in a Mardi Gras parade (I will let the readers find this quote for themselves).
And, by the by, have we forgotten that in 1999, as a blatant attempt at pandering to the Puerto Rican population in New York State, for the sake of Hillary's carpet-bagging Senate race there, Bill Clinton pardoned a group of Puerto Rican terrorists guilty of 130 separate terrorist acts against the United States?
We must never forget that the major national news media and the Democrats in Congress and the Cabinet were Clinton's enablers for all eight years of his mis-administration in Washington. Because they repeatedly provided cover for his corruption, they are particeps criminis, guilty collaborators in all his evil doings. Read and remember.
A QUESTION IN BAPTIST HISTORY
by William H. Whitsitt. New York: Arno Press, 1980. Reprint of C. T. Dearing,
Louisville, Kentucky edition, 1896. 164 pp., hardback.
This volume, first published in 1896, sparked a massive controversy in its day, though it should not have. Whitsitt (1841-1911) was President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Louisville, Kentucky, the third to lead that institution, after J. P. Boyce and John A. Broadus. By careful research and documentation, Whitsitt established as demonstrable fact that the practice of immersion as a mode of Christian baptism had died out in England by the mid-16th century (and was, in any case, applied only to infants); that John Smyth and those English separatists associated with him who lived in Holland, though practicing believer's "baptism," nevertheless unquestionably did so by pouring or sprinkling, not immersion; that immersion as the mode of believer's baptism as practiced by "anabaptists" in England was introduced into England in 1641 from Holland; and that these Dutch anabaptists had themselves adopted immersion just some 20 years earlier.
Judged on its merits as a work of historical research and the worth of its conclusions, this volume must be accounted a first-rate treatment. Whitsitt's evidence and conclusions are fully supported by contemporary and clear documentation from the mid-17th century, and have not been refuted in the least in the subsequent hundred years since the book was first published.
Whitsitt's convincing and thoroughly-documented treatise ignited the ire of Landmark Baptists generally who had looked to John Smyth as a link in their successionist chain. Whitsitt was shortly forced out of the presidency of SBTS, and stands as a monument to the amazing ignorance, bigotry and prejudice displayed by not a few Baptists against any facts which undermine their presuppositions manufactured entirely out of the fabric of wishful thinking. They deem it service to God to hate both the message and the messenger, while ignoring undeniable evidence.
An appendix regarding the baptism of Roger Williams establishes credibly--and contrary to the conclusions of Baptist historians Thomas Armitage and A. H. Newman--that Williams, though for a few months an "anabaptist," was rebaptized by pouring or sprinkling, not by immersion. The first immersed believer in English America was one Mr. Lucar who had received believer's immersion in England around 1641 before coming to America. And Whitsitt de facto, though not by design, thereby supports the standard claim of Landmarkers that the first Baptist/Immersionist church in America was that led by John Clarke in Newport, Rhode Island, not the congregation Williams was briefly associated with.
The table of contents of this volume, located after the European fashion in the back of the book, strangely gives the number of the last page of each chapter rather than the first.
BAPTIST PARTNERSHIP IN EUROPE
by J. D. Hughley. Nashville: Broadman, 1982. 144 pp., paperback.
Hughley was a Southern Baptist missionary and high-level Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board functionary in Europe from the 1940s through the time of the writing of this book (we understand that he is now deceased). He served for a four-year period during these years as president of the notorious International Baptist Seminary in Ruschlikon, Switzerland. The purpose of the book was to describe the then-current state of Baptists in Europe, with their prospects and needs.
The book is a decidedly "mixed bag." It succeeds in giving a brief history of the how and when Baptists first came to exist in various European countries in the modern era. And some of his analyses are of value. However, Hughley's perspective as 1) a Southern Baptist, and 2) an apparent member of the "moderate" camp of the SBC, make him remarkably blind to many things.
First, he repeatedly speaks of missionaries assigned by the Foreign Mission Board of the SBC to various fields of service in Europe, and never speaks of a call from God to any of these places (in contrast, see Acts 13:2; 16:10). And nothing is said about missionaries being sent by the churches; it is always the Mission Board that sends, funds, directs and controls the missionaries (this distancing of missions from the local church is one of the great defects in the structure of the SBC, though I am happy to report that I have encountered several SBC churches in the past decade which in part directly send and fund missionaries). From a strictly New Testament perspective (and isn't that what Baptists have historically professed to have?), it is always churches that sent missionaries (and lest the independent Baptists feel too smug on this point, let me insist that of the many missions offices and agencies among independent Baptists, more than a few are usurping the responsibilities of local churches to send and support missionaries directly. Anything--and I do mean anything--which unnecessarily distances missions from the local church is counterproductive and misguided).
Hughley declares that missionaries should not be sent to European countries without the expressed request of the national Baptists there. But what if, I ask, those national Baptists are 1) apostate (and not a few are); or, 2) devoid of vision? Shall we let, for example, 10 million Hungarians go to Hell unevangelized simply because the few Union Baptists there are lifeless and ineffective? And he insists that if the choice is between sending workers or money, the proper choice is to send money. Such a view is utterly wrong-headed. Such a practice develops dependence among nationals on foreign monetary resources, rather than God.
In Hughley's view, Baptists who join Baptist Unions, the European Baptist Federation and the World Baptist Alliance are almost all that matter. He almost sneeringly refers to those who stand aloof from these ecclesiastical entangling alliances of conservatives and liberals, as "ultraconservative" and "fundamentalist." He fails to deduce the obvious from information he has gathered: in Ireland, it is only the separated, that is, the non-aligned Baptists who are experiencing numerical growth. A parallel situation obtains in virtually all countries in Europe. The motto of the Baptist Unions and Federations in Europe should in all honesty be: "Unite and Die."
Hughley gushes with enthusiasm for post-Vatican II Catholicism (Vatican II was the Roman Catholic Church Council which in the early 1960s authorized a number of changes in Catholic practices, such as allowing the Mass to be said in the vernacular rather than only in Latin), and claims there is much Biblical, even evangelical teaching going on in the Roman Catholic Church. He asserts that there is much to admire in Roman Catholic teaching, and that there is currently a revival going on in the Roman Catholic Church. Such utter nonsense. Historically, when there have been real "revivals" in the Roman Catholic Church, those "revived" have either left that religion or been forced out in droves--Wycliffe, Hus, Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and millions more.
Hughley notes that Baptists peaked numerically in the United Kingdom in 1906, with something over 474,000 members, and that 75 years later, this number had fallen to just 178,000 while the population of the U.K. had grown substantially. No adequate explanation is given by Hughley for this decline, though the causes are obvious to me:
1) The in-roads of destructive higher criticism in the late 19th century largely gutted the Biblical faith of British Baptists. Spurgeon sought in the 1880s to counter this pernicious evil by insisting on a clear and plain declaration for the British Baptist Union on the inspiration, inerrancy and sole authority of the Bible, but the Union overwhelmingly refused, showing just how far the poison of apostasy had infected that body. It is certain that such British Baptist leaders as John Clifford and Alexander MacLaren had already rejected belief in the complete truthfulness of Scripture and had embraced much of higher criticism (when I first learned that MacLaren had opposed Spurgeon in this controversy, I lost all respect for MacLaren). Spurgeon did the right--the Biblical--thing and withdrew from the Baptist Union [for a good account of the apostasy of late 19th century British Baptists, see The 'Down Grade' Controversy, consisting of excerpts from Spurgeon's publication, "The Sword and the Trowel." Published by Pilgrim Publications, PO Box 66, Pasadena, Texas, 77501]. I have learned that you can almost always judge the theology of British Baptists by whether they agreed with or dissented from Spurgeon regarding this controversy.
As proof positive of the generally apostate condition of British Baptists, note that Ernest Payne, a leading British Baptist of the 20th century, was for a time president of the World Council of Churches, a rabidly apostate conglomeration of every stripe of unbelief masquerading as "Christianity," or to use the words of Revelation 18, "a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird."
2) Abandonment of Baptist distinctives. Most of the English Baptist churches practiced "open membership" throughout the 20th century, that is, they did not insist on "believer's baptism" as a pre-requisite for church membership. In short, they abandoned this Baptist distinctive--the very doctrine at issue that led to the formation of English Baptist churches in the mid-17th century in the first place--and have abandoned the clear Biblical teaching and practice on this point.
3) A soul-chilling high Calvinism which pervades most of the remaining conservative Baptist churches. It is not quite Gillism, but not far removed from it either. British Baptists are on the whole as dead and dry as Ezekiel's valley of bones. Yet Hughley insists that the U.K. is not a suitable field for sending missionaries!!!
Hughley, writing in 1981, even has good things to say about theoretical communism--it has good intentions, namely to protect the weak and down-trodden against exploitation by the powerful and rich (communism never got beyond this as a mere theory, but practiced even worse and more widespread--and brutal--oppression than the tyrannies it replaced). Hughley does condemn actual communist practice. He also commends national Baptists behind the Iron Curtain who 'go along to get along,' as we say, and doesn't think much of "unregistered" Baptists, for example, in Russia. He quotes acceptingly (naively?) a claim from a registered, state-approved Russian Baptist leader, that every Baptist family in Russia had a Bible. This was, of course, a bald-faced LIE of the first magnitude, uttered for propagandistic purposes to deceive gullible religionists--and journalists--in the West. Hughley either naively (and inexcusably) fell for the lie, or he knowingly helped propagate it. Either explanation is a credible possibility.
The final portion of Hughley's book is a history and praise of the International Baptist Seminary at Ruschlikon, Switzerland. Founded in 1949, the school had a long series of short-termed presidents, and an international faculty and student body, with a peak enrollment as of the time of writing of 74. Since Hughley wrote, this theologically-corrupt school was de-funded by the resurgent conservatives in the Southern Baptist Convention because of the blatantly apostate theology of the school, and the school has since departed from Switzerland to Prague in the Czech Republic. Hughley, for a time seminary professor and president, praises in this book the contribution to contemporary Christianity made by the Swiss. His two chief examples are Karl Barth and Emil Bruner, neither of whom was an orthodox Christian in any legitimate sense of the term.
In the first 30 years of the seminary's presence in Switzerland, the school did virtually nothing to propagate Biblical faith in that country. In 1950, Swiss Baptists numbered 1,300. Thirty years later, just 1,425. And Hughley clearly did not like most of the Swiss Baptists anyway, since they were "ultraconservative" (his term), refusing to be part of the European Baptist Federation and the Baptist World Alliance.
In most places, European Baptists are in sorry shape--infected with destructive higher critical beliefs about the Bible, trained to be dependent on Western money rather than God, and lulled into ecumenical union with unbelievers. Strong fundamental separatist Baptists are the only ones who have any prospects of effectively evangelizing Europe. Hughley is wholly blind to these facts.
A RETROSPECT by J. Hudson
Taylor. London: Morgan & Scott, n.d (1909?). 128 pp., hardback.
J. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) was the founder of the China Inland Mission and did more by far than anyone else in the 19th century to carry the Gospel message to China. He personally prayed 1,000 workers to that vast mission field. He also "showed the way" in regard to "faith missions" which rely solely on God through prayer to meet their needs.
The incidents in this book--how Taylor learned to trust God's resources rather than those of people, and numerous accounts of events in his early work in China--are not a few of them most extraordinary, and though also found in other accounts of Taylor's life (such as Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret and Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission, both by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor), it is nevertheless always worthwhile to be reminded of who and what Hudson Taylor was, and to learn exactly how he was able to accomplish what he did for the glory of God.
If this slim volume is met with, it should be obtained and read at once. In lieu of access to it, any other book by or about J. Hudson Taylor, his life and his work, receives our immediate, unqualified recommendation.
OUR BAPTIST DISTINCTIVES by
Mike Randall. Springfield, Missouri: Tribune Publishers, 1998. 64 pp.,
The present editor of the Baptist Bible Tribune (and president-designate of Baptist Bible College, Springfield, Missouri) here presents a series of 10 brief articles delineating and explaining distinctive Baptist doctrines: believer's baptism, baptism by immersion, separation of church and state, congregational church government, etc. I am glad that there are still men willing to stand for truth and denominational distinctives in this age of mushy doctrine and hazy theology. I would characterize these treatments as adequate, though I would suggest some improvements. First, each article is begun with a quote or two or more by Baptist writers, or confessions of faith summarizing the consensus Baptist viewpoint on the doctrine under consideration. Then follows a discussion and presentation of the Biblical basis for this viewpoint. I would, in keeping with the Baptist precept of the Bible as the sole authority for doctrine and practice, have presented the Biblical evidence first, with the quotations from Baptist writers and confessions reserved for the end as a summarization of the Biblical evidence.
Second, Randall could have availed himself of several valuable sources that would have enhanced his presentation. Chief of these is the section on ecclesiology in A. H. Strong's Systematic Theology, which is to my knowledge the best treatment as a whole of most of the doctrinal points addressed by Randall. Additional sources that could and should have been consulted with profit are the relevant portions of John Gill's Body of Divinity (18th century British Baptist) and J. L. Dagg's Manual of Theology (19th century American Baptist). Lesser and inferior sources are quoted and footnoted, but these three works are never noted and were apparently not consulted.
With regard to some specific matters, Randall rather assumes (as do most Baptists) rather than proves that Matthew 16:18 is a promise of church perpetuity. He does not, however, endorse Landmark views of perpetuity, but rather presents a spiritual succession view. He alleges that Matthew 28:19 is a required baptismal formula (and even elevates it to the level of a Baptist distinctive), too glibly dismissing the evidence in Acts that the Apostles never employed the Trinitarian formula in baptism. He also too easily dismisses the "deaconess" interpretation of I Timothy 3:11 (cf. Romans 16:1), failing to note that the "deaconess" view has been accepted or allowed by numerous Baptists at least from the 1600s on, including John Gill, B. H. Carroll, Thomas Armitage, John Sampey and many others, and is widespread among several Baptist groups today.
I would also suggest that in his explanation of the three descriptive terms of the office of pastor (namely bishop/overseer, elder, and pastor), when he says that "bishop" is the title and "elder" is the function, these two should in fact be reversed: "elder" being the title of office, and "bishop/overseer" being the function.
As a brief summary of Baptist distinctives, this is an adequate introductory treatment. It has been translated into Hungarian, and perhaps other languages, and so may be available for use by missionaries.
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE BAPTISTS
by Henry C. Vedder. Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1907.
431 pp., hardback.
This volume has long been a "standard" treatment of Baptist history, and deservedly so. The research is broad, the organization is good, and the writing is highly readable. Any reader will be well-rewarded for time spent in this volume.
Vedder surveys the history of not only the people with the name "Baptist," but also those from the earliest Christian centuries on who shared one or more of the distinctive doctrines of Baptists, though he does not try to make Baptists out of those who did not share all the Baptist distinctives, nor does he gloss over the sometimes serious doctrinal errors of Medieval groups who some (e.g., J. M. Carroll) claim as Baptist forbears. He rejects Landmarkish views of Baptist succession as unproven, unprovable, and unnecessary, adopting rather the "spiritual successionist" view also held by Baptist historian Thomas Armitage and many other Baptists.
Naturally such a volume has some limitations and deficiencies. First its age--almost a century since publication--naturally means that the 20th century is wholly absent (and where is the historian who will undertake the monumental task of writing the history of Baptists in the 20th century?). And Vedder fails to see (as not a few other convention Baptists, North and South, have failed to see) the serious danger that the multiplication of denominational "agencies" and "societies" is to the autonomy of the local church and its centrality in world evangelism. Further, in his coverage of Baptists worldwide, he all but completely omits any reference to Baptists in the Orient whose numbers, even in 1907, were considerable--China, India, Burma, Japan, and not a few other countries.
We must say a further word about the author himself and his theological views. In this book, Vedder (1853-1935; see Armitage, History of the Baptists, page facing 619, for a portrait of Vedder) writes as one committed to all the fundamental doctrines of the Bible: its inspiration and inerrancy, the miraculous birth of Jesus, His true Deity, His sinless life, vicarious death, and bodily resurrection, etc., as well as adhering and strongly advocating all the historic Baptist distinctives: believer's baptism by immersion, local church autonomy, soul liberty and complete religious freedom, etc. Yet, in the years after this book was published, Vedder, educated at the University of Rochester, and Rochester Theological Seminary (where A. H. Strong was president for 40 years) departed radically from the faith he once professed. In an article in the Watchman-Examiner of New York, dated January 3, 1918, Vedder declared that no one who is "intellectually honest" can affirm that Jesus commanded baptism in view of the doubt about the authenticity of Matthew 28:19; he added that to affirm that Jesus did so is to us "the language of either ignorance or dishonesty," (reported by A. T. Robertson, The Christ of the Logia, p. 113). Here Vedder rejects both the inerrancy of Scripture and the Baptist distinctive of believer's baptism. Robert T. Ketcham, founder of the GARBC, in his booklet The Answer to Whether of Not the American (Northern) Baptist Convention is Modernistic, p. 11, quotes Vedder as writing: "Of all the slanders men have perpetuated against the Most High, this doctrine of his substitutionary atonement is positively the most impudent and the most insulting. Jesus never taught and never authorized anybody to teach in his name that he suffered in our stead and bore the penalty for our sins." (See also H. Leon McBeth, The Baptist Heritage, pp. 569-570). Vedder either never read, or absolutely rejected, the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 20:28, "Just as the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." And John 10:15, "I lay down my life for the sheep." And Luke 24:46, 47, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
Because of Vedder's apostasy, fundamentalists in the North sought repeatedly--and unsuccessfully--to have him removed from Crozier Seminary where he was professor of church history. I cannot account for the radical departure of Vedder from the faith which he once strongly professed (cf. I John 2:19), but there is not the least hint of such unbelief in his Baptist history, which retains its value and should be among the very first volumes read by anyone interested in Baptist history.
TALES OF AN EXTINCT MILITARY
SPECIES: A WORLD WAR II COMBAT GLIDER PILOT by J. Curtis Goldman. N. p.: n.p.,
n.d. 178 pp., paperback.
We previously reviewed Pastor Goldman's autobiography, Fifty Goldman Years in the Baptist Bible Fellowship (AISI 4:1) in which he gave some brief accounting of his adventures as a glider pilot in World War II. Here he fleshes out those brief accounts, and details his life as a glider-pilot-in-training, and in combat in Europe.
Always one with a love for "adventure" (shall we say), Goldman committed one stupid, careless, foolish, reckless, and nearly suicidal stunt after another from the first days in flight training until his last days in uniform, antics both in the air and on the ground. With the youthful delusion of virtual invincibility and immortality, Goldman risked life and limb--and more than once nearly lost them--and pushed army regulations to and beyond the court-martial limit repeatedly, yet somehow lived a virtually charmed life, escaping with scarcely a scratch, and with an honorable discharge. He repeatedly expresses his view that for him World War II was "fun," just one big adventure. I have not yet decided whether Goldman the glider pilot was just foolhardy, or at times actually insane. Maybe he was both.
To prove the extent of Goldman's "insanity," and the fact that remnants of it may indeed linger, he actually names the girls he met and romanced (in an honorable way) in the nearby towns of the various duty stations and training camps he was assigned to. A completely sane man forgets those things, and certainly would never put them in print for his wife to read!!
While it is true that Goldman was not yet a Christian in those days, he need not have included all the details in some of the incidents he relates, and at times his language is excessively crude and coarse, even vulgar.
There are a few factual errors in the book (among them identifying Patton's army as "the 4th" rather than the correct "3rd"), several repetitions and a considerable number of typos that could have been caught by a good proof-reader.
Friends, acquaintances, admirers, and likely enemies, too, of J. Curtis Goldman, will find this book of interest, as they repeatedly shake their heads wondering how in the world he got away with or survived all the truly dangerous, or dumb, stuff he did.