Paul Benedict's: Evangelicalism: Another Hallucinogenic
Paul Benedict's excellent "Evangelicalism and Ethics" & Evangelicalism: A Bird's Eye View
For the sake of clarity, this blog will carry the review (below) on Paul Benedict's "Evangelicalism: Another Hallucinogenic" while the above link will take you to the website for a chapter from his work entitled "Evangelicalism and Ethics."
It is captivating reading, I hope that you will enjoy!
Now for the review of Evangelicalism: Another Hallucinogenic
Paul Benedict isn't just another man from the pews writing like an insider, he was an insider that had stepped away from the pulpit. Curious what a man with 30+ years of ministry experience might have to say about the inner workings of the evangelical movement? If so, then you should read this page-turner. The gospel maybe Christianity's good news, but it is the evangelicals that largely carry this message to the public. The book is written as a survey touching upon the history, personalities, methods, and ethics of evangelicalism capped with an evaluation of its global effect upon humanity from a man that knows the territory!
I don't know which is more impressive: the contents or the manner in which he expresses himself. If I were to tell you that Paul Benedict is a pen name, you would understand why after only a few chapters. I don't want to mislead you into thinking that this is a mere book of confessions involving Christian personalities. In fact, he bypassed a golden opportunity to cause the faithful havoc by using a pen name (he spanned 3 continents during his 30+ years of ministry!) He could have broadcast his departure and "taken many out" with him when he left the faith, but he chose to take the "high road." To me, this fact alone spoke volumes about the man! Sure, he notes disturbing behavior and beliefs, but he doesn't write with a hostile attitude. Ultimately, the decision of any minister to leave the ministry comes down to an ethical question. In chapter 11 he is relentless uncovering both Biblical and Evangelical ethical breaches that the faithful are oblivious to! Nothing milquetoast here, I loved it and would say it was my favorite chapter!
Reading the book critically, one would note a few typos and some susceptibility towards excessive "adjectives." I think the introduction was a little long and the first search engine chapter seemed misplaced. Otherwise, what a book! Those first five chapters are fantastic! I appreciate his sticking to the facts and the documentation of the same with a well-stocked bibliography and end notes! The two addendum's on Gnosticism and Arianism were helpful as well. The author's initial purpose was to call for an open-minded review of known facts in order that research and reason might triumph over faith. That is one tall task, but he certainly kept his end of the bargain!
Worley May 5, 2009 Ex-minister.org
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