Buzz Thomas visited Chattanooga a year or two back & a dear friend* invited me to accompany him and his wife to a book signing event. I picked up a copy… breezed through it, then set it aside. I found it pretty weak tea, with a propensity to overstate some issues, understate others, and to leave way too much unsaid regarding the controversies surrounding all of them. But this isn’t James McGrath’s take.. His review is much more gracious than what I might have written. He says:
While it is not the case that all the things Thomas mentions are things that all ministers would tell you if they could, I suspect that enough of them are, and if not these things then there are other things that they could tell you were they not afraid that ordinary Christians, rather than welcoming a deeper understanding of the faith, of the Bible, and of Christian history, would complain, argue, and eventually drive the minister out who dared expose them to uncomfortable truths.Although a very short book, it packs a serious punch and reveals more in its 108 pages than many other works of much greater length on more specific subjects.
His recognition not only of [these facts is] refreshingly honest but even more than that refreshingly Biblical compared to the selective quote mining of the fundamentalists.
Despite my dimmer view of the book, I agree wholeheartedly with McGrath’s final word:
To paraphrase a famous quote that the book mentions at one point, all that has to happen for fundamentalism to thrive is for those who have actually studied the Bible and understand it in depth and detail to keep silent.
*not in the Mark Sanford sense