Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Seen on an SBC Church Bookstall


I love irony.

28 comments:

Dave said...

What's so ironic about a SBC church bookstall selling a Calvin biography?

Ben said...

My bad. I was talking about the Tripp book on the right edge of the photo, but I must've pointed the wrong direction. You know, an SBC church selling a book from a Presbyterian. ;-)

Greg Linscott said...

Obviously McCune is now sliding down the slippery slope...

Bruce said...

Also weird... how many SBC churches call it a bookstall? Apparently those who have a pastor that's spent some time in England, and probably not many more than the one carrying McCune.

So, do you get the credit for introducing it to CHBC?

Keith said...

What's the big deal. The SBCers aren't separatists. They'll read stuff by and compromise with anyone.

The real news will be when a fundamentalist church bookstall (do they have them?) carries a book by one of the promise unfullfilling neos or house on the sand SBCers.

Ben said...

Bruce,

What are you trying to imply It should be called a tract rack? SBC people don't read? And what is this "CHBC" place you speak of?

JAI said...

It's hard to tell in the photo, but on the other side of Calvin is a BJU Press book. Sidwell's Free Indeed: Heroes of Black Christian History.

Ben said...

Oh, there I see Keith already made the no-reading joke.

The truth is we do read. Duh. Left Behind, Frank Peretti, Jeannette Oke. Need I go on?

Ben said...

Good catch, JAI. Missed that one myself. You either have really good eyes or some insider knowledge.

Ben said...

One more thing, JAI. Do you find this juxtaposition at all disturbing?

JAI said...

Mostly I was disturbed by the fact that I didn't notice it until you posted the picture. Guess I was on auto-pilot when I shelved these.

Bruce said...

Just to mess with your readers' minds a bit further, when I was in the M.Div. program at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in the late '90s, John Woodbridge had as a required text for his American Church History class a text by David O. Beale and published by Unusual Publications (BJU's press)-- In Pursuit of Purity: American Fundamentalism Since 1850.

Of course, that may not be so surprising if you already know that his father Charles Woodbridge was a pretty prominent fundamentalist back in the day, while obviously John himself was squarely in conservative Evangelicalism.

Chris Anderson said...

Apparently SBC: House on the Sand? didn't make the cut?

Ben said...

Chris,

I heard it's out of print. Go figure.

Dave said...

Okay, so now that I've sat on it for a couple of days, here's what I am trying to figure out: where's the irony in this?

The SBC has proudly proclaimed its outsider status with regard to "new evangelicalism" over the years--it didn't join the NAE, and I've been told that they (SBC) aren't new evangelicalism for reasons like this. Personally, I've never been convinced, but it seems to be ignoring this to suggest that an SBC church selling this book is ironic.

Further, the particular church which is selling this claims not to be "new evangelical" in its beliefs and practices, so, again, where is the irony? If the church selling the book actually agrees with the fact that the new evangelical strategy did not deliver, it isn't irony at all.

Now, a real example of irony, it seems to me, would be for this to be promoted in the Billy Graham School for Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth at SBTS or featured at the next celebration of Graham's ministry at an annual convention meeting. Now, those would be ironic moments.

Ben said...

Dave,

So are you saying that independent fundamentalists would not understand Southern Baptists to be New Evangelicals? That would be surprising to me.

Perhaps the fact that Carl Henry is featured in McCune's book, and often not in a positive light, contributes to the irony. Henry's entry in the topical index is longer than any other individuals in the book except for two, Jesus Christ and Billy Graham. And Carl Henry was a long-time member of that church. In fact, it's the home to the original offices of Christianity Today.

That's ironic, at least to me.

Dave said...

I think I was pretty clear in what I said. The SBC has denied being new evangelicals by virtue of not joining officially with that movement. I said I wasn't convinced, but that really doesn't change anything.

Perhaps I am wrong, but your original post is built on an irony that springs from the fact that the book argues for a promise unfulfilled being displayed in an SBC church since the SBC represents the promise fulfilled. Am I wrong about this?

If I am right, then my earlier points seem to be on target. Namely, the SBC claim to be apart from new evangelicalism renders the sense of irony very stretched. And since that church positively rejects new evangelicalism, it is even less germane.

I remain convinced that there is more irony in the adulation of Graham and Henry by the conservatives in the SBC than McCune's book being promoted among those who reject the new evangelical philosophy. How odd is it to have men who espouse driving liberals out to celebrate a man who built his ministry on inviting them in. That's ironic.

Ben said...

Both your observation and mine, for the reasons I delineated, are ironic.

But yours is more than ironic. It's also utterly pragmatic and inexcusable.

Historically, why did the SBC stay out of the NAE? I remember reading an explanation, but I can't recall it right now. I would have guessed the SBC saw the NAE as small potatoes, but that could be groundless. Are you implying that it was an ideological reservation? That just doesn't sound like how the SBC operates.

Ben said...

Bruce,

A friend of mine visited TEDS probably about the time you were there and sat in on JW's "History of Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism" class. JW found out he was a fundamentalist and it sounds like they just had a great time poking and prodding a real live one.

What was JW's take on IPOP? It seemed like a useful summary to me, though much more encyclopedic than narrative.

Keith said...

I see the irony Ben.

One use of the word irony is: "An outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected, and the incongruity of this."

Most self professed fundamentalists, whether or not they understand all the technical details regarding "official new evangelicalism", don't see SBC churches as fundamentalist. Yet, incongruously, here's a fundamentalist book on an SBC shelf.

But there's possible even more irony. Dave's gotta be using Socratic Irony (feigned ignorance) as an Advocatus Diaboli.

Ben said...

Keith,

My guess is Dave knows that few who frequent this place would deny his point, even though the theme of this blog isn't to remind fundamentalists to keep using the weapons they already wield with vim and vigor.

Although his point is tangential to the point of the post, 1) tangential points haven't been unwelcome here, 2) his voice is always worth hearing, and 3) his point is true (I've never argued to the contrary). I'm quite happy to have true things be discussed.

Brandon said...

Ben,

First of all, it's bad when you see a generic sign and know right away where the pic was taken from.

Secondly, you took my idea...I was thinking about (and am still thinking about) doing this somewhere else. It might look a little awkward carrying my camera into a bookstore...
Did I mention that I might do this.

James Kime said...

Promise Unfilled can also be found at the Lifeway here in Orlando.

Did I mention that I was wearing a tshirt and flipflops today?

Keith said...

Ben,

Huh?

Who lodged any complaint about discussing tangential points? And, as far as truth goes, the more it's discussed the better. Further, I did not mean to dispute Dave's point that it is ironic that conservative SBCers who claim to not be new evangelicals praise the leaders of new evangelicalism.

While I doubt that Dave's voice is ALWAYS worth hearing, it is usually right to listen to others, and I'm more than willing.

Now, I'm guessing that when you say "his point is true," you mean Dave's point that it is ironic that the conservatives in the SBC praise Graham and Henry. Fine.

You surely can't mean Dave's point that your original point is false (his claim that there is no irony in an SBC church pushing a fundamenatalist book) since you continue to stand by your point.

It was that point which I was addressing. And, on that point, I coninue to stand with you, against Dave. The irony (no matter how small, no matter how undeserved if technical details were to be considered) is obvious.

Dave said...

"The irony (no matter how small, no matter how undeserved if technical details were to be considered) is obvious."

Which being interpreted means, for those with a beef against fundamentalism, anything that approximates a contradiction, inconsistency, or refutation is to be highlighted.

Ben said...

Dave,

Do you mean for us to understand that you believe Keith/I/Keith and I have a beef with fundamentalism? And by fundamentalism do you mean the movement or the idea?

Thanks,
Ben

Keith said...

Dave,

Like the fundamentalist Dr. Rod Bell (not the sandal wearing, tragically hip Rob), "I don't know Greek, but I can read those who do," and I don't think you've interpreted my comment correctly at all.

I didn't say anything "is to be highlighted." All I said was that Ben is correct in his understanding of irony.

I find further irony in the fact that it is apparently acceptable to write and publish entire books highlighting every error and failure of the new evangelicals, but it is out of line to have a little ironic chuckle at the expense of the fundamentalists. Does fundamentalism have a sense of humor?

Dave said...

Ben, sorry for the non-responsiveness, but I was over in Africa visiting missionaries. I saw the question before I left, but didn't make time to answer.

I really have no desire to press this farther, but I was asked a question, so I'll answer it and then return to silent.

Ben, it seems quite clear to me that the answer is yes. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Generally I would say movement, but it seems that your point about irony hinges on the idea.

Well, I've got to retire from the blog world until after the 1st of the year, so don't think I'm rude if I don't reply to any comments that may follow mine.