(NOTE: This is one of those rare Gary North books which is not wildly controversial even within conservative circles. Conservatives of whatever variety will love this. Only Liberals will hate it.) Gary North here accomplishes what no one else has even attempted: a thorough look at how the liberals took over the most prominent Mainline denomination. You may think this is old news: it's not. You may think it's irrelevant: you're wrong. Southern Baptists should pay especially close attention (and North heavily tips his hat to Paul Pressler and Paige Patterson): this is the same general plan of attack that was used in the SBC up to the conservative resurgence. It is also the ongoing strategy in many of our state conventions and at schools like Baylor and Wake Forest. Crossed Fingers is both a scholarly history that everyone from John Frame to Adrian Rogers will appreciate, and an action manual for how to defeat liberal takeovers. It's a big book (a very big book), and some people might get lost in the preface and the forward (if you sense yourself getting lost, just move on to the Introduction. I don't recommend this, but it's a valid option), but it is must reading for anyone who cares about keeping the church faithful to it's Master. (See also Paul Pressler's new "A Hill on Which to Die.")
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Gary North does an excellent job showing how the PCUSA became a liberal church. It is complete yet interesting. Too often Reformed people (and other Christians) do not understand what causes a denomination to be corrupted. North, armed with an optimistic postmillenial world view, shows that it is weak adherence to Reformed standards that brings about this corruption. An amillenialist could not have written a book this well or this interesting, because an amillenialist has no sure hope for the church's reformation. The only thing I wish North had included is a discussion of how premillenialism, a theology held to by most of the New School party in the 1920s, contributed to the final takeover by modernists. North is right when he says similliar books need to be written by conservatives in other apostate denominations. It is hoped that others will write on the United Presbyterian Church, the Reformed Church in America, and the United Church of Christ. If you are a Presbyterian pastor or elder, and you only read one book this year, make sure it is this one!
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Crossed Fingers: How the Liberals Captured the Presbyterian Church
available online at: [...]
although i found it difficult to read online and purchased a second hand copy.
How do you review a 1000 page book?
Well, i finished it, actually quite an accomplishment. For North is an author i love to hate, i put the book down in disgust and picked it up the next day because i don't want to miss anything. North is a polemic, a fighter, nasty, often name calling, self centered, provocative, interesting, wordy, well i guess you get the picture. What the book is not: it is not strictly history, but rather something a little higher up the food chain, philosophic/theological interpretation of history, conspiracy theory, covenant theory in action, something like all these mixed together. North's extraordinary value as a writer and as a theologian is the confidence and strength his well tuned mental system produces in his works. His confidence in himself and his ideas is oftentimes overwhelming and always alluring. The problem i have is that i always put the book(s) down and have to ask myself "is this really true?" or "is this really Scriptural?" or is he overstating the case to win the debate in his mind. That is the great weakness of this book in particular, it really needed 6 months of careful research and fact checking in 1996 when it was published. You are always aware that he seems to bend the facts, both by omission and by simply being confidently wrong in order to support and prove his theories.
His big ideas are interesting and worth the time it takes to wade through the book.Read more ›