Tuesday, September 12, 2006

About Books, 4

5. One book that made you cry: Billy, by Albert French.

The tears were unexpected. So when they came, it was like a dam had burst. Here’s a blurb I found at Amazon:

1937. Mississippi. Two teenage girls. Two young boys, ages ten and twelve. A fight ensues and one of the girls ends up dead. The community is outraged and more interested in revenge than justice. Why? The girls are white and the boys are black. Should that matter? Regardless, it does. French unapologetically drops the reader right into the times with all its prejudices glaring. It's impossible to avoid an emotional reaction to Billy. The grief of the families' losses, Billy's confusion about what's happening to him as well as what happened during the fight, and the blatant racism all serve to make the reader question whether things have really changed since 1937 or whether all that racism really just boiling under the surface searching for any excuse to break free.”

6. One book you wish had been written: The Authority of the Old Testament, by Alexander Campbell.

Several years ago, Everett Ferguson argued that after Campbell preached and published his “Sermon on the Law,” others ripped some of his statements from their polemic context, absolute-ized them in ways that Campbell never would have, which gave rise to the borderline (or downright) Marcionism of the Churches of Christ.

And don’t tell me it ain’t that bad. Several years ago--to cite just one example from my experience--a deacon in the congregation where I was preaching at the time asked me, “Why do we need the Old Testament at all?”

Oh, and then there was the time when my fellow Bible major at Freed-Hardeman asked me if the O.T. was inspired. After thinking about it for a minute, I told him I thought it was, but wasn’t sure why I thought that.

Ferguson also said that in order to find out how Campbell himself thought of and used the Old Testament for the church one should read his book, Familiar Lectures on the Pentateuch. I get the impression they’re not so familiar, Alex.


Dee O'Neil Andrews said...

All your books so far have been interesting choices, Frank. I may have to check some of them out!

Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

I lived in MS for five years and the horror literature on that state is large.

You are right on AC and the Hebrew Bible. Campbell did buy into the dispensational hermeneutic but he had wide use for the "Old Testament." He has a lenghty series on the value of the "OT" called "Family Culture" that uses OT narratives to paint the contours of life before God.

The Sermon on the Law is one of those defining moments in our history. AC's views did loose there nuance on future generations but I still believe that his position needs reevaluation.

Bobby Valentine