Friday, July 08, 2005

Elevator Book Reviews

I have just begun reading Rolland McCune's new book, Promise Unfulfilled: The Failed Strategy of Modern Evangelicalism. As is my custom, I take my current reading material with me to the Emory food court for my lunch break. In addition to the profitable reading time, this habit forces me to get in a good walk each day since I must trek from my building on the edge of campus to the cafeteria area which is located in the center. When I leave my cubical area for my daily lunch routine, I normally take the elevator to get down from the third floor of our building. Occasionally, a co-worker will get on the elevator with me and engage in normal techno-geek small talk. Today, however, my elevator companion noticed that I was holding a book in my hand and could not help but ask what I was reading.

Emory University began over 100 years ago as a Methodist school. Today, while it still boasts a very liberal school of theology (albeit with a very substantial and useful theological library), the school itself is basically secular, mostly known for its buisness, law, and medical schools. Most employees don't know what to make of the school's religious heritage and are probably happy that Emory plays up diversity more than Reformation Day. I say all that to say that my poor co-worker had absolutely no idea how to respond to Promise Unfulfilled.

You don't have much time to talk on an elevator, so I meekly offered a not-too-helpful, "Its about Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism and the differences between the two." He quickly glanced at the back cover and read some of the comments by Doran and Beale, but frankly, those didn't do anything for him, either. As the elevator doors began to open, he handed the book back to me and said something like, "That's all way over my head...." Feeling sorry for him, I changed the subject to last night's Braves game and asked if he had seen the triumphant major league debut of hometown hero Jeff Francoeur. Thus ended my 30-second elevator review of McCune's book.

This incident reminded me of a very similar encounter several months ago, while I was reading a biography of William Tyndale. This time a whole group of co-workers got in the elevator with me and again one of them asked about my book. No one seemed to know who William Tyndale was so I told them that he was responsible for the first English translation of the New Testament from the original Greek, that he was a contemporary of Martin Luther, and had a significant role in the protestant reformation. Emory's library actually has a fairly substantial collection of reformation materials, including several original documents from the hand of Martin Luther. Nevertheless, all this information left them nonplused.

Soon, I will begin Theology in America: Christian thought from the Age of the Puritans to the Civil War. One advantage that I will have if anyone asks me about this book is that it was authored by an Emory University professor, Dr. E. Brooks Holifield. Perhaps I will be able to get an autograph.


At 12:33 PM, Blogger Allen R. Mickle, Jr. said...

So what did you end up thinking about McCune's book? McCune was my theology professor at DBTS and am very interested. God bless.

Allen Mickle

At 4:49 PM, Blogger Andy Efting said...


Thanks for visiting. I thought McCune's book was excellent. As I mention later on in my blog, his book pointed me to presuppositional apologetics for first time. I very much appreciate McCune and his writings. I've never meet him personally but I'm sure he was a great teacher.


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