Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Shooting Salvationist, David R. Stokes

Even so, this book was great. I went immediately to church to speak to some of our older congregants about it. Not being a native of Texas - I was curious if any of them had any knowledge of this man. None did, but many where wanting to read the book when I started talking about what all was covered in this book.I agreed to review this book because I am intrigued with the history of the Baptist - being a Baptist myself. Living in Texas I was very interested in this story in particular.

J. Frank Norris is a character like no other. I have to say at the end of the book that I wondered how he still had any followers left - but then often dynamic speaking and an intimidating presence will draw a crowd more than sincerity. People in this world are seeking out leaders that are uncompromising - even if they are not always the best.

I was shocked at all that J. Frank Norris was accused of and even more shocked that he got off every time - especially in the murder case that this book centers around. In fact after reading this I consider this man a dark spot in the Baptist history - it seems some of our greatest leaders in the Baptist group of Texas have been somewhat shady and questionable. I wonder how the truly great leaders of integrity feel being mixed in such influential company.

The book was filled with many, many outside sources. It is obvious that this author had a great fascination of this dynamic man. However, at times I felt bogged down with the references, especially when there where quotes but no footnotes or recognition of the quoted source. Some of these could have been done a way with.

If you are looking for a piece of non-fiction that will cause you to dig into Texas church history this is probably a book for you. I personally do not know why anyone would be willing to put this man on their list of influential men of their lives. After reading this it just opened my eyes to how easily deceived people can be when a person such as J. Frank Norris has the courage and gumption to push their dynamic, manipulative personalities off on others. This man was the picture of maliciousness, evil speech, false testimony, lack of integrity, lack of honesty, murderous rage - all exact opposites of Christ's walk on this Earth.

I will be keeping this book in our section of the library that has other autobiographies and biographies of some of the religious greats and not so greats. I think at sometime this very story will be intriguing for my children to read. For even leaders that are bad serve a purpose in God's ultimate plan for this world. If only to open our eyes as to how we should be on guard and vigilant.

Thank you to the author for this review copy.

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