A spirited, you-are-there account of the recent ""civil war"" in the three-million-member Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod by the religion editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who covered the story from the outset and displays an intimate knowledge of all its facets. Since Jacob Preus (""rhymes with choice"") became president in 1969, the denomination has been riven by a bitter struggle over biblical inerrancy and the power to enforce orthodoxy. The confrontation between the strict-conservative majority and the moderates was precipitated by Preus' accusation that Concordia Seminary in St. Louis was teaching heresy in its use of modern historical and literary scholarship in biblical interpretation, and it became a toe-to-toe slugfest between Preus and Seminary president John Tietjen. Adams traces the Synod's conservative history and follows Preus' rise to power from a small reactionary tradition to his ultimate victory, with the exiled moderates finally setting up a rival denomination. The focus throughout is on the Synod president, the well-educated, independently wealthy, fiercely ambitious son of a former Minnesota governor; he is a fascinating theological purist and political infighter who seems willing to destroy his Church to protect biblical orthodoxy. There's more here than you may want to know about some of this, but Adams wraps it all up in a lively tale full of conflict, intrigue, and strong characters.