THE GREAT APOSTOLIC BLUNDER MACHINE: A Contemporary Attack Upon Christendom by John R. Fry

THE GREAT APOSTOLIC BLUNDER MACHINE: A Contemporary Attack Upon Christendom

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A withering blast, cruelly perceptive, brutally witty, and frequently unfair, at the mainline Protestant churches. Fry, who used to be a Presbyterian minister, misleadingly invokes Kierkegaard in his subtitle: unlike his great predecessor, though, he does not want to reform Christianity but to wipe it off the map. The main target of his disgust is current theology, which he caricatures in a series of circular theses, e.g., ""THE NEW TESTAMENT SAYS THE APOSTLES SAY GOD SAYS THE GOSPEL IS THE WORD OF GOD."" Most scriptural interpretation, in other words, is historically groundless, self-serving Christian mythology. Again, ""THE NEW TESTAMENT SAYS THE APOSTLES SAY GOD SAYS GOD IS LOVE""--meaning, only willful blindness to the horrors of the modern world (Auschwitz, etc.) allows Christian preachers to go on proclaiming the effective goodness of their God, whom Fry calls ""the Boss and a Monster."" He also lashes out at what he considers the frauds and follies of local churches. In one chapter, ""Worship, or Here Comes the Collection Plate,"" Fry portrays them as preposterous anachronisms, religiously meaningless and wholly absorbed in fundraising and the rituals of bureaucracy. He continually scores points off the Establishment but this critical rage has something curious and even pathetic about it. ""The church is dying, not growing,"" Fry insists. ""The longer it goes, the deader it gets."" If this is true, why is he so desperately eager to bury it? If theology is such dreadful nonsense, why does he read so much of it? Disquieting, nonetheless, for anyone connected with institutional Protestanism, especially its liberal branch.

Pub Date: Nov. 22nd, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row