The Evangelical Universalist Forum

New from Wipf & Stock

This looks interesting

The first review on Amazon is interesting:
"Others have commented on the spirit that comes through the writings of John Killinger. I am not here to pronounce any derisive nature on the man himself, but rather the message I receive from him, specifically as it applies to his alleged encounter with one of the greatest preachers of the 20th century.

Killinger recounts a one-on-one conversation he allegedly had with the late Dr. John Claypool in Birmingham, AL while Claypool was serving St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham - my current parish. He uses quotations for Dr. Claypool’s words, the essence of which are true in part. However, anyone who knew or studied under Dr. Claypool knows that the spirit of the man was not given to making broad assertions or painting an entire category of people with one broad stroke, yet this is precisely what Killinger asserts. Dr. Claypool was a great advocate for maintaining as much peace as possible among interdenominational relations, and was averse to speaking derogatorily about his Southern Baptist heritage. Yet he was quoted as saying he “felt degraded” and “prostituted” by being a Baptist because “Baptists weren’t as intellectual or socially prominent as Episcopals”. One of Dr. Claypool’s trademarks was his great humility, but Killinger claims he felt he had to “come down” to the level of Baptists. I have listed to and read after Dr. Claypool extensively.
Attending his former parish, I have gotten to know the people who knew him and experience his legacy firsthand. These quotes are not in keeping with the man who taught to effectively that “Life is Gift” and every relationship holds a form of blessing potential for one or both participants.

Now I do not disagree with the fact that Dr. Claypool disdained the Fundamentalist takeover of the SBC spearheaded by Paul Pressler, Paige Patterson and Adrian Rogers, the fact that he was on his own spiritual journey, or that he found greater freedom in the Episcopal Church - I have heard him say as much. Rather than refusing to “prostitute himself”, however, he described it as moving from one room of God’s house to the next, and stated that his reasons for moving were “more positive than negative”. To be honest, the recounting sounds very much like Killinger read the article published at the time of Claypool’s transition(which I have attached), put it in a context of personal interaction and added his own personal animosity, as there is no new information of any significance in his narrative. His acerbic tone towards his native denomination is evident in his attack on Rev. Jerry Falwell in his book “The Other Preacher in Lynchburg” - a book which is in no way edifying.

Ironic, is it not, that he waited until Dr. Claypool had been dead for eight years before “releasing” the contents of this dubious conversation?"

Interesting. Hard to know how to reply to those accusations - I just don’t know anything about that situation.
In any case, though, I would read the book for its ideas and insights; let’s face it, we don’t know much about many of the authors we read, but we can assess whether what they say in their writings is good, not so good, or not useful at all.

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It’s certainly an important topic so I applaud those who recognise the need for change but I’m still looking for someone who can give a plausible alternative. I do hope there is one.

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Me too.