Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Book Recommendation: RA Torrey's "The Fundamentals"

I have a confession to make. I hate theological liberalism. Look up all the synonyms for "hatred" in your thesaurus, and if you roll them all up into one mega-hate word, and then smother that hate-word in the hottest red chili sauce known to man (y'know, the stuff you have to handle with rubber gloves), well then, that's how I feel about liberalism. And, coincidentally, most actual theological liberals get on my nerves rather quickly.

Having made that confession, I want to say that I got R.A. Torrey's two volume work, The Fundamentals, for Christmas and I am thoroughly enjoying it. It's four books, actually, and each is a collection of essays from various authors.

These books began to be collected/assembled in 1909, as an obvious frontal assault on the then-fashionable liberalism that was coming out of Germany, and beginning to infect Christianity in North America.

As with any collection of writings, some are more helpful than others, so I'm not offering a blanket endorsement here, but generally speaking these are thoughtful essays written by brilliant, well-educated Christian men who hated liberalism nearly as much as I do. (They might leave off the chili sauce.)

The first book is focused on countering the en vogue Higher Critical method, and the remaining three center around theological topics. Some of the names I recognized before I started reading: James Orr, B.B. Warfield, W.J. Erdman, Thomas Boston, H.C.G. Moule, J.C. Ryle, G. Campbell Morgan, C.T. Studd, and Philip Mauro. (I also recognized C.I. Scofield, but I was trying to list the good ones above...)

I have seen this set for sale many times before, but I have passed over it because I had a suspicion that it would be filled merely with the rantings of snake-handlers and those who believe that holiness has something to do with the length of your shirt sleeves.

I have been pleasantly surprised, and quite edified, by this collection. Did I mention how much I hate liberalism?

But here's the thing, the reason why you really ought to consider getting The Fundamentals by R.A. Torrey for yourself: The current Postmodern fad gets all of its theological legwork from the 19th and early 20th Century liberals. The pomo's haven't hit on something new. They're simply rehashing all the same junk that has destroyed Christianity in Europe and brought down all the mainline denom's here. And smarter men than you and I had 'em pegged a long, long time ago.

RA Torrey's The Fundamentals, a two volume hardcover set, can now be had for about fifteen dollars, which is 85% off the original retail cost. Talk about bang for your buck! Very highly recommended.

012643: The Fundamentals, 2 VolumesThe Fundamentals, 2 Volumes

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