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Sep 22, 2006


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Denis Hancock

Hey Mike:

Holding it back isn't healthy. You need to let it out and say what you really mean...


Amen. I'd add that I think you're being generous in attributing the "agenda" to profiteering and sensationalism. I think it's much more plainly theological and political.

The amazing thing about Davis Perkins' various statements in defense of Griffin's book is that Perkins actually came out and agreed with Griffin's basic theological perspective (process) AND his claims about the demonic nature of the US government. That floored me - I was prepared for a lame free-expression argument, but not for "Bush-is-an-evil-genocidal-maniac-so-maybe-he-did-it".

Keep in mind, this is the same Mr. Perkins who, in the foreward to an essay by Prof. Douglas Ottati (mailed to every congregation in the country), not-so-subtly accused "right-wing organizations [of using] confessional statements as theological sledgehammers to bludgeon Presbyterians into a rigid orthodoxy that divisively excludes certain persons from ecclesiastical leadership."

I would suggest, based on regular readings of the PPC catalog, that Mr. Perkins'... erm, opinions are broadly reflective of the decision-making folk at PPC. Yes, there are some good, scholarly titles (particularly the Battles translation of Calvin's Institutes, and N.T. Wright's Christology books). But on the whole, the theological books tend toward the heterodox (as opposed to merely liberal), and the books on religion and society span a wide range from ordinary Marxism to utter lunacy, i.e., Griffin.

So, no, I agree. It's not an accident. And as far as I'm concerned, an organization - any organization - not directly accountable to the church shouldn't use the Presbyterian name, at least not without some qualification.

Michael Kruse

"Holding it back isn't healthy. You need to let it out and say what you really mean..."


Michael Kruse

"And as far as I'm concerned, an organization - any organization - not directly accountable to the church shouldn't use the Presbyterian name..."

And that is my bottom line. Either the work is brought in house or it needs to be spun off as an indpendent entity. To leave our name associated with an entity over which we have no managerial control is foolish. I think the best option is to just spin PPC off.

Michael Kruse

And Andy, all your observations may be true. I tried to keep my post limited only to those things I have first hand knowledge of. That alone is sufficient reason for me to come to the conclusion I have come to. I can't speak to the specific agendas of individual personalities.

David Walters

About 40 years ago John Knox Press published Robert Montgomery's little volumne - "The Gospel Acording o Peanuts"
There was great outrage on the part of many the t4he very idea of such abook was balsemy. Some wnated t4he pulisher fired. Nobne of these folks had not read the book.
&It turned out that it was the biggest seller in the history of JKP.

Most of the blatheribg about 4he Griffin book is from folks who have not read it.
My 45 years in the church leads me to believe that this to shall pass

Michael Kruse

"Most of the blatheribg about 4he Griffin book is from folks who have not read it."

David, if you will look at my post on the 21st you will see my review and reflection on the book. Did you even read my post?

From your statement I take it there is nothing a denominational publishing house should not publish.

Quotidian Grace

I am very grateful to you for your posts on this subject and appreciate your leadership in calling for a spin off of the PPC. Thanks also for calling attention to the Marsh book, which appalled me last year when it was promoted at APCE. Of course it didn't get the kind of attention that the politically sensational Griffin book did, but it was just as destructive, IMHO.

I've thanked you for your posts here:
http://quotidiangrace.blogspot.com/2006/09/call-to-spin-off-ppc.html>A Call To Spin Off the PPC

Michael Kruse

Thanks QG. And thanks for the link. I was not aware of PPC's attempts to promote March's book outside of the event at the GAC. That adds a new layer to this whole discussion.

You mentioned a family leaving your congregation over this book. I have had two other such instatnces reported to me as well.

Gordon Fish

Another dimension of the damage to the W/JKP franchise caused by the 9/11 book is this: What reputable, scholarly author would consider a publisher whose list included such nutty works? Perhaps "B-list" authors desperate to get published anywhere might stay, but "A-list" authors will likely run the other way. I'm with Jeff and Michael. Perhaps we should send the whole lot of the publishing company to the transporter and have Scottie beam them to Area 54 in Roswell. I'm sure they'll find some good company there.


For what it is worth from what I recall the Marsh book was not being promoted BY APCE. It was being promoted by PPC at APCE. Marsh was the speaker at a breakfast that PPC always has at APCE.

Michael Kruse

"Perhaps we should send the whole lot of the publishing company to the transporter and have Scottie beam them to Area 54 in Roswell."


Michael Kruse

I think the way GAC got into this last year is that they simply made time available for the PPC and trusted them to come up with something. The PPC took advantage of that good will to stir up controversy. I suspect a similar kind of thing happened at APCE but I have no way of knowing that.

QG did write "...when it was promoted at APCE" not by. Still, ceemac, I think you are right to make sure we keep the distinction.

Tom Sparks

I appreciate your thoughtful contributions to denominational concerns if not crises. I'm glad our paths crossed in Heartland Presbytery.

Michael Kruse

Good to hear from you Tom. It has been a while. Thanks for your affirming comment.

Denis Hancock

Mr Walters -- It was Robert Short who was the author of The Gospel According to Peanuts. I don't recall any serious controversy over its content, though, and I have been acquainted with this book since 1966. I do recall a lot of laughter and discussion of its theological insights. Another thing that sets Short's book apart from Griffin's is that Robert Short was (and still is) a Presbyterian, as was Charles Schultz.

David Dawson


Amen. I would encourage you to raise this with the GAC and ask them to recommend your proposal to the 2008 GA.

If anyone thinks that our outrage is biased, they should read the Christian Century (September 5, p. 8) book review which also makes it clear that the popular understanding is that Presbyterians are responsible for this craziness.

Michael Kruse

Thanks for the heads up David. I missed that. I'll have to dig it out.

Quotidian Grace

Yes, the Marsh book was promoted AT APCE at both the breakfast sponsored by the PPC and at the Market Place that always accompanies this gathering. I seem to remember, however, that Marsh also presented a workshop on this book but could be mistaken about that. If he did, then it would be fair to also say that APCE was promoting the book.

There wasn't much controversy at APCE about this book at the time except among the few of us more conservative types. Generally people are focused on other things at this meeting.

David Walters

Being a "reforming but always reorming" sort of guy I'm not ready to t4hrow the baby out with the batwater. WJK has a long history of publishing great books. Somehow of late or atleast since the PPH waas spun of as an independant corporation the quality has slipped a ew notchs. The spin off was basically a way to deal with some folks 1who could not get alongr togeter. Lets brings back in to the fold. Or least change the the members of the boad of directors to the ecezutive commottee of the GAC.

Michael Kruse

"Lets brings back in to the fold."

I think that is an option and I am torn about which way to go. What I think is very unhealthy is having entity out there with the PCUSA name but no real accountability.

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