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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Apparent Danger" by David Stokes

"Apparent Danger: the Pastor of America's First Megachuch and the Texas Murder Trial of the Decade in the 1920s" by David Stokes is a ghastly good read. It is about the famous murder trial where John Norris shot and killed a man in supposed self-defense. There was controversy over this because the Ku Klux Klan became involved to some degree, and the leader of evangelism at the time broke a huge commandment. This book is historically accurate and sites many primary sources that are woven into the story. There is even a list of characters to keep track of the many voices heard in the book. This is useful considering the great size of this book and its depth, both emotionally and literarily. The courtroom scene and famous acquittal are told in suspenseful realism. Some of Norris' past history and interactions, as well as conniving dealings are inserted. At the beginning, Stokes points out that he does not want to offend Christians and that they'd agree Norris deformed the image of Christianity at that time in a most heinous fashion. Readers may never know what went on inside Norris' head, but by the end of the book, they will FEEL something; all good books make the reader FEEL something. Christian readers will keep turning the pages and realize that there is always someone coming in Christ's name, no matter what the era. "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves" (Matthew 7:15).

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