|James Hastings Nichols - History of Christianity - free copy:|
Church Historian, Academic Dean, Princeton University
student of Roland Bainton.
We visited Princeton in 1972, in time to enjoy hurricane weather. The New Jersey town was beautiful enough to be a museum by itself, and the campus was very attractive from the outside. Many buildings had that dank, crumbling atmosphere that comes with the Ivy League.
I was directed to the office of James Hastings Nichols. A request for a great church history book reminded me of this. He was required reading in the field, the editor of the journal Church History, and the academic dean. He was very kindly, always assuming I would be accepted - Never "if you come here," but "When you come here..."
The Princeton staff was warm and welcoming, always bragging about professors who had Yale degrees. I thought, "Maybe I should start there." Strangely enough, I did.
Bainton was famous for the telling details in his books and lectures. While others bore us to death with enormous studies that never omit a single detail from their research, Bainton would offer a narrative that combined understanding with a picture. His study of 20 languages showed that learning a new language was no barrier to his research.
Nichols showed that narrative ability, mentioning in his textbook that the first slave ship to land in America was named Jesus.
|George Hunsinger, Princeton, |
exposed the Marxist sympathies of Karl Barth.
He was in our apartment, telling us stories about their experiences in Germany. He wrote a book that every admirer of Barth and Fuller Seminary should read.
Karl Barth and Radical Politics shows how the "red pastor of Safenwill" worked with the Communists to spread their propaganda.
I know Evangelicals who explode like the Fourth of July - or more appropriately, like Guy Fawkes Day - when I mention Barth's extreme apostasy and love for Marxism.
Barth is responsible for Fuller Seminary's abandonment of their inerrancy stance (which was pretty weak to begin with) and remains their official and beloved theologian.
Another study of Barth, buried in my library at the moment, describes his enormous insecurity at become a theology professor without any graduate study. His able-bodied mistress - Charlotte Kirschbaum - prepared the research for him and likely wrote most of his Dogmatics (as claimed by Frank Fiorenza, former president of the Barth Society, my professor at ND, now at Harvard).
But this is yet another important detail about Barth, which supports the idea of Kirschbaum writing most of his famous work (the fine print) with the professor writing only the outline (the large print).
Barth had graduate students and associates look over this drafts. Some added lengthy clarifications, which Barth simply copied into the final draft without attribution.
Fuller seems to have spawned a whole generation of plagiarizing apostates like Barth. WELS has made plagiarism a virtue, practiced with this motto - "Why re-invent the wheel?" They have group sermons they copy from a private server and steal Craig Groeschel material, slogans, and graphics without attribution, as shown by the Appleton Alcoholics.