Three senior pastors of large mainline churches describe, in the words of one, their "ascent out of liberalism." They offer fragmentary glimpses of how a postliberal church, exiled from cultural prominence, ought to read scripture, preach, worship, form faithful Christians and engage in social action. Some of these glimpses (especially of the teaching and social ministries of the church) offer a rich alternative to the "church growth" models that have been proposed as the solution to the problems of mainline congregations. Unfortunately, the diatribe against "liberalism" pervading the book obscures and sometimes distorts its most promising ideas.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).