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QUESTION:   What do — Lady Godiva, “Colonel” Sanders, Johnny Cash, Norman Vincent Peale, Kathryn Kuhlman, Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther King, Roy Rogers, Karl Barth, Ruth Carter Stapleton, Gertrude “The Great”, Pepin “The Short”, Richard “The Lion Hearted”, Richard “Tricky Dick” Nixon, and William Wallace’s nemesis, Edward I (better known as “Longshanks”)  —  all have in common; and, what could they possibly have to do with Crown College?
ANSWER: According to the foreword in Dr. Ed Reese’s Chronological Encyclopedia of Christian Biographies (written by the late Ted Engstrom, President Emeritus of World Vision)these individuals constitute some of the “key players…who, historically, have made a difference in the world because of their Christian leadership and investment in the cause of Christ during their day and time.”

A book review by Dr. William P. Grady

Published in 2007, an excerpt from the back cover of this 1,389-page tome reads as follows: “The culmination of fifty years of research, the Reese Chronological Encyclopedia of Christian Biographies offers an index of biographical sketches for nearly every major person who has come and gone throughout Christian history.”
Dr. Reese currently serves as the senior faculty member at Crown College in Powell, Tennessee.  Dr. Clarence Sexton, Founder and President of Crown College, recommends this book, stating, “These sketches will inspire Christian workers, students and laymen alike and immensely help our Christian heritage to be passed down to the next generation.”
CAUTION:  Before you send your children to this so called “Distinctive Baptist College,” you might want to review the following sample of Ed’s 5,500- plus sketches, touted as, “The most complete compilation of Christian personalities ever assembled” and “A virtual ‘Who’s Who’ of Christian History from the First Century AD to Today!”
1)      The first sentence of the first sketch on the first page pretty well sets the pace for the credibility of this work: “Veronica - Woman whose veil retained impression of Christ.  Veronica was a legendary, pious, and renowned woman of Jerusalem.  The fairy tale continues, “According to French legend (thirteenth century), she took the cloth wrapped around her head and gave it to Jesus that He might wipe His face as He carried the cross to His crucifixion on Calvary. When Jesus returned it to her, the impression of His features were (sic) upon it.”
2)      While the average Baptist wouldn’t have a clue regarding the identity of this mythical woman, former Roman Catholics like me well recall learning about “Saint” Veronica at our first participation in the pagan “Stations of the Cross”. My own “epiphany” occurred at St. Stephen of Hungary Catholic School in Manhattan (circa 1960). Naturally, I was “thrilled” to discover that Ed had also included good ol’ “St. Stephen I of Hungary” himself, stating about the First King and founder of Hungary, “… Stephen received a crown in December, 1000 for his coronation from Pope Sylvester II, which remained the sacred symbol of Hungarian nationality for 900 years.” (p. 103)
3)      I was also “delighted” to see that another of Ed’s sketches spotlighted the patriarch of the very Roman Catholic Order that oversaw my Catholic indoctrination at St. Stephen School: “Francis of AssisiFounder of the Franciscan order … In 1209, he felt thecall to preach and organized the Franciscan movement, drafting its values and receiving approval from Pope Innocent III the following year.” While noting, “It is said that Francis was married to poverty and considered the birds as his family”, Ed forgot two important tidbits: According to Vatican records, St. Francis was the first Catholic to experience the stigmata, the “miraculous” manifestation of Christ’s wounds in the body. As to those Franciscan “values”, Fran’s descendents, along with the Dominicans, would spearhead the “Holy Inquisition” resulting in the murders of millions of Christians. (p. 126)  ( A sketch on “Saint” Francis de Sales, founder of the “Oblates of St. Francis” – the Roman Catholic Order that continued my brainwashing at Salesianum  High School in Wilmington, DE.  – appears in a separate Catholic category on p. 1309.)
4)      Because of the Veronica fable, I fully expected to find Mel Gibson’s two favorite sources for all his extra-biblical garbage in the Passion — Sister Mary of Ágreda and Sister Anne Catherine Emmerich. But, to my surprise, they didn’t make the cut. However, Ed did feature a number of other Catholic nuns like Sweden’s Sister Bridget, Italy’s Catherine of Siena, and Germany’s Sister Gertrude “The Great”, all of whom were fourteenth-century mystics given to demonic visions and prophecies. (pp. 132, 140-41)
5)      Speaking of “Brother” Mel, one of the more bizarre sketches in the entire book is the infamous English monarch, Edward I, also known as “Longshanks”.  Among his many “contributions” to the cause of Christ, we read, “In 1290, he banished 16,000 Jews charged with organized extortionate usury.” Of course, he is much better known for having drawn and quartered the beloved Scottish patriot, Sir William Wallace in 1305.  Incidentally, neither Wallace nor his protégé, “Robert the Bruce” made the cut in Ed’s encyclopedia. (p. 134)
6)      We have now come to the most outstanding example of the level of “spirituality” and “scholarship” offered at Crown.  On page 106 we read, “Lady Godiva – Honorable and compassionate member of the English Nobility, wife of Leofric (earl of Mercia).”  If you can believe this, Ed gives further insight into the “compassionate” nature of this eleventh-century English diva. “There is a legend of her riding naked through the streets of Coventry, covered only by her flowing hair.” (Peter & Gordon, 1966) “It is alleged that this happened on January 6th. The term ‘peeping Tom’ was to have originated for a townsperson who was miraculously blinded for looking upon her during this ride. However, this story is presumed to be false. Supposedly, she was carrying out an ill-advised agreement with her husband to lower burdensome taxes.” (For obvious reasons, unlike most of Ed’s biographical profiles, “Lady G’s” sketch does not include a picture.)
7)      Now while Dr. Sexton is incapable of discerning the ideological difference between a “Bible believer” and a “Fundamentalist” (being stuck in time within the latter Protestant movement), his star professor has apparently lost sight of the bare essentials of his own crowd. If I’m not mistaken, ecumenical organizations are supposed to be “out of Hell”. In my cursory review of Ed’s encyclopedia, I found at least two former female presidents of the World Council of Churches, Nita Barrow from Barbados, and Marga Buhrig from Berlin, Germany.  While Barrow’s “claim to fame” is that she was the first foreign official to visit Nelson Mandela in jail, the liberal Anglican Journal recognized Buhrig as “one of Switzerland’s pioneering feminist theologians”. (pp. 1120, 1192)
8)      In addition to Roman Catholic nuns and Protestant “feminazis”, Ed’s penchant for the “weaker sex” extends to Charismatic faith-healer/preachers as well. Consider this “tongues-speaking triumvirate”: Aimee Semple McPherson, Kathryn Kuhlman, and Jimmy Carter’s whacked-out sister, Ruth Carter Stapleton.  McPherson’s faith healing days came to an end after she ingested an overdose of sleeping pills; Kuhlman had such a mesmerizing power over her radio and TV audiences that Time magazine labeled her “a veritable one woman Shrine of Lourdes”; Stapleton’s most notable “contribution” was in “leading” pornographer Larry Flynt to the Lord in 1977 while the two were hanging out in a discotheque. (pp. 727, 946, 1005)
9)       Ed’s “forgetfulness” with respect to his “Fighting Fundamentalist” roots is repeatedly demonstrated throughout his encyclopedia as numerous rank liberals are acknowledged with their own respectable sketches.  A sample of such “wolves in sheep’s clothing” would include: Karl Barth, founder of neo-orthodoxy, positing that “the Bible contains the Word of God”;  Harold J. Ockenga, credited with coining the term “New (Neo) Evangelicals (ism)”; and the “liberal’s liberal” Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking (pp. 891, 1017, 1100).
10) While Clarence Sexton has continually worked to promote his college as a “King James” school, in order to dupe naïve pastors and prospective students, Dr. Reese has consistently undermined his efforts. (Their relationship mirrors that of Obama & Biden.) It is well known that Reese frequently mails out materials that attack the “King James Only” position.  Consequently, a number of Bible critics are given top billing in his book.  For instance, Origenthe greatest Bible heretic of all time – is described as an “influential Biblical scholar.” However, to his “credit”, Ed was willing to concede, “As he proceeded to clarify his theology, it translated into a disbelief in the physical resurrection and an eternal hell.”  But then again, he left out the fact that Origen was so weird that even the Catholic Church was forced to excommunicate him for self-emasculation!  Stemming from a perverted interpretation of Matthew 19:12, the “influential Bible scholar” castrated himself as a means of avoiding future temptation.  (The “influential Biblical scholar” could have saved himself a lot of pain by “exegeting” Deuteronomy 23:1).  One of Dr. Sexton’s more embarrassing moments occurred when word got out that a giant portrait of Origen had been hanging at Crown College for months.  The painting was subsequently and quietly removed.  Other featured patriarchs of the modern “Bible” movement include: Dr. Brooke F. Westcott, Dr. Fenton J. A. Hort, Dr. Philip M. Schaff, John B. Phillips, Kenneth Taylor and Dr. Bruce M. Metzger. The late Jerry Falwell put things into perspective with his own glowing endorsement, “Ed Reese has done it again!” To this assessment I would say, “Amen!” as Dr. Falwell was referring to Ed’s massacre of the King James Bible - The Reese Chronological Bible, recommended to enable Christians to “read the Bible as it happened”. (pp. 20, 518, 479, 483, 996, 1235, 1249)
11) As with all end-day compromisers, Dr. Reese is careful to maintain a pronounced political correctness especially in the sacrosanct arena of “perceived racism”.  (After all, didn’t our first “African-American” Attorney General, Eric Holder, state that America was still “a nation of cowards” with regard to the subject of race?)  On a promotional brochure listing the subject headings in the book – Pastors, Missionaries, Educators, Evangelists and Musicians – Ed goes out of his way to add “Minorities”.  (This is what the “Reverend” Joseph Lowery meant by his racist Inauguration Day slur, “When white will embrace what is right”.)  Consequently, all the traditional “religious” gurus of racial agitation can be found: Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ralph D. Abernathy, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc.  (I can’t imagine how he missed Julia Ward Howe.)  While spirit-filled black preachers like John Jasper are certainly worthy of honor, the lines become blurred with sketches like Alphaeus H. Zulu of Nqutu, South Africa, another former President of the World Council of Churches. Another life-long civil rights activist, “Chief Bishop” William E. Crumes, sporting a white collar and bishop’s miter, is recognized for making a transition from licensed barber to ordained Bishop (Church of the Living God, Cincinnati, Ohio).  And my, how “fortunate” we are to learn that James L. Cleveland taught nine-year-old Aretha Franklin to sing!  (The “Queen of Soul’s” hit song Chain of Fools has a most appropriate ring.)  Finally, for some reason, Ed felt “led” to attach the postscript “he was a slave holder” to many of his otherwise spiritual white personalities.  Go figure! (pp. 489, 495, 1062, 778, 887, 515, 1043, 1222, 1068)
12) Moving right along, hundreds of other sketches could be cited that fly in the face of the stated purpose of this work.  Whereas Bill Gothard’s plug reads, “To honor these courageous heroes of the faith is appropriate”, I would like to know if Mr. Gothard even read the book?  Would any sane Bible believer consider the fourth-century Syrian hermit Simeon Stylites a “courageous hero of the faith”?  This crackpot’s “fifteen minutes of fame” came from sitting atop a sixty-foot pillar for thirty-six years!  (“…I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down….” Nehemiah 6:3) Ed dismisses the obvious quackery, calling it “an exercise of religious contemplation”.  Pepin “The Short” was another “piece of work”.  You might say that the eighth-century Frankish King was the patron saint of the Sword of the Lord.  Pepin was a 4'6" Catholic dude with an attitude who dragged his 6' sword around with him everywhere he went!  His basic “Christian” service was supplying muscle for a couple of Catholic popes, Gregory III and Stephen III.  Johnny Cash, a.k.a. “The Man in Black”, was a fornicating, dope- smoking country western singer. Roy Rogers & Dale Evans spent their entire productive lives in Hollywood.  Richard M. Nixon was the most disgraced president in American history.  John Wimber founded the satanic Vineyard Ministries in Anaheim, California, spawning such demon possessed garbage as the Joel’s Army movement, Latter Rain theology, Laughter Revivals, and “Holy Ghost Glue”.  Courageous heroes of the faith? What’s wrong with this picture? (pp. 62, 84, 1213, 1150, 1176, 1103, 1142)
13)  My final sketch in this survey is the automobile titan, Henry Ford.  According to Ed, “he often talked of his love for the Bible”.  Ford’s personal testimony follows, “All I know of truth, honesty, and idealism, I have learned from the Bible.”  Based on Henry’s lifetime obsession with anti-Semitism, it would appear that he never made it past Genesis 12:3. Ed’s encyclopedia conveniently excluded a number of interesting facts: In 1920, Ford purchased a small Michigan newspaper, the Dearborn Independent, and subsequently published 91 consecutive issues attacking worldwide Jewry.  He then released a four-volume series of books entitled The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem. The set sold millions of copies and was eventually translated into 16 languages, including German. Adolph Hitler was so inspired by Ford’s hatred of Jews that on July 31, 1938 (in honor of Ford’s 75th birthday), he awarded the industrialist the Grand Cross of the German Eagle (the “Fatherland’s” highest honor for a noncitizen). According to The New York Times, a life-size portrait of Ford hung in Hitler’s private office in Berlin.  Throughout World War II, the majority of trucks that transported both German soldiers and Holocaust victims alike were manufactured by French Ford, a subsidiary of the American based Ford Motor Corporation. As “the curse causeless shall not come” (Proverbs 26:2), Henry Ford’s legacy speaks for itself: The cities of Detroit and Flint, Michigan, consistently rank among the top three crime zones in America; the same region sports the highest unemployment rates anywhere (while communities on the other side of the state, such as Holland, enjoy a relatively prosperous climate, given their unique “Jewish-friendly” WWII heritage); and finally, 250,000 Muslims now inhabit Henry’s boyhood home of Dearborn, the largest concentration of rag-heads outside of an Islamic country. (Should anyone need further convincing, just Google the “Motor City’s” hip-hop, sex-texting, former mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, or the “record setting” 2008 Detroit Lions football team.)
The inclusion of so many reprobates in the main body of this encyclopedia is accentuated by a special thirteen-category section at the back entitled “Other Influential Personalities”, three of which are labeled “Catholics”, “Enemies of Christianity”, and “Liberals”.  Of course it is only fair to note that Ed was willing to finally admit (on page 1,307), “The editor is not an authority in these areas. It was difficult enough to select who would be included among the traditional Christian leaders for this volume.” (Like I said, you might want to think twice about sending your children to Crown.) And should we laugh or cry at the inductees listed under the heading “Miscellaneous” (deemed either “questionable”, or, having “no evidence of acceptance”): Roy Acuff - described as a “Christian Hillbilly”,  whatever that is; Lee Atwater - fanatical Machiavellian advisor to Skull & Bones alumnus, President G. H. W. Bush;  Napoleon Bonaparte - Roman Catholic dictator who boasted on the eve of Waterloo, “God is on the side of the country with the biggest cannons”; Eldridge Cleaver - former Black Panther activist who traced his conversion from Marxism to Mormonism to a mystical vision he received of Jesus’ face appearing in the moon; Benjamin Franklin - notorious womanizer and deist; Gen. George S. Patton, Jr. - staunch reincarnationist who believed he was the Carthaginian general, Hannibal; George Bernard Shaw - alcoholic, vegetarian and sexual deviant who believed he was a reincarnation of William Shakespeare, who, when asked what he thought of Christianity, replied, “I don’t know, it might work if anyone tried it.” (pp. 1317, 1318)
Finally, not only does this book woefully miss the mark because of its countless asinine entries, but because of the many legitimate heroes of the faith who were shamefully excluded.  In his forward, Mr. Engstrom wrote, “You will be hard-pressed to find someone of note that he has omitted.”  The truth is, one is hard-pressed to find hundreds of Baptist preachers who literally forged the political and religious culture of this once-great land. This subtle anti-Baptist bias is simply an extension of Ed’s workplace.  While Dr. Sexton tries to pitch his school as a “Distinctive Baptist College”, he has no problem sending mixed signals to his students by repeatedly scheduling Protestant speakers in Chapel.  Ditto his own speaking engagements at various Protestant churches and colleges, including the notoriously pro-Westcott and Hort Bob Jones University.  (See From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man by James Williams.)  In his unhealthy obsession to compete with the culture at BJU, Sexton has assembled his own generic collection of “Christian Art” at Crown College. Predictably, a high percentage of the portraits are of Catholic and Protestant leaders, including some of the most infamous persecutors of Baptists.  (Fortunately, Crown hasn’t yet exhibited the nudity and Mariolatry displayed at the BJU museum.)
 As previously mentioned, Ed could waste twenty-one pages for “extras”, including “B.C. Personalities”, “Cults”, “Popes”, “Unitarians”, “World Council of Churches Presidents”, and “Arch Bishop’s of Canterbury”, yet hardly any space for leading Baptists commensurate with their enduring contributions to the true cause of Christ.  Consequently, Crown students who take this “reference” book seriously will surely gain a warped view of their true Baptist heritage (assuming that it even means anything to them in the first place).  For instance,  while the cruel executions of such courageous Reformation-era Baptists as Balthasar Hubmaier and Felix Manz are noted, the Protestant responsible for their deaths, Ulrich Zwingli, receives an editorial “pass” with the ambiguous phrase, “Zwingli was a silent partner in Anabaptist persecution.”  (See: Pontius Pilate, Matthew 27:24) (pp. 160, 162)
Once again, our Baptist ancestors are conspicuous by their absence and the contrast afforded by so many “blanks” only makes the conspiracy even more perverse. For instance, while the pagan Greek philosopher Aristotle is noted for being a “Great Thinker”, no mention is given to the nineteenth-century Baptist minister, Dr. Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry, a graduate of Harvard University whose lifetime achievements required three columns of print in the prestigious Dictionary of American Biography, as well as the commissioning of a marble statue in Washington’s National Statuary Hall.  Ed’s readers may be “inspired” to learn that Buddha “was the founder of Buddhism, but will look in vain for the name John Gano, the American Revolutionary chaplain who baptized George Washington in the Hudson River.  We also learn that Mother Teresa “was the founder of the Sisters of Charity”, though fail tohear about Andrew Tribble, the Baptist pastor who dined with Thomas Jefferson on numerous occasions, influencing his political thinking on autonomous government.  According to Ed’s “scholarly” work we learn that Bernadettesaw [the] Virgin Mary at Lourdes”;  yet, we read nothing about the brutal beating, in 1651 Boston, of Obadiah Holmes, constituting the first blood shed on American soil in the cause of religious liberty.  Ed tells us that Charles F. Gounod “wrote Ave Marie”, yet failed to mention that Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag.  While we are reminded that Tennessee Ernie Ford “sold over 20 million copies of his famous album Sixteen Tons”, no space is given to Daniel Marshal, the fruitful Baptist evangelist and church planter who founded the first church of any denomination in Ernie’s home state – Buffalo Ridge Baptist Church in Gray, Tennessee.  While Ed remembered to include several “legends” of Southern Gospel music, such as George Younce, W. Jake Hess, and that iconic duo Howard & Vestal Goodman, he somehow” forgot to mention the name of Shubal Stearns -  the Baptist preacher who is credited with singlehandedly birthing the entire Bible Belt itself.  Fortunately, the North Carolina Historical Society has preserved Stearns’ legacy on a graveside highway marker, stating of his pioneering work, “Sandy Creek Baptist Church – Mother of all Separate Baptist Churches in the South” (pp. 1308, 1310, 1312, 1076,1234, 1203, 1219).
While I “suppose” there is some enduring “spiritual” benefit in knowing that Sister Anne Javouhey “trained 900 nuns”, somehow I just can’t help wondering whether the students at Crown would be better off learning about that great host of Baptist preachers who endured such “cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment” in eighteenth-century Virginia for the cause of their currentreligious liberty:  John Afferman - Cruelly beaten, incapacitated for work; Joseph Anthony - Jailed for preaching three months; Elijah Baker - Pelted with stones, jailedfor preaching, fifty-six days, banished by ship; David Barrow – Dunked and nearly drowned by 20 men; James ChilesJailed for preaching, forty-three days; John Corbley – Frequently hauled out of the pulpit and beaten, jailed on several occasions; Elijah CraigJailed repeatedly; Lewis CraigJailed for preaching, four weeks; John DelaneyJailed for permitting a man to pray; Augustine EastinJailed for unknown duration; William Fristoe – Repeatedly threatened at the point of a gun; James GoolrichJailed repeatedly for preaching; James GreenwoodJailed for preaching, forty-six days; Thomas Hargate - Jailed for preaching; Samuel Harris – Door broken down by enraged mob during preaching service, jailed repeatedly; James Ireland Jailed for preaching, five months, tried to suffocate him with smoke, tried to blow him up with gunpowder, tried to poison him, injured for life (his daughter died from the poison), drunken rowdies put in the same cell with him (he led them to the Lord), horses ridden over his hearers at jail (many of the imprisoned Baptist ministers preached through the grates to their congregations outside their cell windows), “men made their water in his face”, opposition everywhere; Martin Kaufman – Severely beaten with a stick; John Koontz –Severely beaten with butt end of a large cane; Dutton Lane – Endured much persecution; Ivison Lewis – Met with violent opposition; William LovallJailed for preaching, sixteen days; Lewis Lunsford – His preaching interrupted by mob violence and legal proscription;  William McClannahanJailed for preaching; Richard Major – Mob so outrageous, nearly pulled him to pieces; Daniel Marshall – Endured much affliction; William MashJailed for preaching, forty-three days; Thomas Mastin – presented by grand jury; Thomas MaxwellJailed for preaching; Edward Mintz – dunked and driven away in his wet clothes; Anderson MoffettJailed for preaching; Jeremiah Moore – Brutally assaulted by a mob, jailed on three occasions; Elijah Morton – Ousted as a Justice because he was a Baptist; William Mullins – Presented before Magistrate for being absent from state church; Joseph Murphy – Arrested for preaching; John Pickett – Great opposition from mobs and magistrates, jailed three months or more; Hipkins Pitman – Arrested and threatened with whipping; James PitmanJailed for preaching, sixteen days; Younger Pitts – Arrested and abused; James Reed – Dragged off stage, kicked and cuffed about, jailed for preaching, forty-three days; Nathaniel SaundersJailed for preaching; John ShackelfordJailed for preaching, eight days; Joseph SpencerJailed for preaching; Philip Spiller Jailed for preaching; Henry Street – Whipped for preaching; John TannerJailed for preaching, shot with a shotgun, suffered the rage of mobs; David Thomas – Violent opposition from ruffians with bludgeons; worship prevented, pulled down while preaching, dragged out amidst clenched fists, attempts made to shoot him, pitched battle ensued; David TinsleyJailed for preaching, four months and sixteen days; Andrew Tribble – Presented for preaching; Thomas Waford – Severely beaten with a whip; Jeremiah Walker – Opposed by state church pastor, jailed for preaching, sued for baptizing two boys; John Waller – Hauled about by the hair of his head, almost rent asunder by friend and foe, jerked off stage, head beaten against the ground, whipped severely by the Sheriff, jailed four times for a total of one hundred and thirteen days; James WareJailed for preaching, sixteen days; Robert Ware – Presented for not going to church, annoyed by men drinking and playing cards, jailed twice for preaching, fifty-four days; John WeatherfordJailed for preaching, five months (leaving a wife to provide for their fifteen children, twelve of whom were girls), hands slashed by guards as he gestured to sinners through his cell window (so many people were getting saved from his preaching, known as “denying the prison bounds”, that incensed magistrates constructed a massive brick wall nearly twelve feet high directly in front of his window and even took the desperate measure of lining the top of the wall with glass bottles set in mortar so as to prevent the more determined listeners from employing the strategic perch; the aforementioned efforts being frustrated by a faithful congregation that devised the counter measure of raising a handkerchief on a pole as a signal that the brethren were now assembled and ready to hear), salvations and baptisms continued, Patrick Henry secured the pastor’s release by personally paying his fine; William WebberJailed twice for preaching, four months; Anderson Weeks – Arrested for preaching; Allen WyleyJailed for preaching, for considerable duration; John YoungJailed for preaching, six months. 
Sadly, not a single man in the above paragraph can be found in the celebrated Reese Chronological Encyclopedia of Christian Biographies. (Might I recommend instead Imprisoned Preachers and Religious Liberty in Virginia by Lewis Peyton Little, along with the excellent contemporary works by James Beller, Jim Alter, Dolton Robertson, and Jeff Faggart.)  As “truth is stranger than fiction”, even the secular New York Times was aware of Colonel Samuel Harris, noting on January 20, 1884, “On one occasion, while a Baptist preacher was preaching in Orange County, Va., he was dragged out of the pulpit by the hair of his head and kicked; and he was about as roughly handled in many other portions of Virginia.  And yet that Baptist preacher was never heard to complain of not being appreciated. R. B. Semple says of him, ‘Colonel Samuel Harris’s manners were of the most winning sort, and perhaps even Whitfield did not surpass him in addressing the heart.’” For the record, Ed crashed and burned somewhere between a nineteenth-century Congregational theologian named Samuel Harris and the Pentecostal “Colonel” Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. (pp. 506, 983)
Finally, by way of a personal testimony, while a student at Hyles-Anderson College (1976-81) I took four classes from Dr. Reese and never heard the name of a single American Baptist pastor (apart from the vainglorious twentieth-century era).  The closest Ed ever came was Roger Williams, a well-intentioned pioneer of religious liberty who lasted a grand total of five months as a “Wanna-be Baptist”, (having been immersed by a baby-sprinkled Congregationalist “layman” who had never received the ordinance himself).  This brings up yet another flaw in Ed’s encyclopedia – the fact that the few Baptist sound bites he does include are frequently inaccurate or anemic.  For instance, Dr. John Clarke was the founder of the first Baptist Church in America, a work that initially assembled in New Hampshire in the winter of 1637-38, and then abruptly moved to Aquidneck Island where Clarke founded the community of Portsmouth.  Once again, we must turn to secular historical societies to get the news that is censored by Protestant historians hiding in Baptist clothing.  An official highway marker at the city limits to Clarke’s city bears witness to his unequaled role in history with regard to Soul Liberty: “Welcome to Portsmouth Birthplace of American Democracy Est. 1638”.  The name “John Clarke” is also the first to appear in Rhode Island’s historic charter of 1663, being commended by King Charles II as “our trusty and well beloved servant”.  Yet, Ed erroneously says of Clarke, “started America’s second Baptist Church” (crediting the usurper, Williams, with being the first).  Dr. Henry Dunster, the first President of Harvard University, is another case in point.  After telling us that Dr. Dunster was forced to resign his presidency at the Puritan school for “refusing to have his infant son baptized”, he then states that Dunster “took a Congregational pastorate in Scituate, where he served until his death”.  While he did remove himself to Scituate, he continued his fellowship with the Boston-area Baptists as there was no established Baptist work in Scituate (leaving the door open for occasional interaction with the deprived Congregationalists there).  Although Ed tells us that Isaac McCoy, the Baptist missionary to the American Indians, had 13 children (though the correct number was 14), he says nothing of the most heartrending statistic of all – 11 of these having died due to hardships connected with his work! (pp. 234, 223, 347)
One of Dr. Reese’s favorite sayings is, “Books are not for reading; they’re for filing.” Should we therefore be surprised that he missed three of the most important Baptist historians in his encyclopedia?  Ignoring Dr. David Benedict, he enlightens us about Benedict of Nursia – Founder of monasteries in Western Europe – “A pet raven snatched a poison slice of bread from Benedict’s hand, just in time to save his life.” In the place of Dr. John T. Christian we have Christian II – King of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden – “known as ‘The Cruel’ for his massacre of Scandinavian nobility”.  Finally, while “somehow” forgetting to cite Dr. William Cathcart (editor of a real research work – the two-volume, 1,323-page,  Baptist Encyclopedia) Ed did include:  William de la Mare, William I of England, William I of the Netherlands, William I “The Pious”, William III, William of Auvergne, William of Champeaux, William of Corbeil, William of Ockham, William of St. Carilef, William of St. Thierry, William of Tyre; and last, but not least, William of Wickham! (pp. 67, 176, 132, 107, 189, 94, 248, 127, 113, 115, 138, 108, 116, 121, 145)
Well, enough is enough; we cannot go on forever. In closing, let me say that the only thing more disappointing than the Reese Chronological Encyclopedia of Christian History, are the cowardly pastors who continue to support such end-day compromisers as Clarence Sexton – no matter how many impressive buildings they have, “…men of corrupt minds…supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” (I Timothy 6:5)  
Dr. William P. Grady
Pastor: Macedonia Baptist Church
Swartz Creek, Michigan