Misadventures in Fundamentalism

2011 Steerforth Press--Foreword by Bob Scieffer of CBS News

The following is best read aloud in a booming announcer voice 😉

Allow me to introduce you to the book I’ve been anticipating most for the past year–The Shooting Salvationist: J. Frank Norris and the Murder Trial That Captivated America (2011, Steerforth Press–Distributed by Random House. Foreword by Ft. Worth native Bob Schieffer of CBS News). Perhaps you’ll recall how last year I went on and on about a book about J. Frank Norris‘ murder trial. Well, that caterpillar quickly entered its cocoon and the butterfly is soon to be released! July 12 is the scheduled date for Pastor David Stokes’ thorough narrative non-fiction work on one of the most colorful fundamentalists of the early 20th century.

A rising star in the Southern Baptist Convention, J. Frank Norris resolved to spread God’s Word in a populist and sensationalist manner–taking on every villain, real or perceived, that crossed his path–doing battle royal in the most public manner as he could to make a big name, not only for himself, but also for the Savior whose cause he strove to promote. Norris’ tactics however, epitomized the very definition of “misadventure.” A burr in the saddle of local Fort Worth, Texas powerful elites, a sworn enemy of the “liquor interests” and self-appointed defender of the faith against the liberalizing tendencies at his alma mater, Baylor University, almost all agree that J. Frank Norris generated more heat than light. The growing crescendo of sensational exploits on these and other fronts would culminate in devastating tragedy and make headlines across the country when Norris shot an infuriated opponent to his death. 

The murder trial of J. Frank Norris in the 1920’s was literally the “OJ Trial” of that generation. A relentless media circus hung on every detail of the trial as they kept the country buying paper after paper to learn the fate of this ambitious religious ringleader. You’ll never believe that a story like this is true. You simply have to read it for yourself!

The Shooting Salvationist: J. Frank Norris and the Murder Trial That Captivated America  is available for pre-order at the book’s new website. I’ll also be adding The Shooting Salvationist Blog to my blogroll so we may all keep up with it. 


7 responses

  1. Can’t get over the fascination with crazy baptists huh? Nahh…just kidding. Very interesting. Will have to get it and add it to the future stack.

  2. You’ll learn a ton about your hometown as well. I didn’t have the luxury of being lead out of the IFB movement by a Reforming father in my teens, so it’ll always be a significant part of my personality, for better or worse.

    Besides, J. Frank Norris was a Calvinist, after all. You can read about that in another book soon to be released. But more about that later.

  3. I heard a lot of preaching, at one IFB church I used to attend, on the liberal stuff happening at Baylor and how great heroes of the faith confronted it ‘back in the day’.

    It seems much that gets circulated through IFB pulpits is actually re-circulated from earlier generations.

    Now I know, the rest of the story….

    1. Norris was definitely one of them. But he probably wasn’t the only one. Here in Ft. Worth you hear about Norris almost to the exclusion of every other old fundamentalist. It often gives the impression that Norris himself started the entire fundamentalist movement.

  4. Learn about my hometown? Arlington? What all the ABC stuff?

  5. Arlington is near enough to Fort Worth to be considered a suburb. It’s D/FW, not D/FW/A. You’ll learn a lot of interesting things about the history of Fort Worth, and other little things like, for example, how golf legend Ben Hogan was a newsboy who delivered the extra edition the day Norris shot D.E. Chipps. And how the P.F. Chang’s restaurant downtown is built on the site of Norris’ old office where the deed was done.

    That’s just some of the neat stuff you’ll learn about “your hometown.”

    Speaking of which, when my mother read the book, she said that she recognized the name of a doctor who helped bail Norris out of jail. He was her family doctor. The book can be a lot of fun for a local boy who cares to know what happened where he lives before the day he was born.

  6. […] see in my blogroll a link to The Shooting Salvationist Blog. In case you missed my post a few weeks ago, there’s a book on the verge of being released focusing on the murder trial […]

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