Theology Thursday - Carnell on the "Perils" of Fundamentalism (Part 2)

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Edward Carnell continues his infamous broadside against fundamentalism, from his 1959 work The Case for Orthodox Theology. ​Many fundamentalists may not agree with his characterizations. Others may still see relevance for Carnell’s criticisms. No matter what you think of his writing here, it is a fascinating look at an evangelical’s view of the fundametnalist movement in the late 1950s.1

J. Gresham Machen

The mentality of fundamentalism sometimes crops up where one would least expect it; and there Is no better Illustration of this than the inimitable New Testament scholar, J. Gresham Machen.

Machen was an outspoken critic of the fundamentalist movement. He argued with great force that Christianity is a system, not a list of fundamentals. The fundamentals include the virgin birth, Christ’s deity and miracles, the atonement, the resurrection, and the inspiration of the Bible. But this list does not even take in the specific issues of the Protestant Reformation. Roman Catholicism easily falls within the limits of fundamentalism.

While Machen was a foe of the fundamentalist movement, he was a friend of the fundamentalist mentality, for he took an absolute stand on a relative issue, and the wrong at that.

Machen gained prominence through his litigations with the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. He contended that when the church has modernists in its agencies and among its officially supported missionaries, a Christian has no other course than to withdraw support. So Machen promptly set up “The Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions,” and with equal promptness the General Assembly ordered the Board dissolved. Machen disobeyed the order on the conviction that he could appeal from the General Assembly to the Constitution of the church. But this conviction traced to ideological thinking, for if a federal system is to succeed, supreme judicial power must be vested in one court. This Is federalism’s answer to the threat of anarchy. Wrong decisions by a court are not irremediable; but until due process of law effects a reversal, a citizen must obey or be prosecuted.

Machen became so fixed on the evil of modernism that he did not see the evil of anarchy. This prompted him to follow a course that eventually offended the older and wiser Presbyterians. These men knew that nothing constructive would be gained by defying the courts of the church. Perhaps the General Assembly had made a mistake; but until the action was reversed by due process of law, obedience was required. No Individual Presbyterian can appeal from the General Assembly to the Constitution, and to think that he can is cultic.

Ideological thinking prevented Machen from seeing that the issue under trial was the nature of the church, not the doctrinal incompatibility of orthodoxy and modernism. Does the church become apostate when it has modernists in its agencies and among its officially supported missionaries? The older Presbyterians knew enough about Reformed ecclesiology to answer this in the negative. Unfaithful ministers do not render the church apostate.

“Dreadful are those descriptions in which Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Habakkuk, and others, deplore the disorders of the church of Jerusalem. There was such general and extreme corruption in the people, in the magistrates and in the priests, that Isaiah does not hesitate to compare Jerusalem to Sodom and Gomorrah. Religion was partly despised, partly corrupted. Their manners were generally disgraced by thefts, robberies, treacheries, murders, and similar crimes.

Nevertheless, the prophets on this account neither raised themselves new churches, nor built new altars for the oblation of separate sacrifices; but whatever were the characters of the people, yet because they considered that God had deposited his word among that nation, and instituted the ceremonies in which he was there worshiped, they lifted up pure hands to him even in the congregation of the impious.

If they had thought that they contracted any contagion from these services, surely they would have suffered a hundred deaths rather than have permitted themselves to be dragged to them. There was nothing therefore to prevent their departure from them, but the desire of preserving the unity of the church.

But if the holy prophets were restrained by a sense of duty from forsaking the church on account of the numerous and enormous crimes which were practiced, not by a few individuals, but almost by the whole nation, it is extreme arrogance in us, if we presume immediately to withdraw from the communion of a church where the conduct of all members is not compatible either with our judgment, or even with the Christian profession.”

Machen thought it would be easy to purify the church. All one had to do was to withdraw from modernists; the expedient was as simple as that. “On Thursday, June 11, 1936,” said Machen to his loyal remnant, “the hopes of many long years were realized. We became members, at last, of a true Presbyterian church.”

It was not long, however, before Machen’s true church was locked in the convulsions of internal strife. The prophecy of the older Presbyterians was fulfilled. Since Machen had shaken off the sins of modernists, but not the sins of those who were proud they were not modernists, the separatists fondly imagined themselves more perfectly delivered from heresy than the facts justified. This illusion spawned fresh resources of pride and pretense.

The criteria of Christian fellowship gradually became more exacting than Scripture, and before long Machen himself was placed under suspicion. He had not taken his reformation far enough; the church not yet true. This time the issue was not modernism; the issue, ostensibly, was Christian liberty. And before this quarrel ended, a second true church was founded.

Still, no classical effort was made to define the nature of the church. This is how the mentality of fundamentalism operates. Status by negation, not precise theological inquiry, is the first order of business. When there are no modernists from which to withdraw, fundamentalists compensate by withdrawing from one another.

Machen tried to blend the classical view of the covenant with a separatist view of the covenant people. He honored Reformed doctrine, but not the Reformed doctrine of the church. This inconsistency had at least two effects: first, it encouraged Machen’s disciples to think the conditions of Christian fellowship could be decided by subjective criteria; secondly, it planted the of anarchy.

If Reformed theology could not define the nature of the church, how could it define the nature of anything else? The result was a subtle reversion to the age of the Judges: each man did what was right in his own eyes. Rebellion against the courts of the church converted to rebellion against the wisdom of the ages and the counsel of the brethren.

The Negative Ethic

When the fundamentalist develops his ethical code, he is somewhat prompted by a quest for status in the cult. Consequently, he defines the good life as the separated life separated, that is, from prevailing social mores. Whereas Christ was virtuous because he loved God with all his heart and his neighbor as himself, the fundamentalist is virtuous because he does not smoke, dance, or play cards.

By raising a scrupulous demur over social mores, the fundamentalist can divert attention from grosser sins anger, jealousy, hatred, gossip, lust, idleness, malice, backbiting, schism, guile, injustice, and every shade of illicit pride. This strategy places fundamentalism in the general tradition of the Donatists.

Since the Donatists had not handed the Scriptures over to the Diocletian inquisitors (they were not among the traditores), they supposed they were virtuous. By accenting the sins that they did not have, they took an easy attitude toward the sins that they did have.

An anxiety for negative status betrays fundamentalism into glaring hypocrisy. For example, a fundamentalist is very certain that smoking is sinful, for smoking harms the body and it is habit-forming. Yet, reasonably equivalent objections can be raised against excessive coffee drinking. The nerves may be upset or a stomach ulcer induced, and the practice is habit-forming. But the fundamentalist conveniently ignores this parallel. An attack on smoking ensures status in the cult, while an attack on coffee drinking does not. Moreover, the fundamentalist enjoys his coffee, and plenty of It. Since medical tranquillizers soothe his nerves, he does not need to smoke.

The fundamentalist is also very certain that movie attendance is sinful, for the movie industry is a tool of Satan. But when the fundamentalist judges films on television, he uses a radically different criterion. There is a cultic reason for this shift in standards. Fundamentalists, it so happens, are afraid of one another. If a fundamentalist is seen entering a theater, he may be tattled on by a fellow fundamentalist. In this event the guilty party would “lose his testimony,” i.e., his status in the cult would be threatened.

But when he watches movies on television, this threat does not exist. Drawn shades keep prying eyes out. One of the unexpected blessings of television is that It lets the fundamentalist catch up on all the movies he missed on religious principles. Fundamentalists defend the gospel, to be sure, but they sometimes act as if the gospel read, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, don’t smoke, don’t go to movies, and above all don’t use the Revised Standard Version and you will be saved.” Whenever fundamentalism encourages this sort of legalism, it falls within the general tradition of the Galatian Judaizers.

Paul says we are to “avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all men” (Titus 3:3). But the fundamentalist is often so Intent on negative status that he confuses courtesy with compromise. As a result, he drives cultured people from the church. For example, if a fundamentalist receives a letter from a modernist, he may go right ahead and publish it without the writer’s permission. Overly anxious to attack modernism, he neglects his own duties as a Christian gentleman. He has perfect vision to see heresy in others, but not in himself.

While we must be solicitous about doctrine, Scripture says that our primary business is love. But the fundamentalist finds the first task much more inviting than the second. Despite the severest apostolic warnings, schism in the church is often interpreted as a sign of Christian virtue. Separation promotes status in the cult; unity through love does not.

… to be continued.

Notes

1 Edward J. Carnell, The Case for Orthodox Theology (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster, 1959), 114-117, 120-121.  

"Evil of anarchy"

It strikes me that Carnell does not state what the historic reformed objection to separation would be, and if he truly believed that separation a la Machen was tantamount to anarchy, a fun follow up question would be to ask him on what grounds Calvin and his contemporaries separated from Rome.  It is also worth noting that the Scriptures do contain examples of splinter Jewish sects.  That's why the New Testament speaks of the Pharisees and Sadducees, and why the Masoretes (or whoever) created the Dead Sea Scrolls for us, and then you've got the Zealots and more.  It's also worth noting that Ezra and Nehemiah had to work to make sure that non-Cohens did not take part in the new Temple.

As far as I can see it, the main defense of Carnell's position here is that those who objected to Jewish apostasy in the Old Testament did not actually set up a different Temple.  However, a close look at Judiasm simply doesn't support Carnell's thesis.

Carnell was, and remains, on firmer ground when he discusses our social issues like movies, cigarettes, and alcohol, though.  There are, per Dave, many churches where this debate is quiet instead of loud, but these are still issues that Kevin Bauder covers in his weekly missives, and they're still things that get a lot of comments here.  I do think, though, that Carnell might be defending a particular habit of his, and that might have had something to do with his long term problems with insomnia.  

Machen

Carnell repeats tired, wrongheaded arguments about the Old Covenant people and imports it into the New. Very odd, for a Baptist! He sounds like a Presbyterian. More later.

TylerR is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs here.

Status in the Cult?

Carnell wrote:

The fundamentalist is also very certain that movie attendance is sinful, for the movie industry is a tool of Satan. But when the fundamentalist judges films on television, he uses a radically different criterion. There is a cultic reason for this shift in standards. Fundamentalists, it so happens, are afraid of one another. If a fundamentalist is seen entering a theater, he may be tattled on by a fellow fundamentalist. In this event the guilty party would “lose his testimony,” i.e., his status in the cult would be threatened.

I'm ignoring the bit about the "movie house," and focusing in on the bolded lines. This fear of running afoul of "the gatekeepers" is not a only fundamentalist problem, but it is still a pressing fundamentalist problem. I suspect this is more of an issue in the far-right strands of fundamentalism, where "big men" hold sway and have massive moral influence in the movement, through their schools and informal networks. I've seen it myself. There is a pervasive fear of "coloring outside the lines" on acceptable things. One pastor I knew felt he was being particularly bold when he allowed a missionary to quote from the NKJV in a service. Oh, my . . .

We must resolve to simply not care what other people think, and to only give people the influence in our lives (and our ecclesiastical leadership) that their character and intelligence warrant. In some cases, there isn't much character and there is even less intelligence. So . . . don't tap-dance around important issues, hoping to avoid landmines with "authority figures."

  • If you don't think the KJV is the best translation to use, then just say it - don't be two-faced.
  • If you believe in limited atonement, then be proud about it - don't wiggle around and appeal to mystery, depending on who you talk to.
  • If you think the ACCC is being less than productive by issuing resolutions which reverberate in an echo chamber, then say so.

Forget about your status in "the cult." Just believe something, and be willing to say it - your "status" is meaningless, and your cult likely is, too.

TylerR is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs here.

Dry humor

There is a cultic reason for this shift in standards. Fundamentalists, it so happens, are afraid of one another. If a fundamentalist is seen entering a theater, he may be tattled on by a fellow fundamentalist.

Nope, we don't do that to converg---...

Oh, wait. 

Nevermind.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

TylerR wrote:​

TylerR wrote:

  • If you don't think the KJV is the best translation to use, then just say it - don't be two-faced.

Yes, but don't trample on people's feet in the church just because you can. I still preach from the KJV (for aesthetic reasons, and also because of a few issues that I have with the next best aesthetically pleasing translation - the ESV). And we have one widow in the church who is KJVO, as well as an older couple who will likely become members who are mildly KJVO. None of them are troublemakers. 

TylerR wrote:

If you believe in limited atonement, then be proud about it - don't wiggle around and appeal to mystery, depending on who you talk to.

Or if the answer isn't as simple as a statement "I believe in limited atonement," then say that as well. There are senses in which Christ died for all, and senses in which Christ died for some. Some call me a 4 pointer, others call me 5. I don't care. My training is in biblical studies, not systematics. I don't boil my thoughts down well to that simple of a point. I point to text and textual evidence. 

TylerR wrote:

If you think the ACCC is being less than productive by issuing resolutions which reverberate in an echo chamber, then say so.

Or if you aren't a member of an ACCC church, then say nothing. Worry about your own fellowships, and try to bring about good change (if needed) to the ones with which you affiliate. I recently joined the FBFI. Why? Because there might be a place for Christian Conservatives (the Declaration) at the table there. Time will tell. 

CAWatson

The context I'm referring to is your association with other pastors and leaders, not church members. I mean you should not be ashamed to hold positions out of fear of what your peers might think. You certainly shouldn't feel bullied into conformity by peer pressure. Life is so much easier when you're actually forthright with other people:

  • I know Pastors who privately think the KJV is not "inspired," but they'll never change, because they fear attack from their peers.
  • Likewise on landmarkism, or the bastardized form of it common in some far-right fundamentalist churches.    
  • The same thing with election; some pastors are terrified to ever touch it, because they fear stepping outside the informal "orthodoxy" set by their association and/or networks.
  • The same thing with whether there is a catholic, universal church beyond the local assembly.
  • etc., etc.

I'm referring to an unhealthy fear of losing "status in the cult." As I said before, this isn't exclusively a fundamentalist problem, but we've had (and have) more than our fair share of it. This criticism from Carnell is still valid today. 

My experience with forthrightness among peers in ministry:

  • Many leaders are shocked when you have the courage to declare yourself emphatically on a "controversial" issue
  • Many leaders will be emboldened to tentatively confess that, yes, they too have had similar thoughts in the dark hours of the night, but haven't had the courage to confess them. Hint, if you witness this kind of response, realize you're operating in a cultic environment.
  • Those who disagree with you (i.e. the gatekeepers, whoever they are in your context) will counterattack, but these offensives will often have little substance. These men will likely reveal themselves as impotent bullies very quickly. Such men often rely on fear and intimidation, not argument and reason from Scripture. In short, they are fools.
  • Some men will seek to reason with you, and you can have a constructive and edifying discussion. But, don't bet on it. Most people aren't thinkers, and have little Scriptural reason for holding to their positions - their dogmatic positions are often more about traditionalism than honest conviction. Don't believe me? Tell your peers you believe in the Lordship view of salvation, and weigh the intellectual caliber of the responses.

Carnell has some good criticisms. We ought to think about them, and how it influences our approach to leadership in our churches. Back to work for me!

TylerR is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs here.

"There is a cultic reason for

"There is a cultic reason for this shift in standards. Fundamentalists, it so happens, are afraid of one another. If a fundamentalist is seen entering a theater, he may be tattled on by a fellow fundamentalist. In this event the guilty party would “lose his testimony,” i.e., his status in the cult would be threatened."

It reminds me of a joke I once heard: 

Why do you take two Southern Baptist's fishing with you? Because if you take only one, he will drink all of your beer and smoke all of your cigarettes. 

Heh - Theaters and Fundamentalists

The opposite side of this ditch is evangelicals arguing that Game of Thrones is suitable for a Christian to watch! Good grief . . .

TylerR is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs here.

On KJVO

My take is that there is an acceptable and unacceptable preference for the KJV. Acceptable:

  • I love the old rhythms and literary qualities of the text.
  • I'm used to it and understand it.
  • I appreciate the distinction between singular and plural you and the (intermittent) verb endings which give a hint about the underlying Greek and Hebrew.
  • I appreciate the retention of Hebraisms that give a picture of the underlying society.

Unacceptable:

  • Any claim, without contemporary evidence (e.g. ancient letters), that a text or text family was deliberately corrupted or otherwise does not qualify as God's Word.  It's unacceptable because it's the sin of slander.

I tend to call the former "KJV preferred", and reserve "KJVO" for the latter, and quite frankly if I were filling a pulpit and had people in the latter category in attendance, I would feel compelled to confront the error in Bibliology, probably by making a point by using the ESV, NASB, or other translations periodically in teaching, or possibly also by walking people through a few sessions of Bibliology (perhaps Sunday night) to explain the realities of manual copywork.

The reason I'd make the argument is simply because those who use sinful methods to argue for their preferred Bible translation aren't going to stop there.  A man of God's got to confront that sin--dunno which group you've got, CW, but I'd be careful. 

Has anyone really argued this?

TylerR wrote:

The opposite side of this ditch is evangelicals arguing that Game of Thrones is suitable for a Christian to watch! Good grief . . .

Has anyone really argued this? I asked b/c I have seen fundamentalists criticize evangelicals for this but I really haven't seen anyone really take this positon

We recently had house guests - unsaved relatives. Everyone went to bed at 10 pm

They (in our guest room) viewed GOTs through some kind of bittorrent way. Xfinity flagged it and emailed me about the download. I asked the young man about it over breakfast. I said - doesn't seem to be the kind of show someone should be watching. He said "I like dragons" 

Let's not get side-tracked

Let's not get side-tracked into Bible versions but.......I like the KJV for all the reasons Bert listed but I realized that it was a difficult version to understand for the congregations to whom I was preaching. When I heard myself spending time translating KJV English for those people I realized I needed to change. (BTW my personal study Bible is the Geneva 1599 which I prefer over the KJV.)

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

KJV Preferred

Bert,

I personally use the KJV, partly because of some of the reasons in your "Acceptable" list, but also because I believe the traditional texts are better.  That doesn't mean I think the CT is the spawn of Satan, but whether you accept them or not, I think there are valid textual reasons for preferring the KJV over CT translations.
 

Dave Barnhart

Need to expand the list, then

dcbii wrote:

Bert,

I personally use the KJV, partly because of some of the reasons in your "Acceptable" list, but also because I believe the traditional texts are better.  That doesn't mean I think the CT is the spawn of Satan, but whether you accept them or not, I think there are valid textual reasons for preferring the KJV over CT translations.
 

I'm amenable to that, as long as the reasoning isn't an unsupportable claim that a text family is deliberately corrupted.  Prefer the TR because it appears to be what might have been Jerome's root text, or because it sustained the western churches that gave us the Reformation?  I'm fine with that.  Big issue I have is simply with the frankly sinful reasoning of every KJVO proponent I've seen.  One might even suggest that KJVO does a lot of harm to Sola Scriptura and the first fundamental, IMO.

I also like the 1599, curious about the 1560 Geneva Bible, per Ron's comments.  Plus a few translations in German, and a few I cannot even read yet.

On Game of Thrones

I've been in an evangelical church where the pastor, while not endorsing Game of Thrones (it was 20 years too early), did part ways with fundagelical tradition enough to pretty much endorse watching R rated movies.  One woman wrote a response in the church newsletter which pointed out that none of us would invite people to watch our marital beds, or respond positively to such an invitation.  So I would guess that some subset of evangelicals would be amenable to watching GOT, though I'm not quite sure how many.

There are, to be sure, some very real issues within evangelicalism.  In many churches, there are indeed places of seriously mushy theology, or (seeker sensitive) pushing real theology out altogether, and the results are tragic.  

CARNELL'S HEALTH AND HABITS

I'm somewhat confused by the ethical rubrics for respondents to this thread. Whenever Carnell's mental illness is mentioned, or thought to have been mentioned, the immediate rejoinder is to criticize it as having no bearing whatever on his thinking or assertions made in the Case book. It even demonstrates a serious character flaw of the respondent. Yet when someone mentions a "personal habit" possibly related to his insomnia as a contributing factor to his negative evaluation of J. Gresham Machen, no one is heard from. The Westminister Seminary community responded to Carnell with an incredulous  "Machen, a 'peril' to orthodoxy???" response. At least it was obvious that Carnell also took Machen over the side along with the Fundamentalists on the separation issue. Yet today's Fundamentalists are supposed to learn, or to have leaned,  from Carnell's criticisms of separatism, but apparently not so for the Orthodox Presbyterians and their spinoffs. Was not the OP guilty of any of the Fundamentalist's alleged sins? I personally see that Carnell's set of criteria on separatism is so convoluted and inconsistent as to be incomprehensible and thus unworkable and ultimately meaningless.

 

 

 

Rolland McCune

Carnell's criticism of

Carnell's criticism of separation seems to be that once you begin to separate from error you can't stop. And as a fundamentalist I say, "Uh. Yup." Clearly Larry Oats was correct in The Church of the Fundamentalists that new evangelicals prioritized unity over purity and fundamentalists pursued purity in ecclesiology.

Separation

I've never seen a better discussion of separation than Dr. Oats' charts from his "Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism" course. That, and MacLachlan's infamous "if there is no 'thus saith the Lord,' you must not separate" comment from his book Reclaiming Authentic Fundamentalism.

I need to re-read my course notes from Dr. Oats' class soon! Smile I'll never forget going to Seminary at Maranatha and finding out there was actually a deep, intellectual component to Christianity and ​to fundamentalism. I'd been starved for too long. I remember feeling guilty because I was reading books in class that didn't use the KJV. So long ago . . .

I'll always be profoundly grateful to (1) the poor faculty who endured me in class and (2) my pastor who steered me there, because he realized how intellectually bankrupt far-right fundamentalism was - and he'd know, because he's a graduate from one of those fine "institutions" . . .

TylerR is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs here.

On the attacks about Carnell's mental illness

When I pointed out problems with that argument, I'm simply pointing out that it's a mere personal attack and doesn't mean anything.  Nothing, zero, zip, nada, no matter who's making the ad hominem.  I'm also the same person that suggested that the passage about cigarettes suggests that Carnell may have been a smoker who was catching flack for the habit, but I didn't try to connect that with his criticism of Machen.  

Which is fortunate, since Machen apparently enjoyed a cigar or two as well.  So to suggest that Carnell's (possible) smoking led him to savagely criticize another smoker would have been a great occasion for hilarity.

Come to think of it, just for fun, let's assume that I did say it and have a good laugh.

Regarding Jim's point on GOT, somewhat agreed, but at a certain point it sometimes seems to be a bludgeon to persuade people to stay in fundamentalism--see how bad evangelicals are?  Would you ever want to be in that camp?

FWIW

FWIW

I know some fundamentalists (more than one) who share GOT stuff on Facebook...In other words, it is not simply an evangelical problem. The problem of sin and lust is not simply the problem of evangelicalism, or even fundamentalism. The problem is humanity itself. Hence our need for the weekly recitation of the gospel. 

GOT / Machen

I have never ceased to be amazed at the amount of people who enjoy or defend GOT in either the Fundamentalist or Evangelical camps.  It boggles the mind.

As for Machen, I think there is a difference between SI linking to an article that attacks Machen by someone we disagree with and having a fellow member of SI attack someone in a discussion thread.  We can't change or censure Carnell's behavior.  We can, and should, address the bad behavior of a current member, including revoking their privileges to use SI if the site admins felt that was appropriate.  I don't think it rises to that level, when a couple of people called it out already in that same thread.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

MACHEN, SOCIAL ISSUES

Bert,

Thanks for the response.  I note that I conflated paragraph 3 (social issues) with 1 and 2 (Machen), for which I apologize. Going  a bit further, my note actually pointed out Carnell's insomnia issue which you asserted "might" have been related to his negative reaction to Fundamentalist social mores. I did not bring up the possibility of what his "personal habit" actually was, which was a factoid  I had never heard before. And I have had occasion to talk to some of those who were in his classes at Fuller. My point  was concerning the apparent duplicity of censoring anyone who appealed to his mental disorders as a factor in his intemperate outbursts in the Case book, and nothing being said about mentioning a "personal habit," much less forthrightly identifying it in a later blog. 

Sorry if all this ruins an enjoyable moment of laughter in circles of historical merriment. But I do agree that there is some truth in the consigning of these anecdotal reports about Carnell's health and habits to the "zilch, nada, zero" bin of basic worthlessness since they are only personal opinions.

 

 

 

 

 

Rolland McCune

Rolland

My point on the depression/insomnia is that early in the threads on Carnell, it was alleged that the circumstances of his death made Carnell a non-entity in toto.  Pure personal attack, no opinion involved about it.  The "personal habit" was simply a guess on my part--admitted as a guess--from his vehemence on the topic of smoking.  (and Mayo says that nicotine is involved in insomnia as well)

Just to be clear and all.  I don't object to wondering if the apparent polemic nature of Carnell's writing might derive from what was going on mentally.  I simply object to discounting his ideas and observations in toto because of the way he died, and furthermore to assume that was necessarily a sin issue.  


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