All Commentary
Sunday, April 1, 1984

Book Review: Idols For Destruction: Christian Faith And Its Confrontation With American Society by Herbert Schlossberg

(Thomas Nelson Publishers, P.O. Box 141000, Nelson Place at Elm Hill Pike, Nashville, TN 37214), 1983
335 pages • $14.95 cloth; $8.95 paperback

The modern world, as Mr. Schloss-berg perceives it, is steeped in polytheism. Strange gods comprise its pantheon, bearing odd names such as Historicism, Mammon, Humanism, Nature, Power, and Religion. A chapter is devoted to the left-liberal ideologies which constitute, or have infiltrated, these several fields, and well-known apologists advance their best arguments. But after our author has applied his critical analysis his opponents are left without a case. He is an acute critic who seems to have read everything the idol makers have written, and much else besides. With its full index, the book is an encyclopedic survey of contemporary ideologies. It is also an answer, point by point, to much entrenched error. As an iconoclast, Schlossberg is a smashing success as he coolly demolishes one idol after another.

But the net impact of the book is not negative, for the author has a positive philosophy of freedom to replace the dubious notions he criticizes. Schlossberg is equipped with a body of principles explicitly Christian, buttressed by ideas from the writings of men like Mises, Hayek and Friedman. It is my opinion that many readers of The Freeman will be stimulated and challenged by this work, and I urge it upon them.

  • The Rev. Edmund A. Opitz (1914-2006) was a Congregationalist minister, a FEE staff member, who for decades championed the cause of a free society and the need to anchor that society in a transcendent morality. A man of wide reading and high culture, Opitz was for many years on the staff of the Foundation for Economic Education in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York. He was one of the few voices in the 1950s through the 1990s calling for an integrated understanding between economic liberty and religious sensibility. He was the founder and coordinator of the Remnant, a fellowship of conservative and libertarian ministers.