This review is from Christian Media, Oct-Nov 95, p. 11.
In many ways, this book is a continuation of the previous work from Mr. Spencer entitled Heresy Hunters: Character Assassination in the Church. This reviewer had the same reaction to both books: I liked them, but I hated certain parts of both of them.
The author had originally wanted Bleeding Hearts and Propaganda to be titled Red Necks and Bleeding Hearts, but the publishers were a bit worried about offending the right wing with the Red Neck label. Apparently they weren't concerned with offending the liberal "bleeding hearts."
What James Spencer has attempted to do here is take a centrist position and point out the fallacies and failings of the liberal left and the red neck right. He has succeeded in producing an imminently readable, if not occasionally infuriating volume.
Spencer has a certain clarity and a talent for making his chosen subject material genuinely accessible. Further, it doesn't take long to recognize he truly loves the Lord and wants to bring about healing and reconciliation in the body of Christ.
I found myself agreeing with him almost 100% in the first half of the book as he documented the clear departure from biblical Christianity by liberals such as Tony Campolo, Ron Sider, and Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong. Each of these phony leaders is in a class of their own when it comes to apostate and Antichrist teaching. Spencer then moves towards what he calls the "propaganda" of the conservatives.
In that 2nd section on conservative Heresy Hunters, James covers what he calls "slash and burn" apologists in the conservative right. In this regard, he offers an outstanding chronological blow by blow account of how he was victimized by Hank Hanegraaff. and The Christian Research Institute. This section alone is worth the price of the book.
For those that have recently joined us here at Christian Media, Mr. Hanegraaff is the leader of CRI that advocates accountability for everyone but himself. In the book, Spencer tells the true story of the behind the scenes maneuvering by Hank as he tried to suppress the publication of Spencer's previous book, Heresy Hunters. Because Hanegraaff's petty and unbiblical machinations were exposeD in Heresy Hunters, he tried to intimidate Huntington House into canceling their publication of the book.
Spencer shows how Hanegraaff lied to the Huntington House [Editor-in-Chief], and tried to smear Spencer by falsely accusing him of falsifying his credentials. To their credit, Huntington House asked [Hanegraaff] for documentation which, of course, never materialized, because Hank made it up. The truth is, Mr. Hanegraaff has been at the center of several other controversies of late-and as far as this reviewer is concerned, he has zero credibility
Spencer tells all about Hanegraaff's shenanigans in the book, and to his credit, he does it without malice or vindictiveness. the author believes, as do many others, that "ad hominem" (against the man) arguments are unfair. He feels that doctrine should be argued only on its merits and disagreements should not turn into attacks against [those advocating the doctrines]. I completely disagree with this philosophy as it is frequently impossible to separate the argument from the antagonist. that difference of opinion, however, did not keep me from enjoying this book.
I found Bleeding Hearts and Propaganda to be thought provoking, intellectually stimulating, and informative. This is good reading that will hold your attention-even when you disagree with the author.