Hi Bill: Actually, I removed the multi-layers of latex based paint (applied over the past 15 years) on our fireplace using the 7" angle head grinder with a wire cup as I outlined above. But if you are doing this with a living (or family) room full of furniture, you will either have to cover everything first or remove it all from the room. But overall, this is probably the most effective way I have found to take paint off masonry, as long as you are careful not to gouge out the morter. This process doesn't seem to hurt the brick face. Then I used an acid wash and the brick look like new.
Another way is to use a stripper and then scrape it off. This can work ok, but is often slow and very messey.
The last way I can think of is to get a product called Strip-Away (I think that is what it is called). I've never used it, but saw it used once on TOH. It comes as a thick putty on a wax paper base that you squish down on the painted surface, let set for 20 minutes or so and peel off. It seems to disolve and lift off old paint without hurting the underlying wood or masonry. I've heard its quite expensive, though.