Great Distinctions

0How do you build a library?" I've often been asked. Well, seldom is it built by a pre-arranged plan. I've been blessed by being around older people who have taken an interest in me and given me books that have been helpful to them. Also, while a bookstore manager, I was given a number of books for promotional purposes.

Another contributing factor to uneven growth is that everything I see on certain subjects is purchased. One of those subjects is the New Testament Church. Consequently, I have a shelf full of books of differing value on this subject. But there is one book I very seldom loan out, for I prize it highly and it has been out of print for some time. So you can imagine my delight when Kevin Shantz came back from England with a number of copies of this book and announced that it was back in print. A gentleman there had it published again, and now through Gospel Folio Press it is available in North America. Its title is The Church and the Churches by W. E. Vine.

Let me explain why I value this book. First of all, it is compact. In his typical fashion, Mr. Vine is to the point, clear, and always backed by Scripture. Secondly, it has an excellent discussion of Peter and the distinction between the Kingdom and the Church. Included is a good discussion of the distinction between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven. While everyone may not agree completely with his conclusions, it is a compelling argument and worth considering. Also it discusses the clear distinction between the "Lord's table" in 1 Corinthians 10 and the "Lord's Supper" in 1 Corinthians 11--a distinction not often made. Last, but not least, is the excellent chapter on reception to the local assembly. In our day this must be reexamined by many. Mr. Vine offers a sane and scripturally sound approach to this topic. I cannot recommend this book too highly to every elder and to all others who seek to understand the proper functioning of the local church in this day of departure.

In conjunction with Mr. Vine's book, the Directory of New Testament Churches I have found interesting and informative. Mr. John Heading of Precious Seed Publications has arranged alphabetically all the churches mentioned in the New Testament. For each one he has given some pertinent background information as well as each scripture reference to that particular church. He then gives a brief synopsis of the church as we find it developed in the New Testament. This is an excellent tool for reference as you are studying the book of Acts or one of the epistles addressed to that church. It's one of those handy little tools I think you will turn to on more than one occasion.

Another Precious Seed Publication that is now being handled by Gospel Folio Press is a book entitled The Minor Prophets, edited by Mr. Ivan Steeds. A different writer has taken up each of the 12 Minor Prophets and has written a paragraph-by-paragraph commentary. While not reading all of this book (as of yet), I found it delightful reading. In an easy to read style, the authors have gotten the heart of the message and communicated it in a manner that is both clear and practical. The Minor Prophets is one of those sections of our Bible that seems to be neglected. Most of us have a hard time to find them in our Bibles, much less know what they say. But in these books are many good practical lessons we need to hear again today. They were written to a people that had drifted from their God and turned to pagan idols. In these last days we have drifted from our God and have turned to different idols to be sure, but just as pagan. We need to hear once again the voice of the prophets calling us to repentance and directing our hearts to the God who has redeemed us and set us apart for His glory.

Gospel Folio Press is happy to bring these good United Kingdom publications to North America so that readers on this side of the Atlantic can enjoy some of the superb ministry that has been so readily available to those in the British Isles.