By Duane Sholly
Books can be one of our greatest sources of truth. The Bible is of course our first and foremost source of truth.
Christian bookstores are shunned by the brethren out of the belief that looking for a good source of truth there is a waste of time. This speaks volumes about the churches of God. In fact, how many books do you have on your bookshelves at home that were authored by someone in one of God’s true churches. Such books should be great sources of truth. Perhaps you can count them on your hands—or even one hand. Would anyone in the secular or Protestant world come across a good source of truth about God’s law, about the Sabbath, or about the Holy Days in a Christian bookstore? I think we all know the answer to that one.
True, the world can be exposed to the truth on the radio if they are within range of a station that carries a truth-bearing program or on the Internet if they have a computer. They may happen to come upon a copy of the Good News or some other Church of God publication that is available in some doctor’s office or airport. But, would you agree that there is a dearth of books available to the general public conveying the truth as we know it?
There have been some real good publications of truth-conveying books authored by men in the churches of God. One such book is The “Lost” Ten Tribes of Israel… Found!, published in 1992 and authored by Steven M Collins. But you are not likely find this book on the shelves of your nearby Christian bookstore. My wife and I were fortunate to have a friend who secured a copy for us from the author, himself. Then there is the book, Truth Triumphant which is a wonderful history of the Church in the Wilderness by B.G. Wilkinson, PhD. It is a printed documentary dealing with the history of Sabbatarian churches and a truly inspiring book.
The Seventh Day Adventist Church has given rise to several books dealing with the Sabbath and also the Holy Days authored by Dr Samuel Bacchiochi. They are small paperback books which include, among others, The Sabbath Under Crossfire—a Biblical analysis of recent Sabbath/ Sunday developments, The Sabbath in the New Testament, God’s Festivals in Scripture and History, The Time of the Crucifixion, and The Advent Hope for Human Hopelessness. But these books can only be obtained from the bookstore at Andrews University or from the author.
Anyone who was in the WCG years ago may remember Dr Ernest L Martin. He authored the book, The Star That Astonished The World—an ASK publication in 1996 that is available through Amazon.com. Herein Dr Martin presents the conclusions to his research as to the truth of when Jesus Christ was really born. Not everyone in the churches of God accept his findings as valid.
Fred R Coulter (CBCG) has authored a large volume on The Christian Passover. In this 450-page book Mr Coulter delves into the meaning of the Passover and when it should be observed. It is also full of basic truth on a wide range of spiritual issues. He is coming out with a book of similar size dealing with The Days of Unleavened Bread—now near completion. Also is his plans is a book dealing with the Sabbath. But, again, these books are available to the CBCG readership or other brethren that request them. [CBCG, PO Box 1442, Hollister, CA 95024-1442, tel 408-637-1875. You may request the short rebuttal to the 1993 version of this book, The Passover Controversy by Sanford Beattie from Servants’ News—see address on page 2. — NSE]
Mention should be made to Herbert Armstrong’s own book, Mystery of the Ages, which some brethren may have a copy of in their homes. It is a very large volume that presents the doctrines that Herbert Armstrong and the WCG taught and it was published prior to HWA’s death. One can have access to that book on the Internet. [This book claims it might be the most important book written in 1900 years and that God led Mr. Armstrong to write it, but, like most other books, is a mixture of truth and error (see article on it in Servants’ News, May/June 2000, page 6) — NSE]
Now we return to the assumption of most of the brethren stated in the second paragraph of this article—that to go to a Christian bookstore is a waste of time. Let me state quickly that most of what one finds in such a store is truly lacking in truth as we know it in the churches of God. Great care must be exercised in choosing what to buy in an outlet that caters to the Sunday church going throngs. Yet in the rest of this article I will endeavor to point out several books that do convey a great deal of truth—good Biblical material that will inspire you and enhance your spiritual growth in Christ Jesus.
Some time ago members of the CBCG were encouraged to acquire the book, Satan’s Ten Most Believable Lies, by Dave Breese and published by the Moody Press. This 144-page paperback book on Christian living describes the ten of the enemy’s false doctrines. Each chapter defines a satanic lie and compares it to the truth found in Scripture. The author’s goal is to strengthen your faith and to help you resist the pervading influence of false doctrines advocated by Satan. This is truly a truth-conveying book and can be found in a Christian bookstore.
Another highly respected author is Alfred Edersheim who has authored books about the Temple. One is The Temple, Its Ministry and Services copy written in 1994 and is published by the Hendrickson Publishers in Peabody, Massachusetts. By August 1996 it had gone through its third printing which shows how much demand there has been for it. God’s feasts and Sabbaths are referred to throughout the book.
A book that should intrigue, inform, and inspire most of you is Howard Blum’s book, The Gold of Exodus. It purports, in its preface, to reveal the discovery of the true Mount Sinai. “In this true story award winning journalist and author Howard Blum tells the enthralling account of two modern-day adventurers. Larry Williams, a self-made millionaire and his friend Bob Cornuke, a retired policeman and a former SWAT team member. Lured by the prospect of finding the fabled fortune in gold that the ancient Hebrews took with them when they fled Egypt, the two men set out to find the true site of Mount Sinai—with only the Old Testament as their guide. In this documented story is the dramatic revelation of how they sneak into Saudi Arabia and of their astonishing discovery at the mountain known as Jabal Al Lauz.” This is a 1998 publication of Simon and Schuster.
High on the reading list for all Christians should be the book, How Now Shall We Live? by Charles Colsen and his co-author Nancy Pearcey. According to the authors, “This book was written to help Christians make sense of the competing worldviews that clamor for their attention and allegiance in a pluralistic society.” The authors assert that only the Christian worldview provides a rationally sustainable way to understand the universe and that only the Christian worldview fits the real world and can be lived out consistently in every area of life.
The book is divided into five parts with the following titles:
Just citing these section titles hardly does it justice!
The fact that women have authored some books to be highly recommended to you will disturb many in the churches of God where women are not accepted in leadership or teaching roles. However it would be hard to prove that God did not have any part inspiring some women who have authored books that definitely convey a great deal of truth. Dr Laura Schlessinger authored her book, The Ten Commandments and How Could You Do That? among others.
And there is Kay Arthur who wrote Our Covenant God, As Silver Refined and Israel, My Beloved. The latter is a Christian novel that deals with the history of Israel just prior to, during, and after the Babylonian Captivity. Our Covenant God proves that God has dealt with mankind according to His covenants. Each chapter includes many quoted Scriptures. This can be a valuable Bible study.
My wife has come to enjoy reading the book, Really Bad Girls in the Bible, by Liz Curtiss Higgs.
It is one of a series. The first one was Bad Girls in the Bible. These books bring to the reader lessons from “less than perfect women”.
A true aid in helping to provide real good reading on Sabbaths and that certainly help to reveal the greatness of our all powerful Creator God and the wonders of His creation are the series of Readers Digest books, The Earth, Its Wonders, Its Secrets which include: Strange Worlds, Fantastic Places; Nature’s Masterpieces; Intelligence in Animals; Secrets of The Seas and Natural Disasters. If one can read past the references to evolution or scientific speculation one will find these books to very informative.
As I read through these books
I refer to our copy of DK’s World Atlas to find places being referred to. The atlas is a treasure trove in itself—a 165-page book packed with pictures, graphs, reading material, as well as gorgeous maps all at a reasonable price when purchased through Amazon.com.
Families with young children would do well to acquire the beautiful book, The Art of God—The Heavens and the Earth by Ric Ergenbright. This book is a photographic celebration of God’s creation, and is a call for us to recognize and praise Him for it and faithfully obey His mandate to care for it. It is complete with Scripture in its 160 pages.
Its last page features a photograph of clouds, and superimposed on that picture is Romans 11:33–36. “Oh the depths of riches both of wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”
Why are so few books written by Sabbatarians found in Christian Book Stores? Is it because publishers and store owners will not sell anything they disagree with? That is not the case, because it would only take a few minutes in any Christian bookstore to find books that completely disagree with each other on such fundamental things as the purpose of mankind, the requirements for salvation, the nature of God, the nature of the Devil, etc. These are important doctrines, but nearly every Christian Bookstore will carry books with very different opinions.
Are Sabbatarian authors rejected simply because the owners are against the Sabbath, Holy Days, clean meats, non-Trinitarianism, etc.? No! Many Christian bookstores will carry Jewish and Messianic Jewish books that teach all of these doctrines.
Publishers and store owners can accept authors that disagree with other authors on certain points. They cannot accept authors that disagree with all other authors on all points. Unfortunately, the most visible Christian Sabbatarian groups (Seventh Day Adventists and Worldwide Church of God) taught that they were the one True Church and that all others were false. These groups taught believers to listen only to their own teaching and not to others. How can a publisher or store owner recommend a book that declares essentially all of his other books to be “not worth reading”?
If there were only one true church organization with all truth, then one should reject all of the other groups. But history and present day reality show that nearly all Bible doctrines are taught by a variety of groups. The only people who do not understand this are people who refuse to spend the time to look at what other groups teach.
Now that the larger Sabbatarian organizations are breaking up, it is interesting to see that there are many other Christian groups beginning to teach the Sabbath and Holy Days. An Internet search on these terms will reveal a number groups—mostly independent—that have no ties to the Seventh Day Adventists or the Church of God groups.
A second reason why Sabbatarian books are not well accepted in stores is that some of them are dogmatic, but erroneous. Many Sabbatarian leaders believe so strongly that God is working mainly through them that they will not listen to those who disagree with their teaching—either within or without their organization. A good example of this is The Christian Passover by Fred R Coulter. This book is extremely dogmatic and very long, and many who finish it are convinced that they have heard the final word on the Passover and need not ask any more questions. Duane Sholly recommends the book in the attached article and many others have recommended it to me. I found a number of mistakes in the 1993 version and we now offer a paper that clearly explains some of them: The Passover Controversy by Sanford Beattie (see the address on page 2).
We must realize that there is a certain amount of error in most books—probably in all of the books mentioned in this article. That is why we must expect the Holy Spirit to show us truth (John 16:13). We do not have to fear that we might unknowingly accept some error because God does not hold us guilty of sin if we are truly blind to it (John 9:41). What is important is that we do not reject truth because it is different than what we used to believe, or because it will be inconvenient to do so (maybe to the point of losing our friends and jobs). It is my hope that those who have learned important truths in the Church of God groups will let their “iron sharpen iron” by continuing to learn from others, and then let the Eternal work through them to teach these truths to other serious non-sectarian believers. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:31).
— Norman Edwards
Discount Sources of Christian Books:
Christian Book Distributors, PO Box 7000, Peabody MA 01961-7000;
978-977-5005; www.christianbook.com. You may write or all for a free catalog.
Barnes and Noble carries many Christian books and, has numerous local stores, accepts phone orders at 800-THE-BOOK (800-843-2665) and internet orders at www.bn.com