Brian Gunning, St. Catharine, Ontario, Canada
‘After a conference in the Middle West (USA) a number of responsible brethren met to discuss the drift of our times and the need for clear, spiritual ministry amongst the saints. We were all agreed that “the things most surely believed among us” are threatened by a carnal intellectualism that throws a question mark on much that, we are convinced, the word of God clearly teaches. Without seeking or trying to be contentious, we feel there is a challenge to be faced. Our times demand it. Without ambiguity, which the scriptures condemn, we will seek in a humble and Christ-like spirit to re-emphasize the precious truths of God that are so dear to the hearts of the saints.
This is not another magazine. It is just a simple attempt to put some clear and positive ministry into the homes of exercised saints.
There is a great need in the assemblies of the Lord’s dear people for young men to rise up and, in fellowship with the Spirit of God, addict themselves to the study of the word of God. If this little paper can encourage this, we will feel that we have contributed a little to the welfare of the people of God.
Sunday School teachers may also find help and become better equipped for the work that God has committed to their trust. If so, we will feel enriched by enriching others.
We are living in the most exciting days of our dispensation. The Lord’s coming is imminent, “We can almost hear His footfall on the threshold of the door”. The devil, knowing that his time is short, is seeking to confuse the minds of the Lord’s people with mixtures, the merging of light and darkness, of truth and error. His deceptions are designed to lead away simple souls, yea, and others who are not so simple. We shall seek to be clear and positive and scriptural in this ministry and our prayer is that God’s dear people will see the pilgrim’s path, “which no fowl knoweth and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen”, a path discernable to faith alone.
A BRIEF HISTORY
And so began the first issue of Counsel Magazine, an undated issue thought to have been published sometime in late 1970. Robert McClurkin, an itinerant Irish evangelist and Bible teacher residing in Ontario, Canada, together with a committee of men from the United States and Canada began the work of Counsel Magazine. The initial circulation was largely among North American believers and was compiled simply using, what are now considered, primitive printing methods, and was distributed without subscription price. Today, it has a world-wide circulation and has taken advantage of modern technology to produce an attractive bi-monthly magazine.
As can be seen by the initial editorial the exercise of the original organizing committee was to provide clear Bible teaching in the face of what was considered a drift away from sound exposition of scripture and bring clarity to confusion of thought. At times the magazine’s editor in plain and direct terms addressed trends developing in North American assemblies that were a departure from New Testament church truth. Names, organizations and other publications were quoted and challenged. Controversial matters were not ignored in the broader interest of maintaining a fidelity to the scriptures.
But the magazine was not all controversy. On the contrary, it carried helpful articles with a positive application of the truth written by men from North America and the UK, in addition to writers of a past generation. A typical issue of the magazine would have had a continuing series of articles on the tabernacle or church practice, an outline message that may have been useful to a young preacher, teaching on a particular subject, poetry and words of encouragement and comfort.
In 1980, the founding editor, Mr. Robert McClurkin, was called home to be with the Lord and at his funeral the committee asked J. Boyd Nicholson Snr. to assume the duties of the editor. About that time computer and printing technology were rapidly changing. Boyd Nicholson, prior his commendation to full time service among the assemblies, had been a commercial artist and was also involved in writing extensively for Gospel Folio Press. His experience equipped him to bring the magazine format and production method into the modern age and he introduced four-colour photographs and an easy to read format which increased the magazine’s popularity. His discerning assessment of conditions in the assemblies and tremendous grasp of scripture enabled him to maintain a high spiritual quality to the magazine. Many hours of sacrificial labour were spent by brother Nicholson in maintaining the character and quality of the magazine. His own writing ability was seen in each issue’s editorial. This became a favourite of most readers.
In 2000 the Lord called brother Nicholson home and the committee turned to Brian Gunning, also of Ontario, Canada, to assume the editor’s role. Again, technology has been a great asset in producing the magazine. Most articles are sent by email to the editor who selects some for inclusion in the magazine. These selected articles are in turn emailed to Gospel Folio Press of Port Colborne, Ontario, where all the layout and design work is done. After proof reading the magazine is then sent electronically to a printer in St. Catharines, Ontario, and in turn delivered to a mailing service for world-wide distribution.
The present overseeing committee of the magazine are all from Ontario. They are Brian Gunning (editor), William Burnett, Boushra Mikhael, David Robins and William Yuille. In addition two brethren take responsibility for the finances. They are David Kirk of Hamilton, Ontario, who acts as the Canadian treasurer and Warren Hagey of Chicago, Illinois, who acts as US treasurer.
The editorial of the first issue of the magazine could be written today. The need for clarity in Bible teaching is still a vital need to prevent a drifting away from fundamental truths. Counsel maintains a firm commitment to these things. The Lord has faithfully supplied all the needs of printing and mailing for almost 40 years.
To view a sample copy of the magazine on the internet, you may go to http://www.gospelfolio.com/counsel_magazine.htm
To request to be added to the mailing list send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail or email to one of the addresses below. There is still no subscription price.
U.K. and Ireland:
Counsel, Roy Hill, The Glebe House,
Stanton Drew, Bristol BS39 4EH
P.O. Box 176, Palos Park, IL 60464, USA
Canada, and elsewhere:
Counsel, P.O. Box 427, St. Catharines, Ontaio,
Canada L2R 6V9