Paperback. 156 pages. Published by Gospel Folio Press, 304 Killaly St. West, Port Colborne, ON LEK 6A6, Canada. ISBN: 978-1-926765-15-0.
This book focuses on the truth and practice of the local church as taught in scripture. The articles, in separate chapters, are fairly short, in the main comprising of three to seven sections and dealing with a particular issue, such as ‘Gathering in the Name’, ‘Worship’, and ‘Discipline in the House of God.’ Two or three verses from hymns are quoted in each chapter. Most of the teaching would be acceptable to readers of this magazine. However, as the articles are short, there is little explanation on occasions. For example, some may disagree with: the assertion that Hebrews chapter 6 verse 4 refers to ‘the believer’s initial experience of receiving Christ; the identifying of the Lord’s table and the Lord’s supper; and that seeing ‘through a glass darkly’ in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 refers to the Old Testament.
The writer seeks to declare truth and confront error. In dealing with some issues, the writing becomes quite impassioned. Some of the issues denounced are: ‘confederacy’ – current at the time of writing presumably, 1968-70 – resulting in gifted men, committed to assembly truth, being debarred from them ‘upon the ground of what assemblies they have visited’; the separation of old and young; ‘misfits’, men who in full-time ministry yet lack ‘commitment to assembly principles’ or who have ‘no desire to pioneer with the gospel’; and also ‘inter-denominationalism’.
The writing comes across as short addresses, delivered forthrightly and instructively. The author admonishes and exhorts. Short sentences are the norm. It is a ‘punchy’ style. Memorable sayings include: ‘The spirit of religious adventure has become most popular’; ‘A woman can either break or make a man’; ‘Truth usually lies between extremes’. The writer was an evangelist from Northern Ireland who laboured for many years in North America. This book comprises a series of articles he wrote for an ‘assembly magazine’. Partly on that account it is probably more suited to readers with that provenance. Proof reading could be better: blatant misspellings include ‘proinciples’ on the frontispiece and ‘Brethern’ on the back cover. Punctuation is at times strangely inappropriate – though this may be the style of the writer.
[Our thanks to Bryan Charles, Appledore, Devon, England, for this review].