Monday, October 11, 2010

Books Enrich Life

Enriching Mind & Spirit
Barry Callen, Anderson Univ. Press, 2007)
Some day the church may appreciate Dr, Callen’s contribution as the Church of God’s most prolific contemporary author. This 30th of his 40 or so books updates and expands his earlier account, Preparing For SERVICE. It offers constructive understanding of our educational development and the relationship between our Church of God ideals, theology, and self-identity.

Two seniors, formerly co-pastors, read this book aloud, and found their years of dedication to the ideals of the church not in vain. Callen prompted them to ask some questions, but he aroused their pride in belonging to a Body of Believers that attempts creative solutions.

Readers often times sense the fear of compromise, and the hostility toward structure that so often hinders the Church of God’s practice of ecumenism and unity. This often causes such individuals to lose sight of the greatness of God’s mission. Although such occasions sometimes prove disappointing, other occasions stir new thrills, and renew the challenge to move forward.

Readers will find understanding, encouragement, and inspiration - the kind of optimism Paul experienced at Ephesus when he wrote, “God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph. 3:20, KJV)

The Book of Noah,
compiled and edited by Stultz & Welch,
published by the Church of God Historical Society.
Why bother … to read “Memories From Our Past”? Let me tell you why! I first read this 332 page volume as a teen reading the Gospel Trumpet--originally written in 130 vignettes and published serially in the Gospel Trumpet--1941-1945.

Original author, Noah Byrum, provides some of our most authentic history by drawing upon his personal diaries written throughout his more than fifty years of voluntary labor at Gospel Trumpet Company. Fourteen year-old Noah first met Elder D. S. Warner in Northeast Indiana in 1886. When Warner invited Enoch Byrum to manage the Trumpet Office in 1887, older brother Enoch brought little brother Noah with him.

Noah began working at the Grand Junction, MI. “Trumpet” office July 11, 1887. Over the next fifty years these two brothers invested over one-hundred years of labor into Gospel Trumpet Company. Noah shares the daily life of the 1890’s. In their nitty-gritty circumstances of poverty and primitive conditions, you discover a monumental effort arising from nothing but commitment, conviction, and pure grit.

A religious reformation arose. This is not a compendium of come-out theology; it is more than an obsolete interpretation of the book of Revelation. It is more than a return to the literalism of looking-and-acting like D. S. Warner’s generation (as practiced by some current followers). It is a principled vision of faith-filled hope and charitable love, working through a multitude of people, many of them quite youthful. They were a people who committed themselves unreservedly to God, to give all, and do all, they could for what they believed.

One retired pastor received The Book of Noah as a gift. The book so impressed him with its message that he asked his benefactor if he could pass the book on to his young pastor who knew very little of that era of our history. The Church of God, as we know it, came to birth through the blood, sweat, and tears of their faithful commitment.

They were not simply publishing literature; they were converting the world. They were conforming the church to biblical holiness, wholeness, and spiritual health. If we used our assets as well as they did theirs, and if we adapted to our current conditions as well as they did theirs, our work in this reformation Movement (so called) would be unparalleled today.

Stultz, a professional photojournalist, compiled and inserted more than 300 pictures into Noah’s account, to support and clarify the text. Welch did a commendable job of managing the editing.

I often wonder at how we have romanticized that period of our history, which we have, and not always sto our benefit. Beneath the theology and mindset of that era, which I do not always find commendable, I do find a deep appreciation for those early “saints” and dare to suggest - “May those who come behind us find us as faithful as those who came before us.”

From Warner’s World, we are

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