The Church Library
B. C. Goodpasture
B. C. Goodpasture is editor of the Gospel Advocate and an elder in the Hillsboro church in Nashville.
Interest in the so-called “church library” continues to increase. This is as it should be. The value of a good collection of books in the meetinghouse, available to those who worship there, is of incalculable value. Think of the service it can render:
1. It can be of great value to the preacher in verifying matters which comes to his attention after reaching the meetinghouse.
2. The elders will find it helpful in the study of the Bible, the study of teaching, and for general reference. How often, for example, do elders find occasion to refer to a Bible dictionary, a book of biography or an encyclopedic volume like “Preachers of Today,” by Baxter and Young?
3. Bible school teachers will find it a valuable supplement to their personal libraries. Many good books on teachers and teaching can be made available through the “church library” which the individual teacher would not feel able to buy.
4. It will stimulate Bible study among the membership in general; that is, if the preacher and elders have enough interest in it to call it to the attention of the membership, encourage the use of it, and arrange for someone to look after it.
If the congregation with which you worship does not have a “church library,” why not emphasize the value and need of one. Many a young man may be encouraged to preach the gospel through the use of the library; many others will be more efficient elders, deacons, and Christians, by reason of it.
How to Get the Books
Several different methods have been used to raise the money, or secure the books, for the “church library.” Here are some of the ways it may be done.
1. by check from the church treasury. If money can be spent for the teaching of the sinner and the edification of the saint–and it can–then the church can purchase books for the use of its members who desire to be more efficient servants of the Lord.
2. Individual contributions. This may be in the gift of a book or in a cash contribution for the library. Some congregations have found it most satisfactory to put books on display in a suitable place in the meetinghouse and urge the members to select from this display what they would like to give to the library. If discretion is used in the selection of the books to put on display, the library will be composed to desirable books. This will largely preclude the possibility of duplication and the gift of impractical or useless books.
3. Sometimes a group of young people select some important set; such as, Pulpit Commentary, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, or Schaff’s Church History, and donate it to the library.
4. Individuals contribute valuable private collections of valuable books. This is especially fine if the giver is one dearly beloved by the congregation. In this case, the influence of the giver will inspire many to read who otherwise might not be greatly interested.
5. Encourage those who use the library to add something to it. They know the value of it and will feel a peculiar obligation to do for others what has been done for them.
THE FIRST ITEMS FOR CHURCH LIBRARIES
1. General Reference
Baker’s Bible Atlas, $7.95
Bible Dictionary-Peloubet or Smith, 4.00
Cruden’s Concordance, 4.00
Complete Works of Josephus, 7.50
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 5 volumes, 35.00
Lands of the Bible, McGarvey, 5.00
Bible Handbook, Angus, 6.95
Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 15 vols., 78.50
Questions Answered, Lipscomb and Sewell, 5.00
Organon of Scripture, J. S. Lamar, 3.50
Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 6.00
Young’s Analytical Concordance, 12.75
2. Biblical Introduction
All About the Bible, Collett, $2.95
How We Got the Bible, Smyth, 2.00
The Gist of the Bible, Shook, 3.75
General Biblical Introduction, H. S. Miller, 3.95
Bible Handbook, W. W. Dowling, 3.95
An Introduction to the Old Testament, E. J. Young, 5.00
Introduction to the New Testament, H. C. Theissen, 3.50
The Epistles of Paul, An Introduction to, Leslie G. Thomas, 3.25
Clarke’s Commentaries, 6 volumes, $27.50
New Testament Commentaries, Lipscomb & Shepherd (13 volumes, $3.50 per volume), 42.00
Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament, 11 volumes, 35.00
Macknight on the Epistles, 8.50
Ellicott’s Commentaries on the Bible, 4 volumes, 24.95
Commentary on Acts (Original), J. W. McGarvey, 3.50
Fourfold Gospel, McGarvey, 3.75
People’s New Testament With Notes, Johnson, one volume edition, 5.00
Word Studies in the New Testament, 4 volumes, 20.00
Dictionary of New Testament Words, Vine, 11.95
4. Home Life
The Home Beautiful, Miller, $2.50
The Christian Home, P. D. Wilmeth, 2.50
Love, Courtship and Marriage, P. D. Wilmeth, 1.50
A Father Talks to Teenagers, P. D. Wilmeth, 2.50
Twixt Twelve and Twenty, Pat Boone, 3.50
Between Me, You and the Gatepost, Pat Boone, 2.95
Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible, 4.95
Egermier’s Bible Story Book, 4.50
Standard Basic Bible Readers, 3 Vols., 5.00
Parent Education, Harvey Scott, 3.00
Bible Stories from Dogwood Hill, Ferrell K. Hill, 3.00
5. Sermons and Sermon Outlines
The Gospel Preacher, Franklin, 2 volumes, set, $7.00
Gospel Sermons, T. W. Brents, 3.50
Sermons, G. C. Brewer, 3.50
Tabernacle Sermons, N. B. Hardeman, vols. 2, 3 (Vol. 1 is now out of print), per vol., 3.50
If I Be Lifted Up, Batsell B. Baxter, 2.00
One Hundred Sermons, Leslie G. Thomas, 3.50
Sermon Outlines, H. Leo Boles, 3.00
Sermons, J. W. McGarvey, 3.00
Popular Lectures and Addresses, Campbell, 5.00
Biographies and Sermons, F. D. Srygley, 4.00
6. Teachers and Teaching
The Successful Bible School. Fred A. Mosley, $ 1.00
Manual for Teachers, H. Leo Boles, .50
Teaching God’s Word, James F. Cox, 2.00
Seven Laws of Teaching, John M. Gregory, 1.75
Principles of Teaching for Christian teachers, C. B. Eavey, 3.50
Ideas for Bible School Growth, Alana Bryan, 1.00
You Can March for the Master, Ira North, 2.00
Speaking for the Master, Batsell B. Baxter, 2.95
Singing for the Master, Irma Lee Batey, 3.00
Teach with Success, Leavitt, 2.95
The Gospel Plan of Salvation, T. W. Brents, $4.50
The Scheme of Redemption, Robert Milligan, 3.50
The Christian System, A. Campbell, 3.00
Handbook on Baptism, J. W. Shepherd, 3.50
Instrumental Music in the Worship, M. C. Kurfees, 3.50
The New Testament Church, F. D. Srygley, 3.25
Churches of Today, L. G. Tomlinson, 2.50
The Holy Spirit, H. Leo Boles, 3.50
Denominational Dogmas, G. K. Wallace, 3.25
Roman Catholicism Against Itself, O. C. Lambert, 4.00
Campbell-Purcell Debate on Catholicism, $3.50
Campbell-Owen Debate on Infidelity, 3.50
Campbell-Rice Debate on baptism, Holy Spirit and Creeds, 6.00
Hardeman-Boswell Debate on Instrumental Music, 3.50
Woods-Cogdill Debate on orphan Homes and Cooperation, 5.00
Oliphant-Smith Debate on Atheism, 2.00
Hardeman-Bogard Debate on Baptism and Apostasy, 3.50
Church History for Busy People, Klingman, $2.00
The Church, The Falling Away and the Restoration, Shepherd, 2.50
Search for the Ancient Order, Earl West, 2 volumes, 8.00
History of Reformatory Movements, Rowe, 5.00
Handbook of Denominations, Mead, 2.95
A History of the Christian Church, L. P. Qualben, 3.50
Christians Only, James DeForest Murch, 6.95
Why We Believe the Bible, DeHoff, $2.50
Therefore Stand, Wilbur M. Smith, 3.95
Why is Christianity True?, Mullins, 2.00
Evidences of Christianity, McGarvey, 3.50
Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, Haley, 3.50
Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, Gaussen, 3.50
Archeology and the Bible, Barton, 3.50
Life of Christ, James Stalker, $1.25
Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Edersheim, 2 vols., 8.50
Life and Epistles of St. Paul, Conybeare and Howson, 5.00
Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, Richardson, 8.75
The Life and Times of Jesse L. Sewell, D. Lipscomb, 3.50
The Life of Walter Scott, William Baxter, 3.50
Life of Elder John Smith, Williams, 3.50
The Fool of God, Louis Cochran, 4.95
Larimore and His Boys, F. D. Srygley, 3.00
Biographical Sketches of Gospel Preachers, H. Leo Boles, 3.00
Preachers of Today, Vol. 2, Baxter and Young, 6.00
Life, Letters and Sermons of T. B. Larimore, Mrs. Larimore, 3.50
Work for a Growing Church, Fred A. Mosley, $2.95
Seventh-Day Adentism Renounced, D. M. Canright, 3.50
Pictures of the Apostolic Church, Sir William Ramsey [sic], 3.50
Monser’s Topical Index and Digest of the Bible, 5.95
Bible VS. Communism, Leroy Brownlow, 2.50
New Testament Churches of Today, Vol. 1, Baxter and Young, 6.00
The Eternal Kingdom: A History of the Church, F. W. Mattox, 4.00
Communism: Its Faith and Fallacies, James D. Bales, 3.95
The Doctrine of Evolution and the Antiquity of Man, J. D. Thomas, .95
The Gospel Advocate Company allows a substantial discount to churches on all books bought for library use.
Also, on orders of $200 or more we furnish free of charge the Church Library labels to paste in each book, plus the library pockets and cards. Write us for particulars.
Don’t let the fact that 75% of Goodpasture’s article is a simple list of books lead you to believe that he wasn’t making a contribution to the life and thought of his readers. I think his front matter is revealing, but the real content here is the list. Goodpasture was heralded as a bookman preeminent (look for future installments along these lines) among the brotherhood in 1963. He was a book collector, publisher and seller. He’s the go-to person for a list of this sort in a book of this sort. I’m of the opinion that the list, as a list, is pretty indicative-even prescriptive– of the concerns of the Churches of Christ in 1963. What should we read and study and consult, bro. Goodpasture? What books are safe for us to use in teaching classes at the building and “stimulate Bible study among the membership”? What ought to shape our preaching and teaching? What wells should we dig for our preacher and teachers to drink from? What books should we encourage our “young people” select and donate to the library? This article is his answer.
Above is a list of 171 books costing just over $691.00. Goodpasture divided them into a dozen categories: General Reference, Commentaries, Home Life, Sermons and Sermon Outlines, Teachers and Teaching, Doctrinal, Debates, History, Evidences, Biography, and Miscellaneous.
Of his 114 entries, 36 are not Stone-Campbell or Restoration Movement items (a few, such as James DeForest Murch’s Christians Only, and older volumes like J. S. Lamar’s Organon are by Christian Church or proto-Disciples authors). His list is balanced two to one in favor of ‘brotherhood titles.’ The non-RM items are heaviest in General Reference, Commentaries and Evidences. You will not find a single non-RM item in Sermons, Doctrine or Debates (obviously the ‘other’ sides of the debates are not RM).
I’d say BC is playing his cards pretty close to his chest when it comes to recommending books for folks in the pew to read and study. Excepting Baker Bible Atlas and Vine’s, the scholarship of the reference works and commentaries he cites were in 1963 already a generation or so out of date: long enough for them to be old-standby’s, but certainly not cutting edge by any means. When it comes to sermons we see who holds the day (there is a thesis in here somewhere: what do the contents of these books reveal?). As for doctrine, Goodpasture is concerned with the three books which come closest to systematic theologies of the 19th century movement (Campbell, Brents and Milligan). Beyond that we are concerned with baptism, instrumental music, the Holy Spirit and various denominational errors. The debates reflect similar interests (cf. the propositions for the debates listed), plus the institutional controversy.
What I find particularly striking is how he seemingly conceives of Christology in primarily biographical terms, and then makes a giant leap from Jesus and Paul to Alexander Campbell. One will look in vain to find a single biography of anyone in the history of Christianity between Paul and Alexander Campbell.
What I also find noteworthy for its absence is any kind of devotional literature, whether within the Stone-Campbell Movement or not. By 1963 Power for Today had been around long enough to be an established source of devotional nourishment, and there were a few other books…few, but they were there.
One closing observation, this list is intended to be a starting point. It is neither exhaustive, nor does it pretend to be. As such I can understand that it recommends no volume of (then-)current scholarship in the reference or commentary sections. I can also understand why it seems that Christian history between Paul and Campbell is limited to the history of movements like ours (but not quite) and the history of error. I don’t understand the total lack of devotional literature. I also understand, and want very much to underscore here, that it’s not the book that matters, it what the reader does with the information it contains. I think BC would agree with me on this. That said, I also think this list, brief and suggestive as it is, yet reflects the priorities of mainline Churches of Christ in the middle of the 20th century.