Twenty-Five Years Of Publishing In Spain
There are two tendencies among Christians which are equally dangerous and equally wrong. On the one hand you have those who pursue a purely intellectual approach – the only thing that matters for them is knowledge, especially of an academic or theoretical nature. These people usually have big brains and the memory of an elephant, and they will let you know that it is so. The problem with them is that their knowledge has little connection with their practice, in other words their knowledge is not of an experimental type.
On the other hand – and far more common – you have those Christians with little interest in knowledge or doctrine, let alone theology. They are in for experiences and sensations, they are carried away by music and entertainment according to the new-fangled mood, but can’t be bothered with reading and learning – indeed some of them would even consider that as an evidence of lack of spirituality.
There is obviously a need for balance in Christians. Knowledge is good in and of itself, but it must be applied to the whole life of the Christian if it is not going to become barren and useless. Experiences and feelings are also good, but if they become the centre and the sole reference of our faith we are in danger of being led astray by becoming purely subjective.
RELUCTANCE TO READ
One of the main hindrances we find for our publishing work in Spain (and indeed in the whole Spanish-speaking world) is the reluctance on the part of many Christians to read. I know of Christians for whom the fact of reading commentaries is tantamount to high treason to the Bible. I wonder why on earth they attend a place where a man in a pulpit gives them a commentary on parts of the Bible which in turn he has drawn from written commentaries. But then we are all inconsistent, are we not? So one of the things that in a sense we have to do is to persuade some people (few fortunately) that reading Christians books is not a sin.
But apart from that, what we need to do is to show some Christians that the idea they have of knowledge and doctrines is wrong. Perhaps they have come across some dry as dust doctrinal books, mere theological skeletons with hardly any flesh on them and even less application, and so they have been completely put off from reading anything else. I sympathise with such people. I even understand that they turn to more superficial and sob stuff reading. But of course there is a more excellent way.
REACHING BOTH INTELLECT AND HEART.
In our publishing house (Editorial Peregrino) we are very privileged to have a good number of authors whose governing principle is to have in mind both the intellect and the heart, both the theory and the practice. In fact most of the commentaries we publish are expository sermons that have been put in written form by the preachers themselves.
The paramount exponent of this approach is surely Dr Lloyd-Jones. Not only are his books printed sermons and lectures, but also he actually made a point of making theology a matter of constant application. He didn’t believe in a teaching that was not accompanied by its practical implications and application. This is having an impact among our readers. I hear of people eagerly awaiting new titles by the Doctor. Some may not even realize what is special about him but can certainly feel the impact that his message has in their lives. He was well known for his fight against ‘dead orthodoxy’ and he clearly showed by his example the way not to fall into that deadly trap.
Less than a year ago we had the great joy of publishing his well-known title Preaching and Preachers. Although it is a fairly big volume the sales of this book have surpassed all our expectations. Recently I met a pastor who had read it twice. People who know the book will realize the powerful impact that this title will have on those whose task is preaching and teaching God’s people. In this case the influence will be felt not only on individual Christians but on whole congregations as well.
Last year (2004) has seen the publication of fifteen new titles (including six for children) and some of them are big volumes of more than 400 and 500 pages. It is therefore a record year for Peregrino not only in quantity but also in quality, with a variety of authors and subjects involved. I give the Lord all the praise and all the glory for this because without His enabling and provision none of this would have been possible. In 2004 we have celebrated the 25th anniversary of the legal setup of our publishing house, remembering with gratitude how this work has grown since our small early stages that went by fits and starts. At the beginning of 2005 we shall be publishing our 100th title and yet the amazing thing is that more than half of those books have been published in the last five years.
Of course I wouldn’t underrate the human element in all this and so due recognition must be given to all those churches and individuals who have put their talents, money and effort at our disposal so that as stewards of those resources we have been able to implement this great vision of instructing God’s people and reaching the lost with sound doctrine and the authentic Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
WHAT OF THE FUTURE?
Only the Lord knows what the future holds for this particular ministry. As far as I am concerned my vision and desire is for this work to expand at an even greater rate than at present, even though this will require an all-out effort. There are hopeful signs on the horizon. Both in Spain and Latin America there is an increasing interest in our literature. More and more people and churches are starting to realize that we provide solid and healthy food for Christians. Our distributors in America are working hard to break new ground and even in Spain our sales of books in 2004 have surpassed in a big way our most optimistic expectations.
Now I say all this with fear and trembling. I know the devil does not bother much with activities that don’t pose a great threat to his kingdom of darkness. But we, like Paul, are talking about the fact that ‘a wide door for effective [service] has opened’ to us (1 Cor. 16:9) and Satan will no doubt clamp down on us at the first opportunity. So may I commend this great work to God’s people in Britain and elsewhere so that you may ‘strive together with me in your prayers to God for me’ (Rom. 15:30). ‘Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world’ (1 John 4:4).
Reprinted with permission from the Vision of Europe, European Missionary Fellowship, 6 Codicote Road, Welwyn, AL6 9NB.www.emf-welwyn.org
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