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Update Letter 3rd Quarter 2017

Countries Sent to in 2017

We praise the Lord we have had the privilege of sending material into 97 countries from January through June 2017: Albania, Antigua, Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belize, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guyana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Liberia, Lithuania, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Republic of South Africa, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The Bible Institute has 92 active volunteer graders in 33 states and 28 branches in 23 countries.

The Reformation Continues

2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, which began when Martin Luther (1483-1546) posted his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany. John Calvin (1509-1564) continued the work of reformation in Geneva, Switzerland. But he did not begin there. He began his student life in France, studying theology, then law, and then preparing for the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church. However, after reading the Bible and the writings of Luther regularly, he was converted to Christ in 1533. He realized many doctrines of the Roman Church were not biblical.

Persecution came upon the believers in France, and Calvin fled to Basel, Switzerland, where he could study and organize his thoughts. Two years later, he published the first edition of The Institutes of the Christian Religion.1 Calvin thought to settle in Strasbourg; but on the way, he met William Farel in Geneva. Farel convinced him to stay and teach in Geneva, where there was much trouble between Roman Catholics and those seeking reform. After two years, they were both forced to leave the city. He pastored the church in Strasbourg until the Council of Geneva petitioned him to return. They needed his leadership to stand against pressures from the Church of Rome.

Once again in Geneva, Calvin worked and wrote tirelessly as pastor of the church. Under his pastoral influence, the city council began implementing biblical laws and public works to help its citizens. As time went on, more and more believers fleeing persecution came to Geneva. The Geneva Academy began teaching eager learners from all over the continent. Many returned to their own lands to fan the flames of a more biblical doctrine.

Throughout his Institutes, commentaries, and collected sermons, we find that Calvin carefully attempted to understand the cohesive unity of scriptural truth. He gave special emphasis to the doctrines of the authority of Scripture, predestination, God’s providence, human depravity, atonement, union with Christ, the church, and the ordinances. Read more about this important reformer in The Life of Calvin, available from Chapel Library.

The Life of Calvin

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1 Calvin’s final edition of The Institutes was completed in 1559. Within 40 years, it was translated into most European languages and used of the Lord to clarify doctrine during the Reformation. See the following excerpts from The Institutes, available from Chapel Library: Calvin on Prayer, Calvin on Self-denial, Calvin on the Mediator, and Calvin on Predestination and Election.

Growth in MZBI

Mount Zion Bible Institute activity has increased in 2017, for which we are very thankful to our Lord Jesus Christ. We are currently mailing an average of 500 correspondence courses per month and several thousand for group studies (administered independently of MZBI). We are very grateful to our graders who have faithfully served during this increase. In answer to prayer and our request for help, we have had the joy of welcoming several new graders as well.

Drawing students primarily from the US prison population, MZBI offers basic to advanced Bible correspondence courses focused on personal spiritual growth. Our desire is to turn inmates’ time that could be “lost” in prison into an investment for eternity. MZBI courses are also widely used without grader feedback from MZBI (independent or group study) in church, home school, and mission contexts.

We are still inviting new men grader applicants, for English or Spanish grading. The main qualifications are men with spiritual maturity in the Lord, who are 35 years old or more, and who are North American residents. If you or someone you know is willing to give four hours per week in ministry as a grader, please contact us, and we will send an information kit.

A letter from an inmate student in Louisiana:

“These are the best studies because they cause you to think and apply to your own life. There are always times my heart is convicted and pricked during these studies. Tears often flow as God deals with my heart…God’s convicting Spirit cannot have a price put on it. I thank you from deep within my heart and look expectantly to the next study!”

New Booklets on the Lord’s Supper

We are pleased to announce two new booklets in our catalog concerning the Lord’s Supper. Errors concerning the Lord’s Supper abound in our day, from apathetic lack of participation by some evangelicals to the age-old perversion of what the elements represent by Roman Catholics. While the leading Reformers came to differing conclusions regarding details of the Supper, recovering its biblical meaning was an important topic of the Reformation and subsequent periods. The two booklets below represent the helpful thoughts of pastors Matthew Henry and J. C. Ryle from the 18th and 19th centuries respectively.

The Lord’s Supper by Matthew Henry (1662-1714) is a devotional commentary on Christ’s ordinance showing that the symbolism given in the Upper Room serves as a memorial for Christians throughout the church age. Henry exalts the glories of the gospel as proclaimed in this ordinance. His last section explores a thorough self-examination so that believers may biblically partake of this means of grace. All Christians will be encouraged in the full meaning of their gospel privilege to join the Lord regularly and meaningfully at His Supper.

The Lord's Supper by Matthew Henry

The Lord’s Table by John Charles Ryle (1816-1900) answers four questions regarding the Lord’s Supper: Why was it ordained? Who ought to participate? What may we expect from it? and, Why do many never come? The Supper was instituted that we may more truly remember the Lord’s death until He comes. When we do, we are refreshed in our souls with clearer views of Christ’s atonement and mediation. We are humbled, He is exalted, our hearts are cheered, and we more desire to be holy. Ryle concludes by examining why so many do not come to the Lord’s Table, and showing that all excuses are invalid for the believer.

The Lord's Table by J. C. Ryle

Erroll Hulse (1931-2017)

Erroll Hulse

On August 3, our dear friend and brother Erroll Hulse entered his eternal rest, surrounded by his beloved children and their families, several years after his debilitating stroke. A South African by birth, Erroll gave much of his life to furthering the cause of the gospel and Reformed doctrine in Africa, as well as missions around the world. Through a wide range of mission activities, conference initiatives, and editing Reformation Today magazine, Erroll served as a vital link for Chapel Library to international pastors and missionaries.

After conversion to Christ in university, Erroll studied theology at the London Bible College and benefited from the ministry of Martyn Lloyd-Jones at Westminster. Erroll’s life leaves a legacy of passionate prayer for the global cause of Christ, a hunger for Spirit-wrought revival, and ceaseless activity fueled by a love for Christ and the lost.

Titles by Erroll Hulse from Chapel Library:

Adoniram Judson and the Missionary Call (large booklet)

Catechism for Boys and Girls (small booklet)

Fellowship with the Trinity (small booklet)

Let’s Pray for Global Revival (large booklet)

Only Savior (small booklet)

Postmodernism (small booklet)

Story of the Puritans (large booklet)

Vital Place of the Prayer Meeting (tract)

Reformation Today magazine continues as a bi-monthly magazine featuring insightful articles relevant to the Reformed community, with news from global mission fields. Visit www.reformation-today.org for more information. 

The Carey Conference is another continuing ministry of Erroll’s Reformation Today Trust. This annual conference in the United Kingdom is aimed at equipping pastors, church leaders, and their wives.

Erroll and others began the African Pastors’ Conferences in 2006 to encourage a recovery of African churches from the influx of the prosperity gospel and syncretism with traditional religions. The conferences operate as a collaborative effort of South African and Zambian Reformed Baptist churches. Reception has been enthusiastic and conferences have spread over many countries in English-speaking Africa. Churches in Africa, UK, and the USA sponsor these conferences by financially “adopting” conferences in specific locations. For more information visit www.reformation-today.org/african-pastors-conference/.

We are deeply grateful to the Lord for Erroll’s life, his fellowship in Christ, partnership in ministry, and passion for global mission endeavors. And he was a Chapel Library’s greatest international ambassador; we will dearly miss him.

Letters from Far and Near

We were very encouraged this past quarter by receiving many notes of thanks, encouragement, and praise to God for how the Lord has used the ministry of Chapel Library. We share a few with you here:  

“I can’t tell you how much your ministry has blessed me. The literature you provide has strengthened my soul on the darkest days, opened my heart and my mind to God’s amazing love and gift of mercy, and shown me truths I never thought of before. The love that is shown by providing me free materials has given me much joy!” – from a friend in New York

“Let me express my gratitude for the Bible and the other materials delivered…for the opportunity to study the Holy Bible in English through the Book in ‘paper and ink.’” – from a friend in Russia

“I am so overjoyed for getting all these small books. Thank you so much. I am sure they will be very useful for me as a Christian leader. I have already begun to read Am I Really a Christian? I am leader of two church houses and I am also member of a Caribbean descendant ministry…Thank God He is doing great things in Cuba and many of my countrymen are coming to the saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” – from a friend in Cuba

“I have only been receiving the FGB for a couple years, but it has been such a breath of fresh air to my soul. The Lord's church from the past is such a gift to us today!” – from a friend in Indiana

“The box of booklets has just arrived…many will be sent to a pastor friend who works with small groups and little churches in the deeper parts of the mountains in Michoacán, and another in Puebla…Also in a few months we plan to send more to Cuba. Moreover, in two months if God wills, I will go or send some Chapel Library booklets to the mountains of Tamaulipas in Bustamante and Tula. I feel a passion that men might see the light of Christ.” – from a friend in Mexico

“I’ve just returned from our first pastors’ conference in Haiti…The pastors, and many more, were thankful for everything you shared with us. We planned for 50 pastors. We were completely unprepared for the hunger for truth of more than just pastors. We fed 375 people on the first day and gave all resources.” – from a pastor visiting Haiti

“May the Lord continue blessing this ministry! Your literature has brought hope and encouragement here in Fusagasuga, Colombia. I thank the Lord for you all.” – from a friend in Colombia

“I subscribed to your quarterly magazine for me and my church people. We have 8 members in our group who discuss each article. Four days every week we discuss by conference call what we understand from each article. Personally, it helps me a lot…The last issue on The Sinfulness of Sin showed me the worst about sin and myself…Really great stuff. Thanks a lot.” – from a friend on the mailing list in India (through our India Distributor)

“The ability for inmates to read from these giants of the faith is wonderful. I have utilized your resources in six different correctional facilities around the nation—in federal, state, and county jails for over 15 years. Thanks for ‘kneeling beside the fallen’ with me.” – from a chaplain in Tennessee

“I finally have in my hands the books you sent! I am very grateful. I know they will be edifying in accord with the work of the Holy Spirit in our congregation.” – from a friend in Venezuela

Church Planting & Chapel Library

It is a great privilege for us to support church planting efforts in the US and around the world by supplying key literature to establish doctrinal and practical foundations. We recently received this note from a friend in Cuba: “By the grace of God I am part of a newly forming Reformed Baptist church in Pinar del Rio, Cuba. I have put a copy of each of the booklets in a kind of library that we are making so that the brothers in the church as well as others can access these sound resources which otherwise are all but impossible to get here.”

May the Lord raise up little local church libraries like this all over the world!

The Acts of the Apostles shows us that Christ’s Great Commission purpose in the preaching of the gospel included the establishment of Christ-honoring congregations that disciple believers. At Chapel Library, we want to be involved in this today by supplying classic, Christ-honoring, disciple-building books and booklets wherever faithful churches are being born. If you or anyone you know are involved in a new or growing church plant, please contact us for discipleship material.

To make ourselves more useful to Christ’s churches, we are constantly asking ourselves whether we have a well-balanced presentation of doctrinal and practical themes throughout our 850+ English titles. We want to have quality, to-the-point material on every major doctrine and issue that a church faces, and we try to address this with the new titles we produce each year.

This is one reason we are so excited about our two new booklets on the Lord’s Supper. They complement our titles on baptism, church discipline, worship, the Lord’s Day, and church government as core items for building a doctrine of the church.

Help Us Clean House – Update

In response to our note in the 2nd Quarter 2017 Update Letter, we have received some very helpful comments and criticisms regarding our literature.

As mentioned last quarter, we are reviewing our catalog for theological faithfulness, accuracy, and usefulness. If you have any concerns or questions about titles we carry, we welcome your comments (but not lengthy theological debates). Please email us at chapel@mountzion.org or write to us at 2603 W. Wright St., Pensacola, FL 32505. We will prayerfully and seriously consider and address each well-grounded comment, question, and concern.

We are committed to producing literature that is God-glorifying, edifying to our readers, useful for calling the lost to Christ, and efficacious for advancing God’s kingdom. And we are ready to clean house if any of our literature falls short of these goals. We look forward to your comments. 

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