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Update Letter 2nd Quarter 2017

Countries Sent to in 2017

We are very grateful to the Lord that Chapel Library has had the privilege of sending material into 96 countries from January through March 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, 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 76 active volunteer graders in 31 states and 41 branches in 28 countries.

500th Anniversary of the Reformation

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the beginnings of the Reformation, when many godly men and women gave their lives to “reforming” the errors of the Roman Catholic Church. What began as apparently isolated stirrings of the truth in the Lord’s people soon became a history-changing movement to recover biblical doctrine from the gospel-destroying errors that had crept in during the first 1,400 years of Christian history. As doctrinal error, compromise with the world, and confusion about the nature of Christianity increase in our day, the truths recovered in the Reformation demand our attention. These truths can be briefly summarized as the “Five Solas” of the Reformation:

Sola scripturaScripture alone is our authority for doctrine and practice; the traditions of men and the authority of the church do not determine the truth for us.

Sola fide – Justification comes to a sinner by faith in Christ’s work alone; good works, while certainly a fruit of salvation, are not the ground of it.

Sola gratia – Salvation is by God’s grace alone, without man’s work of merit; depraved sinners are saved because of God’s unmerited love toward them and His sovereign work for them, without the aid of their own works or dispositions.

Sola Christus Christ alone is the mediator between God and man; we do not need the Roman Pope, Mary, saints, or sacraments to help us get to God.

Soli Deo Gloria – All of God’s dealings with His redeemed people are for the glory of God alone; by ascribing to God all the power and activities necessary to our salvation we give Him all the glory, just as the Scriptures command us to!

In brief, the guiding principles of the Reformation can be summarized by Chapel Library’s motto:

“To humble the pride of man, to exalt the grace of God in salvation, and to promote real holiness in heart and life.”

Chapel Library publishes Christian writings about both faith and practice from the 500 years since the Reformation. The best of these writings have stood the test of time. In this Update and in the two remaining issues of 2017 (Fall and Winter), we will introduce new titles we are publishing for the anniversary. We hope you will request the free offer and experience in your family the light of the gospel truths recovered in the Reformation. 

Martin Luther & the Reformation

While many events led up to it, the Reformation is considered to have begun on October 31, 1517, when Martin Luther posted his Ninety-five Theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. What began as a local debate about the practice of selling indulgences (pardon from the Pope from having to do penance for sins in purgatory) became a continent-wide movement to reclaim the biblical doctrines of Christianity.

As a young adult, Luther started reading a Latin Bible, was attracted to its truth, and then, after surviving a violent thunderstorm, became a monk and prepared for the priesthood. In the monastery, he struggled with guilt, knowing that his extreme efforts to earn God’s forgiveness were insufficient to pay for his sins. It was only when he believed that Christ died for his sins that God’s peace finally and lastingly came upon him.

A visit to Rome caused him to search the Scriptures. The blatant selling of indulgences to raise money for building St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome convinced him of the need for reform. Through reading Romans, he came to understand justification by faith alone. His Ninety-five Theses originally posted in Wittenberg soon were translated into nearly every European language, and the call for reformation began to spread.

After criticizing the Pope in other writings, he was summoned to a special council, the Diet of Worms, in 1521. There he was asked, “Will you retract everything in these books that is against the Church of Rome?” He replied: “I cannot withdraw…my conscience is captive to the Word of God…Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise!” Many loyal to the Pope wanted to kill him. Indeed, as he left the city, he was kidnapped and taken captive to the castle at Wartburg. But it was the castle of friends, who had taken him before his enemies could do so. He studied there in secrecy for two years, completing the first translation of the New Testament into German. In 1522 he returned to Wittenberg, where he preached, wrote, and pastored until his death in 1546.

Read more about this important reformer and how the Lord used him in our new small booklet The Life of Martin Luther, by requesting this quarter’s free offer using the coupon behind the pastoral letter. Also included in this free offer is a new large booklet featuring John Calvin on Predestination and Election. Calvin was a contemporary of Luther and another important figure in the Reformation.

Calvin on Predestination             Life of Martin Luther

MZBI Grading Opportunity for Men

The Bible Institute has more than 1,000 students studying by correspondence, most of whom are prison inmates. We are inviting new men grader applicants for the correspondence students’ lessons, in English or Spanish. The main qualifications are men with spiritual maturity in the Lord, over 35 years old, and residing in North America. The students mail completed lessons to us, we send them to the grader (who writes discipleship feedback in his own home), then he sends them back to us, and we return them to the student. If you or someone you know (a retired person, for example) is willing to give four hours per week in ministry as a grader, please contact us, and we will send an information kit.

Help Us Clean House

By God’s grace, Chapel Library keeps in print over 850 tracts, booklets, and paperbacks, for free distribution to churches, prisons, missions, and homes around the world. For varied reasons in the past, certain literature entered our catalog that was of lower theological quality or simply less useful than other items we could have printed. However, in recent years, we have developed and prayerfully sought to follow a very careful process regarding the theological content and spiritual usefulness for adding items to our catalog.

For this reason, we have, through the years, identified items that we removed from our list. This has often been triggered by judicious reader comments, for which we are very grateful. We are presently reviewing our entire catalog for theological faithfulness, accuracy, and usefulness. If you have any concerns or questions about any of the 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 from our readers.

We are committed to producing literature that is glorifying to our Triune God, 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.

Letters from Far and Near

In answer to prayer the Lord has graciously increased interest in literature and courses over the last few months. What a joy to send literature free of charge to His people around the world. May His name be exalted in all the earth!

“I just want to say how much I enjoyed the OT Survey course. It was so fascinating, and I learned so much from it…I’m physically disabled and don’t get out much, but feel so blessed that I can study God’s Word with the help of your wonderful ministry!” – a non-inmate student in New York

“I am in solitary confinement and never get to leave my cage…I have very little reading or study material and am in great need of help…I got your info from my preacher…I’m hungry for the Word of God.” – an inmate in Georgia

“Thanks so much. I got two packages with some nice booklets. I am so overjoyed that I have so much Christian literature to read, and I have also shared some with my brothers.” – a friend in Cuba

“I am very happy that you sent me Bibles for my ministry...I trust the Lord that those who received the Bibles will be blessed, and they may grow spiritually as they read the Word of God.” – a pastor friend in Philippines

“[The conference] went well and they were very glad to have the materials you guys provided. I hope God will use it to impact these men and their churches.”
leadership training mission to Kenya

Kenyan pastor

“I am a pastor of an extremely small congregation, and I have from time to time gotten discouraged, but thanks be to God that through your ministry, particularly Arthur Pink, my soul has been reenergized and refocused.” – a pastor in Louisiana

“Your library has been an incredible blessing to myself and my family…A friend introduced me to your ministry by giving me a copy of Pilgrim's Progress. My daughter and I have since been systematically going through your catalog and ordering items to use in my pastoral library. I also give many resources away to those I counsel.” – a pastor in Tennessee

“We recently came across an inmate in what is considered to be one of the worst prisons in the California prison system. This man became a Christian while in jail and is now in prison for an extended period of time…One of the things he has been extremely blessed by is the material that he has received from Chapel Library. He reads and studies all of the materials and is a serious student of the Word and your material. So I wanted to drop you this quick note to let you know that God is using your ministry in ways you don't know about. Be encouraged, brothers and sisters.” – a friend in California

“Thank you so very much for your materials. We distribute them as quickly as they arrive. Would you be able to provide more Bible study booklets?…Yes, we can always use another box of literature…May the Lord continue to bless your work and your generous donors.” – a prison chaplain in Indiana

“Just wanted to let you know that we have received the tracts…We have been praying that the Lord may use this as a means of grace to bring many out of darkness into His marvelous light.” – an evangelist in Toronto

Reformation Translation Fellowship

A report from Arthur Thompson

“In the 1940s and 50s, all Christian missionaries were expelled from China by the Communist government. How were pastors and church leaders going to receive training in this closed country? Churches were required to register with and submit to the government. Many churches refused to submit to the official Three Self Patriotic Movement (read: government controlled) ‘church,’ forming secret ‘underground’ congregations. How do you provide Christian literature for parents when the atheistic government controls all channels of education and communication? Receiving Christian instruction seemed all but impossible.

“In 1949 a small group of exiled missionaries established Reformation Translation Fellowship to train Chinese church leaders and Christians through the printing and free distribution of translated Christian literature. The initial challenge of delivering Christian books in a tightly controlled country had a very modest degree of success.

“Eventually the unregistered churches emerged as the house church movement, of which today there are more than 35 million adherents and at least 55,000 house churches in the country. As China became slightly more open toward the turn of the 21st century, RTF was able to increase its work. In 2016 RTF translated and published 19 titles. In January 2017, RTF ordered the printing in China of 35,000 books.

“Providentially RTF has been working with Mount Zion to publish Chapel Library titles in Chinese. These titles are available for download at RTF-USA.com and for free order in print from Chapel Library. They are scheduled to be printed in China as well.

“The initial cooperative project was The Doctrines of Grace in the Gospel of John by R. Bruce Steward. This Chapel Library title, funded by others, is available in French, Spanish, Amharic, Urdu/Hindi, and soon in Arabic.

“For more information about Reformation Translation Fellowship, visit RTF-USA.com. To receive our quarterly newsletters contact us at RTFDirector@GMail.com.”

Booklets for Evangelism

Many Christians use tracts as an evangelistic tool, but did you know that, carefully and prayerfully used, booklets can serve effectively in evangelism as well?

A brief tract might be the best thing to share with a stranger in a crowd, but often something more is needed. Someone you are ministering to might be responding with interest. You might be sharing the gospel with someone you know, whom you can encourage to take the time to dig further. Tracts only get the reader started and hopefully pique his interest.  A simple gospel booklet can be more complete and answer more of the reader’s questions. With prayer and the working of the Holy Spirit such tools can bear the fruit of true faith in Christ, as they point to the Scriptures, the source of all truth.  

Chapel Library has dozens of titles that go further in presenting the gospel. Please contact us for our full catalog. Here are a few of our well-loved evangelistic titles:

Alive or Dead? by J. C. Ryle (small booklet)

All of Grace by Charles Spurgeon (paperback; course available)

A Bad Record and a Bad Heart by Al Martin (small booklet)

Come to Me by Tom Wells (large booklet)

Forgiveness by J. C. Ryle (small booklet; course available)

Greasy the Robber by C. Lukesh (small booklet)

Look to Jesus by William Reid (large booklet; course available)

Man’s Ruin God’s Redemption by L. R. Shelton, Jr.

          (paperback; course available)

The Prodigal Son by Arthur Pink (small booklet)

What Is a Biblical Christian? by Al Martin

          (small booklet; course available)

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