Do you read?
Do you read worthwhile books?
Do you read our Protestant Reformed literature, published by the Reformed Free Publishing Association?
Do you train your children, as they grow up into young people, to read?
Is the complete list of our RFPA publications found on your home library shelf? And are those books more than mere decorations on your shelf? Do they show the signs of being used?
The fear is not unwarranted that in too many of our Protestant Reformed homes the answers to the above questions are negative. The statistics concerning inventory and sales of our Publications Committee prove that as many as almost 50% of our Protestant Reformed families do not have some of our recently published books in their homes, much less read them and study them. This is not good! We live in a day when it is necessary for our very survival as a communion of Reformed believers that we be thoroughly founded in the truth of the Word of God according to our Reformed creeds. Everything round about us and from within us militates against our profession. To maintain that profession we must be well-equipped. We must understand and grow in the truth. We must understand and be equipped to withstand the lie. This is true with respect to the doctrines of our Reformed faith as such; it is also true with respect to the application of those truths to our life in the midst of the world. And one of the best and most trustworthy means of growing in the knowledge of the truth and of becoming well-equipped for the battle of faith is the good reading material offered by our RFPA.
Hence, if you are not a spontaneous reader, I strongly urge that you set up a reading program for yourself, and then stick to it. Set aside a certain time each week—whether that be on a Sunday afternoon, or whether it be some evening during the week—which you devote to worthwhile reading. Steadfastly refuse to turn on your TV during that time; apart from any other considerations, television is far too much of a time-robber in far too many homes anyway. And make up your mind that you are going to devote that set time to reading. And put first on your list our RFPA publications.
But there are other, more practical considerations for the advisability of your adding our Protestant Reformed literature to your library.
How often have I not heard the question: where can I find some dependable study materials on this or that? Where can I find a good guide on the Parables? Where can I find answers to my questions about the Book of Revelation? Our minister gave us study questions or a written assignment in connection with the Heidelberg Catechism or for our Essentials of Reformed Doctrine class; where can I look up the answers to these questions? Where can I find an explanation of this or that text? Where can I find a good exposition of the covenant and of the place of children in the covenant?
Over the past ten years or so the RFPA has made available in our various publications a veritable gold-mine of such study materials. Do you own them? Do you use them?
You young people who are courting and contemplating marriage, have you considered that you ought to read and study that gem of a book,Marriage, The Mystery of Christ and the Church? You parents with little children, are you concerned to train your children in the fear of the Lord? Have you studied together Paecable Fruit (For the Nurture of Covenant Youth)?
And so I could offer more such suggestions.
But there is another consideration. Our R.F.P.A. Publications Committee (Its official name is Permanent Committee For The Publication of Protestant Reformed Literature.) is dependent chiefly on you, our Protestant Reformed readers, for its financial ability to publish more books. We are a non-profit organization; and we operate in such a way that our income from the sales of earlier publications is supposed to provide the money to publish new books. Thus, for example, if we sell 1,000 copies ofBehold, He Cometh! for $9.95 each, this will provide us with $9,950.00 to publish our next book. Ever since publication of Reformed Dogmatics this has worked out well. In most instances the sale of each new book to our own people was each time sufficient to recover our original investment and to finance our next publication. But at present we are in somewhat of a bind. Due to various circumstances, we have so much of our money tied up in inventory (of previous publications and reprints) that we do not have sufficient assets for new publications.
And one of the chief reasons for this is the fact that a large percentage of our own people simply have not purchased some of our recent publications. Our records prove this.
We believe that this publishing project is a good work and that it ought to continue.
We are not asking for gifts.
We only ask that you, our primary market, buy our publications. By doing so you will kill two birds with one stone: you will help yourself to good literature, and you will make possible the continuation of our publishing work.
To give you an incentive and to hold this work before you, we intend to advertise our books in these pages on a regular basis. And we also intend from time to time to offer you some special bargains. Look for these ads, beginning with this issue.
And remember, too, that Christmas is coming. And a good book makes a good gift!