I love old books. The antiquated look and smell. The way it feels in my hands. I like the hard covers with the nearly yellowing pages. No shiny book jackets or paperbacks for me. All lined up by size and different colors on a shelf. I especially love books on Christianity, the early church and all the doctrines of God. Over the years I have accumulated a pretty good size collection and some of these books go way back to the 1930’s.
Recently, I was going through a spare room upstairs that is full of bookshelves. I’ve decided it is time to downsize and donate those books that I know I will not read again. As I took them down one at a time and skimmed through each, I recollected when and where I bought them. Some I paid next to nothing for at thrift stores. Some were free. A few were gifts. Several years ago my mother-in-law presented me with a bible for Christmas. It is black, genuine leather with my name embossed on the front. She must have paid a pretty penny for it. I admit I have not read from it in a long time. It is a GWT (God’s Word Translation). Although I prefer the KJV, I would never give this Bible away.
I have old books on the history of the Church. I used to treasure these, reading them from cover to cover a few times and have even used them for reference back in the day when I would debate with someone. Sadly, I no longer have any use for them. Having grown in the Lord, in my spiritual walk and study of the Bible, I have since realized that these authors did not always rightly divide God’s word. Each of them erroneously believed that Christianity began with the 12 apostles at Pentecost in Acts 2. I didn’t understand then that Jesus’ disciples only taught the lost sheep of Israel. They taught that salvation for the Jews was to repent and be baptized. The very same thing John the Baptist taught. Thousands were added to this assembly of saved Jews. They were not Christians, not believers in the cross of Christ and what happened there, but believers in the gospel of the kingdom which is Christ is their King who will one day set up His kingdom on earth in Jerusalem. Some of these authors wrote that we should pray that God will use us to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth. They did not understand that what they were actually doing was asking God to bring the kingdom to earth for the Jews as it is Israel who will have an earthly kingdom. That is exactly what the Lord’s Prayer means when it says: “they kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” This is not about Christians who are citizens of heaven. We Christians do not have an earthly kingdom.
Many of these authors could not rightly divide the book of Revelation. They spent pages writing errors that the churches in chapters 2 and 3 are Christian churches. They are not. Revelation is about Israel and these “churches” are Jewish assemblies. This whole book is like a survival manual for the Jewish people who will be here for the tribulation. If I had stayed in the church I was in, I never would have learned the truth about all of this. Unless one does personal study, one will only know what their pastor teaches.
These books are filled with so much misinformation, although the authors were Christians. They just hadn’t received enough “light” and repeated the same errors and church traditions passed down by the various denominations. Today, there are a lot of Christians who think that Peter is the founder of Christianity. This is what their church has taught them. Or maybe they have some of the same books I do in their home library.
One would think that the earlier one goes back in Christian history, the more accurate the teachings would be. But this has not always been the case. In the writings of the Early Church Fathers from the 2nd century, we already see a subtle slide to apostasy which has only gotten worse. The interesting thing is that now we are seeing a remnant of Christians who have left their churches and separated themselves from false teachers. They are allowing God to teach them and joining with others who are doing the same. They are right dividers.
I haven’t decided yet what to do with these books. I can’t in good conscience donate them, but tossing them in the trash is hard too. They look good on the shelf, but inside there are just too much wrong teachings that it will easily confuse a young Christian who reads it. Maybe I will place them in with the recyclables where it will be given new life as something else.