Saturday, August 29, 2009

Israel, Henry H. Halley (1874-1965) and "Halley's Bible Handbook" . . . 17 and 19.5 year desire being fulfilled

One of the reasons for my current and extended 2-year spiritual pilgrimage to and self-study sabbatical in Israel is due, in part, to my reading of Halley's Bible Handbook.

It was this handbook and its pictures of historical/archaeological sites in Israel that spurred my interest in visiting The Holy Land of Israel.

At the time of purchasing the 24th edition (1965) of the handbook in 1989 or 1990, I was 18- or 19-years-old and not yet a Christian. I purchased it soon after I began reading the Bible seriously in October 1989.

From October 1989 (West Hartford, Connecticut) to my conversion to Christ in October 1992 (Lake Crescent Lodge employee dorm room in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington), I was a self-student of the Bible. (For the full story of my conversion to Evangelical Protestant Christianity, click here.)

For 10 days in late December 2005/early January 2006, and now for 2 years from May 2009 to July 2011, my desire to see in-person the historical sites of the Bible in Israel is being fulfilled. "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4).

Zondervan, the current publisher of the handbook (25th edition), states,
Halley's Bible Handbook, the classic layperson's companion text, includes a concise Bible commentary, important discoveries in archaeology, related historical data, church history, maps, and more. . . .
Halley's Bible Handbook was born out of the conviction of Henry H. Halley that everyone ought to read the Bible daily.
From its first edition, a small give-away booklet of 16 pages, it has grown into an 864-page "almanac" of biblical information, used regularly by hundreds of thousands of laymen, teachers, and ministers. Halley's Bible Handbook contains more biblical information than any other book of its size.
It has been a continuous best-seller through the years and has sold more than five million copies in many languages.
Elsewhere, Zondervan writes,
Now in full color, the twenty-fifth edition of Halley’s Bible Handbook provides time-tested help for understanding the Bible—not just with the mind, but also with the heart. It includes a concise Bible commentary, important discoveries in archaeology, related historical data, church history, maps, and more.
Clear. Simple. Easy to read. Now in full color for its twenty-fifth edition, this world-renowned Bible handbook is treasured by generations of Bible readers for its clarity, insight, and usefulness.
Halley’s Bible Handbook makes the Bible’s wisdom and message accessible. You will develop an appreciation for the cultural, religious, and geographic settings in which the story of the Bible unfolds. You will see how its different themes fit together in a remarkable way. And you will see the heart of God and the person of Jesus Christ revealed from Genesis to Revelation.
Written for both mind and heart, this expanded edition of Halley’s Bible Handbook retains Dr. Halley’s highly personal style.
It features brilliant maps, photographs, and illustrations; contemporary four-color design; Bible references in the easy-to-read, bestselling New International Version; practical Bible reading programs; helpful tips for Bible study; fascinating archaeological information; easy-to-understand sections on how we got the Bible and on church history; and improved indexes.
For a biography on the Kentucky-born Protestant (Disciples of Christ) minister and author, Henry H. Halley (1874-1965), click here.

Halley's Bible Handbook, 25th Edition is available through its publisher (Zondervan), at Christian Book Distributors (CBD) or

It is worth noting that Dr. Halley developed a fondness for memorizing favorite passages of the Bible until he could recite from memory entire books from the Bible, in abridged, connected form and in their own words. Some have suggested that at any one time Dr. Halley could quote in excess of no less than 25 continuous hours worth of Scripture without looking at a reference. According to Dr. Halley, "The Bible is the most precious possession of the human race."

Elder D. J. Ward & Main Street Baptist Church (Lexington, Kentucky)

Interestingly, Dr. Halley is buried near where a favorite preacher of mine ministered.

Kentucky's historic Lexington Cemetery (est. 1849, 833 West Main St.) is just up the street from where the late Elder D. J. Ward pastored (1989-2008), namely, the historic Main Street Baptist Church (est. 1862, the first African-American Baptist church in Lexington, 582 West Main Street).

Up until 2009 (when it moved to New Home Missionary Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tenn.), Main Street Baptist Church was home to the annual Sovereign Grace Bible Conference. The conference was founded in 1983 by Elder Ward who was, at the time, pastoring in Oak Ridge, Tenn. I have attended this African-American conference twice, in 2003 and 2004 (and then again in 2013).

Click here for the location of Dr. Halley's burial site in Lexington, Kentucky.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

"An Uncommon Christian" now available @ Reformation Heritage Books . . . Joel Beeke, Baruch Maoz and Israel . . . Is today's Judaism still Jewish?

Among other online options, An Uncommon Christian: James Brainerd Taylor, Forgotten Evangelist in America's Second Great Awakening (University Press of America, 2008) is now available through Reformation Heritage Books. Click here to view RHB's web page for An Uncommon Christian, and here to view other biographical Christian books offered by RHB.

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Reformation Heritage Books was founded in 1994 with the purpose of distributing sound, Reformed, experiential literature, such as that which flourished in the Puritan Era (c. 1550-1700). RHB's mission "is to glorify God and strengthen His Church through the publication and distribution of Puritan and Reformed literature." To read RHB's insightful and edifying "Heritage Booktalk" blog, click here.

Other online buying options in the U.S., Canada and overseas for An Uncommon Christian--including and viewable at Uncommon Christian Ministries' website. This is also the same for the second recent book on Taylor (an edited anthology), Of Intense Brightness: The Spirituality of Uncommon Christian James Brainerd Taylor (University Press of America, 2008).


On a somewhat related note, and among other places worldwide, RHB's editorial director, Dr. Joel Beeke, has spoken at a conference sponsored by Grace and Truth Christian Congregation in Rishon LeZion (Rishon LeTsion), Israel. I have attended this Tel Aviv-area congregation several times since my arrival here in Israel on May 8, 2009. (As a pastor, church historian, Puritan scholar and author, Dr. Beeke was 1 of 22 international endorsers of An Uncommon Christian.)

Grace and Truth Christian Congregation was founded in 1976 by a group of Israeli Christians, including longtime pastor Baruch Maoz (1976-January 2009). Today it is largely made up of veteran Israelis and immigrants from the former USSR and other countries, with some non-Jewish persons and an Arab family. The Reformed (Calvinistic) Baptist church also serves expatriate students or workers from various parts of the world, and a growing deaf community. Grace and Truth is one of Israel's oldest churches and thereby has showed the way for other churches in the country. It has led a successful international campaign against efforts to restrict religious freedom in Israel.

Click here to read a good article about the church's history and challenges by the now-retired Pastor Baruch Maoz. And here to read Pastor Maoz's response to a review of his 400-page book Judaism Is Not Jewish: A Friendly Critique of the Messianic Movement (2003). Pastor Maoz's website, "Soli Deo Gloria (Israel): Creating Reformed Literature in Hebrew," can be found here.