Friday, March 24, 2006

BIBLIOMANIA!!

...or bibliolatry(?)

I'm broke. Being an alien in Canada I am legally employmently challenged. And my lovely wife is maternally... leaved. But although I am without funds, God has never failed to provide our needs. And many times God provides the desires of our hearts, whether or not we actually "need" them. Every month or so I get a catalogue from Christian Book Distributors, the cheapest and most thorough company of its kind in the world (see link at the right). It's the only place where you can say that you saved thousands of dollars on books! I am a member (at $5 a year) and get them even cheaper. For example, the 22 volume set of Calvin's Commentary by Baker publishers costs $1000 retail. As a member I can buy it at $99.99. The 38 volume set of the Early Church Fathers (retail: $1100) you can buy at $219.99. I recently bought the Works of Jonathan Edwards for $44.99. This company puts books, that at one time could only be afforded by institutional libraries, into the studies of laymen and churches. They also have all the current bestsellers and music, etc., etc. all cheaper than elsewhere.

But, alas, even cheap = steep when you have nothing. However, as of this week I am several books richer. Thanks to the generosity of a semi-retired pastor, I harvested from a library that had been built across three decades. He approached me the day after I sadly browsed the CBD catalogue wondering how I could acquire additional resources. Although he kept most of his commentaries and classics, I was able to spend two days amidst his 4-6,000 books and left his house with 115 great ones. I am humbled that he thought of me (I barely know him) just because I am a student of theology/biblical studies, before he ships much of them off to Bible schools and colleges. Because he went to Moody and Dallas Seminary, he had good standards. Although I would never go to those schools (although I've heard that Dallas has evolved from their dispensationalism to a more Reformed view), alumni have at least a solid Bible-centered ministry and library. He probably had every volume ever published by John MacArthur, of which I attained 21.

So here I am, having strengthened some weak areas of my library, such as:

  • Some classic Reformed works, including Boice, Lloyd-Jones, Baxter, Spurgeon, Schaeffer, Packer, Jay Adams, etc.
  • general biblical studies references (sets of Bible encyclopedias, dictionaries, lexical works, etc.)
  • nouthetic counselling
  • church eldership
  • contra-Charismania/Toronto Blessing
  • cults and 'isms' (like Mormon, JW, Romanism)
  • missionary biographies, memoirs
  • a few demonological books
  • a great book on the four views of the millennium
  • 4 works of Aristotle, 2 of Plato, 1 Marcus Aurelius
  • and a partridge in a-- oh sorry

In addition, a great treasure, which he surprisingly gave without hesitation is a theological book printed in 1732 called Limestreet Lectures, which were given in London. It's in good condition for being 274 years old. It's about 470 pgs. and contains 26 sermons on those wonderful doctrines like "Particular Election", "Imputation of Adam's Sin", "Particular Redemption", Justification, "Efficacious Grace", and "Perseverence in Grace".

Having said all this, I was hoping someone knew of a good cataloging software program. Emily's itching to start inputting our c. 1000 books into a good system (I have already mourned the loss of some loved books that were never returned, not remembering who took them... someone at ABU!). Any recommendations?