No matter how you cut it, there’s something different about The Banner of Truth!
I knew it 30 years ago when I was working my way through seminary.
I knew it 20 years ago when I was pastoring families outside Philadelphia.
I knew it 5 years ago when I took over the helm here at Banner’s North American office.
And I can honestly tell you – it’s still true today.
There’s something different about The Banner of Truth!
Tyler discovered it not long ago. A young guy from the University of Pennsylvania, we met at a recent conference. As he was checking out Banner’s Puritan Paperbacks, I asked, “Have you ever read these guys?” His growing smirk said it all; my challenge was on! “Tyler, I will give you this copy of Owen’s ‘Mortification of Sin‘ with my business card if you commit to two things: Read the entire book, and email me when done. Deal?” His smirk became a grin. “Deal!”
Four months later, I received the following email:
Steve. I finished ‘The Mortification of Sin.’ Excellent book! By the last chapter my brokenness hit me like a tidal wave. I actually broke down crying on the train in my commute. First from brokenness and despair, but then from joy of grace. Do I want more? Yes! — Tyler.
Another guy, Jason, discovered it more recently. Similar to Tyler, I met this high school senior at another conference. “Ever read these guys?” I asked. He shook his head. I made my offer. He accepted. This time, the free book was “Impure LUST,” from Banner’s new Pocket Puritan Series, a sermon John Flavel preached several hundred years ago to a group of “sea-going men” – Navy guys! It’s brilliant! As you might imagine, I was thrilled when Jason’s name appeared in my inbox:
Mr. Burlew. I finished “Impure Lust” and am writing to thank you. Lust is an area in which I struggle greatly. At first I chafed against Flavel’s lengthy discourse on the danger and damage of lust. I didn’t see the point. But by the time I reached the end, I realized why Flavel did it that way: he wanted to give the reader a genuine hatred of lust before he gave them tools to fight it. Thank you for giving me that very timely book; it has helped me do battle with my enemy within. The battle is far from over, but I’m fighting now, as I’ve never fought before. Jason.
John Owen. John Flavel. Richard Baxter. Thomas Watson. Richard Sibbes. Thomas Manton. Yes, there are a lot of dead guys in this Banner of Truth warehouse. But although dead, they really do still speak! And what they have to say will blow you away!
At the same time, authors like Iain Murray, Sinclair Ferguson, Derek Thomas, Sharon James and newer additions like Paul Wolfe and Ken Wingate would like you to know that NOT ALL of Banner’s authors are dead! With 20-25 new releases coming off the presses each year, Banner of Truth now has more than 600 titles well worth your investment of money and time. Sure, they include Puritan works in complete sets, or more manageable forms like the Puritan Paperbacks or Pocket Puritan Series. But also riveting biographies that have gained “classic” status are D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, George Whitefield, John G. Paton, Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, and more. Spiritually moving devotionals that change the way you think and pray like, “Through the Year with William Still,” the pastor that Sinclair Ferguson said has had the greatest spiritual impact on his life. Or certainly, “The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions” which caused one pastor to remark, “This book has changed my prayer life forever!”
People often ask how Banner has maintained this consistency over the years, still publishing what I call “Christian Literature Worth Reading: Biblical. Substantive. Trustworthy.” The answer is in Edinburgh, with our general manager, our editor, our trustees, combined with the criteria that each book is of the caliber that it needs to be read now, but will still need to be read in 400 years! Only then will it gain the Whitefield logo on its spine.
But Banner isn’t just about books. Eleven months out of each year, the Banner of Truth Magazine is sent directly from Edinburgh to houses, churches and college dorm rooms throughout the world. Nothing glitzy, but solid content well worth your time! Want to try a 3-month electronic subscription free? Email us: [email protected]. Also, young and old continue to benefit from the fellowship and preaching of God’s Word at one of a number of Banner of Truth conferences. Personally, the U.S. Ministers’ Conference is a highlight for me. Men in ministry – pastors, elders, deacons, missionaries, chaplains, students – living together, eating together, worshipping together, praying together. It’s still unlike any conference I have ever attended. I was especially pleased that Tim Challies joined us and did live blogging from the conference a few years ago. How about doing that again in 2010, Tim? Details and video are available here: http://www.banneroftruth.org/reg2010/
Money is tight, and so is your time; there’s no doubt about it. That’s why I am thrilled to meet people of all ages across the country and introduce them to “Christian Literature Worth Reading.” What about you? If we’ve met during the past few years or if you have a story about a Banner book, leave a comment here. Or if you’re like Tyler or Jason, and have never read anything by a Puritan, how about accepting my challenge? If you can honestly tell me that you’ve never read a Puritan author, email me: [email protected]. The first 100 (perhaps more) who can accept my challenge will get a free book IF you commit to read it in full and email me when you’re done. How about it?
In the meantime, get off the computer and go read a Banner book! ☺
Steve Burlew, Manager
Banner of Truth, North America Office
Carlisle, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.