The CCEL Times 3.2 (February 4, 2008)
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In This Issue:
From the Director
For fifteen years, the mission of the CCEL has been to make classic Christian books available and promote their use. We are succeeding in that mission in a dramatic way—each year, data equivalent to about 12 million books is downloaded. More than 6,000 CDs of books have been given away in areas such as Africa, India, China, and the Middle East.
Over the years, volunteers have done most of the work in getting the books online. Volunteers have contributed many thousands of hours’ worth of work. For the past year or two I have been trying to make the CCEL into an organization that will stand on its own, even when I retire from the project, and we have hired a couple of employees. But their time is occupied with other tasks and the work of getting books online is still done by volunteers.
Hundreds of volunteers have helped by typing, scanning, proofing, or marking up books. It’s really a good arrangement all the way around: volunteers read a good book and help make classic Christian literature available to the world at the same time. However, training and coordinating volunteers and empowering them to do this work has always been difficult.
This month we are introducing a new way that volunteers can help get books online. At the bottom of each book page, logged-in users will see a link labeled "Correct an error on this page." You can click that link and actually edit the page—correct typos or make more substantial edits. Changes go into an approval queue. There is also a link labeled "I have proofed this page." So now volunteers can proof a page on-line, make any necessary corrections, and mark the page as proofed. It’s an easy—and, hopefully, fruitful—way to help distribute and promote classic Christian literature!
Harry Plantinga
Director of the CCEL
Usage Testimonial
Reading the CCEL in Iran
Name withheld
I am a convert in Iran. Since I live in this Islamic country, I have had no chance to study in a Christian college. I have got many books from your ministry of the Christian Classics Ethereal Library and have been blessed by that. God bless you for all your ministry.
How have you used the CCEL to deepen your research, discover new voices, and enliven your faith? Submit a usage testimonial.
Featured Classic
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Reviewed by Bruce Benedict
Our congregation is young, with many families from a predominantly non-Reformed background. Few of them know the Westminster Shorter Catechism. So we looked for a method by which we could familiarize them with the catechism.
However, instead of teaching a traditional recitation of the catechism, we teach it to the children by singing it. We have set the whole Shorter Catechism to music. We take from 10 to 15 minutes each Sunday morning before regular Sunday school to learn a new question every few weeks. Our leader sings the question and the children respond by singing the answer. When they have polished off a number of questions, they sing them in worship to support sermons or seasonal themes.
A highlight of this year took place on Easter Sunday when they sang Question 38 of the Catechism this way:
Leader: What benefits do believers receive from Christ as the resurrection?
Choir: At the resurrection, believers, being raised up in glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God to all eternity.
It was a strange and beautiful liturgical experience.
Bruce Benedict is worship ministries director at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. This article appears in the new book The Church of All Ages: Generations Worshiping Together, edited by Howard Vanderwell (Alban Institute).
What’s New
Master’s Indwelling by Andrew Murray (1828-1917)
The question comes again: Why is it that God’s people do not know their God? And the answer is: They take anything rather than God,—ministers, and preaching, and books, and prayers, and work, and efforts, any exertion of human nature, instead of waiting, and waiting long if need be, until God reveals Himself. No teaching that we may get, and no effort that we may put forth, can put us in possession of this blessed light of God, all in all to our souls. But still it is attainable, it is within reach, if God will reveal Himself.
– from "Waiting on God"
Classic Reflections
Classic Reflections on Lent
Here is a man, that shall never see death so, but that he shall even in the jawes, and teeth of death, and in the bowels and wombe of the grave, and in the sink, and furnace of hell it selfe, retaine an Almighty power, and an effectuall purpose, to deliver his soule from death, by a glorious, a victorious, and a Triumphant Resurrection: So it is true, Christ Jesus dyed, else none of us could live.
– John Donne (1572–1631), from "Sermon Preached to the Lords upon Easter-day, at the Communion"
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Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Calvin College
Grand Rapids, Michigan