Category Archives: Books

Abner Jones – Part One

Roundhouse started yesterday (and Happy Birthday, Brad!), and that means almost two full weeks away from the computer.  But we don’t want to leave you with nothing to read during that time!

So this week, we hope you’ll enjoy reading about a man named Abner Jones.  He was a preacher from the late 1700s/early 1800s who realized that his denomination was teaching and binding things that were not in the Bible.

By the time you read all the posts this week, you will have read the entire work, Abner Jones: Christian Only by Bradley Cobb (which is also included in Abner Jones: A Collection, Volume 1).

Enjoy!

His Early Life

From Childhood to “Conversion”

The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776. Four years earlier, in Royalton, Massachusetts, Mr. and Mrs. Asa Jones[1] had their fifth child, a son. The Jones’ had both been raised as “Calvinist Baptist[s],”[2] and proceeded to bring up their own children, including newborn Abner Jones, in the same way. Asa Jones was a preacher for the Baptists, whose “prayers and admonitions” weighed heavily on young Abner’s mind, even as a young child.[3] Abner himself later confessed that this time was spent with “much concern” about his eternal well-being.[4]

At age eight, amidst the War for Independence, Mr. Jones moved the family to Bridgewater, Vermont.[5] At this point, the area was basically wilderness,[6] and the family built their home out of trees that they cut from the area. Being the first family to move into that area, their nearest neighbor was at least two miles away.[7]

Throughout his youth, Abner was tormented by depression. He felt a constant struggle for inner happiness which could not be found. He sought for it in religion, desperately looking for peace. In his Memoirs, Jones says the following: “But to return to the situation of my mind…I know not a better similitude than the wilderness in which I then dwelt…dreary and melancholy.”[8]

One summer, a series of events happened in Woodstock, Vermont which turned many people’s minds towards religion. Indians plundered some nearby towns, worms destroyed most crops of all the farmers in the area, and a hunting accident involving the decapitation of a man caused the people¾including Abner Jones¾to think about their eternal life. These events caused him to reflect, but he felt “ashamed to let anyone know that [he] felt concerned about [his] soul.”[9] Because of this, he kept his thoughts secret.

This young child felt the need of religion, and was “fully convinced that [he] must be born again or be damned.”[10] At age ten, the need he felt was even stronger. He heard of a meeting wherein many people were converted, but this did not satisfy him, because of the depression he felt. He said that even at this time, “all was darkness and gloominess.”[11] He still fought against religion, thinking that even though he needed it, it would not satisfy his mind.

It was about this time that he went to a meeting where a Baptist preacher named Snow was speaking. On his way there, he prayed for God to have mercy upon him. He desperately desired that he would receive some relief from his terrible condition that night. When he arrived, all appeared to be gloomy, and he resigned himself to knowing that this day would be no different than the rest. About this event, Jones relates:

I do not remember that the thought ever passed my mind that religion yielded any joy or peace; all the advantage I thought of, was that it would save the soul from eternal misery; and on that account I felt desirous to obtain it; feeling fully satisfied of my lost undone situation… (though I cannot say that I saw myself hanging immediately over hell as some have discovered themselves).[12]

At that meeting, however, Abner suddenly felt alive inside. He observed the preacher speaking of something not melancholy, but joyful. Asa Jones arose and spoke some more words which seemed to his son as something he had never before heard from his father. At the time, Abner thought the difference was not with his own perception, but with the speakers who spoke of joy and gloriousness. Inside, Abner finally felt peace.[13]

This inner joy was short-lived. The happiness crept away, and he did not understand why. Many days passed when the thought of Luke 15:24 entered into his mind: “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; was lost, and is found.” According to Jones, this is the first time that a Scripture went to his heart. He took this to mean that he had been dead in sin, but was at this point alive in Christ. He said “from that moment, a hope sprang up in my soul for eternal life.”[14] Many times afterwards, though, he did doubt that this was truly the moment of his salvation.[15]

Years of Rebellion

After the events previously described, Abner determined to keep his “conversion” to himself for the rest of his life. This did not last very long because he revealed to his mother and one of her friends that he had a secret. This knowledge led to the women harping at him until finally one of them guessed the secret. When he finally acknowledged it, he felt once again free from the depression that seemed to plague his early life. It was only later in life that he was able to see that the events of happiness coincided with his belief (as mentioned earlier), and here with his confession of Jesus before others.[16]

His joy remained for a short period of time, after which he realized that the Lord had commanded for all who believe to be baptized. Instead of obeying the command which he knew was from Christ, he shrunk back from it. This cast him into a deep depression, a “darkness that might be felt.”[17] This depression lasted for several months, and during that time his only happiness came from knowing that he would eventually die and be freed from this earth.[18]

He knew he needed to be baptized, but continually fought against it because he felt he was too miserable of a person. It was due to this refusal that he says of himself “I wandered in darkness.”[19] He went to other meetings trying to regain the hope and joy which he had earlier felt, but to no avail. One night, the realization sprang upon him that his “soul was eternally undone.”[20] He understood his completely lost condition at that time and knew God would be justified if He were to send Abner to hell at that moment. He spoke to his mother the next morning and told her “I am going right to hell.”[21] Being a Calvinist, his mother tried to convince him that he might be among those predestined, but he fell into a depression deeper than he had ever previously experienced.[22]

From this point onward, though there were moments of light, he began to stop caring about God, and he hardened his heart towards religion. When his father died in 1786, Abner’s heart was hardened even further. His oldest brother came to Vermont shortly thereafter. This brother was a worldly person, dedicating his life to the pursuit of merriment and arguing against religion. He was “in favor of universalism”[23] which is the doctrine that everyone will be saved, regardless of how they live.[24]

For the next six years, Abner did everything he could to embrace universalism in an effort to ease his conscience. As a result of embracing this doctrine, he “led a rather immoral life during his teen years.”[25] He set about to banish every thought of religion from his mind. He determined that if anyone should ask of him why he had changed, he would give no answer at all. This refusal to answer shows that he understood the things in which he involved himself were wrong. He was now determined to follow after “vanity and folly.”[26] Though he felt empty inside, his pride kept him in his sin. In order to quench thoughts of his need to follow God, he carried on even more in the vanity. There were times where he thought he should return to following God, but the thought of what his friends would say made him abandon the thought.[27]

His attempts at becoming rich all ended with sickness or injury. He tried being an apprentice, but a severe sickness incapacitated him and he had to return home. In January of 1791 while cutting wood, he accidentally chopped into his foot. It was at age eighteen that he exerted himself to the extent that he burst himself, apparently a reference to an extremely bad hernia. The surgeons were unable to adequately fix his problem, so from that point onward he was unable to do any physical labor.[28] He made one last go of business, but that ended with a terrible fever that lasted for weeks.[29] Abner viewed all of these injuries and illnesses as God punishing him for not being baptized. Yet still he ignored God’s command.[30]

He went back to Bridgewater, where a reformation of sorts had taken place. There were many new “converts” in the city, and finally he was convinced to go to meeting. Before the meeting was over, Abner Jones realized his completely “awful situation.”[31] This event, more than any other to that point, made him realize that he needed to turn to the Lord. He reflected on his past with shame, knowing he had ignored what he knew to be right. Even so, he did not do what he knew he must and remained in that situation for months.[32]


[1] www.pioneerpreachers.com

[2] Jones, Abner. Memoirs of the Life and Experience, Travels and Preaching of Abner Jones. (Norris and Sawyer, 1807) Pg 4.

5 ibid, 5.

[4] ibid, 5.

[5] The New England Christians (see bibliography)

[6] Burnett, J.F. Rev. Abner Jones: The Man Who Believed and Served. (unknown publisher, 1921) Pg 6

[7] Jones: Memoirs, Pg 5.

[8] ibid, 7

[9] ibid, 10.

[10] ibid, 11.

[11] ibid, 12.

[12] ibid, 12-13.

[13] ibid 13-14.

[14] ibid, 15.

[15] ibid.

[16] ibid, 17-19.

[17] ibid, 19.

[18] ibid.

[19] ibid.

[20] ibid, 23.

[21] ibid, 24.

[22] ibid.

[23] ibid, 25.

[24] Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary

[25] New England Christians.

[26] Jones: Memoirs, Pg 27.

[27] ibid, 28.

[28] ibid, 33.

[29] ibid, 38.

[30] ibid, 29-33.

[31] ibid, 42-43

[32] ibid, 43-44.

Restoration Movement – A Sketch of the Life and Labors of Richard McNemar

Cobb Publishing is pleased to announce the latest book in their Restoration Movement collection!

The man who wrote The Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery–and spent days convincing Barton W. Stone to sign it–is largely forgotten.

McNemar Cover

Richard McNemar is an enigma to many students of the Restoration Movement. He shows up as a co-worker with Barton W. Stone, and his name is on one of the most historically significant documents of the Restoration. Yet he is not much more than a footnote in the history books.

However, for those students who want to know more about him, and want to know what happened to him after the Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery, this book is for you.

This is a sad tale of a preacher who had great potential, but who was caught up in false doctrines.

The author of the book (J.P. MacLean) was a historian of the Shakers (publishing several Shaker-related books), and put together this work, originally published in 1905.

This book on the life of Richard McNemar has undergone several editorial changes in spelling, punctuation, and formatting.  Additionally, several footnotes have been added to explain various words and phrases that aren’t familiar to most readers.   There is also a new section added to the end of the book which gives a very brief overview of the history and beliefs of the Shakers.

We do trust, however, that you will find this work, A Sketch of the Life and Labors of Richard McNemar to be interesting, and that it will help you know “the rest of the story.”

Contents:

Preface.
Chapter One: Early Life.
Chapter Two: Charges of Heresy.
Chapter Three: The Kentucky Revival
Chapter Four: Conversion and New Order
Chapter Five: An Account of Labors and Suffering.
Chapter Six: Travels and Special Missions.
Chapter Seven: Literary and Other Industries.
Chapter Eight: Persecution, Expulsion, Triumph, and Death
Bibliography.
Appendix: A Brief Overview of the Shakers

Available in paperback ($4.99) or in pdf eBook format (99 cents) by clicking here.

Published by Cobb Publishing, 2014.

Habakkuk: An Introduction

To celebrate the release of our latest book, Wait, Not THEM!  A Study of the Prophecy of Habakkuk, we are going to give you a sneak peak–a just-for-you look at the introduction of the book.

But before we do, let me take just a few seconds to tell you about what’s in the book.

  • Thorough, in-depth, yet easy-to-understand notes on every verse in the book.  It’s even broken down by sections–sometimes by words–so that you know exactly what Habakkuk is talking about.
  • Keeping it in context.  One of the things that we have striven to do with our commentaries is to never take a verse out of context.  We show the explanation of the verse based on how it fits in the book.  If there are New Testament uses of some of the verses, then we point that out and show the greater meaning.
  • Modern-day application.  We make it a point throughout this book (and all of our commentaries) to show what it meant to the original readers, and how those same principles also apply to us today.
  • Offering of different interpretations.  On some passages, words, or phrases, sometimes the exact meaning isn’t completely clear.  When this is the case, we present any possibilities that seem plausible and that also fit the context.  We give the pros and cons of each view, state which one we prefer and why, but leave it to the reader to make their own judgment.

It was written to be helpful to both the new Christian as well as the one who has been involved in Bible study and teaching for decades.

What others have said about this book:

  • Homer Hailey doesn’t have much on this passage in lieu of what you have. –A preacher.
  • I find this intriguing.  You apparently did your research on this. –A preacher and writer from Alabama.
  • I loved it.  So much detail and so much meat! –A Bible teacher in Oklahoma.

If you’re interested in ordering the book (in print or as an eBook), click here.  It’s also available via Amazon.com in print or as a Kindle file.

Now, without further talking, here is the…

Introduction

Habakkuk is among the most overlooked and ignored books of the Bible. Perhaps this is because it’s so short. Perhaps it’s because there really isn’t a clear prophecy of Jesus Christ in the book. Perhaps it’s because it doesn’t have any action or stories in it (like Jonah). Whatever the reasons may be, this book hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. After all, it is Scripture, and all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable (II Timothy 3:16).

Who Wrote It?

The writer is the prophet Habakkuk. The book is described as the “burden” (or prophecy) which Habakkuk saw (1:1). Someone might rightfully ask, “Couldn’t someone else have written it, just describing what Habakkuk saw?” That might be a possibility, except that the writer claims to be the one who received the prophecy. The writer says, “And the LORD answered me…” (2:2). Also, at the end of the book, the writer says “When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice; rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself…” (3:16). This shows that the author is the one who received the prophecy. He identifies himself as the prophet Habakkuk (1:1).

Who is Habakkuk?

Outside of this book, there is no biblical information about Habakkuk.

Habakkuk’s name comes from a word that means “to embrace.” So, it appears that his name carries the idea of “one who embraces” or “one who clings.” In the end of the book, Habakkuk is still clinging to God even in the face of the impending destruction.

Some have suggested that he was a professional prophet, because he identifies himself as “Habakkuk the prophet” (1:1). There were those who, like Elijah or Samuel, were known to be prophets and who made their living by the offerings of the people (see I Samuel 9:6-9).

Others have also suggested that Habakkuk was a priest of God, a Levite who served in the temple worship. This suggestion is based on the final verse of the book, which says “to the chief singer on my stringed instruments” (3:19). Both of these suggestions are possible, though they cannot be definitively proven.

Because of the content of Habakkuk’s prophecy, we can know for certain that he was a resident of Judea (see 1:2-4). We can know that it was written prior to Babylon’s invasion of Jerusalem in 606 BC (which was prophesied in 1:6-11). Beyond that, there is little we can discern.

There is one noteworthy mention of Habakkuk outside of the Scriptures. In the Apocrypha[1], there are two additional chapters to the book of Daniel. One of these chapters is referred to as Bel and the Dragon. In this story, Daniel (who is in Babylon) is thrown into the lion’s den (chronologically, this would have been immediately after the famous lion’s den episode of Daniel 6). In the lion’s den, Daniel is starving. So, in order to make sure Daniel doesn’t starve to death, the Angel of the LORD goes to Judea and tells Habakkuk to go feed Daniel. Habakkuk had just made some soup, and is told, “Carry the soup to Daniel who is in a lion’s den in Babylon.” Habakkuk replies, “I’ve never been to Babylon, and I don’t know where this den would be.” So, the Angel of the LORD grabs Habakkuk by the hair, and flies him to Babylon so he could feed Daniel. Then he grabs him again by the hair and flies him back to Judea.[2]

As you can hopefully see, that information is ridiculous, and gives us no reliable information about Habakkuk.

When Was it Written?

The only thing we can say about the date with absolute certainty is that it was written prior to the invasion of Judea by the Babylonians in 606 BC. The invasion is prophesied as a future event by God in 1:5-11. In 1:5, God says that it will happen in “your days,” meaning during the days of the people then living.

We can be a bit clearer with the date based on Habakkuk’s reaction to God’s announcement. God announces that the Chaldeans (the Babylonians) were going to attack. Habakkuk was extremely familiar with them (1:12-17). Babylon wasn’t really a world-power until around 615. They took and destroyed Nineveh, the capitol of the Assyrian Empire, in 612 BC. This seems to point to a date of 615-612 BC at the earliest.

We can narrow it down a bit more when we see the spiritual condition of the land. According to 1:2-4, the entire nation was wicked to the point where God’s prophet is calling for divine intervention. Josiah had reformed the nation, bringing them back into compliance with God’s word. However, after Josiah died in 609 BC, the nation went downhill fast. The king, Jechoniah, was ready to kill Jeremiah for prophesying.

Based on this information, it appears that we can date Habakkuk’s writing to be between 609 and 607 BC. This would place Habakkuk as a contemporary with Jeremiah.

Who Was it Written To?

It was written to the Jews as a whole. It was written to let them know what was coming and why it was coming. It was written to the wicked Jews so they would understand exactly what God thinks about their wickedness. It was written to the faithful Jews to let them know that God was not going to stand by and let wickedness reign in His nation.

Why Was it Written?

This prophecy was recorded to prepare the faithful for what was about to happen. It was written to encourage the faithful to remain that way. It was written to condemn the wicked, and show that the upcoming destruction was justified because of their wickedness.

Ted Clarke stated it this way:

The ultimate purpose of Habakkuk’s prophecy was to show the grand truths that the just shall live by faith, and that the wicked will not go unpunished.[3]

Interesting Notes:

Most of chapter two deals with the reasons for Babylon’s eventual destruction, but these reasons also apply to Jerusalem, and show that it deserved destruction as well. Babylon and Jerusalem are equated in that section. They are also equated in the book of Revelation (Jerusalem being the “Babylon” mentioned there).

Outline of Habakkuk:

  1. Habakkuk’s complaint (1:1-4)
  2. God’s reply (1:5-11)
  3. Habakkuk’s response (1:12-2:1)
  4. God’s second reply (2:2-20)
  5. Habakkuk’s prayer (3:1-2)
  6. Habakkuk’s psalm (3:3-19)

Final Note:

This commentary uses the King James Version as its basis, though we have taken the liberty to update the spelling and language slightly (for example: didst is now did) to make it more reader-friendly.

[1] These are additional books and chapters accepted as part of the Old Testament by the Catholic Church. They never appear in Hebrew Old Testament manuscripts, but only in Greek copies. The Jews never accepted these books and extra chapters as inspired, and none of these writings were ever referenced by the New Testament writers.

[2] These events can be found in what is referred to as Bel and the Dragon, or Daniel 14:28-38. See Appendix A.

[3] Clarke, Ted, “Habakkuk Notes” The Preaching School Collection, e-Sword edition, available from www.TheCobbSix.com.

Justified by Works

The Cobb family is proud to announce the release of our newest book!

JamesCover(Front Only)

Justified by Works: A Study of the Letter from James is a 264-page commentary on what has been called the most practical book of the New Testament.

There is an extensive introduction, answering questions such as:

  • Who wrote it?
  • When was it written?
  • Does the date matter?
  • Who first received the letter?

Every verse is covered with in-depth notes discussing things like (1) how each verse and phrase fit into the overall context of the book, (2) a better understanding of some of the original words, (3) how the passages applied to the original readers, (4) how we can apply these same verses to us today.

It is thorough and in-depth, but it is also very easy to read and understand.  The books was written to be useful to new Christians as well as those who have been teaching the Bible for years.

And to celebrate the release of this new book, we’re making it available at a massive discount for this week only.

Paperback – $9.99 $5.99

eBook – $2.99 99 cents!

James D. Bales – Woe Unto You?

Who were the Pharisees?

Why did Jesus condemn them?

Are you under the same condemnation?

Bales - Woe Unto You Cover

The Pharisees are constantly a thorn in the side of Jesus.  And Jesus uses the words, “Woe unto you,” to describe them.  This book examines the many different times that Jesus uses this phrase.  Why were the Pharisees condemned?  And are we guilty of the same thing?

This 121-page, 13-lesson book is specially designed to encourage Christians to examine themselves in the light of God’s word.  This is the third book in the official James D. Bales eBook Collection.

From the introduction:

“Our study of Christ and the Pharisees is not just a matter of historical interest, nor just to learn what Jesus said about somebody else. In our study we must constantly be aware of the fact that Jesus clearly said: “For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:20) When this is kept in mind we shall examine our own lives to see whether or not we have been following the same principles which the Pharisees follow­ed. If we are following these principles, if we have become like them, then these woes are unto us as surely as they were unto the Pharisees. Thus the very title of this study urges the reader to ask himself: Are these woes unto me?”

  1. JESUS AND THE PHARISEES
  2. WAS CHRIST TOO HARD ON THE PHARISEES?
  3. THE RESPONSE OF THE PHARISEES
  4. HOW THE PHARISEES ATTACKED JESUS
  5. AS THEY BID, NOT AS THEY DO
  6. TO BE SEEN OF MEN
  7. SHUTTING THE KINGDOM
  8. THE PRAYING “PREYERS”
  9. TWO-FOLD MORE A SON OF HELL.
  10. SWEARING AND TITHING
  11. HYPOCRISY
  12. THE LAMENTATION OVER JERUSALEM
  13. WOE UNTO YOU?

Available now for just $2.99

James Bales – The Prophet Like Unto Moses

The second book in the Official James D. Bales eBook Collection is now available!

bales prophet like Moses

This book of 117 pages goes into great detail showing that Jesus Christ–and only Jesus Christ–is the fulfillment of the prophecy in Deuteronomy 18:15-19.

If you like types/antitypes, this book is for you, because it shows the many different ways that Moses was a “type” of Christ.

If you like reading about fulfilled prophecy, this book is for you, because it shows the overwhelming evidence that Christ fulfilled this prophecy that God gave through Moses.

A quote about the book:

I was blown away by the content.  I especially thought the proof of Moses’ foretelling of the destruction of Israel connected with Jesus’ foretelling of the same event was well-presented and extremely convincing. –-A preacher from Oklahoma.

 

  1. The Prophecy and the Claim.
  2. A Prophet Like Moses.
  3. The Two Mediators.
  4. The New Covenant.
  5. Predictions By Moses.
  6. Predictions By Christ
  7. Required of Them.
  8. The Prophet Like Unto Moses.
  9. A Host of Likenesses.
  10. A Line of Prophets?

This eBook is being made available with the permission of the copyright holder for only $5.99.  It is well worth that and more!

James Bales – Romans

We announced last week that we had reached an agreement to make many of the James D. Bales books available in digital format, and now the first one is ready!

Bales-Romans

Designed to be used when teaching a 13-week class, Romans is informative, instructive, and encouraging.  Within the 108 pages, you will find a great overview of the grand themes of this great epistle!  This is a great way to study through the book of Romans while keeping the whole book in context.

Each chapter contains several questions: some for remembering the text, and others that cause you to give deeper thought to the application of the text.  They are sure to spark some good discussion in the class.

  1. The Gospel in Romans
  2. Why the Gospel is Necessary
  3. The Law of Faith
  4. Peace Through Christ
  5. Why Christians Should Not Continue in Sin
  6. The Wretched Man
  7. The Delivered Man
  8. Not all of Israel is Israel
  9. Paul’s Desire for Israel
  10. Israel and the Gospel
  11. Therefore, Brethren
  12. Love Seeks to Please Its Neighbor
  13. The Gospel for Both Jews and Gentiles

This fantastic book is only $2.99!

Pardee Butler–The Definitive Collection

“By faith Pardee Butler became a sojourner in the land of Bleeding Kansas, dwelling in dugouts…who through faith subdued slavery, wrought righteousness and prohibition, escaping the edge of the sword. He was tortured, not accepting deliverance, that he might obtain the victory of the Gospel and establish an unsectarian, undenominational New Testament Church of Christ in the free and virgin soil of the great plains of the West.”

ButlerCover(sm)

An abolitionist, a statesman, a writer, a farmer, a crusader–but most of all, a preacher.  This is Pardee Butler.

The newest release from Cobb Publishing is Pardee Butler: The Definitive Collection.This 438-page book covers the life of this pioneer Kansas preacher from start to finish.  When you see what’s in it, you’ll know why we call this the definitive collection.

Contents

Pardee Butler: Kansas Crusader
This work, graciously provided by the Kansas State Historical Society, looks at the life of Pardee Butler as he fought against slavery and saloons.  And in Kansas, he won both fights.

Pardee Butler: Kansas Abolitionist
An extensive look at the life of Pardee Butler during his years of trying to make Kansas a “free state.”

Pardee Butler’s Reply to Attacks made by Elders Isaac Errett and Benjamin Franklin
This article was written for publication in answer to personal attacks made against him by his own brethren.  These attacks were made by the leaders who thought the best tactic to take in regards to slavery is to just not bring it up.  Of course, those brethren refused to print it, so Butler published it himself.

Personal Recollections of Pardee Butler
This is part autobiography, part history, and every bit of it interesting.  Read his personal account of being “rafted” down the Missouri River by an angry mob.  See how the same mob later tarred and cottoned him (they didn’t have feathers).  But even more than that, You will see his incredible love for the truth and care for the churches in Kansas.

Pardee Butler: Pioneer Minister and Statesman
This is the “final word” on Pardee Butler, written by his son, Charles P. Butler.  It gives a very balanced look at his life and shows that he was much more than an abolitionist.

Over a hundred hours of work have gone into preparing this 438-page book.  We know that you’ll enjoy it!

Kindle version is available via Amazon.com.