Friday, 27 December 2013

Paul's journeys with a note from the 'Man of God'.

 I have read briefly through this well presented account
of "Paul's Journeys" and have no hesitation in recommending it
as very good reading in helping to gain a greater appreciation
and understanding of the great Apostle's labours so as to provide
a clearer link with the service and labour of the past ministers
going back to the beginning of the revival under JND.

                                                            B D Hales 28/4/2013


  1. In June this year the author sent me a copy of this book and asked for my opinion. He suggested I might make a donation of the cost of the book to the PBCC schools. I replied:

    ... It was most kind of you to send us a copy and we've decided to write a cheque for the cost of the book to 'Scottish Love in Action', a Christian charity ...

    I then continued:

    'Paul’s Journeys’ is an excellent production and I’ve read it with profit. I liked its layout and clarity and anyone who reads it will certainly begin to understand the subject a lot better. From an outsider’s viewpoint, it’s a shame it’s so expensive and its sectarian bias may cause minor problems. Non-Brethren people aren’t used to the term ‘assembly’, for example, and J N Darby isn’t recognised as a Pauline scholar. Would it be possible, do you think, to use a modern Bible translation in your next book - perhaps the NIV or the NRSV? J N Darby’s nineteenth-dependent-on-seventeenth century English seems out of date and old fashioned as a translation of koiné language in C21. Also, I don’t think any Christian or secular scholar of repute would make the statement you made in the third line up from the bottom of page 29 [‘Paul, the most brilliant scholar Judaism had ever produced,’]. I know that Bruce D Hales is recorded as saying that in Vol. 86 page 99 and again in Vol. 87 page 430, but his opinion is not sustainable from evidence and it could cause offence to Jewish people. Finally, I noticed that N T Wright was not in your bibliography. You might like to look out for his much anticipated volume (to be published in November this year) ‘Paul and the Faithfulness of God’.

    It’s great that you are working on another book. All the best with it. I enclose a list of some books from my book shelves that may interest you and a summary timeline I prepared for our Bible Study group at church when I was teaching the subject.

    Thank you again for your kindness.

    1. Why are the Hales Exclusive Brethren so wedded to using the JND translation? To claim some historical connection? To deliberately make it obscure to those unused to hearing and reading arcane English?

      I also find it curious that this book is sold by UBT, but the 'church' does not control the brethren businesses. So why is a business group promoting a religious book with a signed note from the 'church' leader. Curious blurring of boundaries here. It really belies their assertion doesn't it?

      Cynically deep down I suspect it's at-arms-length adulation of BDH in his role as today's Paul. Hence the greatest scholar reference to big up 'the great man'. All cults seem to do the same dumb things.

  2. Replies
    1. CEO is not a New Testament title for the leader of a Christian assembly.

    2. Perhaps they want to call him a Complete Egotistical Ogre, and that is the only way that they can get away with it?

  3. Imagine the Paul of our day walking One mile without getting severe inner thigh rash

  4. I have in my modest library two books about the journeys and life of the Apostle Paul that I would recommend. as giving an insight into his life and ministry.
    1. In the steps of Saint Paul by Peter Walker
    2. The Apostle - a Life of Paul by John Pollock
    The latter is by a well known Christian biographer and over 4 million of his books have been sold in the English language alone. Another of his books is The Master: A life of Jesus
    I should make it clear that no connection is made in any of these books between any of the ministry of Jesus or the Apostle Paul and that of the leaders of the Exclusive Brethren of the past 180 years. That is not altogether surprising.

  5. Amazon UK and Eden UK name Peter Trevvett as the author of this book, though both companies say it's unavailable. Eden offers it at £54.55, which makes it a very expensive purchase.

  6. What lovely words Our Beloved Brother has chosen (?).

    "...to provide a clearer link with the service and labour of the past ministers going back to the beginning of the revival under JND." Authorship and copyright acknowledged to Bruce David Hales, cult leader and furniture salesman, Sydney, Australia.

    "...going back to..."? What about before JND? What about other ministers who were not part of his imaginary revival? Is he suggesting that an account of the apostle Paul is a reminder of how the leaders of his personality cult from JND to himself have served and labored? Served? Many would say fleeced.

    Why did he not take the opportunity to preach the gospel of Jesus, evangelize, spread the glad tidings, or encourage people to read more about the apostles? He had to point out that this great apostle Paul is just like the notorious EB Men Of God.

    IMO, BDH needs some serious psychological and psychiatric help. Ultimately it is likely that he, and most of his flock, will need some serious counselling to come to terms with what they have been (and are going) through.

    But going back to Paul, he had one h*ll of a life and has been through some incredible experiences. I have visited many of the places that he visited.

    Lastly, am I right in thinking that the book sells for cUSD75.00? That is a very high price for such a book. Is the aim of its publication to spread enthusiasm, or rake in some cash with a fairly limited print run? We have heard that one copy has been given away in return for a donation to Scottish Love In Action (which BTW is a great cause), but what about the rest? Will anyone (outside of the EB) but a copy? At that price it would require my local library to buy a copy to encourage me to read it - I can buy a bible with lots of Paul's history for around USD5, and some charities have been giving away bibles for nothing for many decades. Or is it another exhibit lined up for the Tribunal in the UK to demonstrate normality?


  7. This is nothing but an attempt to draw a parallel between the life of Paul and BDH. How pathetic! If you really want to understand how BDH got into his present position read Bob Thorncroft's letters on Wikipeebia and Friends Alive. Lies, deceit and bullying over a period of years were the basis of his ascent to power to say nothing of his lust for power and money.
    "And through covetousness,with well-turned words,will they make merchandise of you..." - 2 Peter 2 vs 3 - clearly a connection with the spirit of antichrist!


  8. My reaction to this book is positive, because its scholarly, objective content seems to be much more substantial and more influential than the silly sectarian bits or the naïve fundamentalist bits. It would only take a few strokes of the pen to delete these attempts to adulate BDH and JND or to imply a parallel between Paul and the Brethren leaders.

    Any move towards honest, objective study of the Bible, its authors, its stories, its peoples, its history or its languages can only be a good thing, especially in a community that has been conspicuously lacking in all of these.

    In fact, I would be delighted to see any move towards honest, objective, advanced study of anything at all. I believe education provides an important part of the remedy for nearly every ill that afflicts the human race, including illness, violence, warfare, poverty, immorality, selfishness, pride, hatred, intolerance and religious extremism.

    I congratulate Peter Trevvett, and wish him every encouragement with his next book.

  9. When I first read this book I was immensely encouraged that such a useful publication had emerged from the Hales Exclusive Brethren stable, though I regretted that it was prohibitively expensive.

    My copy doesn't have any recommendation from Bruce D Hales and I was disappointed to read (above) what he wrote. I noted that he only admitted to a brief reading of the volume, which may mean that he's missed its real value.

    One aspect of the book which pleased me was its extensive and eclectic bibliography. The Open Brethren professor F F Bruce has four books acknowledged; the church historian Henry Chadwick's 'History and Thought of the Early Church' (1982) is mentioned; and the Roman Catholic scholar Jerome Murphy-O'Connor is included - among many others.

    Because in my youth I knew university-educated Exclusive Brethren people I tend to have an expectation that some among these Brethren will be scholarly. This book is the first evidence I've seen that anyone in this generation, and from this group of Exclusive Brethren, is prepared to work long and hard at a biblical subject and present their findings in an accessible and attractive way. I hope that in future Brethren in all the rows of their meeting rooms will begin to require this standard of research and application from Bruce D Hales and the other front row brothers.

  10. This book is not for public benefit. It's intended for the Brethren.