Friday, August 8, 2008

The Bible Searchlight and the Holy Land & One Dozen Sermons, N. B. Hardeman

The Bible Searchlight and the Holy Land & One Dozen Sermons, N. B. Hardeman

This review includes two separate books since the material from these books is very similar to the material in the Hardeman’s Tabernacle Sermons volumes. One should keep in mind the amount of labor and expense it took to print a book prior to today. Indeed, God has blessed this generation with so many means of spreading the gospel today.

The Bible Searchlight and the Holy Land was copyrighted 1924. It appears that the book is a compilation of sermons from the first and second Tabernacle meetings conducted in 1922 & 1923. The book also includes lectures on Hardeman’s tour of the Holy Land. These lectures would later appear in print from the fifth volume of Hardeman’s Tabernacle Sermons; however, this meeting did not occur until 1942. So, The Bible Searchlight contains the earliest known printing of the Holy Land tour.

In 1919, the Board of Directors agreed to purchase the National Teachers’ Normal and Business College from brothers A. G. Freed and N. B. Hardeman. Over Freed and Hardeman’s protest, the board renamed the school “Freed-Hardeman College”. In 1923, both Freed and Hardeman left the school. Freed would go to work in Christian education in Nashville, TN, and Hardeman traveled to Europe and the Holy Lands for three months. While a trip to the Holy Land is considered a “trip of a lifetime” today with the political uncertainty, in Hardeman’s day with the political uncertainty and more difficult means of travel, the expression “trip of a lifetime” becomes closer to its original meaning. Upon his return, the town of Henderson filled Chester County Courthouse to hear him speak of his travels. In 1925, Hardeman returned to Freed-Hardeman College as president and would continue with the school until 1950. (Note that the school included Hardeman’s name before he served as president in 1925. Freed and Hardeman made many significant contributions to the school prior to Hardeman’s extended presidency. The Holy Land Tour was also a popular subject at Freed-Hardeman College. In fact, N. B. Hardeman received more requests for these lessons that he was willing to fulfill, being concerned he would feel “gorged”.

One Dozen Sermons, copyright 1956, is a compilation of sermons: two delivered in Glasgow, KY; seven near Gallatin, TN; and three from The Bible Searchlight. N. B. Hardeman states in the Preface that some of the sermons come from the Hardeman Tabernacle Sermons that were largely out-of-print at the time. Hardeman’s correctly stated, “If a sermon is worth preaching once, it should be told over and over.” This book is the smallest of the books authored by brother N. B. Hardeman. It would make a fine addition to any library. The sermon “The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart” (which appears in both second Hardeman’s Tabernacles Sermons and The Bible Searchlight) is indeed a classic. Anyone who has been perplexed by this subject apparently has not had the opportunity to read this sermon (or hear it preached by a preacher who has so profited.)

In conclusion, assuming one has a set of the Hardeman Tabernacle Sermons, one will find the material in these two works repetitive. That does not diminish the value of the books. It could be that one comes across these two works and seek to add them to the church library since one is out of print at the time. Whether supplementary to a library or not, these two books of sermons are very valuable to those who love the gospel of the kingdom. As I have been reading and researching the material for the series of reviews on the written works on or by N. B. Hardeman and reading about the current events of the church today, I am convinced that the brotherhood would profit greatly from encouraging the continued proclamation of the material contained in these lessons. E. Claude Gardner, retired president of Freed-Hardeman University who also worked with N. B. Hardeman, stated the Hardeman Tabernacle Sermons had a stabilizing influence among the brotherhood.

We need this type of stabilizing influence today!

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