Anniversaries are nostalgic, so bear with me as I wax nostalgic - and get a bit personal - for a moment. It is hard for me to believe that Reformation Heritage Books (RHB) is entering its second generation!
Reading Puritan literature has been a major boon for me spiritually for forty-seven years. When the Holy Spirit began to convict me at the age of fourteen of the seriousness of sin and the spirituality of the law, I searched the Scriptures and devoured Puritan literature from my father’s bookcase. My mother would call upstairs each evening at 11:00, “Lights out!” After my parents’ lights went out, I would turn mine back on and read until 12:30 or 1:00 in the morning. As a teenager, I read all the Puritan titles published by Banner of Truth Trust with relish. Primarily through the Holy Spirit blessing the Puritans to my soul, I found gospel peace and assurance of salvation.
I then felt an urgent need for everyone to benefit from reading the Puritans, so I started a church library in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Later, at age sixteen, I, with some other young people, founded a nonprofit organization called Bible Truth Books, which is still operating today. Later, as a minister, I served as president of our denominational book publishing house for fifteen years until 1993.
How did RHB get started and develop?
In 1994, I established RHB as a nonprofit and nondenominational ministry in Grand Rapids, Michigan. My original goal was to fill a niche in the Reformed and Puritan publishing world by offering sound biblical literature from a large variety of publishers while at the same time publishing several books each year on our own. At that time, several book dealers and publishers told me that it was not wise to attempt to be a book publisher and a book distributor at the same time. “A choice should be made for one or the other,” they said. But I felt called to establish a ministry that did both so that people could have a one-stop catalog of books in their hands, offering books at discount prices that they could trust would be true to the Reformed faith - books both published and distributed.
If you had told me at that time that a generation later RHB would be publishing or reprinting an average of one book each week, would carry five thousand titles from about seventy-five publishers from around the world - all of a sound biblical and Reformed stamp -and would sell more than $1.5 million worth of books annually, I would surely have thought this to be impossible. But God has ways of blessing His ministries beyond expectation (Eph. 3:20–21). Over the years, He has blessed us with tens of thousands of spiritually hungry and grateful customers, a helpful and supportive board of directors who have always been proactive, and especially with dedicated employees who have caught the vision of worldwide book ministry for the glory of God.
What are RHB’s goals for the future?
Our future goals are to continue publishing and distributing Puritan and Reformed books of high quality to God’s glory for people of all ages, ranging from young children to teenagers to educated laypeople to ministers to professors of theology, and to get them into countries all around the world as reasonably as a nonprofit organization can do it.
Today the possibilities are seemingly endless for expansion into modern forms of media, including e-books and audiobooks. We also hope to vastly expand the translation of many of our titles into various foreign languages. For example, we are already working with publishers in a half dozen countries for the translation of A Puritan Theology into their languages. We need much wisdom on how to face future possibilities of expanding the work.
Why is RHB important for today?
With the acquisition several years ago of Soli Deo Gloria titles, which are now an RHB imprint, RHB is now the largest publisher of Puritan literature in the world. Presently we have published and distributed more than six hundred Puritan titles, which raises the question, Why should twenty-first century Christians read the Reformers, and especially the Puritans?
Reading Puritan writings moves your soul with awe at the glory of God, builds up your mind with faith in the truths of Scripture, ignites your heart with love for Christ the all-sufficient Savior, and expands your life out of its shrunken puddle of selfishness to expect great things from God and attempt great things for God. In other words, the Puritans give us fuel for worship and missions.
How can you continue to support RHB?
1. Pray for us. Please continue to pray that RHB will remain committed to the rich biblical, Reformed, and Puritan heritage we treasure and that God will use this book ministry for the conversion and growth in grace of thousands of readers to His own glory. Also pray that we will be financially upheld, and that many donors will help us reach pastors around the world who cannot afford Reformed literature. Pray for our translated titles into Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, and several other languages. And pray for continued staff harmony and dedication.
2. Pass on our catalogs and website to friends. Let your friends know about us. Share our books with them. Encourage them to get on our mailing list.
3. Buy and read books. Later this year, RHB will be running some great specials in commemoration of our twentieth anniversary. Take advantage of these opportunities for yourself and your friends. Pass on our books to them as gifts.
Finally, thanks so much for letting us serve you. We appreciate your support more than you know.
Warmly, in the Master’s service,
Joel R. Beeke,
President of RHB