Wednesday, January 12, 2011

One Precious Pearl - Robert Lloyd Russell


One Precious Pearl: God's Design for His Church by Robert Lloyd Russell
Christian Concepts Series: Timeless Truths and Contemporary
Perspective
Infinity Publishing

Rating: 7
Readability: 7
Impact: 7
I'll never think about pearls the same way. It certainly made me do some good thinking.

Read it Again: Yes.
Recommend it: Yes!


What to Expect

One Precious Pearl focuses on Jesus parables in Matthew 13, especially the parable of the merchant and the pearl. He also touches on other uses and context of the gem in the Bible.

The second portion of the book explains analogies and symbolism that can be seen in the actual pearl and through history and tradition.

The book can be easily used as a personal or group Bible study or can be read in a couple sittings. It's divided into 22 short chapters with questions, and thought and discussion ideas at the end of each. The book is engaging.

My Squib

I really enjoyed the book. The symbolism and analogy are all very exciting. (Especially after just finishing Through New Eyes.) Russell has a wide Bible knowledge and pulls passages from throughout the Scriptures. The style is understandable and relatively direct, although not outstanding.

One Precious Pearl gives the three common interpretations of Matthew 13:45-46 and than argues for what the author sees as the correct view, why this is important, and what it means.

The book then moves on to actual aspects of the pearl and how it may symbolize different qualities of the Church.
A pearl begins by something "piercing its side", the impurity (us sinners) is then transformed through the body of the oyster...it is a result of suffering and "sacrifice", the pearl is formed layer by layer, it is a perfect unit, etc... This whole section is very interesting.

One chapter that really made me think was on the pearl reflecting the inner shell of the oyster...which is actually very pearly and beautiful.
Jesus was not comely that we should look at Him, but obviously He is truly more beautiful and pure than we can imagine. And someday, as the Church becomes more like Him, it will become glorious and beautiful, reflecting His perfection.

While I don't think you could argue all these analogies are set in stone in the Bible, they can certainly be used as symbols of Christ's Church. I found this very exciting as a way to explain key aspects of the Church after the Resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The book is excellent for meditating on and discussing the Church that we are part of today.

The only real problem I had was the book was his theology on "end times"...but he almost seems to contradict himself.

I believe Jesus reigns now (we all sing it at Christmas). His Word will spread and the Church will grow.
Russell seems more dispensationlist in his view, but at the same time has confidence in the spreading of the gospel and growth in the Church...but perhaps not it's visibility. He also seems to believe that Israel is still very important in the future of Christ's kingdom (besides obviously being a nation that will bend the knee to Him).

I found it all pretty interesting and raised lot of questions for me.
And, again, I was surprised how doctrinal differences affect so many more things than I anticipate. I'm afraid I'm not particularly confident I could argue our view of eschatology...but at 19 there's still hope, right?

Russell, however, demands respect when he does not shy away from sometimes tough or unpopular doctrine...or merely applying what he believes. I sincerely believe that his greatest goal is to drive others to open their Bibles and study the perfect Word! It certainly made me dig into my Bible, even if it I was because of a disagreement. :-)

Although I didn't agree with everything, I thoroughly enjoyed One Precious Pearl. I'm very glad I got the chance to read it. I now view the pearl as a beautiful symbol and amazing teaching tool!

I recommend it and would love discussing it. :-)

From the Book

In both the beginning of a pearl and the initial formation of the Church, the side of a living organism was opened.

Both the impurity in the Oyster and sinners in the Church are transformed into items of great value.

Like a pearl, the Church is a product of a living thing--the Church is a organism rather than merely an organization.

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Necessary Note: I received a complementary review copy of this book.

4 comments:

Anna said...

It's interesting to note that in the New Jerusalem each gate will be made of one pearl....one pearl, those have got to be huge.
Anyway, that was a side comment.
So is this guy a Preterist? (sp?)
I wasn't quite sure what his view on the end times is. Though
from your review it looks like he has some interesting things to point out
~Anna

Miss Pickwickian said...

Anna,

Yes, I think the pearl gates in Revelation are very interesting. Robert Lloyd Russell didn't real go into detail about them but they are the only other place in the Bible where pearls are mentioned in a favorable light. Jim Jordan mentioned it in passing in his book "Through New Eyes", but I'd still like to hear more about it.

The author leans towards dispensationalism, which is where I disagreed with him.

The book is very interesting. You're welcome to borrow it if you want sometime.

Thanks for commenting. :-)

Happy Homemaker said...

Could I get in line to borrow it?

Miss Pickwickian said...

Sure. :-)