by Roger Zotti
“Almost Persuaded, Now to Believe” ( Tate Publishing) is the title of Reverend Joshua A. McClure’s latest book. I’ll let him tell you why he wrote it: “A long story really, but after preaching and teaching for twenty long, hard years in the church, it dawned on me that there are lots of important things about Christianity people don’t understand. Ask them a question about the Trinity or Creation, and basically what they say is, ‘It’s a mystery. I don’t understand it. But I accept it by faith.’ After searching Scriptures, I decided to write something very plain and clear that people could understand.”
Rev. McClure, 76, pastor of the Pleasant Street Baptist Church, Westerly, RI since 1984, believes “we’ve taken Scriptures and made them so intellectual that people don’t understand them.” And that’s where “Almost Persuaded” comes to the rescue: if you don’t understand certain concepts of the Christian faith – like Grace, The Fall, Creation, Deeper Life, Trinity, Incarnation, the book makes them understandable because it’s written, Rev. McClure added, “for the person in the pew,” not for someone studying Scripture, not for religious specialists.
Writing “Almost Persuaded” taught Rev. McClure – whose first book was the well received “Can These Bones Live?” – a valuable lesson. “I learned how to relay the Gospel message to people in simple, everyday language,” he said, “so they can say, ‘I got it! I understand it!’ I admit I was guilty myself of being too intellectual in my writing. But once I asked God to teach me how to write in a different way, a simple way, I was able to do it.”
Four o’clock in the morning is a special time for Rev. McClure. That’s when he wakes up and writes. “Again, this book is like my first book,” he said. “I wake up at four. I put on the lamp. I have a yellow legal pad at my desk, several ballpoint pens, and I write. You know, I write things I didn’t really know I knew. The words just pour out. That’s because, you see, what I’m saying is inspired by the Holy Spirit.”
“Almost Persuaded” is, Rev. McClure made clear, “cross denominational. It is a book for everybody and for any denomination.” Rev. McClure has several future writing projects in the works. He has started a book of sermons “From the Pleasant Street Pulpit.” He plans to write a children’s book. “My granddaughter convinced me to do,” he said, smiling. A book for new pastors is on his agenda as well.
Rev. McClure will be doing a book signing 1-3pm on June 7, at Borders, 850 Hartford Turnpike, Waterford.