My Visit to the Christian "Bookstore"

So I went to my neighborhood Christian Bookstore (a Family Christian Bookstore store) today to look for a book that my usual bookstore (an actual bookstore as opposed to a Jesus-Junk store like this one) did not have.

I asked the lady working there to help me find the book and after she looked for it (it took a while even to find the author in the computer system) she informed me, “We have carried that book but I don’t know if we’ll get it in again. It’s theology and we don’t get many of those.” (emphasis added).

She must have seen the look on my face so she explained to me, “We only have one shelf of theology.” I asked her where the shelf was.

She led me aaaaaaaaall the waaaaaaaaaaaaay into the baaaaaaack of the stooooooooore…

(I imagined this is what it must be like to go into a video store and ask for the dirty movies)

…and she pointed to one short little shelf. at the bottom. in the corner. of the back. of the store and said, “You can see it’s a little sparse.”

No kidding.

It had seven books, only five titles. So much for Family Christian Bookstore.

There was, however, right up front, a set of shelves, five to be exact, from floor to ceiling, and each 8 or 9 feet long, labeled “Charismatic Interest.”

Also, a healthy (or perhaps unhealthy) selection of books by the likes of Joel Osteen, Victoria Osteen (I think that’s her name), Joyce Meyer, T. D. Jakes along with other wastes of ink and paper along with books by a bunch of people I’ve never heard of and whose theological opinions I would take not with a grain of salt but with a truck.

I hope no one saw me walking out of there. My reputation will be shot.


About Michael R. Jones

Pastor and PhD candidate writing on Paul's theology of suffering.
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2 Responses to My Visit to the Christian "Bookstore"

  1. Autumn says:

    Pastor,I am a little concerned at the lack of inclusion of others ( seekers, new christians, etc..) I am detecting in your postings. Don’t you think that the situation you described could attract people who ignore God into eventually becoming Christians as they are exposed to some of his ideas via the Family Christian Bookstores and some of the authors you list? After reading your blog briefly, it is obvious that you are very intelligent. But is that lofty talk how Jesus would have talked today?

  2. Autumn:Thanks for reading and thanks for the thoughtful comment. My posts have been tart lately (perhaps more than I intended); I wondered if anyone had noticed.To answer one question, yes, it is possible that some might come to God through stores like Family Christian. But people might also come to Borders or Barnes & Noble. The difference is that they don't promote themselves as distinctly Christian stores like Family Christian. If they are going to promote themselves as “Christian” they should be willing to be held to that standard.As far as people coming to Christ through the authors I mentioned, again, anything is possible, but I find it unlikely since the authors I mentioned don’t explicitly preach Christ or the gospel. Since it is impossible for someone to come to Christ apart from the Gospel, I find it unlikely. I do pray that those who read people like Joel Osteen, etc., will be led beyond him to someone who does preach the Gospel. (btw, Joel Osteen says he doesn’t want to be known as a preacher but rather as a motivational speaker. T. D. Jakes denies the Trinity, a foundational and historic doctrine of the Christian faith. How can you be Christian but not embrace Christian doctrine? Ditto for the emerging/-ent church.)Read James 3:1.As far as lofty talk goes, I don’t say what I say or write what I write to exalt myself (though that is usually the accusation that gets lobbed at those who take these movements/speakers to task). I do it to point out the truth for my congregation and readers. Read Jude 3-4. I’ll be posting on it next week (or later this week).Your last question asked, “Would Jesus speak this way?” The answer is: “Yes, he would.” And I know this for a fact because this is how he spoke while here in his earthly ministry. And he spoke this way to those who perverted the truth of the Scriptures just as these writers I mentioned have done. (Paul also spoke this way.)I would suggest you spend some time in Scriptures such as Matthew 23 where Jesus is not only bold, but, we might say, downright mean in his condemnation of those that twist the Scriptures. Paul wrote in Gal. 1:9-10 that those who preach other gospels are accursed. By “other gospels” he makes clear that he is referring to those teachings contrary to what was handed down by apostolic tradition (the same thing Jude is referring to). If you’d like more Scriptures I’d be happy to provide them.Disagreeing is not a sign of hate, though we often view it that way in our culture. I try to do it graciously but I must also be direct and clear about where I stand.As far as the seeker-sensitive movement goes (if that is what you meant by “seekers”); none of the people I mentioned in the post fall into that category. I do disagree strongly with the seeker-sensitive movement because I spent twelve years in it. So I do know what I’m talking about. I still have many friends that are a part of it. I love them, they love me, but we go round-and-round about the movement’s philosophy. Btw, they would agree with most of what I wrote in this post and with what I wrote about the writers mentioned.I’m not sure what I wrote that made you think I am unconcerned about new Christians since I haven’t said anything about them either in this post or in other recent posts. I’d be interested to hear what made you think that.As far as “seekers” (if this was your meaning), the Scriptures are clear that there are none that seek after God (Rom 3:11; 8:7; Isa. 9:3) but that he is found by those who do not seek him (Isa. 65:1). Those who find him but do not seek come to realize that they are seeking God for what they can get out of him, not for what they really need. God is the seeker of souls and he chases down his elect and calls them to salvation many times when they do not even realize that he is what they need.On our church’s website it makes clear that we welcome those who seek the truth of the Lord. Some will turn away when they realize he is a wish-granter and others will realize that what they need is not what they thought they needed and God will show them mercy. As a result, and only in him, they will find more than they ever imagined.Thanks for reading and I hope I answered your questions. If not, feel free to email me or post another comment.2 Peter 3:18.

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