I have noticed recently an influx in heretical books into the market place. The list includes the much heralded “The Shack” (which turns the Father and Holy Spirit into 2 females) Velvet Elvis, Blue Like Jazz, actually any book by Rob Bell, Brian Mclaren, or anything else labeled as “emergent” or challenging someone to “re-think” the Christian faith.
Books such as these are really not new though. Take for example any of the Gnostic gospels; the apocrypha books in some bibles and the Quran. All have found notoriety in some form or another, but more prominently the Quran. What they do hold common with the books mentioned above is their denial of the true God of Scripture.
I did not really want to concentrate on the mirade of titles to choose from, but instead speak out against the retailers that are peddling these goods on unsuspecting people. The placement on a Lifeway Christian Store shelf, in itself is condoning such material. Lifesway does place a disclaimer on it’s shelf with some of these books, but I say that if it needs a “please read with discernment” placard on it, then it should not be sold by a Christian bookstore.
I recently have been in an email conversation with Jim Shull of Lifeway. He respectfully took my concerns, but did not address them. He did say that “we consistently do not carry as much as 20% or more of the best-selling books in the Christian market because of
unbiblical theology or other reasons”. My question back to him was, then why condone other, heretical books? Or was it simply that Lifeway could increase their profit margin by selling these works.
Today I came across a story at Christian Worldview that talks about Paul Young, author of The Shack, appearing at the upcoming Gaither Family Fest. If you are not familiar with the Gaither name then you probably have never heard Christian song classics such as “He Touched Me”, “Because He Lives” or “There’s Something About That Name”. The Gaither name packs a lot of punch in Christian circles, so an endorsement of appearing at the Gaither Family Fest could add a lot of fuel to an already out of control fire. It is still unclear to me what role Young will have at this event, but I am sure his goods will be up for sale there.
Lifeway is not the only “Christian” retailer that sells these questionable books and materials. Family Christian Stores, christianbook.com, bookschristian.com and Parable carry these questionable/ heretical materials as well. So what is a discerning Christian to do? First off, pray! Pray for these retailers and their decision makers that they will seek God in matters such as this. Then contact them and tell them how concerned you are that they would choose to sell and thereby condone such items. These are businesses after all, they are there for their customers and if their customers show concerns for what they see on the shelves they will have no choice but to remove these items.
If you have been hearing a lot of things about The Shack and are contemplating reading the book, I highly suggest you too seek God in this. Also reading this review at reformata.com may help you see some of the ant-Christ themes of the book.
Take heed to Paul’s inspired words to Galatia:
Galatians 1:6-9 6 I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
It doesn’t get much plainer than that. But then again, American Christianity has been so distorted over the past 150 years, that heresy like these books; videos and teachings are gobbled up as fast as they are being produced. The man-centered messages blaring from pulpits across the nation are this perversion of the gospel of Christ. The “what can God do for you” theology made famous by word of faith teachings and the “just say this prayer” form of salvation are sending millions to hell. Seek God, repent of your sins and trust in Christ. Now that is true biblical Christianity.