I have become convinced that one of the saddest places a true Christian can visit is the local Christian bookstore (at least in the U.S.) I know, I know….another crazy statement on a ChurchSalt post. Please, hear me out. I visited one of the local christian booksellers today, and what was inside? I found books denying the trinity (T.D. Jakes) as well as books demeaning and trivializing the Church, referred to as the Bride of Christ (The Shack). I found several shelves of books denying that Christ dies for the sins that I have committed (entire Emergent section). I found a whole bunch of books telling me on page 1 how the author is saved and on pages 2-400 how to apply business techniques in order to prosper in today’s marketplace. I found entire aisles of books written by folks who have very, very little Biblical understanding or depth, but really great marketing departments. And of course, I found plenty of books telling me that God wants me to be rich (Joyce Myers, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, etc). I even found a few teaching that my life should be filled with adventure and spontaneity instead of boring routine (never mind that whole “work quietly with your hands” and “serve your neighbor” stuff in the Bible).
I can honestly say I felt like a dinosaur on the verge of extinction walking a thin path through the deadly tar pits. One misstep and I would be sucked into a pit of suffocating death (or heretical teachings). The thin path I tread lead to a small section labeled “Christian Classics”, which at one time used to be bigger (it has been completely removed in one store I visit). So many people like to talk of “The Prince of Preachers” Charles Spurgeon, but evidently no one reads his books because they stock very few, and are stuck in the back. How can these stores be labeled “Christian” when so many books are focused on denying the very teaching’s of Christ, and many even deny Christ Himself? How can we as Christians go in these places and not feel a profound sadness at the horrible deceptions being spread throughout our hometown churches? Christ died in our place! He loves us in spite of or terrible and repeated rebellions! He is patient and kind with us as we stumble along the path of He has laid out. This is an incredible and powerful God we serve, how can we not feel a justifiable and righteous anger at the lies being spread in His name. These stores are blaspheming the name of Christ before the gentiles, and in front of the redeemed, His beloved Church.
If you are looking for a call to action in this post (such as a boycott, letters to CEO’s, etc), you will find none except the same call to action found in the Word. We are in the world but not of it, so why focus on corrective social campaigns? The lost will still go to Hell even if the bookstores reform, Wal-Mart displays “Christmas” instead of “Xmas” and everyone votes Republican. None of it will matter, they will still all be lost. So…. Go and preach the Gospel (repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus name (the son of God and one with God)). Preach it even to those you meet in the christian bookstore. If indeed His Spirit bears witness with your spirit that you are a child of God, how can you help but feel a jealous yearning for the true Gospel to be preached in that place, conveying the glory of Christ?!?
Will I go back? Probably. They do have a few good commentaries available (Crossway Classic Commentary series is one) and they are a local store I can access fast for something needed. But every time I go I know I will leave with a profound sadness that I did not carry in with me. This last trip I did find some books by William Wilberforce and Andrew Murray on the $2 clearance rack. So I guess my trip was not in vain. Now I just have to get the tar off the bottom of my boots….