Friday, 20 January 2006

Your local Christian bookshop: 1

So far: Your local Christian bookshop: intro.

I said in the intro that I would start with complaints considered. So:

A summary of complaints made by Reformed bloggers about Christian bookshops local to them:

  • they mostly sell trinkets supposedly Christian by merit of a <>< or cross. [To paraphrase the Shudall from memory: "Clothes cannot be Christian! They don't have souls! Christ didn't die for them! They don't trust in him! Get over it!" :-) ]

  • they don't sell the Puritans (or other Good Books judged to be minority interest)

  • the stocking policy is 'whatever will sell well' (also 'whatever my main distributor pushed on me together with promotional material'). This includes heresy, dubious pop psychology with a Christian veneer, awful fiction-coated bad theology, the latest by the Pope and the latest diatribe against Papery.

  • the staff don't have much clue theologically or pastorally - that is, they don't know God's word well enough to discern truth from error in potential stock, &/ they don't care enough about those they're serving to encourage them in the truth and warn them against error.

  • I can get the books I want cheaper on the internet anyway.

    If this is the case in every local Christian bookshop, it is a Bad Situation. Why? Because God's glory matters and God has spoken to reveal himself and his salvation to his glory in the church and in Christ Jesus. He had it committed to writing to the end of his glory in the church and in Christ Jesus. So that we do not neglect our great salvation, what Christians read matters for God's glory in the church and in Christ Jesus. Therefore it matters for God's glory in the church and in Christ Jesus, to what extent a Christian bookshop serves the building up of Christ's church! It is sick that one Christian would serve another with bad food. We should be doing everything possible in God's grace to feed each other well, to equip each other for service, to proclaim the glories of Christ, to warn everyone and teach everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. This mutual edification crosses the globe and the centuries as we learn from those who have gone before us in the body of Christ and wrote down for our benefit what they learned. We ignore it to our loss. We read it to our gain. We share it to our gain. Others gain and God is glorified in the church. Christian bookshops matter.

    Therefore I contend that Christian bookshops are not to be abandoned, but reformed. Because whereas you may be able to advise those around you which books to read, and they can get them online, the group of Christians you know are not alone in the body of Christ. The reformation of Christian bookshops matters to the building up of Christ's church.

    -> Pray about reading & sharing to the building up the body of Christ, and how you might grow in doing this practically. Pray for the reformation of Christian bookshops.

    Coming next: focussing in on last complaint - "I can get them cheaper online anyway".

    thebluefish said...

    Reform! Reform!

    marc said...

    Good stuff Rosemary!

    A Christian Prophet said...

    I don't know anything, but I might guess that the bookshops will respond to demand, as in "supply and demand." According to messages from the Holy Spirit on The Holy Inheritance blog, the only reform necessary is in our own thinking. I have found that as I change my way of seeing things, bookshops change.

    Skippy said...

    Hi Rosemary,

    good comments. I know one excellent Christian bookshop in Dunstable (where I grew up), however my experience of others (which isn't that many) resonates with your observations.

    Jonathan Skipper

    BTW, Clare & I enjoy your blog very much!

    étrangère said...


    delighted to hear from you - and indeed to see you & (I presume!) little Timothy (lovely photo)! I didn't know you read my blog, so thanks for coming out and commenting. And letting on that you're in the blogosphere. I'll be in touch by email.

    étrangère said...

    "a christian prophet" - according to the message of the Holy Spirit in the Bible, we need our entire life reformed in every part - he inspired much teaching, exhortation and rebuke relating to walking in a manner worthy of the call to which you have been called, living in accordance with a new life, new standards, new relationships,... That's what renewing of the mind leads to. When Paul found problems in churches he didn't try to look at it differently until they changed. He rebuked and exhorted them to reform in line with the gospel and its ministry. Therefore it is not true that the only reform necessary is in our own thinking. (In fact, the whole of society needs reformed as it is effected by the curse of God on rebellion against him.) However, clearly from your blog you place other thoughts over and against God's word in the Bible so we're not on a basis for debate.

    I reaffirm, on the precedent of Paul calling for the ministry of the church to reform in line with the gospel, that I (though not claiming apostleship) call for others to join me in praying and acting for reform of local Christian bookshops in line with the ministry of the gospel.