In the last ten years I have read 400 “Christian” books. Over this time I have detected ways to identify really bad Christian books just by glancing at them. Yes, Virginia, you can judge a book by its cover.
Most of the Christian books I read are non-fiction (unless written by a Calvinist or Pentecostal, then there’s a fine line between fiction and non-fiction). The below only applies to non-fiction Christian books. I will say right out of hand, if you are contemplating reading a Christian Fiction book, your soul is already in danger.
If you are contemplating reading that new non-fiction Christian book everyone is talking about, refer to this list. If the book in question has more than four (4) of these characteristics: AVOID IT LIKE THE PLAGUE! Adhering to the message of this book may indeed result in you receiving plagues.
1. The author’s face is the predominant feature of either the front or back cover. If their face is on both front and back, this counts as two points against
2. The author’s name is in larger font than the title. If the title has the word “Jesus” in it and is in smaller font than the author’s name, this counts as two points against.
3. If the author, editor or main character has gone to heaven, hell or purgatory
4. If the first seven pages are filled with blank pages and endorsements by Christian celebs.
5. If the biggest endorser on the front or back cover is an entertainer/singer.
6. If pages have more white space than word-space, or uses funky fonts throughout in sort of a magazine layout.
7. The book has been written in the past ten years.
8. The book has the name “Joel Osteen” on it.
9. The book was an Oprah Book Club selection.
10. Has one of those funky covers that feel rubbery. If nothing else they make your fingers smell weird after reading and I hate that. It’s not worth it.
11. Book is written by a tan, grinning man who looks like he’s about to wink.
12. Book is written by a woman and you are a male reader.
13. Author’s name is attached to a string of initials–PhD, DMin, etc.–on the front cover.
14. Author is currently a popular athlete.
15. Author is, was, is thinking about being a politician, or once had lunch with a politician.
16. Title gives no clue at all that it is a Christian book.
17. Amazon shows that the book has five stars. If everyone likes it, it’s bad.
18. Title includes the word “Code.”
19. Title includes the words “Breath,” “Breathe,” “Breathing,” “Wind,” “Windy,” “Whisper,” “Whispers,” “Whispering,” “Whispered,” or any other icky word along those lines. Yuck. I feel creeped out already.
20. Cover has a person gazing longingly into the middle distance.
If your book contains FOUR (4) of these things, you’re in for it. You can still read it, but I warned ya. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya. Cuz I did. I’m warning you right here. You’ve been warned. Read carefully out there; they’re out to get ya.