Christian publishing has become quite the money-making field. In order to get a Christian book published you must either be
- A celebrity
- A heretic
- A member of the dominant Reformed-Conference tour-industrial complex.
Christians have always been desperate for validation by celebrities. We are so accustomed to celebrities being against Christianity and Christian virtue, we’ll pretty much bend over backwards to not have a problem with any famous person claiming Christ. I’m stunned by the otherwise-level-headed believers who will pontificate about some random celebrity, “Oh, she’s a Christian.”
Celebrities get little criticism if they claim to be Christians. We gladly accept them and all their strange views. Celebrity sells.
Not a well-known athlete, musician, or actress? There’s still hope for you in the Christian Publication Industry!
Be a heretic!
Heretics sell well. Find a new doctrine, make some stuff up, and then write a book about your new-fangled doctrine. Sit back and let the royalty checks pour in!
Or, if that’s too scary for you, write books about other heretics. Write books to attack the books already written.
There are constantly new books and authors that are the latest heretical threat to Evangelical Faith. There are legitimate threats, but who? Rob Bell? Andy Stanley? Joel Osteen? Or is it John MacArthur, John Piper, or Tim Keller?
The problem is in identifying who the heretics are. Heresy is defined as “unorthodox views.” Orthodox views are–what those in power believe. To be a heretic isn’t always bad: it depends who thinks you’re a heretic!
Heresy is usually nothing more than–views held by those who are not in power at the time. This is where we get into group 3 above–the Reformed-Conference tour-industrial complex.
Whenever a new book is published that does not match up with the Reformed-Conference tour-industrial complex’s doctrine, you will see a multitude of their blog posts letting you know what a horrible threat this new heretical book will be to you.
Observing this trend for a couple of years now, it makes me wonder–is the Reformed-Conference tour-industrial complex truly worried about me believing heresy, or are they more worried about losing market share?
For instance, is The Shack or Jesus Calling as bad as “Desiring God Ministries” and “The Gospel Coalition” and “Together 4 the Gospel” and all the other Reformed-Conference tour-industrial complex members say it is, or are they just trying to protect market share?
The best way to drive web site traffic is to critique a best-selling book. People are obviously into the book, the market has been proven, readers will do a search and come across your web site. Instant traffic! There is a healthy market for books written to debunk other books. “Why The Shack Will Destroy Your Faith” books sell well too.
It does not require genius to find fault. I am proving that in this post, in fact.
In all honesty, I have reservations about Jesus Calling and The Shack. I’m not defending these books or authors, nor their doctrinal foundations.
What I am saying is this: Market interests are beginning to dominate the Evangelical world. There is good money in being and labeling things “heretical.” I’m not saying that all members of the Reformed-Conference tour-industrial complex are necessarily wrong, I’m merely speculating that their market interests should cause some reservation in walking with them lockstep.
There is a lot of noise in the marketplace these days. Everyone is selling something and promoting their personal brand. It’s hard to hear in the midst of deafening levels of noise. The Christian marketplace is too noisy. As Solomon said, “In the making of books there is no end.”
It’s been a while since I’ve purchased a new Christian book. I want the market to slow. There are good books out there, but you have to read about 25 in between every good one. Markets are driven by popular demand. Right doctrine has never been in popular demand. Be careful out there.