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Ranting and Raving About Books

surprising-insightsFirst the Raves:

Wow… I have never read a Rainer book that I really got into, but today I picked up Surprising Insights and it was actually full of Surprising Insights. I can’t wait to finish this thing I feel like I’m becoming a better pastor by the minute reading this book.

Favorite quote so far: “Our research of over 4,000 churches in America we have seen clearly that many churches are abandoning the Biblical model of pastoral ministry. Instead of allowing pastors the necessary time and encouragement to spend time in prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4) congregations are demanding time and energy from their pastors for tasks that have little biblical foundation”

prodigalgod_bSecond, Timothy Keller’s, The Prodigal God. Its a short read but takes a closer look at the parable of the Prodigal son. Keller points out that we have been missing the point of the parable to focus our attention on the Prodigal boy and shed’s glorious new light on the teaching of the parable. Well worth the read.

Now the Rants:

I’m a card carrying Southern Baptist. When my church planting buddies push me around for my support of the SBC I defend my denomination like a good Royal Ambassador should.

I am also glad that the SBC owns a huge bookstore chain that brings in boat loads of cash every year.

But I can’t understand for the life of me why we charge churches… the very churches we are trying to resource… hundreds of dollars for a single resource!? Take for example THIS ONE. Written by someone on the Lifeway payroll. Just the leaders kit is $200 bucks plus another $10 a book for each student.

Next, why do we peddle books and products that oppose our doctrines? Seriously, Lifeway’s CEO is the author of the first book I raved about in this post. Furthermore, SBC has some of the greatest minds in the Kingdom. Dr. Stetzer… can you do anything to help this situation? Why are we selling poo on the feature shelf in our million dollar book stores? Do we actually want our church members, or anyone for that matter to read, “woman thou art Loosed” or “Your Best Life Now” I was in Lifeway today and the Word of Faith movement was better represented than our own denomination. I’m all for selling something from outside the denomination… but not outside of orthidoxy.

I want to understand, please help me.

Comments(8)

  1. Reply
    chrisrhodenhizer says

    Oh my goodness!!! You may no longer have a card to carry! – HA

    I AGREE!!! Why do they sell those books and then display and market those books right up front! – TRAGEDY!

  2. Reply
    Bobby O says

    I have always wondered those things.

    I think the dollar has more to do with it than SBC pride.

  3. Reply
    dave fauth says

    That’s why I use Westminster Bookstore (wtsbooks.com). Reformed theological books at a slightly cheaper price than Amazon. $4 shipping as well.

    If they don’t have the book, then I’ll go to Amazon.

  4. Reply
    bubba says

    Favorite quote so far: “Our research of over 4,000 churches in America we have seen clearly that many churches are abandoning the Biblical model of pastoral ministry. Instead of allowing pastors the necessary time and encouragement to spend time in prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4) congregations are demanding time and energy from their pastors for tasks that have little biblical foundation”

    I am not sure if I follow this; it would seem this is a small sampling of churches (4,000 compared to tens of thousands of churches in the USA alone) base on the total number of as the Barna survey reveals. Though I would suggest most church goers are not actively engaged in church activities through the course of the week. I say this based on observation by percentages. Normally the congregation is at its maximum on Sunday worship service, with lesser attendance during bible study and prayer times during the week (Monday-Saturday). So I do not know if that would be a correct statement (I have not read any of Mr. Rainer’s’ works to no the context in which this quote is made) based on the census of casual observation. It would seem there is plenty of time for the ministerial staff to collectively study, pray and focus on the needs of the church (Church General). Maybe I missing something here…

  5. Reply
    Jon D. says

    I have a question for you.

    Does the money generated go back into Lifeway itself, or does it go to support missions and other SBC affiliations?

  6. Reply
    clintclifton says

    Good question. As I understand it all of Lifeways profits go to SBC causes. This brings up an even more important question… Should we sell stuff we don’t believe in and use the profits to support things we do believe in?

    We could probably make a lot of money off of cigarettes or crack if we wanted to. I hear porn is selling good these days?

  7. Reply
    clintclifton says

    Lifeway’s Website says, “LifeWay is a religious nonprofit organization that receives no funding from the denomination, and reinvests income above operating expenses in mission work and other ministries around the world.”

    Also, found this comment on “The Tennessean” “A decision was taken in the early 1990’s to walk away from its distinctive Baptist identity (the renaming from Baptist Sunday School Board to LifeWay), and identify itself as a generic provider of product to the evangelical marketplace. It abandoned its core loyal following in the attempt to to chase after a market it did not know, and which did not know it after it attempted to change its identity. This approach proved unsuccessful, to state it mildly.”

  8. Reply
    Kevin says

    Great observations, Clint. And good questions, too. If the approach proved unsuccessful, and enough people disagree with the idea of selling material in which their core supporters don’t believe, one would wonder what their current motivations are for continuing under this model. I imagine a quick response to such questions would entail a desire to avoid causing divisions within the body. To which I would reply, some of the material is not just unorthodox, it’s heretical. And I don’t throw that term around loosely.

    I understand the desire to open their doors to a market they “did not know” and perhaps even creating opportunities for those in that market to be exposed to orthodox material, but this is a high price to pay for what I would assume are limited returns on such an investment, not to mention involvement in the proliferation of such “poo”.

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