“You Would Be Safer on a Swat Team!”

Justin Peters, in talking about the lack of discernment applied to deciding what books to stock in a Christian book store, says that there is no more dangerous place for a Christian than most “Christian” book stores. The title of this post sums up his assessment of that threat.

I’ve been in several discussions these past few days about all the downright heretical books that are for sale at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Lifeway Christian Resources bookstores. It is a shame that there are not strict doctrinal standards applied to what they sell — then again, if they applied strict doctrinal standards, they would have to stop peddling books by Southern Baptist heretics like Beth Moore, Rick Warren, and Don Piper. Lifeway is, in many ways, just an update on the moneylenders and animal merchants in the Temple courtyard, where profits trump actual service to the people of God.

But, sadly, for many evangelicals, Southern Baptist in particular, there persists the idea that, “Well, Lifeway sells it, so it must be okay.” This is a dangerous attitude, as just a casual stroll down Lifeway’s shelves with some discernment will quickly demonstrate, as this picture of JD Hall and Justin Peters in the Lifeway store in Billings during last week’s Reformation Montana 2014 conference shows.

By the way, this is not at all intended as a slam on anyone who works at a Lifeway bookstore. This is a call to the top administration of Lifeway in Nashville to reform and become a doctrinally sound bookstore that Christians can trust.

So, in calling Lifeway to reform, every Monday on some sort of simi-regular basis, I think I’ll post Lifeway’s top-10 bestsellers list with commentary.

This week’s top-10 best sellers from Lifeway’s website:


  1. I Am a Church Member, by Thom Rainer – Thom is head of Lifeway, I’ve not read the book and cannot speak to its content.
  2. One Nation, by Dr. Ben Carson – Again, a book the contents of which I cannot comment on. I have liked a lot of the stuff Carson has said politically
  3. Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young – this book is full of heretical mystic blasphemy. Avoid at all costs
  4. Child of Mine, by David and Beverly Lewis – Amish fiction. Enough said.
  5. The Daniel Plan, by Rick Warren and some other guys – Reinterpriting a passage of Scripture, wrenched from its context, and turning it into a weight loss scheme? Money grubbing heresy, but with a third less calories than regular heresy (There is also a cookbook and a DVD and whatnot to go with it. I wonder when the Daniel Plan® dinnerware comes out?)
  6. Bridge to Heaven, by Francine Rivers – More Harlequin Romance, Christian-style…
  7. The Closer, by Mariano Rivera (with Wayne Coffey) – Ghostwritten autobiography of a Christian baseball player. Haven’t read it, so can’t comment on the doctrinal soundness of the content.
  8. Good Call; Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl, by Jase Robertson (with Mark Schlabach) – Ghostwritten humor from one of the guys from Duck Dynasty. Can’t speak to the content, but I do know the family has some errors regarding baptismal regeneration. But, for all that, judgeing by the TV show, the book is probably funny…
  9. You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times, by Max Lucado – have not read it, but I generally find Lucado’s stuff to be not very deep, doctrinally anemic, and not worth my time. Your mileage may vary.
  10. Recovering Redemption: A Gospel Saturated Perspective on How to Change, by Matt Chandler and Michael Snetzer – I’ve not read this book, but I’ve generally liked what I’ve heard Chandler preach. This one might be worth reading. Maybe. I don’t know, for sure.


So, Lifeway, what are the chances of clear doctrinal standards being developed and applied? Please?




[Contributed by Gene Clyatt, originally posted at A Squirrel in Babylon]


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5 Responses

  1. ateasetees says:

    Just a heads up. From everything I can see, Dr. Ben Carson is a Seventh Day Adventist…

  2. The Squirrel says:

    Interesting, ateasetees. Very interesting, indeed.

  3. ateasetees says:

    Interesting…yes, I’d agree it’s interesting…lol But it obviously doesn’t matter. If the SBC can pass a resolution distancing itself from books like “Heaven Is For Real” and yet ignore the motion to get Lifeway to stop selling them, they’ll put anything in Lifeway. Lifeway sells materials by Furtick, Noble, T.D. Jakes, Phillips Craig and Dean, Tony Campolo, and Rachel Held Evans. Compared to them, Carson looks positively orthodox…lol

    The sad thing is, I know of a pastor who thinks the way quoted above. If it comes from Lifeway, it can do no wrong. Nevermind that the adult Sunday School materials are more geared for 1st graders and the theology is terrible. He doesn’t seem to think he has to vet the materials if they come from Lifeway…

  4. The Squirrel says:

    I pastor a Southern Baptist Church. We do not regularly use any SBC Sunday School or Discipleship materials at all. However, our Hymnals are from Lifeway… They’re the 1991 editions…

  5. ateasetees says:

    1991 was a good year! 🙂 I have enjoyed the people at the SBC churches I’ve attended. The teaching and preaching haven’t been that good though. I doubt that this is just a problem for the SBC. It just seems very shallow and, in at least some cases, hinders the growth of those attending. It’s good to hear that not evenyone is using the Lifeway materials. I would love to see more pastors preach expositionally, but I don’t even know if that’s something that’s still taught in seminary anymore…

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