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Author Topic: Is Selling Christian Books Wrong?  (Read 17432 times)

Hammerle Labinowic

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Re: Is Selling Christian Books Wrong?
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2005, 03:34:12 AM »
Stop ‘Selling’ the Gospel
by Joel

The American consumer mentality has taken a strong foothold in many churches. This is a fact, but not one that should surprise us. Consider the way we talk about the gospel. It is largely explained in terms of its benefits and privileges for the individual. ‘Just believe in Jesus and you can have assurance that when you die, you can go to heaven.’ ‘Free coffee and eternal life. Membership does have its privileges!’

We often think of the gospel as something we need to sell to people. Many people are uncomfortable with ‘witnessing’ because they feel like less-than-competent salespeople. We don’t feel like we have enough of a handle on the ‘product’ to be able to ‘close the deal.’ Nor, if we were honest, do many of us think we have much of a ‘product’ to offer. (Stop and think about that one a minute.)

If the gospel is something that needs to be marketed, packaged, and sold, then the solution is to find the right slogan, design shiny, consumer-friendly pamphlets, and train people in the art of ‘closing-the-deal.’ Well, pardon me, but what is being wrapped up and displayed in the storefront—I mean, the church-front window—is not the good news of the kingdom of God--at least not the whole thing. The gospel is not something you market and sell. It is a dynamic reality in which you die to self-interest and the desire for advantage.

“Take up your cross and follow me” is not a fantastic marketing slogan. It promises persecution and suffering, not ‘a-perfect-life-where-all-my-troubles-go-away.’ The gospel is not the good news of ‘felt needs being met’. It is nothing less than a call to join God’s mission of the healing of the world.

I don’t think we need a better marketing plan, a more clever slogan, or shinier brochures with smiling people advertising a well-appointed life. I think we need to stop ‘selling’ the gospel and to start living it together in a way that shows its inherent attractiveness.

We need to stop thinking so much in terms of capitalist economics--not an easy thing to do in the premier capitalist culture in the world. Everyone is trying to sell something, and many people think mostly in economic terms. Most of our relationships are economic: ‘how can this person benefit me?’

Many of us know something is wrong with this because we feel the tension of relating to people with 1) the suspicion that they are trying to sell us something (i.e., gain some advantage from us), and 2) the tainted hope that we, too, might be able to profit from the relationship. This has left us largely unable to relate to other people in ways that are other than that of the capitalist economic.

When Jesus sent his disciples out to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God and to demonstrate the presence of the kingdom by healing the sick and casting out demons, he told them to leave their money-collection bags behind. The invitation to enter into and to welcome the ruling and reigning (the kingdom) of God was an invitation to join up with what God was doing; namely, the business of bringing healing and wholeness to all people and all creation. This gospel is not about ’what-is-in-it-for-me?’, but about ‘who-is-in-it-for-the-good-of-the-whole-world?’.

https://web.archive.org/web/20060213144952/http://www.watersedge.tv/2004/03/stop-selling-gospel-american-consumer.html

This is a problem not only with Christians who want to make a living off book sales, but also in the selling of the gospel in churches. The gospel is not free anymore, and if it's not money, it's your soul they want.

Oberland

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Re: Is Selling Christian Books Wrong?
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2007, 06:29:58 PM »
Hi all,

I'm looking to read up on Reformed Theology, and was hoping that someone could suggest a book(s) that would give a bible based answers to the question, "What is Reformed Theology" and why Arminian thought is wrong, but please, something for the non-technical.


Oberland

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Re: Is Selling Christian Books Wrong?
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2007, 09:58:35 PM »
Hello,

I'd recommend the following book by Dr. Roger L. Smalling (Click on it)

In Christ,

Jorge

Chris - Jesus' Boy

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Re: Is Selling Christian Books Wrong?
« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2007, 10:43:16 AM »
Hi. 

i recommend the following books.

the sovereignty of God - by A.W. Pink (published by baker house)

The satisfaction of Christ - By A.W. Pink

whosoever will - by Herman Hoeksema

Wonder of grace - by Herman Hoeksema

p.s please don't get caught up in the error of this is "reformed theology" it's not reformed theology. It's the truth of the gospel.

Reformed theology has to do with the following errors.

1) trying to reform the Roman Catholic Church.

2) salvation through the sacraments. (to some degree)

3) sacramentalism

4) sunday sabbath

5) No salvation outside of the visible church - i.e brick buildings.

6) no salvation without the sacraments

etc.


Reformed theology does include predestination and tulip but these truths have always been in the bible and ALWAYS believed by God's people.





John

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Re: Is Selling Christian Books Wrong?
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2007, 08:28:36 PM »
A most in-depth look at Arminianism and Calvinism is presented by John Girardeau's book "Calvinism and Evangelical Arminianism". It was written in 1890 but covers the topic better than most modern attempts. Girardeau died in 1898.

Here's a link to the publisher: http://www.sprinklepublications.net/calvinism-and-evangelical-arminianism.html


john
Si hoc signum legere potes, operis boni in rebus Latinus alacribus et fructuosis potiri potes!

Dryfus

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Re: Is Selling Christian Books Wrong?
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2007, 08:33:35 PM »
A most in-depth look at Arminianism and Calvinism is presented by John Girardeau's book "Calvinism and Evangelical Arminianism". It was written in 1890 but covers the topic better than most modern attempts. Girardeau died in 1898.

Here's a link to the publisher: http://www.sprinklepublications.net/calvinism-and-evangelical-arminianism.html


john


$20.00 for a non-copyrighted 100 year old book? Somebody is getting rich off someone else's work. I would never buy this man's version of the book, I would rather go to the library and get it. What a scam!

I wish someone would actually put the book online, since the copyright is expired.
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John

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Re: Is Selling Christian Books Wrong?
« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2007, 09:12:13 PM »
Quote
$20.00 for a non-copyrighted 100 year old book? Somebody is getting rich off someone else's work. I would never buy this man's version of the book, I would rather go to the library and get it. What a scam!

I wish someone would actually put the book online, since the copyright is expired
.


Now that's humerous. It costs money to bring these old works out of mothballs and with a low purchase and print level there isn't much compensation for the effort. I suppose you'd shy away from the 9 volume set, "The Works of Rev. John Witherspoon" for a paultry $270.

Or, consider a book published in 1611 that has been the highest selling book for 400 years and has always been under copyright: The KJB. The KJB made money for Robert Barker (the publisher and printer) and his children's children for 132 years, all under exclusive copyright. If you want an non-copyrighted Bible you will have to find an original Tyndale or Coverdale Bible, they were printed prior to the creation of copyright laws (established laws arose about mid-1400's).

One can always hunt for free books and articles, try Dr. Jowers' site: http://www.geocities.com/dennisjowers/resources.html

john
Si hoc signum legere potes, operis boni in rebus Latinus alacribus et fructuosis potiri potes!

Dryfus

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Re: Is Selling Christian Books Wrong?
« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2007, 11:15:37 PM »
Quote
$20.00 for a non-copyrighted 100 year old book? Somebody is getting rich off someone else's work. I would never buy this man's version of the book, I would rather go to the library and get it. What a scam!

I wish someone would actually put the book online, since the copyright is expired
.


Now that's humerous. It costs money to bring these old works out of mothballs and with a low purchase and print level there isn't much compensation for the effort. I suppose you'd shy away from the 9 volume set, "The Works of Rev. John Witherspoon" for a paultry $270.
john

 Yes I would, the Bible is free. Like I said, the book is also free today, and I hope someone takes the time to put it online "if" it is as good as you claim. Christian Classics Ethereal Library does a magificient job of this, as does some other Christian repositories. A paultry $270 dollars? just goes to show how warped, jaded and out of touch people have become in our day.
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Robert Powell

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Re: Is Selling Christian Books Wrong?
« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2007, 11:41:06 PM »

 Dejavu

 http://www.mountainretreatorg.net/yabbse/index.php?topic=851.0

 I guess it depends upon your perspective.


Hammerle Labinowic

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Re: Is Selling Christian Books Wrong?
« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2007, 07:45:32 AM »
http://www.watersedge.tv/2004/03/stop-selling-gospel-american-consumer.html

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Stop ‘Selling’ the Gospel
The American consumer mentality has taken a strong foothold in many churches. This is a fact, but not one that should surprise us. Consider the way we talk about the gospel. It is largely explained in terms of its benefits and privileges for the individual. ‘Just believe in Jesus and you can have assurance that when you die, you can go to heaven.’ ‘Free coffee and eternal life. Membership does have its privileges!’

We often think of the gospel as something we need to sell to people. Many people are uncomfortable with ‘witnessing’ because they feel like less-than-competent salespeople. We don’t feel like we have enough of a handle on the ‘product’ to be able to ‘close the deal.’ Nor, if we were honest, do many of us think we have much of a ‘product’ to offer. (Stop and think about that one a minute.)

If the gospel is something that needs to be marketed, packaged, and sold, then the solution is to find the right slogan, design shiny, consumer-friendly pamphlets, and train people in the art of ‘closing-the-deal.’ Well, pardon me, but what is being wrapped up and displayed in the storefront—I mean, the church-front window—is not the good news of the kingdom of God--at least not the whole thing. The gospel is not something you market and sell. It is a dynamic reality in which you die to self-interest and the desire for advantage.

“Take up your cross and follow me” is not a fantastic marketing slogan. It promises persecution and suffering, not ‘a-perfect-life-where-all-my-troubles-go-away.’ The gospel is not the good news of ‘felt needs being met’. It is nothing less than a call to join God’s mission of the healing of the world.

I don’t think we need a better marketing plan, a more clever slogan, or shinier brochures with smiling people advertising a well-appointed life. I think we need to stop ‘selling’ the gospel and to start living it together in a way that shows its inherent attractiveness.

We need to stop thinking so much in terms of capitalist economics--not an easy thing to do in the premier capitalist culture in the world. Everyone is trying to sell something, and many people think mostly in economic terms. Most of our relationships are economic: ‘how can this person benefit me?’

Many of us know something is wrong with this because we feel the tension of relating to people with 1) the suspicion that they are trying to sell us something (i.e., gain some advantage from us), and 2) the tainted hope that we, too, might be able to profit from the relationship. This has left us largely unable to relate to other people in ways that are other than that of the capitalist economic.

When Jesus sent his disciples out to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God and to demonstrate the presence of the kingdom by healing the sick and casting out demons, he told them to leave their money-collection bags behind. The invitation to enter into and to welcome the ruling and reigning (the kingdom) of God was an invitation to join up with what God was doing; namely, the business of bringing healing and wholeness to all people and all creation. This gospel is not about ’what-is-in-it-for-me?’, but about ‘who-is-in-it-for-the-good-of-the-whole-world?’.

posted by joel at 7:59 AM Sunday, March 14, 2004

Reformer

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Re: Is Selling Christian Books Wrong?
« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2007, 08:48:15 AM »
Yes I would, the Bible is free. Like I said, the book is also free today, and I hope someone takes the time to put it online "if" it is as good as you claim. Christian Classics Ethereal Library does a magificient job of this, as does some other Christian repositories. A paultry $270 dollars? just goes to show how warped, jaded and out of touch people have become in our day.


 I generally agree with that philosophy. Actually Tony Warren has spent the time scaanning and transcribing some of the classic books and has put them online. So if you get the out of copyright original, you might ask him if he would do that, and send it to him. That is to say, if the book really is so great. But I haven't read it so I don't know that it's actually worth it. I know it takes a little time, but some conscientious honest hard working Christians are willing to put that time in without complaint. I'd do it myself after work, but I don't have that type scanner, nor a website to display it.

PS, for the record, I'm of the Reformed tradition also, so we are not all non-evangelizing. Though I do know what was meant by that comment.


Anne

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Re: Is Selling Christian Books Wrong?
« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2007, 09:46:24 AM »
http://www.watersedge.tv/2004/03/stop-selling-gospel-american-consumer.html

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Stop ‘Selling’ the Gospel

“Take up your cross and follow me” is not a fantastic marketing slogan. It promises persecution and suffering, not ‘a-perfect-life-where-all-my-troubles-go-away.’ The gospel is not the good news of ‘felt needs being met’. It is nothing less than a call to join God’s mission of the healing of the world.

I don’t think we need a better marketing plan, a more clever slogan, or shinier brochures with smiling people advertising a well-appointed life. I think we need to stop ‘selling’ the gospel and to start living it together in a way that shows its inherent attractiveness.

We need to stop thinking so much in terms of capitalist economics--not an easy thing to do in the premier capitalist culture in the world. Everyone is trying to sell something, and many people think mostly in economic terms. Most of our relationships are economic: ‘how can this person benefit me?’


Amen Hammerle. Good article. In most places in the world a Bibles costs anywhere from between $2 and $6 each if you are not looking to make a profit. A Bible costs about the equivalent of 20 eggs in China. I would rather take my so called paltry $270, and buy 45 to 130 full copies of the word of God to distribute to those who are truly in need of it, than to spend it on myself. Instead of charity for ourselves, charity starts with others. Instead of always thinking about ourselves, maybe it's time Christians tried doing what God told them to do. Preach the gospel to the world rather than just give lip service.

By strategically giving away 130 copies of a Bible, you can change 3 times that many lives because some of those bibles will probably last and be passed around long after the missionaries have gone. Our missionaries hear stories about people who can't read gathering in the houses of those who can in order to be read the bible. I love how Christians, and I'm sorry, but particularly reformed christians, have their heads way up in the clouds, instead of in the bible. I've even heard them say we don't have to evangelize because of Predestination. They spend all their time reading old books and glorifying Luther and Calvin rather than God. I'm sorry, but I have seen it with my own eyes.

bloodstone

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Re: Is Selling Christian Books Wrong?
« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2007, 06:13:36 PM »
This seems like a really hot topic again for some reason. So I'll add my thoughts again. Reading books explaining the gospel is the lazy man's substitute for studying the gospel themselves. It always has been. As I said in the other thread on this topic, I personally find it very distasteful when Christians make a living off selling their understanding of the gospel. I don't care who disagrees with me, that's the way I feel and that's the way I will always feel.

 1 Cor. 9:16-18
  "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.
 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel".

As I say, that last line I think says it all. Preach the gospel without charge. As Tony always says, "Where's The Mystery?"

As Barnes says in his commentary on this verse, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge. Without expense to those who hear it. I will support myself by my own labour, and will thus show that I am not urged to preaching by mere "necessity," but that I love it."

I don't know how these authors have a clear conscience, but they do. But as far as I'm concerned, it's an open and shut case of making merchandise of the word of God. You don't sell the gospel, or make money off your understanding of the gospel. Period.

John

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Re: Is Selling Christian Books Wrong?
« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2007, 08:23:10 PM »
Quote
I don't know how these authors have a clear conscience, but they do. But as far as I'm concerned, it's an open and shut case of making merchandise of the word of God. You don't sell the gospel, or make money off your understanding of the gospel. Period.

So, how many churches pay their pastors to deliver the Sunday sermon? All of them?  By your reasoning the church throughout its 2000 year history is guilty of making merchandise of the gospel. Rather,

1Ti 5:18 For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox treading out grain," and, the laborer is worthy of his pay.

That is, if an elder is going to labor in the word and devotes himself to bringing forth the deep things of God, those who benefit by his labor should ensure he is monetarily taken care of; that his household is fed and he is not distracted from his task. We might want to consider the difference between ensuring those who labor in the word receive just pay for labors given and selling the gospel for profit, it boils down to motives.

Paul preached anywhere and to any audience and would never have thought to charge his audience, which would be abuse of the power given to him by God. But I believe Paul expected the churches to provide for him on his missionary journeys and was disappointed when he was, at times, uncared for and abandoned.

These are not contradictory concepts. To buy a book or sermon that someone has spent time and money on is just compensation. To proclaim the gospel only if people pay you is an example of abuse. To expect the laborer to expend himself until nothing remains so you can have free things is abuse. The laborer is worthy of his wages. Of course the laborer should labor whether there is a reward or not, for he is working for Christ not man. But in the obverse, those who receive benefit should not leave those who labor stranded and abandoned penniless, but be willing to reimburse their expenses.

In my mind, the offense occurs when the one who labors does so for the motive of profit and/or the one who receives the benefit believes he deserves it without cost. Do you enter a seminary and demand to be taught for free because the gospel truth should not be sold? The professor should not make money off his earned understanding, period - right? I don't think so. He must be justly reimbursed for his costs as is fitting. This I believe is the proper Biblical attitude we should adopt. If you ask the professor to tell you how you might be saved and he says, "Sorry, I'm off the clock now but if you give me $20 I'll tell you", then you would be correct. The sin is in our heart's desire -- both for the worker and the benefactors of those who labor.

You be the judge. To me these are two sides to the same coin and both are in agreement.

john
Si hoc signum legere potes, operis boni in rebus Latinus alacribus et fructuosis potiri potes!

bloodstone

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Re: Is Selling Christian Books Wrong?
« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2007, 07:48:22 AM »
Quote

Reading books explaining the gospel is the lazy man's substitute for studying the gospel themselves. It always has been. As I said in the other thread on this topic, I personally find it very distasteful when Christians make a living off selling their understanding of the gospel. I don't care who disagrees with me, that's the way I feel and that's the way I will always feel.

 1 Cor. 9:16-18
  "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.
 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel".

I don't know how these authors have a clear conscience, but they do. But as far as I'm concerned, it's an open and shut case of making merchandise of the word of God. You don't sell the gospel, or make money off your understanding of the gospel. Period
.

So, how many churches pay their pastors to deliver the Sunday sermon?


Churches are not supposed to pay a Pastor for delivering a sermon. They can and should provide and care for him. There is a difference between paying for a sermon, for letters, for the gospel, for understanding of the gospel, and providing for a Pastor. And like I said, you are not going to convince me that making merchandise of the word of God is right, no matter how many leading questions you ask. You can't make wrong scripture that says selling the gospel by charging for it is wrong. The scripture stands. You can't chop it down by asking more questions or by interpreting it your own way. As I said in the other thread on this topic, I hold to all the scriptures, and find it very distasteful when Christians make a living off selling their understanding of the God and His word. I don't care who disagrees with me, that's the way I feel and that's the way I will always feel. The bible is clear we should not do this. Without charge means without charge any way you try and twist it.


Quote
1Ti 5:18 For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox treading out grain," and, the laborer is worthy of his pay.

That is, if an elder is going to labor in the word and devotes himself to bringing forth the deep things of God, those who benefit by his labor should ensure he is monetarily taken care of



It doesn't say anything about giving anyone pay for them preaching the gospel. Because that would contradict the verse that I already gave. Why do people do that. You can't contradict one verse with another. This merely states the laborer of the church should be fed by the Church. It's no more than I would do if you were invited to my house to speak to guests. I would provide bed and feed for you. I would not pay you, nor would I allow you to profit monetarily off your visit here. It's just common courtesy that is in view here, not making merchandise of the gospel.

1 Cor. 9:16-18
  "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.
 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel".

Abuse of power in the gospel is what we are talking about. I would have to abuse this scripture in order to believe you. I would have to change it to "when I preach the gospel, I may give the gospel of Christ with charge, that I abuse my power in the gospel".[/b] I'm not going to do that. I'm going to receive the plain teaching of it.

Who here would dare think that Paul would dream of charging the Romans and Thessalonians for his letters?  My goodness, don't we get it? We are no different than Paul. Sitting here making excuses why we should charge, in direct contravention of the word of God, is an outrage.


 


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