On my way home from work today, I stopped at our local Barnes and Noble bookshop. I like to visit there every two or three weeks to see if there are any interesting new titles on the shelves although I rarely end up buying anything. Today the check-out line was wrapped around the aisles as Christmas shoppers were in high gear.
When I’m at the store you can usually find me in the History and Christianity sections. Have you ever seen the books in the History section at your local Barnes and Noble? Why, there’s literally hundreds of books on the Civil War and the Second World War dealing with every detail imaginable. There’s books on the minutiae of this battle and that campaign, books on armaments, generals, espionage, political aspects, etc., etc., etc. It’s obvious people can’t get enough of their Civil War and WWII. What about the War of 1812? Korea? World War I? The American Revolution? Nah, they can’t hold a candle to the Civil War and WWII.
Now what about the Christianity section? Well, there’s a very large selection of books about pope Francis (conservative Catholics won’t be buying them) and also many how-to-get-rich books from Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Joseph Prince, Brian Houston, and T.D. Jakes. But in that very large display of books are there any that critically examine Roman Catholicism and compare its teachings to the Bible? In the past year I did see a single copy of “Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment” by Gregg Allison but that was the only such book.
What am I getting at? People obviously can’t get enough of the micro details of the Civil War and WWII and how to get rich but there’s evidently no interest in the differences between Catholicism and Bible Christianity, even among Christians. Why would that be? Well, I believe that 1) this is an era of growing indifference to doctrinal purity. Christians would rather get their tummies tickled with lowest-common-denominator, “feel good” devotional materials than tangle with what constitutes good doctrine versus bad doctrine, and 2) closely related to #1 is the reluctance of Christians to make anyone “feel bad” by pointing out that their church does not preach the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. As a result, we have things like the pope and Mormon Glenn Beck featured at evangelical gatherings this past year.
It would seem from the books on the shelves at Barnes and Noble that people are extremely zealous about their military history trivia and about getting rich (whoops, let’s not forget about the romance novels, celebrity biographies, fashion magazines, etc.) but evidently very few are concerned about doctrinal truth and upholding the Gospel of grace by faith amidst efforts to compromise it and muddy it beyond recognition.
“But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.” – Titus 2:1