Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Readers are plentiful, thinkers are rare.

Ecc 12:12 And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh.

The wisest man that ever walked the face of the earth admonished us that there will be no end to the making of books and that much study is wearisome to the flesh.

Upon receiving about 25 books at the T4G Conference, I was actually discouraged because I knew that I was not going to read them all. As I thought about giving them away to people I think would actually read them, I began to wrestle with selfishness- Mine, mine, mine. Forgive me Lord. How easily I am made to stumble over stupid things.


As we came to our seats each morning at the conference a new pack of books was waiting for us in our seats. Do you know how hard it was not to take a few extra stacks from other seats? Even though I knew I wouldn’t read the ones in my own seat? The lust of the flesh, forgive me Lord.

On the back of most books are endorsements from other famous people. These are put on the book to increase sales and perhaps for the endorsers name to be read by everyone who picks up the book so that when they come out with a book, people will buy that one too. And the best way to get others to endorese your book is to endorse the books of popular people.

Knowing God by J.I. Packer has a section in there about us loving God because He first loved us. It talks clearly about sovereign grace, that we do not choose God but He chooses us and ordains us to salvation. Anyone who has ever read Packer knows that he is a staunch Calvinist. So when I flipped the book over to see who endorsed it, imagine my surprise to see names hostile to the doctrines of grace saying things like:
“I need a new edition of Knowing God…I’ve worn my original copy out!”
“For years I have been asked to list the ‘top twenty’ Christian books I have read. Knowing God has been on that list since the mid 1970’s”

How can people endorse a book with comments such as these when it contains what they preach over and over again, to be heresy?

I have a theory. Knowing God is a massive best seller. If you get your name on the back, people will buy your books when they come out too. That way you can convince all the people who read Knowing God of your view. Despicable

Too many books, and too much “you endorse my book, I’ll endorse yours.”

At the T4G conference, before every session, different men got up there and promoted each others books (that they had already endorsed in writing on the back cover) that we were to rush right out and purchase. I for one was not buying it (or the books.) I can't spend money when I smell a rat. Neither should you.

Buy a couple good books, (you don't need obscure Puritan commentaries on Job.) Read them, be blessed by them, then give them away. If you want some, come to me and I will give you some. If you can read them and tell me what they are all about, I will give you more.
This is all until I write a book, then the whole thing changes. I might even ask you to give a ringing endorsment on the back.

2 comments:

Josh Gelatt said...

Joe,

I think their intention was to help pastors become grounded in good biblical theology. They are teachers, most of whom give most of their teachings away for free (sermons, articles, and even entire books online). I will not fault them for getting excited about a book that contains good teaching--when most of the books in Christian bookstores are junk (even heretical).

The only rats at T4G were your two traveling companions! LOL.

Joe VonDoloski said...

I agree with what you are saying Josh, thank you for the balance. Like with all things in Christianity, there needs to be balance. Books are good and necessary, but they can become not expedient. Just like money, exercise, etc. Maybe the rat I was smelling was myself. I did not intend to call these men rats, just to provide a warning. I see that having thrown a stone into a crowd of dogs, the struck one yelped. ha