We’ve all been guilty of the following Christian behavior pattern. A new ‘Christian’ author pops up with a trendy new Bible study. We ignore the ‘gimmick’ side of it and jump on the bandwagon and promote its pros to all of our friends.
“Oh you must read the latest book from _______. God really used it to bless my heart. She has a talent for speaking the truth in a refreshing way.”
You’ve heard it or said it no doubt if you’ve been anywhere near a church in the South.
See the problem with us Christians is that we are so eager to find people who are famous or well known and seem to look at the world the same way we do.
However more often than not, we allow those ‘semi-famous’ people to influence our hearts, minds and attitudes daily through their social media pages, emails and more.
What’s the problem with that? Well the main problem is that they are human. Their cute memes, their soundbite status updates, their sometimes controversial or errant use of scripture ends up replacing our own in-depth study of scripture.
Her stance isn’t the focus of this piece. Who Christians allowed her and others like her to become, is the focus.
What is she? She like all the other trendy Christian authors, became a rockstar. She’s famous on HGTV. She claims to be a Christian. She writes books and Christians gobble up what she’s spoon feeding everyone.
Except me. I’m the Grinch when it comes to Christian authors. I don’t support the Beth Moores, Jen Hatmakers or Lysa TerKeursts of the world.
They may have good points on some things. But more often than not they are shoveling feel good, self awareness, self help content that is more like a Lunchable than a steak.
I want steak.
To get into God’s word and eat a steak is way better than the empty calories most of these feel good authors are offering.
If you like these authors that’s fine, but I hope you will graduate to more substantial feasting on the Word. Christians and churches of all walks eagerly support all of these women hired by Christian publishing companies to produce content for ‘Christian’ bookstore shelves.
Shouldn’t we demand more from authors?
For instance, I don’t want authors to tell me I’m a great mom because I’m ‘present’ or I’m involved with my kids. Authors please don’t tell me how to be a better parent, how to be a better wife, how to be a better daughter, sister, employee, friend and on and on and on.
Don’t tell me to stop comparing myself to others. Don’t tell me that I’m a daughter of the King and try to build up my self-esteem. Don’t tell me to live on less, or give more, or how great I will feel when I discover my spiritual gifts and use them for God’s glory.
Why don’t I want authors to tell me all of that? Because the only book I need to help me be a better ‘whatever’ is the Bible.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3: 16-17
The Bible offers a direct line of communication between what God wants us to know and our hearts. Our hearts are desperately evil, wicked and full of vile. If you’re a Christian you know you need a savior and that you’ll never be good enough to enter heaven, but you claim Christ’s shed blood as your saving grace and the only true salvation. Now you know who you are in Christ, you’ve been adopted, sanctified and now you’re in the process of sanctification. What’s that? It’s the process of growing in knowledge of the scriptures, memorizing them, applying them to your life and asking the Holy Spirit to constantly show you areas of sin that need to be stopped and areas in which you can grow.
That’s what you need – you don’t need all of these women on pedestals to make you feel better about yourself. You need God to convict you to perfect you in His Son – Jesus Christ.
By allowing the Holy Spirit to teach you and speak to you about your sins, your short comings – you will be a better parent, spouse etc. You don’t need someone to tell you how great you are, you need the Spirit to show you areas that need improvement or change.
Now don’t get too upset just yet. While ‘self-help’ and half-hearted Bible study series don’t inspire me, there is great value in a great set of trusted expositional series and commentaries.
Don’t tell me you drink coffee, love your dogs and dark chocolate and God’s Word:
When I’m ‘vetting’ or ‘discerning’ an author’s background or description I try to be as thorough as possible.
What I look for:
Doctrinal statement of faith on their website
Google ‘reviews’ or the author’s name and controversy
I look at their social media channels and check out their memes
I look for church affiliations and who’ve they’ve partnered with in the past.
Also don’t tell me in your biography a ton of fluffy junk. You can be cute and funny some but if 90 percent of the content is how much you love your dogs, kids and God, you lost me.
My final point is for the church. I find churches are so eager to have ‘trendy’ on topic ‘relevant’ Bible studies that they compromise early and often.
In an effort to bring in new people and embellish numbers on rolls they overlook red flags or assume someone is legit, because LifeWay Christian carries the author. (Looking at you Baptists)
Just because an author has made it the Christian bookstore doesn’t mean they are worth sharing church wide.
As a member of your church, be vocal when you see material from a questionable author. If you don’t speak up they’ll continue to potentially waste money and leave the sheep unfed.
Hopefully by demanding higher standards of who we allow to ‘influence’ us we will see the quality of the content improve.