Lore Ferguson: Christian Readers Should Beware of the Many Inspirational Christian Books

I read this quote from Tim Challies this morning and then I had a thought this morning and wanted to share it with you. Here’s the quote:

“It has long been my observation that there are two kinds of books being marketed to Christians. There are some whose foundational message is what you need to do, and others whose foundational message is what Christ has already done. The first make a model out of the author, the second make a model out of Jesus. The first place the burden for change on personal power while the second place the burden for change on Christ’s power.”

A few years ago when Nate and I were still living in D.C., we were really struggling to find a church home. Most of that is on my and Nate’s shoulders. We came to D.C. feeling bruised and a bit jaded with the practices and structures at play within the theological camp we aligned. A few years out from then, we still have pretty firm objections and strong opinions on how some of the power structures play out in the circles in which we run.

But within our year in D.C. we were not members of a local church. We attended a church for a few weeks where there was some pressure to become members quickly, but I objected because membership—to me—is a very serious thing. It’s not just signing my name on a paper. I believe it’s a sacred act. We finally landed at The Falls Church Anglican about nine months into our time there, but at that point we were sure we wouldn’t be in D.C. long, and didn’t entertain an attempt at membership.

A Reason to Hesitate

During my year in D.C., a publication I had written for regularly for years reached out to me with a few pitches. I said no a few times, and then finally, I thought, I need to give them a more clear reason. I communicated my hesitation in writing for them was due primarily to the fact that I was not a member of a local church currently. I was still very connected to our church family in Texas, I had good community, albeit far away, and I was earnestly in search of church home—but as a couple, we were not covenanted with a local body of believers.

Here’s why I want to share this with you today:

In the digital world we’ve fashioned for ourselves, it is very, very easy to have all the right answers and look the part you want to play. Much has been written on the ease of self-promotion and the lack of realness. (In fact, Catherine Parks releases her new book Real today. I endorsed it for the publisher and I endorse it here for you, too. Buy it here.) , so I don’t want to overstate anything. However, my concern is for you, dear readers.

Last week my friend Lisa Whittle talked about “inspiration addiction” that many have. We hop from one inspiring blog to an inspiring post to an inspiring podcast to an inspiring image to an inspiring quip to an inspiring book…you get my point. We can be addicted to the beauty around us so much that we forget these are real people creating real content with real stories in their lives. And because much of the promotion is done by self, there’s no check or balance. Unless we trust people to self-check themselves, we have no idea if the words we’re hearing or reading are reflective of a faithful life or a sham.

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Source: Church Leaders