A Question About Christian Books and CD's

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Puritan Board Freshman
I am not sure which forum to add this thread to, so if this is in the wrong forum, please move. I was asked a question regarding the selling of books, CD's, etc. for profit within the church. The question is too long to post here in length, but here is an excerpt:

I used to sell books for my youth pastor at youth rallies and he would get kids riled up for God. And you could tell God was really touching kids through his sermons. They would be motivated to read his books, but then they realized they would have to buy and just would walk away dissapointed. This happened numerous times to me, and as an assistant I really never put two and two together. But I now I truly believe that we should not be using books, sermons, cds or whatever that has God's name on it for profit.

Just like how salvation is free, we should give these materials out for free.

I used to belong to a mega-church that had a bookstore on the premises, and at the time I thought nothing of it. I even knew the man who managed the book store, and he told me they were more concerned with providing edifying material than turning a profit. I imagine the proceeds helped defray the cost of maintenance and salaries, etc.

The point is that I can kind of see why it seems inappropriate to have a 'profit' making mechanism on the church premises; it's awfully close to the whole scene in the gospels when Jesus trashes the marketplace that took residence within the temple. I have also heard arguments about retreats and events the church holds; that these events should be offered free of charge.

Be that as it may, the questioner expands his 'circle of condemnation' to include Christian retailers and distributors such as Christianbooks.com:

I know your website <not my website, but a website whose ministry I serve> is affilitated with christianbook.com and I think that website should be dismantled. Because they are making a mockery of God in my opinion.

If i know a cd or book is going to help someone get closer to God, or help get wisdom for someone to help them with a problem. As a christian who is about the father`s business first and foremost. Why would I try to profit off it? Why would I say I`ll give you this book if you give me money?

We are not supposed to be like the world.

It's one thing to say that churches should not engage in 'selling' Christian books, CD's etc., but does that extend to Christian retailers? Granted that many of them have a deficient degree of discernment regarding what is sold, but is it inherently wrong to have a Christian retail outfit? Is it wrong for authors such R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, Michael Horton, etc. to sell their books? Personally, I don't think so, but I want to hear from y'all.


Puritan Board Sophomore
I don't think it is wrong for people providing teaching to be able to make a living doing so. While I agree you shouldn't charge exorbitant amounts of money for things people need, I don't think there is anything wrong with a business that allows people to make their living providing things that help Christians grow. I am grateful for the bookstores that reprint Puritan classics, and I don't expect them to spend money to give me things for free. Most online Christian bookstores I buy from are cheaper than Amazon, so I don't think they are trying to abuse me.

As for places are completely ridiculous with things I consider "Jesus junk" and heresy. I generally do not shop there, since I prefer to buy from stores that provide wholly good resources. I won't say I never shop from Christianbook.com, since there are times when I need something like an odd-sized bible cover or something and I can't find a good source.

I do think that basic gospel information should be free. But I don't see why, if you go to hear a man speak about the historicity of scriptures, that he should give you all his books for free. He spent years of research to be able to produce the books, and it is not unreasonable for him to be able to make money from selling those books so he can research and write more books.
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