Family Bookstores and the Almighty Dollar

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fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Now we see the casuistry behind much modern anti-Sabbath thinking. Read this article from World and weep. Notice the last paragraph.

The article can be found at:
http://www.worldmag.com/subscriber/displayarticle.cfm?id=9913

Day of retail
BUSINESS: Some Christian bookstores nationwide conduct business"”special "ministry" business, they say"”on Sundays | by Jamie Dean


Ty Mosler walked away from his management position at the Family Christian Bookstore in Asheville, N.C., after eight years because of a quandary he never thought he'd face: A change in the Christian store's operating hours meant Mr. Mosler would have to miss going to church at least half of the year.

Family Christian Bookstores, the largest Christian retail chain in the country, announced a year ago that it would open its doors for business on Sundays for the first time in its history. President and CEO Dan Browne called the move a "ministry decision," saying in a press release that the company wanted to "reach people when ministry is at the forefront of their hearts and minds." Mr. Browne also said the company wanted to "meet the needs" of the growing number of Christians who shop on Sundays.

Now, each of the 326 stores in the Family Christian Bookstore (FCB) chain is open on Sundays from noon until five. FCB spokeswoman Tara Powers said the company has received "dozens and dozens" of letters and e-mails from customers pleased with the new hours, and that the number of complaints from customers and employees has been "very minimal."

And yet, Mr. Mosler said about a dozen other employees at his store quit because of the Sunday hours. Brian Hanley, a New Jersey resident and former FCB customer, started an online petition asking Family Christian Bookstores to "uphold the Fourth Commandment," and charged the company with "breaking God's law" by opening on the Sabbath. Christian business owners and Christian customers are in two camps: those who say Christian companies can legitimately remain open on the Sabbath, and those who say the commandment binds Christians to refrain from working on Sundays.

Mr. Mosler said he saw his job as bookstore manager as a ministry, but said helping customers at work didn't trump the need to be in church each Sunday morning. Mr. Mosler, 42, was on vacation with his wife and two teenage children last July when he received a call with the news that FCB would soon open on Sundays, and that managers would be required to work two Sundays each month. "I looked at my wife and told her that this was it," he said. Mr. Mosler said he knew the noon-to-five hours on Sunday would make it impossible for him to go to church in the morning and make it to work on time. "It just did not make sense to miss worship," he said. Mr. Mosler said his superiors were sympathetic to his predicament, but accepted his resignation. He left FCB in August of last year and now works at a local bank.

Ms. Powers said Family Christian Bookstores decided on the noon-to-five Sunday operating hours so employees wouldn't have to miss church, and that the company tried to honor employees' requests not to work on Sundays. She said she was not aware of Mr. Mosler's case or of the dozen other employees Mr. Mosler said left the store because of the Sunday hours.

Ms. Powers also hadn't heard about Mr. Hanley's online protest of FCB. Mr. Hanley is a seminary student and an elder at Grace Presbyterian Church in Danville, N.J. He said he recently noticed a sign in the window of the local Family Christian Bookstore that read "Now open on Sunday." "It really bothered me that a Christian store would stay open on the Christian Sabbath," he said. After writing a complaint letter, Mr. Hanley launched a website with a petition urging Family Christian Bookstores to close its doors on Sundays. "Christian bookstores are a business, not a church," he said. "They should be closed on Sunday." Two weeks after launching the website, Mr. Hanley said about 25 people had signed the petition.

Family Christian Bookstores is not the only Christian retailer open on Sundays. Berean Christian Stores, a small, Ohio-based retail chain with 19 stores in eight states, also opens its doors on Sundays. The company's VP of store operations, Greg Moore, said Berean began opening on Sundays three years ago because "customers indicated they needed to be served on Sundays." Mr. Moore said Berean views itself as a ministry with products people might need to buy on Sundays: "There is more value in saving a lost soul than in adhering to an Old Testament custom that later became a commandment."

Hundreds of independent Christian bookstores also operate in the United States, and at least some are open on Sundays, according to Nancy Guthrie, spokeswoman for the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA). Ms. Guthrie said the CBA, however, does not have statistics on the exact number of Christian bookstores open on Sundays.

John Cully is the owner of one of the largest independent Christian bookstores in the country. He has operated Evangelical Bible Bookstore in San Diego for 34 years, but has never opened his doors on a Sunday. "It's simply breaking God's law to be open on Sundays," Mr. Cully said. "I don't work on Sunday because God says not to in His Word. The Fourth Commandment says, "˜Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall do no work.'"

Ms. Powers said the leadership of Family Christian Bookstores considered the commandment when deciding whether or not to open on Sundays. Since FCB leaders view the company as a ministry as well as a business, Ms. Powers said they felt justified in opening on Sundays, but said the potential for increased revenue was not a factor in the decision.

Lifeway Christian Stores, the second-largest Christian retail chain in the country, also views itself as a ministry, but has no plans to open on Sundays, according to Bill Nielsen, vice president of marketing: "Our conviction is that our employees and customers are better served by reserving Sunday as a day of worship and rest."

At least two large secular corporations have closed their doors on Sundays for biblical reasons as well. Chick-fil-A, the second-largest chicken fast-food restaurant in the country, has never opened on a Sunday. Chick-fil-A spokesman Jerry Johnston said Truett Cathy, the company's founder, decided to remain closed on Sundays because "he believes you can apply biblical principles in the workplace and be successful." Mr. Johnston said Chick-fil-A, with an estimated $1 billion in sales last year, does not calculate how much money it could make by opening on Sundays: "We don't view being closed on Sundays in terms of revenue loss; we view it as an investment in the business."

Hobby Lobby, an arts-and-crafts chain with 335 stores in 27 states, does know how much it cost its corporation to begin closing its doors on Sundays six years ago. Spokesman Bill Hane said Hobby Lobby stores were open on Sundays until 1998 when the owner decided "it would be more pleasing to the Lord to close on Sundays." Since Sunday was the stores' second-biggest shopping day, closing meant big financial losses"”about $100 million the first year, according to Mr. Hane. "On paper the decision was hard to justify, but we were convinced we were doing the right thing," he said. Mr. Hane said customers adjusted their shopping habits to the new schedule, the company continued to grow, and Hobby Lobby projects sales of $1.4 billion this year.

FCB President Dan Browne told the Associated Press that his company's decision on whether to remain open on Sundays was different than a chain like Chick-fil-A because FCB sells "ministry products." "No one's going to go to hell for not eating a chicken sandwich," Mr. Browne said.

Ms. Powers said Family Christian Bookstores polled its customer base before opening on Sundays. The results: Eighty percent said they shopped on Sundays, and 89 percent said they would shop in FCB if it were open on Sundays. Evangelical Bible Bookstore's Mr. Cully said there is nothing in his bookstore or any other Christian bookstore that can't wait until Monday, and that FCB's customer survey reveals "a weakness in the church."

Mr. Cully also said that Christian bookstores opening on Sundays "reflect the quality of the literature they are selling." A call to the Family Christian Bookstores national customer-service center revealed the number of books in its inventory specifically about the Sabbath"”zero. "”"¢
 

Irishcat922

Puritan Board Sophomore
I recently confronted a manager of a Family Christian Bookstore in our area about this issue, Her response was that I didn't know how many non- christians they were ministering to by being open on Sundays, I told her I thought it was damaging there witness as a Christian business.
 

SmokingFlax

Puritan Board Sophomore
Well...as long as it is "special ministry" then I guess that it is ok.

Having been down here in the Bible belt for the past 5 years, I'm very well acquainted with religious people who have absolutely NO concept of Sabbath. Frankly, I often found myself considering whether my stance on the issue was too "legalistic" as noone ever shared my concern about it. Until I discovered the Puritans that is...
 

dkicklig

Puritan Board Freshman
Funny you should post this today. I hadn't been in a Christian "book" store in long time until this week. The saddest part about these stores is that they are the primary supplier of books and music to the majority of Christians, and they provide very little of anything of spiritual value. The best sellers are by Joel Osteen, TD Jakes, Rick Warren, and Benny Hinn. In fact the christian diet section was twice the size of the theology section, and the Christian Classics are hidden between fiction and the snowman hold a joy to the world sign. Where's the vomiting emoticon when you need it?

This is a major reason that whenever I teach a class I make sure to recommend good books and resources to counteract what they see on the shelves at the so called Christian "book" store. (notice they don't even call themselves bookstores anymore)
 

jfschultz

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by SmokingFlax
Well...as long as it is "special ministry" then I guess that it is ok.

Having been down here in the Bible belt for the past 5 years, I'm very well acquainted with religious people who have absolutely NO concept of Sabbath. Frankly, I often found myself considering whether my stance on the issue was too "legalistic" as noone ever shared my concern about it. Until I discovered the Puritans that is...

Yea, down here you are viewed as legalistic if you maintain the Sabbath. But boy are you a great sinner if you drink or smoke! :banghead:

I surprised one of my co-workers when I indicated that contrary to my normal Sunday practice, I watched the 1953 "Martin Luther" movie on the 31st. She said that she just had to have her football on Sunday.
:deadhorse:
 

ANT

Puritan Board Junior
Sounds like the head of the FCB is thinking the opposite of what the apostle Paul had in mind ....

Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Rom 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

The attitude that we can do what God has asked us not to do so that something good can be done for the Kingdom of God is just like the moneychangers at the temple.

But, in all this God is still Sovereign! And God will somehow use this for His good in spite of them.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
Originally posted by VirginiaHuguenot
Here's an online petition against FCB's new policy:

http://www.petitiononline.com/FCS/petition.html

I'm #31. And while there's no way to verify the validity, apparently G. I. Williamson signed the petition as well.

I would say it is valid. I know Brian Hanley from several other e-groups, and he is (in my opinion) honest and respectable.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by fredtgreco
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
Originally posted by VirginiaHuguenot
Here's an online petition against FCB's new policy:

http://www.petitiononline.com/FCS/petition.html

I'm #31. And while there's no way to verify the validity, apparently G. I. Williamson signed the petition as well.

I would say it is valid. I know Brian Hanley from several other e-groups, and he is (in my opinion) honest and respectable.

I don't doubt that - I just meant it's possible that someone else who signed it could have put the name, and their own e-mail. But that's not likely, as it would be absurd for someone who was truly concerned as such about the fourth commandment to neglect the ninth. I was just sort of thinking out loud above. Hopefully the numbers will grow in the coming days.
 

SmokingFlax

Puritan Board Sophomore
#45

...looks like slim pickins' on the Lord's Day issue. Maybe there is some connection between this and the fact that in my 10 years attending various non-Reformed services I never ONCE heard a sermon about the Sabbath.

:detective:
 

jfschultz

Puritan Board Junior
I am the 60th legalist to sign the list.

But what can you expect from Zondervan/Fox/Murdoc! :banghead:


[Edited on 15-11-2004 by jfschultz]
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
63 Former Employee: Please not only close on Sunday, but quit selling heretical works and junk for profit. Tetzel would even shame you!
 

Bladestunner316

Puritan Board Doctor
Family heretic stores are good for nothing and are part of a ongoing modern church movement known as commercialism. There market is people of the 'christian' faith and whatever is popular in the mainstream at the moment is what sells.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by Bladestunner316
Family heretic stores are good for nothing and are part of a ongoing modern church movement known as commercialism. There market is people of the 'christian' faith and whatever is popular in the mainstream at the moment is what sells.

What??? Are you telling me that Bruce Wilkinson and Rick Warren actually aren't godly men to whom I should look up? I'll have to think about that a bit.
 

Bladestunner316

Puritan Board Doctor
I hope you guys are joking cause you sound way to serious I menat what I said and I think it is quit obvious that is what is going on. People who show no spiritual interest in their beliefs outside fo what there emotions dictate for them will be ever the more gullible to false teaching and whatever feels good movements. I am guilty of this.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by Bladestunner316
I hope you guys are joking cause you sound way to serious I menat what I said and I think it is quit obvious that is what is going on.

:D Yeah, I kind of thought the sarcasm would speak for itself.

Originally posted by Bladestunner316
People who show no spiritual interest in their beliefs outside fo what there emotions dictate for them will be ever the more gullible to false teaching and whatever feels good movements. I am guilty of this.

:amen: I couldn't relate more, growing up A/G and all.
 

ANT

Puritan Board Junior
Family heretic stores are good for nothing and are part of a ongoing modern church movement known as commercialism. There market is people of the 'christian' faith and whatever is popular in the mainstream at the moment is what sells.

I do not shop at or support FCB, but before we slam them to pieces, remember that God is still soveriegn. For some reason God is still using them as an agency to get His Word to the people that shop there (through Bible sales and miscelaneous books.) I have seen a handful of reformed authors and even puritan writings in the local one in my area. (Which means that God is still using them in His plan even though we do not like the way they operate.)

So before we take so much pride in speaking against them, they are sinners just as we are. The only reason we see things differently is by the grace of God alone.

(I am not trying to be mean towards anyone, I just think this needed to be said.)

[Edited on 11-15-2004 by ANT]
 

govols

Puritan Board Junior
FCBs in the north metro Atlanta area are at least selling more and more Piper, Sproul and MacArthur. They have the old Bunyan and Spurgeon classics as well.

I try not to shop there too much because their Charismatic section is so large with so many nutcase aurthors.

Just my :2cents:

I shop at Lifeway. Their still Baptistic but I can find Reformed literature there, albeit not abundantly.

I choose the Net for shopping for books.
 
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