Lifeway Christian Stores

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by bookslover, Mar 15, 2017.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    I have three of these stores (supported by the SBC, as you know) in my area. I've just visited two of them and was pleasantly surprised.

    One store had a set of Bavinck and a set of Turretin (don't tell them that these guys weren't Baptists!). Much of what they have is Baptist-oriented, as one would expect. But, in both stores, I was surprised to find a fair amount of non-Baptist-related books and materials.

    Now that Family Christian stores have gone under (240 stores, 3,000 employees, in 36 states in the process of vanishing), I guess Lifeway will try to pick up the slack.

    They - and the few (and fewer) independent Christian bookstores that still exist.
  2. Edm

    Edm Puritan Board Freshman

    The Lifeways that I have been in are full of Jesus Calling, the Shack and similar books. Oh, and the half of the store devoted to the Rapture. That said I do browse them every so often to see if there is anything worth buying.
  3. jfschultz

    jfschultz Puritan Board Junior

    My experience with LifeWay (and it has been years since I've been there) is the good stuff is in the back. The front is full of popular fluff. Even the obligatory Bibles are off to the side.
  4. jwithnell

    jwithnell Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Sorry, I just have so little patience for goody bookmarks and gizmos. There's real danger in the weak titles they pass off as Christian.
  5. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy

    I haven't been to many Lifeway stores... but the best I've seen is the one on the campus of SBTS.
  6. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Freshman

    Unfortunately, the good stuff they may have is way overpriced. I can sometimes save double-digits on many of their books by going through Amazon or Christian Book Distributors, most of the time having it delivered to my doorstep for free.
  7. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Junior

  8. reaganmarsh

    reaganmarsh Puritan Board Senior

    The nice thing about our Lifeway is that they'll order pretty much anything with an ISBN for me, and will price-match any online retailer I can find. My wife was picking up one of my book orders a few months back (a couple of Puritan books) and the manager told her, "Reagan is pretty much the only pastor in our area who buys any books, especially theology books; but [indicating the Puritan volumes] boy, he sure reads weird books." :lol:
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
    • Like Like x 2
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • List
  9. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    I did notice that most books are sold at list price. They do have a few stickered items at lower prices, but not many. Especially with the existence of Amazon, it's hard to understand why they do that. To be fair, I did buy a copy of Lost Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon, Volume 1 - a $50 book - for only $22. So, they do have some sale items.
  10. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Senior

    I know that Lifeway will match Amazon or CBD, but why should I go through the hassle of having to ask for a fair price? Seems like they are just looking to rip off the less Internet saavy among us.
  11. reaganmarsh

    reaganmarsh Puritan Board Senior

    I take your point, brother...that's an excellent question. It does seem a bit disingenuous, doesn't it?
  12. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Freshman

    That's very nice. Maybe all Lifeway's do this (?). If so, I spoke too critically too soon.
  13. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Senior

    I think perhaps my negative outlook stems from my brief time working at Lifeway when I was in seminary. Like all retailers, Lifeway expects its salespeople to sell as much as possible. To this end, we would place $5 cds and books by the register, and we were expected to ask each customer if they would also like one of these items, and we were graded on how successful we were. My problem was not with this practice in an of itself, but with the way it was presented to the employees. We had to watch a training video where selling such items was presented as a means of fulfilling the Great Commission. There are not enough eye roll emojis to express how I felt about that, but I will try anyway. :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
  14. reaganmarsh

    reaganmarsh Puritan Board Senior


    While I was pastoring in Albany, the Lifeway there was very good about placing special orders for me...and their store up here has also been helpful in that regard. There are some books they can't order (some scholarly works on the Puritans are a stretch for them, at times), but that typically means the book is a) prohibitively expensive or b) going out of print.
  15. Silas22

    Silas22 Puritan Board Freshman

    I was about to say the same thing. If any of y'all get the opportunity, you have to visit The SBTS bookstore. It. Is. Incredible.
  16. reaganmarsh

    reaganmarsh Puritan Board Senior

    Indeed it is. I have a mental snapshot of their historical theology section from my student days. It's a personal lifetime goal to read as many of those sparkling gems of sound doctrine as I possibly can.
  17. Atonement

    Atonement Puritan Board Freshman

    Unfortunately, the Lifeway Store near where I live just closed down a couple of months ago. The employees were always friendly, and they had no problems price-matching anything I found online. I ended up picking up the Reformed Study Bible for a little under $40, which really wasn't a bad deal in my opinion. With Family Christian closing as well, there are no more Christian book stores within a 50 mile radius around where we live. To Amazon I go!
  18. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Freshman

    If you are shopping online, don't forget the Westminster Seminary Bookstore ( It's almost always cheaper than Amazon.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  19. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    You are showing San Diego as a location. Westminster Seminary California is only 35 miles from Chula Vista. You must live right on the border.
  20. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    I'm not sure if I've seen the likes of Turretin or Bavinck at a "regular" Lifeway, but I'd think they'd probably stock them at NOBTS, which I've visited many times. (I'm not sure if I've seen Bavinck there either but it has been 5+ years since I've really had a good look around there. They stock Hodge and some others, so there's no reason why they wouldn't have Bavinck. They usually have most systematics that are in print.) Sure, the prices are high, but when I first visited I was happy just to actually see some of the books. It is also bigger than the RTS bookstore, assuming the latter hasn't changed in the last 10 years.

    Although I haven't gotten as much from there in the past few years, it is always worth checking the Bargain shelves at Lifeway. Sometimes they'll have something that is damaged, etc. for a great price. I understand that those that aren't damaged are supplied by a vendor. I bought many of the fake leather Spurgeon's "Morning and Evening" as gifts a few years ago when they were selling it for about $5. (MSRP was probably $20+). They've had some ESV editions at bargain prices too. Sometimes they'll have some Cambridge Bibles in stock, most often the Clarion.

    As for Family Christian, I actually got a great deal on the Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible right when it came out a few years ago. I bought a lot of books there early in my Christian walk. They had a lot of MacArthur, Sproul, James White, etc. But it seemed that they got more and more into the trinkets as time wore on and stocked far fewer substantial books. There was another local (independent) store that stocked a lot of Banner and similar books, but the only time he discounted anything was when he was going out of business.

    Mardel is probably the only other national chain at this point. They also have a good "bargain" section at times. Otherwise they are probably comparable to Lifeway. They'll have some Reformed stuff and then some TBN type stuff. They appear to stock a lot of homeschool material.

    The only independent bookstore that I've bought much from in recent years is one that basically runs it as a ministry and often charges less than what you would pay online. My guess is that it probably wouldn't be there if they weren't connected to a radio ministry and shipped books all over.
  21. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    That's part of the perpetual controversy about Lifeway. Not so much stocking Reformed books, but stocking T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, "heaven tourism" and so on. But when Stephen Furtick, Perry Noble, and Beth Moore are all Southern Baptists, how can you really weed out bad theology? My guess is that Beth Moore is the bestselling Southern Baptist "Bible teacher" by far.
  22. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    They stock Jakes? For all of the SBC goofiness at Lifeway, I thought they drew the line there. But yeah, if Furtick is SBC, then you really can't draw the line
  23. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    As Dr. Duguid notes, I'd check other sites first, such as wtsbooks, CVBBS, Reformation Heritage and maybe some others that I'm forgetting. Those sites will often have cheaper prices than Amazon. CBD often does as well.
  24. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Some pastors and bloggers have gone round and round with them. At times some of the powers that be at Lifeway have vowed to quit selling prosperity gospel stuff but then someone will do a "sting" type operation and find them on the shelves somewhere. The latest controversy I saw was over "Heaven tourism" where the co-author of one of the books disavowed it and said he made it up, but either they never took it off the shelves or else they did so very belatedly. The publisher also did not withdraw the book.

    When you've got ardent fans of "Jesus Calling" in the pews, can you blame the stores for stocking it? I'm not going to absolve the likes of Lifeway of blame, but the problems begin further upstream. "Jesus told me" type spirituality pervades the SBC and evangelicalism in general, even if it doesn't quite get to the level of being slain in the spirit, etc. There are a lot of sort of mildly charismatic people in the pews of broad evangelical churches that technically aren't charismatic. I know some who belong to churches that are explicitly anti-charismatic.

    If you recall the old independent store in Alexandria, the owner stocked the worst sorts of charismaniac trash along with Banner of Truth and Klock and Klock reprints. His biggest following might have been among the few Reformed book buyers in town along with Pentecostals and Word of Faith types, and maybe not much in between!

    Any retail store that would stock only the kinds of things we'd approve of here would go out of business quick unless there was some kind of massive awakening. I'd think that if a brick and mortar store were to sell everything at online prices they'd have a very hard time making it as well, no matter what it is that they are selling.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
  25. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I wish I had known. I was made for such operations. I would have done them for free, too.
  26. Berean by Grace

    Berean by Grace Puritan Board Freshman

    Lifeway is a part of the SBC. Pastors and other hired individuals with an SBC Church get their Health Insurance Plans, Retirement Plans, etc. through all SBC agencies. That being said... all the agencies (seminaries, Lifeway Stores, SBC Local Associations, State and National Associations, and Churches) get together so that they can get those plans at better rates. That is the reason that Lifeway attempts to make sizeable profits.... they try to sell the popular garbage to make the profit (I don't agree with the selling of the Shack, Joel Olsteen, and other prosperity gospel).... They don't cater much to the reformed tradition, which is not good.... except for a little bit of Spurgeon and MacArthur. The Lifeway stores at the SBC Seminaries have more Reformed materials, especially Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Al Mohler, Pres.). I buy most of my items from Amazon, Ligonier, Monergism, and Grace to You...... If any of you went to the Reformation 500 in Orlando earlier this month, then you could have bought a lot of material at 50% savings. A leather Reformation Study Bible was selling for only $50. It was a great conference, too. I felt so sorry for R.C. He wasn't looking very good. Although, his sense of humor was shining through......
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page