Stores Need to Take a Hard Look at Carrying Jerry Jenkins and James MacDonald
In light of what I wrote here on Friday about the need for Christian retailers to practice greater discernment, and in light of an article posted at a James MacDonald watchdog site, The Elephant’s Debt which links to an article at World Magazine, I do not see how I can continue to stock books by either author.
The articles, which have corroboration from reader comments, link both men to recreational gambling, including a trip to Las Vegas. Both recently collaborated on the fiction book, I, Saul, published by Worthy Publishing and distributed here in Canada by David C. Cook. Jerry Jenkins, co-author of the 70-million selling Left Behind series is the chairman of the board of Moody Bible Institute and owner of the Christan Writer’s Guild; while MacDonald is the senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, the founder of Harvest Bible Fellowship (a network of churches) and the host of Walk In The Word (a radio show).
Both of these articles were posted the same day that MacDonald and Mark Driscoll ‘crashed’ John MacArthur’s Strange Fire Conference to hand out copies of Driscoll’s book, which you can read about at this article, or this commentary. One online writer suggests that on the opening day of the Act Like Men Conference (which MacDonald created, much to the surprise of Promise Keepers) the two were acting like boys.
The Elephant’s Debt is a website primarily devoted to controversy surrounding James MacDonald’s salary, his lack of income disclosure, his home and lifestyle, and his dealings with people who have challenged him on these issues. They have exercised much diligence in their reporting.
The Christian Bookstore industry in Canada consists almost entirely of independent, privately-owned stores. No one is compelled to carry product by anything other than local demand and their own informed opinions as to what titles are worth investing in. In other words, dealers can “just say no” if an author’s lifestyle does not conform to the type of standards they would set, for example, for their bookstore staff or the staff of the church they attend.
Furthermore, promoting products by an author whose ministry is a “house of cards,” means that the eventual disappointment that young, vulnerable believers will experience when these people are stripped of their ministry and their reputation, really amounts to “causing someone to stumble” if you know these things to be the case and don’t act.
My advice to my fellow retailers is to flag products by these authors as ‘discontinued’ in your inventory systems and allow existing stock to simply run out.
Additional articles at Thinking Out Loud: