America, you may have a new Sodom and Gomorrah.
The two least “Bible-minded” cities in the United States are the adjacent metros of Providence, R.I., and New Bedford, Mass., according to a study out Wednesday from the American Bible Society.
The study defines “Bible-mindedness” as a combination of how often respondents read the Bible and how accurate they think the Bible is. “Respondents who report reading the bible within the past seven days and who agree strongly in the accuracy of the Bible are classified as ‘Bible Minded,’” says the study’s methodology.
I sometimes find myself grumbling a little bit about the state of publishing today, and especially the state of Christian publishing. Many of the big publishers have been gobbled up by corporations whose primary concern is not the glory of God but the health of the bottom line. Some of the medium-sized publishers seem to collect any and every rambling word of the popular pastors and personalities so they can slap those words on paper. Many of the smallest publishers are churning out books that simply do not deserve to be printed. New tools for self-publishing allow anyone with an idea to commit it to paper and distribute it as widely as they can. And that’s not all that is concerning or annoying. There are the thousands of truly awful, unbiblical books being published each year, and the fact that the bestseller lists are inevitably dominated by titles that are not only bad, but often downright dangerous.
And yet, when I stop and consider the state of Christian publishing, I can’t help but think that we are in a golden age. A strange age, to be sure, but a golden one nonetheless. Christians today are extraordinarily blessed by a vast number of excellent, Christ-centered, God-glorifying books.
I see evidence for this golden age in so many different ways.
Kindle deals for Christian readers
- Wesley on the Christian Life by Fred Sanders—$4.99
- Covenantal Apologetics by Scott Oliphant—$4.99
- One With Christ by Marcus Peter Johnson—$4.99
- A Concise New Testament Theology by I. Howard Marshall—$5.68
- Fallen edited by Christopher Morgan & Robert Peterson—$4.99
- The Finished Work of Christ by Francis Schaeffer—$4.99
- Unplanned by Abby Johnson—$1.79
- Why Pro-Life? by Randy Alcorn—$3.99
- Stand for Life: A Student’s Guide for Making the Case and Saving Lives by John Ensor—$3.79
- How to Stay Christian in Seminary by David Mathis and Jonathan Parnell—$4.57
- Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church by Chandler, Patterson and Geiger—$1.79
- Forever: Why You Can’t Live Without It by Paul Tripp—$1.99
- Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greear—$2.99
- Gospel by J.D. Greear—99¢
- Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger—$1.79
- Bonhoeffer Speaks Today by Mark Devine—$1.79
- Speaking Truth in Love: Counsel in Community by David Powlison—$2.25
We now live in a culture that cares about natural sources and baptismal candidates that aren’t going to break the pastor’s back. In a time where our technology can easy distance us from meaningful relationships, we are also concerned about Christian community. But we don’t want the plastic community that tucks their shirts in and pretends like they are more sanctified-than-thou. We want authentic community that is honest about their struggles in the journey.
In recent years, evangelical Christianity has made its imperfection a point of emphasis. Books were published with titles like Messy Spirituality: God’s Annoying Love for Imperfect People, Death by Church and Jesus Wants to Save Christians, and churches popped up with names like Scum of the Earth and Salvage Yard. Evangelicals made films like Lord, Save Us from Your Followers, wrote blog posts with titles like “Dirty, Rotten, Messy Christians,” and maintained websites like anchoredmess.com, modernreject.com,churchmarketingsucks.com, recoveringevangelical.com, and wrecked.org—a site that includes categories like “A Hot Mess,” “Muddling Through,” “My Broken Heart,” and “My Wreckage.”