It’s not the best of times to be a book store in 2019. Amazon crushed much of the competition. Still, Lifeway remained the retail branch of the Southern Baptist Convention until its announced closure of all of its stores back in March. The brand will continue to operate online. The SBC is embattled with confusion and the influence of Social Justice Gospel at the celebrity pastor level. That confusion, created by various personalities, has not been lost on LifeWay. So the question of the day: is LifeWay consolidating because of changing times or because they peddled heresy?
It should come as a surprise to no one that LifeWay has peddled an enormous amount of heresy. I wrote, back in May, posing the question: why the Prosperity Gospel is still popular? In that column, I noted that Lifeway sells the Prosperity Gospel. But the Prosperity Gospel is far from the only heresy that they profited from. If not for Lifeway, would Heaven Tourism books have reached popularity enough to have made movies from it? Then, there’s mysticism because postmodernism is alive and well.
Pulpit and Pen has danced on the grave of LifeWay as they become a hollow seed of what they once were, claiming sole credit for their demise for being a primary influencer in the #the15 movement. The movement was launched against LifeWay by comments construed as elitist towards its customers in 2014 by Ed Stezter in response to concerns over John Piper’s cozy comments to the Pope. Evidently, a lot of congregations have turned their backs on Lifeway ever since. Pulpit and Pen notes, in their rejoicing, how the financial woes for LifeWay began in 2014 according to their financial presentation. A lot of churches used to consider themselves “LifeWay only” churches in terms of materials used, explains Randy White of First Baptist Church of Katy, Texas explained. He also expressed his displeasure with the heresy on their shelves in his decision to move his congregation away from them.
Amazon is powerful, but so is having a quality brand. People, especially in churches, will contribute to businesses that support their values. But LifeWay stopped doing that, instead selling any book that will bring in revenue regardless of their responsibility to the Lord as a faith-based entity. When enough people saw through “faith-based” branding of LifeWay, the company was left to the mercy of Amazon.
We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.
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