Thursday, August 23, 2012

Scalping the Gospel

Suppose you're an evangelical celebrity, you write a book about the gospel, and you go along with your publisher's proposal for a book tour. Do you really want to charge $25 a head for tickets? Really?

What exactly is "peddling God's Word," if it's not that?


Anonymous said...

Ben, can you be clearer about why this event - where you get a copy of the book and they're hosting a music concert- is peddling compared to say a conference where more money is paid like T4G? Some might just see this as a mini conference.

In some ways I'm inclined to agree, and have certainly seen these mini conferences done for free (like DG's seminars in Minneapolis, which often include a free book), but precisely why is paying for what seems to be a mini conference peddling the Word?

Ryan Martin said...

When I go on my book tour, I'm only going to charge $15.

Ben said...


I don't have one particular event in mind. Not sure which one you're thinking of. I'm actually not aware of an event that has the flat $25 price I allude to. I'm quite certain that the rise of the evangelical celebrity church leader (using the term "pastor" might be an unsustainable semantic stretch) hitting the road for weeks on end to hawk books at any price is not a trend that will serve God's Church well in the end.

Anonymous said...

Agreed on the trend not serving the Church well. There's a particular author who has a book tour with the same price point you mentioned, and the attendant things I mentioned - that's what I thought prompted your post.

In general the larger Reformed community ('Reformed' in a reductionistic, New Calvinism sense) is becoming increasing enamored with Church Growth techniques and personalities. Not a good trend.

Bruce Winter, the former warden of Tyndale House, predicted this sort of "leadership as celebrity" trend increasing in American evangelicalism. I think this sort of promotion comes across like an American novelty... not sure if that's accurate, but it seems to fit the general direction of American evangelicalism.