By Jim Fletcher
I just returned — thankfully — from the International Christian Retail Show in St. Louis. An event sponsored by the Christian Booksellers’ Association, ICRS is the big international selling show for publishers and various other vendors.
This has relevance for Israel.
In a week in which the duplicitous Mahmoud Abbas, “leader” of the Palestinians, pledged to “give” the Western Wall and Jewish Quarter to Israel in a settlement deal, and the Presbyterians trotted out the “Divest from Israel” campaign again, we see that the Jewish state is indeed being squeezed from all sides.
A little-reported fact is that this is happening in the Christian world in America, as well.
As Icon Publishing Group, we attended ICRS to promote our pro Israel Balfour Books line. An associate ventured over to the international buyers’ section and inquired about the possibility of foreign accounts being interested in our books. As soon as he explained who we are, the woman he was speaking too stiffened noticeably. When she said their organization wouldn’t be interested in carrying our titles, he asked about others she might know.
“I can’t think of a single group.” That was the nicest thing she said and with that, she turned her back.
Elsewhere on the floor, I noticed titles by authors who are hostile to Israel (although, of course, they’d deny this). One such author is Brian McLaren, promoted by Zondervan.
Another publisher had prominently displayed a large banner touting the scholarly classics of Karl Barth. The German theologian, among other things, promoted what he called a “true myth” reading of the Old Testament. This absurd premise (what is true myth?) was but one of many attacks on the credibility of the Bible, and it is unconscionable that CBA would be party to this kind of material.
Additionally, there was a dearth of good Bible prophecy material on the show floor, a trend that has been steadily developing for the past decade. At Icon Publishing Group, we are going the other way, and wish to promote prophecy teaching as widely as possible.
One of the exceptions is the terrific Mark Hitchcock, a major author for Harvest House. Mark is one of the very best spokesmen for Bible prophecy; kudos to HH for publishing him.
The fallout for Israel is that fewer and fewer customers in Christian bookstores have access to the great hope that is predictive prophecy.
Amazingly, in a time in which Israel’s very existence is a massive display of God’s power and majesty, Christian publishers are quite willing to sell-out Israel, either through indifference, or outright opposition in the form of books and DVDs. Particularly, the Palestinians are making inroads into American evangelical circles with their propaganda, and Israel is suffering for it.
Sure, publishing giant Simon & Schuster, with its Christian Howard Books imprint, will publish John Hagee, but they are doing that only for money, not ideology.
As we “watch” Israel in these last days, it is important to realize that very sharp dividing lines are separating us from other Christian groups. If we can’t find good, pro Israel material in Christian stores anymore, we have to look elsewhere.
Israel can benefit from our networking and zeal. For the record, as it is beginning to become unpopular to do so, I support national Israel.
Would that my friends in Christian publishing would do the same.
Evangelical Left Targets Israel - BPB (Mark Tooley)
Meet Me in St. Louis: Christian Retailers See Scaled-Down Show, but Still Find Benefits - Publishers Weekly
Flashpoint 2012 (The Book) - Icon Publishing Group
The Israel boycott – now the Methodists are joining in - Telegraph.co.uk (Blog)
It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine): How to stop worrying and learn to love these End Times - Jim Fletcher (Book)