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Amazon Sold $240K of ‘Liturgy of the Ordinary’ Fakes, Publisher Says

A Christian bestseller (and CT Book of the Year) was targeted by a major counterfeiting scheme.

It took Tish Harrison Warren nearly three years to publish her first book. It was more than 18 months of arranging childcare and carving out time to write before she had a manuscript—11 chapters chronicling details from her day-to-day life paired with the rhythms of church ritual.

By the time Liturgy of the Ordinary debuted in December 2016, she and her publishing team had gone through the process of selecting a cover (an open-faced peanut butter and jelly sandwich against a bright green backdrop) and editing the page proofs to check every dot and detail.

But over the past year, thousands of readers ended up with copies that didn’t quite look like the book she and InterVarsity Press (IVP) had finalized three years ago. The cover was not as sharp. The pages were a bit off-center.

These were not IVP’s books at all. They were counterfeits.

Just as The New York Times put out a report in late June on a surge of counterfeit books available on Amazon, the 70-year-old Christian publisher discovered that one of its own had also “been victim of a highly organized and sophisticated counterfeiting scheme.”

The Times covered complaints that the country’s top bookseller “has been reactive rather than proactive in dealing with the issue” and found examples of Amazon’s third-party sellers pushing fakes across genres: medical handbooks, popular novels, and classic literature. With Warren’s case, add Christian books to the list.

IVP estimates that at least 15,000 counterfeit copies of Liturgy of the Ordinary were sold on the site over the past nine months, their retail value totaling $240,000. That nearly cuts sales of Warren’s book in half; IVP reported 23,000 legitimate copies ...

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[Cfamily]An Exciting Future for Church Planting
« Reply #1329 on: July 13, 2019, 01:00:09 AM »
An Exciting Future  for Church Planting

The three phases of churches planting churches.

It seems for the last four decades or so, church communities have been talking about planting other churches. But much of that time was spent talking without taking action. The difference today is that people are actually walking out the talk. In other words, we’ve moved beyond just the idea of planting churches to actually doing it.

I would like to frame what has and is taking shape with regards to churches planting churches in three phases.

The first is the aspirational phase.

Some churches like to think about church planting. Denominations aspire to encourage churches to plant churches, but often are surprised when they do.

Actually, that’s an ironic part of my own church planting story.

Almost two decades ago, I planted Millcreek Community Church in Erie, Pennsylvania. While in basic training, I remember being told by my denomination that we needed to not only plant our church but also new daughter churches. Thinking this was normal operation, I believed them and that’s what we did.

At the time, and based on our geography, we were isolated and distant from other churches in our denomination. In fact, the nearest viable sister church was two hours away. I assumed that we all would plant a daughter church, since that’s what we were told to do.

But I later found out that most churches and denominations only aspire for church plants to start new churches.

So, ironically, people in our denominational leadership were kind of surprised that we’d followed through on planting daughter churches. One of them told me that they often tell church planters to plant daughter churches, but they are typically a one-and-done kind of church.

Given that we were far from other churches in our denomination, we did not ...

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[Cfamily]Whatever Happened to Communion & Baptism?
« Reply #1330 on: July 14, 2019, 01:00:10 AM »
Whatever Happened to Communion & Baptism?

Or, why aren’t we doing what Jesus told us to do?

There is no greater signal that evangelicals have long forgotten their roots than the disrepair into which the sacraments have fallen in our day. By way of reminder, we should note that the Second Great Awakening began as a Communion retreat. Churches from all over gathered at Cane Ridge, Kentucky, in August 1801 to prepare themselves for and then partake in Communion. As I wrote in an article on this revival:


Communions (annual three-to-five-day meetings climaxed with the Lord’s Supper) gathered people in the dozens, maybe the hundreds. At this Cane Ridge Communion, though, sometimes 20,000 people swirled about the grounds—watching, praying, preaching, weeping, groaning, falling. Though some stood at the edges and mocked, most left marveling at the wondrous hand of God.

The Cane Ridge Communion quickly became one of the best-reported events in American history, and according to Vanderbilt historian Paul Conkin, “arguably ... the most important religious gathering in all of American history.” It ignited the explosion of evangelical religion, which soon reached into nearly every corner of American life. For decades the prayer of camp meetings and revivals across the land was “Lord, make it like Cane Ridge.”

As such Communions, people gathered on Friday and spent that evening and Saturday praying, reading Scripture, and listening to sermons as they prepared themselves for worship and Communion on Sunday. At Cane Ridge, Saturday was not so quiet:

The Saturday morning services had been quiet—the proverbial lull before a storm. But by afternoon, the preaching was continual, from both the meetinghouse and the tent. … Excitement mounted, and amid smoke and sweat, the camp erupted in ...

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What Christians Really Think About the Church’s Relationship Advice

New survey research sheds light on how believers navigate the stickier matters of dating and marriage.

Over the years, Christians have produced and read far more books on how relationships and singleness should work than on how these things actually do pan out. Vicky Walker’s new book Relatable: Exploring God, Love, & Connection in the Age of Choice, based on a survey of more than 1,400 people, aims to change that.

Walker writes from a more-or-less Protestant British perspective, but American Christians will find much they recognize. Over the course of 12 chapters and several appendices, Relatable covers everything from the history of marriage to typical teachings on gender roles to, of course, sex. But she also gets into stickier matters like the role of technology and the church’s significant sex-ratio gap—the latter a topic that raises questions of dating outside the faith.

Throughout the book, she leavens this often-difficult discussion with a welcome dose of humor. It’s not quite Monty Python, but Walker brings an almost C. S.-Lewisian appreciation of the comedy of our romantic foibles.

Framing Sex and Relationships

Much of the book reports the results of Walker’s survey, which encompassed a sizeable but somewhat homogenous group. Women vastly outnumbered men (71 percent to 26 percent; some didn’t answer this question) and less than 2 percent identified as Catholic, apparently none as Orthodox. Of the 900 who specified their ethnicity, 90 percent identified as white. The last number may partly reflect British population demographics, as well as a tendency toward segregated worship that extends into other social networks.

For those interested in further reading, Valerie Y. Bernard-Allan’s 2016 PhD thesis, “It Is Not Good to Be Alone; Singleness and the Black Seventh-day Adventist ...

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One-on-One with Bob Craft on Tracking Thailand’s Church Planting Revival

“The spreading...of the gospel comes through the voices, hands, and feet of Thai people."

Ed: In the CT article, the author talks about the difference between being led by the Spirit or led by the stats. In your observations, have there been any downsides to this data? Anything you would change?

Bob: It is not really a contrast, as someone might think. Jesus encouraged us to "lift up our eyes and look at the fields." Our decisions and strategies should be informed by what we see. Scripture says in Matthew 9 that when Jesus saw the crowds, he was moved with compassion. He always had compassion, of course, but the sheer number of people and their condition "moved" Him to call His disciples into action and send them into the great need with instructions seen in Matthew 10.

We have seen the same response to the data. When people see the vast areas of their own country that are untouched by the gospel, they are moved to do something about it. Dwight's intentions for building the database had the exact same impact. People are moved by the data they see from the database. It inspires vision, informs their direction, and works in tandem with the Holy Spirit to meet the need.

Ed: In the article there is an analogy to shepherds counting their sheep. Your database puts a personal face to all the numbers we read about every day. Why do we need to care more about the faces than the numbers?

Bob: That's one way to look at it; every number does represent a person. Unreached places represent thousands of unreached faces. Villages average about 1,000 – 2,000 people. Every village becomes a place where the gospel is proclaimed, the Bible is studied, people are baptized, and congregations of worshipers are started. This method becomes an opportunity for the entire village to know Jesus.

As the CT article ...

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[Cfamily]The Christian CBD Changes Its Name
« Reply #1333 on: July 17, 2019, 01:00:11 AM »
The Christian CBD Changes Its Name

Christian Book Distributors drops its initials to avoid confusion with the cannabis product.

Christian Book Distributors—a direct-mail cataloger and online retailer—has gone by the letters CBD.

But the company announced last month it would drop the abbreviation and the word distributors from its name in response to the now-common use of CBD to refer to cannabidiol. The letters will no longer appear beneath its logo, an open book with flipping pages.

“Across the country, people see signs for ‘CBD sold here,’ which creates brand confusion,” the Massachusetts-based retailer stated. “In the past, a Google search for ‘CBD’ would place our company at the top of the results page. Now ‘our CBD’ is nowhere to be found in the search results, only sites for the cannabis product are listed, and paid ads are no longer allowed.”

Since “this wave of popularity over the ‘other CBD’ is not likely to subside,” the company will now operate as Christianbook. Its website is

“We have no plans to change the way we do business and serve our customers; we will concentrate all our efforts on the brand name ‘Christianbook’ and the tagline ‘Everything Christian for Less,’” said CEO Ray Hendrickson, who founded Christian Book Distributors with his brother in 1978. With a half-million books, materials, and church supplies in stock, Christianbook considers itself “the largest catalog/Internet company serving the Christian marketplace.”

Christian history is full abbreviations, dating back to the first century of the church when the fish symbol, ichthys, represented an acrostic for “Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter” or “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.” The Greek letters ...

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[Cfamily]Epstein, Abuse, & the Log in Our Own Eye: It's Not Just Out There
« Reply #1334 on: July 18, 2019, 01:00:09 AM »
Epstein, Abuse, & the Log in Our Own Eye: It's Not Just Out There

Jeffrey Epstein's case is disturbing—and in some ways it mirrors the abuse crisis in the church.

Just last week, news surfaced of the arrest of financier Jeffrey Epstein for running a child trafficking enterprise that allowed him to sexually abuse girls as young as 14. When federal agents searched his New York City mansion, they confiscated a “vast trove” of pictures of young girls­­.

And then, one of his alleged victims came forward to share her story.

After seeing some media reports, I tweeted this:


So, "underaged women" is not a thing. They are called children. And anyone who had sex with "underaged women" as an adult is a criminal. And, anyone who covered it up, regardless of their influence then and now, is a criminal.

As the weekend began, Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta announced his resignation amid continuing questions as to how he handled the sex crimes case against Epstein when Acosta was a federal prosecutor in Florida.

Every day we learn more.

The writer of Ecclesiastes says there is nothing new under the sun. For millennia, children have been victims of horrific crime. Today, children continue to be treated as objects of desire and power rather than what they are—invaluable creations of the Lord God. “What you did to the least of these, you did to me…”

It’s an admonition spoken to God’s people, but it is true for all.

When one is harmed, all suffer.

A Reminder, Again and Again

In 2012, I wrote about child abuse in a church context. In 2014 I wrote again. And in 2015 I wrote again. And we published many articles since then, many around our GC2 Summit on Sexual Harassment, Abuse, and Violence at the Billy Graham Center last November.

But, we could write on this every single day. (I sometimes get complaints that I write too much on the ...

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[Cfamily]Korean Church Court Dodges Decision on Pastoral Succession
« Reply #1335 on: July 19, 2019, 01:00:13 AM »
Korean Church Court Dodges Decision on Pastoral Succession

Denomination delays verdict on how Myungsung, the world’s largest Presbyterian church, passed its pulpit from father to son.

The two-year saga embroiling the world’s largest Presbyterian church remained unresolved Tuesday, despite a scheduled ruling from the denomination’s court.

The court of the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK-Tonghap) failed to determine the legitimacy of the 2017 accession of Kim Ha-na as senior pastor of Myungsung Presbyterian Church, a 100,000-member congregation in Seoul founded by Kim’s father, Kim Sam-whan.

The 15-member court began with a morning service at the Korean Church Centennial Memorial Building in Seoul. PCK-Tonghap is the second-largest of more than 100 Korean Presbyterian denominations, with more than 2 million members and almost 20,000 pastors.

Although the decision was due by 6 p.m., and dozens of journalists and activists waited outside the meeting room, no ruling was released until 8:30 p.m.

About 7:30 p.m., two members of the court left the room, one saying, “There’s nothing to expect. We tried to make things right.” When the two doors to the meeting room opened an hour later, an emotional jostling between activists and court members ensued as students and church reformers poured into the meeting room, followed by journalists.

The PCK court head, Kang Heung-guk, declared a decision had been deferred to August 5, and apologized for failing to deliver on last month’s promise to announce a ruling on Myungsung on July 16. The court’s chief umpire, Oh Yang-hyun, added that the court is aware of the severity of the Myungsung case, and compared the gravitas of the current deliberations to the PCK court’s 1938 decision to condone Shinto worship during the Japanese colonization of Korea.

Dozens of students and activists had waited for more than 10 hours since the ...

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