Hebraic Heritage: Not enough good teaching material

It is my opinion that the teaching of our Jewish roots sits in poorer soil now than before, in terms of widespread public dissemination of good teaching material.

Jim Fletcher 88 224 (photo credit: )
Jim Fletcher 88 224
(photo credit: )
I've spent a good number of years in the Christian book publishing industry, and have seen several shifts in priorities among publishers, booksellers, and buyers. All this has impacted the pro Israel community's ability to teach the public the truth about Israel and the Jews. It is my opinion that the teaching of our Jewish roots sits in poorer soil now than before, in terms of widespread public dissemination of good teaching material. For years after Hal Lindsey's groundbreaking book, The Late Great Planet Earth was published in 1970, there was a surge in book-buying interest for books about Israel and the end-times. By the latter half of the '90s, though, such books were on the back-burner for publishers. It follows that this was also the case in bookstores. Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins bucked this trend in a major way, but other Bible prophecy/pro Israel speakers found it tough-going in trying to get their books first published, then sold. The Y2K hysteria, I'm convinced, impacted this. For some odd reason, when people woke up on January 1, 2000, their fear of "last things" dissipated substantially. For many book publishers, it simply became easier to produce "fluff," that is, books geared toward self-fulfillment. Gift books. Relationship books. Pro Israel books were suddenly out in the cold. Because of soft sermons from the pulpits across America, and the lack of interest from book-buyers in key sales channels, Jewish roots/pro Israel teaching stands at a crossroads. Wonderful ministries like Friends of Israel and the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem are key participants in the battle against Israel. But they need help in making Israel's case. Today, in the Christian world, Strang Communications' FrontLine imprint is one of the very few committed to publishing this kind of book. From John Hagee to David Brog (whose superb book, Standing with Israel, is a must-have), this publisher is bringing such important books before the book-buying public. They are virtually alone, however. It follows that if the reading public is moving toward lighter reading - the so-called "self-help" books popularized by certain mega-pastors - then they are also moving away from books that help us all understand where we are in the world today. Islamo-fascism is the great threat of our time. Israel's plight in her part of the world greatly impacts our understanding of the Bible. Yet these books are relegated to obscure shelves while popular titles have the most spectacular store displays. There is nothing wrong with competition. The problem is, not enough important books about Israel and our Jewish brothers and sisters have widespread distribution. The solution? In my humble opinion, someone somewhere needs to be the distributor for pro Israel/Bible prophecy books; work it and really appeal to the bookstores, but also work the grassroots angle. It will take all of us, working together, to improve the sale and distribution of books like Standing with Israel. Only then will America understand just what kind of world we live in. Jim Fletcher is a member of the executive committee of the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel (NCLCI). He can be reached at [email protected] Previous Entries Our Jewish Roots - Educate, educate, educate