There is no such thing as a book everyone likes and this problem is only magnified if it covers religion, politics, sports or anything else where people are deeply divided.
If you think you are going to write a book, which unites all Christian believers worldwide, you better take a deep breath and realize no matter what you write, you will have detractors.
While the Bible is the Holy Spirit-inspired written “hub” around which all believers unite, it is also a lightning rod of controversy among many Christians. We first argue over specific Bible translations then we get into details about what the Scriptures are trying to tell us regarding various issues. That’s when the real divisions among us reveal themselves.
The assumption of the statement “preaching to the choir” is the churchgoing community is an easily reached, agreeable audience not worth the effort because they are already aboard the train.
It’s a myth.
Christian authors find the better their books sell, they become a bigger target for disagreement and critics. Evidently, some seem to feel if a Christian book sells a lot, it must have something wrong with it theologically.
Some examples from the recent past:
The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson sold close to ten million copies, but had a number of detractors within the church.
The Shack by William Paul Young sold twenty million copies, but many churches and leaders spoke out against it. Some Christian retailers would not carry it.
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren sold over thirty million copies, but not every church or Christian leader liked Rick’s approach.
The Left Behind fiction series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins sold over 65 million copies, was criticized for its portrayal of the end times events by various segments of Christianity and theologians.
Name any prominent current best-selling Christian author and there is a list of critics and retailers who will not endorse what is taught and won’t sell their books, respectively.
It is impossible to publish a Christian book accepted by everyone. So don’t worry about trying to write one. And don’t be disappointed when critics appear.
Good news: Prominent person has agreed to review your book.
Bad news: They dislike it and are going to tell everyone specifically why on their blog once your book is on sale.
And you were so excited when review copies were finally sent out.
Even though you might be preaching to the choir, you quickly discover not all choirs are singing the same song.
Disagreements about creation to the last words of Revelation occur every day among Christians. (If you want to guarantee really angry responses from readers, quote a lot from the apostle Paul’s writings.)
Marriage roles, money, success, politics, health, race, raising children, worship styles, preaching styles, social justice and the work of the Holy Spirit in one’s life, as well as many other issues can generate polarized responses from within the church community.
Even though we might never directly express it, Christian agents or publishers reject some book proposals because they disagree with the author’s position on some issue. We may say, “This isn’t my cup of tea” or “It’s not part of our current plan,” but sometimes it means, “I disagree with you and want to avoid an argument.”
Christian writers need to understand they are writing controversial material, which will elicit a variety of responses, some angry, from fellow Christians, or at least those identifying themselves as Christian.
Write with eyes wide open to the effect of your words. Be humble enough to acknowledge some may disagree and those critics might not be hell-bound at all.
Not only should you feel deeply about your mission to write, but you should also be prepared for the response, which can be a combination of support, encouragement and kindness, but also anger, discouragement and unkind words, not to mention condemnation.
There will be days you won’t enjoy engaging with your social media. It’s a messy life, this world of ours.
And this doesn’t even begin to address the issue of writing to non-church people.
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV)
Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. (1 Peter 3:15 NLT)