Tupelo, MS (March 29, 2004)-- In an amazing turn of events, the nation's largest pro-family group, the American Family Association, continues to advertise and promote a wide variety of non-Christian materials within its two online Christian bookstores.
"This is one of the most incredible situations I have ever encountered," said Bud Press. "AFA is on the frontline in the battle against the gay agenda, but their online bookstores offer for sale books written by cultic, New Age and pro-gay authors."
Press, a Christian Investigative Researcher who has worked hand-in-hand with AFA on numerous projects, said his research into non-Christian books within online Christian bookstores began last year. Since then, he has contacted and furnished information to numerous online bookstores, including AFA and the American Family Radio Bookstore.
But since December of last year, Press says it has been an uphill battle to get AFA to remove the books.
"Most of the bookstores I have contacted have expressed deep concern and are appreciative of the information," said Press. "This was a simple cut-and-dry situation with AFA, which began over three months ago. But in spite of the overwhelming evidence, AFA hasn't taken this seriously. They act as if they could care less."
When a top AFA official closed the door to further negotiation in January of this year, Press wrote letters to and left voice-mail messages for AFA's founder and chairman, Dr. Don Wildmon. When there was no reply, Press directed his concerns to numerous AFA state directors nationwide--in the form of "An Open Letter to Dr. Don Wildmon."
"There were AFA state directors who found this very disturbing and unbelievable, until they saw it for themselves," Press said.
When asked to name some of the cultic, New Age and pro-gay authors whose books have infiltrated AFA's bookstores, Press immediatly cited Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science), Stephen R. Covey (Mormon), Matthew Fox and Jon Mundy (New Age), and Peter Gomes, Jon L. Berquist and Chris Glaser (pro-gay).
"But these are only the tip of the iceberg," said Press. "Altogether, there are hundreds authors and an untold number of books lurking deep within many online Christian bookstores."
Press should know. He has spent months researching the contents of online bookstores. From there he developed a "Master List," of which he now provides to both walk-in bookstore managers and online bookstore webmasters.
"Most of the online Christian bookstores offer an affiliate membership program to their customers," Press said. "Certain memberships allow customers to receive a percentage from each book sold on their websites. In this case, AFA has teamed-up with Spread The Word Ministries, which promotes multiple thousands of books to the Christian community."
Press maintains that many of the books he has researched, whether cultic, New Age or pro-gay, have no business in an online Christian bookstore, whatsoever, and should be removed immediately.
And a growing number of Christian apologetics ministries agree.
Ray Yungen, author of A Time of Departing is an expert on the New Age Movement. When asked about the presence of New Age books within online Christian bookstores, he wrote,
"A New Age and Eastern mystical spirituality has infiltrated Christian churches around the country at an alarming rate. A significant responsibility for this falls on the shoulders of Christian online bookstores that sell the books of hundreds of New Age/Eastern religion authors, and by so doing these bookstores endorse blatant, anti-Biblical doctrines. We believe a line must be drawn, a distinguishment clearly made of what is and is not contrary to the basic beliefs of the Christian faith."
Marcia Montenegro is no stranger to the New Age Movement and its authors. Prior to becoming a Christian, she was a professional astrologer for eight years and was heavily involved in Eastern and New Age worldviews. She stands as a living testimony to God's grace and sounds an alarm to the dangers of New Age teachings that online Christian bookstores would do well to heed:
"I have to say I am dismayed by seeing many New Age authors promoted by online Christian bookstores. Many New Agers call themselves Christians and may even be officially part of a Christian denomination, such as Matthew Fox, but their teachings deny the God and Jesus of the Bible. Fox's Creation Spirituality, for example, is not only New Age but has influenced the New Age movement. Others may have more subtle New Age views, such as M. Scott Peck, but they are unmistakably New Age in their thinking."
Continuing, Miss Montenegro states that,
"One of the characteristics of the New Age is that it borrows from other religions and can camouflage itself in terms that even sound Christian. New Age writers and proponents do not use the label "New Age" but, nevertheless, they are espousing New Age worldviews. Having been delivered by a gracious Savior from that path in late 1990, I am grieved that the very beliefs I was rescued from now mar the pages of online Christian bookstores."
"These are not books that argue the use of crumbled crackers or cubed-bread during Communion," said Press, "nor are they books that are balanced with apologetics. They are the real thing. Once informed, bookstore webmasters should not hesitate from deleting them from their inventory."
Press says that one of the ironies of this issue with AFA is that past AFA publications have carried articles mentioning cults, heretics, factions within the New Age Movement and even homosexual activists such as Chris Glaser and Peter Gomes.
"While a small handfull of pro-gay books were recently removed from one of the AFA bookstores," said Press, "there are many more that remain. And until all of the non-Christian books are removed from both AFA bookstores, AFA should refrain from issuing 'Action Alerts' and requesting its membership to contact anyone to remove anything."
G. Richard Fisher, co-author of The Confusing World of Benny Hinn advises Christians to be alert and on guard, especially during visits to Christian bookstores:
"Tread with extreme caution and discernment in your local Christian bookstore. It is really hard to believe but universalism, gnosticism, relationalism, pantheism, self-atonement, defective Christology and skewed bibliology are all available at your Christian bookstore."
"The enemy has been allowed to pass through the gates of the Christian city, virtually undetected," Press said. "They no longer sit silent awaiting the right moment to strike, but have seductively slithered from deep within the belly of their Trojan Horse, and have crept throughout the city under the cover of spiritual darkness into our homes, businesses, culture and Christian bookstores."