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Now that Christmas is coming, I have a question about where to buy books, and/or Christian gifts. Should we patronize Christian bookstores and websites? Or would we be helping the culture become more Christian by buying from Walmart or ordering from Amazon?

It’s great to be thinking about having a Christ-like impact on the culture in everything we do. After all, the Bible does say, “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Even shopping.

I think the answer to this question is largely a matter of conscience and good stewardship of the money God has blessed you with, and, of course, husbands and wives need to be on the same page if this is an issue in your home.

Christians have been buying from WalMart and Amazon for years, and the culture continues to march toward Hell at breakneck speed, so I don’t think shopping or not shopping at either of those venues is going to change society much. Amazon carries just about everything that’s in print, so they’re just as happy to sell you a Bible as a Book of Mormon as a Koran as a Richard Dawkins book. The last time I perused the “Christian” book section at my local WalMart, I literally could not find a single book by a doctrinally sound author. The half dozen shelves were laden with Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, and the like. (So, yeah, definitely don’t buy “Christian” books there!)

Some Christians don’t want to patronize Christian retailers who carry materials by false teachers. For others this isn’t an issue. This is something you (and your husband, if you’re married) will need to think and pray through and make a decision about.

A few suggestions as you shop this year:

Amazon has a great program called Amazon Smile. It allows you to designate a charity that will receive a percentage of every purchase you make. There are scads of Christian organizations to choose from: churches (maybe even yours!), ministries, missions organizations, pro-life organizations, and others.

If you’re shopping at brick and mortar stores, does your town have a locally owned, doctrinally sound Christian retailer- either stand-alone or at a nearby church? Wherever you choose to shop, don’t forget to take your tracts with you to hand out along the way! That’s the best way to impact your community for Christ while buying gifts.

If you’re shopping for Christian gifts on line, you might consider “shopping small” rather than hitting one of the major Christian retailers. If you’re ordering a book or CD, try getting it directly from the author’s/publisher’s or artist’s web site. Check out some of the smaller Christian book and gift sites. And don’t forget sites like Etsy where you can order lots of Christian gifts directly from the craftsman. Here are a few awesome, doctrinally sound sites to order Christian books and gifts from:

Wretched

Grace and Truth Books

Ligonier

Wrath and Grace

Banner of Truth

Logos

Grace to You

Missional Wear

Westminster Bookstore

Seeds Family Worship

Living Waters

To get the most bang for your stewardship buck, start scouting out the sites you like now. Some are already running Christmas sales. Some will have Black Friday deals, and some will offer discounts on Cyber Monday (Nov. 28).

Happy shopping!


If you have a question about: a well known Christian author/leader, a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

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