I don’t want to just be a content aggregator. Those things are fairly awful, so I’ll quote some content from this post and add my own. The author wrote about nine reasons that modern books on the Christian life are bad. Here are two of them:
3. Drawing on illustrations that apply to only 0.01% of people won’t help anyone.
4. Do I really need to have sectarianism and branding/marketing ever before me?
Some books that really failed miserably on number 3 included Radical by Dave Platt and The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. The stuff in Radical was decent, but it was a book about how to obey Jesus and hardly did a command of his appear, but there was a one year plan for becoming a radical that no woman with merely a mite could afford. Were his five things good (go to a foreign country for a mission trip, pray for a country daily, start giving regularly to a cause, read the Bible in a year, be involved in a mega church…he called it a multiplying community)? I’ll give him 3. Pray for a country and its missionaries daily is excellent counsel. Read the Bible in a year. I’d say try reading the New Testament every month for a year, then try the Old. Even better, read the Bible with a pastor who will help you understand how to read it. Giving regularly to a cause is plausible if you’re financially stable (not in debt nor buying unhealthy food to survive).
Although I’m not too sure which books are so loaded with sectarianism today, I do note that so much of ancient Christian literature had a very Jesus focused literary flavor that is hard to find in much modern fare. C.S. Lewis noted this in Introduction to On the Incarnation:
In the days when I still hated Christianity, I learned to recognise, like some all too familiar smell, that almost unvarying something which met me, now in Puritan Bunyan, now in Anglican Hooker, now in Thomist Dante. It was there (honeyed and floral) in Francois de Sales; it was there (grave and homely) in Spenser and Walton; it was there (grim but manful) in Pascal and Johnson; there again, with a mild, frightening, Paradisial flavour, in Vaughan and Boehme and Traherne. In the urban sobriety of the eighteenth century one was not safe – Law and Butler were two lions in the path. The supposed “Paganism” of the Elizabethans could not keep it out; it lay in wait where a man might have supposed himself safest, in the very centre of The Faerie Queene and the Arcadia. It was, of course, varied; and yet – after all – so unmistakably the same; recognisable, not to be evaded, the odour which is death to us until we allow it to become life: “An air that kills From yon far country blows.”
I would actually say that one of the main reasons they are bad is how much they focus on sensationalism or sentimentalism. Everything is about feelings and experiences in so many Christian books and so little is about settled knowledge with which to interpret and gauge experience that very little head way can be made for many Christians. I used to work at a coffee shop where fighter pilots would talk about running game (picking up easy lays) at a local mega-church’s small group meetings. I later read this church’s small group manual and the whole mission of the small groups in the church is to make sure that participants are on board with the lead pastor’s vision for the church with appropriate relationships and meaningful experiences. There is very little about knowing what Scripture says, knowing what Jesus taught, knowing the Father of Jesus Christ, etc. Such knowledge, and there is such knowledge available to those who seek it, is no longer a priority in evangelical culture today. Our churches and, sadly enough, our experiences are impoverished for it.