Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Don't Judge a Book By Its Endorsers?

Super-blogger Tim Challies has a new book out: The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment. This looks to be a good book about a topic rarely discussed.

Just read the endorsements, and you will see that this book is seriously recommended by nearly all the modern heroes.

Evidently, there has been some discussion recently regarding endorsements. People are saying that many of those who write endorsements don't really read the books and are just doing it as a favor for the author (or publisher). You can read Challies' post about this and Justin Taylor's post that seemingly started this discussion.

My confession: Endorsements are very attractive to me. If John Piper, CJ Mahaney, Mark Dever, Al Mohler, or Donald Whitney are willing to put their name on a particular book, that is a book I want to read. These are men who would never simply write an endorsement without agreeing with and finding value in a book. I would love to see more endorsements not less.

What do you think?


Pastor Randy said...

Endorsements are attractive to me as well. However, I am sure that there are some who really don't read the book and yet endorse it. The list of men that you have are equally sound in my mind. I take their endorsements seriously. I praise God for men like them that recognize the importance of where they put their names.

Ken said...

I agree. Endorsements are good, and I would say a good way for me to weed through the many books that are out there on various subjects.

I am curious on your take in the same posts about someone such as Tim who lacks a theological degree or does not hold a position within the church to write on these subjects.

I am looking forward to reading this book, I got several weeks ago and I want to carve out some serious time to digest.

Looking forward to your review of this book!

justin said...

Ken, I see you read the comments. Good question.

I think that serving in the church for years is something that lends more credibility to an author. However, that doesn't mean those who are fairly young without much experience have nothing to offer. It is silly to disregard someone for youth, lack of education, or lack of experience. God delights to use the unlikely!

I haven't gotten a copy yet so it may be a while before I can comment on it.

Ronnica said...

Endorsements are definitely helpful, but only if they come from people that I trust, like those you've listed. I recently picked up a book with over 20 endorsements...but I didn't know who any of the people were, so that doesn't encourage me to read the book.

Chase said...

Justin, A question worth discussing! I spoke at length about this with a friend several months ago. It is at best irresponsible to endorse a book without having read it. If a potential endorser is too busy to read the book he or she should simply say, "I am too busy." How is that for integrity? For an unknown author, an endorsement on the back of the book or from a trusted source are the only two things that would move me to buy the book. As to questions abuot Challies' credibility...Who are we to ask what time he is spending with God or what God is teaching him. We would certainly have to ask the sae sort of questions of unqualified fishermen like Peter and John. Some might ahve asked the same question of a young Jerry Bridges...what a debt of gratitude we owe the Lord for sending this fine author to our time. Back off the rabit trail. It is an endorser's Christian responsibility to have read the book if he or she is to speak well, or negatively of it.

Reegz said...

If MacArthur endorses it, I own it!