In my previous life as a book publisher editor, it was my privilege to work with important authors like Henry Morris (the “father” of the modern creationism movement) and Berit Kjos (a leading researcher into cults).
In the past two decades, Christian book publishing has descended into an ideological abyss. A willingness by that community’s leadership to allow non-believers into the fold ensured that Christian publishing would decline. Sure, record sales came from a handful of (mostly dreadful) titles (like “Jesus Calling”). Overall, though, it is quite ironic that strategic decisions made decades ago, for business reasons, signaled the beginning of the end for Christian book publishing.
Of course it exists today; dozens of publishing houses remain, and if you listen to biased researchers like Ed Stetzer, you would believe evangelical leadership is still surging, still strong.
The proof is there to see, however. Leading Christian retail bookstore chain Family Christian Stores just ended and the shockwaves from that exit will be felt for a long time.
Recently I had a publishing representative tell me that selling books to a bookstore is now “almost impossible.”
Only the most innovative houses will continue to live. One I admire greatly is the team at Lighthouse Trails Publishing. A West Coast-based company, Lighthouse Trails exists to equip the saints. There can be no greater agenda, especially today as terrible influences are flooding the American church.
I became aware of them several years ago, in my own research and writing. Lighthouse is one of the go-to resources for people who want to maintain a biblical worldview.
Let’s be clear: Lighthouse Trails will not rank with the world’s largest Christian book publishers. They will not display their wares in a two-level mahogany display booth, as I saw one company do years ago (believe me, it was yuge).
Ostentatious is not their thing.
No, Lighthouse Trails (“A Light Shining in the Darkness”) simply produces much-needed resources for an American evangelical community that too often drifts in a sea of confusion and compromise.
A book I reviewed for WND, “Another Jesus Calling,” by super researcher Warren Smith, is a very important book. It examines the mega-selling “Jesus Calling” franchise that has American evangelicalism in its grip.
An impressive feature of the Lighthouse Trails team is that they operate as a real publisher. That might sound funny or odd, but I think it’s important. Smaller operations tend to come and go, but Lighthouse Trails publishes and provides catalogs and has distribution like the big dogs.
Founded in Oregon in 2002, the company now operates from Montana, and intends to be around a good while longer.
The breadth of their publishing list is quite impressive. A brand-new title, “The Good Shepherd Calls” (by one of my favorite authors, Roger Oakland) emphasizes the clear case that we are now in an age of apostasy, not revival. There are uncomfortable truths in the pages of this book, which I believe will come to be seen as a classic, but those who read it will be blessed indeed. The contents are varied and represent the strength of Oakland’s research skills.
Conversely, Lighthouse Trails has also published “fun” books.
“Stories from Indian Wigwams and Northern Campfires” fit a strong niche audience (especially among homeschool communities, a rapidly growing market). “The Taliabo Story” would hold great interest for those who enjoy stories of taking the Gospel to native groups.
The aforementioned Berit Kjos also has an information-packed book, “How to Protect Your Child from the New Age and Spiritual Deception.” Again, such books are not the norm for mainstream Christian publishing houses, stuck as they are helping people feel good about themselves. But this Kjos title is another indicator that Lighthouse Trails is the go-to resource for conservative Christians.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the “Lighthouse Trails Research Journal,” both printed and online. This journal is absorbing reading for those who wish to keep up with what is going on in the church globally, with special emphasis on America. There is simply nothing like it anywhere, and I read it eagerly.
Finally, an item in the latest issue of this newsletter highlights just how important Lighthouse Trails’ work really is. Two readers have been alerted by Christian media and a pastor to avoid Lighthouse Trails; in both cases, the basic reason is that LT is allegedly divisive. I like the response from the editors:
What we have never heard from any accuser is examples of where we took things out of context, got our facts wrong, lied, deceived, and so forth.
One might take issue with what the folks at Lighthouse Trails Publishing do. But one cannot accuse them of getting it wrong.
For that, I am profoundly grateful. I think you will be, as well.
A book publisher's beacon shining in the dark