Monday, November 21, 2011

In Many Bookshops with Pastor Charmley: Barbican Bookshop, York

The newest entry to 'In Many Bookshops' is an old acquaintance of mine, Barbican Bookshop in York, otherwise known as Wesley Owen, York. Now, modern Evangelical Bookshops have a tendency to be deeply depressing, a few books mostly by heretics, or just lacking all doctrine of any kind, and lots of junk. Barbican is what a bookshop ought to be - that is to say, it sells books. Lots of books! Arranged over several floors of the house in Fossgate, this is a peculiarly satisfying bookshop, and provides hours of enjoyment. Particularly satisfying is the splendid ascent to the large room of second-hand theological tomes at the rear of the shop.

I first made the acquaintance of this shop many years ago, but had no contact with it since about 2004, and feared it had either closed or changed its character. I found my fears wonderfully unfounded, and would urge anyone who can to go to Barbican Bookshop. What's better, the prices on the secondhand books are extremely reasonable. And best of all, it's in York, a lovely Medieval city.

1 comment:

John17v17 said...

I can relate to your review. Whenever I visit York I end up spending a disproportionate amount of time in Barbican Bookshop. It's the second hand section that always fascinates me.

Barbican is not entirely free of heretical junk though, but I suppose every 'Christian' bookshop is going to have some of this. Any Christian with a sensitive and discerning conscience would not want to be selling most of what passes for 'Christian', hence they wouldn't be in business for long.

If I ever attempted to open a Christian bookshop I reckon I'd be out of business within a month.

I can imagine how a typical conversation with a customer might go...

"Do you have any of Rob Bell's Nooma DVDs?"


"'Love Wins', or 'Velvet Elvis'?"


"Anything by Brian McLaren?"


"'Your Best Life Now' by Joel Osteen?"

"I don't have that."

"Any Joyce Meyer? Kenneth Copeland? Kenneth Hagin?"


"William P Young's 'The Shack'?"


"Steve Chalke's 'The Lost Message of Jesus?'"


"Can I order them?"

"Yes, if you give me permission to burn them when they arrive. On second thoughts, no, as I don't want to be responsible for giving money to the publishers and authors of such deceptive and unhealthy rubbish."

Actually, it would be a pretty confused customer who wanted all of the books above! Unless they are buying them to critique them. The 'emergent' heretics don't usually have much time for the 'health and wealth', 'word of faith' mega-church heretics. But they are all heretics just the same. (Not quite sure what precise label I might give to someone who denies penal substitutionary atonement. I guess 'heretic' in general will do.)

There are so many so-called 'Christian' books that, frankly, my conscience as a Christian would not allow me to sell.

Believers shouldn't be surprised that heresies abound, after all Scripture warns us to be on guard against false teaching, e.g. Jude, 2 Peter 2, Acts 20:29-31.