A New Commitment
When the Lord rescued us out of the kingdom of darkness and placed us into the Kingdom of His Dear Son, we saw psychotherapy and its underlying psychologies for what they were—the wisdom of world and the ways of the dark kingdom. We were already becoming disillusioned by the cacophony of conflicting psychological counseling systems with their promises for help in contrast to the research results. However, after the Lord opened our eyes to the Gospel and shined His Truth into our hearts and lives and gave us new life, we were amazed at those Christians who were trying to combine the old with the new. Think of the contrast between the old life, which is the only one that psychotherapy and its underlying psychologies can address, and the new life, for which God has supplied all that is necessary for life and godliness through His Word and the Holy Spirit.
When we think of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which opened our eyes to the grievous truth of our own sinfulness and the glorious salvation provided through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we want to live according to His Word, not according to the old ways of the world. When Jesus took the punishment for our own sins and sinfulness by dying on the cross in our place, He paid the full price so that we could be forgiven. Then God the Father demonstrated His full acceptance of the perfect and willing sacrifice of His Son in payment of our great debt by raising Jesus from the dead and placing Him at His own right hand. From that glorious place of authority, the Holy Spirit comes to live in every person who has been born again by grace through faith. God has given His children all they need for living a life pleasing to him and for meeting the challenges of life and the problems of living. (See John 1:12-13; 3:16; Romans 3:20-25; 8:3-10; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Eph. 2:1-10; 2 Peter 1:2-4.)
Christians have been given so much in their new life empowered by the Word of God and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Therefore, the fact that they would even be interested in these shallow psychological notions would be puzzling if it were not for the deceptive enemy of our souls. Once believers revert to the ways of the world they become more and more open to deception and that is why we have so much of it today.
Intrusion of Psychology
Psychological counseling theories and therapies can only address the old life. They subvert the Gospel because they attempt to address the human condition by changing the old life. They pull a person back into the old self by counseling according to the wisdom of the world. Even though professing Christians have attempted to integrate these secular counseling systems with the Bible, they do not fit together any better than attempting to combine conflicting faith systems, for counseling theories and therapies are faith systems, not science.
Because of our great concern about this conflict between the Word and the world, we began talking with other Christians about our concerns. Some could see the difference, but others were enamored with the thought of psychotherapy helping people. In fact, psychological counselors with their scientific sounding jargon were already intimidating pastors, as well as ordinary people, to believe that the only ones qualified to help those with difficult problems of living had to be psychologically trained.
Over the years, the psychological way was increasing, and the ranks of so-called Christian psychologists were expanding as well. Therefore, we sought God and began writing. Our first book was published by Bethany House in 1979. Then we thought it would be helpful to write a book encouraging people to counsel according to the Bible instead of resorting to psychology. Moody Press published that one. We had hoped that people would understand the difference between the psychological way and the spiritual way, but when a mother proudly told us that she agreed with our book but that her daughter was going to become a "Christian psychologist," we realized we had to be more direct and name names. That motivated us to write PsychoHeresy, in which we began to be more specific in identifying major purveyors of psychoheresy. We did that to help readers recognize psychological counseling theories and therapies even when made to sound biblical.
Our vision and passion has been to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and to uphold the power of the Gospel and the distinctiveness of the new life in Christ in contrast to the old life in the flesh. We have attempted to inform, warn, and urge believers to return to the living their new life in Jesus rather than trying to fix the flesh. We discuss this issue in Christ-Centered Ministry versus Problem-Centered Counseling.
The apostle Paul urges us, "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart" (Eph. 4:17-18). The Bible is clear about the difference between the old life and the new. When believers walk according to these psychotherapeutic ideas, they are walking the way of the world and not according to the indwelling Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Therefore Paul instructs us to "put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph. 4:22-24).
Our desire has been to arm believers with both biblical and scientific facts and arguments, and our concern has increased even as the psychological way has expanded and grown. We realized the ongoing need for providing information and argumentation to help one another to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 1:3). Thus, we believe the Lord led us to begin a newsletter, originally titled "PsychoHeresy Update," and then to begin PsychoHeresy Awareness Ministries thirteen years ago. We kept on writing books and working to distribute them to those who were ready to consider "another side" to what has now become the predominant position in the church, which both supports and promotes the use of psychological counseling theories and therapies in its various forms.
Our vision—to reach as many people as possible with the good news that The Good News is sufficient in and of itself as the balm of Gilead for the issues of life—is moving us to a new commitment. Three additional books are now available free on our web site. This makes a total of six of our books that are free to download from <psychoheresy-aware.org>. One of the six free books is the new Spanish translation of Christ-Centered Ministry versus Problem-Centered Counseling. After telling you how we came to placing these books free on our web site, we will explain the new commitment and why we are making it.
All together we have co-authored eighteen books, thirteen of which are still in print. After writing books published by several different well-known publishers of Christian books, we began EastGate Publishers to publish our book PsychoHeresy: The Psychological Seduction of Christianity, which opposes the psychologizing of the faith. Our target is psychotherapy and its underlying psychologies. We formed EastGate Publishers after we found that no publisher wanted PsychoHeresy, primarily because of the rapidly growing popularity of psychology and its promoters in the church. Therefore, to publish PsychoHeresy we re-mortgaged our home, formed EastGate Publishers, and did it ourselves. That was 1986. Much has happened since then, which we will describe.
Before explaining the new commitment, we need to describe the differences between the 1986 beginning of EastGate and now. Please be patient as you read through the following descriptions of the changes in book publishing and the rise, development, and expansion of web sites to have the basis for our new commitment.
When we originally typeset Psycho-Heresy, it was necessary to enter a code for every font and format change (italics, bold, paragraph beginning and ending, indenting, etc.). It was a very laborious and time-consuming process, which would have been expensive if we had hired someone else to do it. After typesetting, we took the software file to a graphics firm, which ran the PsychoHeresy file through its computer and printed the pages on special camera-ready paper. Next we needed to cut and paste the pages onto special boards in preparation for making the film and printing plates. This was another laborious, time-consuming job which would have driven up the price if done by others, especially since every page number and header had to be pasted on individually. In addition, we contracted a graphic design artist to create the cover art, which had to be photographed and developed into four-color film separations to be sent to the printer along with the text boards—a very costly process.
In addition, there were other needs, such as obtaining a business license, various permits, a publisher identification number, a sheet of book identification numbers (ISBN), a Library of Congress card catalogue number, and copyright registration. Then, to make PsychoHeresy as affordable as possible, we ordered 10,000 copies. To make room to store these books, we emptied our garage.
After setting up the business, printing the books, and getting them ready for distributors, we spent about $10,000 for advertising. Publishing a book then was, as we said, costly, laborious, and time-consuming. However, a lot has happened since 1986!
In contrast to nearly 20 years ago, typesetting takes considerably less time now because of current page-layout software and other computer programs. Now there is no need for camera-ready output on camera-ready paper and the use of boards. "What you see [on the computer screen] is what you get." A manuscript can now be sent to the printer on a disc or through the Internet. The cover design can also be on a disc or sent through the Internet, all without the interim film processing. And, once it reaches the printer, nearly everything is done by computer.
On the heels of all the improvement in the book printing industry came digital printing, also called "Print on Demand." Digital printing permits one to order a small number of copies of a book without enormously inflating the cost. Prior to digital printing, it was very costly to print a small number of copies since a vast amount of the work (and the cost involved) preceded the actual printing. And, that additional cost would have caused the retail price of each book to be too high for normal sales. But now, with digital printing, for example, when EastGate ran out of James Dobson’s Gospel, we were able to order only 250 digitally printed copies at an economically reasonable price.
World Wide Web/Internet
The rise of the World Wide Web and Internet sites during the past ten years has been phenomenal. Whenever the Board of Directors of PsychoHeresy Awareness Ministries meets, our web master reports on a variety of statistics, including hits (visits) from around the world.
The cost of placing books on a web site is inconsequential in comparison to printing books. The cost of Internet website hosting is based on space used and traffic. For example, the space occupied by an average-length book is less than 1 MB (megabyte). The traffic is related to the usage of the site by visitors. We did a search of Internet hosting services and found that one could purchase a unique web site address and web site service to contain a number of books for as little as $50 per year. We actually pay much more than that because of the size of our site and the amount of traffic.
The reality of Christian publishing is that the average Christian book sells only 2000 to 3000 copies; 5000 copies in the life of a Christian book is actually doing well; and the average Christian book has a 2 ½ year shelf life and then it’s gone. Only the best-selling authors make a lot of money for the publisher and for themselves, and their books tend to stay in print longer.
We currently have thirteen of our titles still in print. Five of the original thirteen are now offered free on our website as eBooks. After having Christ-Centered Ministry versus Problem-Centered Counseling translated into Spanish, we wondered, why not offer it free on our web site? We reasoned that most of the original complications and costs involved in such a move are resolved. We already have a web site and we do our own typesetting. Adding one more book to the web site would not increase the cost of our web site. Our only cost would be for the translation. Therefore, we are making a new commitment:
Future books co-authored by us and published by EastGate will be available as FREE eBooks on the PsychoHeresy Awareness Ministries web site, with the possibility of a small number digitally printed for those who prefer purchasing a printed book. In the future, we hope to place all of our books now in print on our web site as free eBooks.
Advantages of Free eBooks.
Placing books on the internet makes it possible to place the information in the hands of far more people than if they are only published as regular books that must be purchased. For example, during the first month that James Dobson’s Gospel of Self-Esteem & Psychology was free as an eBook on our web site, far more people accessed it during one month than all the copies of the printed book that were sold over the past year. Therefore, we are hopeful that offering books as free eBooks will help us reach more people with this vital information.
As we said, the Internet cost to offer one or more books is minimal. The main cost prior to printing is for typesetting a manuscript. However, to put a book on the Internet, one need only type the manuscript using just about any word processing program with spelling and grammar helps. From that file, one can easily make an Adobe PDF (portable document format) file that can be placed on a web site. This is a cost-effective plan that eliminates nearly everything that stands between the author and the reader.
This possibility opens the door for other writers as well. One can inexpensively buy an entry level computer with a word processing program or ask a friend or church to loan time on one. If all else fails one can find a web site that is compatible with the content of the manuscript and ask to have it offered free on the site.
Additional Advantages of eBooks.
Now to those who have ministries with web sites or those without web sites who have best-sellers, we mention some of the many additional advantages to offering free eBooks:
1. A person with a computer can download an average-length eBook in less than 10 minutes. If one does not have a computer, one can ask a friend to download the book.
2. One can read just the beginning of a book (or any part of it) to find out whether to print any or all of it.
3. One can also make one or more additional copies for others. For instance, teachers can inexpensively make multiple copies of single chapters, as well as entire books, for their students.
4. For ease of reading on the computer screen, one can increase the size of the print by "zooming in."
5. The Adobe Reader, which can be downloaded at no cost, is the program that enables a person to read the PDF file. Its "search and find" function serves as an exhaustive index. Any word or phrase can be found this way.
6. The Internet is open to the entire world. An eBook greatly expands the possible readership, since someone outside the country of origin may have access to it. Christians often have great difficulty obtaining books published outside their own country.
7. Authors do not need to worry about a book being placed out-of-print and "off the shelf" in 2 ½ years or less.
8. Readers have immediate free access to the book and do not have to order, pay for, and wait for the book to arrive. This is especially critical for readers outside the U.S.
9. Manuscript to eBook can occur over night, whereas the usual publishing process takes months and some publishers calendar books one year in advance.
10. There is no need to recycle unused books after there is no longer an interest in them.
11. There is no need to hire a cover designer or to create a cover.
12. Color and half tones are easily produced in an eBook without the cost of film and production.
Disadvantages of eBooks.
What are some disadvantages of eBooks?
1. Many readers want to have the book in hand rather than an eBook version of it. They prefer a regular bound book, which can only be simulated by printing the eBook from the computer and placing it into a three-ring binder.
2. Many people look for published books to give as gifts.
3. There would be no income possibilities for the author, unless there would be a charge for accessing it on a web site.
4. Some authors are not computer literate and would need to employ others to prepare the book for the Internet.
5. Some readers are not computer savvy and would need others to access the book for them.
6. An eBook can easily become "lost in the crowd." With the multitudes of entries on the various internet search engines, free eBooks may be hidden from view. Therefore we hope that our readers will email the URL for the eBooks to their friends.
7. There would still be a need to advertise.
Some of these disadvantages can be overcome by having both a free eBook on a web site and a short-run, digitally-produced book offered for sale. Our Spanish translation of Christ Centered Ministry is free on our web site, but we also had 200 copies printed for those who may want the book in hand.
A major objection to the idea of offering free eBooks is that "the labourer is worthy of his hire" (Luke 10:7), and, indeed, writing a book takes a great deal of thought, time, and effort, none of which we even mentioned when describing book publishing and printing. However, something to consider for new authors is the unlikelihood of getting published in the first place, the long delay in finding a publisher, and the cost of self-publishing with a likely small number of sales and short shelf life.
For veteran authors and the exceptional best-selling-book author, why not, for all the reasons listed above, place your next book on a web site and have a small number printed digitally?
When Jesus sent forth His disciples He said, "freely ye have received, freely give" (Matt. 10:8).
(PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, November-December, Vol. 13, No. 6)