We write this article with great sadness, but feel constrained to do so, because to our mind it reflects the moral malaise that infects so much of the Christianity that we find in the UK.
As many of our readers will know, we have had a very large stock of secondhand and antiquarian Christian books which we have not personally had the time to take to market. Over the years we have tried to find others who might have been able to help, or even to sell the entire stock to dealers at a modest fraction of their real value in order to recover some of the costs that we have incurred, knowing that we just would not be able to give our time and attention to this precious ministry. We had never seen the venture as anything but a ministry and would have been prefectly happy just to break even.
In any event, earlier this year following a telephone discussion with Mr Dickson (of Livingstone House, 16 Edward Street, Kilsyth, G65 9DL. Scotland U.K) and his helper Martin, it was agreed that they would come to view the stock to see what, if anything, they could do to help. On the appointed day they arrived, examined the stock and they wanted to strike a deal. We shook hands on a deal under which they would take responsibility for bringing the entire stock (including the non Christian books) to market, or find an outlet for them and for their troubles they would take 50% of any proceeds. They had come with a lorry, obviously expecting a deal, and they took some 60-80 boxes of books which were listed in the next few months. Since we did not have time to list all the books that they were taking, they agreed that they would list the books and account to us for all books taken and those that were sold.
Since the original list was published we have been chasing Mr Dickson and Martin for an account, but nothing has been forthcoming. When we asked about the book sales we were informed that they were reneging on their agreement and would not now be able to help us with the rest of the stock! Then we were informed that we were only due a modest £3,000 from the sale of the books. Even so, despite promises that we would have the money, including one from Mr Dickson who told us that he would deal with it personally, nothing has materialised. In early July Martin even had the audacity to inform us that our share of the proceeds had been used by them to settle their personal tax liabilities!!
We remember a time when a gentleman’s agreement was honoured even by unbelievers. In the morally lax days in which we live, we might expect the unconverted not to feel obligated by any such agreement, but it comes to something when even professing Christians capitulate to such moral laxity. But then to add insult to injury by using money that did not belong to them to settle their tax liabilities beggars belief. Is this not theft? Can this possibly glorify God? I wonder what church Mr Dickson attends, and whether, if this news were made known to the church, it will affect in any way his standing in his church? Somehow I doubt it.
What sad days we live in when professing Christians privately commit crimes without their conscience feeling outraged!
With great sorrow of heart we have to add that over the years the biggest disappointments that we have experienced have been at the hands of those who profess the name of Christ; those who claim to have real religion in their soul! What a sad indictment of present day Christianity!