David Bercot Letter to Friends
May 3, 2004
I am SO thankful for the many letters and e-mails of encouragement I receive from my readers. They have meant a lot to me over the years.
And I have to admit that I miss the early days when I was just beginning as a writer,when I was able to more fully interact with my readers. The first book I wrote was Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up. After finishing it,which took nearly two years,I wondered if anyone would even bother to read it. So I was unbelievably excited when I received my first letter from a reader. I read it eagerly and fired off a reply the very next day.
Within a few months after writing the Heretics book, a number of my readers were able to find my phone number and began calling to talk to me. Again, this was very encouraging, and I really enjoyed being able to get acquainted with a number of my readers this way. However, after five or six months of spending most of my evenings conversing with various readers, I realized that these phone calls were destroying our family time. So we changed to an unlisted phone number and regained our family time.
Nevertheless, the letters kept coming in, and before long, my evenings were spent answering letters. And I thoroughly enjoyed doing it. For I had made a commitment to God that I would devote my life to waking up today's church to the reality of what Christianity was like when it was still just one or two generations removed from the apostles.
However, I remember one evening our two-year old came up the stairs, wanting to play with me. I was in the middle of replying to a letter from a reader, and so I told him, "I'm really sorry, little fellow, but Daddy just doesn't have the time tonight." He went away with a dejected look on his face, and I got back to typing my letter.
Right then, the Holy Spirit convicted me that I had my priorities all wrong. Here, I had time to write a long letter to a perfect stranger, but I didn't have time for my own son. So, right then and there, I decided I was not going to answer any more letters. Rather, I would devote my evenings purely to my family. And so I quit answering letters from readers,which was not an easy thing for me to do.
In fact, I tried to distance myself as much as possible from Scroll Publishing Company, other than to serve on the board of directors. I asked the personnel running Scroll not to forward letters to me that required an answer. Instead, I asked them to try to answer the letters themselves if at all possible. However, most of the questions could not be answered except by someone who had a thorough knowledge of the early Christian writings. So the Scroll staff had no choice but to pass most of the letters on to me.
As a solution to this dilemma, in 1992, I began making audio cassette tape messages on what the early Christians believed on various subjects. Scroll Publishing kept the masters of these tapes, and then they would make copies to send free of charge in answer to various readers' questions. However, as the number of letters continued to grow, I soon found I was spending a considerable amount of my time just making these tapes. And Scroll Publishing was incurring a considerable cost in distributing these tapes for free. So Scroll Publishing began charging for the tapes.
Even with these tapes, it was very hard to keep up with all of the questions. I had certainly opened a door of interest with the Heretics book, and I was excited that so many people wanted to learn more about what the primitive church believed. So I took off from work nearly the entire year of 1996 in order to compile a topical digest of early Christian beliefs, which was published as A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs.
I thought that, at long last, there was now a way for my readers to discover for themselves what the early Christians believed on a whole host of subjects. And the Dictionary has certainly served that purpose to a considerable degree. But so many of my readers want to know even more,or they want my personal opinion on a spiritual or family question. And, surely, there is no finer compliment that a Christian can pay to another than to seek out his counsel and advice! Yet, once again I was struggling to find the time to answer these letters.
In the past six months, the readership of my books has more than quadrupled. And with that increase in readership, the amount of letters and e-mails has become overwhelming. Even though Scroll Publishing does not pass most e-mails and letters on to me, there are still quite a large number that they are unable to answer or that they feel should be answered by me personally.
This year, I have been traveling quite a bit. Often I'm gone for a week or two. When I return home, the amount of e-mails and letters to answer is simply overpowering. It usually takes me several weeks to answer them. And then I'm gone again,and more pile up. At the present time, I have over eighty e-mails from readers on my computer that Scroll Publishing has passed on to me. I fully intended to answer each one of these, but I can see now that I'm just not going to be able to.
In fact, I've reached a point that I realize I'm not going to get any more books written unless I find a way to change things. I do feel that God's call on my life is to write and speak about the kingdom of God and the primitive church. I don't feel I'm being faithful to that commission if I end up spending most of my time in correspondence, as much as I enjoy interaction with my readers.
So I have asked Scroll Publishing not to forward any more letters or e-mails to me if they contain questions that need to be answered. In fact, I am cancelling my e-mail connection altogether. I pray that you understand why 've had to do this. I know that this is the best thing for the Kingdom.
P. S. I am always happy to receive feedback, letters of encouragement, and suggestions for future subjects for books or CDs. If you send an e-mail of such nature to Scroll Publishing, they will print it out and pass it on to me. Thanks.