Christian Retailing

NEWSLETTERS Current Issue WaterBrook Multnomah leaves NRB over ‘Gay Christian’ book
WaterBrook Multnomah leaves NRB over ‘Gay Christian’ book PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeremy Burns   
Monday, 19 May 2014 03:35 PM EDT

WaterbrookMultnomahGroup-webWaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group has resigned from the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) following a dispute over the publication of Matthew Vines’ God and the Gay Christian (Convergent Books). Though Vines’ book is not targeted for the CBA market and is published not by WaterBrook Press or Multnomah Books, but by an affiliated imprint under Penguin Random House’s Crown Publishing Group division, they share many of the same staff members.

NRB President and CEO Jerry A. Johnson wrote a letter to board members explaining the situation.

"Unfortunately, while the Multnomah Publishing Group is separate from Convergent, as a legal and business entity, the staff of the Multnomah and Convergent operations are substantially the same,” he stated in the letter. “Most notably, Steven W. Cobb serves as the chief publishing executive for both groups. … Other Christian workers do so as well. … This issue comes down to NRB members producing unbiblical material, regardless of the label under which they do it.”

“I asked them to reconsider and end the practice of having Christian workers from their publishing house work on Convergent projects,” Johnson’s letter continued. “They declined to do so at this time and asked how we would respond. I told them that if they wanted to remain NRB associate members, I would have to refer the matter to our Ethics Committee for review, or they could agree to resign their membership. They agreed to resign immediately.”

God and the Gay Christian, which argues that homosexuality is not sinful, has received much derision from the Christian publishing community, particularly in light of its close ties WaterBrook Multnomah, which publishes books for the evangelical market. Cognizant of the title’s controversial nature, Cobb took steps to ensure that staff who were uncomfortable with the project weren’t forced to work on it.

“We actually went to great lengths and have always gone to lengths here to make sure that our people here have never been required to work on anything that offended their personal beliefs,” Cobb told Christian Retailing when Vines’ book was released. “We met with everyone in small groups and, in some cases, individually, and I can think of a couple of employees off the top of my head that asked to not participate in the publishing function regarding this particular book, and we were respectful and grateful for their candor and excused them from any involvement, so we don’t run that kind of shop here.”

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler, editor of the e-book God and the Gay Christian?: A Response to Matthew Vines (SBTS Press), worries that Convergent’s self-described focus on “publishing books for progressive and mainline Christians who demand an open, inclusive and culturally engaged exploration of faith” could damage WaterBrook Multnomah’s standing in the evangelical community.

“I believe that Multnomah is in serious danger of crashing its brand in terms of evangelical trust,” Mohler said in an interview with Christianity Today. “I am quite certain that a host of evangelical authors share this deep concern.”

 
Read the Vacation Bible School 2014 guide

In this current issue:

Author Ergun Caner’s son reportedly commits suicide

News image

Ergun Caner's 15-year-old son apparently committed suicide July 29. Caner...

READ MORE

LifeWay stores partner with Shoes for Orphan Souls to aid needy

News image

LifeWay Christian Stores is joining forces with Shoes for Orphan...

READ MORE

Abingdon Press re-evaluates publishing programs beyond 2015

News image

Abingdon Press, an imprint of The United Methodist Publishing House,...

READ MORE

Kendrick Brothers wrap first film independent of Sherwood Pictures

News image

Alex and Stephen Kendrick—creators of hit faith films Fireproof and...

READ MORE

HarperCollins Christian launches Bible training portal for retailers

News image

HarperCollins Christian Publishing, the corporate home to Thomas Nelson and...

READ MORE

Carpentree announces store winner of ICRS product drawing

News image

A video testimonial made by Brenda Harrison, owner of Lighthouse...

READ MORE

CBA invites exhibitors for ICRS 2015 preview

News image

Exhibitors for the 2015 International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) are...

READ MORE

Former Gospel Light President Bill Greig launches new Churchgrowth.org company

News image

Former Gospel Light President Bill Greig III and his wife,...

READ MORE

Bobby Bowden, Darrell Waltrip to appear at LifeWay's The Main Event

News image

LifeWay’s Conference for Men known as “The Main Event” will...

READ MORE

Novelist Wanda Brunstetter to visit Pennsylvania stores

News image

New York Times best-selling author Wanda E. Brunstetter will visit Pennsylvania...

READ MORE

Publicists: Inform retailers of your fall releases

News image

Christian Retailing magazine is requesting product information on October and...

READ MORE

About a Mile garners 2014’s highest-selling debut from new artist

News image

Adam, Luke and Levi Klutinoty—three brothers collectively known as About...

READ MORE
100%
-
+
0
Show options

a