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.”

 

In this current issue:

Christian music trailblazer Bill Ray Hearn dies at 85

News image

Gospel Music Hall of Fame member and CCM pioneer Billy...

READ MORE

Mardel names new CEO as Mart Green steps down

News image

The Mardel Christian & Education retail chain today announced the...

READ MORE

Crossway leaders to receive ECPA lifetime achievement award

News image

In recognition of their impact upon Christian publishing, Lane and...

READ MORE

EPA honors Andy Stanley for article ‘How to Be Rich’

News image

The Evangelical Press Association recently honored pastor and author Andy...

READ MORE

NetGalley launches in France, Firebrand adds staff

News image

Firebrand Technologies, a worldwide provider of publishing systems and technologies,...

READ MORE

EchoLight Studios takes a stand for traditional marriage

News image

With the Supreme Court hearing arguments concerning same-sex marriage looming...

READ MORE

New ownership for Family Christian Stores expected in June

News image

A Michigan district court judge on Tuesday allowed motions to...

READ MORE

CBA event connects U.S., Eastern European publishers

News image

Earlier this month, about 40 Christian companies from the U.S....

READ MORE

Bethany House authors receive Romantic Times awards

News image

This week, Romantic Times announced its 2014 Career Achievement Winners...

READ MORE

Baker Publishing Group titles named 2015 Word Award finalists

News image

Three Baker Publishing Group titles are on the short list...

READ MORE

The Isaacs, Ricky Free win big at AGM Awards

News image

The 14th annual Absolutely Gospel Music (AGM) Awards were handed...

READ MORE

Mardel acquires Not of This World apparel

News image

Mardel has announced the acquisition of Not of This World...

READ MORE
100%
-
+
0
Show options

a