Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Contemplative Publishers’ Category

(revised 11/29/13)

As a lover of books – particularly Christian books – I am always fascinated by the goings-on in the world of Christian publishers. Unfortunately, in recent years it seems many Christian publishers have become anything but truly born again Christian.

Below I have reposted a 2009 article by Jim Fletcher, exposing many Emerging/Emergent heresies of “Christian” publishers. Click here for the original source of this article. (I realize this article is outdated – I am looking for more recent articles on “Christian” publishers.)

Tales from the Christian dark side

Posted: 19 Sep, 2009 By: Jim Fletcher

Last week I opined that the Christian book industry should overlay its business model with the Spirit of God – an unusual topic for a column on publishing, but it is my conviction. The industry’s failure to do so is a prime reason it’s floundering.

When the Christian book world allows authors and publishers into the mix, even when they espouse heretical concepts, it is sowing the seeds for the Christian publishing industry’s collapse. In other words, if theological integrity is not maintained, failure is sure to follow.

For many years, the Christian Booksellers’ Association has allowed vendors who do not have a Christian worldview to display at conventions. Many dozens of books with heretical themes have now flooded into the stores around the country. Few in power seem to care, because if “The Shack” is being sold down the street at a big-box retailer, then, well, we have to sell it, too.

The resulting change at CBA events is astonishing.

For example, two weeks ago at the International Christian Retail Show in Denver, Zondervan had its usual, large presence. The Grand Rapids-based publisher produces a large number of mainstream titles each year and is perhaps best known for its Bibles. What many “average” Christians do not know is that for 20 years, Zondervan has been owned by the gigantic New York house, Harper Collins.

When a Christian publisher is bought out by a large secular company, it is not possible for the formerly Christian-owned entity to decide for itself just how Christian it will be. Profit and loss become the all-consuming drivers.

At Zondervan, for every Anne Graham Lotz, there are 10 others who practice a center-left Christianity. Gary Burge, the Wheaton professor who routinely criticizes Israel and champions the allegedly downtrodden Palestinians, has little in common with conservative readers.

The same issue is at stake with other Zondervan authors like Rob Bell and Brian McLaren, both of whom seek to redefine Christianity away from its biblically orthodox foundation.

At ICRS, I happened by the large Zondervan booth and noticed that HarperOne, an imprint of Harper Collins, was connected to the Zondervan space. HarperOne publishes a wide range of books on spirituality. They are as comfortable publishing the Dalai Lama as they are Billy Graham.

HarperOne has a richly pluralistic stable of authors, including the mystic Thomas Merton, John Dominic Crossan, John Shelby Spong and Omid Safi (“Memories of Muhammad”).

Let me show you an example of a connection between unorthodox Christians and the evangelical world:

Several years ago, Zondervan published the “NIV Men’s Study Bible.” In that book, editors had inserted some remarks of Merton’s as a “devotional.”

Merton, the Catholic-Buddhist who died in 1968, stated: “Sin is the refusal of spiritual life.”

No, it isn’t.

If sin is the refusal of spiritual life, then there have been billions of sinless people throughout history, an idea completely at odds with Christianity.

Another example of the business model directing Christian publishers is the runaway success of Rick Warren’s “Purpose-Driven Life.” When a book hits those kinds of numbers (what is it now, 30 million sold?), there is no possibility that author will never write another book. What actually happens is that editorial boards sit around and come up with new themes, new gimmicks. That’s why you see “journals” and “workbooks” that spin off hot sellers like “Your Best Life Now.”

The new ancillary products aren’t released necessarily because they are useful to consumers. They are merely product, something to be sold. The publishers latch onto a hot theme and then milk more profits from consumers.

Profit and revenue become the agenda. But do we worship God or mammon?

This syncretic approach is diluting biblical truth in America.

Unfortunately, another element in the pipeline, the bookstores, are just as guilty.

It fascinates me that Christian book stores are struggling mightily to stay open, yet they almost contemptuously sideline large markets. For example, a few days ago, I visited with the head of a large ministry focused on apologetics.

This person told me, “Our constituency doesn’t want books on marriage relationships, or how to raise kids – those things that fill the shelves of stores today. Instead, they want what we are offering.”

This ministry has 150,000 names on its database.

It is interesting to me, then, that many stores do not cater to these people. The question is, why? Why would stores marginalize a large affinity group out there? The answer must be that there is a general dislike of truly conservative biblical views among the mainstream in the Christian book industry.

For many stores, if a publisher makes an effort to promote conservative books and comes up with initiatives to really help the store push that product, the reply is more often than not a polite “drop dead.” Instead, the goal is to put another floor display of Rick Warren books in the store.

And speaking again of Warren, he is a prime example of where mainstream Christianity is heading: pluralism. Warren, who chatted cheerily with the Syrian killer Bashar Assad a few years ago and recently spoke at an Islamic conference, is part of the new breed of Christian leaders who freely fellowship with unbelievers.

Several years ago at a convention, I was talking with a salesman for a CBA publisher. He told me that a few weeks before, he had presented product to buyers at two separate Christian store chains.

One buyer told him she thought the Bible was nothing more than myth; the other openly challenged the idea that Adam and Eve were real people.

Needless to say, people are free to believe what they want to believe. But Christian buyers, one would think, should reflect traditional Christian views.

These are some of the reasons that Christian retail stands on the brink of real heartbreak, as stores close and publishers downsize.

Because CBA has no mechanism to research the motives of authors and publishers – and not only has no desire to do so, but is colluding with syncretic elements – it is losing its power.

As I’ve said before, as these outlets try to pay the light bill and prepare to shiver in the dark void, there are alternate book sources ready and eager to supply the millions of American Christians who revere the Word of God. WND and Lighthouse Trails, for example, are growing by leaps and bounds, as God-fearing Americans prepare to face profound changes in our culture.

FOR FURTHER READING

Joel, We Support Christian Publishing Houses but Whom do They Support? (10/02/09)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

The EFCI (Evangelical Friends Church International) claims to be a born again, biblically sound denomination. Yet its publisher, Barclay Press, publishes and/or distributes many, many titles which can hardly be considered “born again Christian.” On the contrary, most of its items would be considered theologically liberal. (I’m sure both evangelical and non-evangelical Quakers would agree on this, after perusing the titles.) The following are just a sampling of the titles available. These cover Spiritual Formation, the Emerging/Emergent Church movements, Quaker ecumenism, etc. – all issues that born again, biblically sound Christians strongly oppose:

Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller
Celebration of Discipline, by Richard J. Foster
Contemplative Compassion, by Sarah Butler Berlin (published by Renovare)
Counterfeit Gods, by Timothy Keller
Culture Making, by Andy Couch
Drops Like Stars, by Rob Bell
Everything Must Change, by Brian McLaren
God of Intimacy and Action, by Tony Campolo and Mary Albert Darling
The Irresistible Revolution, by Shane Claiborne
Jesus Wants to Save Christians, by Rob Bell and Don Golden
Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would, by Chad W. Thompson
Sex God, by Rob Bell
A Year With God, by Richard J. Foster & Julia L. Roller

And the liberal books go on and on, ad nauseum.

Here is the link to the Barclay Press online bookstore, where I located the above titles: http://www.barclaypress.com/bookstore/home.php

Also check out this long list of Barclay Press reviews of books they publish and/or distribute.

Bottom line –  Barclay Press seems to have forgotten the “non-liberal”  Friends in its customer base – primarily the EFC-ER (Evangelical Friends Church-Eastern Region). So where should EFC-ER Friends turn for “born again” resources?

My parents pastored in the EFC-ER from approximately 1955 to 2000 (off and on). How many of the books in my above “sample list” would they use – or even approve of? NONE!! Many pastors, church leaders, and attenders in the EFC-ER would disapprove of all of these as well.

The following excerpt provides some clues as to how and why Barclay Press has become so liberal.

Info Desk
About Barclay Press
A Rich History

The Barclay Press office is located in Newberg, Oregon, near the campus of
George Fox University. Since 1959, Barclay Press has served the Friends
Church through the publication of books, pamphlets, curriculum, and
periodicals. For its first 42 years Barclay Press was owned and
operated by Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends. In 2001 the curriculum
publication ministry of Evangelical Friends International (operating as
George Fox Press) merged with Barclay Press. The reorganized Barclay
Press is governed by a board of directors with broad geographic
representation from evangelical Friends.

Source: http://www.barclaypress.com/infodesk.php/about-barclay-press

I assume that this “broad geographic representation” includes individuals from the EFC-ER. Have any of these EFC-ER individuals objected to the liberal items published and/or distributed by Barclay Press? If not, what is their reasoning for not objecting?

Read Full Post »

Most so-called Christian bookstores are filled with false teachings from the Contemplative/Emerging movements.  These bookstores will be held accountable for selling such garbage. And so-called Christian publishers will be held accountable for printing such garbage.

The following listing of bad – and good – Christian publishers is from Lighthouse Trails Research (dated November 29th, 2008). (I am hoping to find more up-to-date lists.)

The lists below were originally posted by Lighthouse Trails Research at:

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=1343&zoom_highlight=publishers

Christian Publishers – Which Ones Are Contemplative/Emerging?

November 29th, 2008 | Author: Lighthouse Trails Editors

During this time of year, Christian bookstores are visited more now than perhaps any other time of the year. And the majority of the books and DVDs filling the shelves of most of these Christian walk-in stores are from the largest Christian publishers. Unfortunately, most of the larger Christian (evangelical) publishers are releasing books and DVDs that promote contemplative spirituality, the Purpose Driven Movement, and the emerging church, all of which are conduits for the unbiblical “new spirituality.”

Lighthouse Trails has monitored the books and DVDs being released by the large Christian publishers for several years. Below is a list of the publishing companies most responsible for the influx of contemplative/emerging material into mainstream Christianity. If you are buying books/DVDs from any of these publishers, we hope you will contact them and ask them not to publish or produce products that promote contemplative and emerging spirituality.

“Christian” Publishers That DO Publish Contemplative and Emerging Spirituality Books/DVDs:

Baker Books
Bethany House (a division of Baker)
Chosen Books (a division of Baker)’
David C. Cook
Group Publishing
Guideposts Books
HarperCollins
InterVarsity
Multnomah Books
NavPress
Thomas Nelson
W Publishing (div. of Thomas Nelson)
Zondervan
The list above is not comprehensive but lists the most prolific Christian publishers today. (More on contemplative Christian publishers)

List of Christian publishers that are NOT releasing contemplative/emerging/Purpose Driven books.

Important Note: Please note that listing these companies below is not necessarily an endorsement or recommendation. While we believe the companies below do not offer contemplative/emerging/Purpose Driven materials, please use discernment whenever you turn to a book or DVD other than the Word of God for guidance or inspiration. As Christians, we must “Test all things” and “Try the spirits” through the screen of Scripture (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1). Most of companies listed below are smaller publishing companies, and your local bookstores may not be carrying their titles. But often you can request your bookstore to order their titles. With the exception of Barbour and Kregel, the larger Christian publishing companies could not be placed in this “good” list.

Non-Contemplative Publishers

Barbour Publishers
Believers in Grace
Caryl Productions
Eastgate Publishers
Eternal Productions
Kregel Publications
Lighthouse Trails Publishing
Proclaiming the Gospel
Sword Publishers
The Berean Call
Understand the Times

** Harvest House and Moody Publishers have some good publications, but use discernment and caution because of some indications that they are being influenced by contemplative/emerging/Purpose Driven. Please contact them and ask them to steer clear of these types of materials.

Related Information:

Christian and Secular Publishers on Contemplative/Emerging Frenzy

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: