the strange policies of LifeWay Christian Resources

"LifeWay Christian Resources" by nakedpastor David Hayward
“LifeWay Christian Resources” by nakedpastor David Hayward

I first cartooned and wrote about LifeWay when it pulled its Gospel Today magazine because its lead story was about female pastors. The stink that raised was so great that if you wanted a copy of the magazine you had to ask the vendor who had them hidden under the counter. Like porn!

Then Rachel Held Evans‘ book “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” was believed to not be carried by LifeWay because she used the word “vagina”. LifeWay has since come out saying that they won’t disclose the reason, but most are certain it is because of Rachel’s use of the word vagina. Which is weird because Driscoll uses the word vagina 5 times in his book on marriage.

Then it recently stopped carrying Bob Coy‘s material because of his moral failings and fall from ministry.

Now it has decided to remove all of Mark Driscoll‘s books from its list, stating that it will wait to “assess the situation regarding his ministry”. It’s obviously not a concern for the content because it hasn’t concerned them before. It’s about the life of the author.

LifeWay has removed other titles, not because of its content, but because they consider the lives of the authors inconsistent with historical evangelical theology.

So the burning question is: should books be censored based on the lives of the authors? Do the lives of the authors negate the value of the content of what they write?

I don’t think so.


8 Replies to “the strange policies of LifeWay Christian Resources”

  1. I think part of the problem with your closing questions is that the truth is, for some authors, their lives are often an extension or result of their toxic ideas. Mark Driscoll’s abuse is aided and abetted by the theology that he espouses, as one example. So no, it’s not always easy to separate the individual’s life from the ideas they write about. And sometimes, it’s the failure to acknowledge how the toxic theology and horrible actions go hand-in-hand allows the problem to continue.

  2. I can’t help but wonder if they’re pulling the books not because they think the content is now different in light of the revelations about the authors’ personal lives but because they don’t want to support the authors by promoting their books, getting them royalties, and thus funding their deviant non-Christian lifestyles? It seems to me that Christian organizations have a long history of not supporting those who are seen as having fallen from grace or those deemed unacceptable and unChristian (ie: parents of LGBT kids should kick them out of their homes because of course you can’t support their “alternative lifestyle”).

    I also suspect it’s some sort of ass-covering and wanting to distance themselves from these authors.

  3. This places LW on the horns of an interesting dilemma. Will they only sell Bibles from which any psalms associated with David are removed (I hear he exhibited considerable moral failings), or will they concede to more “liberal” historical-critical scholars that David’s authorship is questionable and thus avoid the need to remove any psalms…? 😉

  4. If the moral failings disqualify the author from sharing truth, many of the Psalms would be banned from the Bible because David wrote them before, during and after his arranged death of Uriah after he got Bathsheba pregnant.

    LifeWay needs to follow the Biblical example and judge the books by their merits in light of Scripture and not by the failings of the book’s authors. Jesus said it best of the woman caught in adultery, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Then, mercifully, Jesus the Only All Righteous asked “Where are your accusers?” And dismissed her saying, “Go and sin no more.” Perhaps with a little soul searching, LifeWay could review its editorial policy instead of casting stones at other ministries and their ministers.

  5. It’s all about money and power. Simple.

    Here’s a recent comment from a theological thinker and author, who shall remain nameless:

    “Those within Charismaticdom who control access to pulpit, page, and purse will not let someone like myself who challenges their beliefs and practices anywhere near a platform. I had the manager of a publisher’s bookstore outlet (amenable to Pentecostal and Charismatic things) who reviewed one of my books tell me “off the record”: “This is great, it is everything we need to hear. However, it goes against everything that is taught around here, and we will not stock or promote your book.” I had another publisher, also amenable to Pentecostal and charismatic things tell me (exact quote): “We do not care if it is true, correct, or needed. All we care is if it sells.” People have no idea how corrupt things are.”

Comments are closed.