Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Not orthodox enough for Zondervan?

When Zondervan says you do not fit within the parameters of their mission, you know you're in trouble. Zondervan (along with IVP) pretty much defines broad margin, big tent evangelicalism these days. Large publishing houses like Zondervan are also very fond of books that sell (imagine that!). That is what makes Zondervan's decision to pass on Rob Bell's latest book so remarkable.

The Grand Rapids publishing company which published Bell's last four books including the wildly popular Velvet Elvis (500,000 sold) chose not to publish Love Wins. In
a story from, Eric Marrapodi writes:

Bell's split from Zondervan came in part over this new book. "The break with Zondervan was amicable," Tauber said. "In the end the president of Zondervan made the decision. The proposal came in and they said, 'This proposal doesn’t fit in with our mission.' "
When you are are not orthodox enough for Zondervan you really have to wonder...

On a related note, a certain "Rodney Trotter" over at
Ref21 has finally weighed in with his characteristic keen analysis:

Well, Mrs Trotter and myself have been most astonished at the, umm, astonishment that Rob Bell has apparently come out as a universalist. Indeed, the fact that Zondervan has now apparently broken ties with the chap shows what a stunning change of direction this is for the young theologian. Who could have predicted such a doctrinal switcharoo based on his earlier, impeccably orthodox, work?

Indeed, it took my mind back to a number of books I have read that, frankly, shook me to the core of my being through their shocking and unexpected revelations. Here are my top three:

I am Catholic by Benedict XVI (you will no doubt remember that the National Catholic Reporter controversially broke with Benedict when this was published)

We Relieve Ourselves in Them There Woods by Mr and Mrs Bear.

Many Teenagers Sometimes Disrespect Their Parents by the Rev. Dave Trendy

In the meantime, for anybody out there still trying to come to terms with the shock of Bell's new position, I have an offer for you which, I believe, may help dull the pain. Please email me for details at

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