MANASSAS, Va. — A recognized Christian book publisher has parted ways with the organization National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) after it was confronted about its involvement in printing the pro-homosexual book God and the Gay Christian.
The book, which was written by Matthew Vines of the homosexual activist Reformation Project and published by Convergent Books, asserts that homosexuality is not sinful and “expresses what it means to be a faithful gay Christian.”
Convergent Books is a division of Penguin Random House, and seeks to present itself as “an open, inclusive and culturally engaged exploration of faith.” Although it differs from the WaterBrook Multnomah imprint, which publishes books with more of a focus on evangelical beliefs, such as those written by John Piper, David Jeremiah and Randy Alcorn, both labels are handled by the same leadership. Therefore, both were allegedly involved with Vines’ book.
As Multnomah is a member of the NRB, the matter presented an infringement of membership policies. The NRB’s Code of Ethics, which members are required to follow, states, “I will refrain from any sexual conduct or lifestyle, such as homosexuality or adultery, which is inconsistent with Scripture, or any promotion of the same.”
Therefore, NRB President and CEO Jerry Johnson contacted President Steven Cobb about his concerns over the matter.
“[W]e believe it offers a thoughtful examination of Scripture on the topic of same-sex relationships from a bold, young, evangelical writer whose first calling is to promote a civil, loving, and biblically based conversation on the subject,” Cobb recently wrote in an explanation as to why he chose to publish God and the Gay Christian.
But in a recent letter to the NRB’s board of directors, Johnson explained his views about Multnomah’s participation in the project and his discussion with Cobb.
“This issue comes down to NRB members producing unbiblical material, regardless of the label under which they do it,” he wrote, according to Christianity Today. “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. Most notably, Steven W. Cobb serves as the chief publishing executive for both groups. … Other Christian workers do so as well.”
Johnson stated that he urged Multnomah to refrain from being involved in Convergent publications, and when it refused, he offered the ultimatum of being placed under review by the NRB or relinquishing its membership.
“I asked them to reconsider and end the practice of having Christian workers from their publishing house work on Convergent projects,” he outlined. “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.”
While the NRB normally works with Christian radio and television broadcasters, it also partners with some publishing companies nationwide. In turn, the organization represents the outlets in Washington, with a goal of protecting the religious liberties of its members in Congress.