Tyndale House Publishers Affirms Support for Mark Driscoll, Slams 'Erroneous' Reports That It Severed Ties With Mars Hill Church Pastor

Editor's Note: Wednesday, July 2, 2014

(Photo: Resuregence Conference 2013)Pastor Mark Driscoll talks about changing social climate for Christians during Resurgence 2013, a leadership conference held at Mars Hill Downtown Church in Seattle, Nov. 5, 2013.

Warren Throckmorton, author of the cited Daily Beast article concerning Mark Driscoll's business relationship with Tyndale House Publishers, provided the following statement via email to The Christian Post:

"My reporting regarding Tyndale House and Resurgence Publishing was based on information disclosed to me by Todd Starowitz, senior public relations manager at Tyndale. I reported it accurately as Mr. Starowitz now confirms. Tyndale House had ample opportunity to provide additional information last week in response to multiple questions from me but did not choose to do so. I hope Tyndale House will now fully accept the responsibility for providing incorrect information. …"

Throckmorton has published on his Patheos website reproductions of email exchanges between himself and Starowitz. In one email that Throckmorton said he received from Starowitz Tuesday afternoon, and which the Tyndale senior public relations manager confirmed as accurate with CP, he states: "Warren, your quotes of my emails were accurate. With that said my second email said that we did not have anything further scheduled AT THIS TIME. In no way was that to suggest that the relationship had ended. On the first item, I was simply wrong. I didn't check with the appropriate people. I take full responsibility and the error was mine and mine alone. I also could not respond to your additional queries because I simply did not have the information I needed to respond."

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Tyndale House Publishers has released a forceful statement hitting back at what it says are "erroneous" reports about the alleged end of its partnership with Seattle megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll and his Resurgence Publishing imprint.

"Despite claims to the contrary on social media and elsewhere, Tyndale is not cutting any ties with Pastor Mark Driscoll. In fact, we are planning to reprint the hardcover edition of his last book, A Call to Resurgence as sales warrant it (which is how all reprint decisions are made). We also plan to publish a softcover edition of A Call to Resurgence," reads the statement shared Tuesday with The Christian Post by Tyndale's Senior Publicist Maggie Wallem Rowe.

Aiming directly at a Daily Beast report by Warren Throckmorton published June 30 that suggests Driscoll was suffering a "publishing downfall," the statement also denies that it has "shelved" the Mars Hill Church pastor's upcoming book, The Problem With Christianity, or reneged on its 2013 deal to publish several titles in partnership with Mars Hill Church's Resurgence Publishing.

After castigating Christians for being so "quickly" willing to criticize fellow believers, Tyndale goes on to state, "We believe that God works through all who sincerely desire to serve Him. We believe Mark Driscoll sincerely desires to serve God, and we at Tyndale continue to support him and his desire to further God's Kingdom."

The Daily Beast report published Monday states that it confirmed that Tyndale House Publishers "does not plan to reprint Driscoll's 2013 book,  A Call to Resurgence, and have [sic] put his forthcoming book, The Problem with Christianity, on hold. Once slated to be released this fall, The Problem With Christianity now has no publication date scheduled."

The report goes on to state that, "In addition to putting Driscoll's books on hold, Tyndale does not plan to print further titles under the Resurgence imprint." The article quotes Tyndale senior public relations manager, Todd Starowitz, as saying, "To my knowledge we do not have any additional Resurgence titles that have release dates scheduled at this time."

The Daily Beast report in its suggestion of a breakdown between Tyndale and Driscoll, cites the popular and controversial Seattle pastor's recent woes with his previous books, most notably 2013's A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future?

Driscoll, who swore off social media earlier this year where he occasionally posted provocative if not inflammatory statements, came under heavy scrutiny last fall when Christian radio host Janet Mefferd questioned him about unattributed material in A Call to Resurgence, as well as other titles of his.

Tyndale House Publishers came to Driscoll's defense at the time, insisting in a statement attributed to Ron Beers, senior vice president and group publisher for Tyndale: "Because of the biblical manner in which Pastor Driscoll has handled this situation, Tyndale strongly stands behind him and looks forward to publishing many additional books with him."

Pastor Driscoll eventually expressed remorse, stating, "Mistakes were made that I am grieved by and apologize for."

Not long after the plagiarism allegations emerged, it was revealed in March of this year that Driscoll had used the services of Result Source Inc., a company that promises to get clients' books onto bestsellers lists by helping them game the system — not illegal, but certainly unethical, according to critics. World magazine reported that Driscoll's church paid Result Source Inc. at least $210,000 to ensure that his 2012 book, Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together made the bestsellers list. The book, published by Thomas Nelson and penned by Driscoll and his wife, Grace Driscoll, did make a brief appearance on The New York Times Bestseller List.

That controversy, which culminated in Driscoll abandoning his online social networks and speaking remorsefully from the Mars Hill Church stage, occurred months after the megachurch announced that it had formed Resurgence Publishing and that Tyndale had agreed to a partnership. The ministry stated that it and Tyndale "are about as close as you can get to a perfect match."

"Tyndale will publish all of my (Pastor Mark's) work moving forward, in addition to other Resurgence authors whom we'll announce in the coming months. We'll kick things off this fall with the launch of my next book," the ministry announced.

In a November interview with The Christian Post, Driscoll stated that the tentative title of the upcoming book was My Problem With Christianity, although it is now named The Problem With Christianity. Driscoll commented on the "massive" amount of research he had undertaken for The Problem With Christianity, which looks at "the most common objections to [the] Christian faith by the unchurched and de-churched ages 18-44."

"This is the biggest research and writing project I've ever been a part of and the findings are surprising and enlightening while also discouraging," Driscoll told CP.

Pastor Driscoll is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church, has authored well over a dozen books and, according to The Resurgence website, remains one of the most popular preachers in the world today. Mars Hill Church has 15 campuses in several states and, according to its most recent Annual Report, attracted an average of 12,329 worshippers weekly and counted 6,489 members in 2013.

In March, amid much controversy, Driscoll struck a repentant tone in a message excerpt from a sermon titled "Jesus' Tongue, Your Tongue." Watch the video excerpt in the player below:

YouTube/Mars Hill Church
Pastor Mark Driscoll shares his thoughts on how he's grown and lessons he has learned from 18 years of ministry experience.

Tyndale House Publishers' full statement appears below:

TYNDALE HOUSE STANDS WITH MARK DRISCOLL

On June 30th, erroneous reports appeared on The Daily Beast and other Internet sites about the nature of Tyndale House's publishing relationship with Pastor Mark Driscoll and the Resurgence imprint. Despite claims to the contrary on social media and elsewhere, Tyndale is not cutting any ties with Pastor Mark Driscoll. In fact, we are planning to reprint the hardcover edition of his last book, A Call to Resurgence as sales warrant it (which is how all reprint decisions are made). We also plan to publish a softcover edition of A Call to Resurgence.

Furthermore, Tyndale is not severing our relationship with Resurgence Publishing, as some Mark Driscoll critics have claimed. We look forward to continuing to publish books that the Resurgence team brings to Tyndale House.

Finally, while we did delay the publication date of Mark's latest book, The Problem with Christianity, as we look for the best season in which to publish it, we have not altered our full intention to release it as a Tyndale title. This is a groundbreaking book that we believe will be greatly beneficial to the Church.

It is disturbing to us to see how quickly some are willing to criticize fellow Christians. We believe that God works through all who sincerely desire to serve Him. We believe Mark Driscoll sincerely desires to serve God, and we at Tyndale continue to support him and his desire to further God's Kingdom.

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