Thursday, January 26, 2006

Eerdman's Continues Its Downward Spiral

Since 1910, "the William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan, has firmly held to the motto established by its founder William B. Eerdmans, Sr.: 'The finest in religious literature.'" Eerdmans quickly established itself in the publishing and academic communities. Their big breakthrough was with "its numerous volumes on and about John Calvin, including a new printing of the 50-volume "Commentary of John Calvin" published at a cost of $300,000. Calvin's Institutes are still to be found on Eerdmans' list as well as a number of books about John Calvin."

I don't think Bill Eerdmans would be happy today.

First, the company published a book by
Robert Millet, the Richard L. Evans Professor of Religious Understanding and professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University. His book, Another Jesus?, though advertised by Eerdmans as a work "intended to inform rather than to convince or persuade," is pure apologetic from start to finish. James White says that "You could find this kind of work at your local LDS bookstore."

White goes on to comment that Millet's book is a "work that attacks the Trinity, deity of Christ, sola scriptura, justification by grace through faith alone, the sovereignty of God in salvation, the finished work of Christ on the cross---OK, like I said, it is an LDS work of apologetics, so it is pretty well opposed to sound theology at just about every point---and he has made sure that book will be right there in your local Christian bookstore (how many bookstore owners will recognize it for what it is? Then again, what section will they put it in anyway?)."

Eerdmans responded to the Millett controversy thusly:
While there is a fair body of literature that tells evangelicals and other Christians how to witness or evangelize Mormons, there is precious little published that clarifies what Mormons themselves think. Frankly, a lot of the evangelical material about Mormons is inaccurate. Granted the serious departures in Mormonism from more orthodox views of Christ...shouldn't that fact want to make Christians better understand the Mormon view of Jesus? If one intends to discuss Jesus with Mormon neighbors...wouldn't it be helpful to understand what they believe?
Now, it seems Eerdmans has gone out of its way to let another "misunderstood" group tell their side of the story so we ignorant evangelicals can finally know the truth. A new book by Jeffrey Heskins called Face to Face: Gay and Lesbian Clergy on Holiness and Life Together is available through the Eerdmans publishing company. Straight from the horse's mouth, we learn that "Jeffrey Heskins takes a step back from heated rhetoric to listen to Christians who are committed both to ordained ministry in the Anglican Church and to a life of holiness with a partner of the same sex. . . . What does it mean to live a 'holy life'? Should the pattern for 'holy living' be any different for gay and lesbian couples in ministry than for others? . . . Face to Face is a refreshing instance of Christian hospitality--listening to brothers and sisters before presuming to speak God's word to them."

In this book, we can listen to these incredible words:

“In trying to lead a holy life, I think that we are responsible for trying to see the effect that it has on others, even beyond the relationship. It is very easy to think about the two of us, but if a life together is lived in holiness, it has enormous impact on those around you.”
— Female priest with partner 3 years

“When I first met her, I was really angry with God and I found God’s maleness and the patriarchy of the church all too much. I stopped going to church. It was my partner who helped me heal from all those open wounds, and if I hadn’t healed from them, then I don’t think that I could have found God again.”
— Female priest with partner 13 years

“Where there is love there is God . . . so while living a life of Christian holiness may be difficult to quantify, those who want to make pronouncements or recommendations on what constitutes holy living really do need to go and see people’s lives in action. It’s the meeting face to face that really is transforming of opinions and attitudes.”
— Male priest with partner 32 years

It appears that Eerdman's slow descent on that slippery slope has morphed into a virtual avalance.

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