Friday, November 13, 2009

Will Publishers of Books That Go Contrary to the Word of God be Held Responsible for the Writers Content?

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly, (James 3:1 NIV)

     Zondervan Books recently announced that it has signed a book deal with author Tim LaHaye to publish his latest tome, Edge of Apocalypse, another premillennial dispensational-oriented book by the writer who’s “Left Behind” series has sold over 65 million copies, worldwide.

     Tim LaHaye (with co-author Jerry Jenkins) is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 70 nonfiction books, many on biblical prophecy and the End Times, and is the coauthor of the record-shattering Left Behind series, initially published by Tyndale Fiction books. He is considered one of America's foremost authorities on biblical end times prophecy. The new book is co-authored by Craig Parshall a highly successful lawyer from the Washington D.C. area and the author of the legal thrillers, Chamber of Justice series. Zondervan plans to release the book worldwide on April 20, 2010 with a first print run of 500,000 copies.

     The renowned publisher claims it is the world's leading Christian publisher of books whose authors are noted for their excellence in the craft of writing as well as their worthy contribution to the ongoing global evangelical conversation. Zondervan adds that “the works published by Zondervan not only confirm readers' faith and understanding, they also challenge and stretch readers' thinking.”
      Zondervan also claims that “for more than 75 years, it has delivered transformational Christian experiences through general, ministry, and academic resources by influential leaders and emerging voices,” and boasts of  having been honored with more Christian Book Awards than any other publisher and many of their books are translated into nearly 200 languages in more than 60 countries.
     Three years after the success of the Left Behind series, LaHaye returns to publish Edge of Apocalypse, an apocalyptic epic infused with political intrigue, of which the premise is gleaned by him from today's news headlines, and will be the first edition of a new series called The End. 
      Based on comments quoted by Zondervan, LaHaye says he is "thrilled to partner with Zondervan to produce a series hopefully even more innovative than Left Behind; "While my past works have piqued interest in biblical prophecy on a global level, The End series includes many prophecies that were not covered in Left Behind." 

     One cannot question the fact that Zondervan, as well as Tyndale and other Christian book publishers, have published numerous books throughout their existence that have been not only edifying to Christian readers, but many secular folks as well. The basic tenets (salvation, faith, the life of Jesus Christ) have impacted millions of people to a greater understanding of Christianity itself.

      However, a doctrinal position (such as Left Behind) which has been hotly debated for the last 150 years, one where the majority of born again, evangelical Christians have accepted without question, is rather disturbing. Zondervan, I’m quite certain, has published books on numerous Christian issues regarding the basic tenets of Christianity, which few (in the theological community, at least) recognize as orthodox. But the “Left Behind” theory (and now more with the Edge of Apocalypse) begs the question of Zondervan’s eschatological credibility.
      Did Zondervan, when it was first presented with the idea of LaHayes Edge of Apocalypse premise, do any research with members of the theological academic community as to its biblical soundness or hermeneutical veracity, besides Dallas Theological Seminary, whose basic eschatological foundation is based on dispensational premillennialism?

     The End Times debate as to whether Christians will be raptured to heaven before, in the middle or at the end of a seven year period of tribulation preceding Christ’s return has been hotly debated (especially) for the last three to four decades. The prevailing doctrine has been premillennial to say the least, but does that mean that position is biblically correct? Should we not ascertain this information beyond a shadow of a doubt before we prematurely publish it?
      Most recently, new authors have emerged that provide sound biblical proof and evidence that not only challenges the dispensational premillenial position, but out right debunks this premise. Authors such as Stephen Sizer, Steve Wohlberg, Barbara Rossing, Arnie Suntag, Dave MacPherson and others present more than a sound case against the Left Behind and Pre-Tribulation Rapture to heaven notions being propagated by not only Tim LaHaye, but also by many other authors and preachers like Mike Evans, John Hagee, Tommy Ice and Hal Lindsey, who jump started this mind set with his (also) extremely financially successful book, The Late Great Planet Earth.

One can only surmise publishing companies like Tyndale and Zondervan can claim it’s not their responsibility to deeply check out the biblical veracity of the premises that authors such as LaHaye, Hagee, Evans, Ice and Lindsey promote or write about. Their bottom line is the profit margin; this is why they are in business to begin with.

However, if it ends up that the theories of these authors are proven wrong (many of these authors have been publically challenged and warned about erroneous interpretations concerning their theology, and they have had the opportunity to recant their respective positions, but chose not to), will their publishers be subject to the consequences that were forewarned to all those who chose to be the teachers of God’s word?

….and when were we forewarned?
"You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you." Deuteronomy 4:2
"Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it." Deuteronomy 12:32
"Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar." Proverbs 30:5-6

"If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." Revelation 22:18-19

              For more information click here Joe Ortiz

1 comment:

  1. It's just as I thought: Zondervan is located in Grand Rapture, Me-Itch-Again. And LaHaye believes in the 19th century novel idea of a rapture before the apocalypse. With an imagination like that, LaHaye could probably write some novels for Zondervan about an imaginary rapture!