Recently World Magazine had a piece on Unreal Sales for Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage to the effect that the Mars Hill Church bought Driscoll’s book a place on the NYT best seller list through a marketing company with a deliberate intent to by-pass the NYT’s own safe guards against authors or publishers artificially inflating the sales figures for their book. This might even violate IRS rules and regulations about non-for-profits committing inurement. CT also has a piece on this where they link to Mars Hill Church’s official response to the issue.
To be honest, I’ve had enough of mega-church leaders pumping out books that they did not actually write, or else deceiving the masses that their books are more successful than what they actually are. Let me say that this is not just Driscoll, others do it too. Its a well known fact that John Macarthur’s books are not written by John Macarthur, but by Philip R. Johnson at GCC.
I don’t see anything wrong with having research assistants or with making a concerted effort at marketing a book, that’s fine. I have students proof read my own stuff, I ask friends and colleagues for feedback, and get advice from editors. I also work hard at promoting my work on the blog, you.tube, social media, and the like because I hope what I have to say will influence and help others. However, there should be limits.
If you’re name is on the cover, then it means you wrote it, not your staff, secretary, assistants, lieutenants, executive officer, or minions. If you had help in putting the book together, then at least acknowledge the hard working men and women who worked so hard to make you look good.
If you’re book gets on a best seller list, its because people other than you, your church, and your lackey’s actually went out a purchased a copy for themselves.
Christian leaders with big followings need to demonstrate integrity, honesty, refuse to engage in deception in order to promote themselves.
I know not everyone likes John Piper, but at least he actually takes time out to write his own books, even going on sabbatical to places like Cambridge, UK. Read his piece on Redeeming Time by Writing Truth.
Andrew Streett The Vine and the Son of Man: Eschatological Interpretation of Psalm 80 in Early Judaism Minneapolis: Fortress, 2013. Available at Amazon.com This is a good book on the use of Psalm 80 in early Judaism and in the NT, esp. the Gospel of John. Streett shows how Psalm 80 was given an explicitly eschatological and often messianic interpretation by many readers. According to Street, the allusion to Psalm 80 in John 15:1-8 shows that John "interpreted it as a prophecy of the … [Read More...]
Here's a couple of good interviews by Bruce Longenecker and Todd Still about their forthcoming volume Thinking Through Paul: A Survey of His Life, Letters, and Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014). Looks like a good overview of Paul by two great Pauline scholars! … [Read More...]
In the latest IVP Academic Alert, David Congdon talks to Ronald Osborn about his book Death Before the Fall: Biblical Literalism and the Problem of Animal Suffering, which includes this audacious claim by Osborn: In both its fundamentalist and atheistic varieties, foundationalism rules out the … [Read More...]
Over at the Wheaton Blog, For Christ and His Kingdom, Susan Rieske reviews my Jesus is the Christ: The Messianic Testimony of the Gospels. Very nice review, quite positive, have to confess that I liked Susan's conclusion: Bird is to be commended, as previously mentioned, for bringing contemporary … [Read More...]
Here is a video I did with Eerdmans about my forthcoming book The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus. Interesting fact, the guy asking me the questions and politely laughing at my jokes is Jacob Thielman, nephew to the great Frank Thielman! … [Read More...]
2014 is the centenary anniversary celebration of Leon Morris' birth. For those who don't know - and you all should- Leon Morris is arguablyAustralia's greatest biblical scholar. Morris is best known for his masterful works on the biblical teaching about the atonement as well as studies on the Gospel … [Read More...]
A short, interesting, and generous account of Adam and Eve by Alister McGrath: … [Read More...]
In the British Church Times, Linda Woodhead, a sociologist of religion, has been thinking what might happen to the Church of England if church attendance keeps declining. She ponders that even if all Sunday services closed down, leaving only clergy remaining, the church's most significant … [Read More...]
R. Michael Allen Justification and the Gospel: Understanding the Contexts and Controversies Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2013. Available at Amazon.com In this book, R. Michael Allen (Knox Theological Seminary) engages a number of controversial theological issues about justification with a view to … [Read More...]
I have to confess that one of the sermons series that I really enjoy listening to and reading over every now and then, is D.A. Carson's series "The God Who is There" and the book that the sermons are based on The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God's Story (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2010). … [Read More...]
The Lenten season reminds us that the life of faith is a complex ball of grief and joy. With grief always being the first in sequence. Walter Bruuggemann gives me food for thought: Much of Christian piety and spirituality is romantic and unreal in its positiveness. As children of the Enlightenment, … [Read More...]
Michael Allen (Knox Theological Seminary) is interviewed by Logos about Karl Barth. Its a good interview and worth checking out, esp. if you're curious as to what the "deal" is with evangelicals and Karl Barth. Allen has a new book coming out called Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics: An … [Read More...]
I would like to invite all of my co-bloggers, friends, students, colleagues, and well-wishers to join me in a spiritual quest to make the time of Lent - which begins today - more solemn, more holy, and more meaningful, by giving up coffee. I sincerely believe that by giving up that morning cup of … [Read More...]
In this photo are my friends Con Campbell (TEDS) and Timothy Gombis (GRTS) in the Baker Bookstore reading How God Became Jesus. This calls for a caption contest. Might even arrange a free copy for the best suggestion! … [Read More...]