A Tyndale House Divided

This morning, David Sessions, editor at Daily Beast, placed this note at the top of my article there.

Editor’s Note: After this story was published, Tyndale House issued a statement contradicting what they had previously told The Daily Beast. The publisher affirmed their relationship with Mark Driscoll and said they plan to reprint his book, A Call to Resurgence, as sales demand. For further updates on the story,click here.

On July 1, Tyndale House leaders issued a statement contradicting what their own senior public relations manager Todd Starowitz told me about reprinting A Call to Resurgence. Very shortly after the statement was issued, Mr. Starowitz replied to me via email and said I had quoted him accurately but that he had given me inaccurate information. After Mr. Starowitz confirmed this to me, I expected to see a correction from Tyndale House. However, as of this morning, I have seen no correction from Tyndale.

Let that sink in: Tyndale House’s public statement contradicts the public statement of their own senior public relations manager. I realize PR is not my field, but that doesn’t seem like state of the art practice.

There are other aspects to the situation which also cause me to wonder what is going on at Tyndale House. I know the Tuesday public statement from Tyndale House says they are all in with Driscoll and Resurgence and The Problem with Christianity but all I got from Tyndale about Resurgence last week was silence.

My interest in the fate of The Problem with Christianity started on May 30 when I tweeted Tyndale House about the publication date for the book. Their reply is below.


 

As far as I knew, that was the first public statement about the fate of the book. I followed up with the following questions:

@TyndaleHouse Is there a new scheduled date or is it on hold? And can you say what the delay is about?

So even at this stage, Tyndale House could have expressed support for Driscoll. They could have said then what they said on Tuesday, but instead, they didn’t answer.

Then on June 18, I wrote the following inquiries to Todd Starowitz, Tyndale’s senior public relations manager:

Mr. Starowitz:

On May 30, someone from you twitter account alerted me that Mark Driscoll’s next book The Problem with Christianity will not be published as planned in the Fall.

However, when I followed up to ask about a new date for publication, there was no answer. I am writing to ask if there is a current publication date for that book.

I have also heard that Tyndale is reevaluating their relationship with Rev. Driscoll and may not publish the book. Can you shed light on that story?

If Tyndale wanted to say something about their relationship with Driscoll, they could have done so in mid-June. Starowitz answered:

At this time we do not have a pub date for The Problem with Christianity.

I wrote back the same day and asked:

Do you still plan to publish Elsy (sic) Fitzpatrick’s, Good News for Weary Women? And then are there any other books slated for publication via the Resurgence imprint in the future?

Starowitz wrote back right away and said:

Elsy (sic) Fitzpatrick’s* book currently has a BBD of 8/1/14 and a release date of 9/14.

To my knowledge we do not have any additional Resurgence titles that have release dates scheduled at this time.

My follow up:

Todd: Thanks again for addressing my prior questions. Your answers made me think of a related follow up. Did Tyndale print a paperback version of A Call to Resurgence? And do you plan to reprint the hard cover version of ACTR?

Starowitz replied:

Warren, we did not print a paperback version. I don’t expect that we will reprint the hardcover.

I wrote back the next day (6/19) to see if I could discern the meaning of these remarkable statements coming from Tyndale:

Todd: Are you at liberty to say why there is no publication date for The Problem with Christianity? Is the delay due to a delay on Rev. Driscoll’s end or did Tyndale decide not to publish the book for some reason (and if so, can you say what that reason is?). Do you anticipate that Tyndale will ever publish the book?

He wrote back with a promise to get the information when Ron Beers returned the following week:

The questions I answered yesterday were easily garnered from our production schedules. Ron Beers, one of Tyndale’s publishers, will need to answer these questions and is out of the office and unreachable until early next week. I will provide you with a response when I am able to touch base with him next week.

The following week, I wrote a couple of times to ask for answers to those follow up questions. On one occasion, Starowitz said he would work on getting the answers. The last two times, I told Todd that an article would come out on Monday in the Daily Beast. For instance on June 28, I asked:

Todd – My deadline has been extended to tomorrow and so I thought I would try one more time to see if there is anything else you can say about the Resurgence-Tyndale relationship. Otherwise, I will just use what you already sent.

Why didn’t Tyndale tell me on June 28 what they angrily proclaimed on July 1? How hard would it have been for Tyndale to say last week what they said this week?

In my opinion, Tyndale owes Driscoll an apology for treating a publishing partner so cavalierly. I asked on multiple occasions about the nature of their relationship and Tyndale said nothing, even knowing that the information Starowitz gave me was coming out in a national publication. In addition to an apology to Driscoll, they need to retract their angry, self-righteous press release and accept responsibility for the incorrect information they provided.

I don’t know what is going on at Tyndale but right now, it appears to be a House divided.

Additional note: This is an interesting blog from Joel Connelly comparing Tyndale’s turnabout to World Vision’s reversal on gay marriage.

*The author’s name is actually Elyse Fitzpatrick.

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