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Christian Publisher Splits Conservative, Progressive Imprints

Lynde Langdon | Updated: Nov 10, 2014

Christian Publisher Splits Conservative, Progressive Imprints

A major Christian publisher announced changes to its organizational structure designed to satisfy criticisms it had not remained true to biblical teaching.

The Crown Publishing Group announced in early November it would separate the staff and operations of WaterBrook Multnomah, which publishes books by evangelical authors, and Convergent, an imprint that allows for more liberal theology. This past spring, Convergent published God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines, which argues against the sinfulness of homosexuality. The book cost Waterbrook Multnomah the trust of many in Christian publishing and membership in the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB).

WaterBrook Multnomah and Convergent share staff and operate under the same corporate umbrella. The NRB wanted WaterBrook Multnomah to promise no one on its staff would work on a Convergent book, which it could not do at the time. Both divisions, or imprints, were under the leadership of President Steven Cobb, who told WORLD in April, “I want to believe that every book that publishes on my watch, whichever imprint it publishes in, is biblically based and developed credibly,” which he said God and the Gay Christian was. 

With Cobb retiring in March, Crown announced the appointments of new, separate vice presidents for WaterBrook Multnomah and Convergent. The new vice president of WaterBrook Multnomah, Alexander Field, comes from David C Cook, another Christian publishing company in Colorado Springs, Colo. Convergent will relocate to New York City under the leadership of David Kopp. Both Kopp and Field will report to Crown senior vice president Tina Constable, but they will do so with separate staffs in separate offices.

“We are committed to advancing our mission of publishing books that meet the interests of a full spectrum of readers, in acknowledging and respecting the vibrant theological diversity within the Christian community,” Constable wrote in the announcement. WaterBrook Multnomah will continue publishing books for evangelical or conservative Christian readers, while Convergent will focus on “the interests of progressive Christians who are redefining their faith through the prism of contemporary experience,” according to Constable.

WaterBrook Multnomah, known for its best-selling Christian titles, such as John Piper’s Desiring God and books by evangelical authors David Jeremiah and Kay Arthur, began as the printing arm of Multnomah Bible College in Portland, Ore. Mainstream, secular publisher Penguin Random House now owns the imprint and its parent company, Crown Publishing Group.

Courtesy: WORLD News Service

Publication date: November 10, 2014

Christian Publisher Splits Conservative, Progressive Imprints