Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Throckmorton reports a Tchivdjian book is back in print at Fortress Press with some words from Tony Jones

The news that one of Tullian Tchividjian's books is coming back into print is less noteworthy for me than who sounded off on the news, namely Tony Jones, now listed as director for acquisitions at Fortress Press.   
An interesting blast from the past is to note that the individual who sent this presser is Tony Jones. Jones, no stranger to controversy himself, was once a fellow Patheos blogger and is now the Director of Acquisitions at Fortress Press. Unlike my blog, his is still up at Patheos, although he doesn’t contribute to it. He then moved it here but apparently doesn’t write much there either.
This book was once published by Crossway Books but when the news of Tchividjian’s affairs surfaced, the rights to the book went back to Tchividjian. It has been out of print since then.
That does remind a person that it's not been made clear why Throckmorton's blog was removed from Patheos. If it was a matter of not being prolific enough should Tony Jones have a blog up?  He hasn't written there since, what, 2015?
Publishers Weekly has a statement:
Following the revelations, the organization GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment), which was founded by Tchividjian’s brother Basyle "Boz" Tchividjian, issued a statement about Tullian Tchividjian’s sexual misconduct that addressed victims of “a gross misuse of power.” It also called for reforms to "limit the possibility of continuing transgressions against the vulnerable," including seminary education on appropriate boundaries, rigorous pastor screenings, and more. Boz Tchividjian did not respond to PW's request for a comment on the republication of Jesus + Nothing = Everything.

When asked about reprinting Jesus + Nothing = Everything in the current #metoo and #churchtoo climate, Fortress Press said that the decision came after careful consultation with Tchividjian and those close to him. Also, a belief in second chances aligns with the organization’s mission to "communicate the liberating grace of God," according to Tony Jones, senior acquisitions editor at Fortress.

“We have dealt with all of the substantiated accusations against him,” Jones told PW. “Tullian has admitted his infidelity. He has been in counseling and put himself under the authority of Christian leaders. He is no longer a pastor. And the message of his book is more relevant than ever. In spite of his past, he has a future.”
Tchividjian's other books, published by Christian houses WaterBrook/Multnomah and David C Cook, remain in print, but the author hopes that Jesus + Nothing = Everything reaches readers who like him have "crashed and burned," he told PW.

"When people are living everyday with the consequences of their sin and selfishness, it becomes hard to believe that God still loves them and has not abandoned them in their sin," said Tchividjian. "So I hope that the gospel message in this book will be used to help people like me."
Now last time Jones was on my radar was a while back.
Any attempt to claim that Mark wasn't a bad guy until he got thug theology forgets (if such persons who would make such proclamations ever knew to begin with, let alone wanted to know) that Driscoll's doctrinal convictions have shifted over the years.  He presented himself as Reformed for decades but it would seem with the forthcoming book via Charisma House he's more a charismatic, now without a seatbelt.  A change like that suggests, as I have suggested once or twice here in the past, that Mark Driscoll's loyalty in doctrinal terms may be explicable based on a patronage base. While the tides of benevolent patronage seemed Reformed he could be Reformed ... enough ... even if actually Reformed types found his Amyraldianism too squishy and others found his unwillingness to embrace a positive alternative eschatological position to his nebulous rejections of dispensationalism on the one hand and theonomistic postmillennialism on the other and ... in any case given how he behaved as a leader at Mars Hill that didn't matter because character is kind of a big issue.
and maybe readers will recall that I suggested that the trajectory of guys like Driscoll and Jones alike could portend that there was a root and branch problem with the emergent scene altogether, regardless of the ostensibly "left" and "right" offshoots a la Jones and Driscoll. 

Now Tchividjian may not formally be a pastor any longer which, well, not knowing more of the details of that situation, that is probably for the best and it does not necessarily mean the book couldn't be brought back into print at a publisher's discretion. But Jones ... eh ... given the last twenty years during which I've had a chance to see some of what the emergent village produced I am just not convinced by the legacies of Tony Jones or Mark Driscoll that the emergent scene produced positive things worth talking about.  Disastrous legacies rife with self-aggrandizing leaders who gave themselves a pass on things they might not let pass in others?  Well, a bit. 


chris e said...

On the one hand we shouldn't be Donatists - on the other much of the 'value' of the books seemed to come precisely from the association with the type of 'Christian Dudism' that Tchivdjian represented.

Then again - the workings of the CHRISTIAN media industry have always been .. the workings of the Christian media INDUSTRY, so absent Jones' justification is this that much different from the past? [See recycling of past leaders]

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

pretty much.

And in a way it's not like Johnny Cash didn't fail at all sorts of levels as a Christian but that may get at some of the matters at hand with celebrity Christians/Christian celebrities, the temptation to either cut them some slack on the one hand or to refuse to consider them to play by the same code of conduct can alternately forget their humanity or idealize them.

But I don't recall if Cash went so far as to get ordained. I guess that's me pondering the old axiom I heard at a church about "salute the uniform". Sometimes I felt like, "okay, but ... how did THAT person get THAT rank?"

But these days I'm no more thrilled RHE has a new book coming out than MD. For the time and money the industry spends promoting new books they could, maybe, translate some Bullinger or something into the English language.

chris e said...

Yes - though I specifically thinking of all the pastors/evangelists from the 80s era of tele-evangelism who fell but continued fight the culture war another day.