Tyndale House’s outrageous PR sacrifices more credibility

“It is disturbing to us to see how quickly some are willing to criticize fellow Christians.” — Tyndale House

The execs at Tyndale House, the religious publisher, probably don’t realize how the company’s defense of Mark Driscoll has hurt their credibility yet again.

Long story short, Tyndale House has altered some of its previous plans for releasing books through the Mark Driscoll-affiliated Resurgence imprint, as Warren Throckmorton reported in The Daily Beast.

The headline on that Daily Beast article, however, made the relationship between Driscoll’s Resurgence imprint and Tyndale House sound like divorce: “Megachurch Star Mark Driscoll’s Publishing Downfall.”

LIT Throck Daily Beast Headline

Actually, it was probably the headline plus an omission in the last paragraph — but an omission that was immediately clarified by a direct quotation that followed.

LIT Throck Daily Beast last para

Throckmorton began the last paragraph with, “In addition to putting Driscoll’s books on hold, Tyndale does not plan to print further titles under the Resurgence imprint” (emphasis added).

However, the next sentence directly quoted Tyndale representative Todd Starowitz, who said, “To my knowledge we do not have any additional Resurgence titles that have release dates scheduled at this time” (emphasis added).

To many readers, the headline might have suggested a lot that wasn’t true.

However, the article itself was solid, aside from the omission of a word or phrase that would have foreshadowed what Starowitz said in the next sentence: “at this time.”

As part of its statement that the relationship between Driscoll’s Resurgence imprint and Tyndale House is not over, the publishing company made a thinly veiled retaliatory remark against Throckmorton.

LIT Throck Charisma Tyndale

“It is disturbing to us to see how quickly some are willing to criticize fellow Christians,” the publisher said.

‘How quickly’? What’s that?

The Tyndale House execs probably aren’t kidding, but I wish they were.

Their statement implies that Driscoll has had a spotless record and the real-world issues mentioned by Throckmorton are just little aberrations that just popped-up on the radar screen.

In the first place, on his blog, Throckmorton has cataloged numerous problems in Mars Hill Church and with Mark Driscoll.

In the second place, another blogger has recorded numerous Driscoll contradictions and outrages, from recent memory as well as from the past.

I’ll go so far as to say, there are no new criticisms of Driscoll, only new details related to those criticisms.

Straining Editorial Standards

Tyndale House’s credibility already has been damaged following its defense of Driscoll against plagiarism allegations that surfaced last year.

While Tyndale House believed Driscoll had given adequate credit to those who influenced his work, reputable sources outside the publishing company disagree.

Neil Holdway, treasurer of the American Copy Editors Society and newspaper editor, disagrees.

A university professor disagrees.

In my opinion, the Chicago Manual of Style disagrees.

And the MLA Handbook disagrees.

And the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association disagrees.

In the PR world, of the PR world

Rather than address Driscoll’s problems and the allegations against him straight on, Tyndale House chose to do exactly what those “worldly” and “secular” strategists do — they took the emphasis off the facts related to Driscoll and placed it on the person who pointed out the facts.

But Tyndale House should get at least one thing straight. There is no “how quickly” to anyone’s criticism Driscoll.

Due to his own words and actions, Driscoll has been inviting criticism for years.


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