Tetzel, eat your heart out...

"As soon as a coin in the coffer rings / the soul from purgatory springs." - Johann Tetzel's pitch as he sold the indulgences that funded the Sistine Chapel.

Amazon has started a Christian book imprint called Waterfall. Publisher Mark Pereira explains Waterfall's mission to the Library Journal:

Our main focus [at Waterfall] is to publish books that entertain and inform readers with a transforming message (that includes) Christian Living through spiritual refreshment and personal growth (as well as) stories in the romance, mystery, and suspense genres.

Books with a transforming message that entertains readers. Christian Living and spiritual refreshment through mystery, suspense, and romance. 

The recent merger of Zondervan and Thomas Nelson Publishing is now called HarperCollins Christian Publishing and the same Library Journal article reports this explanation by HC Christian Publishing executive Tracy Danz of their market for Christian fiction...

"(A) lot of it is patron and homeschool driven,” said Danz. It’s also less overtly faith-based. “The lines are blurred for romance, and parents think the books are ‘safe,’ so we pull in middle school and high school readers, too.”

Last, but not least, World reports Mark Driscoll just spent $210,000 of his congregation's tithes and offerings on marketing ploys (I speak euphemistically) that guaranteed his Real Marriage a short appearance on the New York Times Bestseller List.

You know, they tell me he's Reformed, but if this is Reformed, what on earth is Deformed?

Is the Church capable of shame? Has anyone read the record of Jesus' cleansings of the Temple?




Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.


I can recall, about thirty years ago now, coming across a 'Christian romance novel', and just about dying with laughter as I tried to read it. Basically, I don't know what's worse, Zondervan and the others making money off "lightweight" "Christian" fiction, or the fact that there's a market for this stuff in the first place.

Mark Driscoll's situation is somewhat more serious, and he has ended up posting an extensive mea culpa to his congregation: http://www.charismanews.com/us/43172-mark-driscoll-sorry-about-best-sell...

From that article...

...a marketing company called ResultSource was used in conjunction with the book Real Marriage, which was released in January 2012. My understanding of the ResultSource marketing strategy was to maximize book sales, so that we could reach more people with the message and help grow our church. In retrospect, I no longer see it that way. Instead, I now see it as manipulating a book sales reporting system, which is wrong. I am sorry that I used this strategy, and will never use it again. I have also asked my publisher to not use the “#1 New York Times bestseller” status in future publications, and am working to remove this from past publications as well.

He takes responsibility and promises concrete, verifiable action. That's encouraging. Thanks for finding that, Pastor Ross.

Less faith-based always leads to blurred lines. Reading those lines made me ill. Sounds like this approach will produce, for example, an even sappier version of the Twilight series. You know, I have some ideas on this if Harper Collins is listening (how about a Presbyterian who, when the moon is full, transforms into a Roman Catholic and roams the countryside, enticing moderately liberal and unmarried Episcopalian girls his own age to a Christian rock concert).
Shaking my head.....

Very kind of you to describe me as "Pastor" Ross, but while I'm the son of a pastor, I'm certainly not one myself! :-)

The painful irony of the Driscoll situation is that it is money which appears to be clipping his wings and not any of the more serious charges to be laid at his door -- blasphemy being the most frightening.

@Kamilla - blasphemy? I've no doubt missed something, but what in particular are you referring to with Mark Driscoll such that you can use the word 'blasphemy' to refer to it?

Begging Tim's indulgence here ...


So I watched it. Typical bombastic Mark, but not sure why you say it's blasphemous?

And by the way, what Mark did with Mars Hill tithes and offerings goes far beyond what he apologized for. Far beyond gaming the system. 


Because he's attributing his pornographic visions to the Holy Spirit (gift if discernment). I don't know what else to call that but blasphemy.

If not blasphemy, it's close: "Jesus told me." How does he know that? Maybe Satan told him in order to build up his pride en route to destruction. There is nothing to identify these visions, assuming they were real, as coming from Jesus.

Mark Driscoll denies the eternal generation of the Son...I'd argue that's blasphemous. In his defense, however, he may have lifted that notion from Wayne Grudem, or Bruce Ware, or Paul Helm, or...

Then there's the obvious issue of money, wrongful use of tithes/offerings, and a letter to help him hit the "reset button" (cue makover montage).

If you want to see how much money talks, just look at the U-turn World Vision has had to pull this week. After making a totally wrong decision which represented a near-total surrender to the gay agenda, they got so much negative feedback, so quickly, that they realised they had to do something, and they reversed the decision in preference to losing at least half their giving base.

The reversal of the original decision is most welcome, but why it was made in the first place is the real worry.


(further to earlier) Have now read elsewhere that Federal matching funds were actually a large share, perhaps 20 percent (?) of their total revenues, and they may have been trying to stay on the right side of the current regime with the original policy change. Same difference.

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