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Ethics Daily has a piece today pointing out the hypocrisy of some Baptists. A couple of Baptist state conventions have passed resolutions condemning Wal-Mart and the Baptist Press has put out articles attacking Wal-Mart. What for? Supposedly supporting homosexuality. One of the main items used to “prove” this was that one could buy books from Wal-Mart’s website that condoned homosexuality.

Yet, it turns out that the same could be said for the website of Lifeway, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. The logic of the argument against Wal-Mart was always weak, but now that should be obvious because it would mean that Lifeway also condones homosexuality (which I am sure it does not). Maybe the state conventions should pass resolutions condemning Lifeway. Or maybe the Baptist Press should write articles attacking Lifeway. Or maybe they should take the plank out of their own eye and focus less on attacking others.

Meanwhile, Robert Parham has an excellent column at Ethics Daily today. Read it over because it provides a significant contrast between what is being proposed with the “Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant” and the hypocrisy of those who seem focused on just condemning people.

UPDATE [1-31-07]: Ethics Daily has another piece on how Lifeway is responding to the story and changing the books on its website. I do not think poorly of Lifeway because of this situation. But it does seem to prove that the criticism of Wal-Mart has been wrong.


  1. Anonymous1:12 PM

    Big Daddy Weave said...
    Lifeway has responded. From Mainstream Baptists... improving efforts
    to filter questionable titles from third-party distributor’s list is enhancing its efforts to ensure that questionable books are filtered out of a massive list of titles available online through its third-party distributor. In fact, the third-party distributor makes 130,000 titles available to LifeWay, while adding sometimes as many as 1,000 new titles each week. includes only about 100,000 of these titles, having eliminated nearly 25 percent of the books for a variety of reasons, most often because of inappropriate content, according to Mark Scott, vice president of the Christian stores division of LifeWay Christian Resources. In addition, LifeWay filters the titles electronically based on information from publishers and the reputation of authors and publishers for producing biblically-based material. Every week, dozens of inappropriate titles are removed successfully. And, says Scott, the electronic filtering and human-review processes are being improved to meet the high volume of new books hitting the Christian retail market.

    “Even so, no system is perfect, and because we’re human and make mistakes, a few inappropriate titles occasionally make it through our filtering system and onto the online list,” says Scott. “When we become aware of these titles – often through an email from a customer – we investigate them, and if we confirm them to be inappropriate, we remove them immediately.”

    That’s what happened this week as several Web logs reported that was offering a number of pro-homosexual titles. “We checked it out immediately and found that, in fact, several titles did appear on our third-party distributor’s list,” says Scott. “We were unaware of these and removed the titles immediately. We appreciate it when such titles are brought to our attention and we invite our customers to contact us if they discover titles or authors about which they are concerned. Our customers place a high degree of trust in us to provide biblically sound resources. We value that trust and strive to maintain it.” also will be providing “Read with Discernment” tags on certain titles that are requested for scholarly study but may not appropriate for a broader Christian audience. ”Many of the titles available through the distributor are made available for critical study or research so that pastors, seminary students and ministry leaders have access to material that helps them understand and develop responses to the diversity of religious thought in a postmodern world,” says Scott.

  2. Thanks for posting the response! I had not seen it yet and it seems to be a logical explanation. I do not think poorly of Lifeway because of this situation. But it does seem to prove that the criticism of Wal-Mart has been wrong.

  3. brown eyes9:28 AM

    LifeWay's spokesperson, Mark Scott, asks readers to be patient, understand circumstances before taking potshots and use a little common sense when we hear of things like this that seem to undermine the integrity of SBC's premier money-maker. This is the same response that those who have been so mercilessly criticized and accused by SBC leaders in recent years, but to no avail. The mean-spirited, vicious lies and guilt by association continued and still happens today. This would be a good opportunity for those of us who have seen first-hand the hurtfulness of those attacks or experienced them ourselves to remember Jesus' admonition to us and behave and respond the way we would like to be responded to, rather than the way we have been treated. I'm grateful for Brian's thoughtful, but clear response. Yes, we should be understanding of how difficult it is to monitor all the books BUT we still believe that same understanding should be applied by LifeWay (SBC) when pointing out the "splinter" in others' eyes.

  4. brown eyes: Thanks for the comment. You put it very well!


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