LifeWay Christian Resources removed a number of books from its online bookstore after EthicsDaily.com reported Monday that a number of titles were written by pro-homosexual authors.
Rob Phillips, LifeWay’s director of corporate communications, said he was disappointed with Monday’s story, “Gay-Friendly Authors Populate SBC’s LifeWay Site,” because it gave the impression the Southern Baptist Convention publisher “is deliberately promoting unbiblical agendas.”
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Phillips said. As soon as LifeWay became aware of the titles, he said, they were investigated and removed.
Mark Scott, vice president of the Christian stores division of LifeWay Christian Resources, said in a press release the titles were provided by a third-party distributor. LifeWay routinely removes titles that are inappropriate for the site, Scott said, but the system is not perfect and sometimes inappropriate titles pass through that go unnoticed unless they are pointed out, usually in a customer e-mail.
“That’s what happened this week as several Web logs reported that LifeWaystores.com was offering a number of pro-homosexual titles,” Scott said. “We checked it out immediately and found that, in fact, several titles did appear on our third-party distributor’s list.”
“We were unaware of these and removed the titles immediately,” he said. “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.”
The release said LifeWay is enhancing its efforts to see that inappropriate books are filtered out of 130,000 titles offered through the third-party distributor. LifeWay uses about 100,000 of them, weeding out about one in four for a variety of reasons, often because of inappropriate content.
The release said LifeWaystores.com will also begin proving “Read with Discernment” tags on certain titles that are requested for scholarly study but may not be 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,” Scott said.
The EthicsDaily.com story focused on the fact that while Baptist Press criticized Wal-Mart for stocking pro-homosexual books on its online bookstore, a search on LifeWaystores.com revealed a number of books written by authors who are pro-gay.
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.