CNN reports on the reason that Zondervan broke with Rob Bell. According to the report, the President of Zondervan evaluated the book proposal for Love Wins and decided that it did not fit with their mission. From the report:
“Love Wins” is Bell’s first book since his break from Zondervan, the Christian publisher based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that published Bell’s first four books and also publishes the New International Version of the Bible, one of the most popular translations of the Bible among evangelicals.
Bell’s split from Zondervan came in part over this new book. “The break with Zondervan was amicable,” [Mark Tauber, senior vice president and publisher at HarperOne] said. “In the end the president of Zondervan made the decision. The proposal came in and they said, ‘This proposal doesn’t fit in with our mission.’ ”
What is the mission of Zondervan, and why did they think Bell’s book did not fit within it? According to Zondervan’s website, the “mission” is as follows:
To be the leader inÂ Christian communications meeting the needs of people with resources that glorify Jesus Christ and promote biblical principles.
Given the mission of Zondervan, this is a significant statement from the President. It appears that Zondervan judged Bell’s book not to be a resource that glorifies Jesus Christ and/or that promotes biblical principles.
Zondervan is to be commended for this decision. They stood on principle and did not cave-in to the pressure to retain a best-selling author. It must have been a tough move to make, but I am grateful that they did.
UPDATE â€“ 3/12/11: Here’s a report that says that Zondervan never had to make a tough call on this one. Here’s the relevant excerpt:
Tara Powers, spokesperson for Zondervan, with whom Bell has published four books, including Velvet Elvis, and the “Nooma” series, said that the company had not been offered the opportunity to publish Love Wins. “However, if the promotional video for the book accurately reflects its contents, it is highly unlikely that Zondervan would have accepted Love Wins for publication,” she added.
This story corroborates the earlier report that Zondervan found this book to be outside its mission to produce “resources that glorify Jesus Christ and promote biblical principles.” The conflict with the CNN story consists in the fact that Mark Tauber says that Zondervan received the book proposal and passed on it, while Tara Powers says that Zondervan never even had the opportunity to publish the book. Does this mean that Zondervan never received the proposal?