In recent discussions about “Christians for Biblical Equality” (CBE) I have been informed that it is not helpful to evaluate an organization based on the books it chooses to sell in its bookstore. My correspondent also believes it is permissible for him to judge the organization based upon his positive interactions with leaders and members but not permissible for me to evaluate the organization based upon my interactions and assessments of heterodox or heretical theology expressed in on-the-record conversations.
I’d like to focus on evaluating an organization like CBE based upon the books it carries in its bookstore.
First, from About CBE Bookstore
Each resource we carry has first been evaluated by our team of reviewers to ensure that it furthers CBE’s mission and vision. Each resource is chosen on its own merit. Therefore, we carry each resource based on its agreement with CBE’s Statement of Faith, whether or not the author has expressed agreement elsewhere or in other venues. If you would like to see the criteria our reviewers use, please read our Evaluation Criteria for CBE Resources.
Each resource is evaluated on its own merits and is not determined based on the author’s entire body of work. This is a good and proper explanation of part of their selection criteria. CBE could hardly be expected to carry recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood after all. While, by the same token, if her works agreed with CBEs statement of faith and furthers their mission, there would be no reason they could not continue to carry books by Jann Aldredge Clanton as they had in the past. So why did they drop her work after public comment about Clanton’s association with HerChurch in San Francisco and her authorship of hymns to “our great creatress” became the source of public criticism?
Only those in charge of that decision can say.
Further, CBE explains their bookstore mission like this:
This bookstore is a branch of Christians for Biblical Equality’s ministry. It exists to further CBE’s mission to affirm and promote the biblical truth that all believers—without regard to gender, ethnicity or class—must exercise their God-given gifts with equal authority and equal responsibility in church, home and world.
I heartily agree with my correspondent that this doesn’t require CBE to carry books the agree “100%” with their mission. It does, however, mean that they aim to carry books that have a substantial agreement with their mission. Since CBE presents itself as being within the pale of Evangelicalism, it also requires them to carry books which do not run contrary to the basic outlines of Evangelicalism.
Now if you want to argue that Evangelicalism has boundaries that are so marshy it is extraordinarily difficult to gain a firm footing, I will not disagree. However, for CBEs purposes and for the purpose of this blog post, we’ll take those marshy boundaries to include those larger entities that are widely recognizable like the publishing empire of Christianity Today, schools like Wheaton and churches like Willow Creek (not to admit of a bias toward northern Illinois-based organizations, mind you).
However, within those culturally and theologically recognized boundaries you will not generally find writers embracing the low views of God’s sovereignty and his written revelation found in the canonical Scriptures that I found in the book I reviewed yesterday here.
Which is why I referenced the book in my correspondence recently. If such a dismissal of Holy Scripture with its evident anger at God further the mission of CBE — there is only one reasonable conclusion to be drawn from that fact. CBE espouses a different religion with a different Gospel and serves a different God.
It’s not evangelicalism and its not anything even remotely recognizable as Christianity.
“But he made the trains run on time”, is no defense against heresy.