This seemed as though it was worthy of a follow-up article. Dr. Rainer responded to Robert Downen (one of the best religion journalists in America) of the Houston Chronicle. His response is even more troubling, calling LifeWay’s actions into question. It seems as though LifeWay is jumping to the lawsuit without much of an effort at all to find a more Christ-honoring and irenic way to solve it.
The Chronicle is running a special (99 cents for 12 weeks – well worth it). Sign up if you want to read the article, but here is Rainer’s statement.
I was saddened to learn late yesterday of the lawsuit LifeWay has filed against me. Before learning of the lawsuit, I heard from a LifeWay representative about this concern only one time on September 8, 2020. LifeWay’s counsel sent me an email asking for an explanation of my relationship with another publisher. I gave a quick and substantive response that same day. Even more, I requested to meet with the board officers in my response. I assumed all was well until the lawsuit was filed yesterday.
Additionally, I received a written and amicable release from publishing with LifeWay on October 1, 2019.
I love LifeWay. I gave LifeWay 13 of my prime years seeking to do God’s best for the organization and for the Kingdom. Neither LifeWay nor its present leadership are my competitors. I am confident we are on the same mission to help churches make disciples.
Though I am grieved by this action, I will pray for LifeWay and for my many friends and former colleagues who continue to work there. It is my hope that sensible men and women of Christian decency and commitment can resolve this issue and return to our primary biblical mandate. Until that day, I will continue to serve the churches and the church leaders that I love and have served for my entire life.
Assuming this is true (and I believe Dr. Rainer – if he gave a false statement here, he would undermine himself badly) then Ben Mandrell and LifeWay need to reevaluate. He wanted to work things out but Mandrell seemed to WANT to engage in a lawsuit without trying to seek resolution.
This looks bad for LifeWay.