A little update to the issue I raised with Premier Christianity about serious concerns a number of us have had about their editorial approach.
You can read the letter I sent to Premier here.
Today, I received this response.
Thank you for taking the time to email. As you quite rightly state below, we do aim to publish a wide range of views, and in doing so, do not necessarily condone or endorse those views. That said, we do consider whether they could be said to be well argued and how they sit within the parameters of mainstream Christianity, regardless of whether we personally agree with them. As you will no doubt have seen in the past, we also often publish more than one piece on a topic when it is has clearly opposing sides, generates debate or some-one pitches us an alternative viewpoint. This is not unusual, and there have been many topics which have generated heated debate on both sides over the years.
While I appreciate that suggesting that Jesus may have been married is controversial, I cannot agree that, by publishing it, we are promoting a toxic and abusive culture. And while Lois Tverberg did an excellent job of arguing against many of the author’s claims and presenting the traditional, mainstream view of Jesus’ singleness very well, she respectfully stopped short of calling the author of the opposing piece a liar or a heretic.
While we do not always get it right, we do try to strike the right balance with this – although it is clear that, on this occasion, you would not agree with our editorial decisions. However, I can only offer you my sincerest reassurances that we do hear your feedback, and have tried to represent both views within this debate.
On behalf of the Christianity team
The response is disappointing and raises further concerns as follows.
- There has been no attempt to engage with or even to understand the nature of the concern raised. Unsurprisingly the correspondent leans back on the defence that Premier draws from a broad range. However, they have ignored the point that the article crosses the boundaries from within that broads range into areas of serious concern due to its extremism.
- The matter is settled because the editor just does not accept the concerns raised by a number of experienced pastors. This strikes me as extremely arrogant.
- Note the passive aggressive bullying where their preferred respondent, operating within their editorial parameters chooses not to challenge the original author on the most serious aspects of his article. Therefore, this somehow exonerates them. This is used to attempt to put me down because my pointing out with factual evidence that the article was based on untrue claims rooted in a specific heresy is contrasted unfavourably with someone who “respectfully stopped short of calling the author of the opposing piece a liar or a heretic.” The problem is that whatever the Premier Christianity Team may choose to believe, the claim that Jesus was married is something not found within mainstream Christianity. It’s not a view taken seriously anywhere except within a specific heresy and particular conspiracy theories that have arisen from that.
- And there is the point. If someone says something that is untrue then it is a lie. If someone teaches something that is central to a heresy then it is heretical. The cardinal sin in comfortable Christianity is plain speaking.
Now, it might be uncomfortable to be told by a wide range of pastors that your article is wrong and unhealthy but when they do, it might be a good idea to pay attention rather than dismiss their concerns, especially when those concerns are accompanied by evidence and reasoning.
Today, I had sight of another deeply concerning article. I would reiterate my view that there needs to be a thorough review of Premier Christianity’s editorial policies.