In a move that had been rumored for some time, LifeWay Christian Resources has suspended sales of Mark Driscoll’s books, pulling them from its website and from the shelves of its 180 Christian bookstores.
An official statement from the retailer was released August 9 to Patheos blogger and Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton: "LifeWay Stores and LifeWay.com are not selling Mark Driscoll's books while we assess the situation regarding his ministry."
Driscoll has been embroiled in controversy in recent years, having been charged with plagiarizing passages in his 2013 book, A Call to Resurgence. (A Call Resurgence was published by Driscoll's own imprint, called Resurgence, at Tyndale House.) After an investigation, Tyndale stood by Driscoll, and the house recently denied reports that it had dropped Driscoll, and his imprint, from its publishing program.
Controversy also arose over Driscoll’s 2012 book Real Marriage (Thomas Nelson), because of his use of a ResultSource campaign for the book. The L.A. Times characterized the campaign as an attempt by Driscoll to game the New York Times bestseller lists.
At the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta in June, there was a notable amount of chatter about LifeWay removing Driscoll’s books from its stores; at that time a LifeWay spokesman denied such a move was under consideration.
Marty King, communications director for LifeWay, told PW that the decision to pull Driscoll's books “was announced to stores late Friday, and mostly implemented on Saturday.” He added that the precipitating event was a statement from Acts 29, a church planting network--a group of churches that work together to start new churches--Driscoll founded. The Acts 29 statement said the organization had revoked the membership of Driscoll, and his Mars Hill Church in Seattle, because "the nature of the accusations against [Driscoll]" made it "untenable and unhelpful to keep Mark and Mars Hill in our network." Acts 29 also called on Driscoll to resign from Mars Hill.
King said LifeWay has not made a final judgment on whether to sell Driscoll’s books. “We’re just assessing the situation, and watching the developments with that ministry,” King explained. Asked whether the decision will hinge on Driscoll resigning his ministry, King said it "would be a factor." King then added: "But this is a complicated issue, with lots of parts, that’s been happening over a long period of time.”