By Michael O'Loughlin
Originally published on Advocate.com May 22 2014 12:33 PM ET
The publisher of a controversial new book about biblical support for same-sex relationships has cut ties with a major evangelical Christian media group.
According to the Christian Post, Convergent Books and its parent company, WaterBrook Multnomah, resigned from the National Religious Broadcasters over the book.
Stephen W. Cobb, Convergent president and publisher, called discussions with the NRB “professional and Christ-honoring,” but did not go into specifics.
"Our organization has discussed our publishing programs in private with leadership of the National Religious Broadcasters. These conversations with NRB have been characterized by one senior official at NRB as 'professional and Christ-honoring.' I couldn't agree more," Cobb told the Post in a statement Monday.
The book in question, God and the Gay Christian, written by 23-year-old Matthew Vines, argues that "it is not gay Christians who are sinning against God by entering into monogamous, loving relationships. It is we who are sinning against them by rejecting their intimate relationships."
As reported in the The Advocate, Vines first made headlines for an hour-long lecture he posted to YouTube in 2012 called "The Bible and Homosexuality," filmed at a church in Wichita, Kan. The video went viral, and it's now had 700,000 views.
Vines writes in his book that one of his goals is "to ensure that all Christians, gay and straight, have the support they need to stay in their churches and find affirmation when they or their loved ones come out."
Some evangelical Christians have reacted strongly against God and the Gay Christian, according to the Post.
"It is a sad and shameful day when a major Christian publisher releases such a book and claims that it is a solid evangelical publication. This is abhorrent, disgraceful, and terribly misleading. And it needs to be addressed and exposed,” Michael Brown, author of Can You Be Gay and Christian? wrote in an opinion piece.
Cobb, the publisher, stood by the questions raised by Vines’s book.
"The conversation on who published God and the Gay Christian serves as a distraction to the real issue the book addresses," he said. "Now that the book has hit the marketplace, it looks as if the discourse has turned towards the conclusions set forth by its author Matthew Vines. The author's goal was to start a cultural conversation, and it seems that he has."
Follow Michael O’Loughlin on Twitter at @mikeoloughlin.