On Wednesday 7 October the UK division of IVP announced that it was becoming part of a joint operation with SPCK (Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge). Staff at the Nottingham office of IVP were also told of this decision the same day. On Friday 16 October staff were told that the Nottingham office would be closing at Christmas and there would be consequent job losses. The aim will be to continue to supply books as before from the Nottingham office up until Christmas.
IVP have published books which have stood for conservative evangelical Christianity and which have been of immense help to a very large number of evangelical Christians. Books like J.I Packer’s Knowing God and F.F Bruce’s The New Testament Documents: Are they reliable? are outstanding examples of books which have been life-changing and soul-strengthening. It is books like these which have enabled struggling young Christians to stand firm against the inroads of liberal theology.
Volumes from the ‘Tyndale commentary’ series or the ‘Bible speaks today’ series will be found, well thumbed, on the shelves of most conservative evangelical pastors.
Evangelicals in the UK and elsewhere will therefore look with astonishment at the marriage of IVP and SPCK. One of the two partners is seeking to promote conservative evangelical Christianity and the other is seeking to ‘champion theological diversity’.
God asks Israel through the prophet Amos: ‘Can two walk together unless they are agreed?’ Paul instructs the Christians at Corinth that they must not be ‘unequally yoked together with unbelievers’. It is hard to see such a marriage being comfortable without significant change in one or other of the partners. In a marriage with one partner financially comfortable and the other in some difficulty Evangelicals will be asking which of the two partners controls the purse strings.
Have we taken too much for granted the wealth of good literature which has been available to us in recent years? This is surely another alarm bell to conservative evangelicals in the UK that we must train up a generation of evangelical readers if we wish to sustain evangelical publishing.