06 July 2011

Open Letter to Bob Pritchett

by Frank Turk

Dear Bob --

My friend Ed Stetzer says the open letters are all alike, but I think this one will stand apart.

Welcome to the internet.

Yes, I know: you've been in business since you were 6, you're a tech guy with that visionary business, um, thing, and you are certainly familiar with the internet.

Well, I'm sure you have a feed reader, and I'm sure you grasp the uses of viral marketing, and I'm sure you have read a few blogs in your day. But this weekend you made a completely-rookie mistake at the Logos community forums, and I thought you -- being a pragmatic man who is willing to do what's right for the sake of your own actual objectives rather than some flighty ideal -- might hear me out about that mistake and take some advice worth at least what it costs you.

For those who missed it, here's what you said:

CLICK TO ENLARGE
Now, here's what you didn't do wrong: upholding community standards in an internet forum is not wrong. It's actually fundamentally right. And as I see it, your post was meant to do exactly that -- as headlined by the subject line of your post: "Forum Guidelines: No Theology Debates."

You and I both know: the purpose of the Logos forum is not apologetics. It's not even evangelism. It's something far more secular and rudimentary: creating a community of users who are unified by a product or a brand for the purpose of marketing the product. This kind of forum has dozens of others consequential uses for the participants: it can create support for innovation and product development; it can provide relatively cost-free (for the product marketer) 24/7/365 support; it can provide a venue for understanding upgrades and plug-ins (which in turn produces more sales for the marketer and more satisfaction for the user); it can create a culture for users who then use the product in unexpected or inventive ways, causing more buzz for the product.

In short: there are a lot of reasons for Logos to literally foot the bill for a user forum, but none of those reasons have one iota to do with whether or not righteousness is imputed or infused. They all have to do with gaining users for the product.

And let me say this without any reservation, sarcasm, or qualification: I admire that. I admire the kind of commitment it takes to want the product to rule its market, and the commitment it takes to see that it really does take standards to make that happen.

CLICK TO ENLARGE
I mean: it is actually a rule for the forums -- at least since 19 Jan 2010, according to the above screencap. It's a long-standing rule, and the objective there is simple: anyone who wants to learn to use Logos software can come here; anyone who wants to make a theological point while using Logos software can use the whole rest of the internet to do so.  I credit you for being serious about your product.

Having a policy is not a rookie mistake. Indeed: not having a policy, or failing to enforce it consistently, is the rookie mistake.

So what's the big stink about? Where's the rookie error?

Well, the problem is feeding the trolls, Bob. Let me suggest something to you: by trotting out the most-offensive polemic of internet "Catholics" against Protestants, and then trotting out what can only be called talking out of the side of one's ecumenical mouth to Protestants about the Catholics who are allegedly using Logos (the Bible-readers, people: not the Mariolators and Indulgence-collectors), you have taken sides in the debate you are trying to squash.

I realize I'm not the life-long entrepreneur you are, Bob, but I am a bit of an intermediate blow-hard here in the bandwidth.  Here's one way you could have approached this:
Dear Logos Users and Forum Community:
It is a long-standing policy of Logos not to let the forum expand its scope from a vehicle to generate support and community relationships regarding the use of our product families. For that reason, we do not allow theological debate to blossom on the various forums.
Logos is the leading publisher of multilingual Bible software on Mac, Windows and mobile platforms -- and we don't foster debates as to whether one computing platform is superior to another. Logos partners with more than 130 publishers to make more than 12,000 electronic books available to customers in more than 180 countries -- and we don't foster debate over which is the most influential or most important among them. The company serves church, academic and lay markets, bringing the best in software innovation to Christians worldwide -- and that marketplace has many needs.
Logos now produces high-end tools for studying biblical texts in their original languages along with the largest electronic libraries for study of the Bible. The combination of tools and texts within the software now make it possible, for the first time ever, to perform in-depth biblical language research from the same software application that holds the largest and most advanced electronic Bible reference library available. The unified, integrated research platform reduces the cost and learning curve associated with having to own and maintain a separate software package for each style of study.
Projects underway include the development of exclusive new databases with the help of scholars from around the world. Data creation is a new area for Logos, but we're confident that the databases and morphologies being built will pave the way for the next revolution in electronic Bible study.
To that end, please keep these forums about these subjects and not others -- which are right-minded subjects for the church to consider, but which will also never be resolved in a forum which is not intended to solve them.
Thanks for your help, but be aware that our forum administrators will continue to block and delete posts which violate our rules for forum use.
Right? You could have said it that way -- mostly-objective, somewhat-pointed, and strictly about the subject you really wanted to promote here: Logos products.

Instead, something else happened here -- and I want to give you my take on it since I have your attention. As a former CBA member (almost 10 years as an independent retailer), one thing always stunned me about CBA: the idea that somehow being averse to any apologetic or theological distinction was not actually, in and of itself, a kind of apologetics. The eye-rolling that ICRS/ECPA/CBA people do when someone makes a theological point toward a liberal who is torturing orthodoxy or when someone trots out Mormons as Christians is its own sort of apologetic - the kind which wants to flatten all differences out to matters of taste rather than important places where the Christian faith actually makes itself different than other ideas and religions.

And let's face it, Bob: the Catholic/Protestant split really has never been deeper than it is today -- it just has the problem of actual Protestants being almost completely not in evidence. This is not my opinion, but David Wells' opinion, which he has documented over the last 2 decades for us all so well. Instead we have uncolored, flavorless Evanjellos jiggling in the public square, pressing themselves into all manner of relevant moulds in the hope that someone will at least squirt some canned whipped cream on them for some kind of savor.

What you did was the classic ECPA play of alleged objectivity girding itself up against sectarianism -- by ignoring and minimizing real differences and issues for the sake of what we have to admit is only one thing: selling our stuff to the largest demographic we can statistically size up.

See: there's nothing wrong with selling any morally-credible product to anyone who will buy it. Bill Mays was not a bad guy for being a huckster. You're not a bad guy for selling Logos and finding books and documents to digitize to grow your market.

But there is something wrong with intentionally minimizing issues of truth to appeal to an audience. There is something wrong, when you say you have a reformed statement of faith, in essentially tossing it off when it comes between you and your product for the sake of silencing debate. You don't need anyone to sign off on your convictions in order to sell them a product -- but running down your own confession, and the confessions of like-minded people, in order to quell the concerns of potential customers, is wrong.  That's what your statement did, and it is this broad and common error which makes your approach a bad one.

You're a clever guy, and you could have done better -- you can still do better. You can overcome the rookie mistake of dipping into the internet as a combatant rather than as a marketer.

Thanks for decades of innovations which have benefitted thousands globally is their use of the Bible and all manner of theological resources. Remember your business mission and your confession as you tread out into the internet where someone, invariably, is wrong.

To that end, I am praying for you.





54 comments:

SandMan said...

Any chance this is a calculated move by a "mad-scientist" that believes the Protestant crowd is "in the bag" so he can afford to rile them a bit for the sake of courting the RCC crowd?

I think you are spot on with your analysis that the peddling the product at the expense of your stated credo is wrong.

But perhaps, he sees this as no mistake. I am sure that he couldn't buy this type of internet buzz that his off-the-handle remarks have created.

Carrie said...

Offending your current customer base to reach what appears to be an untapped market isn't too smart. I'm glad I don't use Logos after reading that.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

I'm no business person--just a college-educated stay-at-home wife and mother. Sadly, I don't own Bible software, yet, so I could be viewed as a potential future customer as well, since I love to learn what the Bible means by what it says. All those disclaimers to say this:

In the first statement, he said he does not want to pay someone to moderate forums. Yet if his business revenues increase due to a steady growth of his customer base from a largely untapped demographic, he could easily afford to pay someone moderate a forum, if he's optimistic about the growth. It's almost as if he's struck gold, wants more workers to dig for him, but doesn't want to deal with the crowds it will bring. Opening a forum (and monitoring it) might be the best way for him to deal/not deal with the theological debate "problem." He can send them there to do their debating--no doubt capitalizing on the advertising potential, and keep the software discussions about the software where they are. There. Problem solved.

(Now if only someone could do something about creepy trolls who post irrelevant blather at 3 in the morning, all our internet problems will be solved.)

Merrilee Stevenson said...

(And no, SandMan, I wasn't referring to you.)

Trolls? What trolls? Paid moderators ARE the answer!

:-)

Frank Turk said...

Just for the record: the approach to say, "since Bob said this I'm going to not buy his product," or "I'm going to throw out his yesterday-incredibly-valuable $1000 library of digital books because he handled the internet poorly," is short-sighted at best.

Logos has a decades-long track record as a ridiculously-valuable tool for study and preparation. It is what it was. To toss it out because -- Big shock! -- a product in the ECPA/CBA marketing environment is absurd.

Rather: let's call Bob & Co. to a better approach. They don't need to close the forum or renounce the practice of anyone but those who will sign and live out a Reformed confession using Logos: they just need to avoid dipping into a fray they have no business moderating, administrating, or finally arbitrating.

Bob dipped into an argument that, frankly, he's a novice at in an environment which, frankly, he doesn't frequent. And he wants more people to use Logos software. He should stick to what he knows and leave the questions he doesn't really want to answer out of it.

In all seriousness: should the Lockman Foundation make sure no Catholics read the NASB? Should Crossway box out Catholics from sin the ESV on-line? If they don't, what have they done wrong?

If the rub here is that Logos has digitized Catholic materials for use with Logos, consider this: Logos has a long history of publishing non-Christian works in digital format. The complete Josephus is in Logos; the Constitution of the US is in Logos; the jewish Mishna is in Logos; the Jewish Encyclopedia is in Logos; David Barton's work is available in Logos. Putting non-Reformed works into digital format is not a new thing for them.

Consider it. As you were.

DJP said...

Well-said, of course, Frank. (And how anyone still finds a way to minimize or dismiss your open letters is an abiding mystery to me, to which the most charitable explanation I can fabricate is that he simply does not read them well.)

I wonder if this is another way of saying part of what you said. Logos hires a Romanist to cultivate and pitch Romanist propaganda. This creates the impression among some that the Gospel — which is after all, among other things, a doctrinal formulation — is thereby minimized.

Of the many ways Pritchett could have responded, he picks just about the worst: to say in effect, "Doctrine, schmoctrine! Doctrine divides! Like the RCs say, look at how divided all you non-RCs are! Now shut up, and buy more Logos!"

Not his words, to be sure, but arguably the rhetorical impact of his rewording RC propaganda to scold Christian objectors.

Is that anywhere near your corollary point?

DJP said...

...and, in his aside to RCs, he further seems unintentionally to confirm his critics' worst fears by saying in effect "Don't mind them (as they warn of Rome's damning errors and try to preach the Biblical Gospel instead), they're mostly a bunch of nuts."

SandMan said...

Thanks for clarifying, Merrilee. I was about to start calling for a blog-split in true Protestant fashion. I am tired of all the unity that Pyro is bringing to the web (if that isn't irony then I don't know what is).

Robert said...

Good letter, Frank. I think Dan covered most of what is rattling through my brain after reading this and the comments from his post yesterday.

I'll only add that as a person that God removed from the clutches of RCC heresy, I find it very unloving to minimize the Gospel by implying that doctrinal differences are not of much importance...especially when (indirectly) addressing a group that really needs to know the truth of the Gospel (and most likely hasn't heard it). To say that is not the forum for those discussions is fine, but he went way beyond that when he leveled his charge against protestants. And the manner he did that made it seem like a defense of the RCC. I guess my response to that would be that the RCC isn't really that unified. You can just sit in mass and see how unified the people really are. Not saying that other churches don't have the same problem, but Mr. Pritchett must be wearing some rose-tinted glasses if he thinks the RCC is united.

DJP said...

Absolutely right. Which RCC, anyway? The John Kerry RCC? The "Mother" Teresa RCC?

But to me, that's a secondary issue, and even to entertain it as Pritchett does is itself a great error. How is unity around a damning lie a good thing, even if it exists? To me, that is more central.

Frank Turk said...

DJP: I think your thoughts are utterly congruent with mine.

Robert said...

True, DJP. Along those lines, the Branch Dividians and the Peoples Temple were unified...and Mormons are some of the most unified people there are. That doesn't mean that they are correct and that they do not need people to present the truth to them. I am sure Pritchett would have to see the LDS as a pretty large market as well (as Frank alluded to yesterday).

Todd said...

Bob's latest response is here:
http://community.logos.com/forums/p/35165/266428.aspx#266428

christianlady said...

Wise.

christianlady said...

I think it's time for an open letter to Christians as to "how to" disagree correctly online (always follow TOS first of all...). This is a rabbit trail on the side, I admit...but still.

Blessings!

Steve said...

To Bob Pritchett:
You have identified yourself as a Protestant. Therefore, I can assume you are a born-gain believer. As such, whether you like it or not you have a responsibility, as do all believers, to pursue and promote biblical truth. "Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers" (1 Timothy 4:16).

You stated, "I certainly don’t feel qualified to teach theology" BUT you feel qualified enough to peddle false theology to those under a false religious system. Bob, you are accountable before God. That should cause you to tremble. You are just as guilty as a false teacher because you are making money on false doctrine and feeding it to those who will be condemned for their idol worship.

Some will say this is an extreme example but I don't think it is. Do you think those who provide pornography are guiltless? Aren't they just giving people what they want? Well, idol worship, and false doctrine, are no worse than pornography.

The big hurdle that I just can't get over is that you, a professing Christian, are making money off of peddling idolatry and false teachings. And just to be clear, your objective in offering RC theology, as evidenced by the stated goal of your new Catholic Product Manager, is NOT to equip Christians to confront falsehood but rather it is to strengthen Catholics in their idolatry. His admitted ambition is to "work in what Pope John Paul II called the New Evangelization" which, I'm sure you are already aware, or at least you should be is, among other things, to Catholicize Protestant Christians. http://www.christlife.org/evan...

For "95%" of your customer base, the larger issue is not that you "threw Protestants under the bus" but rather that you are throwing Christ and his Word under the bus! All to make a dollar on peddling false theology to lost souls.

Steve

1 Tim 6:10
"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs"

2 John 1:10-11
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works

stratagem said...

It's the Greek Orthodox Catholic Church, stupid!

Brad Williams said...

This is so simple. He could have just said, "Lighten up, everyone. Our goal is to have everyone read the Bible in depth, in the original languages, with all the resources available. We hired a Roman Catholic because we want them to use the Bible and all the sources, too."

Love,

Bob

Easy. I should be in marketing.

Bob Pritchett said...

Your approach to closing off this forum conflict clearly would have been superior to mine. Would you like to join our marketing department as forum moderator? :-)

For what it’s worth, the post you link to was actually an edited re-post of a response to anther thread: http://community.logos.com/forums/p/34988/264732.aspx#264732

That thread started while I was in China, and a Logos employee tried many times to calm it down. By the time I returned it was raging on with 200+ posts, users “quitting”, parallel threads about this thread, and a pile of complaints in my inbox. So, as a partial defense, I’d like to say that the post (written the day I returned) for which you are taking me to task (well within your rights) isn’t actually an isolated, considered statement of our position – it’s one piece of a long, heated conversation in a well-established community. But I do agree: it was not the best post.

I apologize for making any statements about Catholics and protestants. I clearly am unfamiliar with the standard Internet polemics, and even now I’m not sure exactly what you’re referring to. (My observation that protestant churches often split off new churches? Or that some protestants are out of control?)

I am also sorry that I gave the impression that I “want to flatten all difference out to matters of taste rather than important places where the Christian faith actually makes itself different than other ideas and religions.” Nothing could be further from the truth. If you knew me personally, you’d know that I have specific and strongly held views, and can argue and defend them with passion.

I just want to keep that out of the Logos Bible Software forums, where it doesn’t change anyone’s mind, doesn’t advance the truth, and doesn’t encourage people to get into the Word.

I see how you could read my flippant observations about the many reasons churches split and see that as implying that theological distinctions aren’t important. I apologize. I mixed the important and the silly into a list not to judge any of the reasons, but simply make the point that there are a million viewpoints – many of which ARE important – and that that’s why Logos recommends Bible study over trading insults in a forum. It’s not that we think the distinctions aren’t important, or that people shouldn’t hold and value them. We just think that our particular forums, provided as support for a Bible study tool, shouldn’t be a place where badgering people is getting in the way of their getting into the Word.

Yes, I welcome Catholics as Logos user. But not because I think there’s no distinction between Catholic doctrine and the Gospel. But rather because I’d like to see Catholics in the Word, which I believe has more power to correct than Internet forum polemics.

~Mark said...

A well-written letter Frank.

Eric said...

Bob,

Thank you for your willingness to respond.

Frank Turk said...

Hi Bob --

Very generous of you to respond!

To the job offer, if I can work from home and make 6 figures, I'll start Monday. :-)

To the rest, as I said in the open letter, welcome to the internet. Sorry about that.

DJP said...

I'm with Bryan Morgette: Bob's is the best response yet to an open letter.

Hope it starts a trend.

Brad Williams said...

Frank,

No dice, he was obviously talking to me. ;)

Darrell Lingerfelt said...

Whew! Will we see warning labels on all new Catholic products? Or on all others? Shame, shame! The very library Logos has compiled ought to spawn debate. Pritchett should just back off and enjoy the ride! What great PR to have so many reading these forums. Just think what Frank has done here to drive folks to those forums. Hmmm. Maybe a little whine from Bob has went a long way. Reckon?

Steve said...

Phil Johnson made the below comment on Tim Challies post regarding Logos:

"And the spirit in which Logos has gone about this is even more troubling than the mere act of promoting popish propaganda for profit. The attack on those of us who are concerned that the gospel not be clouded under the baggage of Roman tradition was uncalled for and deeply disturbing."

I am just wondering if he is going to address this regarding the "popish propaganda for profit" issue, which I believe is the real issue.

Steve

stratagem said...

Hasn't popish propaganda almost always been done for profit, down through history? I thought that is why the RCC is the largest private owner of real estate in the world (or I think they still are).

David Regier said...

Perchance has Piper penned a post on papist, popish propaganda profits?

Pity.

Frank Turk said...

Full Disclosure time:

When I was a CBA member, I didn't sell Catholic items. It caused a Catholic/Spanish bookstore to open in our little town (it went under). However, for the full 8 years we were open, every year at confirmation time we got requests for rosaries.

In good conscience, I could not sell Catholic stuff to Catholics. I know it offends a lot of people to admit such a thing, but to feed them the junk food they wanted was way outside my tolerances.

On the other hand, think about this: there are utterly responsible reasons to want Libronix Catholic resources in your library. I am sure James White could use these for extraordinary good, for example. But the complaint I think that comes back has to be: not everyone is James White, and plainly Logos is selling the wrong food to the Catholics.

But here's the thing: where do they draw the line? We might find it easy to say they must include Augustine but they cannot include Erasmus even though their doctrine of the Eucharist would probably put both of them out of good Reformed circles today.

I admit it: I couldn't do it. Stuff after 1563 on the Roman side has to get a different look than stuff, say, prior to 1400. From an academic standpoint it's a tougher call, but from a "I have to live with myself forever" standpoint, I couldn't just put it out there like there's nothing to it.

Christina said...

So, just to be clear...

"Team Pyro" is comfortable with Logos's decision to help promote an agenda whose goal is, among other things, to Catholicize Protestant Christians because, after all, where do we draw the line? While you wouldn't do it, you accept that Logos can. Is that right?

I am truly not trying to be a trouble maker. I am just trying to understand.

DJP said...

Which of us said that - so that we can know who you are asking?

Christina said...

I was referring to Frank Turk's comment specifically -- the one that starts off stating "Full Disclosure time". Maybe I was wrong to assume that the thoughts expressed in his comment were a reflection of the others (you and Phil Johnson). I just thought you were a team! :)

Sergius Martin-George said...

I just want to say how pleased I am that, for all that was "trotted out" in the original post and in Frank's open letter, no one, at any time, has trotted out the suggestion that anyone, at any point, should have coffee with anyone else, as a prerequisite for doing--or saying--anything.

Sir Aaron said...

So now the issue is merely selling academic materials to Catholics? That's a tough call in my mind because on one hand you'd think you want Catholics to read about the church's real position on many doctrines. On the other hand, you may be helping Catholics and therefore, keeping them from hearing the true Gospel.

But I thought the real hub-bub yesterday was more along the lines of DJP's 4:38AM post.

Robert said...

Wow...this is the most humble and responsible response I have seen to any of the open letters so far. I have much respect for you, Mr. Prichett, because most people have not owned what they have done. I am glad that you have clarified your remarks as well as your intentions.

I totally agree with you, Frank, about selling to Catholics. However, I would say that falls under doing everything with a clear conscience according to one's convictions. My personal take is that people in the RCC need somebody to show and tell them the truth instead of equipping them to stay under false teaching. At least that is how God worked to pull me out of the RCC. Of course the most effective tool my friend used was Scripture.

Frank Turk said...

Christina -

First of all, we do have a public disclaimer that says that none of us speaks for the others. On every page of the blog except the blogger "post a comment" screen. So I don't speak for "TeamPyro," or for DJP, or for Phil. When I say, "When I was a CBA member, I didn't sell Catholic items," and then continue speaking in the first person, I speak for me.

Second, That's a rather reductive version of what I said. For example, it leaves out the question of converting Catholic documents for the purpose of academic reference (cf. the James White example). It also excludes the problem of defining "Catholic" is such a way that doesn't exclude church fathers prior to 1400. For your private consideration, what would you do with a person who believes the bread and the wine are actually God's body and blood? Are they Protestant? Can a Protestant read them in good faith and not be spiritually-scarred?

So finally, what I am saying is that the Logos adventure here is a mixed bag at best. It has problematic parts to it which, I think, Bob's comments highlight rather than resolve. I don't agree with what's happened, but in disagreeing I can't say I see only negatives in what Logos is doing.

Steve said...

I love Logos. Great product. It saddens me to see the owner compromise truth for the sake of a buck. I will still use Logos, If I were to boycott every product because the owner is irresponsible I would probably have to live in a hut somewhere. I would definitely have to throw out my Apple products! :)

We can only appeal to someone's conscience, we cannot make them do the right thing. I think having resources to learn about the false system of Roman Catholicism is a good thing. I just think that Logos went about it the wrong way and is making the wrong statement. It appears that they are purposely targeting the Catholic audience for monetary reasons, not theological reasons, to make a buck, not to make a convert. It seems to be validating their theology. I can only imagine that this opens the door for other false religious systems as well. This is the part that is very troubling to me.

Can God use this? Of course He can, but that does not make it right. At least that is my take on the subject.

O well, Que Sera, Sera! Life goes on.

Steve

Christina said...

Ok. Thank you for responding Frank. I think you are right to describe my version as "rather reductive". I absolutely do have a hard time seeing this as anything but black and white. The product that is being presented by Logos is being presented from a place that is pro-Roman Catholic. Can good things come out of it? Of course. But those good things will come about in spite of not because of the drive behind the product. Also, thanks so much for the heads up on the disclaimer -- I hadn't read at all

Go Share Your Faith said...

This is the nuttiest thread I've ever read here at the Pyros.....

Why in the world would anyone think that Logos; by producing resources that aren't exclusively Protestant, (Gasp!) and by Bob Pritchett pointing out that the forums are designed as a technical help resource area for users of Logos software, (and intended as a place to discuss theology), that somehow that shows that they've rolled over into ecumenism"?

Dumb Dumb Dumb.

Frank Turk nailed it...

stratagem said...

GSYF:
You're right - that would have been dumb and nutty, if that's what we were talking about.

Instead, what we were talking about was Bob's denigration of Protestants as serial schismists, and contrasting them against Roman Catholics who are supposedly uniters and bridge-builders.

Frank Turk said...

GSYF:

thanks for your support, but I think you missed part of what Logos is doing and what Bob said.

DJP said...

Bob printed yet a fuller response here, though not specifically to Frank.

Wally Morris said...

This is the beginning of a subtle shift in Logos. Over time, this policy will change Logos significantly, and the company will not be what it is today.

stratagem said...

David Regier:
Perhaps Pritchett proffered a potentially prickly post per "popish propaganda for profit," provoking protestants, particularly, to be pretty perturbed?

Frank Turk said...

I think Bob's letter answers a lot of questions, and makes at least one distinction I think needs more review. But by-and-large, he's working something out here: the disntinction between "publications we endorse" and "publications we resource".

The content of the latter is the one where he will always find himself in trouble, and I hope he and his company have the good sense to consider what it means to provide resources (even for comparative or apologetic purposes) which have a dubious heritage.

Bob: I thank you for your obvious commitment to something which has a rich history.

Edward said...

I rarely comment here but I just have to on this. I agree with Steve in this quote "You stated, "I certainly don’t feel qualified to teach theology" BUT you feel qualified enough to peddle false theology to those under a false religious system. Bob, you are accountable before God. That should cause you to tremble. You are just as guilty as a false teacher because you are making money on false doctrine and feeding it to those who will be condemned for their idol worship."

There are two groups in this world the real Christians and all the rest. That would include the Catholics as well as Muslims, Jehovah's False Witnesses, Mormons and the rest. If Logos is doing Bible Software and Bob is presenting himself as a Christian then what I quoted from Steve is absolutely correct. I would be repenting if I were Bob.

I don't use his software. I use Bibletime and the ESV from the Sword Project. All free open source software. I use Linux but this software runs on Mac and Windows as well. I said that for the lady who does not have Bible software.

Back to Bob. If you are going to stand for Christ then do it but don't be double minded. I got a feeling this is just a matter of profit and not a care for who reads what. Also I have a feeling that some of the pyro team may get free or discounted Logos Software since some have gave it favorable reviews in the past. That could influence a wrong decision with some folks.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Frank,

You wrote: "There is something wrong, when you say you have a reformed statement of faith, in essentially tossing it off when it comes between you and your product for the sake of silencing debate."

Bob in his post claims (in bold, for emphasis) that they don't have a statement of faith or a doctrinal position.

Here's where I'm confused. Are you saying Bob lied in his post? Has he spoken in private about a statement of faith which he now denies in public?

Because if they don't have a statement of faith and they're not trying to promote themselves as an explicitly protestant ogranization, I don't see the problem.

Frank Turk said...

... oh for pete's sake ...

See: in his latest post -- which was stellar as far as I'm concerned -- Bob allows that he's an ECPA member and adheres to the ECPA statement of faith. Does -that- make him a liar?

c'mon. Bob's got a church, and he holds to a statement of faith. He's a protestant.

At some point, the myopic kinds of "discernment" have to burnt themselves out -- or go completely blind.

The items of serious offense have been dealt with by Bob is a very forthright way, and even if I disagree with him about the tactic of selling non-Christian digital volumes, or the tactics he's using to sell Catholic digital items, he's trying to come clean for the untoward post that inspired this open letter.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Frank,

My question wasn't whether Bob goes to church or is himself a protestant. My question was whether Logos is explicitly a protestant ministry -- which is the impression you gave when you alleged that Bob has a reformed statement of faith and doctrinal standards which he abandoned to sell more books.

Logos is a for-profit library, not a ministry as far as I can tell. It seems they're being judged by a standard they've not set for themselves.

I agree with you and others that Bob's original letter was unhelpful and imbalanced.

Finally, I seem to have annoyed you. That wasn't my intent, and I apologize. I don't have a dog in this fight, and I really didn't have any agenda with my question other than to try to understand better where you're coming from and on what basis you made your allegations, since I couldn't find any info about a statement of faith on the Logos site.

Grace and peace to you.

Frank Turk said...

So his ECPA membership -- his professional affiliation, which he references in his most receipt post -- doesn't enter into it?

OK. You must be right.

Pastor_Jeff said...

I don't see how you can get that from what I wrote, except on the most uncharitable reading possible.

Logos' ECPA membership wasn't mentioned or referenced in your original post or discoverable on the Logos' website -- hence my original question about your mentioning a "statement of faith."

I agree that Bob seems to want to have it both ways by first denying Logos has a statement of faith and then later mentioning ECPA membership and its statement of faith.

I also agree (as Bob has admitted) that he entered into this theological debate in an unhelpful and unbalanced way.

You wrote that Logos (or Bob) has a "reformed statement of faith." I still haven't seen that anywhere. It seems that you and others want Logos to be Westminster Seminary bookstore, which they're not.

I get the sense that the Logos user base (and commenters here) wants Logos to do as a company what they feel called to do as individual believers with strongly hold convictions.

I understand that you didn't feel right selling Catholic products as a Christian retailer. Are you arguing that under the ECPA statement of faith no one can sell Catholic materials? If it is permissible, then how has Logos violated its statement of faith?

Merrilee Stevenson said...

I really do appreciate Mr. Pritchett's response to this issue. Having read the statement that DJP linked to at 9:00 am, I think I have a better understanding of the issue and where he stands, and I don't view him as some kind of greedy huckster who doesn't have a soul.

And just for the record and the trolls out there, I wasn't suggesting a boycott of Logos materials; I simply was disclaiming any knowledge of the software thus far. And should my budget and future ministry needs be such that I would purchase such software--God willing--I'd love to be the pleased owner of Logos. It comes highly recommended by people whom I respect, but who do not think for me.

Lastly, I wonder if it would cross the line or be a legal conflict of interest if Logos the software company were to link to oh, say, "Ask the Calvinist" as a highly recommended place to go to debate theological issues. (I heard you are ready to start Monday morning, Frank.) That's what I was trying to suggest earlier as a solution to send the troublemakers somewhere specific (not just anywhere else) to duke it out.

Frank Turk said...

Pastor Jeff:

I have already conceded that you are right. What else do I need to say? As far as I'm concerned, your line of questioning is unrefutable, unanswerable, and without any end except to concede that you are right.

I concede: you are right. Next comment please.

Frank Turk said...

To Edward's comment, and to anyone else who believes that Edward has a very important point that either Logos of myself have ignored or are somehow subverting --

Here are a list of writers and/or works:

Jerome (translator of the Vulgate)
Augustine
Basil the Great
Gregory of Nazianus
Anselm
Francis of Assissi
Aquinas
The Vulgate Bible
Proslogium
l'Morte De Arthur
Piers Plowman
Erasmus' Textus Receptus

Now, in all seriousness: which of these guys will you accept as fully evangelical? And which of the works will you accept and evangelical-friendly?

Unless you are willing to say "none of them," then what we have is a pretty significant disconnect between your theory ("You can't in good conscience publish anything that can be received by a Catholic consistently with his faith") and real practice. What has to be done, in the absolute-best case, is to label things as what they are and make sure there is a difference between endorsement and resourcing.

What about the decrees of Trent? Should Logos not have any resources on that? Those are simply the most offensive and categorically-anti-Protestant theological statements in all of church history -- yet I suspect that those documents would get a green light from most people as a valuable resource for Logos to provide for the sake of juxtaposing them against the response of the Reformation.

Here's what I think, to be broadly generous to those who, frankly, I think are looking for a reason to stir this up some more, is the only right question to ask: in marketing its product which now include Catholic magisterial documents, how consistent with its mission is Logos being by marketing to Catholics as if generic Catholic theology is consistent with Evangelical theology? I think that's where the trouble lies, and Logos doesn't have any choices there if they are serious about marketing to Catholics: they are going to have to minimize the problematic nature of the theological history of Rome since 1563 to sell to faithful Catholics. To market those resources to faithful Catholics as merely reference material will be not enough by half.

So I leave the dilemma to you who are still mad at Bob, and I leave the very narrow path he has mapped for his company to Bob himself.

And I give you all my best wishes. The thread is closed.