Authentic Thinking

Over the coming weeks and months, if the plan comes together, you’ll see an increasing number of Guest Posts from other people involved in one way or another in the Christian book trade. The aim of this blog is to provide a place for Christian booksellers, authors, publishers, suppliers and their customers — in short, anyone with an interest in Christian books (and music too, come to think of it) — to exchange ideas, news and views, discuss the latest reviews and generally get more interactive.

I’m in the process of sending out invitations, asking for informal contributions that will help put faces to the names of the people and outline something of the vision or inspiration behind the companies, products or organisations. So far we’ve had an author interview with Gregory MacDonald, an introduction to the Good Bookstall from Mary Batholomew, the ins and outs of the STL website explained by Pete Barnsley and an astonishing guest appearance from Cliff Richard in the goody bag I brought home from CRE.

Now it’s over to Robin Parry: Robin is head honcho at Paternoster, the academic wing of Authentic Media. Or maybe Authentic is the popular wing of Paternoster? It’s one or the other anyway. Between them they publish some great books — a few reviews here:
Authentic | Paternoster

Thank you, Robin:

Robin ParryPaternoster – The Vision Thingy
Greetings from Paternoster HQ. That sounds impressive – you might not be so impressed if I told you that the HQ was simply one end of my kitchen/dining room in Worcester, England. I can see the microwave and fridge from my chair. Still – it saves lots of time and money when travelling to work (and the planet is just a tiny bit better off)!

Phil wanted me to say something about the Paternoster vision thingy. I’ll try.

Our strap line is “Thinking Faith” and that captures something of the vision. On the one hand, Paternoster aim to publish books that are “thinking from the perspective of faith”. On the other hand, we wish to publish books that are self-reflective and “think about faith” in new ways.

Let’s approach it from another perspective – What ‘faith’ are we thinking about here? We mean Christian faith, more than that orthodox Christian faith, more than that evangelical faith. Paternoster was founded in 1935 by Howard Mudditt and although Howard Mudditt was a member of the Brethren, Paternoster always had a wider evangelical remit. So authors did include good Brethren like F.F. Bruce but also good Methodists such as I. Howard Marshall and even the occasional good Anglican, Baptist or Pentecostal 🙂

But what kind of evangelicals do we represent? What kind of ‘evangelical’ are we?

Here’s my first answer: we are ‘broad church evangelical’. We seek to represent everything from the more conservative end of evangelicalism (though not fundamentalist stuff) to the more liberal and explorative edge. We deliberately publish books representing different perspectives on the same issue because we see part of our remit as informing and stimulate the discussion. So you’ll find a case for and a case against the permissibility of remarriage, a case for and a case against Darwinism, a case for and a case against Christian Zionism, a case for and a case against infant baptism, a case for and a case against penal substitution. Yada yada yada – you get the picture. The point is that whatever your views are we have a book that will annoy you and hopefully make you think.

Here is my second answer: ‘open evangelical’ or ‘catholic evangelical’. We are interested in publishing books that seek to expand our evangelicalism with input from wider Christian traditions – Catholic, Orthodox and non-evangelical Protestant. So we often invite contributors from such traditions to write chapters in some of our multi-author volumes.

Our fundamental commitment is that we are a publisher that promotes authors who affirm creedal orthodoxy and have a high view of Scripture (although we do not define exactly what ‘high view of Scripture’ actually means. For instance, some of our authors affirm biblical inerrancy and some deny it).

And what kind of topics do we publish on? Well, we publish in the following areas:

  • biblical studies (OT, NT, hermeneutics, biblical theology, etc.)
  • theology (historical theology, contemporary theology, philosophical theology, etc.)
  • church and mission (everything from church history to church planting to pastoral issues to … etc.)
  • other stuff (contemporary ethical issues, religious studies, cultural and sociological studies on religion)

Academically we seek to span the range from middle level books (accessible but thought provoking) to academic titles (flaming complicated, brain-assassination books).

Ultimately what we aim for is to serve God by producing intelligent Christian books for the Church with the goal of equipping the saints for mission.Thinking Faith

That, as I see it, is what we are about. 

Dr Robin Parry,
Editorial Director of Paternoster
(end of the Kitchen/Dining Room, Worcester)