On the day of Judgment, the typical crack-dealer on the street corner will have less wrath of God poured out upon him that Thom Rainer. What Thom Rainer has made a career selling, destroys not only the body but the soul. Lifeway ‘Christian’ Resources peddles literally every known heresy under the sun. They have abused and mistreated the innocent, disabled, and elderly. And yet, The Social Gospel Coalition ran a glowing tribute to Thom Rainer’s legacy at Lifeway.
The Evangelical Intelligentsia is a group of men and women who were first defined by this news site in August of 2015. As explained at the time, these are primarily parachurch ministry leaders and CEOs, not pastors of local churches. The group has other typical characteristics, including “cross-pollination” (self-promotion from one another’s respective platforms). The Evangelical Intelligentsia is actually a very small group of people who control the Christian conference market and a giant piece of evangelical media. And today they are at their business-as-usual, with The Gospel Coalition paying tribute to who is perhaps the worst peddler of heresy in the so-called Christian world.
The glowing tribute to Rainer at TGC said…
“…quality [of books at Lifeway) was low. Our resources have to be of the highest quality, and not from a pure marketing point of view. When someone picks up our curriculum or
books,or goes to one of our events, one of the first things we want them to say is, ‘Wow. God is really honored through this.’
“Frankly, that was not the case in many areas of LifeWay.”
Rainer knew he wanted better products. “But you can’t just mandate, ‘Give us better stuff.’”
To get there, he knew he needed a different culture.
Amazon may technically sell more heretical books than Lifeway, but at least Amazon doesn’t hide the fact that it’s a jungle. Lifeway claims to sell “Christian Resources.” The SBC-owned retail outlet sells books of Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, New Age Mysticism, Anti-Trinitarianism, gay propaganda, Campbellism, the Prosperity Gospel, and worse. When Christians shop online at Amazon they’re aware that they should be discerning. When Christians go into a Lifeway store, their guard is down, assuming the resources are theologically solid.
Instead, what they find at Lifeway is a small number of quality Bible study materials hidden behind walls and walls of books from horrible teachers like Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Christine Caine, Ann Voskamp, TD Jakes, Jonathan Cahn, and John Hagee. Books by Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer are available behind the counter, like video rental stores used to sell porn back before the Internet.
And yet, TGC lauded Rainer’s legacy as snake-oil-selling heresy peddler. Here’s a few examples of the “resources” offered by Lifeway:
Yeah. Rainer really accomplished the goal of making resources at Lifeway, “solid,” did he not? Pathetic.
The fact is, Southern Baptist pastors have to work so hard at doing polemics and teaching discernment because the single greatest highway into the SBC churches upon which heresy is trafficked is Lifeway Christian Resources.
Furthermore, until #The15 forced them to stop, Rainer continued to sell Heaven Tourism books, even after the SBC voted to beg them to quit.
Rainer was warned in emails that Alex Malarkey was recanting his book, The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, but he mocked the messenger and dismissed his concerns and continued to sell the book. When Malarkey’s Open Letter to Lifeway (originally posted on this very news site) made international news, Thom Rainer’s spokesperson at Lifeway lied and said he just heard about the book being fraudulent, and immediately pulled it down. When we released the emails showing Rainer knew much sooner and didn’t care, choosing to profit from the book anyway, Rainer simply said, “No comment.”
In spite of Alex Malarkey being taken advantage of by Lifeway and in spite of Rainer ignoring the young man’s desperate pleas to make it right with God and be honest, Rainer worshipped the bottom line of money.
Rainer is, perhaps more than any other figure in evangelicalism, the prime example of being in it for the “filthy lucre.” He has leveraged his own image and reputation by capitalizing on a denominational appointment, probably more than any other figure in Southern Baptist history.
Oddly enough, TGC mentioned Lifeway’s sale of the Glorietta real estate as a part of his legacy. We couldn’t agree more.
Some Southern Baptists were furious about the sale, blaming LifeWay for not keeping Glorieta viable. A lawsuit was filed, claiming the sale wasn’t valid because it wasn’t approved by the SBC executive committee.
“The one time I thought might leave LifeWay was when plaintiff of this lawsuit started attacking my family,” Rainer said. “Then I said, ‘This is not worth it, guys.’ But my family said, ‘We’re fine. Don’t quit LifeWay because of us.’”
“To this day we get criticism over Glorieta,” Wilson said. “I saw up close the personal pain caused by the comments Rainer and his family were getting.”
In reality, far from Rainer (supposedly) having his family “attacked,” Rainer served as a brutal landlord who has forcefully evicted dozens and dozens of elderly senior citizens from their retirement homes in order to unburden himself from the “unprofitable” (the lawsuit disputes Lifeway’s figures and claims the camp was not bleeding money) Glorietta facilities.
Pulpit & Pen has personally spoken to some of these senior citizens who are a part of the lawsuit against Lifeway, and have heard their agonizing voice as they are fighting not to become homeless at the hands of Thom Rainer.
On numerous occasions, secular courts have rebuked Lifeway’s behavior in the matter and penalized them with fines and censures for their corruption and ineptitude. That is the only reason why the lawsuit has been going on so long and yet continues; Lifeway and Thom Rainer have very clearly been in the wrong.
While The Gospel Coalition remembers the legacy of Thom Rainer at Lifeway, so will the rest of us. Only his legacy, as they perceive it, is different than the way we perceive it.
We see a wicked man, who stands before God naked and under judgment.