— Henry Neufeld (Energion Publications Owner/Editor)
I’m fairly certain that publicly owned companies would get less questions about the relationship between the company’s beliefs (if any) and what is published. But since I’m noted as the owner of Energion Publications, I am occasionally asked whether I will publish certain things that disagree with me, or whether I will provide special treatment for items that agree with my personal theology.
I will digress briefly to note that while I am owner of the company in a legal sense, I consider it a shared enterprise with my wife Jody Neufeld, and we do all things by agreement. Publication is a “2 yesses or 1 no” situation. When you see the word “we” in this post, I’m referring to my wife and myself. We are not always enthusiastically in agreement about what we choose to publish, but if one of us says “This should not be published,” then it doesn’t get published by the company. She will read this post before I publish it. Further, we’re guided by certain people whose judgement we believe is sound. We don’t give such advisers an absolute veto, but we do listen to them very seriously and prayerfully before making our decisions.
There is one aspect of my personal theology that carries over 100% into Energion Publications and its mission: I believe that any issue is best discussed openly and without condemnation. There are certain issues that tend to bring condemnation on a person who even gives consideration to an opposing view. I would list here both homosexuality and the creation-evolution controversy. It is my intention to publish that which positively presents material that pushes the boundaries. (I’ve written about this previously in Why Did You Publish THAT Manuscript?)
I want to emphasize that my intention is not to publish debates, but rather positive expressions of views of various groups, preferably in practice. For example, Bruce Epperly’s book Healing Marks could draw debate from several quarters. From the more secular side he could be asked why he believes in prayer or healing at all. He takes on those who claim that Jesus did not actually heal. At the same time, his theology of healing is likely to make either evangelicals or charismatics a bit uncomfortable, though I would challenge my charismatic friends to see the similarities in his theology and their practice. But the important thing about this book is that it is presented not as a debate with either of those groups, but rather as a positive call to healing ministry for liberal, progressive, and mainline Christians. Indeed, Bruce makes the call to all Christians to be involved in healing ministry.
I laid this out in a home video some years ago that can be found on our mission statement page, but I would like to restate it here.
We have a doctrinal statement. Note that there are only four items on that doctrinal statement. Energion Publications is not a church or a fellowship. It has a mission, one I believe God has called me to carry out through this means of publishing. Those doctrinal points lay out the outer boundaries of the ground we’re trying to cover. As limited as they are, I still want to tell you that they are not intended to condemn those outside the boundaries. They are just the focus of the mission of this company.
In my video I reference three groups: Evangelicals, Charismatics, and Liberals/Progressives. It’s easy to stereotype these groups, and I’m trying to avoid that, but I see each pushing the boundaries as seen by the others. There are obviously many more groups, and if they fall within those boundaries and also push the way we think within them, they’re part of our mission as well.
Now just because something falls within the limits of the mission doesn’t mean we’re going to publish it. There is still manuscript quality, timeliness, logistics, and our ability to market a particular title. We’ll also be considering how effectively a particular manuscript pushes the boundaries, and how much need there is for that boundary to be tested.
I do not claim to be totally unbiased. Doubtless, my own views will impact how I read manuscripts. But it is not my intention at any time to make Energion Publications a means of proclaiming my personal theology to the world. I am willing, and even anxious, to provide a platform for views I oppose personally, but that fit within the mission of the company.