Acton Institute acquires Christian’s Library Press, Publishes New Book: Ecumenical Babel


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. June 17, 2010 – The Acton Institute has acquired the Grand Rapids-based book imprint, Christian’s Library Press. Since 1979, Christian’s Library Press has published influential texts on Christian leadership, stewardship, and theology, and will continue to pursue an active publishing schedule under the administration of the Acton Institute.

The acquisition of Christian’s Library Press was a natural fit for the Institute’s ongoing interest in issues related to Christian stewardship and engagement of Protestants and evangelicals. The move expands Acton’s ongoing publishing efforts and supports the Institute’s strategic partnership with Stewardship Council, as well as its role in the publication of the NIV Stewardship Study Bible and the Effective Stewardship DVD curriculum. “It made good sense to add Christian’s Library Press as a recognized and trusted name in Christian leadership and stewardship circles to Acton’s ongoing publishing mission,” said Kris Mauren, the Institute’s executive director.

The acquisition of Christian’s Library Press coincides with Acton’s purchase of the extensive personal library of the late Dr. Lester DeKoster, professor and librarian at Calvin College and former editor of The Banner, the denominational magazine of the Christian Reformed Church. Following his tenure at The Banner, DeKoster launched Christian’s Library Press (CLP) with his longtime friend and collaborator, Gerard Berghoef. Together the two published numerous books on the role of the Christian and the church in the world. A number of these texts, first written 30 years ago, are still in demand today. Major CLP publications include The Elders Handbook: A Practical Guide for Church Leaders, The Deacons Handbook: A Manual of Stewardship, and The Believers Handbook: A Guide to the Christian Life.

The Acton Institute will bring these and other out-of-print texts back into circulation and will also pursue a new publishing agenda. The first book published under Acton’s oversight of the imprint is Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church’s Social Witness, by Jordan J. Ballor. Ballor, who serves as associate editor of the Journal of Markets & Morality, is a doctoral candidate in Reformation history at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) and historical and moral theology at Calvin Theological Seminary (Grand Rapids, Michigan).

The book focuses on mainline ecumenical movements, including the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), the World Council of Churches (WCC), and the newly formed World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC). Both the LWF and the WCRC are holding major assemblies this summer, and Ecumenical Babel is a critical and constructive engagement of the teachings of the groups on social and economic matters. The WCRC is holding its inaugural Uniting General Synod in Grand Rapids in June, marking the union of the two largest Reformed ecumenical bodies (the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Reformed Ecumenical Council), which together represent churches with a membership exceeding 80 million globally. The LWF, whose member churches represent over 70 million Lutherans worldwide, is holding its 11th General Assembly in July in Stuttgart, Germany.

Ecumenical Babel is an insightful primer on the challenges facing the ecumenical movement. It is a wonderful resource, inviting us to deeper reflection on ecclesiology, ethics, and economics as we consider the future of ecumenical roles and relationships,” said Michael Kruse, who runs the blog Kruse Kronicle and serves as Chair of the General Assembly Mission Council of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.

The book is an excellent choice to be the first CLP publication under Acton’s administration of the imprint, said Acton senior scholar Stephen J. Grabill, who wrote the book’s foreword. “Ecumenical Babel fits well with the larger editorial mission of Christian’s Library Press from its earliest days, and serves as a key point of dialogue for this year’s major ecumenical gatherings,” he said.

About Christian’s Library Press

Founded in 1979 by Gerard Berghoef and Lester DeKoster, Christian’s Library Press has been committed to publishing influential texts on church leadership, the vocation of work, and stewardship for more than 30 years. During that time Berghoef and DeKoster wrote significant works including The Deacons Handbook, The Elders Handbook, and God’s Yardstick, which still are in demand today. After the death of Lester DeKoster in 2009, the imprint is now administered by the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. For more information about Christian’s Library Press, visit www.clpress.com.

About the Acton Institute
With its commitment to pursue a society that is free and virtuous, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is a leading voice in the national environmental and social policy debate. The Acton Institute is uniquely positioned to comment on the sound economic and moral foundations necessary to sustain humane environmental and social policies.

The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles." For more on the Acton Institute, please visit www.acton.org.

Interviews with Institute staff may be arranged by contacting John Couretas at (616) 454-3080 or at jcouretas@acton.org.