If you aren’t one of the cognoscenti in the UK Christian publishing industry, you may not have thought much of the announcement last month that IBS-STL is up for sale.
IBS-STL (International Bible Society and Send the Light who merged a few years ago) are not immediately apparent to the average Christian buyer of books. However, in the last ten years at least, there is a fairly high probability that the book you left the shop with originally came to that shop from IBS-STL. They are a major distributor of Christian publishers as well as being a publisher of sorts themselves.
Officially, the problems have been blamed on a failed implementation of SAP (an Accounts software package used by major players). I have it on good authority, however, that IBS-STL were in trouble before that. One publishing company of my acquaintence had them on stop for not paying their bills a fair amount of time before the SAP timescale being suggested in their official releases came into play.
I am shamed by how long it has taken me to finish reading this book (I blame it all the Interregnum even though I’ve been reading it far longer than that *cough*) but, anyway, I have finally made it to the end of Tom Wright’s view of heaven, hell, life after death and all that stuff that can be found in Surprised by Hope.
While I’m in a confessing mood, I have to admit that my beliefs on the afterlife have always been a bit hazy at best. Part of the haze stems from a time early in my Christian life as a teenager when I was sat down by a well-meaning (but ultimately misguided) friend to listen to Roger Price cassette tapes whose pentecostal, rapture based, snippet of the Bible here, snippet of the Bible there approach to theology sounded good to me at the time but has left a legacy of confusion in its wake. Roger himself has passed away now so I’m sure he could probably give a far better answer now than he could then… problem is we can’t ask him. Anyway, it was high time I did something about that and Bishop Tom has come to my rescue.
Surprised by Hope is an excellent book. Pitched somewhere between the accessibility of Tom’s ‘for everyone’ series with SPCK and Read more