July 2020 Newsletter

The Launch Date is Set

We’re open for business!

Well, the editing looks to be done. I’ve approved the online proofs of the paperback and am waiting for physical copies to arrive for inspection, and the ebook is set. Wow that was a lot of work. And, the website just launched a couple of days ago—It took a while but I think it looks great. Check it out at www.johnkgriffin.com.

Creation and the Flood is scheduled to launch September 8. That gives me more than a month to try and do some marketing (more on that later) and to generate pre-orders.

For those of you who are not familiar with my first book, here is the short story: Two years ago, things were rolling along quite nicely in my spiritual life. I was attending a new church, praying more, and reading the Bible a lot more. Then I hit a brick wall. A question about dinosaurs from my son Sam forced me to recognize that, uh, the Bible seems to teach some things, like creation in six days 6,000 years ago and a global flood, that to me seem quite implausible, to put it politely. Does the Bible teach false things? Can I trust this book?! When I turned to my church for guidance, and to a trusted study Bible, and when I saw what my kids were being taught at school, my crisis deepened, as they all agreed that the earth was young and that there was a global flood.

Yikes. Fortunately, research is what I do well, so I rolled up my sleeves and got busy. Devouring books and papers and blogs and videos by Bible scholars, pastors, historians, scientists, and other commentators, I got to the bottom of this business. I no longer believe that the Bible teaches a young earth or a global flood. Learning to approach early Genesis from the eyes of the original author and audience helped a great deal. As I went through the process, I was frustrated that I did not find one book that answered all the questions that I had. And I have a desire to help other Christians (and potential Christians) who get tangled up on these issues. So I decided to write the book that I wish I had found when I was in crisis.

And now that I’ve got this one book done, I’m going to keep moving. In addition to marketing this book, I’m researching for a second book, on the scientific evidence regarding evolution. And, I’m close to securing the rights to the story of five miners, devout Christians, who were trapped below ground and left for dead. Four were rescued, likely days or even just hours before starvation. How I’ll do all of this, given that I have a wife and four kids and a full-time job, only God knows. But it’s a lot of fun.

Okay, so what about marketing and selling Creation and the Flood? It will be a tall order, and my expectations are realistic. This is a self-published book (so there are many marketing channels for which I don’t have access), I have an extremely small platform, and no name recognition. Plus early Genesis is a niche topic to begin with. The book is high quality, so that will help, but regardless it will be an uphill battle.

I plan to do something every day— reaching out to people I know who might be interested in reading it, contacting You tubers and podcasters and bloggers, and doing anything else I can think of. If any of you are curious about early Genesis, please consider buying the book. I firmly believe it is the best book out there on the Genesis 1 creation account and the flood. Oh—and if you read the book please write an honest review on Amazon, good or bad. But most importantly, if any of you know of someone who is struggling with these issues, please direct them to my website, or ask them if you can give me their contact info—the primary reason I wrote the book is to help such individuals.

Update on Religious Liberty and SCOTUS

The issue of religious liberty has been becoming more prominent in Supreme Court (SCOTUS) cases in recent years, and this term was no exception. This is an issue I get rather worked up about. I really don’t like government interference with the church. There were two cases this term which bear on religious liberty, and we got a split decision, so to speak.

The first of the two cases this term that are relevant here is Bostock v. Clayton County. While Bostock doesn’t explicitly deal with religious liberty head on, it has serious potential implications. The case has to do with workplace discrimination against persons who identify as LGBTQ. A guy was fired for joining a gay softball league and sued his employer. SCOTUS ruled that the 1964 civil rights act, which forbids employers from discriminating in hiring/firing on the basis of gender, also applies to LGBTQ. My initial reaction was to roll my eyes at the court once again stretching the meaning of words in order to ‘update’ old laws to fit new cultural views, rather than leaving new legislation to Congress, but I digress. Anyway, I’m glad someone now can’t be fired for joining a gay softball league. That just ain’t right. And I don’t like employers having the ability to fire someone for anything they may do outside of work. So it would seem like this case is not a big deal, except…

The opinion did not state that there is an exemption for churches and religious schools. It didn’t say there isn’t one either, but it was expected that the court would emphasize that the so-called “ministerial exception” applies to this matter. The ministerial exception means that, for example, churches that believe that only men should be pastors don’t have to hire women pastors. The court dodged this point, as was their right as the employer in question was not a religious institution. In so doing, the court invited challenges to the ministerial exception, and such challenges are now sure to come.

This is no light matter. Churches that believe that Christian marriage is a one man, one woman thing and which hold to traditional views of God’s teaching on sexuality could be forced to hire gay pastors. They may also be forced to officiate same sex marriages. Seminaries that teach traditional views on sexuality could be forced to hire professors that espouse modern and culturally liberal views on sexuality. There are clear implications for religious liberty here.

Hopefully, when further challenges come to the ministerial exception, they will have trouble gaining traction, due to the second of this term’s cases, Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrisey-Berru. Here, SCOTUS ruled 7-2 that the Catholic elementary school that fired two teachers has a First Amendment right to complete control over hiring and firing of religion teachers, free from government intervention. This is a positive development. However it is complicated somewhat, I think, by the fact that at least one of the teachers sued for age discrimination. From what I can tell, there was no accusation that the teacher(s) in question were not teaching in line with Catholic doctrine; rather, it was her general competence that was in dispute. I don’t think we want churches and schools to be able to fire people for being old and then hide behind the ministerial exception. That seems to go too far. Ugh.