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Tim Keller Defends Doug Birdsall, 'Perplexed and Grieved' over Bible Society Firing

(UPDATED) American Bible Society tells Keller, Leighton Ford, Skip Ryan and others not to disrespect either side.

Editor's note: This post has been updated with the American Bible Society's full response to the open letter from Tim Keller and 10 others.

One month after the American Bible Society (ABS) unexpectedly fired its new president weeks before his ...

The full text of both letters is below.

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audrey ruth

November 19, 2013  3:43am

I read this about a week ago, but haven't commented on it until now. I just want to say that I'm much more concerned about Biblical issues which seem to have been a foundational issue in this situation (re earlier comments), than any one man's decision to leave ABS. I have been thrilled with ABS's work in earlier years and am very sad to see that this has become an issue.

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Lily MacLiam

November 18, 2013  3:24pm

I think it is sad that this private matter was thrust into the spotlight by some well-meaning but misguided friends. It is understandable to be upset when a friend loses his job. But to publicly call out a ministry for exercising its right to hire and fire its leaders is irresponsible. Kudos to the Bible Society for not descending into the fray to disparage Mr. Birdsall. The only people who really know why Mr. Birdsall was released are Mr. Birdsall and the organization. And it really isn't anyone else's business. And shame on any believers who jump in with the "where there's smoke there's fire" argument. We should believe the best about a fine man and a fine organization and not stoop to rumor-mongering. I think this whole thing should be a cautionary tale for all of us. To Christian leaders: use your positions of influence more judiciously. To Christian media: don't report on supposition and innuendo... especially you, Christianity Today. As a reader, I expect more of you.

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Rick Dalbey

November 09, 2013  1:41pm

Worthey, if Birdsall were a checker at Safeway or an engineer at Intel, his firing would not be noteworthy unless it was for some unusual and significant cause. If that engineer's firing were then made a national news story, we would expect to be told the unusual nature of the incident. If there is no background given, it is merely a weird piece of gossip. By publishing this story nationally CT has implied that there is cause for concern, yet it is never revealed. That is irresposible and intrudes on the privacy of Mr. Birdsall or impugns the character of the ABS. The fact that national leaders would weigh in is further evidence that we should assume "where there is smoke there is fire." Being president of an organization that prints and promotes the word of God is not just another job. A disagreement about how to encourage the world to read the Bible that escalates to a public firing deserves an explanation, just as Paul's grievance against Peter was public. It affected the church.

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Worthey Brisco

November 09, 2013  10:38am

Some of you are perplexed about the reasons behind the release of Mr Birdsall ... I'm perplexed as to why it is any of your business. Did Mr Birdsall ask for your involvement? Did he seek for you to address this issue? I think not. I suggest that all would respect the fact that things don't always work out in ANY employment, even one with the Bible Society. There appears to have been significant difference in approach and philosophy between Mr Birdsall and the Bible Society. Obviously, these differences could not be resolved. It happens.

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Raphael Gamaroff

November 09, 2013  9:55am

No one knows what the problem was. Automatic Break System?

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