How Tyndale Publishers Almost Lost “More Than a Carpenter”

In The Tyndale House 50th Anniversary Reader we find some intriguing stories behind some of Tyndale’s best sellers. Here’s the story behind the very popular title by Josh McDowell, More Than a Carpenter.

“Sometimes a publisher gets a manuscript by just a whisker. Such was the case with More Than a Carpenter. We had the nearly finished manuscript from Josh McDowell and were captivated by his 128-page story. Josh, a former-agnostic-turned-Christian apologist who was representing Campus Crusade for Christ at universities across the nation, was loaded with charisma and was already a successful author (Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Here’s Life Publishers, 1972) and entrepreneur. We certainly envisioned a bestseller, but we had no inkling it would exceed fifteen million copies in print!

Anxiously we awaited the signed contract, only to learn that the leadership of Campus Crusade had recently notified all of their associates that their written materials had to be published by Here’s Life Publishers–Campus Crusade’s in-house publisher. At this point Ken Taylor wrote his old friend Bill Bright, the founder and president of Campus Crusade, indicating that we had been talking with Josh for some time. Could we continue to do so under a ‘grandfather clause,’ Ken asked, allowing Josh to sign the Tyndale House contracts? Dr. Bright replied with a gracious letter of agreement, and we were on the way to having a vital part in Josh McDowell Ministries.” (119-120)

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About Louis

I am a 1997 graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
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