Walla Walla Union Bulletin, June 13, 1988
Editor, Walla Walla Union-Bulletin:
I wish to respond to the article about Christos Press and my publishing ventures that appeared in the Union Bulletin last Friday. There were several inaccuracies that detracted from the overall perspective I tried to convey to the interviewer. I do not fault the UB for these errors—perhaps I incorrectly answered several questions—but I would like to set the record straight.
My parents, Paul and Gladys Williscroft, were not in Europe to supply religious materials to communist nations in Eastern Europe. They first went to Europe before World War II, escaping just as the war broke out. Their primary focus was educating local Christian believers in Christian education methods for Sunday Schools. They returned to Europe after the war to continue this effort. My father’s work in Eastern Europe was an extension of this effort. The book my mother is writing about my father, The Teacher, is not a sensational book about smuggling (the event mentioned in the article was not intentional smuggling) and prison (the country was Czechoslovakia, and the time was hours, not days); rather, it is an inspirational book, written to give fellow believers and interested nonbelievers some insights into the life of a remarkable man of God who managed to impact our world in ways he never imagined.
My father is known to many people in Assemblies of God churches across the country, but not as a hero. He was a hard-working missionary who kept himself strictly in the background, preferring, rather, to let the results of his ministry stand out.
I have received a substantial number of comments from readers of the UB, most of them concerned with the image the article seemed to give me: that of a money grubbing, irreverent exploiter of Evangelical Christians. I wish to dispel this image, and trust the UB will assist me by publishing this letter.
It is true that Christos Press was created to fill a niche in the world of publishing. I wish to emphasize, however, that making a profit is not immoral; it is the foundation of the American way of life. So long as profit is honestly earned, without exploitation, it is honorable. Christos Press is honorable. We supply a need in the Evangelical Christian community that is not always being met by other publishers in the field. We do so profitably, because we are very careful to ensure that a viable market exists before we publish a book. We respect the right of a religious publisher who puts his heart into his publications, reaching out to bring God’s message to the reading public. We do not object should our efforts be used in this manner as well. But because we are working with private funding, using capital supplied to us by trusting investors, we have an additional responsibility: we must be profitable.
It is our firm belief that the first book published by Christos Press, Oops, I Spilled the Coffee Again, will be a spiritual blessing to thousands of believers all over America. We have produced the book for the lowest possible cost consistent with high quality. We are offering it through the mail to people we have identified as likely buyers, we are offering it to readers of evangelical periodicals, and we have made it available to many of the Assemblies of God churches across the nation on a special offer that will place a free copy of the book in each church library.
My point is that we are not exploiters of Evangelical Christians as implied in the article. Rather, we are hard-working people (some of us are Evangelical Christians) who have found a way to further the aims and beliefs of several fine authors who have important things to say—while simultaneously earning a decent profit for ourselves and for these authors by helping their books to become best-sellers across the nation.
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