LifeWay Calls Off Lawsuit Against Former President

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Update: The Southern Baptist publisher will instead try to resolve its disagreement with Thom Ranier over whether he can now partner with Tyndale.

LifeWay Christian Resources has decided not to proceed with a breach of contract lawsuit against the SBC entity’s former president Thom Rainer, but will instead seek to resolve the dispute without litigation.

Trustee chairman Todd Fannin announced the decision in an email to the board. An emergency meeting of the full board had been scheduled for Wednesday to discuss the lawsuit but was canceled by the executive committee.

“In lieu of moving forward with litigation, both parties are currently exploring the possibility of an agreed upon resolution of the differences,” Fannin wrote. “Our continued prayer is that this will be resolved quickly and amicably.”

Fannin, an Oklahoma businessman, asked “all Southern Baptists to join us in a season of prayer” and said trustees will receive additional information within a week. He expressed concern over “numerous public misstatements and inaccuracies surrounding this matter.”

LifeWay filed a lawsuit Monday in Williamson County, Tennessee, chancery court, alleging Rainer had violated his transition agreement with LifeWay by publishing with a competitor.

The agreement between Rainer and LifeWay upon his 2019 retirement precluded him from having any business association with LifeWay competitors until October 31, 2021. The agreement specifically listed Tyndale House Publishers as a LifeWay competitor. In August 2020, Tyndale announced a multibook publishing partnership with Rainer, which also includes video curriculum.

In a statement Tuesday, Rainer said he had received “a written and amicable release from publishing” with LifeWay, he had discussed the matter with LifeWay’s attorney and he “assumed all was well” …

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