Author Statement of Faith

I hope this isn’t a surprise, but if you put a hundred random, but devoted Christ-followers in a room, you would probably end up with a few differing opinions on a variety of theological issues. Hopefully, the disagreements wouldn’t be related to the essentials of the faith; but I suspect there would be some discussion over what is essential and what is not.

As long as we disagree about some things anyway, I’ll turn the crank a few clicks on the theological torture rack and mention something good to be aware of.

While identification with mainline church denominations is diminishing, it doesn’t mean we all flow into a big, unified congregation of Bible-believing Christians. You mistake this world for heaven.

Authors, especially new ones, need to be transparent about their theological perspectives to agents and publishers.

Don’t be surprised if the topic of your personal theological framework comes up when discussing your proposed book.

Why? Because it makes a difference. Again, don’t mistake this world with heaven.

Few Christian publishers are without a clearly defined theological standard for what they publish and what they won’t. There are different publishers and editors spanning the range of theology in just about every area imaginable.

To be honest, whenever I hear someone say, “I don’t want to get into the details of my beliefs, I just believe in God,” thinking that statement would be sufficient to end the discussion, my mind wanders over to James 2:19: “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror (NLT).

I’ve noticed a number of authors and Christian ministries are not forthcoming with their theological perspective on their websites or other online iterations of their work. That’s okay. No need to be off-putting to anyone right away.

But at some point, you will need to be forthcoming in your book proposal or in conversations about your specific theological perspective. Again, few publishers are without a clearly defined theological standard for what they publish and, just as important, what they won’t.

For authors, you are asking a publisher to invest money in your book. They have a right to know a lot about your theological perspective.

There is an unwritten agreement between agents and publishers that we make every effort to present proposals to them that are generally within their theological grid to avoid wasting their time.

Creeds and statements of faith are seen by some as memorized words that don’t mean much.

I think they mean a lot.

If you can truthfully say you agree with one of the historic creeds of the church or you can point to a big-picture statement of faith (like this one from the National Association of Evangelicals), or something else, you can give everyone a good idea of your perspective.

I know we only want to be known as Christ-followers, which should be enough. But until we all get to heaven, you are going to need to be more transparent about your theological beliefs to those involved in publishing your book.

If you are curious, Steve Laube posted a Statement of Faith for our agency, which can be found here:

12 Responses to Author Statement of Faith

  1. Margo Carmichael August 18, 2021 at 6:50 am #

    I love this.
    We are warned by Paul that there are other gospels, other jesuses, and other spirits, Galatians 1, and 2 Corinthians 11. We don’t want to influence readers by them, or be influenced by them as readers, either.
    Thank you so much for posting.

  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser August 18, 2021 at 6:51 am #

    My statement of faith today would probably not fly for a publisher; it’s too personally informed by circumstance, but it’s become burnished and real in flames hotter than I would have imagined I could bear…and have borne only with the Help that engenders faith that can stand on its own when I feel so terribly alone (as I do now, writing this).

    I was fashioned for a reason,
    a purpose set for me
    beyond the killing season
    of cancer’s Calvary.
    I believe that God is good and kind,
    even though, here in the fire
    I am choking, scared and blind
    and the smoke is rising higher.
    I know that all alone, I’m lost,
    that Hell is destination
    except for He who paid the cost
    of Blood for my salvation,
    and so, though each day is a trial,
    I’ve reason now to hope, and smile.

  3. Joy Godbold August 18, 2021 at 7:15 am #

    Excellent! Thank you, Dan and Steve.

  4. Ted Atchley August 18, 2021 at 8:44 am #

    Thank you Dan and Steve. In accordance with your counsel, I have added a statement of faith to my website.

  5. Jeannie Delahunt August 18, 2021 at 8:47 am #

    Great to know and to actively keep in mind. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Linda Burks August 18, 2021 at 9:22 am #

    I said I have the money to get Published & I wanted to know how much it would cost to have my Manuscript be in a Book Form, but you don’t like the Words God Put into My Heart To Write, so I don’t think we are a good fit!!!

  7. Kristen Joy Wilks August 18, 2021 at 10:19 am #

    That makes sense. My husband and I work at a small Bible camp and the rental groups sign a very basic statement of faith bases on the Apostle’s Creed to rent the camp. I think keeping a faith statement simple is probably a good idea for writer’s as well.

  8. Kristen Joy Wilks August 18, 2021 at 10:22 am #

    Ha! I just looked at Steve’s Statement of Faith and it is almost the same thing that we use at camp.

  9. Ellie Langford August 18, 2021 at 11:54 am #

    Steve’s well-written statement of faith matches mine.

  10. Claire O'Sullivan August 18, 2021 at 2:05 pm #

    Hi Dan

    great points. I have my website say Christian romantic suspense but not a statement of faith. My faith statement goes into my proposals and the ‘who is your audience for’ (basically).

    Since I’d learned ‘Don’t preach to the choir,’ I put my statement of faith within the text of the novel usually because a main character is an unbeliever. Reaching the lost and giving Christians a way to share is a goal of mine.

    My current WIP, my scientist only has use for science. But when her love interest likens it to a fatal genetic disorder, her eyes see what he means. Our spiritual DNA is corrupt and we’re doomed to die forever separated from life with God. Anyhoo I oft add a regular statement of faith for those not well versed in science.

  11. Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D. August 18, 2021 at 4:49 pm #

    Thanks for the blog posting, Dan. In my novels, I share the gospel but don’t hit anyone over the head with the Bible. I do stick to a very clear salvation by grace message.

  12. Kathleen Barrett August 18, 2021 at 4:52 pm #

    Great advice! I had never thought of adding a statement of faith to my website. I wrongly assumed, my writing would be enough to convey my statement of faith standing. Shame on me! I shall get to work on crafting my statement. Thank you for the links as well.

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