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: