Sometimes my office receives submissions for books that claim to solve a problem or provide the answer to a question that has been plaguing mankind since it was known to be an issue. To wit:
- Why the death penalty is Biblical.
- Why the death penalty is not Biblical.
- Why there is climate change.
- Why there is not climate change.
- Why Dispensationalism (or another Bible interpretation) is right.
- Why Dispensationalism (name any Bible interpretation) is wrong.
- How God created the universe.
- Prophecies the Bible proclaimed exclusively to the author.
Because puny little man needs something to stew about, some questions and problems will never be “solved” because two sides will form an opinion and no amount of logic, bullying, or even love will cause the two sides to agree. But those engaging in love live in a more Christlike manner than bullies. They will disagree gently and then everyone gets to eat apple pie together. But still, they will disagree.
The problem-solving author may have a large Sunday school class, or even an entire church or group of churches, plus all the author’s family (even the braggart brother-in-law) in agreement that the author has solved the problem. Unfortunately for the author, these groups do not encompass the entire reading public. And not even the entire pool of editors.
So what is the problem-solving author to do?
- Convince readers the topic is worth addressing.
- Show why readers look to YOU as an authority on this issue.
- Resist the urge to claim to have solved the problem.
- Present the answer as a viewpoint.
- Support the viewpoint with plenty of academic and practical evidence.
- Invite readers to come to their own conclusions.
A position of humility will convince readers interested in your topic to join the debate. You may not bring everyone to your side, but at least you will have been heard…and read.
What topics do you want to read about?
What problem do you want solved?
Other than the Bible, what is the best nonfiction book you’ve read lately?