“I thought you, as a publishing company, had a base requirement for all your authors to agree with the Apostle’s Creed…isn’t that right?”
“Well… yes. That is right. I can’t imagine that any of our authors don’t agree on that basic foundation of the faith.”
Boy, was I ever wrong!
It turned out we had published a book for someone who “sounded like a Christian” but in reality was not. He wrote on a very narrow topic, using scripture as a reference point, but never related his own personal testimony or shared his faith. It was basically a book defending what he believed to be the time and date of the crucifixion of Christ.
I received an alarming email asking if I was aware of this author’s representation, not only of Christ, but of us as a Christian publisher. I had to admit I was unaware of this prolific author and all his divisive posts that bullied those he lectured to, and the way he used being a published author to prove his credibility.
I was shocked to find out that this author was spending enormous amounts of time on different sites posting rude comments, finger pointing, name calling, and basically behaving anything but Christlike.What we realized after the fact was that he was using his opinions in the book to start debates to actually draw people away from Christ.
Yes, in America we enjoy freedom of speech, but when that freedom clearly communicates a viewpoint that denies the deity of Christ or sullies the cause of Christ and is associated with our company, drastic measures must be taken. Since all authors agree to publishing terms that require certain evangelical content standards, and this author was clearly in violation of this clause, he was immediately removed from our website, his book taken out of print, and his files stripped of the Redemption Press logo in preparation to be returned to him.
This situation reminded me of another recent challenge that led to another difficult decision to stand in integrity rather than bow down to financial gain.
I had worked for many hours with an author who had a faith based work that appeared to be very evangelical in nature and had no content standard issues that I could see. It seemed to cross all denominational barriers and communicate a solid message for Christ.
I had developed a professional publishing and robust marketing strategy for this author and, because the word count was quite high, the cost for this publishing project was not insignificant. As we came down to the final steps to moving forward to publish the author asked an awkward question.
“So how do you feel about publishing authors whose denominational affiliation might not line up with your personal beliefs?”
I replied by sharing a recent experience.
“Not long ago an author with six manuscripts approached Redemption Press for publishing services. As I investigated his website it became clear that he was Mormon (LDS). I politely let him know that Redemption Press would not be a good fit for him for one main reason. Even if his books didn’t promote Mormon doctrine, which is anything but evangelical, our imprint on the book communicates our support of the author and his beliefs. We cannot, in good conscience, put our good name behind an author who believes a doctrine that denies that Christ is the Only Son of the Living God,”
Must have hit close to home.
He finally spoke, admitting that he was, in fact, a Mormon, and defensively argued that the book does not promote Mormonism and crosses all faith barriers, and that he personally believes everything he wrote.
I had to stand by my convictions. We publish books for Christian authors. Mormon theology is not Christian within the standards of orthodoxy. I do respect them as individuals and respect their freedom to believe whatever they choose, yet I must let our mission guide me in protecting the work God has given us to accomplish as a company.
If your message is going to be our mission, then it must promote the cause of Christ.
Sure, we could have used the income from both these authors and their projects. But money cannot be the deciding factor. Truth must.
Our standard is the Apostle’s Creed. If an author cannot agree to those tenets, then we are not the publisher for them. We founded this company as a distinctively Christian company and are not ashamed of the gospel.