RESTORING FAITH TO THOSE WHO DOUBT
…where those who believe can find
…and share their experiences with others from all walks of life!
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What is Repenthouse.org?
Repenthouse.org is a website maintained by the Repenthouse Publications, a publishing company headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, specializing in inspirational and self-help literature. Our primary purpose is to facilitate the repentance mandated by God in the Bible as recorded in Isaiah 55:7 and Mark 1:14-15, thus “helping humanity come clean for Christ.”
2. What kind of material do you publish?
We publish both fiction and nonfiction, from two-page tracts to thousand-page textbooks, on a wide variety of subjects presented principally, though not exclusively, from a non-denominational Evangelical Christian perspective. We are also interested in exploring not only interdenominational discourse but also interfaith relations among all major world religions. Readers are invited to review our Topics page for a summary of the subjects we’re considering for publication from month to month.
3. What do you mean by Evangelical Christianity? Don’t all Christians practice evangelism?
Given the terms of Lord’s Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28:19-20 (“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”), we certainly hope so. But just what is this Good News (in Greek the evangelion) we are called to preach “to every creature” (Mark 16:15)? How does it make a difference in our lives as Christians?
First, it teaches that salvation is effected by grace through our faith in God’s revelations (Ephesians 2:8), particularly with regard to the Atonement, and not by means of “works” or any number of good deeds. The Bible also reminds us that, however sincerely felt, faith that does not produce ethical action is dead (James 2:20-26). The prophet Isaiah acknowledged millennia ago,
“We are all as an unclean thing,
and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;
and we all do fade as a leaf;
and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
Second, Evangelical Christianity emphasizes the “born again” experience described in John 3:3-16. We must be born “from above” – a parallel meaning of the Greek adverb anōthen used in John 3:3 – and spiritually renewed by the experience (2 Corinthians 5:17), making us children of God and not of the material world that resists His will.
Third, we accept the inspiration and authority of the Holy Bible, containing the spoken and written Word of God, to guide us in all matters of faith and morality. Although it contains many timeless historical and psychological truths, we don’t regard it as a work of rational scientific inquiry like Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species or Bertrand Russell’s ABC of Relativity. We thus tend not to adopt Young Earth Creationism or Flat Earth pseudoscience as cosmological viewpoints.
A trans-denominational coalition of Bible-believing Christians, Evangelicals can be found in virtually every Protestant denomination and tradition, particularly within the Reformed (or Calvinist, including the Presbyterian), Baptist, Methodist (or Wesleyan-Arminian), Moravian, Pentecostal, and charismatic churches. We share a common core of beliefs with other denominations as well, including Anglicans, Latter-day Saints, Lutherans, Orthodox Christians, Restorationists, Roman Catholics, Seventh-day Adventists, and even Unitarian-Universalists. Some Catholics consider themselves Evangelical Christians because of the Church’s emphasis on traditional evangelism. We likewise share a special spiritual affinity with Jews, to whose ancestors the Lord first revealed His will for His people, and with whom we believe His Covenant to be fully in force to this day, and also with Muslims, who continue the Abrahamic tradition and revere Jesus Christ as a Prophet of God.
4. If I’m a Roman Catholic and support the mission of the Church, may I still submit articles to Repenthouse for publication?
By all means. Repenthouse Publications was founded to provide educational material on the subject of Christianity to all readers interested in learning about them. We respect a wide diversity of opinions – even when they differ from our officially editorial policy. We want people from all walks of life to communicate with each other freely but respectfully, to share ideas and common ambitions with each other, and ultimately to learn what we can from each other while striving to make the world a better, kinder, and more productive home for all its inhabitants.
We ask that you identify a denominational viewpoint as such so we may target the appropriate audience. That stated, we may occasionally publish works critical of specific practices or even teachings within non-Evangelical groups. We do this to promote discourse among the adherents of different doctrinal viewpoints. What are the Roman Catholic Church’s latest teachings about purgatory, for instance, and why do most Protestants still reject them? What advantage if any is to be gained from venerating saints? Is the Church’s official teaching on limbo, particularly the Limbo of the Infants, widely understood by believers? How do interdenominational families navigate points of disagreement? We want to hear from both sides of these and similar issues. Authors should be careful not to allow their criticism of a particular institution devolve into an outright attack on the faith of a brother or sister in Christ.
5. As a member in good standing with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), may I quote from the Book of Mormon as inspired scripture?
Authors should always exhibit the courage of their convictions. We only ask that you identify your point of view for the benefit and education our reading audiences. We may ask you to clarify or defend a point of faith in your text that you may take for granted but which may not be familiar or acceptable to non-Mormons. In the Book of Mormon, for example, Jacob 2:27 seems to prohibit polygamy. Later commentators have claimed that the prophet Jacob was referring only to “unauthorized” polygamy different in intent from the institution practiced by many early Mormon leaders, including the Joseph Smith (1805-44) and Brigham Young (1801-77). Though the practice was officially discontinued in 1890, perhaps under political pressure as some critics maintain, many fringe groups drawing inspiration from the Book of Mormon still practice it, often in secret. Many more defend it as a reputable tradition.
The editors of Repenthouse Publications will determine at their sole discretion what material they will publish and in what format. If you as an author are asked to explain or modify a particular passage and opt not to do so, we may reject your submission entirely.
6. Is Repenthouse a vanity press?
Absolutely not. Vanity presses will publish virtually any book regardless of theme, typically in bulk and with little or no editorial control, at its author’s expense, which is usually considerable. Repenthouse Publications, on the other hand, only publishes works on doctrinally sound topics, carefully editing them for accuracy and readability, and printing them on demand at the reader’s expense. Most titles are also made available in e-book format. Although our editorial staff is highly selective about the material we publish, we never ask authors for payment up front. As the Bible reminds us, “I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11). We believe laborers should be paid fair wages for their work, which is typically a creative endeavor.
7. Does Repenthouse pay advances to authors?
No. We pay royalties based on actual sales, not prospective sales. We are intent not to gamble away company resources or our clients’ savings. “A feast is made for laughter,” the Bible teaches in Ecclesiastes 10:19, “and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.”
8. Is Repenthouse a not-for-profit organization?
No. We are dedicated to securing a modest profit both for ourselves and our clients. We occasionally ask authors if we can distribute shorter publications, such as evangelical tracts, to the public free of charge as a way to advertise the messages they contain. They may choose to opt out of this program as they so choose. “Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning” (Leviticus 19:13).
9. How are royalties paid?
Royalties are usually paid by PayPal within 60 to 90 days of the first sale, and then once a month after that. This admittedly lengthy time period was established by Amazon.com, Inc. We hope to be able to narrow it somewhat in the future. At present there is no guarantee that we’ll be able to do that. Royalties may also be paid by mail.
10. How thoroughly do you edit manuscripts?
We edit them extensively for grammar, spelling, punctuation, style, taste, and overall accuracy. We also keep an eye of a work’s doctrinal integrity. That’s why we ask our authors to identify their religious viewpoint. If you’re writing from an Anglican or Baptist perspective, for instance, you probably won’t want to include a stay in purgatory as a key plot element, whereas when writing from a Roman Catholic perspective you may.
Similarly, though not all Christian denominations teach that unrepentant sinners are condemned to an eternity in hell, none believe that it’s possible for the damned to escape from hell. A setting that looks and feels like hell, furthermore, may turn out to be something else entirely, such as a prison, a zoo, or even a laboratory on the surface of an inhospitable planet. That said, we expect our authors to know their craft. All writers spend most if not all their adult lives perfecting that craft, so we’re willing to work with authors who demonstrate talent at the expense of training. We expect their style to improve as they continue to write.
Authors should be informed about the subject matter that inspires them to write. If you submit a story about everyday live in the Middle Ages, for example, make sure you know how the characters put food on the table, get to work, and go to the bathroom (whether or not you actually describe these utterly mundane activities in your text). Beware of littering your work with anachronisms – and that includes anachronistic ideas. In his 1950 novel Barabbas, for instance, Swedish Nobel Prize winner Pär Lagerkvist (1891-1974) takes special care to evoke the time of Christ faithfully, but presents a decidedly Lutheran understanding of atonement in his narrative. Authors may freely interpret historical events according to 21st-century theories of human behavior, but they should avoid reading the specific circumstances that prompted the Council of Trent (1545-63), for instance, back into the Book of Acts. If at all possible they should expand on a contemporary understanding of their characters’ actions. Watch the language you put into the mouths of your characters as well. Caesars and centurions shouldn’t talk like Southerners. Read as much contemporary literature as you can find and mirror the dialogue in it without copying it directly. The works of Philo of Alexandria, as an example, bridge the gap between the Septuagint and the New Testament in terms of style, and a study of the Talmud, however cursory, sheds light onto the birth of Christianity in Galilee.
If in-depth research is required to vet a specific manuscript, a correspondingly higher percentage of editing fees will be deducted from royalties paid to the author.
11. Do you accept simultaneous submissions?
As a general rule, we do not. This means that you should never submit a full manuscript to us that you’ve already submitted to a different publisher for review. You should also never submit a manuscript that we’re in the process of reviewing to another house for consideration. The review process can take up to six months. If you wish to withdraw a manuscript from consideration, let us know Note that this rule applies to full manuscripts only, not to simple proposals, outlines, or suggestions. That’s why we always start with a short summary of the work you’re trying to get published. If we’re interested, we’ll ask for more. Repenthouse Publications assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts. Most are simply deleted. In these days of rampant computer hacking, however, you never know where they might wind up. Therefore we strongly recommend that you follow our submission guidelines to the letter. Authors who violate the rules may be blacklisted.
12. Are your publications copyrighted?
Yes, but with a proviso. Because of the restrictive cost involved, articles, monographs, pamphlets, tracts comprising fewer than 10,000 words are normally registered for copyright as part of an anthology once a year. Copyrights are held by Repenthouse Publications and may in some cases be sold back to the authors of a copyrighted work.
13. Do I have to be a Christian to be published by Repenthouse?
No – but it certainly helps. We are in fact interested in a wide range of viewpoints taken from both Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, and even secular perspectives. But because we are an Evangelical Christian publishing house, we insist that manuscripts not openly disparage mainstream Christianity or its key doctrines (the Virgin Birth, the Divinity of Christ, the Atonement, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the Ascension, the Inspiration of Scripture, the Second Coming, and the Last Judgment). We acknowledge that most non-Christians, and even many putative Christians, doubt or even deny some of these fundamental teachings. If you do, we ask that you identify the ideological source of your beliefs.
Christadelphians, Christian Scientists, Gnostics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Latter-day Saints (or Mormons), Oneness Pentecostals, Swedenborgians, and Unitarians all offer unique Christologies that have been branded sectarian by mainstream Christians. We welcome submissions from their members and adherents as long as we are informed which audience to target. To cite a random example, Presbyterian readers will gain a greater appreciation for distinctive Pentecostal teachings, such as the Gift of Tongues, if they are clearly identified as such. The Assemblies of Yahweh, Grace Communion International (formerly the Worldwide Church of God), Iglesia ni Cristo, La Luz del Mundo, the Two by Twos, the Unification Church (whose members are popularly known as Moonies), and The Way International all espouse non-Trinitarian doctrines that have been labeled heterodox. The largest of these have their own publication societies with their own authority control, not unlike the censors in the Roman Catholic Church who issue the nihil obstat and imprimatur declarations printed in many religious books. We extend a hand of friendship to them as brethren in Christ.
Repenthouse has no interest in dividing or in any way restricting the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). We actually hope to foster dialogue not only among the various denominations but among the world’s many religious traditions. We strive to be a publishing house where Sunnis can sit at the same intellectual table as Moonies and Flat-Earthers and discuss their beliefs in a spirit of mutual respect and collaboration in achieving the greater good for everyone.
Of course – as long as your approach is motivated by love for the victims of these painful proceedings and not out of a desire for vengeance. As Jesus taught, “There is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad” (Mark 4:22). There are often victims on both sides of the argument – specifically victims of delusion. God often calls writers to expose such unpleasant truths to public scrutiny. False accusations should never be leveled against any individual or institution, however, so authors must be careful to document their assertions accurately. Familiarize yourself with the dangers that muckrakers and other investigative journalists face – beginning, naturally with the prophet Jeremiah, whom the Lord called to preach against both political and religious corruption, not to mention public apathy.
15. What if I’m a Christian but rarely if ever attend church?
As publishers we don’t pry into the personal lives of our authors beyond asking them to tell us a little “about the author,” which we print on the back of your book. “The eyes of the Lord,” however, “are in every place, beholding the evil and the good,” as the Bible reminds us in Proverbs 15:3. It goes without saying that every True Christian knows God wants him or her to commune with other believers in a reputable house of worship where the Bible is preached faithfully under the type of leadership outlined in Titus 1:6-11. On the other hand, most of us have encountered our share of lying, thieving, and often lustful pastors who have fleeced their flocks instead of shepherding them after the manner of Christ (John 10:1-17). Likewise, many churches led by God-fearing pastors have been infiltrated by atheists, communists, devil worshippers, Freemasons, idolaters, moneygrubbers, sex maniacs, social justice warriors, troublemakers, ultraliberals, and sundry subversives doing the devil’s bidding to destroy that congregation from within. God calls many of us to write in part to expose corruption in the churches, but always with the ultimate aim of healing them, not of driving the faithful from the community of Christ.
We understand how popular megachurches can sometimes dampen a believer’s zeal because their leaders are obviously serving mammon instead of God (Matthew 6:24). Nevertheless we want to stress the importance of finding the right church for you and your family. How can anyone pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10), and not be impelled by the Holy Spirit to seek out the company of other true believers? Readers are naturally more inclined to trust a regular churchgoer than an occasional attendee or an outright hypocrite who doesn’t practice what he or she preaches or professes to believe. We shouldn’t have to tell you that building readers’ confidence is crucial to an author’s success.
16. May I use a pseudonym?
In a published work, yes, if you must. You will enter into a legally binding contract with Repenthouse Publications under your true, current, and legal name, which we request along with your date of birth, Social Security Number (or business EIN if the Internal Revenue Service has issued you one), and mailing address. None of these particulars will be disclosed to the public. You may use pseudonyms, or pen names, in your publications provided they are in no way fraudulent, proprietary, inflammatory, or offensive. We ask that you use as few of these as possible – say, one for nonfiction, another for romance stories, and still another for mystery stories, if needed. These need not reflect your actual sex or gender, and may be sexually ambiguous. We reserve the right to approve pseudonyms based on length, spelling, pronunciation, and meaning. That stated, authors are encouraged to come up with imaginative and memorable pen names to suit their purposes.
17. Are royalties taxable income?
Usually, yes. Authors living inside the United States and its territories are required to complete IRS Tax Form W-9, a Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, on which most provide their Social Security Number. Those who have started a business to sell their writing may use this business’s Employer Identification Number or EIN. If royalties paid exceed $10.00 per year, authors receive IRS Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, showing the total amount of non-employee compensation paid during the tax year. Repenthouse doesn’t withhold taxes. Foreign nationals must complete IRS Form W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding, to certify their non-U.S. taxpayer status.
We strongly recommend that you meet with a tax accountant before submitting manuscripts for publication. An excellent resource on the subject is Carol Topp’s Business Tips and Taxes for Writers. You probably won’t get rich writing inspirational literature, or even earn enough to get by without working a primary job, but you can gain recognition from publication in the evangelical market. Every now and then, of course, one of us receives a special blessing from above and cashes in. As much as you may enjoy writing – and we hope you do – don’t imagine that it translates into easy money. It takes patience, perseverance, dedication, a clear vision, and a lot of hard work to write successfully. Most people need a lot of practice at first as well. Once they succeed in selling their work, or establish a loyal following on the web, they will have to spend the rest of their lives honing and perfecting their craft to keep up with other writers – and the latest technologies.
We hope they’ll enjoy every minute of the creative process, in spite of the occasional rejection, setback, and failure. A formula that earns an author thousands one year may barely generate reviews the next. Public tastes in literature are fickle and fleeting. For that reason, writers have to master the fine art of letting go and moving on. Some of your most highly prized ideas, even ones you’ve spent years working into the shape you envisioned as a teenager, may have to be jettisoned in favor of a project more in touch with today’s social issues. Most importantly, you have to be able to consider others’ opinions carefully, without overreacting to them; to glean what you can from their input without swallowing criticism hook, line, and sinker; and to continue your creative process with new insights but without discouragement. You must remain rooted in the present even while you recreate the past on paper (or in cyberspace). Moreover, as much as may you revere family values (as we hope you do), you can’t write for Leave It to Beaver (1957-63) anymore. You may still enjoy the show in reruns, but the day and age for that kind of narrative didn’t survive the Kennedy administration. It was a tad dated even then.
Don’t think we’re encouraging anyone to burn their treasured manuscripts. As the old saying goes, what goes around comes around. Long-dead fads sometimes come to life again, albeit in new and usually unexpected contexts. Never be afraid to tailor your work for mass consumption. Keeping your traditional values alive in such projects can prove challenging to some.
18. Will you help promote my book?
To the extent that we can do so without losing money, we will promote your work on our websites. We will advise you of opportunities to showcase your work at Christian retreats, workshops, and book signings held near where you live, work, or visit regularly. This task becomes easier for all parties involved once you’ve built a following, either through your literary output or some other channel, such as preaching, singing, or reading aloud to children in libraries. You may also be asked to assist by maintaining your own social media page, website, blog, podcast, or YouTube channel to make your work more accessible to the public.
19. Am I allowed to address serious doubts in my writing – a doubt that God even exists, for instance, or that Jesus really saves, or that Christians are any better people than atheists?
As a general rule, yes, but with the following conditions. Doubts should be articulated in detail so they may be properly addressed. Given our mission to restore faith to those who doubt, however, we ask our authors not to end their manuscripts on a note of doubt or despair, as some works of existentialism, like Søren Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling, may seem to. Instead we required that you offer attainable, tangible, and reliable hope to those who have given up on God’s promises to return, reconnect, redeem, replenish, and resolve discord – even if that hope isn’t fulfilled completely, immediately, or even ostensibly. Don’t allow the seeds of doubt to grow into depression, despair, or disaster. Always provide a feasible alternative and at least set out in the right direction toward it even if you (or your characters) don’t reach your ultimate destination. Authors should likewise never underestimate the psychological value of hope in the face of hopelessness. If nothing else it trains the mind to look for, develop, and above all implement solutions to real-world problems that often seem hopeless. “[May] the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after…ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Peter 5:10).
20. What if I don’t believe in God at all but have the utmost respect for believers who are not hypocrites?
Contrary to what you may or may not believe, God frequently uses unbelievers to reach believers. We are all Our Heavenly Father’s children no matter what we may happen to believe or disbelieve. Some of us are simply more wayward and undisciplined than others, and the Lord will rein us in as He sees fit. Always remember, “the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Likewise, none of us is perfect: “There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not [at some point] (Ecclesiastes 7:20).
Sharing a common purpose with the Christian community even as an outsider is preferable to remaining completely aloof from us, or critical of our way of life, which should be characterized by humility instead of pride. Engaging in discussion with the people of God can lead to blessings on both sides of the apparent divide. So yes, if you can agree not to disparage believers and the Biblical doctrines by which we endeavor to live our everyday lives, we will gladly review your contribution to our literary treasure chest.
The Lord Jesus famously broke bread with tax collectors, prostitutes, and other social outcasts. Rubbing elbows with righteous men and women, who are after all sinners just like you saved by God’s boundless grace, will work in your favor for reasons you may not suspect.
21. I specialize in the writings of the Early Church Fathers. Would it be all right to summarize them and apply them to contemporary matters of faith, doctrine, and observance?
To the extent that their teachings are firmly rooted in New Testament Christology, as most of them are, we welcome them. This is particularly true of the Apostolic Church Fathers, like Ignatius of Antioch (ca. 35-ca. 110), who worked directly with the Lord’s Apostles, and the Greek Church Fathers like Irenaeus of Lyons (ca. 130-ca. 202), who wrote in the language of the New Testament. The somewhat later Latin Church Fathers like Tertullian (ca. 155-ca. 222) took Christianity in a new direction. Writings that draw on the canon of Scripture will appeal to a wider audience of Christians than those that focus on more exclusively Roman Catholic or Greek Orthodox doctrine.
The works of Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430), particularly his Confessions; Saint Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), particularly Canticle of the Sun; and Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-74), particularly his vast Summa Theologica. Saint Thomas More’s Utopia (1516), widely believed to be a satirical (though some critics disagree), remains popular and influential as well. In many respects it invites comparison to Augustine’s The City of God.
22. I’m just a drunk who enjoys writing stories for children – moral stories that never glorify the use of alcohol, by the way. Is it OK if I submit some of them to your company?
You may. As long as your propensity toward alcohol doesn’t influence your writing, specifically by encouraging others, especially young people, to fritter their lives away by pursuing strong drink, we’ll give them all due consideration. That said, if your bad habits are well known in your community, you may not be able to serve as a proper role model for children or adults. As an Evangelical Christian publishing house, we are obliged to take an author’s reputation into consideration when deciding what material to publish. Although we appreciate your honesty, we can extend more favorable consideration to those on the road to recovery from a substance addiction.
23. Do you publish material in any language besides English?
24. English is not my first (or even my primary) language, but I have studied it extensively in school. if I write in broken or foreign-sounding English, can you edit to make it read like a native speaker’s writing?
To a limited extent, yes. But if your vocabulary, spelling, and differ so widely from the norm that native readers will have trouble understanding it as written, you might as well hire someone better skilled at the language to rewrite the manuscript for you. Submit what you’ve written on the condition that it might be rejected if it requires a great deal of editing. Note, however, that many dialects of English are spoken worldwide, so there is no longer just one “standard” language.