An Example of How My/Our Book "Being Christian" Was Edited

John Shore

The very kind response I got to the excerpt I ran yesterday from "Being Christian," the just-released book I co-authored with Steve Arterburn, moved me to want to run another (and more serious) excerpt from that book. So I found on my computer the finalized text of "Being Christian," and began the business of cutting and pasting the excerpt from it that I thought I'd share.

In clearing that text of its MS Word formatting goblins (which is of course accomplished by first pasting it into Notepad to clean it, and then cutting and pasting it into my blog program), I lost some of its line breaks. So I opened my hardback copy of the book itself, so that I could be sure of where to properly insert those breaks.

And that's when I discovered that after we had sent off what we understood to be the finalized text of "Being Christian" (rendered via back-and-forths with the book's exceptionally talented editor, Christopher Soderstron), someone at the book's publisher had decided to go ahead and further edit that text.

So here's an example of what resulted. This passage now appears in the book as published:
"That we are saved not by works but by grace alone---the grace that comes through an unshakable faith in Jesus Christ---is central to the doctrine with which the German theologian Martin Luther profoundly challenged the Catholic Church and which ultimately resulted in the Protestant Reformation.

"Read the following carefully. It is the Great Reformer's interpretation of the apostle Paul's words, and it's something all Protestants believe: ..."

And here is how, the last we knew, that same passage was going to read:
"That we are saved not by works, but by grace alone---that is, by the grace that comes from having unshakable faith in Jesus Christ---was central to the doctrine with which the German monk and theologian Martin Luther lit afire the profound challenges to the Catholic Church that ultimately conflagrated into the Protestant Reformation. (“Protestant” as in, “protest”; “Reformation” as in “reform.” See? Luther protested! He wanted reform!)

"Read the following carefully. It was written in 1537 by The Great Reformer, and it’s something all Protestants believe. ... "

So you see the differences. Certainly nothing substantive was changed, and---what with them having paid for it, and all---the book does, after all, belong to its publisher, who is ultimately free to do with it as it pleases. (And of course it's possible Steve okayed such last minute changes. He's a busy guy; the book was on a schedule ... just because I didn't see this stuff doesn't necessarily mean he didn't.)

I only mention this little bit of business because I thought it possible that those of my readers who are particularly interested in the Publishing Process might find it vaguely diverting.


Related/follow-up post: The Difference Between Authoring and Co-Authoring.


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