The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has a process by which all materials published by its national entities are reviewed in order to certify that the content is faithful to the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. As the publishing arm of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Concordia Publishing House is required to submit its materials to the Synod's doctrinal review process.
The President of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has the responsibility for appointing doctrinal reviewers every three years. He also appoints members of the Commission on Doctrinal Review, which is responsible for establishing processes and procedures for the doctrinal review process as well as dealing with appeals of doctrinal review decisions. All persons who serve as doctrinal reviewers do so on a volunteer basis. Reviewers are chosen from the roster of professional church workers in the Missouri Synod. Concordia Publishing House makes suggestions for reviewers to the Office of the President, and upon appointment, reviewers are assigned to CPH.
During the production process at CPH, a manuscript is sent to a reviewer who remains anonymous to those involved in the writing and editing of the material. The reviewer is given a defined timeframe to complete the review and return the manuscript to Concordia Publishing House, with an indication of any changes that need to be made prior to publishing the material. All material published has successfully passed the final step of a careful review that begins with the work done by the editorial staff at Concordia Publishing House and ends with final certification by the Synod's doctrinal review process.
For all people, but particularly for the churches, schools, and members of the LCMS, the Doctrinal Review process provides the assurance that the materials published by CPH are doctrinally sound and in accordance with the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. This should be a critical factor for all individuals in comparing CPH products with those of other publishers, none of whom can offer the same assurance that is offered by CPH.
These guidelines below apply only to books of a professional or academic nature. We do not accept proposals for autobiography, poetry, fiction or children's books.
Concordia Publishing House (CPH) is the publishing arm of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. We develop, produce, and distribute (1) resources that support pastoral and congregational ministry, and (2) scholarly and professional books in exegetical, historical, dogmatic, and practical theology.
Our books are faithful to the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions, promoting the rich theological heritage of the historic, creedal Church. We aim to provide quality resources for congregations, church workers, seminaries, universities, and colleges.
This process is usually used on large team projects such as reference works, book series, or other special projects. Development projects begin with a CPH development editor. The development process typically uses work-for-hire contracts. Each project is pre-approved by the CPH Board of Directors before writing and editing begins.
The CPH editor typically acts as a general editor to identify authors or translators, approve author submissions, and prepare consistent content. Writers and translators who are interested in contributing to a development project should submit their names and credentials to the CPH development editor.
The CPH book team will unify the style of the work from different contributors (consistency of argument, fact checking, grammar, spelling, etc.). On some special projects, an outside editor acts as the general editor (e.g., the new series of Luther's Works).
Current CPH development projects include:
The Concordia Commentary: A Theological Exposition of Sacred Scripture
Christopher W. Mitchell, Concordia Commentary Editor
Luther's Works (Series Extension)
Christopher Brown and Benjamin T. G. Mayes, Managing Editor
Theological Commonplaces of Johann Gerhard
Benjamin T. G. Mayes, General Editor
This process is suited for smaller projects (e.g., a single book) by an individual author or a small team. It is similar to the peer reviewed process or "refereed" process used to publish professional or academic journals. It is especially well suited for producing a textbook from an existing manuscript.
Step 1: Submitting an Email Proposal. For all proposals, please submit the following via email to the Managing Editor for Books, Laura Lane (email@example.com). Each item may be a separate attached file (Microsoft Word or PDF):
Do not send a complete manuscript until requested. Do not mail to us finished artwork, photographs, or slides until requested.
We do not publish theses or dissertations, which are typically made available through other means (e.g., Theological Research Exchange Network; UMI Dissertation Publishing). An author wishing to turn a thesis or dissertation into a publishable book should consult From Dissertation to Book by William Germano (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing).
Step 2: Initial Review. A CPH book editor, or a reviewer appointed by the senior editor, will carefully review your proposal and consult with colleagues. The editors will focus on the quality of writing, the quality of content, the credentials of the peer reviewers, and the significance of the topic for the book market, especially for the Lutheran Church. A CPH editor will typically respond to your proposal within six weeks after acknowledging receipt of the proposal or manuscript.
You will receive one of two responses from a CPH book editor:
This initial review process does not involve a contract or any publishing agreement. If the review states that CPH is interested in your manuscript, you may still pursue publication of the manuscript with another publisher. Also, a positive review does not obligate CPH to publish a manuscript of interest. (Project approval is formally indicated when CPH issues to you a contract. See step 4 below.)
Step 3: Plans for the Manuscript. If CPH expresses interest in your proposal or manuscript, follow up (via phone call or email) with the editor who sent the review to you. The editor will explain to you how to move forward in the publication process with CPH.
You will likely receive a set of comments from the review process that will evaluate the readiness of your proposal or manuscript. You may also receive comments describing how the proposal or manuscript may be adapted to better fit the book market. If you have questions or concerns, discuss these matters with the editor who returned the comments.
You should revise the manuscript as needed, addressing any concerns or suggestions recommended by the editor, and then resubmit the manuscript to CPH. CPH will contact two peer reviewers to review your manuscript and will send them your manuscript along with the peer reviewer guidelines. After the peer reviewers go over the manuscript carefully, they will send their comments to the CPH editor. The editor will review the comments and inform you of any suggested changes or corrections to be made, keeping the identity of the reviewers anonymous if the reviewers so desire. If you and the editor agree on the final form of the manuscript, you may complete the project and submit a clean, ready-to-publish manuscript for formal approval.
As in peer reviewed journals, the author of a peer reviewed book is responsible for the final content and style of the book. CPH will provide a Microsoft Word book manuscript template and a style guide to direct the author. (Our house style is comparable with The Chicago Manual of Style.) The author may not change the format of the template or the style.
Step 4: Project Approvals. When a CPH editor is satisfied that your manuscript is ready for publication, the editor will request approval for the project at CPH. The CPH book team will guide the proposal through these in-house processes. Depending on circumstances, the approval process may take up to six months. A contract for a peer reviewed manuscript is issued only after the project is approved.
Each manuscript must also go through the doctrinal review process of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Your editor will guide the manuscript through the Synod's review process.
Download the Concordia Publishing House Stylebook for Authors and Editors
Lutheran Fulfillment Services (LFS) is a service of Concordia Publishing House (CPH) which uses our capabilities in inventory management and order fulfillment to benefit the Lutheran community at large, including Lutheran agencies and the Lutheran congregations, schools and individuals that they serve.