Answering Your Questions
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”1 Peter 1:13-16
We’ve laid out some pretty stiff commands of Scripture during this series. I hope you have prayerfully considered these things and decided that God’s holiness requires obedience. I’ve made the decision to pull up my literary bootstraps and accept the challenge in the blessing and power of obedience to God. Will you join me? Have you joined me?
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ2 Corinthians 10:4-5
This is a spiritual battle, writing Christian fiction. And we can only prevail with God’s help. Seek Him, inside and outside of your writing. If the idea of sharing the Gospel through your writing and characters still scares you, think of it this way: It’s free evangelism where you don’t have to look at or talk to anybody. You get to think through that type of situation and craft responses without feeling flustered or anxious about saying the wrong thing. You can take your time to search the Scriptures to be able to answer objections. It’s good practice, too.
And now for your questions:
“Why do you think it’s so important for us to be mindful of what we read and to choose Christian fiction?”
We are influenced by what we take in, and when we read, watch, or listen to fiction, our guard relaxes. We can end up thinking certain immoral behaviors are okay because we’ve emotionally attached ourselves to characters who do them.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”Philippians 4:8
What we read, in particular, shapes the way we think, and as Christians we are called and disciplined to think a certain way. God lays those things out for us in Scripture. We are also called to flee temptation.
Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”Luke 22:46
When we pray to resist temptation, we can’t just sit there in the midst of temptation and say, “Here am I, Lord. Save me!” As Christians, we need to realize that praying to resist temptation includes action on our part. Are we willing to resist taking part in the temptation?
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.“1 Corinthians 10:12-14
God provides opportunity for us to escape. It is our choice to take that opportunity.
How does this relate to Christian fiction, though? Based on our study, Christian fiction should show us the way of escape in “real life” situations. We choose Christian fiction to avoid the temptation of immorality that is common in secular fiction, and also because it points us to Christ.
“Do you think Christian fiction could cross-over into genres like sci-fi, horror, and fantasy?”
The short answer is that we must be careful to glorify Christ as the only way no matter what genre we write in. However, the genres you’ve mentioned (and horror in particular) walk a finer line due to their content and focus.
To give a more detailed answer, let’s look at the definition of the “horror” genre:
Horror- a branch of fiction meant to induce fear, disgust, and loathing within the reader. These tend to have “supernatural” creatures or monsters, and employ jump-scare tactics to startle and shock the reader.
Can God be glorified through inducing the reader to feel fear, disgust, and loathing? Possibly. Will it be difficult? Yes. And if our intention as the writer is to scare the reader, then we should probably examine ourselves to see if we are trying to help our readers draw close to Christ. If we aren’t, then we need to deal with the sin in our hearts. If we are not willing to bring them close to Christ, then we are willing to drive them away.
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?1 John 4:20
As for sci-fi and fantasy… that’s a hard call. I don’t want to give my personal opinion, because all that causes is problems. I’m here to clear the air, not make it muddy. This is probably more of a convictional issue. Sci-fi is normally futuristic and deals with advanced science/technology. In itself, those qualities don’t go against biblical teaching. Fantasy is where the waters get murky. Magic, spirits, and supernatural creatures are all integral parts of the genre. What does the Bible say?
“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.”Deuteronomy 18:10-11
Based on the strong words the Bible uses against spirits, I would say using spirits, demons, or similar creatures is something that Christians need to seriously think about before writing a fantasy book. I know this is the unpopular stance, but that would be my conclusion based on what Scripture says. Magic that is based on science or mutations should, again, be considered with caution, but is a convictional issue. Spells, exorcism, and similar “magic” should most likely be avoided.
“Favorite book in the genre?”
Great question! My favorite books in the Christian genre would have to be The Giant Killer by A.L.O.E. (Lamplighter Publishing) and the Elsie Dinsmore series by Martha Finley.
I hope this series has given you a new perspective on writing and brought you closer to God. If you have any more questions or would like clarification on any of the answers I’ve provided above, please let me know in the comments. I will end with this:
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ… that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.Colossians 4:2-6