Christian Fiction Changes Lives
At the mere mention of Christian fiction (CF), many people ─ including Christians ─ roll their eyes. They don’t even give the genre a second thought.
As a writer of Christian fiction myself, I’ve heard it all. Many people think it’s too preachy, too humanly spotless, has no plot or conflict, they’re all Amish, or they’re just like Hallmark movies.
There are Christians who believe no one should read Christian fiction. They believe only the Bible and nonfiction Christian books are worthy of believers. Even some pastors have preached this from the pulpit.
God Used Fictional Stories
But I wonder how many of those pastors have ever used stories from their own lives to illustrate points in their sermons. Or have preached on the parables Jesus so famously spoke of in all four gospels? Or what about the story the prophet Nathan told King David in 2 Samuel 12? “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor…”
The story of the rich man stealing the sheep from the poor man angered David so much; he felt the rich man deserved to die. But that’s when Nathan threw in a bombshell. “You are that man!” A story had the power to convict David.
Jesus used stories to help us understand who God is. We CF writers are called to do the same.
So, what is the purpose and value of Christian fiction? What are the things CF writers hope to express in the stories they write, and what are readers looking for when they pick up a CF book?
Entertainment with Spiritual Power
Like all fiction, CF is entertainment. Who doesn’t love to escape into a good story? Mason Cooley once said: “Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”
Christian fiction has a wide variety of genres for almost every taste, be it Romance, Historical, Suspense, Young Adult (YA), and even Science fiction.
Readers flock to their favorite CF genres with the confidence that the book in their hand will not have explicit sexuality, foul language, or graphic violence. Our world is saturated enough as it is with all three.
Hope in a Dark, Imperfect World
I’m not saying CF never deals with the hard stuff. If you’ve read the Bible from front to back, and you know that it is not exactly “G-rated.” The Old Testament is full of the hard stuff of this world.
Which is precisely why there is a New Testament. Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I’ve read CF stories that have dealt with abuse, rape, human trafficking, murder, and other difficult topics. Not exactly Hallmark, right? The world is a very dark place. We Christian fiction writers want to bring hope and light into those dark places. We desire to weave horrible circumstances into redemptive stories where God gets the glory.
Christian Fiction is Faith-Building
It’s not just Bible reading and nonfiction Christian books that can help build faith, although they are important too. Some believers are stuck in comfortable Christian bubbles. Yet, through the power of story, they can experience struggles and viewpoints they’ve never encountered gain a better understanding of God
Whether the book deals with heavy topics or is a light read, whether it has a profoundly spiritual theme weaved through the story or a milder one. Or if the ending was a happily-ever-after or is a bit gloomy where the main character let out their last breath. It can still inspire us to grow closer to God.
I lead a book club at my church. Many times, my book friends have mentioned how the CF book we shared helped build their faith or dig deeper into their Bibles. Some have even said they were convicted to forgive someone or ask for forgiveness.
Christian fiction is not just for Christian women. We need to see more of it aimed at men. And both must have plots and characters that are real enough to attract the attention of non-Christians.
Always Pointing Toward the Lord
I’ve read many testimonies from readers about how it was Christian fiction that lead them to Christ. To my fellow CF writers and me, this genre is how we share the Good News. We hope that our books will plant seeds.
We want unbelievers to pick up our story for good entertainment, and to identify with a character, and see how God can change that character and us all. CF books are no replacement for the Bible, but every CF book should point towards it.
Jesus commanded believers to go and make disciples, and to preach the gospel to all the world. Some believers are called to do that at the pulpit. Some through charitable work. Others share their faith on the job. Christian fiction writers reach out to others through storytelling.
Kelsey D.M. Anderson identifies herself as a “wife, a mommy, and a writer all in one. I’m a South Dakota girl, but I now make my home in Northeast Wisconsin.” She is finishing a novel that will be released soon. Visit her site and discover why the initials in her name are so important.