Monday, June 21, 2010

The Problem With Some Christian Novels

Christian fiction is my genre of choice, next to young adult novels, which I’ll read if the story is Christian fiction or not. I do have to start being more careful about my reading choices, though, because, in my eagerness to support authors of young adult fiction, I have bought quite a few books lately where characters are taking the Lord’s name in vain all left and right. To see or hear the sweet name of Jesus Christ - a name higher than any other name - being used as an expression or a curse word irks me straight to my spirit. Now, I don’t claim to know the Bible from cover to cover and I am certainly no theologian, but I do listen to teachings by men and women of God such as Dr. Charles Stanley and Joyce Meyer and Pastor Fred Price, Jr. and Dr. David Jeremiah who know how to interpret the Word of God and know how to break it down so anyone listening will be able to understand. I don’t take the time to open my Bible every single day (I’m working on that) but I never went an entire week without reading God’s Word and I use a study Bible so it’s not like I don’t know anything. There is quite a bit I do understand. So okay, to the point... There is quite a bit of Christian fiction that is not what it should be. Why? There are parts of the story that don’t line up with the Word of God. Christian fiction should always agree with what God says in His Word. Yes, the stories are made up but Christianity is real, God is real, Jesus is real and the Holy Spirit is real. So any part of a Christian novel that refers to any Person of the Trinity or anything that has to do with the Bible must be accurate or readers are being misled. This is a tragic mistake I have found quite often in Christian fiction and I am so disappointed each and every time it happens. When I read content in a Christian novel that doesn’t line up with the Word of God to me it’s like a man or woman of God standing at the podium and feeding the congregation wrong information. (This is something that does happen at times, which is why God tells His children to test the Spirits – Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the Spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world – 1 John 4:1)

Christian novels aren’t written just to entertain - or they shouldn’t be, in my opinion. Yes, it is great for Christians to read enjoyable stories that should reinforce life in Christ but I believe these books are also witnessing tools for people of other faiths or especially those who don’t seem to believe anything at all when it comes to spiritual matters. God is using the writing talents of His children to reach those who need to be reached, to send life-changing messages that need to be sent and to teach valuable lessons that need to be learned. That’s not to say secular novels can’t send positive, encouraging, uplifting messages but with Christianity Jesus is the key. People can make hundreds of positive changes in their lives that probably help them to feel better each day about themselves and circumstances and life but if they don’t have the Holy Spirit (God’s Spirit) dwelling on the inside - something that can only happen when Jesus Christ is received as Lord and Savior – all the happiness in the world really doesn’t mean a whole lot in the end. And that’s the same with Christian fiction. The book can have a beautiful cover or an established author’s name attached to it or an endorsement by a well-known author to draw readers , but what’s going on inside?

I realize Christians are all at different places in their spiritual walk: some are still babes in Christ, some are way more spiritually mature than others and some may even be stagnant in their spiritual growth. So my thinking is: authors of Christian fiction should always pass their manuscripts on to brothers or sisters in Christ who are further along in their Christian walk than they are. Actually, let more than one other true Christian read the story. Get as much feedback as possible. Also, Christian publishing companies should make sure there is an editor and proofreader on their staff who really knows the Word of God or won’t mind researching what they don’t know to make sure quality Christian fiction gets into the readers’ hands. Typos happen but perfection is crucial when it comes to the gospel truth portions of the story.

Okay, so I'm reading a Christian novel and a sentence or a paragraph or maybe even the whole page jumps out at me because I know God's Word says something totally different. When that happens I really feel like readers are being cheated. Christian publishing companies should care about what they put out there but I know from what I've read that there are some that don't. Christianity is not a game; it is serious business. Spiritual warfare is a reality and authors of Christian fiction should always keep in mind the unseen forces of Satan. If he can make his way into the stories and confuse readers, he will. One way God speaks to people is through His Word (the Bible) and for those who have no idea what His Word says, but they are reading Christian fiction, how can they know when the wrong message is being sent? There is no way they can know, so I mention these contradictions when I write reviews so readers will know. I am not against any author but I am most definitely against Satan. And, more importantly, I am for God and I am for the reader.

I won’t mention every contradiction I’ve found in Christian fiction, but I’ll end by listing two:

1. I have read more than one story where a Christian character seemed to be okay with karma and all I could do was shake my head with disappointment. Karma isn’t just about getting back what you put out or reaping what you sow, as God puts it; it also has to do with reincarnation. I do not believe in reincarnation and no true Christian should. When Christians leave this world our bodies will die and our spirits will go to heaven (For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it-Ecclesiastes 12:7 -New Living Translation) If you’re not a Christian and you’re thinking right now, well, I don’t believe that, then what you are doing is rejecting the truth of God’s Word and that’s your choice. But it would be really great if you would choose life. Please, please think about accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

2.This is something I have heard so many people say, and I have read a Christian novel or two where a Christian character spoke these words to someone who wasn’t saved: We are all God’s children. This is not the truth. (But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn! This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan; this rebirth comes from God – John 1:12-13 – New Living Translation) Every human being was created by God but every person in this world is not a child of God. To become a child of God you must be born into God’s eternal family or born again, which means your spirit is reborn. How do you do this? You confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins and you accept Him as your personal Lord and Savior. If you haven’t already made that choice, I pray that you consider it. Heaven is a real place and so is Hell. Please believe that.

1 comment:

J:-)mi said...

Wow! I started checking out your blog because you became a "liker" of CTF Devourer on faceook and I was excited to see who my new fan was. Then I started reading your blog and stumbled across this! I'm really excited to read this! This is what I'm saying too. Christian fiction needs to convey a Biblical truth - an intentional message to the readers. It's not just about entertainment, it needs to go beyond that! And merely having good morals isn't enough either if you leave out the reason behind those good morals. I've actually had a Christian publishing company tell me they don't put Scripture in their books for fear they'll be too "preachy"! That saddened me. I've seen a number of Christian authors write less and less of "Christian books" and more just "good morals books" and I'm excited to learn of a Christian Teen Fiction author who isn't afraid to put the "Christian" in her Christian books!