Someone asked me recently what I thought of the concept of Christian Fiction. This question caught me off guard to a certain degree, because the purpose for the question appeared unfounded. Let me say it this way: To ask for the need of Christian Fiction is like asking why create Christian music, or paintings depicting the glory of God. I never hear anyone wonder of the need of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel or wonder at that miracle in marble of the sculpture of David, or the depth of sorrow, loss, and hope captured in the Pietà.
In every culture and in every ethnic group recorded in human history, the chief vehicle of education has been the story. First in the oral tradition and then as civilization grew, the story grew right along with it and evolved into the written form; and finally in the forms of movies and cinema we enjoy today. But the question before us is why should we as Christians’ leave our generation’s stories in the hands of an unbelieving populace.
When we consider the mechanism of story, of course, even the Bible tells of the use of the oral tradition, but the question to us is that of fiction. For that, let us look to the New Testament and the use of parables. According to Dictionary.com, a parable is a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson. This was the chief tool used in instruction by Jesus.
As writers of fiction, we have at the tip of our fingers the ability to carry on the tradition of Jesus by using stories to teach about the principles and philosophies of Christianity. Consider the wonderful lessons of creation as described in C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The With and the Wardrobe or the power revealed in General Lew Wallace’s Ben Hur, A Tale of the Christ, and ask yourself where would we be without them.
Now think of the power of hope and salvation woven in the pages of Francine River’s Redeeming Love as the lead character, Michael Hosea, loves and established the heart of his wayward wife in the truth of Christian love. In my own story, NOTORIOUS, the lead character, Nate Richards, deals with contemporary problems in a metropolitan setting and the reader is allowed, through Nate’s interaction, to experience the leadership and guidance of the Spirit of God as he deals with real life situations.
This is the power of story. We have at our disposal the means to bring our readers along into any of life’s situations and allow them to experience the truths of Christ. As writers, if we fail to do this, I wonder if we won’t be among those who will find themselves numbered with those giving an account to Jesus for the talents we left unused. Just saying…. Think about it.