What makes a fictional work "Christian?" Is anything off-limits or "taboo?" Now, I realize this is topic is subjective, but I will share my opinion. I think any work that declares itself “Christian” should have a few things in common:
It should glorify God, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. This should be the motivation for any Christian writer. A Christian book can be elaborate, exciting, funny, thrilling or even touch on things considered “dark,” but in the end, it should point to the Holy Trinity and give praise. There is hope, love and life in them.
They are not fairy tales or moral equivalency stories, somehow no different than any other religious or principled figure on planet Earth. They are alive with power and holiness, moving and shaping not just this world but the entire universe. They are not limited or finite. They simply are. And they deserve praise, worship and devotion for what they have done (and continue to do) for us. As Christian writers, we should be seeking Their Will for our lives and how to best represent it through the talent we have been given.
It should acknowledge Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. There are many ways to write a story. But a Christian story needs to point to Christ and what He did for all of us. He was born into this world, suffered temptation and persecution, was tortured and then nailed to a cross for the sins of the world. He died and was buried in a tomb. But on the third day, God raised His Son from the dead. He was seen of many witnesses over many days before He ascended back to Heaven. Now, He sits at the right hand of God awaiting the day of His return.
To a Christian, these should be indisputable facts. And not only according to the Bible, but the living power of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit working in our lives!
It should convey that the only way to attain salvation and eternal life with God the Father is through His Son, Jesus Christ. In this world, there are many people claiming to have the solutions to life’s problems. Every year, new trends and philosophies develop. Humankind has always been inventive, seeking answers to all kinds of questions. But whether someone (or a group of people) provides technological, psychological, medical or intellectual remedies, they cannot provide a permanent, all-in-one explanation for the only questions that have persisted throughout time:
How can I find true, lasting peace?
What happens to us when we die?
Will anyone ever love me?
The answer is the same to all of these questions: salvation through accepting Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit into our hearts and lives provides that love, peace and the confidence that we will be with Him in the presence of Almighty God when we die.
In Romans 10: 8 -13 (KJV), the Bible says “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
A writer doesn’t have to quote the scriptures all the time to make this point. They can use the actions of their characters or paraphrase through their words or the general direction or outcome of the story. As creative individuals, the Lord can show us how to best glorify Him. We just have to let Him. And that also means listening to the Holy Spirit, which will guide us and let us know if something is not edifying to the Lord.
I am no preacher but I know these things to be true in my life. I am a Christian who is also a writer. And these are the principles I live by when I write.
Thanks for reading this.
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian, happily interracially married since 1995. Father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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