CSSF, Bib-Spec-Fic—What Are They? What’s the Difference?

I bring up this subject because of the interview I did with Frank Creed, founder of the Lost Genre Guild—an interview I posted today at Speculative Faith.

The conversation includes discussion of the term Frank coined for speculative fiction written from a Biblical worldview—bib-spec-fic. He defined this designation in a post at the Lost Genre Guiild blog (see October 11, 2006).

Frank even submitted that definition to Wikepedia: “Biblical speculative fiction [Bib-spec-fic], noun: stories with settings or races that are significantly unlike our own, told through a Scriptural world-view and framework.”

Interestingly, except for the speculative element, I don’t think the meaning is so far off from my definition of fiction written from a Christian worldview (from the March 16, 2006 post):

So Christian worldview in fiction is not Christian characters doing “Christian” things like going to church or not swearing. Nor is it Christian characters doing sinful things just like everyone else … It is not even the protagonist holding to or developing a Christian philosophy of life.

Let me clarify that none of those things prohibits the novel from expressing a Christian worldview. Rather, those things are not required.

So what is? … the secret, in my estimation, lies in the theme.

… I think it’s interesting to think about Jesus’s worldview. His was a view of the world from God’s perspective. That, I believe, is truly a Christian worldview.

… That kind of statement can smack of hubris—I mean, how can a novelist ever write make-believe as if viewing the world from God’s perspective?

That’s where the “Bible believing” part I mentioned earlier comes into play. God has revealed Himself and His thoughts about His creation in His word.

As a writer conforms his or her themes to what God has revealed, he or she is writing from a Christian worldview. [quote edited; emphasis added]

I don’t want to get bogged down in semantics, and it seems to me the only way to avoid doing so is to occasionally clarify definitions.

In thinking about this discussion and clarification of terms, it dawned on me that “Christian” is not a man-made word. In the short run, I suppose it was. Some people in Antioch during the first century started calling the group Christian who believed in Jesus as Messiah; who believed Jesus is the only person capable of accessing the Father; who believed, in fact, that Jesus’s death made God’s sin-forgiving possible.

Still, we would not have the term today if it had not been recorded as part of the Bible. So, in essence “Christian” is Biblical, part of God’s writing.

That the term is not clearly understood in contemporary society, or has even been misused throughout the centuries, does not negate its power. From The Oxford American College Dictionary a Christian is “a person who … is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.”

Maybe, along with reclaiming the lost genre, we need to reclaim the real Biblical definition of Christian as well.

Published in: on November 6, 2006 at 12:17 pm  Comments (6)  

6 Comments

  1. Frank’s a cool dude, but hey, I really, really hate “bib-spec-fic”. ACK.

    Mir

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  2. Wonderful article. You guys are so talented. And hey–why aren’t you girls typing?

    Chris

    oh, yeah. I guess I should be too…

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  3. Becky, I’ve always struggled with the way the term “biblical worldview” is employed by authors and publishers. A worldview is just that — a specific view of the world. The biblical worldview simply frames the world as it is — or, at least, how God says it is: It’s not an accident, there are clear moral boundaries, there are consequences when those boundaries are traversed, Someone is always watching our choices, etc., etc.

    In the simplest sense, a story that takes place inside a moral universe reflects a biblical worldview, whereas a story that exists in an amoral, godless universe, does not. However, I wonder that most Christian authors and publishers do not believe they are being true to the biblical worldview unless specific “themes” are being played out in their novels. In other words, it’s not enough to craft a moral universe; the Gospel must be preached, Scripture quoted, God (or some equivalent)invoked and people get saved. While those ARE specific biblical themes, in my mind, they are not necessary to the framing of a biblical worldview.

    Sorry to hog so much space. Just tryin’ to think this through. Thanks for kick starting the ideas. Grace to you!

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  4. This post was a tremendous blessing to me today. I quite enjoyed the intellectual prodding as I considered the terms and definitions discussed. However, at the conclusion of my reading here today, in my own spirit, I again camped on the thought that as a Christian I must endeavor to be like Jesus. Thank you for the reminder.

    I wish you joy and success with your work.

    Shirley Buxton
    http://www.writenow.wordpress.com

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  5. Mir,

    Shhhh, don’t tell Frank, but I agree with you. 😉

    Chris, I’m guessing you’re doing the NaNO? I’m not. November is just not possible for me with everything else going on. It seems to be a great motivator, though. More people have commented about this or that benefit from their NaNo efforts. Hope it’s a help to you, too.

    But, still, I do have writing to do! 🙂

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  6. Mike,

    Thanks for your comments. I understand what you’re saying, but I think there are two fallacies that are coloring your opinion of the “biblical worldview” phrase.

    First, “Biblical” is needed to establish the frame you spoke of—the world as God has revealed it to Mankind. Mistakenly, some people say reality is other than what God reveals. Or they say something—a text, a person, a feeling, a voice—other than the Bible, reveals additional truth. A Biblical worldview, therefore, is both a broad perspective—because it is God’s (and we may not always like it)—and narrow—because its authority is limited to His written revelation, excluding other religious texts whenever they contradict Scripture.

    While the Bible does establish moral boundaries, so do other writings—the Koran or the Book of Morman, for instance—but these are not within the same boundaries. (Just their claims of authority reveal that fact).

    The second issue is how this Biblical worldview translates to authors and publishers. No longer is it true that the gospel must be preached, verses quoted, and people saved. Not that those things can’t happen, but they are not necessary.

    The thing is, it is not an easy task to show the world as God sees it without there being something powerfully different. I think for too long authors have relied on “easily different.” It’s easy to show Christians repenting or going to church or praying. It’s a much harder thing to structure a believable story in which the offended forgives the offender, for instance, because of his own experience of forgiveness, not because the offender has paid his dues or revenge has been exacted.

    As Christian authors improve the craft of writing, this “powerfully different” is beginning to shine through. See Tony Hines, for instance.

    Becky

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