Can Christian Fiction Show God?


Can Christian fiction show God? And by “show Him,” I mean, as He reveals Himself to be through the pages of Scripture. I know Christian fiction can show a health-and-wealth version of God: change your heart/accept Christ/profess your faith/resist temptation and God will give you a repentant husband/the man of your dreams/the desires of your heart/a happy marriage.

Don’t get me wrong, God does do amazing and wonderful and miraculous things. He surprises us with good and undeserved gifts, and He answers prayer in ways that surpass what we could ask or think. But that’s not all of who He is or what He does. It seems, too often Christian fiction implies that the sum total of God’s work and person is spelled out in His making a Christian’s life more comfortable or happy.

Why am I bringing this up? Recently in an email group I’m in with other writers, many took to task the Christian side of the book business. Then yesterday I heard the condemnatory statement again, this time from a pastor: I don’t read Christian fiction—it’s too shallow.

I immediately chimed in to say the industry has been and is changing. There are good novels written from a Christian worldview that show God as more than a benevolent overseer or an attentive grandfather or a check-the-list-twice Santa.

In thinking about what I wanted to say in this post, I checked back in the archives here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction. Back in 2006 I did a series of posts about God related to fiction. Here’s a pertinent portion of the final article in the group:

it seems to me, showing God work in our stories should be pretty much like how we see Him work in our own lives and in the lives of the people around us. Some of those people miss what God does, close their ears to what He says. Others hear and ignore. Some question. Some step out in faith based on what they perceive God to tell them and … no earth-shattering events take place.

Not everyone is Job with the restored family and twice the wealth. Not everyone is Joseph, ultimately with the position of second in command to Pharaoh. Or of Esther, Daniel, or Noah. Some are Jonah at the end of the book, not the middle. Some are Stephen. Some are King Saul. Some are Moses, refused admission into the promised land. Some are David, refused the job of building the temple.

Regardless of what the people chose to do with what God asked of them, He comes through as righteous or good, as powerful or loving, as having a greater purpose, an overarching plan. He shows His character through the lives of the people with whom He has to do.

So are there novels out that show God in this way?

I promised this pastor a list of of books with depth. I have a few in mind, but if you have any to suggest, I’d love to hear your recommendations. Hopefully in the next few days, I’ll have a list started that I can post.

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Published in: on July 1, 2009 at 11:48 am  Comments (8)  
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