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.

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


  1. I am always puzzled when people make such blanket dismissive statements about Christian fiction. What do they think the parables were?!

    Many Christian fiction books have caused me to think much more than the non-fiction, and it’s so much easier to absorb. A master of Christian fiction is Angela Hunt. The Face, The Elevator, and Uncharted come to mind. Harry Kraus MD as well – his most recent novels Salty Like Blood and Perfect were very thought-provoking. And Nancy Rue’s recent Healing Fiction series with Steve Arterburn, Healing Stones and Healing Waters both have tremendous messages.

    Those are my top 3 authors whose books are must-haves for me – I know I will squirm, ponder, and think about their books long after I turn the last page.

    I know there are other books that fit the category – if I think of them, I’ll come back.


  2. Riven by Jerry Jenkins is AWESOME!!

    Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion Trilogy is life-changing!

    So MANY to choose from, but these…these are not to be missed!


  3. I agree wholeheartly about Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion Trilogy. It truly changed my thinking on what trials and troubles I have, and how God doesn’t always take us out, but takes us and carries us through.


  4. Get ready. Here goes:

    Redeeming Love; And the Shofar Blew; The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers
    Demon . . . a memoir; Havah, The Story of Eve by Tosca Lee
    The Passion of Mary Margaret by Lisa Samson
    In High Places by Tom Morrisey
    Deadline; Dominion; Deception; Safely Home by Randy Alcorn
    This Present Darkness; Piercing the Darkness; The Oath; The Visitaion; Prophet by Frank Peretti
    Treason; Hostage; Defiance; Black Sea Affair by Don Brown
    Eyes of Elisha by Brandilyn Collins
    Comes A Horseman by Robert Liparulo
    Plague Maker by Tim Downs
    Breaking Point by Karen Ball
    The Shape of Mercy; In All Deep Places by Susan Meissner
    The Famous One by Nicole Petrino-Salter (only because it is NOT shallow)

    That’s a variety for anyone’s tastes. Good fiction. Poignant. Touching. Often profound.


  5. What the world needs is more writers that are Christians( or something very similar to that)…CS Lewis. I agree, most Christian writing I read is very shallow. However, I have read some that is quite good. The Lamplighter Press published out of print books and these are usually evangelical in nature, and well-developed characters and storylines. A lot of Christian fiction is metaphor and/or allegorical. Anyway, I wish you the best. This has been a side interest(other things have taken priority)…best to you in finding the gems! I really enjoyed Francine Rivers, Reedeming Love..Frank Peretti…I even enjoyed the junior adult fiction by Bill Meyers. Jan Karon was fun also(I cared about the characters so there must have been some character development).


  6. Would it inappropriate if I put forward something I wrote?:
    Ana Markovic – by David Murdoch

    I think that God works in extraorinary ways in the lives of ordinary people, and that is perhaps a very difficult thing to adequately capture in fiction although it is certainly a point to strive for. I fully agree with Ms. Miller though that portraying God as a Santa Claus-like-figure doesn’t give an adequate picture. God is benevolent and He is also just, wise, noble and inscrutable. Can christian fiction show God?…I’m not sure if it can, but God can show Himself through christian fiction if He chooses…

    God Bless,


  7. The Brother’s Keeper, Stones of my Accusers, Madman – all by Tracy Groot. Madman is the book that got me reading Christian fiction again. So much of what I had seen was just plain shoddy writing that I had given up in despair. Now I see that while there is still way too much Christian pulp fiction, there are actually writers out there who care about the quality of the writing and the depth of the thought. There’s hope.


  8. Thank you so much for these titles. I’m compiling a list.

    Keep them coming. Good writing and stories with depth. If those books are out there, we need to let readers know about them.



Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: