My Thoughts on Fiction and Evangelism
Thank you to everyone who commented on my question about fiction and evangelism. And thank you even more for your honesty. I know it’s a difficult subject and there are some strong opinions on both sides of the argument.
Here’s my honest take: Fiction can be used as an evangelistic tool . . . and quite effectively. If the message is going to be overt, the writing and story better be stellar, though. Otherwise you risk making the reader feel tricked and losing him/her for good. On the other hand, if the message is covert, you’re putting the responsibility of interpreting that message in the hands of readers who understand, or at least who you hope understand. It’s a tricky thing.
So which is best? Well, that’s up to the author. As you can imagine and are probably already thinking there’s pros and cons with both.
Now, to deal with the area of should Christian fiction be used as an evangelistic tool. Again, here’s my honest thoughts. Christian fiction should be used to reach one of two audiences: Christians and non-Christians (pretty simple, huh?) either by encouraging/challenging Christians or by sharing hope and good news with non-Christians. Can it be used for purely entertaining purposes? Sure, but don’t call it Christian fiction then. Christians are supposed to be light and salt in the world. That means all we do should reflect Christ and His mission. And that includes our writing. Now, that doesn’t mean our fiction should be a sermon. Of course not. But it should have some redeeming value, some message that reaches beyond a teary eye or a good laugh.
If you’re a Christian and you’re writing God gave you both a desire and an ability to write. Doesn’t He deserve to have us use it to honor Him? Now, how far this whole thing goes with the message and redeeming value, how deep one wants to dive in that pool is, again, up to the author and his/her own writing abilities and convictions. But I have to consider this: after all Jesus did on the cross for me, after all my heavenly Father has done for me, after all the times I’ve failed Him and stumbled and feared and He’s comforted me, set me back on my feet, and patted my bottom, don’t I owe Him everything I have, including my writing?
Again, it’s a tricky business . . . and one that should be encountered with great care and much thought.
That’s my two cents.