Should Christian stories evangelize?
I have been chewing over how to answer this question.
It is hard for me because I have come to believe that “Christian fiction” is not a thing that should exist. Just like Christian music, Christian movies … they are industries that provide a sanitised version of entertainment to people who have been told it’s somehow better for them to be segregated from society as a whole (with the possible exception of actual worship that is directed at God, not at people, though the line is kind of wibbly-wobbly).
In that sense it’s nearly impossible for it to evangelise anyway, since it preaches to the choir, and any audience it finds outside of the church is going to be pretty minimal.
A tale should have a soul and its nature will shine through every word. If a message is forced into it, the accidental unbelieving reader is likely to feel patronised and that is not a positive experience for anyone.
Tell a good story. Let plot and character and poetry of language demonstrate goodness and hope and above all else, beauty — for everything truly beautiful is a reflection of the face of the divine.
This is a crucial issue for anyone who loves stories but loves Jesus more, and wants to glorify Jesus through our enjoyment of stories or our making of stories.
During October our new SpecFaith series explores this issue.
On Thursdays, reviewer Austin Gunderson and writer E. Stephen Burnett host the conversation with interactive articles. On Fridays and Tuesdays, guest writers such as novelists and publishers offer their responses to the question.
We invite you to give your own answers to the #StoryEvangelism conversation.