1. Jes Drew says:

    A very good list, thank you, especially for weirdos like me who write Christian for a secular market, if that makes any sense.

  2. I think, in general, when people talk about Christian works of art, they mean art made by Christians FOR Christians. It’s funny, because many Christian artists view their work as being evangelical in nature, but art is one of the worst ways to evangelize. Part of that is because the impact of the actual Gospel on a person’s life is so unbelievable that it strains credulity when put into fiction. It’s just not convincing. But eating dinner with someone who says, “Look, this changed my life. See me? It’s obvious, isn’t it?” is much different. In that way, I see many artists live under a delusion and make their stuff with an intent their art is poorly structured to achieve. Whereas the actual marketplace purchases their stuff for a completely different reason (“uplifting entertainment,” etc.).

    • Rachel Nichols says:

      A novel is not a sermon. It can cause cravings for holiness–like Lewis’s account of how the fantasy novel Phantastes led to his disillusion with atheism by making him love what was good.

      If you read the novel Anna Karenina it actually is pro family and pro Christianity. A cautionary tale about letting warped eros take over. The movies mess it up. Tolstoy would have been horrified. (He was a prude.)

  3. Rachel Nichols says:

    I highly recommend On Moral Fiction by John Gardner. A late life convert to Christianity. An English professor who chain smoked and rode motorcycles.

    As far as “Christian novels” go C.S. Lewis had some fun comparing the notion to Christian cookbooks.

  4. notleia says:

    To answer the question in a totally utilitarian way, a story is Christian when it is accepted by the Christian subculture. Of course, taking it that way, that would imply that Thomas Kinkade is Christian art even if it’s not religious art.

    But is that even wrong, tho?

  5. Christianity is so pervasive in our culture that people probably sometimes reference it because it feels natural (some people might feel like they are referencing old literature or something without feeling like they are actually referencing Christianity. Bits of the Bible have become common sayings, for instance) So they might be trying to sound cool, or make their story interesting, without knowing that they are writing a story in a way that could be interpreted as insulting/attacking. Though some people definitely do attack on purpose.

    Whether or not a story is Christian fiction partly has to do with authorial intent. What is the story trying to say or reinforce? Does the author want to consider it Christian fiction? Sometimes, when plotting out a story, I feel tempted to call it Christian fiction even if the chars aren’t believers and don’t think about God much. But, that’s because it is part of a story world that has God in it and thus fits into an overall narrative. Or, maybe, there are other books in the series/story world that are more overtly Christian. Still, though, it can be hard to know what to do with those books, since plenty of other people reading them wouldn’t call them Christian.

    Some people really hate it when a story/author is Christian, especially when people talk about it. I spoke to someone that love the Dragonkeeper Chronicles, but felt very annoyed to see so many discussions involving the book related to Christianity.

  6. To reference something that probably just makes Christian references because it’s ‘cool’, let’s consider Death Note. There’s a few references in the first opening alone:

    There are a few other Biblical references in the series itself. The main character, Light, (AKA Kira) also eventually says that he will become the god of the world, etc. It’s interesting since they are have Christian imagery, but still use Japanese ideas. In a lot of ways it subverts Christianity, since the only deity type things we see in the show are Shinigami(which are basically the Japanese version of grim reapers), and a lot of anime shows people becoming yokai, gods, etc as a result of actions they take during their lives, so when Light talks about becoming a god of sorts, it sounds (slightly) less far fetched and crazy than it would in a Western tale. In the end, the parallels are there and not always great, but it doesn’t feel like an actual attack on Christianity, just part of the story.

    On the other hand, I haven’t read much of this comic series and find this particular one funny, but it’s far more likely that it was meant in a mocking way:


  7. J F Rogers says:

    My first book was never intended to be “Christian”. Yet, after years of struggling to write, then submitting my life to Christ, that’s exactly what it became. When I say it’s “Christian”, it’s primarily to warn would-be readers that the story contains a strong religious theme. It is overt–a depiction of the Christian struggle set in a fantasy world overrun with vampires–of coming to Christ and learning to trust Him. I’ve had Christians and non-Christians alike read the story. So far, I’ve only received one “bad” review (I say “bad” because it was two stars for being overly religious–otherwise, they enjoyed the story–so, in my mind, it’s not actually a bad review). Again, I attempt to clearly state that my story is Christian in an effort to spare those who might choose not to read an overly religious story. That said, I wrote the story I felt called to write for whoever God chooses to share it with. Can my story save the lost? No. Might it offer encouragement to struggling Christians and a clean read in a sea of filth? Yes. Can God us it to share Biblical truth and provide a stepping stone toward Him? I know that He can. I pray that He will.

What do you think?