1. Jeff Gerke says:

    Great interview, you guys. But now my head hurts.


  2. Nikole Hahn says:

    I totally agree. Right now I am reading CS Lewis “Reflections on the Psalms.” Next I plan to read Spurgeon. I also read history. There’s alot you could use in history to add to a world, a character, etc.

    • MS Quixote says:

      Right on, Nikole…I hope you find those as fruitful as I did.

    • Perhaps I need to add Reflections on the Psalms to my Christmas wish list this year. After all, it was one of the books that set a certain John Piper off in the direction of “Christian Hedonism” …

      Currently I’m reading Politics According to the Bible by Wayne Grudem, also the author of Systematic Theology; meanwhile, with my wife, we’re reading Heaven is Not My Home by Paul Marshall. Both are not only wonderful for helping me grow in Biblical truth — having it condensed and “translated” in different ways — but for inspiring new forays into fiction. The latter adds onto both Piper’s Desiring God and Randy Alcorn’s wonderful book Heaven, which I first read four years ago, has helped me find even more delight in God now, enjoy the remnant goodness in His creation, and anticipate the physical Kingdom to come — and transformed my fiction-writing.

  3. Do you think we should tell Jeff it wasn’t an interview? 😉

    Marc, I enjoyed your thoughts and agree that Christian authors should be reading non-fiction AS WELL AS fiction. However, I would say that when it comes to the deep doctrine you referred to, it is more important that we read the Bible. All Scripture is profitable for doctrine, as well as for reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness, so that should be our primary source. Maybe in your thinking that was a given, but sadly, I think more and more we have to drive this point home.


    • Hey Rebecca,

      Without a doubt I took that as a given; thanks for making the distinction clear that the Bible is our sole and final authority for the faith. I’m a sola scriptura adherent, and I agree that the point is quite often lost or ignored these days. Nevertheless, I think that a healthy dose of logic and hermeneutical study, not to mention the iron of other Christians, greatly enhances what we can glean from Scripture, as well as keeping us from error.

  4. I think the word Doctrine can scare people away 🙂 But the way I look at doctrine (theology) is getting to know God more. After all, what kind of relationship do we have if we are stagnant in getting to know the one we are in a relationship with?

    Example: when we fall in love with someone or want to get to know someone more, what do we do? We learn everything we can about them. We find out their favorite food, color, movie. We watch them intently. We want to know everything about them.

    That is how I view doctrine. I want to know God more. I want to know why God said this or that. I want to understand how and why God is involved in my life. I want to know how God holds everything together.

    That’s doctrine. The deeper understanding of God and his Word. And by studying doctrine, my understanding of God will seep into my own fictional work. Sometimes I even find I work out my own questions by posing them through my work.

    • Well said. Why is it that the word doctrine scares some away?

      • Hey Marc! I think its because its a big word that makes people (especially people of my generation… X) think of radical, way out there Christians rather than thinking of what the word really means. Great post!

        • Hey Morgan,

          GENX here as well…perhaps one of its senior members, but nevertheless firmly ensconced between the “crybaby boomers” and the “Generation Y-ners” 🙂

          Radical, indeed, because it seems to me we’ve been indoctrinated to believe that all opinions are equally valid, that no one should be forced to feel wrong, that such things aren’t discussed in the public square, that truth is relative or perception/pragmatically dependent, and on and on. Not that I have any strong opinion one way or the other!

  5. yes, yes, yes, this is all well and good, but what, pray tell, is a six-pointer?

    • This may seem a bit like jargon, but in addition to a certain Scripture-derived theology that happens to contain five points (formal Arminianism got there first, and “Calvinism” responded to their five points), there is a “sixth point”: that because God works all things primarily for His Name’s sake and for His glory, this universe, out of all the possible universes that could possibly exist, is the “best of all possible worlds.” However, we should follow that up with the fact that so far this world is the best of all possible worlds — the best and most glorious way, sin and all, that God could work up until the truly best of all possible worlds: the redeemed New Heavens and New Earth.

      • MS Quixote says:

        Well put, and of course, the concept entails such things as possible worlds that contain creatures who act freely and wherein the most goodness is produced with the least amount of evil, among other considerations. This would serve to differentiate from possible worlds where all creatures do only good, all of the time, continually…in a sense, an antithesis of Gen 6:5.

  6. shema says:

    Excellent post, Ray, and I agree with you completely. However, unless I overlooked it, you omitted the obvious reason: Nonfiction is better than fiction. 🙂

  7. Steve says:

    Any author who who recognizes The Shack‘s false doctrine is okay in my book. I’ve also stopped reading authors who praised it. I’ll be ordering The Dark Man.

  8. […] as Marc Schooley reminded us, imagine all the new ideas for fiction we find in nonfiction? There are billions of characters to […]

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