Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Christian Fiction: Reality and Necessity

If you're wondering, yes, I am still working on this blog. However, I had to write a post in relation to something I read recently.

There was a post over at the blog Novel Rocket titled The "Myth" of Secular Fiction. Though it was a play on words, the basic argument laid out by Mike Duran, the author, was that the line between the sacred and secular is unclear and should not be implemented when it comes to art, specifically fiction writing. One particular quote that caught my attention was the following:

By dividing the "spiritual" and the "secular," not only do we create potential animosity or suspicion between camps (the same animosity that forced Lewis towards unbelief), we simply miss God's larger work in the world.

There is much that can be said on Mr. Duran's assessment but I'm only addressing this particular statement since it's the culmination of the article's overall point. I'll address other points in upcoming posts.

Let me say succinctly from the onset that this kind of view is unbiblical.

Secular simply means worldly: of the world, by the world, in support of a worldly worldview. The term is often misused among both Christians and non-Christians and therefore it only creates more confusion. The problem when it comes to fiction writing or other art is actually getting the definition of the terms correct from the beginning.

The Bible is clear about separating  godly and ungodly. Good and evil. Holy and unholy. Spiritual and flesh. There is a fear in our culture today and it is sweeping through churches where to hold fast to this kind of antithetical view is unwise. Some even say un-Christian or unloving. Yet God has clearly laid this out in his word (Psalm 34:14, Proverbs 4:27, Isaiah 33:15, 2 Corinthians 6:17, 1 Thessolonians 5:21, 1 Peter 1:16).

When we separate Christian from non-Christian writing, we are actually fulfilling a biblical mandate not to make a brother stumble (Romans 14:13). While we still have the freedom to do so, we should make a distinction for those who may be weaker in the faith as well as to edify others in the faith (Romans 14:19). Art does not trump the well being of another Christian for the sake of liberty.

Writers who are Christian should not, in any way, support a secular worldview which can be extrapolated from the overall theme of a written piece. Whether we want to admit it or not, when we write something, fiction or nonfiction, we are writing from a presuppositional worldview. This can be deliberate or indeliberate but rest assured, it will come through. If that worldview is not biblically and doctrinally sound, we run the risk of muddying the waters for a lost world, adding more to the problem. In addition, there's also the risk of missing the overall point of our mission on earth as Christians which is to glorify God, standing and representing the truth at all times in all things.

The assumption that Lewis's unbelief was somehow fueled by the antithetical is erroneous. It is clear that if a man doesn't choose God, it has absolutely nothing to do with antithesis but with his own evil heart (Jeremiah 17:9, Psalm 14:1-3, John 3:20, James 1:14-16). He simply blamed it on the antithetical which was the same thing that happened in the garden of Eden (by the way, I love me some C.S. Lewis so don't interpret this as some kind of negative referendum towards him).

Animosity between the secular and the Christian should be expected (John 15:19). We are not called to be friends with the world (James 4:4). We're not even called to change the world. We're called to be faithful and represent the truth, reproving the works of darkness that's in it (Luke 16:10, Ephesians 5:11). That means in everything that we do incuding writing (1 Corinthians 10:31).

In short, any writing that supports and promotes a secular worldview we have a duty to:
  1. Reprove as false.
  2. Warn other believers not to partake in it.
  3. Shun it.
There should be a clear and unmitigated distinction in Christian versus secular writing, fiction or not.

All that being said, it does not mean that everything that's not in a Christian bookstore is secular. I'll cover this in my next post.


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