I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, November 9, 2012

Is Fiction Unscriptural?


Someone posed that question to me a couple of years ago. After all, the Bible says “whatever is true, whatever is honorable…dwell on these things.” Phillipians 4:8.

So what about Christian fiction?

Now if anyone has attended Susan May Warren’s seminars, you’ll remember how she teaches you to consider the lie your characters believe and the truth that sets them free. Watch for this in Susie’s books, and you’ll find a lot of depth woven in the story.

But we still haven’t addressed the question. Does fiction, for the Christian, go against God’s Word?

I first thought of the stories Jesus told to illustrate a point: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. But who’s to say those stories weren’t true? A sheep really could get lost.  A woman might sweep to find a coin, and sons go astray every day.

Is there any place in the Bible where God used fiction?

Then one day, buried in the Old Testament, I found it! 

In Judges 9, a man named Jotham tells the story of the trees who went out to anoint a king.

 Seriously? Trees choosing a king?

Yep. And they talked to each other too! The olive tree said one thing, the fig tree another. Even a bramble bush joined the conversation.

Now, I don’t think anyone would argue that trees actually talk. But Jotham used the story, a fictional story, to illustrate a point.

Whether the stories about the sheep and coin were true or not doesn’t matter. God does use story to illustrate something He wants to bring home to us.

Does this confirm to you that Christian fiction has a place on your shelf? Can you think of another place in the Bible where a fictional story is used for illustration?

Photo from istockphoto.

10 comments:

  1. Thanks, Beth. I wrestled hard w/ the christians writing fiction question for long years. The Bible contains more wonderful literary genres, including fiction than any other source I know--drama, history, poetry, allegory, as here--many other rich categories. Endless inspiration.

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    1. Ha! I wrote this, Delores! But great comment!

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  2. Great post and great thoughts, Teri. Definitely food for thought. :)

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  3. I love the way you make us think, Teri. Never considered fiction wasn't scriptural. Guess I'v always looked at Christian fiction as parables. Stories that illustrate a Biblical principle. Great post!

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    1. I did too, Pat, until someone challenged me with it!

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  4. Teri,

    Nathan confronts King David with a story of a man with a single lamb to reveal David's sin.

    I would have written Christian fiction years sooner but a pastor had convinced me that romance novels were sinful. Though many novels are improper, Christian romance novels definitely have a place. God uses story and I think he wants us to use the creativity He blessed us with. We just have to use it in a way that's edifying.

    Great post!

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  5. Teri, great thoughts! Thanks for sharing. I never considered fiction as lying so I didn't hesitate writing Christian fiction when God called me to write seriously. I believe we need to follow the convictions God lays on our hearts. I do believe some people are a tad too legalistic about certain things, but that's a post for another time. :)

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    1. I agree, Lisa! Good Christian fiction is often full of truth, and it brings home lessons in a powerful way. I think that's why Jesus' used stories to teach many lessons.

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