The Word for Writers
(Comments on evil and horror in Christian writing)
We are New Testament believers...redeemed by the shed blood of Jesus...empowered by His Spirit...called to be holy...and cautioned to set our minds on what is good, pure, holy, etc. As writers, we are teachers, for people read our work assuming we know what we're talking about and/or have some edge on the topic.
So, what does it mean that we are called to be holy...and what does it mean to be called to be holy writers?
It is important to remember that we don't fight off Satan - God does. Satan is subtle, and so we must be careful to guard our hearts and minds. He will use whatever means possible to slip inside a person and stab a lethal blow. Of course we recognize that evil is part of the redemption story. And of course evil is insidious, and the church must take a stand against it. I'm not sure that means we, as writers, should focus on it.
I'd rather prioritize what it means to be holy when confronted with evil.
Some writers like to write what they call "Christian horror." I counter with this: What is a writer's call to holiness in the face of evil? I maintain that it is possible to write a story about deep depravity and the horrors of the dark, but not just suggest redemption - emphasize it! That is our call...to be holy and set apart...to first and foremost represent the light. So while I can't argue with the fact that evil exists, that we must recognize it for what it is, that it is slow-moving and sinister...I feel our call to holiness preempts all of that.
What does it mean to be holy? A holy, set-apart writer for God? In the light of our position dispensationally in an age of grace? I think it means shedding light on darkness. More light, less darkness. Of course there are stories (esp. Old Testament) where evil reigned in the hearts of the deceived. But is it our calling to tell those stories over and over again, or to spread the gospel - the Good News?
I think our primary questions as writers, when faced with depicting evil, are these: "How does a holy, set-apart person address the cancerous evil in the world from the perspective of grace and redemption?" And, "How do we cry out to God and implore Him to show us the Truth about darkness and light, and use us in the battle?"
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I agree, this is good reminder of the responsibilty we have as Christian writers, the scriptures have an admonishment for those who lead other Christians. A strong reminder to remain true to our first calling, and to the minstry we are in. I have used the term "Christian Horror" myself while describing certain books, such as some of Frank Peretti's books. As you say, redeamtion should be the focus in contrast to the evil in the world. Great article.