Why Christian Fiction Can Inspire Action
By Dan Blankenship
I remember it well, the day I discovered Christian fiction. I had never read a fiction novel written by a Christian author, at least not one that I was aware met that criteria. It was 1995, and I was strolling through the local mall, trying to find ways to lighten the contents of my wallet, when a book inside a store really caught my eye – actually, both eyes. It was – you guessed it – Left Behind, by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.
Now before I receive an onslaught of e-mails, please let me make clear that this column is not an endorsement or rejection of the theological soundness of the Left Behind book series. Such a task would require more time than I currently have available on my calendar. This column is about how Christian fiction can add a certain spark to our faith. How it can cause us to research the scriptures for things we’ve missed, misinterpreted, or need to examine further.
From the time I was a little rugrat growing up in Dyer, Indiana, until that mall-walking day in 1995, I had listened to Bible stories with one thought going through my mind: Why doesn’t any of this amazing stuff happen today?
I found my answer when I picked up my first Christian fiction novel. Amazing events like those of Biblical times do happen, today. We just don’t see the spiritual influences behind those amazing happenings, because we have been programmed by the world to believe holy and spiritual influence is ancient history.
Christian fiction, be it C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness, or Dee Henderson’s O’Malley Family Series, challenges the reader to understand how faith doesn’t change as time goes by. The Christian faith is the Christian faith, and time, location, and predicaments do little to distract the true believer from his or her principles. A Jesus attitude is the same whether time and location has one living during the Ming Dynasty or the Industrial Revolution.
After the Left Behind series, I couldn’t stop reading Christian fiction. I found myself time and time again realizing that these authors were using stories – the same way Jesus used parables – to explain how we can follow Jesus’s teachings under any circumstances, no matter how difficult it may seem.
I have read well over a hundred Christian fiction novels to date, and I can honestly say that it has inspired me to write my own works, to look up scripture verifications more often than I ever had in the past, and to share my faith more firmly and decisively with others.
So exactly what are you waiting for? If you believe I am wrong in my declaration that Christian fiction can inspire action, prove me wrong! Of course, even that course of action would be inspirational action. I got ya’ coming and going….
You are the second person in my day to mention Frank Peretti and the O'Malley Family Series --- Of course the other person who mentioned the O’Malley Family Series was a chic so I automatically figured it was a chic’s series…apparently not. (???) --- Guess I will have to look up those books mentioned at my local [big name bookstore]. Of course, my crew enjoys Ted Dekker but I am a fan of the classics like John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. Thanks for the read. Peace be with you and your family.