Does It Matter If ‘Christian Fiction’ Is Badly Written?

I know, I know–our world is being torn down around our ears, so who cares about so trivial a thing as “Christian fiction”?

But if I don’t take a break from current events of the kind that gather around us like spooks encroaching on a child’s bed when he’s having a nightmare, I’ll go bonkers. Besides which, the wicked won’t triumph, as they’re triumphing today, for one second longer than God allows. At the breath of His nostrils they will cease to exist.

So… what about this literary slop that gets packaged as “Christian fiction”?

I do understand that there is a great demand for Christian fiction, a demand that far outstrips the current supply. Publishers publish books to meet the demand, including books that would not otherwise have been published (as in, “You dare to bring that to my desk???” and the editor jumps up and shoots the office boy).

But in trying to meet the demand by publishing books that really don’t make the grade, the publishers only hurt themselves. I saw it happen in the horror market of the 1980s and 90s. The reading public clamored for horror, and there is never all that much good horror written, so they published a lot of dreck and people gave up on horror. The market imploded.

We serve God but poorly if we make “Christian fiction” synonymous with “poorly-written, sappy, crummy fiction that’s a cheap knock-off of the real thing.”

If a Christian builds boats and calls them “Christian boats,” and they’re built so poorly that they always sink, how has God been served?

The Christian fiction market is growing. So far, the quality of Christian fiction has not kept up with it.

I hope Christian publishers take their work seriously.

After all, we have to answer to a Higher Authority.

13 comments on “Does It Matter If ‘Christian Fiction’ Is Badly Written?

  1. As Christian writers, are we not also held accountable to a higher standard just as preachers and teachers of the word are? Publishers aren’t the only ones who need to step up their game in this. Writers need to take their responsibility seriously and produce a quality of fiction they would not be ashamed to account for before God Himself. If that isn’t our ultimate standard for Christian writing of any kind, what is the point of writing it at all? Just my 2 cents…

    1. I don’t think we are held accountable beyond our God-given ability. But fiction is powerul…it feeds our imaginations and influences our thoughts and beliefs. For Christian writers to be lazy with their work, or blasphemous, or to deceive their readers with twisted truths is a dangerous thing. It would be an interesting group discussion to have anyway. Am I making much adoo about nothing? Sometimes when I think about what I’m trying to re-create and accomplish with my own series I get a little freaked out. 🙂 Lots dealing with biblical-type prophecy in book 2 and it is so easy to get in over my head with that.

    2. It has always been my goal, in writing my Bell Mountain series, to do the little bit I can to “re-normalize” religion–specifically, the Christian religion–in our popular culture.

    3. A very commendable goal! Seems to me you’re doing a great job with that. Your books are so refreshing to me. I’m never afraid to find something appalling at every turn of the page. Just solid, Christian truth told in a way that even children can understand. You’re definitely not one of the Christian writers I would worry about. 🙂

  2. My two cents are that all things should be done to the glory of the LORD. We need to do our best, especially if we are claiming that our works are somehow associated with our Christianity.

    I don’t play Praise Music, or Worship Music, in part because I find that some of it doesn’t leave a very positive impression upon me. Some seems like they took pop songs, crossed out “baby” and put “Jesus” in place of it. There’s a bit of a joke in that, but sadly too much truth.

    1. Unfortunately, songs can be used to promote an agenda. I know that certain hymns I heard growing up had a very strong slant to them. These days, I’m very careful to separate fact from opinion and wouldn’t want to play music which promotes the opinions of one small group of christians.

  3. Christian fiction/fantasy should, in my opinion, bring forth characters who live Christian lives without being preachy or churchy and always to the glory of God. That’s one of the things I love about your Bell Mountain Series, Lee.

    1. It’s not too hard to do, if God is guiding you.
      As you’ll see, if you haven’t seen already, I succumbed to the temptation to write a new post on this subject.

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