Unless you’ve been living in your basement these past few years, you may have noticed that the world grows increasingly hostile to those of us of the Christian faith. This should come as no surprise. Jesus makes it clear in His Word that troubles will come to us. Though we’re not persecuted as harshly as our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, our Western culture has made it clear that we are barely tolerated at best.
What does this mean to the Christian writer?
First, we must, now more than ever, become well versed in scripture. But not only in our daily readings, we must truly yearn to understand it. Critics are quick to point out the “cruelty” of the Old Testament God or the ridiculous claims of Revelations. To anyone who does not understand the cultures of the time or the figurative language used throughout the Bible, you will be hard pressed to defend your faith.
Second, we must guard against the many false teachers and prophets within our own ranks. And they do abound. Mostly because the teachers themselves do not make a careful study of scripture or are simply using the Gospel as a source of profit. We can no longer ignore these folks, as they are the ones that get the most press in an unbelieving world. Those of us who love God’s Word enough to frame our fiction around it, when we could enjoy a much more profitable lifestyle in the secular market, should be the first to stand up to anyone who would do damage to our faith.
Finally, we must become masters in the science of apologetics. No, really, you can do it. We don’t need to take the stage and debate popular atheists, but we should be able to formulate arguments well enough that they grow naturally in the dialogue of our characters. If you’ve accomplished step #1 in my post, then you only need to apply a little logic to it. Among your to-be-read pile should be a few of the classic apologists, like C.S. Lewis, and some of the more recent defenders of our faith, like Frank Turek. Frank and others even have plenty of videos, should your eyes grow tired of the Kindle screen.
Some of you are writing to encourage other Christians, and some are hoping to reach the lost. Either category requires that you are well-versed and capable of defending your faith. Even a Christian reading a Christian novel can glean from your character’s mastery of apologetics! As for the lost, while hitting them hard with the Roman Road isn’t normally the best way to gain a foothold, a small suggestion about the origin of the universe may inspire them to think, to open their minds to ideas that they’d never contemplated before. I’ve heard that readers of fiction learn more facts through their reading than they do in a classroom. I believe it. For some of us, it is simply the way our minds work. We were the weirdoes who preferred the story problems.
Yes, we have so much to do, so much to read and write. I feel your pain. But our first calling is as Christians, and that has never meant making a statement of faith and then getting back to business. We must grow in our faith and our knowledge. Otherwise, we’ll continued to be swept to the gutter in our post-Christian world.