Personal faith is a primal motivator in a person’s life and inseparable from who a writer is.  A Christian is charged to share the Good News.  If those beliefs don’t show up in a 90,000 word novel, then something important is missing.   The author isn’t writing from the gut, not expressing his real self—in a sense, hiding from the reader.

I’m not trying to suggest that fiction should preach, though there have been some dramatic examples of that.  Pilgrim’s Progress comes to mind as do more recent novels from the likes of Frank Peretti.  Others have used allegory, like the great fiction of C. S Lewis.

Personally, I enjoy reading between the lines and discovering the writer more indirectly, perhaps by something in the story line or through a particular character.  It may be a mere impression—a subtle connection with the author’s way of thinking.


Filed under Faith, Writing style

12 responses to “FAITH IN WRITING

  1. John,

    You’ve connected perfectly the line between the craft of writing and the belief system of the author. Writing with faith, passion and a sincere desire to envoke feeling within your reader is, I think, what drives any writer. I know it drives me.

    Reading between the lines to discover a true sense of the author’s genuine self is a big part of what makes reading so enjoyable. Thank you for sharing this post 🙂

  2. Jim Kren

    If I am reading a book of fiction and it starts preaching to me, even preaching beliefs that I espouse, then I cease reading it altogether. Such attempts at overt conversion are usually out of place in fiction. I don’t read Frank Peretti for that very reason.

    However, there are categories of fiction where an overt message is appropriate, and I agree with your examples of Pilgrim’s Progress and the C. S. Lewis allegories.

    For a popular novel that accomplishes the “subtle connection with the author” that you favor, permit me to suggest “The Testament” by John Grisham. It’s far above his other work because he permitted his beliefs to show through the story.

    John, I fully agree with you. Everyone has beliefs. If an author hides those beliefs from the reader, then a big part of himself is missing from the creative act. As a Christian, I think too many of us hide behind a veneer of worldliness. I see it an act of cowardice.

  3. Bill Wevik

    Great work of writing and a solid base for all Christian literature. Keep up the great work. Hope to see your work in all bookstores in the country.

  4. Janet Case


    As a Christian writer, I’ve had to wrestle with this issue. The problem I find is that much Christian fiction is, as they say, preaching to the choir. Nobody else wants to read it. That’s not spreading the Word of God.

    I much prefer novels that have a Christian message placed between the lines or revealed through a character. The novel should be equally acceptable in the Christian and Secular markets. I believe this can be said of the best Christian literature. It has a positive effect on the reader that glorifies God, but it’s a gentle whisper.

  5. Melissa Hart

    I see what you mean. I love my morning devotional, but with fiction I don’t want fire and brimstone. A light touch.

  6. Ann Brice

    Yes, I want to hear that still small voice.

  7. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.
    Keep working ,great job!

  8. yes I am a firm believer in Christ just like the next person is but what the pastor pass on to us in a message ought to be payed attention to, more people should read the Bible daily ,follow the word of God the man behind the scenes this bill on this web page sounds like he don’t know what he is talking about.

    • Bill has his opinions, just like we all do. You may agree–you may not, but you must admit, he doesn’t hide his beliefs–he states them boldly. I know Bill. Bill reads the Bible every morning. He completes a different version of the Bible every year. I know few people as knowlegeable as Bill or as committed to evangelism, including many pastors.

  9. I totally disagree with the part on completing a different version it ought to be the true one which is Gods verse not some mans version, opinion.

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