This past week I read “Christian” fiction novels that had kind of vague passing references to God and it got me thinking. How Christian should a Christian book be and at what point does it become too preachy? Well, never fear, I think I have some basic answers to these questions, and personally, there is no such thing as too preachy.
All roads should lead to Christ. When writing a Christian book, all roads should lead to Christ. At the end of the novel, I should feel like were it not for the relationship the character had with Christ things simply would not have worked out the same. You don’t have to have the prayer of salvation, but Christ should be so obvious from the pages of the book. If you’re hesitant to say his name, write secular novels. Robin Jones Gunn has some excellent fiction on the proper way young people should date. Christy and Todd anyone? Well, after reading her books you can’t help but want a Christian spouse like one of them and to live your faith the way they did. Her books are all romance and all Christ, it can totally be done.
Be sincere. This is where the “preachy” feel comes into it. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is still one of the top ten Christian novels sold every year and it is preachy as all get out. You cannot read this book and not run into God on every page (if that’s what you consider “preachy”). But it is so sincere, the author means every word she is writing, Michael and Angel come across as so authentic you feel like you can reach out and touch them through the pages. Lori Wick is another author who could be characterized as preachy. Every book she writes has the message of salvation in it, but really, as you read her books her love for God and her love for people is so clear that you don’t get turned off in any way. I have read “preachy” books, but to me those are moralizing books that shake their head at the characters. If the author doesn’t understand why their character behaved a certain way, we won’t either. And I will say that quoting huge portions of the Bible is generally not effective. So in conclusion, your relationship with God determines how “preachy” a book is to a degree.
Anyone have any points to add? Anyone disagree?