One of my blog readers emailed me and asked me to define Christian fiction. “Is it a story that doesn’t go directly against any Biblical teaching? Does the story have to teach some Christian lesson? Is it simply a story without all of the gratuitous sex and violence of the natural world?”

Here’s my reply:

A Christian novel should be written from  Christian worldview. What’s a worldview?

Usually in Christian fiction, the faith element is eventually obvious; the character comes to a better understanding of his faith as the story progresses.

There are books called “crossover books” written by Christians for the general market, in which the faith element is not obvious but the underlying worldview is still there.

These would contrast with totally secular books, which may be only subtly different. The difference might be in the theme of the book, which isn’t obvious until you’ve read the whole thing.

Of course a book with graphic sex and violence would be a totally secular book, even if it might lay claim to being a Christian book. I read an independently published book tagged “Christian fiction” and was shocked to find sex in it.

Christian fiction is pretty much defined by certain publishers in the Christian Booksellers Association, CBA. They do look for a faith walk on the part of the protagonist.

Phyllis Wheeler

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