Thursday, December 10, 2009

Getting People Lost

Okay, so I was over at Mike Dellosso’s blog the other day and he had this short post about possibly writing about using Fiction to Evangelize. It got me to thinking about how that can be done. If you’ve read, How to Become a Bible Character, you know that it tells the way of salvation several different times. I can’t say that I was trying to do that, but it’s just that kind of a story. And Thy House is also that kind of a story. It is a about a guy who becomes a Christian and then has to deal with daughters who don’t think he should have. But is that the way to evangelize through fiction?


One thought I’ve had is that instead of focusing our attention on getting people saved, we writers should focus our attention on getting people lost. I don’t mean that we should write the most confusing prose imaginable. Some authors seem to think that is their goal in life, but if the message of salvation is going to have any meaning, people must see their need of salvation. A drowning man will long for a lifesaver, but if he had realized he would fall in the water, he might have put on a life vest. The problem with many people today is that they don’t really believe they are in any danger. Sure, they want to go to heaven when they die. Who wouldn’t? But most people figure they’ll get there somehow. They are all rich, fat and happy. They all see themselves as good people. Hell is for the bad people.


If we look at the message Jesus had for the leaders of his day, it was a message that even though they have the appearance of being righteous it wasn’t good enough to get them into the Kingdom of Heaven. They told themselves that they were okay because they kept the Law to the letter, but even they were unable to keep all of it. Jesus spent much of his time getting these “good” men lost.


For us writers to get people lost, it’s great for us to talk about the “big” sins, like murder, adultery, fornication and homosexuality, but just how many people commit murder or cheat on their spouse? Those who do don’t need us to tell them that they are sinners. It’s those good people who treat people with respect, help their neighbors, give to charities and occasionally go to church that we need to get lost. They really are decent people, but without Christ as their savior, they will go to hell just like anyone else. To get them lost, we need to turn the spotlight on the sins they do commit and show them that they are not worthy to enter the heaven.


It’s easy to write a book about an adulterer, but how do we write a book about the guy who leaves work five minutes early everyday or the guy who drives a few miles per hour over the speed limit? How do we make people aware that those sins make them just as guilty in the sight of God as if they had committed murder? There may not be an easy answer to that, but it is something we must consider if we hope to use our novels to evangelize.


Question: How much do you try to evangelize in your writing? Should we be doing this at all?

3 comments :

arlee bird said...

Don't think it works for the most part. Readers of fiction are looking for escape and entertainment usually. Christian fiction will serve as a reaffirmation of faith to believers or encouragement or thoughtful consideration-- but it's all preaching to the choir.
A work of fiction would have to be awfully effective to reach an unsaved person, but it might help to open doors and break down resistance.
Lee

Timothy Fish said...

Preaching to the choir isn't necessarily a bad thing. It could be argued that Uncle Tom's Cabin preached to the choir, but it had significant influence in convincing the choir to pick up arms and put an end to one of the darkest periods of American history.

arlee bird said...

I agree that preaching to the choir is not a bad thing at all, in fact it is a necessary thing-- churchs do it all the time. What I meant is that the Christian fiction provides healthy literary diversions for Christians that may in some cases, like in the UNCLE TOM'S CABIN example, incite them to action. I just don't think in most cases a fictional work can be enough to convert a God resister, only perhaps influence them in a subtle way.
Lee