Thursday, July 26, 2012

Novel Witnessing Through Villains

Many Christian authors have the idea that they will use their skill at writing to win the lost for Christ. It may be that they don’t like the idea of knocking on a stranger’s door or maybe they fear teaching a Sunday school class, or maybe the just feel that is the best way to use their talent. I can’t say it is a bad idea, but how do we do it?

I’ve seen a few bad examples. Overall, I enjoyed Lori Wick’s novel, The Princess, but I hated the come to Jesus scene. It seemed to me that everyone in the book was saved, so somewhere in the middle of the book Lori Wick introduces a character who isn’t. He is a young boy and he has a family member in the hospital. He does little to move the plot along, but he gives the main characters the opportunity to tell someone how to be saved. I particularly hate that because during what could arguably be the most important scene a reader could read, the reader is anxiously wondering how long before the author will get back to the story.

How do we fix this?

When we realize that it is the villain that is supposed to be the most like the target audience we can start to see ways to witness through the villain. If our target audience is a lost person, then our villain is also lost. Rather than coming out and saying, “our villain is lost,” we should show that he is lost. How? Consider 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Don’t say he’s lost. Say he’s a thief. Say he’s an adulterer. There are ten types of sinners listed here. Pick one and say he’s that. Or better yet, show it through his actions.

But don’t go overboard. Don’t make him the worst sinner. Make him look like your reader. If he is a thief, don’t have him still the crown jewels; have him “borrow” his neighbor’s yard ornament and not return it. Have him take office supplies home from work. Have him do the things your reader does. Then, through the story, show the problem of his sinful nature. Grow his thievery into something bigger and show how he is hurting your protagonist through his actions.

Now, because he is the villain and not the protagonist, when the opportunity comes to share the gospel with him, do so, but have the villain reject it. Let his sin grow worse and worse, so that it is harder and harder for the protagonist. And when the end comes, let the protagonist succeed and leave the villain utterly defeated. Leave him with no hope. Allow the reader to come to realize that if he continues down the path he is on that he also will end up defeated and without hope. Then, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, we can hope that he will realize that what he needs to do is to accept Christ rather than reject him as the villain did.