Centrality of Christ in Fantasy Fiction
The Perspective of a Christian Writer
I presume it to be obvious that this article is written from the perspective of a Christian author. Well, not “just” a Christian author but a Christ-centered Christian author whose writing is rooted in a biblical worldview.
It does not matter who the writer is, their worldview will thread through the tapestry of their story. And in truth, someone can say they are a Christian and yet hold to a secular worldview. It is rather like the person who loudly proclaims they are for non-violence, and yet when someone crosses them their fist flies. “Christian” is a descriptive term that can have a vast array of meanings. “Biblical Christian” describes a worldview that the word Christian simply does not.
The Centrality of Christ
For my part, I am a Christ-follower first and a writer second. Christ said that the most important thing in the world is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing supersedes that. Right doctrine is rooted in love for the Lord—because I love God I want to know the truth about God. Right living is a love response to the Lord. And to love God is to love Christ. And if I truly love Christ above all else it cannot help but impact my writing. Its threads will be found in the fabric of my stories. If I am truly living a Christ-centered life I cannot bifurcate my biblical worldview into separate compartments when it comes to life and story writing. In fact, my stories by nature grow out of the roots of my worldview.
Don’t get me wrong. My stories are still stories and may even encompass a secular worldview in the telling, while contrasting it with a biblical worldview. The telling is subtle—we are talking story—not didactic. For instance, I can say, “You need to love God, not the world”—didactic—or I can show a character who chooses to love the world and suffers the consequence. Story weaves the realities of truth into the context of the stuff of life; rather than being told, we see!
Christ and Fantasy Fiction
I have read articles and blog posts that disparage the idea of “Christian” fantasy fiction, basically attributing all fantasy fiction to the devil. It is the old adage of throwing out the baby with the wash. Christian fantasy rooted in a solid biblical worldview can entertain and impact lives for Christ at the same time. Taking the familiar, consider C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, and especially The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It has both entertained and impacted lives for Christ generation after generation: The generation before me, my generation, my kids’ generation, and my grandkids’ generation. Christian fantasy should not simply be written off.
Is there bad “so called” Christian fantasy? Indeed so. I have read some that left me scratching my head. A couple of years ago I reviewed a Christian fantasy book about war between angels in heaven. There were some good elements, but even the good angels were depicted as flawed and struggling to overcome sinful habits. At its core the story was flawed and failed as Christian fantasy. Needless to say, the author was not pleased with my review.
Even when dealing with the real issues we face in life, the foundation of the story needs to be solid and what is depicted needs to be truth, whether truth about our struggles or truth about the answer to our struggles. But being stories they also need to hold one’s interest, grapple with the psyche, and appeal to the heart. When the book is closed the reader should breathe, “Wow! That was a great story!” And at the same time the truth woven into the story should stick with them.