This little pig went to market, this little pig stayed home … and this little pig went to India, where he was greeted with a request from a student magazine for an article that would encourage India’s budding Christian writers.

Why, I wonder, did they pick on me? I suppose they must see me as a senior writer who has made the grade, and so can serve as a role model for the young. Are they wrong? Not entirely. My books have gone into ten languages and sold over a million-and-a-half copies. And they have helped all sorts of readers, old and young, male and female, academic and unlettered, Calvinist and Arminian, Christian and pagan. (I know this from the flow of testimonies that the mailman has brought me over the years.) It amazes me that God should use my material so constantly in this way, but in his mercy he does, so that my writing has become the central item in my ministry. I ought, therefore, not to refuse to strut my stuff as a model for tomorrow’s wordsmiths, however much my (British? elitist? modest? spiritual? lazy? hypocritical?) instincts urge me to do just that.

But am I a good role model as a Christian writer? I doubt it. Certainly, I have been putting things in print for 30 years, and my bibliography has 200 entries. Certainly, I try to give the world a book a year, and shall continue trying as long as my brains hold out. And certainly, I feel myself under constraint in this: Woe is me if I do not write the gospel! But even allowing for the way my mind highlights all that seems odd, I cannot but think myself a very odd writer indeed.

To start with, I can’t do fiction, or poetry, or travelogues, or honest autobiography. (I could do dishonest autobiography, but who wants that?) I can write ...

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