What’s True About Christian Fiction

Just as Peretti’s small-towners sensed cosmic strife over their heads and treated school-board disputes as holy war, evangelicals have used the same lens to overspiritualize politics. Compromise is a virtue. Instead, our culture warriors have grown absolutist. Those who resist their agenda are seen as less than human. They are demonized, and compromise is viewed as a sin.

As a 28-year-old new-age Jew who was living in Tucson at the time, I was given [This Present Darkness] to read on a flight to visit family in December of 1989. This was one of the last bricks that, I believe, God used to tear down the walls of my heart. One month later, I trusted Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. My life was never the same. That book helped me to understand the spiritual battle around me. Satan did not want this “Jewish” girl to be saved, and I became very aware of that in the battles I faced after my salvation experience. I learned how to pray in Jesus’ name against the Devil and his schemes, without giving the spiritual darkness too much credit, knowing that God is over everything.

Thanks to Daniel Silliman for drawing attention to how evangelical fiction does what all literature does: speak to readers’ imaginations and form people into communities. This aligns the value of fiction that reinforces and helps understand evangelical identity with the much wider field of literature that helps us better imagine how to love God and neighbor while being good stewards of creation.

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