It’s God’s Call on How Far You Should Go
Since I left you hanging in Part 3 of this series, I’ll get right back to my thoughts on the main question we’re exploring in all of this: Can Christian novelists go too far with their content in trying to reach the world with life-changing stories that can touch hearts and point readers toward God?
With that in mind, I also think about the prophet Hosea and how God called him to marry a prostitute … and then to go so far as to seek her out and take her back after she’d left him and likely cheated on him. As I shared this with one of our teen daughters on my lunch break just a little bit ago, she said, “Isn’t the Bible pretty much R-rated?” And I could only say, “Good point.” Because beyond Hosea, you can find all kinds of strong language, graphic violence, disturbing scenes, mature content, and even explicit sex (no matter how much people try to make Song of Solomon a strict allegory).
Finally, there’s the example of Jesus, who hung around the societal dregs of his day and age, with Matthew 11:19 going so far as to call him “a friend of tax collectors and sinners”—as in, the worst of the worst. Yeah, I know this isn’t a direct comparison to a Christian writing what might be considered tawdry fiction, but it gives me enough pause to keep thinking on this, because isn’t Jesus our best example of how to go into all the world with the gospel?
As a side note on that final thought about Jesus setting the example for us, XXXchurch also comes to mind: a ministry not only reaching those in bondage to pornography addiction, but also reaching out personally to those involved in the pornography industry itself—as in, setting up a booth at porn trade shows and showing God’s love to those in the industry and anyone in attendance through a variety of means.
Interestingly, and perhaps ironically, the folks from XXXchurch often have to walk through a crowd of protesters outside the various convention centers where these trade shows are held—protesters who shout and/or hold signs that let industry workers and attendees know that they are on a sin-greased fast track to hell for their whoring ways. Based on the incredible testimonies I’ve read about XXXchurch, God seems to be doing some pretty amazing stuff through their work. Not sure about how the protesters are doing …
As I said, I’m wrestling through this because I personally know some authors who are looking for an answer, and I want to be able to join them in this conversation. As of writing this, I think about how it takes a uniquely called person—perhaps prophet is a better term here—to walk into a porn trade show and show God’s love to people. Maybe it’s the same for the Christ follower who just can’t get away from the nudge she or he feels about writing a raw, gritty R-rated novel, even after lots of prayer and searching of God’s Word: it ain’t for everyone, and if you accept the call, be prepared for the protesters, some of whom might sit across the aisle from you on Sunday mornings.
If that’s you, then don’t worry too much at all about the naysayers. Remember what Jesus said about such protesters: “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds” (Matthew 11:18-19).
You’ll likely never please the protesters if you’re truly following God’s call on your life, but God’s plan—his wisdom—will be proven right in the end, even if it’s not until the other side of eternity. So if you’ve felt the call and have a peace about moving forward after wrestling through it in prayer, then fix your eyes on Jesus and let the chips fall where they may as you write Spirit-inspired stories from the depths of your heart.
And if you’re in the Philadelphia region, please check out the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference, taking place July 26-29. Hope to see you there!
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™