Loyalty of Authority (John 5)

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis writes:

Do not be scared by the word authority. Believing things on authority only means believing them because you have told them by someone you think is trustworthy. Ninety-nine per cent of the things you believe are believed on authority. I believe there is such a place as New York. I have not seen it myself. I could not prove by abstract reasoning there the must be such a place. I believe it because reliable people have told me so. The ordinary man believes in the Solar System, atoms, evolution, and the circulation of the blood on authority — because the scientists say so. Every historical statement in the world is believed on authority. None of us has seen the Norman Conquest or the defeat of the Armada. None of us could prove them by pure logic as you prove a thing in mathematics. We believe them simply because people who did see them have left writings that tell us about them: in fact, on authority. A man who jibbed at authority in other things as some people do in religion would have to be content to know nothing all his life.

There are good reasons to accept many of the things we believe.  But none of them are as good as the reasons we have to accept Jesus.  How can we expect to know and believe truth if we don’t consider where authority truly comes from? 

A Scientists come to us and says we should believe him because he personally studied a thing out.  Scholars, politicians, judges, presidents, neighbors, loved ones, everyone does it.  But who are they?  They are only men, susceptible to the same sins of compromise that all men fall to. 

And even if a person is right on a thing, the very thing they’re right about would itself testify for Christ.   And if a man is against Christ then that thing in which he put his hope will betray him and side, as it always has, with Christ.  Creation makes no allegiance to that which opposes the Creator, nor does it pretend to.  It will oppose us if we are against the Living God.

As we examined in the previous post, Jesus’ witness have rightful claim to authority.  We would do good to listen to them… and to listen to God.

Hebrews 12:1-3:

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

 

 

Preachy Fiction

There seems to be a very real problem in the realm of Christian fiction writing. We seem to have lost our focus on why we write. We seem to have displaced the One for whom we claim to write. All things are for God’s glory, all things. That includes fictional literature. If not, then “Christian Fiction” is a joke.

But I do not believe that Christian fiction is a joke, because I believe it’s purpose is good and true. Not Christian fiction for fiction’s sake, but Christian fiction for the glory of Christ. For a love offering unto Christ.

So much is spoken by Christian authors against “preachiness” in Christian novels. I can’t help but wonder if the real root of that complaint lies in our insecurities. We’re so afraid of being looked down upon by the world that we’re willing to bash the very purpose of our existence, which is to love God and to bring Him praise. We want to be part of the in crowd, we want to be the “cool” authors. I’m reminded of John 12:42-43 “Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in Him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.”

I completely agree that there isn’t very much appeal in a poor story with a forced message. But better a true message with a poor story, then an idle tale that captures the hearts of men. Now sure a truly great story will have an underlying truth. But two things should be considered at this point. One, it by no means negates or diminishes the value of truth plainly spoken. Two, not all stories that capture the hearts of men are truly great. If they are contrary to the Lord, then they are a most horrid thing indeed.

Now I’m not saying that Christian authors are producing anti-Christian books. I am saying the effect of their stance is that authors feel ashamed to proclaim the gospel unto all creation (last I checked fiction readers are very much a part of that creation).

There is nothing wrong with out and out Christian preaching in a fiction book. Nothing. Nothing. I can keep saying the word if you need me to…  The real problem though, which may possibly be why Christian authors feel the need to speak out against “preachiness”, is that a good sermon need not be dressed in a fiction story. There is no need to force a story upon a truth, truth can stand on its own. But that is the extent of the problem.

You could have in your hand the preachiest Christian fiction book ever written, and so be holding the best fiction book in history. The secret is simply having an amazing story that fits the message. It doesn’t matter how “preachy” you are. It really doesn’t. Just make sure that you have a great story to go with it, and that the message blends with the story in a beautiful harmony. Now there’s a work that you can see God smiling down upon!

Please don’t take this as an attack on Christian authors. It’s not. It is, however, a most intentional full frontal assault on the problem of shaming those who speak the truth boldly (and boldly they should!). Do not feel like you have some sort of duty to bash preachers. You have a duty as readers and writers to encourage good writing! And you have a duty as Christians to encourage good preaching!  If the message of Christ is not worthy of being plainly stated in a fictional story, then rest assured that neither is any other message worthy (not even the message of how Joe Fantasy slew the dragon)!

Keep writing good stories, as your love offering to God! Keep preaching every good message that is afforded by the circumstance, for the glory of God! And keep watching for His return, when the good story of man reaches it’s triumphant climax.