Thursday, February 16, 2023

Why Christian Fiction?

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Oftentimes as I go to write book reviews, I like to see what other readers have said as well. I find it really interesting to see others' perspectives and how they differ from my own. One comment that I see quite often is that a Christian fiction book was 'not Christian enough'... and I must admit that always leaves me scratching my head a little bit. What exactly do they mean by that? What exactly are people expecting Christian fiction to be? What makes it 'Christian enough'?

I think the answer to those questions really depends on why we read Christian fiction to start with...and that reason is going to vary from person to person. 

Personally, I started reading it because I wanted to find good stories... without any of the content I didn't want. I was looking for my reading habits to represent Philippians 4: 8:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 

In the mainstream book market, those qualities can be a little bit harder to find. You pick up a novel that looks like it will be a sweet romance...and well, let's just say you end up getting more than you bargained for! Frankly, that's just not my cup of tea. I wanted to be able to pick up a book and not have any surprises coming my way. Even with YA reads, that was not always the case either. I started reading Christian novels as sort of a safety net. It didn't take long to discover that there was a whole world of CF available, far beyond the Amish or Love Comes Softly-ish stories that people so often envision when they hear the phrase. While I certainly do enjoy those on occasion myself as well, I love that there is also a great variety of suspense and romance galore. I was happy to find stories that I could feel confident reading and knowing that there won't be any language or content I don't particularly care for. 

My reason for choosing Christian fiction was (and still is) not about what IS in the story, but about what is NOT

For me, I can certainly enjoy a story that is heavier on the faith content--- with loads of scriptural references and a more in-your-face faith message... but I can also just appreciate a story that is clean and lines up with Christian values, even if it's much more subtle. 

Christian fiction at its very basic is simply fiction that offers a Christian viewpoint.

It is a story that can be messy and real and imperfect... but also one that offers a message of hope. Characters can be noticeably Christian and talk about their faith and pray throughout the story... or they can show they are Christians through other actions in the story. While I love reading a book that connects to the Bible directly, I think there is also something to be said about those more subtle reads as well. These books can appeal to readers who might not even typically pick up the genre. 

On the other hand, if you are reading Christian fiction because you are looking specifically for that faith content, you might find that there are many that fall short of that expectation. While neither reason is wrong, I love that there is such a wide variety within the genre for us all to enjoy. At the end of the day, that is exactly what reading should be--- something to be enjoyed. 

Why do you read Christian fiction? What do you expect from a CF read? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 


  1. I love Christian fiction. I read it because *usually* they are clean reads, no bad language, closed door romance etc. I also read it because even reading fiction can grow you in your faith, some line the author says really grabs you.

  2. I read and write Christian fiction for the clean content. I hate it when I'm reading a great secular story and then there's graphic sexual content/language. When I choose Christian fiction, I know what I've signed up for. It doesn't have to have a lot of spiritual content either. I've read several that actually don't have specific biblical content ie. Bethany Turner's Plot Twist. Putting my writing hat on here, I think a writer can get across a good clear message without preaching it. Classic show don't tell. I find that in the secular publishing world everyone has an agenda to put forward so I really appreciate it when an author can weave a good story without ever stating plainly what the message is.


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