Friday, August 15, 2014

Discernment: Distinguishing between Fiction and Fact

Hey, everyone! Look, I am getting better and more regular with my blog posts, just like I said. Okay, you there, in the blue shirt, I saw you mumble "Let's see how long it lasts". Come on, give me the benefit of the doubt.

Anyway, more seriously, in some recent discussions online the question came up about why some mainstream Christian readers tend to veer away, leery of Christian Speculative Fiction which explores the gray areas. Here is my take on what may be going on, and I hope it will spark some readers to at least be open more to Christian Speculative Fiction without feeling that writers of this genre are in any way promoting new doctrine or beliefs. Just because we explore the gray areas in fiction, that does not mean it in any way takes us out of the mainstream with our actual beliefs, theology, or discipleship.

Where I think some discomfort may lie is in Christian readers not being able to draw that distinction, between what I teach/believe as a theologian, pastor, and missionary vs what questions/possibilities I explore as a Christian writer of Speculative Fiction. I can compartmentalize those two areas without conflict, but some have gotten very upset with me exploring, for example, the question of the existence of repentant fallen angels in my Chadash Chronicles books as somehow part of my actual theology. I assure you, it is not.

I honestly don't know either way whether there could be repentant or forgiven fallen, but I can defend at least the possibility Scripturally. I don't teach it as doctrine, but I also don't believe the idea violates any part of Scripture either. It is well and safely within the bounds of "gray area". I think if more mainstream Christians could come to grips with differentiating the solid "yes and no" of doctrine and theology from the "what if's" of Christian Speculative Fiction, we would see a huge growth in consumer base for the stories written by Christian Speculative Fiction authors like myself.

With my church connections, etc, I have no doubt I could hit well known best seller lists if I wrote a book about missions, about theology, about developing a personal relationship with God, etc. I firmly believe me writing a non-fiction spiritual-content book would literally fly off the shelves. This is not to sound arrogant, but it is a reality I have seen time and again.  Christian are fantastic about supporting faith leaders in their faith-based work.  I am not in any way criticizing that.  I think it is fantastic.

My speculative fiction work has been much more modestly received, however.  I think this has two main reasons.  First, not every Christian reads speculative fiction at all, which does limit the market even within the community of supportive Christian readers.  Secondly, many who might enjoy this genre for their pleasure reading, when it has nothing to do really with Christian themes, aren't sure what to do with Christian Fantasy and Science-Fiction that gets a little too close to their theology.

Hopefully change will come if enough of us keep striving to put out quality Christian speculative fiction, and keep doing our part to collectively raise awareness of each other's works. The time may yet come where discernment matures enough for Christian readers to draw that distinction between what an author believes as a Christian and what he/she explore as a fiction writer.

I would challenge anyone to find anything in my fiction that specifically opposes anything in Scripture. I took great pains to avoid that, but would want to know if I failed somewhere. I have set up an email address where you can reach me directly with any concerns in this area.  That address is and I encourage readers to bring any questions/concerns you find in my work to me at that address.  I will do my best to share with you how I came to conclude that falling in the "gray area".  At the end of the day we may still not see eye to eye, but at least you will know I have not written anything haphazardly, but took care, consideration, and Scriptural study to ensure I did my best, even in my fiction, to not violate anything from God's word.

I do, however, run back and forth like crazy all in the "gray area" that Scripture does NOT talk about, either to affirm or deny. I live comfortably in the gray area with regards to my fiction, but my ministry, what I teach and disciple and use to plant churches in the field, stays FIRMLY in the black and white. I am not in any way a "fringe Christian" in my ministry work, but I am definitely all about the "what if"s of the fringe when it comes to my Speculative Fiction.

Blessings to all my readers, fans, and colleagues in the realm of Christian Speculative Fiction. You all remain an encouragement and a great gift to my family and I with your prayers, your support, and your love.

For those new to Otherworld Windows and wanting to know where they can get my books, here are the Amazon links, as well as the link to my daughter's debut novel on Amazon kindle as well:

Chadash Chronicles Book One: Fool's Errand

Chadash Chronicles Book Two: Mystic's Mayhem

Ariel's Debut Novel:  Dragon's Touch


  1. David, may I have your permission to link this post to my blog? I have a page of articles of interest and this would be good to have added to it and it also helps get this out there to Christian readers. It also supports my love of spec fic and may encourage others to consider reading it.

  2. Absolutely, Peter. Link away (that goes for anyone else as well). I hope this spreads through the Christian reader community in any way possible, and blesses and benefits others.