To answer that question, it’s important to understand what Christian fiction is. Depending on who you ask, you may get one of these answers:
- Fiction with a lot of talk about God
- Fiction with very little, if any, sexual content, graphic violence, and foul language
- Fiction that promotes traditional values and practices such as chastity, integrity, and repentance
- Fiction written by practicing Christians for practicing Christians about practicing Christians
- Fiction that explores religious themes in a way that testifies of Jesus Christ and glorifies Him
- Fiction that preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ
- Stories that would fall apart if the religious element were removed
- Fiction that contains universal Christian themes and content that will appeal to Christians from a wide variety of denominations
- A broad genre that contains works from all Christian denominations
- A narrow genre that only contains books published by specific companies and imprints marketing to a conservative Protestant audience or by independent authors that meet the standards of these companies and imprints
Every single one of these descriptions is accurate. Not every work of Christian fiction, however, can be defined by every single description on this list.
Like many readers these days, I sometimes listen to audiobooks while doing other tasks. A good source for free audiobooks in the public domain is LibriVox. You can download or stream audiobooks from the web site, or you can install an app on your phone or tablet to do the same thing. Here is the basic description of LibriVox from its web site:
The Idiot, by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Russian classic)
“. . . a saintly man, Prince Myshkin, is thrust into the heart of a society more concerned with wealth, power and sexual conquest than with the ideals of Christianity. Myshkin soon finds himself at the center of a violent love triangle in which a notorious woman and a beautiful young girl become rivals for his affections.”
Daystar, by Kathy Tyers (Christian fiction, Evangelical)
After fleeing to their sanctuary world for safety with other telepathic Sentinels, members of the Caldwell family must decide whether to accept or reject the claim of a previously unknown family member that he is Boh-Dabar, the prophesied Messiah.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking—that only a person with a very strange brain would talk about a Russian classic and a Christian science fiction novel in the same breath. Despite the obvious differences between these two books, they are based on the same premise: What would happen if Jesus Christ came to live among a particular group of people? How would He act? How would people react to Him? What would He require of those people individually and as a community?