Breaking the Mold

BOOKS - darker with symbolSome of the happiest hours of my life have been spent reading great inspirational fiction. But during the past couple of decades, I’ve noticed a trend in that genre that troubles me deeply – not to mention that it takes the fun out of reading inspirational romance and mystery novels. What I’ve been seeing is that nearly every major publishing house now has a mold into which they force every Christian novel – with characters that are carbon copies of scores of characters before them, and with a plot that requires characters to meet within a certain number of pages and to carry out specific types of actions within a certain number of chapters – and worst of all – with themes that carry the reader into the erroneous doctrines of man’s traditions rather than the pure Word of God.

I’ve failed to find one inspirational novel in the past several years that does not promote the erroneous belief that God is behind every single thing that happens in our lives and, therefore, is behind all of the trouble, afflictions, sickness, hurt, and heartache that we undergo. The doctrine that says God deliberately allows (sanctions) those things in our lives in order to teach us something or bring us into a more Christlike character is rampant throughout the Christian bookstore shelves. Now, let’s not beat around the bush: If God deliberately allows those evils when He has the power and the know-how to restrain them is exactly the same thing as His putting those things in our lives Himself. That teaching goes against everything Jesus Christ taught and lived.

I don’t intend this biographical vignette to be a major Bible lesson, but I will say here that the Word of God is extremely clear for the New Covenant believer that God says He is not in control of all things, and in fact He does not get His own way about a lot of things. He wants all men to be saved, but they will not be. Jesus taught us by His own personal example that God wants all the sick to be healed as well, because He never refused one sick person who came to Him for healing, and he sent out His disciples to visit the surrounding towns and to heal every sick person in those towns – announcing to them as they did so that they were experiencing the Kingdom of God in that deliverance and healing. He wanted the people in His own hometown to be healed as well, but His Word tell us clearly that He “could not” do any mighty miracles because of their unbelief.

God does not want us to suffer from sickness, deadly storms, earthquakes, accidents, or any number of other horrible destructive forces. But we experience them simply because we live in a cursed world where sin has opened the door to those things, and most of us do not yet have enough of a handle on God’s Word to be living every aspect of our lives according to it. But none of that is God’s plan for us. If it were, He wasted His breath when He breathed out Psalm 91 to the Psalmist and had it included in the canon of the Holy Bible.

So the Christian novels that promote the teaching that it is actually part of God’s will and plan for us to suffer the kinds of things Jesus delivered people from is simply another attempt by man to cop out of our personal responsibility to study and learn God’s Word for ourselves and then to believe it for ourselves. If we can blame God for all the problems we’re facing, we don’t have to take any responsibility for their cause or their cure either one. It’s convenient for the lazy believer, but it is a pack of lies about our God.

His Word also tells us clearly that He has given us His Word, His promises, and His Holy Spirit that will impart to us “all things pertaining to life and godliness” and will create into us the Divine nature of God. The teaching that problems, hardships, and heartaches create the Divine nature of Jesus Christ in us is a direct contradiction of God’s personal Word on the subject. Yet hundreds of inspirational novels that have lined the bookstore shelves for years now keep preaching that demonically inspired theme again and again.

So when the Lord called me to write inspirational novels, He called me to write stories that were true to His Word and that presented Him in the light of what Jesus showed us daily in His time with us on the earth. Jesus said He spoke only what the Father wanted Him to speak and He did only the works that the Father wanted Him to do. So I make every effort in my inspirational novels to show God doing exactly what Jesus did and said. And because He’s still the same “yesterday, today, and forever,” I show Him doing and saying the same things in the everyday lives of ordinary believers in the 21st century.

It’s past time for us to have some inspirational novels that don’t fit the molds. It’s time for stories that show us what it’s really like to live in the 21st century with a God who is just like Jesus Christ.

~~~

In Memoriam: Dora Saint

My world is sad right now: I learned this week that one of my favorite authors passed away very recently.  Dora Saint (better known by her pen name Miss Read) was a prolific writer of novels, as well as magazine articles and British television programs. But it was her novels that endeared her to me.  They were truly some of the most uplifting, comforting, life-appreciating novels I have ever read.  I have read most of them over and over again — and in fact am in the middle of one right now.

I’m always saddened when someone with such a powerful gift and talent from God departs this earth and leaves us a little poorer. But she wrote scores and scores of books in her 90+ years, and her gift to the world is still very much alive.

I post this memorial in honor of Dora Saint, in gratitude for her legacy, and for the joy she has given and continues to give.  I only hope that I can at least come close to being as influential and life-affirming for my readers as she has been for me and for the tens of thousands of other readers who have loved her dearly.