What is the identifying mark of Christian books/writing? This is a question I’ve asked a lot of people, not just writers and other professionals in the industry but also readers, since they’re the ones who make choices about which books to buy–or not. The answers have been varied.
I’ve heard things like, “The book needs to present the Gospel”; “There should be no cussing or excessive violence and definitely no sex or nudity”; “There should be a clear message of transformation due to Christ coming in to someone’s life.”
These are all valid statements, but I wonder if one particular scripture verse doesn’t give us a bit clearer set of guidelines while still allowing for individual preferences and personalities. Ephesians 4:s9 says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”
I love that, don’t you? For me, as a writer of Christian fiction and nonfiction, I receive clear boundaries and direction:
1) Don’t write anything corrupt
2) Look for ways to edify (build up) my readers
3) Seek to impart grace to those who read/hear what I write
Aren’t those simple and yet helpful points to follow when defining Christian writing? But what about if you’re a reader and not a writer? Can these three basic directives help you choose not only what you might want to read yourself but also what you would recommend to others? I believe they would, but I’d love to hear what you think. Are these three points helpful to you? If so, in what ways? Do you have other suggestions to add to this brief list? And does it matter? If so, why?
Happy reading, fellow lovers of words!