The Phobia of Fiction in the Christian Life
By Pastor Steven Birnie
Fiction Phobia – ‘Jesus used many earthly examples to explain Kingdom Principles’ – Some years ago now my wife and I Pastored the Youth and Young Adult Group in our Local Assembly and for us, this was the beginning of being set forward in the Body of Christ to preach God’s Word and shepherd others. Up until this point, we’d been prepared for over seven years and had gained an absolutely uncompromising passion for interpreting God’s Word correctly and the reality of the life He gives to those who believe. I had passion and strong opinions about the way we reflected the Glory of God in our lives and I’m sure it was these qualities and steadfastness which gave our senior overseers the encouragement, to set us forward into this role of responsibility.
We took that role with both hands and very soon the youth and young adults became our passion as God built our relationships and taught us more about what it really meant to Pastor. These were some of the best years of our lives and the energy and zeal these kids had for Jesus was extremely infectious and before long, we’d built a very successful youth group. With the Lord’s Spirit and the youth labouring, we soon began to experience God in deep ways and ultimately saw souls come to Christ and I very much doubt, that any of this would have been possible, if it wasn’t for the complete ‘no fear’ of our mature and capable youth. They opened up my eyes in many ways and softened my heart too but what I wasn’t ready for, was God taking both myself and Sharon’s uncompromising attitude and giving us a greater view of His Ways.
One of the things we did extremely well as a Youth Church was attend various Christian Events and even from the very beginning, we held our own youth outreach evenings. The youth, especially the experienced were very eager to move forward and to hold our own events which was all good until some of them mentioned doing drama’s during our evenings. Immediately my stomach knotted as my phobia kicked in as I’d seen many very questionable displays of what some called ‘worship and teaching’ and I really began to have this feeling, that I’d need to steer the kids away from these ideas and focus on God’s Ways. However, as we always maintained, Jesus was the head of our youth assembly and we felt very much impressed upon by the Lord to go with it and see the outcome. So despite my fiction phobia, I gave the encouragement for the youth to practice and put something together to perform at our next outreach.
Our outreach evening was well attended and supported by those adults in our assembly who had a passion for youth and as always, we had the night planned out to run well so that God’s Spirit was fully free to move. We’d set out the evening with the worship songs, some testimonies, a little preaching from me and to finish, a guest speaker but I wasn’t quite ready for the effects of this drama portion. The kids did a drama, which was all music and actions with no talking, displaying the enemy and his various guises trying to destroy lives and pull individuals away from God and, the power of Jesus Christ to rescue those who were tangled up in lives they couldn’t escape. I could see the reaction of those who attended; the kids both saved and unsaved were wide-eyed to this very simple but powerful show and the Pastors and adults who attended, well there wasn’t a dry eye among them, including me.
I’m still as uncompromising as ever but my mind is always open to God changing it and that night we could feel the Spirit of God so effortlessly and most importantly to Him, youth got saved. It was a moment in a Christian life filled with moments from God and this one was truly exceptional because at first, I was extremely sceptical. I was, and still am I suppose, the ‘Scriptural Accuracy Police’ but I saw something amazing and God honoring, teaching me again that God works in many ways through many people. Don’t get me wrong for a moment though; I’ve seen some extremely damaging forms of what some call worshipping God but done sensibly, in His Spirit and according to His Word, there’s nothing God can’t do through some open-minded and fearless groups.
It was this night that changed me and gave me the confidence to step away from my comfort zone of writing and preaching ‘scriptural accurate’ teaching Books and Audios, to taking on the challenge of Christian Fiction. It took me 18 months of prayer to be fully convinced but when I began writing, I could instantly see how easy it was to teach God’s Word and His Ways through Fictional Stories and now, I believe this Fictional resource is a tremendous teaching tool for believers and unbelievers alike. You can take any situation, any circumstance to write and insert all of the great teachings of Jesus Christ but more importantly, you can display just how God acts and reacts in the lives of these individual characters.
Jesus Himself used many appropriate earthly examples to explain Kingdom Principles to those who might not have understood the Scriptures or His Teachings. Many times we could see Him tailoring His Teachings to suit His audience; to those who worked the land He used farming illustrations, to those Scribes and Pharisees, He’d use fictional scenarios to teach, and of course prove them utterly wrong, as well as many more examples of how He skilfully met people right where they were. I believe like dramas, that appropriate Christian Fiction falls very much into the scope of what the Lord Spirit can use to bring revelation to Christians and to show the true nature of God of how Jesus works in a person’s life.
As an individual who has many times taught publicly, held groups and ministered to others one on one, I can confidently say that my mind has been changed about Christian Fiction and I would encourage you as the reader to do the same. I have to be honest and say that I have never read any other Christian Fiction at this point other my own to make sure that The Tribulation Soldier Series isn’t influenced by any other ideas but I’m sure, that there are many Fictional Christian Writers out there with whom God is using so that some can gain that deeper understanding of Knowing Jesus Christ as Lord, Saviour and best friend.
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