Whether Biblical Fiction or Christian Historical fiction is an ‘Ugly Truth’ or a ‘Blessing’ is up to each reader to decide. It is a personal choice.
The title of this weeks post in the series is ‘The Blessing…’
I have been greatly encouraged by the response of the named authors in last week’s post on Christian, Historical fiction. As I mentioned in the first post in this series, some of the writers on my list are more in the category of Biblical fiction, than Christian Historical Fiction. Still, I wonder how many of us – without deep study are aware of how much ‘New Testament’ principles are in what we refer to as the ‘Old Testament.’
Biblical Fiction or Christian Fiction?
I am inclined to believe that the Bible is one book with two testaments as some of my studies revealed. This seems to be confirmed by Jesus Himself.
“You pore over the Scriptures because you presume that by them you possess eternal life. These are the very words that testify about Me,”
John 5:39 Berean Study Bible.
For myself, I learn a lot from Biblical fiction writers such as Lynn Austin, Mesu Andrews and Jill Eileen Smith… mainly because the encourage me to see people or events in the Old Testament through different eyes… fresh eyes. I will never forget living through the construction of what is known as ‘Hezekiah’s tunnel’ – something that is easily read over in Scripture.
But I cannot just focus on the books of the aforementioned authors – all the writers who are skilled, and work hard with their research really do open the Bible to being more than stories… but being about people, the culture and the times.
Present and past -
Last Friday I had the pleasure of speaking to a very welcoming church group. It was an enjoyable experience… and also illuminating. Another speaker, a member of their congregation shared his experience of living in Holland under Nazi rule. What he said was not fiction… but given that he was talking of events 73 years ago, it was historical. As I listened to his tale of living without electricity, gas, transport other than walking – my mind wandered to the number of times writing my book series where I had wished Naomi had a ‘proper’ cooker, or some of the key characters had even a landline telephone. The ‘perils’ of writing historical fiction, be it Christian or non-Christian remain the same… the lives of the characters, and their language was different to ours today.
The male speaker I referred to earlier certainly had the setting correct… well, he should, he lived through it. He talked about the culture of evening soirees where people visited each other and had musical evenings. I have seen this type of culture in good quality films of the period. This man was a walking historical experience.
An 'ugly' bit...
I recently gave up on a ‘Christian, Historical Fiction’ book because the main character seemed to have been plucked from modern times, stuck in a Biblical setting… and was so out-of-character with the mores of the time and culture… I could read no further.
Ugly bit over!
The gifted ones.
The authors I mentioned… and the others I read… clearly did not live through the events they write about. However, they have the gifting and determination to use the gifts to help the rest of us to ‘see’ the events – and people they write about.
These are the ones who open a window – or a door to Biblical fiction and help us discover the people.
Many thanks to those of you who completed the survey. Interestingly, there seems to be a fairly even split between readers who like Old Testament fiction and Christian Historical Fiction. The survey closes on the 5th July, so there is still time to have your say. Remember, it is anonymous, has six short questions, most of them multi-choice so if you like more than one item you can tick (check) more than one… or them all.
I will share the results with you, naturally.
Next week's guest...
Next week we have the privilege of hearing from Carol Ashby… who is a Christian, Historical Fiction writer. Not to be confused with the English actress Carol Ashby… this Carol Ashby is a retired scientist, with a passion for getting the details right.
Her novel, Forgiven, explores… well, I will leave it to you to find out next week. (I am often upbraided for giving ‘spoilers’ – so I am turning over a new leaf.)
Not a spoiler but – it is a fascinating story
As for this week’s featured image…
‘I am the potter, you are the clay’ seems appropriate to Christian/Biblical Historical Fiction writers. (Based on Isaiah 64:8)
Another link to the survey