Monday, December 31, 2012

The Christian Writer's Manifesto by Lisa Phillips

The Christian Writer’s Manifesto – Part 1: This is where it’s at. By Lisa Phillips

For we are His workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus for good works,
 which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. 
Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

It seems a heavy thing, to know there’s a ‘calling’ on your life. At times you probably feel like me, so totally unworthy of being the recipient of something divine … or dare I say, holy that you’d much rather run away.

Why don’t I just write nice stories about funny people doing interesting things, going on adventures? They can grow and learn, without any of that ‘God’ stuff readers will complain is too preachy. Or I could write gritty, urban stories that are ‘real’ and show the underbelly of society people don’t like to talk about. I can put in themes of redemption and forgiveness and I’ll be able to reach more people anyway, while I’m getting on the NYT Bestseller’s list.

I can still change lives.
But is it what God wants for me?

“Christian authors in the general market often state their worldview permeates their stories without making the "God-thing" obvious. They insist they can reach a lot more unbelievers with subtlety. And who can argue with them? No one can say for sure exactly what and how writers will be used. The important thing is to obey whatever God has for each one of us.” (from Nicole Petrino-Salter’s blog Into the Fire)

Each one of us is called to this: to write the story God has given you. Whether this story is cute, funny, gritty, heartwarming, bizarre or experimental doesn’t matter. In the end, what matters is whether or not you choose to honor God in your life. Not just your writing, but your whole life.

To the best of your ability.

Because, yes, no one likes preachy fiction. Then you make it subtle and people think you’ve watered it down. So you make it more obvious and people complain they don’t like it.

Doesn’t matter.

It’s not your story at that point, anyway. It’s worship.

Worship is whatever sacrifice you’ve chosen to give to God. Your voice, your time, your passion, your money, your family. The offering we give to God can be anything, not just that twenty minutes or half an hour we sing songs on a Sunday morning—anything that costs us something to give.

So when I choose to sacrifice the story I could have written for one saturated with grace, mercy and the faithfulness of God, that’s worship. And once it is given, it belongs to Him. So who cares what people think?

“There is nothing more valuable in this hard life than offering Jesus Christ as the only true lifeline in a lost world filled with secular philosophies that add nothing of eternal value. This is why Christian fiction matters.” (from Nicole Petrino-Salter’s blog Into the Fire)

In John chapter 7, John the Baptist is in jail. He has fulfilled his ministry, preparing the way. Jesus has been baptized and the dove descended, God’s voice ringing out for all to hear: “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”

And yet, while John sits in prison, he doubts. He sends two of his disciples to Jesus with this message: “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”


This guy grew up with Jesus. They’re second cousins. He was there when Jesus began his ministry. Preparing the way for the Messiah is John’s whole life’s purpose, and he DOUBTS?

It’s a wonder Jesus doesn’t send the disciples back saying, “I don’t believe this guy! Doesn’t he KNOW? He was there the whole time and now he’s asking me this? This is ridiculous!”

Thank the Lord. He has far more grace in Him than I would have in my human reaction. Jesus says this:

“Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
(Luke 7:22-23)

This is where the power is.

Not in earthly stories, not in worldly solutions or religions of man. The healing, the life, the good news—it originates with Jesus.

So stand up and be counted among those who have laid down their writing for the Lord.

All for the glory of God.

Coming soon: The Christian Writer’s Manifesto – Part 2: A word from the forerunners.

Lisa Phillips can be found at or on Twitter @lisaphillipsbks

Please leave a comment below:

Why do you write “Christian” fiction? Maybe you don’t think it’s that big of a deal to write preachy stories about God; it’s just entertainment. What does Christian fiction mean to you?
I’d love to hear from you.

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