January 13, 2015

The Responsibility of Being a Christian Writer by T. L. Wiens

Recently I ran across this quote by Eddie Boyette:

“(In movies)Who really cares about historical accuracy? Movies are, first and foremost, entertainment. They are not designed to help you pass your history final. Read a book for that.”

When I read this quote, I shook my head. As a fiction writer, I realize there is no more accuracy in fiction writing than in many “based on a true story” movies. But this man is not alone in his perception of the difference between movies and books.

When the Left Behind series came out, I read a couple of the books and lost interest. Then I had a conversation with a Christian lady from my church about these books. She was reading the Left Behind books as if they were scripture. I was shocked that someone I thought had a good grasp of God’s Word would buy into something that was written and promoted as fiction.

It reminds me of the huge responsibility I have as a Christian writer to stay true to “The Bible.” The story around these truths might be fiction but I must maintain accuracy to God’s teachings. As the old saying goes, “You might be the only Bible someone ever reads” literally.

(Comment made on Answers.com 7 movies that will absolutely enrage you


  1. I can completely relate to your frustration. I am assuming that this post is also referring to the so-called biblical movies that have come out?

    It's quite simple, really. if you are not going to adhere to an historical account, (or a biblical account) then don't say, "This is the story of Noah which is based upon the bible."

    Instead you should say, "This story was inspired by the story of Noah, but in no way, shape, or form represents the biblical account."

    That makes a huge difference, and I might be interested in watching a science fiction based movie that loosely found it's inspiration from God's Word.

    There are many good stories like that. Just don't elevate and promote them with being synonymous with scripture or history.

    There has been so many Christians that have come to the defense of this heretical re-telling. I have always been about finding the beauty in a creative work that I don't particularly like, but God doesn't tell us to find beauty in heresy.

    If it's entertainment we are giving the people, then let it be called such. If it's a biblical movie, then it better be derived as closely to the Word of God as possible.

  2. I know the movie and yeah... I think there is room for creativity.Francine Rivers wrote a series of books involving the women in Jesus genealogy. Yes, creative license was taken but at the same time, the Bible was respected.

  3. Yes, I agree with you, Tammy, that writers should respect their readers enough to be transparent about what is fiction based on a certain period of time or writing, especially the Bible, and what is merely fiction inspired from a time period or a writing such as the Bible.

    I can think of fiction books written by people, such as Francine Rivers, James A. Michener, Alex Haley, Lawrence Hill--to name only a few--who have researched the period, topic and setting of their novels. That is the only way to present the truth of life, even when the story is fiction. But they still need to let people know it is fiction.

    As discerning readers, we need to be aware of the background of the writers we read. For biblical stories, we need to know the stories from the Bible itself and from the writings of respected theologians and teachers of God's word.

  4. Michelle's comment about including the right caveat is so true. It's too bad that people take movies (and books0 literally when often they are simply for entertainment purposes.

  5. I do like it when historical fiction - has historically correct facts. The same goes with Christian fiction. I can understand a "midrash" but want most of the information to be biblically accurate.
    For instance I liked The Red Tent but didn't like the Scripture being changed - that to me confuses people who don't read the Bible.

  6. So true. I also have been made aware of other Christian fiction books out there that people follow it as if it were the gospel truth.

  7. I so agree Sharon. My brother complained about his Sunday School students only knowing the "Veggie Tale" version of many Bible stories.
    I remember going through different videos with our Bibles open when I was leading youth group. Quite an eye opener.

  8. This is an excellent reminder. I love the line, "You might be the only Bible someone ever reads". So true!


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