Responding to Concerns about Novels

Novels are fiction, and by definition “not true,” right? Since Philippians 4:8 tells us to read things that are “true,” should we avoid novels? Drew, Elijah, and Kayla are back to discuss fiction, delving into the concerns some have about fiction and talking about how novels have positively affected their lives.

Support the show (

Share this article:

1 thought on “Responding to Concerns about Novels”

  1. Thank you for this podcast! I enjoy reading quite a bit but sometimes struggle to find good literature. Especially since I want to read novels that are not only acceptable but actually edifying for me as a Christian. Upon your recommendation I wanted to give it a try and read “The Robe” – and must say I’m somewhat disappointed. Since all three of you recommended it, I’d like to comment on it in some length.

    Sure, “The Robe” did give me a new perspective on what happened in early Christianity; it was interesting and, in some ways, encouraging to read. Yet especially when writing fiction where Jesus Himself occurs (or other people mentioned in the Bible), authors need to be extremely cautious to not skew or even alter anything! Lloyd C. Douglas was careful, but not careful enough. Here’s a couple examples.
    1. About some things we cannot be sure how exactly they happened. Douglas fills in some gaps for us – and that is already problematic. Was the wine that Jesus made from water red or white? He makes it white. For narrative purposes of course, but still a questionable means. What did Jesus look like after His resurrection? As before, or transformed and unrecognizable (as Mary’s reaction at the grave might suggest)? Douglas decides for the former, but we don’t know!
    2. The author also omits parts from Biblical stories. That’s no problem per se unless the omissions become skewing – which they do! For instance, when the Roman soldiers crucify Jesus, an important element is missing: “Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.” – Luke 23:47, KJV. This would change the whole story, and the reader who doesn’t know or remember Scripture gets a skewed version of what happened.
    3. Even worse are downright inaccurate retellings of Biblical events. It wasn’t Jesus’ heart that was pierced on the cross, but His side. Also, Jesus’ ascension to heaven surely wasn’t as badly misunderstood by His disciples as Douglas suggests!
    4. Yet the most damaging part is where Douglas gives us (attempted) rational explanations of Jesus’ miracles. Especially the retelling of Jesus feeding the multitude is unjustifiable. I don’t even want to repeat the author’s version. Again, it might have made sense to explain them like that in order to make Marcellus’ faith appear even more miraculous eventually, but that can’t be at the expense of diminishing the reader’s faith!

    Am I nitpicking here? I don’t think so. Reading books like this one can be quite damaging. I’m even tempted to argue that reading novels that don’t touch Scripture at all are much safer to read than novels like “The Robe”. Of course it’s not your fault, you didn’t write the book–but I felt it necessary to point out what isn’t good about it.


Leave a Comment