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What Is Christian Fiction?

24th September 2018

It’s amazing how often I still hear that question, even after working in this industry for almost fifteen years. There are some who have no idea whatsoever of how to define it; others who aren’t sure how something can be both “Christian” and “fiction”; and still others who perceive that all Christian fiction is saccharine-sweet, tied in neat little bows, and unrealistic.

So let’s set all those misconceptions aside and talk about what we mean by Christian fiction.

In times past, there was no such thing as Christian fiction—there was simply great literature, and many of the best writers out there were infusing their own (Christian) worldviews in their writing: John Bunyan, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Robert Louis Stevenson, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Flannery O’Connor, just to name a few.  As C. S. Lewis so aptly stated, “What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects—with their Christianity latent.”

The term Christian fiction has only been used for the last fifty or so years, and it has come to represent titles that were set apart from the mainstream. Catherine Marshall’s Christy and Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly were two early examples.

At HCCP, though, we’ve always sought to reclaim that early heritage of beautiful stories that are meaningful and relevant to the world around us. As such, we define Christian fiction as a broad category of stories that reflect the Christian worldview of their authors in both subtle and overt ways, and that ultimately bring hope and light into the world.

That’s why you’ll find a wide range of titles on our list: stories that fall into genres from romance to historical to suspense to YA to women’s fiction, and that vary from strong faith messages to more quiet ones that you could comfortably share with a friend who may not be a believer.

If you’ve never tried Christian fiction before or you’re just looking for your next great read, check out some of these recent releases: