Tuesday 9 October 2018

Guest Blogger: David Bergsland: Yes, Powerful Christian Writing Requires Anointing.

When I started reading Christian fiction in 1995, I just wanted to be entertained. This was a carryover from reading secular fiction to which I had become very disillusioned. Even my favourite author, Clive Cussler was not cutting it with me any more. 

One of the first Christian fiction novels and the first edgy, speculative Christian fiction novels I read was Dwellers by Roger Elwood. I was taken by the question posed by the author concerning the possibility of redemption for the Nephilim described in Gen 6:1-4. Not only was I entertained but my faith was strengthened, I was spiritually uplifted and an interest in apologetics was born. I was impressed by Elwood's use of biblical theology and doctrine to answer this question concerning the Nephilim.

What Elwood achieved in this novel showed me that God uses the Christian author's talent, creativity and imagination to not just entertain, but educate, uplift and show how biblical theology, doctrine and principles can be applied to answer issues of this fallen world and much more. I have read more than enough Christian fiction across its diverse genres to see how God has used Christian authors to show: 

  • who He is, 
  • the many aspects of His character, 
  • His plan of salvation and redemption for mankind, 
  • angelology and demonology, 
  • relying on God through difficult and trying circumstances, 
  • how to develop faith and trust in God, 
  • encouraging others, 
  • spiritual warfare, 
  • being true to yourself, 
  • standing up for what is right, 
  • Godly romance, 
  • sex and sexuality.
  • controversial issues

The power of story. Jesus used story-telling in the form of parables to show us how to live as He originally planned for us.

From my diverse reading, I have experienced the following benefits from Christian fiction and its authors and it is what I pray I continue to experience: 
  • it has entertained me immensely, 
  • it has encouraged my walk with God, 
  • it has not deviated from biblical doctrine, and it will not, I discern, lead a non-believer astray or promote false doctrine, 
  • it honours God, 
  • it has educated me on a particular issue and has challenged my thinking on it and encourages me to seek God further regarding this issue
  • it does not encourage worship of the created (eg angels) instead of the Creator (God).

However, for an author achieve the above, it appears to me that the Christian author would need to be writing for God, under His guidance, and be a willing conduit for Him to deliver His message in their writing. 

My experience is also shared by author David Bergsland. He discusses this further in the following blog post. I post it here as encouragement to other authors and to readers. It is posted here with David's permission. It post can also be found on his website, Reality Calling.

Thanks for continuing to help us spread the word about all the incredible Christian authors of the 21st century. These are holy warriors in the final harvest. Click here to enlist: YeeHaw!
The not-often discussed truth that powerful Christian writing requires anointing reveals your path as a writer for the Lord. Jesus was not kidding when He said, “…without Me you can do nothing.” I don’t care how facile you are with words and turns of phrase. Your wit will not change lives. At best, it will convince readers that you are wonderful. At worst, it will distract readers from repentance.

First, how do we recognize powerful Christian writing — non-fiction or fiction?

Easily. Excellent and powerful Christian writing transforms lives, brings repentance, offers comfort, edifies the reader, and/or offers the Baptism of the Spirit to broken and needy people. Backsliders reexamine themselves. The heathen is convicted of sin. Readers’ hearts are opened to the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
The difficulty, of course, comes with finding testimonies. They come from reviewers, commenters, and readers. However, simply asking the Holy Spirit to show you solves that problem quickly. In fact, the Holy Spirit is the core of the whole process.

So, how do you get the Holy Spirit to produce powerful Christian writing through you?

“You ask for it. You ask sincerely, humbly, and fervently before you write—every time you write—that the Holy Spirit will take your thoughts and words and make them into rhema for your readers. You pray that your flesh and old self will be kept out of the way and that you can be a channel for the Holy Spirit now. You pray you can be given the ability to convey truth which will not mislead. When you have prayed for wisdom and anointing, then you can write freely, trusting He will do what He promised. Without this power applied to your writing, it is just a career choice. If writing is your calling and your ministry, it will be worthless without the power of the Holy Spirit transforming your work. This anointing is essential.” Bergsland, Writing In Holiness: While Keeping It Real (pp. 13-14). Radiqx Press. Kindle Edition.

The Holy Spirit anoints if you ask — BUT…

You must allow it. This is not automatic writing where a spirit takes over and controls your flesh. You ask Him to use you, listen carefully, and write with an attitude of awe and wonder. Even then, you may not recognize the anointing upon your writing. It’s not for you, but others. Sometimes I am aware I wrote something beyond my ability. But, often I have no idea until I hear testimonies.
I’m grateful for that. I don’t need the swollen head, for I did little except to try to allow the Spirit to convert my writing to rhema. He gets the glory for the power comes from him. But, there’s a lot more to it than you being anointed.

It’s not about you

Who do you work for? Who called you to be a writer? For some of you, the answers are: you work for yourself and your decision to be a writer was a personal one. If so, I’m not talking about you or to you. I’ve written extensively about the various spiritual levels of Christian fiction in my foundational book, A Spiritual System for Rating Books
As I wrote there, transformational power is generally not available in any book offering less than Redemptive or Spirit-filled stories. But for this article specifically and this Website generally, I am speaking to authors who believe God has called them to write.
…my vision is to help you understand that your call to write is very important. It is part of the effort He is putting out to save everyone possible before it is too late. My vision is to encourage you in that, and to provide you with the knowledge necessary to communicate clearly with your writing. Typography, page layout and book design are the tools of your trade just as much as excellent dialog, compelling characters, immersive worlds, and carefully crafted stories.
I am not called to talk you into feeling guilty if your books are not forceful sermons—dragging your readers kicking and screaming from Hell into Heaven. Preaching doesn’t work in books. Manipulation by guilt is fleshly at best and often sin. Quoting scripture is only appropriate in scenarios where you would naturally do so in real life with your friends and acquaintances. Just like friendship evangelism, you learn what your reader needs and fulfill it. You listen to them, come to understand them, answer their questions, and gently lead them to the Truth. Only the Holy Spirit can enable them to act upon that Truth. All you can do is provide access to it. We are teacher/storytellers not master/slave drivers. We lead by example and the clear statement of reality toward Truth and the acceptance of that reality. Bergsland, David. Writing In Holiness: While Keeping It Real (pp. 14-15). Radiqx Press. Kindle Edition.
Powerful Christian writing has a definite place helping prepare for the soon-coming return of our King and Messiah—commonly known as Jesus of Nazareth, in English. God has strongly called several, even many, authors to bring the Gospel to hard-to-reach readers of speculative fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, and action-adventure.
In this reality, our question becomes simple: what do you want me to do, Lord? If we are called by Him to write, we must follow His lead in accomplishing this. It’s not about you, but about the Lord—and those sheep to whom He wants you to speak. You get to experience His power to make your book better, more realistic, and powerful. It’s a real rush.
But never forget: you work for Jesus to serve His people, those readers He has given you to be shown the Truth of the Gospel in your books.

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