I receive in my email box, the monthly announcements of Marcher Lord Press (http://www.marcherlordpress.com/MLP_Publishing_Model.htm ) and I’ve submitted stories to a POD anthology called COACH’S MIDNIGHT DINER (http://www.themidnightdiner.com/).
Both of these publish a genre they call “Christian Speculative Fiction” (speculative fiction, also known as spec fic includes science fiction, fantasy, myths, fairy tales, horror and any combination of these genres).
With hundreds of publishers already producing spec fic in the secular world, why do we need a Christian spec fic publisher? While it’s difficult to dispute their call to minister to God’s people in this way, I have serious questions to which I’d like to hear answers.
In COACH’S, out of 21 authors, only two have publications in “secularly recognized” venues. Of Marcher Lord Press’ six authors, only one is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The people who publish in this genre, as far as I can tell, are people who can’t make it in the secular speculative fiction markets. By extension then, these authors are not the best in the field yet they are being published as representative of the BEST the Christian spec fic market can produce. These authors represent Christ – at least in the speculative fiction field – to the entire world. It’s not important that Marcher Lord Press has a disclaimer saying that they aren’t TRYING to reach the world for Christ (see above link), that they are just trying to entertain a small fraction of a specialized market. Scripture is very, very clear with regards to that attitude: “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17) The fact is that when people buy these books and give them to their spec fic reading unsaved friends, they’ll be compared unfavorably to what is being published in the secular press.
CS Lewis, who not only wrote spec fic for a secular publisher, and published short fiction in the secular market (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction published three of his stories) spoke eloquently to the issue: “What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects with their Christianity latent.” GOD IN THE DOCK, p. 93
Beth Moore as well points out in her scripture workbook: “We cannot seclude ourselves indefinitely in Christian hideouts. Our lives must be poured out like healing ointment on this injured land.” DANIEL: LIVES OF INTEGRITY, WORDS OF PROPHECY, p. 128
Finally, Reggie McNeal: “The truth is that the North American church culture extracts salt from the world and diminishes the amount of light available to those who need to find their way.” THE PRESENT FUTURE, p. 72
It’s clear to me that these Christian publishers have, with the greatest of good will and firm belief that they were serving Christ, created a ghetto in which they might wallow in self-satisfied glory, believing that they are reaching the world but in fact creating nothing more than a spectacle of themselves at which the secular world peeks, points their fingers, laughs and then moves on its way to the REALLY important work.
And that leaves the secular world effectively unreached. It also leaves us effectively responsible for their loss from the Kingdom of God and leaves us open to the reprimand of our Lord. Matthew 25: 34-40 are verses we often quote to ourselves, patting ourselves on the back…but that’s a subject for another essay. But here, we deserve what Jesus says in verses 41-46: "Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me. These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’”
We still have time to become the BEST in the secular world and reach the lost for Jesus Christ.
That’s where my mission is.