In the Christian Redemptive Fiction Award there may or may not be any evidence of religious behavior. There will be a transformed life when born from above. The transformed characters are often at odds with, shunned by, or expelled from religious organizations. Regardless, religion does not provide salvation or deliverance. The characters may find solace or ministry within such a group. But, they are outsiders or considered strange by the religious in many cases. The focus is on a personal relationship with a messiah. True believers are rare in almost every church in America or Europe today.
Christian Redemptive Fiction Award by Reality Calling for storytelling
We are not necessarily concerned with literary or book design issues. Some of the best books I have ever read were either poorly edited or poorly designed. But it’s the story that matters here.
This is a badge used by the reviewers associated with this blog, Reality Calling, and the publishing house, Radiqx Press. It is awarded by the reviewer, at his or her discretion, to indicate that the book or books so awarded meet the criteria we have established for Redemptive Fiction.
All reviewers using this badge have been known and discerned by the leadership of Reality Calling/Radiqx Press to be trustworthy men and women of God, called by the Lord to review Christian fiction as a service to both the readers and authors of true Christian fiction.
The Christian Redemptive Fiction Award is to be used seriously, after deliberate prayer, only when the reviewer is convinced that the book meets our criteria. If there were any concerns the reviewer has taken said book or books to the leadership group for discernment and critique.
Redemptive Fiction in the bookstore
The basic redeeming portion of these books are characters who have been born of God, born from above, or reborn [as Jesus explained to Nicodemus in John 3]. This is done realistically, the way it actually happens in our lives. The key criteria is that lives are transformed when they encounter and believe in a Savior. This transformation is explained by Paul in Romans 12: 1-2 and in Ephesians 4:17 & following. John discusses it in I John 3, explaining the righteousness expected of all believers.
In the more realistic scenarios, the new believers give their life to serve the Lord. [Romans 12:1–3] They can offer a realistic look at the daily walk of faith for a new believer. There is a clear Messiah who died for our sins. Through repentance and baptism, a person is forgiven and cleansed, beginning a new life in the Kingdom of God.
The key is that the romances show the truths expressed by Paul in Ephesians 5:22-33, I Corinthians 7, and I Peter 3:1-7—plus, stringent sexual limits. Fornication and adultery are always serious sin. Fornication is sex between unmarried people. Adultery involves a married person with someone else. Homosexuality is fornication at the least. There will be no titillating descriptions of sex or seduction. Titillation is “a pleasurable or sexually exciting sensation” caused by descriptions or situations. Abuse is always sin.
The truly excellent books on this level share these truths easily, without pretension, in common human relationships. They recognize that most people do not carry on conversations by quoting scriptures at each other. They cover the arguments pro and con in natural dialog—exchanged in the way we actually talk with one another.
They leave it to the person to decide about Jesus, recognizing that you cannot talk anyone into salvation. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. The only source of guidance is scripture, with occasional visits from angels and the like. God speaks though the Bible primarily.
Though the presence of the Lord is visible in these books, He may not be the center of the story. Characters are benefited and blessed by His presence in their lives. But salvation is the goal and result. Discipleship and spiritual growth are secondary as salvation provides everything needed by the characters. Growth is found in reading the scripture and memorizing key verses.
Spiritual warfare: This is not commonly found in Level Four books. If it is, enemy attacks are thwarted by standing on the promises of scripture—often by strong quotations of scripture verses (possibly repeatedly, with increasing volume, anxiety, and desperation). This is how wielding the Sword of the Spirit is portrayed. The Word of God is scripture, at this level. There is no concept of rhema—the Word of God given for a specific situation at a specific time.