Arminian Today

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Short Thoughts on Reading Fiction

I use to think that reading fiction was a waste of time.  Why read books that are not real?  Why get into a story that has been made up in the minds of fallen flesh?  This was my mindset.  I would read only my Bible and mainly theology books with a few historical books sprinkled in there just for fun reading.

However, I now enjoy a few fiction books here and there.

It’s not that I have embraced fully fictional books.  I still would rather read something that is true such as the Bible (which is the inerrant and infallible Word of God) or theological works above a fictional book but I have found fictional book to be fun reading.  Fictional books can bring a little spice to your reading.  I will admit that sometimes my theological reading is more discipline than fun.  There are only a handful of books written by theologians that I have actually loved reading and, like a fiction work, could not put them down.  Robert Picirilli’s Grace, Faith, Free Will was such a book.  Roger Olson’s Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities was another.  John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus and his book, Charismatic Chaoswere such books.  Jack Cottrell’s What the Bible Says About God the Ruler was the best book I have ever read from an Arminian viewpoint on the subject of the sovereignty of God.  Dr. Vic Reasoner’s commentaries on Romans and Revelation are both books that I devoured.  R.C. Sproul’s The Holiness of God and J.I. Packer’s Knowing God were likewise excellent books.  Iain Murray’s books on revival are also books that I have enjoyed from a historical-theological point of view.

Fiction books are to be read like all other books besides the Bible and that by allowing Scripture to be our guide.  We are to test everything in comparison to what God has said in His Word (1 John 4:1).  Since the Bible alone is the God-breathed Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16) and only the Bible is written by men of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21), we are to test all books (and everything else) through the lenses of Scripture.  Scripture faithfully reveals the mind of God.  When Scripture speaks, God speaks (see Galatians 3:8 where in Genesis 12:3 it is Yahweh who is speaking).

Why is fictional reading so fun?  Why does our flesh enjoy it so?  I think the reasons would vary of course but in my own life, fiction is a good break from the norm.  Fiction takes us into world’s that we create in our own minds.  Fiction creates people in our own minds who are not real and we can make them appear as we would like them to appear.  Fictional works (especially mysteries) take twists and turns that we would not be aware of.  That is how fictional authors keep your focus.

My general rule is that I read about 80% of my time from either God’s Word or theological books.  I spend another 10% reading history books.  I spend the final 10% reading a fictional work.  Typically I enjoy a good mystery or thriller.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/15/2013 at 9:09 PM

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  1. As CS Lewis commented, we read fiction to get more of life than we have time to experience and in learn lessons that reward and punishment alone cannot teach us.

    Don Bryant

    03/16/2013 at 3:51 PM

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