Les Stobbe has been a literary agent for 20 years, and has worked in the book business for over 50. Visit his website at http://stobbeliterary.com/
What Prophetic Role Do Christian Writers Have?
In recent years I have been receiving both fiction and non-fiction proposals from writers who are upset about where the church is headed and where the country is going. Many have a lot of criticism and few solutions for the problems they see. They have the Jonah rather than the Pauline message.
We are all aware that the mega-churches tend to have a very positive message, which is reflected in the pastor’s books. Both churches and books get a strong response, with growing attendance and increasing book sales. Is that a valid role for writers, especially during a depressing economic climate?
Eugene H. Peterson writes in his introduction to the Book of Micah in The Message: “Prophets use words to remake the world. The world—heaven and earth, men and women, animals and birds—was made in the first place by God’s Word. Prophets, arriving on the scene and finding that world in ruins, finding a world of moral rubble and spiritual disorder, take up the work of words again to rebuild what human disobedience and mistrust demolished. These prophets learn their speech from God. Their words are God-grounded, God-energized, God-passionate.”
I had to read this introduction over several times as I tried to comes to terms for how that might occur today. Is it a Christian journalist who fled for his life from Zimbabwe because he wrote articles critical of the dictatorial rule of the government there? Is it a journalist from Pakistan reporting on the shooting of two Christian leaders as they left a courtroom exonerated of blaspheming the prophet Mohammed—and evaluating the performance of the judicial system? Or is it writers broadcasting the Gospel via shortwave into Afghanistan in four languages? Could it have been Bruce Olsson singing the message of Christ’s life and death and resurrection while swaying in a hammock in a large longhouse in Bari territory on the Colombian/Venezuelan border, until then not penetrated by any white man? Maybe it is blog writers analyzing what they are seeing around them in this country.
The question that keeps coming to me is: Are the words “God-grounded, God-energized, God-passionate?”