This is a question I have been mulling over and struggling to balance in the world of fantasy. How do I balance the moral and spiritual lessons of scripture in my fantasy novel with the unrelated story elements/beats? For instance, just because a leader takes the attitude of a servant leader doesn’t mean I want them related to a “Christ figure” or even a necessarily Christian. I hope this question makes sense. I would love some insight in avoiding heresy in fantasy!
I think Jessie gave a great answer.
For me, community is a huge key. The best way that you can protect yourself is to give the manuscript to readers whom you trust to be full of the Holy Spirit and discerning, who will read it and tell you the truth. In that scenario, you then have a responsibility to give due diligence to their feedback.
You can also hire a spirit-filled developmental editor to fill that role. Tell them up front about your concerns and ask them to prayerfully consider the spiritual implications of your story.
Ultimately we can’t control how a reader will consume the story or what he or she will take from it. That will drive you crazy. But we can be intentional about our process and to take seriously our responsibility as a shepherd when we release content.
If you’re full of the Holy Spirit, and your writing is from the abundance of your heart, then with some simple guiderails in place, we can trust the Holy Spirit to take our work and use it for His purposes.
“To the pure, all things are pure” Titus 1:15
One of the reasons “Christian” fiction often does not ring true is because people are overly concerned with fitting the story into easily digestible boxes when the world does not do that. God does not need you to make a better case for Him than He makes for Himself! (Job 13:8) That notion can be incredibly freeing for Christian writers. If what you are writing is true to the world, then what you are writing is godly, because – never forget – God is Truth! (John 14:6).
Part of that truth is that sometimes even people who don’t know God reflect his ways – because as human beings created in His image, knowledge of His ways is in our hearts even though our sin nature fights and rejects it (Romans 2:14-15) You can have a servant-leader who is not a Christ figure or even a Christian. That is not at all heresy.