Monday, July 23, 2012

Guest post from ALP- Christian Romance and Why I Gave it Up

Guest post from my 18 year old daughter.  Enjoy!

“Christian” Romance and Why I Gave it Up

(All Scripture taken from the KJV)

Note: This post is not meant to be judgmental, nor do I desire to call anyone out. This is simply something that I have dealt with in my life and that I see many girls and ladies dealing with. Comments (even those that disagree) are encouraged and welcomed, however, as Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

I like to read. A lot.  In fact, I have often gotten in trouble for reading when I was supposed to be doing something such as school or even eating or sleeping.  And contrary to what you might expect, especially coming from someone who personally owns over 400 books (I know, I know, I have issues), selecting a book to read can be a challenge.  Sometimes books masquerade as good Christian books but really are not.  I have found Christen Romance books to be a prime example.

                Now, is there a verse in the Bible that specifically forbids reading Christian romance?  No. However, there are some verses that pertain to it. Song of Songs 8:4 says: “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.”  When we (girls and even married ladies alike) read romance of any sort it can stir up feeling in us that we might not have had otherwise.  The written word is powerful!  Song of Songs exhorts us to not awaken love until the right time.  Proverbs 4:23 says “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. A different translation says “guard your heart.”  Unfortunately, by awakening love before God’s appointed time we aren't keeping or guarding our hearts, but opening them up to things we may not be ready to be exposed to.  Finally, Philippians 4:7-8 says “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  I am not saying that all Christian romance novels are impure, but if they are causing us to be impure or to think impure thoughts then they are not things that God calls us to think on or have anything to do with.  It is also easy to let our minds wander from reality; comparing ourselves to girls in books and being deceived by unrealistic scenarios.

If we were to be honest with ourselves we would find that most supposedly “Christian” romance novels are just romance novels that use implications instead of explicitness or have a main character that goes to church and/or is Amish.

 I have found that the “Christian” romances that I once read did not draw me closer to God or point me to Christ, but took up time that could have been spent in much more profitable ways. They also gave me unrealistic expectations and ideas of both men and marriage.  Christian or not, most men do not ride up on white horses or even catch girls’ eyes from across the room.  Good relationships are built through time and God’s leading.  That can be tough to hear!  Trust me, I have read my share of Amish and Christian romance.  It was tough for me to hear this message from someone several years ago, and even tougher to admit that I had wasted so much time reading junk that I had justified as “Christian.”  As the Lord worked in my heart I began to see what I had been reading in a new light.

Guarding our hearts requires more than just not reading the obvious steamy romances;  it requires full submission to God and the willingness to give up things for Him.  We have a saying in our family; She who is most defensive or offended is probably the most convicted.  I know it is true because it often applies to me.  So before you get defensive and prove that you are convicted, =) I would encourage you to take a good, long look at what you are reading and why you are reading it, and let God work in your heart.

Blessings, ALP
Womanhood With Purpose


  1. I agree that much "christian" fiction these days is not edifying! However, I do not rule out all novels that contain romantic relationships or the Amish.;-)
    It is very hard to find good authors of Christian fiction, but I have found a couple. The first on my list does not write romance novels, and I really enjoy her writing style:

    Jamie Langston Turner (people either love or hate her writing, I've found. Ha)

    Beverly Lewis (I know you mentioned Amish fiction, but I feel this author writes more wholesome books than some of the other authors of this type of novel.)

    Janette Oke

    Have you read any of these authors, and what are your thoughts on their books?

    Oh, and about the unrealistic expectations: I have read books and watched moveies that contain wholesome romances since I was a teenager. I have now been married for nearly 9 years, and I do not find that they gave me unrealistic expectations (I knew it was fiction) about marriage, and I am very happy with the husband God gave me. :-)I think if you wait for the one God has for you, you will not compare your own lot in life unfavorably with the lives of the young women in stories.

  2. I've always thought the term "Christian Romance" to be laughable and kind of ridiculous. I love to read, and like you, I was caught many times (as a kid) reading when I should have been asleep, doing homework, or completing my chores.

    My cousin introduced me to Christian Romance books when I was about 14 and I read one and never read another one. I wasn't sure why an author would promote such an unrealistic view of relationships under the guise of "Christian Romance". Then I realized such books sell because people typically read about what's missing in their own lives. Even at 14 I realized that a Christian Romance is the same as a regular romance book. I feel the same way about Christian Rap and other types of music.

    I could go on with my comment, but I'd just be reiterating your blog post. In other words--I agree with you 100%!

    More Modern Modesty

  3. I enjoyed your post. Like Jessica in the above comment, I do enjoy reading Christian romances and have found some very appropriate ones from good authors. I have realized over the years, however, that we do need to be careful. My husband, who is a Chaplain and has counseled many people over issues of pornography, has commented that romance novels can be for women what pornographic pictures can be for men. We do not tend to be as visual as men, but if we do not want our husbands fantasizing about the pictures, we should not be fantasizing about the novels!

  4. This is really good. I mostly agree with everything, and was wondering... I publish a small magazine/newsletter for young ladies and was wondering if it would be okay for me to reprint this article in it. Please get back with me either way so that I will know. =) You can reach me at 8heritage[at]gmail[dot]com. Thanks so much!


  5. Well said, and very wise for someone so young. I, too, have chosen not to read Christian romance. For me, it often comes down to the good being the enemy of the best. Although I don't think all Christian romances are sinful, they are, at best, time wasters. Like you said, they don't draw me closer to the Lord, make me more like Christ, or motivate me to do anything for the Kingdom. Often they draw me away from more productive pursuits, or even from my Bible reading. There is so much to do for the Kingdom, and so little time, that I can't justify spending it on empty activities (and no, I don't watch television, either). Thanks for sharing. Lori, visiting from Be Not Weary (

    1. Thanks for your complement Lori! Love your book and honored you visited us!

  6. Agreed! I've read a couple historical fiction romance books that do not claim to be Christian and I found that those are sometimes a better choice than the Christian ones. Rather than girls fantasizing over some man they can not have due to their parents rules or some such thing, they reveal the historical courtship process and how laborious and oftentimes painful it can be to remain faithful to the man which they are courting. In the Christian novels, the main characters often rebel against a religion or the Amish way of life because they are "so in love they can't help it" or some other such foolishness. My opinion is that I'd much rather read a "secular" book that has good morals and historic stories than some "Christian" book about rebellion for the sake of love. I know I am generalizing here, but that has been my experience. :)

  7. Hello, I must say I really appreciate your post and thank you for having the guts to write about it since many girls wouldn't talk about this. I linked to your post on my blog where I wrote about different dangerous books, among which I noted that Christian Romance is not beneficial. You can read it here if you would like:

    1. I came from heritage of grace's post, I've really toned down reading fiction, in general I have "book issues" just like you ; ) Don't even ask me how many print and eBooks I have. I'm always reading because my desire is to write and publish fiction that can be edifying. Romance and our relationships are a part of our life and society so it's hard to write anything without including it at all. My husband and I are story boarding a trilogy right now and we're walking a fine line because we don't want the books to become a romance, but there is one relationship that needs to be established. I think we've settled on the notion our "romance" in the book will be about as prevalent as the romance in lord of the rings (the book not the movie) it was there but it wasn't central by any means.

  8. And I thought I was the only one out there who felt this way. Thanks for writing this and confirming what I've felt.

  9. Thank you for this post. I pretty much stay away from modern fiction as a rule. I do enjoy reading stories written in the late 1800's and have several on my shelf that I consider rare gems. (Susan Warner is my personal favourite.) If you enjoy reading, there are other options out there that do not compromise purity of mind and truly do encourage your walk with the Lord. I have some lists on my site that do just that. Thank you for sharing this very timely message to a generation of girls growing up on chaff instead of wheat. God bless you! Hilary at Wholesome Reads


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