Like I said yesterday, there was one nagging issue that kind of bothered me about The Curse of the Spider King, by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper. It's a question that started forming about halfway through the book and was screaming in my ear by the end. I can sum it up pretty simply (and I don't mean this to be antagonistic or sarcastic):
Is this book Christian?
On one level, "Yes." The good guys believe in God (a fact that they make absolutely clear several times). There are one or two quotations from Scripture sprinkled through. The young heroes/heroines all seem to be Christian, one quite deeply, the others in a generic sort of way. So yeah, it's a Christian book.
But is it really? I'm not so sure.
There isn't any explicit mention of Christ or Christianity. I'm not saying that we have to be whacked over the head with a cross every other page. There doesn't have to be lengthy diatribes or recitations from Scripture. But there doesn't seem to be much actual grace in the book, none that I recognized anyway. Maybe I was reading it too fast (I admittedly waited to long to read this one and only finished it Saturday, so it's entirely possible I missed it).
What really cinches it for me is the fact that the so-called Christian elements aren't integral to the story. Yes, the good guys believe in God. They call Him Ellos. But remove that element and replace it with something non-Christian (magic, for example) and I don't think the story would have changed all that much. You could have had the same characters doing the same basic things with little change.
To put it bluntly, the supposed Christian content was nothing more than a MacGuffin. I brought up this issue in a past tour.
This didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book . It's still a great adventure. But I'm not sure tossing in a few references to God is enough to really make a story Christian. That's all.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Hopper and Batson were laying the foundation for more specifically Christian content in future books. Time will tell.
Be sure to check out the rest of the tourists and see what their thoughts are on this book:
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Todd Michael Greene
Rebecca LuElla Miller