Principles of Literary Apologetics

The Executive Director of Athanatos Christian Ministries, Dr. Anthony Horvath, was himself influenced by the writings of C.S. Lewis--both the non-fiction and the fiction.  In the course of his own apologetics ministry, he has come to recognize the importance of approaching people through the arts as well as the intellect.  To that end, ACM offers a literary apologetics certificate program through its online apologetics academy.  One of the core courses is "Principles of Literary Apologetics."  These principles, in sum, are:

  1. Art is for art's sake, but 'literary apologists' are at least aware that their work has the capacity to advance or undermine a particular worldview.
  2. 'Literary apologetics' is not obligated to 'complete the sale'; ie, move someone straight from their objections to the entrance of the pearly gates.
  3. The 'literary apologist' recognizes the power of aesthetics but also its nature:  reactions cannot be coerced, manipulative writing is propaganda, not art, and therefore not 'literary apologetics;'  Dostoyevsky said:  "Beauty will save the world."  Solomon said:  "Do not awaken Love until it so desires."
  4. All of human experience is a proper subject for the literary apologist (not just 'religious' topics or plot lines):  food, drink, work, learning, sex, dejection, laughter, mourning, grief, love, and good and evil.
  5. The orthodox 'literary apologist' never loses sight of the fact that some things really are evil.
  6. A good message is no justification for bad writing.
  7. From the perspective of 'literary apologetics, a 'good' message is anything that moves someone, even if ever so slightly, towards the Christian worldview or away from a worldview that is antithetical to the Christian worldview.
  8. The literary apologist recognizes the power of culture--the great mass of art, argument, and opinion that presses in on each of us at every moment--but does not believe any single work can change every aspect of the culture, not even his own;  instead, he is content to be salt to the world.