The Idolatry of Christian Romance Books

I want to begin this post with a disclaimer that I am not making a statement about ALL books that fall into this category. However, I am seeing this as a recurring theme across MANY of the books that I have encountered within the genre.

A common theme I’ve been encountering in Christian books is the idea that fulfillment comes through finding a romantic partner.

This idea is immensely pervasive in our culture, whether movies/books/TV depict romance in/ outside of a marriage partnership.

As Christians, we have placed a TON of emphasis on “cleaning the outside of the cup” (Luke 11:39) by making sure that “our” (Christian) media does not depict premarital sex. But when that is our entire emphasis, we are overlooking the point of these relationships.

The Bible makes it clear that the profound mystery of marriage is that it is to signify the relationship between Christ and His bride— not the other way around. Since marital intimacy symbolizes the intimacy between Christ and His bride, we are missing the point if we say that final fulfillment is found in another person.

And not only are we missing the point— it is none other than IDOLATRY to state that ultimate fulfillment can be found in a person other than Jesus Christ.

While physical purity ABSOLUTELY has its place (check out my review standards to see just how important it is to me), we should embrace physical purity “without leaving the former,” spiritual purity, “undone” (Luke 11:42). Scripture makes it very clear that God cares about circumcision of the heart, not just the body.

Thanks to my mom for processing with me and sharing these truths with me. actually usually judge books by whether or not their content is clean, but she pointed out the fact that finding fulfillment in someone other than God is idolatry.

As I move forward with book reviewing, I am wanting to read with more of an eye for theme, seeking for books that actively convey truth— not just books that are “clean.”

To be continued…

I may write more posts along a similar line. I had drafted this one multiple times, unsuccessfully, and then decided to keep my post simple, instead of trying to tie in all of the ideas that have been on my heart and mind.

See also:

the problem(s) with Christian romance fiction

Eva Jo does an excellent job of articulating some of the common themes in the genre

The Other Kind of Christian Fiction

I’m not sure what the author’s name is; while I don’t agree with all points, this post did provoke thought for me

Published by Stephaniesninthsuitcase

Hi, there! My name is Stephanie and I’m a Fresno, CA native. After studying at Biola University, I received my MLIS (Masters in Library Science) from San Jose State University. I live with my mom, poet Kimberly Vargas Agnese, and serve as her unofficial agent. We reside at MeadowArc, a food forest in its infancy. I am called to, and passionate about, purity. In fact, the name Agnes means “pure.” Before I was born, my mom felt led to include the name Agnes in her name, and in the names of her children. My full, hyphenated name includes 26 letters (but not the whole alphabet).

9 thoughts on “The Idolatry of Christian Romance Books

  1. Thanks for the shout-out!

    I’ve definitely noticed this unhealthy sort of obsession in Christian romance fiction. Sometimes it seems like the authors are equating romantic love to God’s love, or using romantic love as a SUBSTITUTE for God’s love, which is … not good!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I so agree with what you’re saying here! It’s so frustrating when so many Christian fiction books literally idolize relationships like this and basically teach that without a boyfriend/girlfriend, you’re not complete. Only Christ completes a person. Only He is the ultimate fulfillment. It’s just so sad that these books, marketed Christian, are filled with these kind of lies. And I also know a lot of Christian fiction readers are teenage girls/young women, and that’s just so dangerous to be telling impressionable young readers these things.

    And also, the obsession with “old maid” stuff in Christian fiction books? It’s always presented as this terrible, horrifying thing if *chills* the character never marries. This horrendous situation must be feared and avoided at all costs, or the character’s life will be ruined forever. So stupid.

    Sorry to rant. It’s just so frustrating. Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for responding, Vanessa! I totally agree with you about audience! Lately, I have been thinking about how media shaped my desire for a relationship— largely with the idea that I’m lacking if I’m not in one. And even media that is “clean” is still promoting this assertion! My mom pointed me to the idolatry aspect which I otherwise wouldn’t have even connected.

      Haha! Yes, so true about the “old maid” thing

      Liked by 1 person

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