What Are the Different Types of Christian Fiction?

M.R. Anglin

Christian fiction, like secular fiction, can be separated into several genres. Some of the different types of Christian fiction available are romance, inspirational, and thriller. Genres like suspense, historical, and contemporary fiction can also be found. In addition, a person may also find speculative fiction, a title that may include genres like fantasy, science fiction, and apocalyptic fiction. The main difference between these Christian fiction genres and mainstream fiction is that the Christian versions often have the characters relying on their faith to carry them through their journey.

Characters within Christian fiction may strive to handle relationships according to the Christian faith.
Characters within Christian fiction may strive to handle relationships according to the Christian faith.

Though containing the same elements as secular genres, Christian fiction attempts to include elements of the Christian faith. For example, both secular romance and Christian romance may deal with love and desire. In a typical secular novel, the characters may engage in sexual acts as a part of their journey. In a Christian romance novel, however, the characters may strive to handle relationships according to the Christian faith. The books usually contain little or no sex.

The term "gentle fiction" usually refers to Christian works that contain no profanity or explicit sex.
The term "gentle fiction" usually refers to Christian works that contain no profanity or explicit sex.

Historical fiction is the name given to a novel that is set in the past. Medieval, Biblical Arthurian, and Westerns are four such subgenres. In these Christian novels, the characters live their lives and deal with issues according to the Christian faith. Similarly, contemporary Christian fiction deals with a contemporary time frame. In these books, the author may use the elements of fiction to show how a person can live in accordance with faith in the modern world.

Thriller and suspense novels are also some genres available under the title Christian fiction. These novels take the elements of a thriller or suspense novel, for instance a serial killer on a rampage, but include a Christian element. In addition, there are also Christian detective novels. Some novels choose to let the character's faith be an undertone or may choose not to expand on that area of the story. These books are often labeled inspirational fiction.

Christian fantasy may be an oxymoron for some. Secular fantasy uses elements of magic in the storytelling, a theme frowned upon by many Christians. Still, there are some authors who manage to use fantastical elements in an attempt explain or showcase the Christian faith. Like its secular counterpart, Christian science fiction uses science and technology in the storytelling. Apocalyptic Christian genres often deal with the end of the world, sometimes using the Biblical book of Revelation as a basis of the story.

In a Christian romance novel the characters may strive to handle relationships according to the Christian faith.
In a Christian romance novel the characters may strive to handle relationships according to the Christian faith.

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Discussion Comments


I've read an interesting Christian fiction book. Interesting because it had a sci-fi flavor to it. If you get the time, check out "The Trip of a Lifetime".


@David09 - I see one problem with some so-called Christian science fiction. It’s not materialistic, like secular science fiction is.

That is, these Christian authors presume an ordered universe, governed by God who brought it into being through creation. That could present a problem for developing believable plot lines.

Science fiction usually follows evolutionary themes, with a bit of randomness thrown into the mix. That’s not to say that spiritual themes don’t have a place. If you recall the Star Wars movies, there were a lot of spiritual ideas in that film, the “Force” being one of them.

George Lucas himself admitted he borrowed from Eastern religion in his ideas. However, Eastern religion is more compatible in some ways to secular science fiction than Christian theology is I think.


@SkyWhisperer - I’ve never read the romance novels that have become the staples of certain Christian publishing houses. I’m sure such fiction is “clean” by contemporary standards, but I just don’t care for romance personally.

My wife likes to watch some inspirational romance films on one of the cable channels. It’s not a Christian channel but the romance movies have an inspirational feel to them, giving a nod to people and issues of faith.

I suppose this is how some of these novels approach their themes, with some being more overt in that regard than others. But I do prefer subtlety myself.


@MrMoody - In general I agree, but some Christian writers have been able to reach a mass audience without being too subtle. Think of the Left Behind series by apocalyptic authors Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.

I saw lots of people reading these books, and many of these people were not (at least to my knowledge) people of deep faith. Apocalyptic fiction is its own genre, and I think it can work towards gaining mass appeal, but you have to do it right.

Whether the Left Behind series will ever attain the status of a classic or just be relegated to pop fiction, I suppose history will tell. But there is no doubt the books were phenomenally successful, and of course they were adapted to film as well.


I think I must have read all of the Christian fiction books written by C.S. Lewis when I was growing up. The Chronicles of Narnia is my favorite series, and I loved the movie adaptation.

C.S. Lewis straddled what I would call a hinterland between fantasy and science fiction, although for all practical purposes his works were mainly allegorical. You could say that’s the reason they were so popular with so many people, regardless of their faith.

His stories were basically parables in that sense, and Lewis got a lot of his influence from J.R.R. Tolkien, I believe. I think that’s good company to be in. I like the allegorical approach myself – it’s subtle, yet effective in conveying the Christian message.


I am new to Christian fiction, to really reading in general. For a long time I just didn't read, it wasn't on my radar of things to do. But I seem to have been bitten by the reading bug because it's all I want to do lately.

Can anyone recommend some good Christian authors or series? Also, I have a kindle so any kind of Christian fiction ebooks would be great too. Thanks for the suggestions.


For a while I got really in to this series of Christian westerns. They followed a preacher as he traveled through the high plains. He often encountered rough characters and through his example and wisdom converted them to the faith.

There was not a lot of violence but there was a lot of adventure, horse riding, finding gold, run away wagon trains, that kind of thing. The books got kind of formulaic after a while and I fell out of touch with the series. But it was cool for a while. It was my first introduction to Christian fiction and I was impressed.


There are lots of "serious" or "literary" kinds of books that could be considered Christian fiction. Some of the greatest writers in the English language were devout Christians.

The stories of Flannery O'Connor all have a deep Christian theme. They are not sentimental, in fact many are quite dark, but all of them wrestle with issues related to the bible and living in a world with a God.

Graham Green also addressed Christian themes in many of his works, also through dark subject matter. Christian literature does not have to be as cheesy and simplistic as some other so called Christian art forms like Christian rock or Christian produced movies.

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