A Warning Against
Christian Romance Novels

The Dangers of Romanticism


by CRYSTAL RAE NELSON

I was eleven years when I first read a book by Jannette Oke, a popular Christian novelist, and quickly became entranced by so-called "Christian Romance" books. I was so captivated by them in fact, that I would spend hours wrapping myself in them, allowing all kinds of thoughts to dance through my head. I was cautioned on several occasions by my parents and other friends in the church to be careful, that I not allow these books to distort my perception of godly relationships, or to lead me away from what I knew was right. I justified my decision to keep reading them, by telling everyone (and myself), that all of the romances in these stories were founded on strong Christian values, that there was no physical immorality, that virtue and purity were upheld and encouraged throughout, and that I was actually benefiting from absorbing these idealistic examples of what "falling in love" should be like. My attraction to these kind of books was due, in part, to my already idealistic and romantic personality. I had a "perfect" picture of love and romance, complete with fluttery feelings and dizzying emotions. I was occupied with the longing to be "swept off my feet" by the handsome prince of my dreams.

Several years later, having allowed these influences to permeate my perception, I realized (painfully) that I had indeed misshaped my convictions, and distorted my idea of a courtship relationship, and what it should be like. My very attraction toward these things was exactly the encouragement I should have avoided. Instead of allowing my focus to rest on finding a perfect, ideal, romantic relationship, I should have instead turned my eyes and heart to seek God’s will for me, and my future husband.

These books encouraged me to build up an expectation of love that was focused on all the wrong occupation.

I am grateful that the Lord removed this influence from my life, and that he has healed me from the scars caused me by these books. Now having entered into my own relationship with a godly young man, whom God has called me to love and serve for the rest of my life, and with whom I am very much in love, I REJOICE that I was able to pray about it carefully, with a heart desiring only the Lord’s will, without being overcome by feelings and emotions. Our relationship was not founded or decided upon these fleeting things. Instead our commitment to each other was established upon knowing the path that the Lord has planned for us. Even now that we are committed to one another, the passion and romance that we feel and experience are far from our focus; rather, we have put much of it aside, seeing it as a distraction from the things that we need to be focused on right now, the things that will cause us to grow and prepare us for our future marriage.

 

Young Women Stepping Heavenward
PO Box 1992, Van Alstyne, Texas 75495