Evangelism through fiction: WaterBrook Press offers "Dinner with a Perfect Stranger"

Christianity Today looks into a popular new book from WaterBrook Press:

Dinner with a Perfect Stranger.

In the past few years, fiction used as straight-up apologetics rather than literature or entertainment has gained ground in the Christian marketplace. Brian McLaren did this in A New Kind of Christian, which is less about plot than about dialogue that conveys certain theological views.

Now author and speaker David Gregory uses a similar, if more succinct, device in the July release of his evangelistic, inspirational novella, Dinner with a Perfect Stranger. Classified as “Christian Living/Spiritual Growth” by its publisher, and rightfully so, it is less about the craft of fiction and more about the evangelization of seekers and the reinforcement of certain doctrines for questioning believers.

Using books for evangelism has a noble and notable track record. But perhaps the character of Nick offers the best answer of all for seekers. “What is your deepest desire?” Jesus asks Nick, who answers, “I suppose people’s greatest desire is to be loved.” Jesus tells Nick that no one can satisfy our need to be loved as God can. What finally intrigues Nick about Christianity is not church programs, or catchy sermons, or even a book. It’s the person of Jesus himself, and by inference, the saving knowledge of Jesus’ unconditional love for him. Although Jesus’ gently reasoned arguments for Christianity are compelling, there still remains a place for a leap of faith into those arms of love.

Good food for thought.

Has anyone here read this yet? Any thoughts?

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.

  • Joel Buursma

    What do think about Jesus’ parables, Julie? Or Brian McClaren’s fictionish book referenced above?

  • Julie

    Haven’t read it, but I hate the idea of fiction being used as propaganda–regardless of whether I agree with the message. It’s typically bad art, and it always makes me wonder why they even bothered to dress it up in fiction’s clothes.