You will be tempted to compromise as a Christian writer along your author journey, and how you respond has a bigger impact than you might think.

Back in 2020, I received a very specific calling: “Call My writers.”

The verse 2 Corinthians 6:17 (NIV) also stood out to me: “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.”

No other instructions.

Just “Call my writers” and to be separate.

So, I started The Inkwell, my online writing community. And then I started the Ink and Impact podcast. Along with those things, I began to offer 1:1 Christian book coaching sessions. And I’m currently building Bookworthy Academy with my beta members.

All of this work means there are lots of human interactions and business decisions that need to be made on a daily basis.

And a lot of opportunity for compromise.


What’s at Stake When You Compromise as a Christian Writer

When you invest so much time and effort into your book, it’s only natural to want to sell as many books as possible, both to serve your readers and to make some money.

And this can cause you to compromise as a Christian writer – in both big and small ways.

For example, more and more writers today avoid identifying themselves as Christian writers.

This leads me to wonder: If God named His Son Jesus, the Christ, why do so many people who claim Christ as their Savior mind being called Christians?

I think it’s because they don’t want to offend people.

The fewer people they offend, the larger their social media followings and the more people they can get on their email lists. And this is important to potentially sell more books.

Recently, I’ve seen several social media posts about the need to distinguish between being a Christian writer and a Christian who writes.

I don’t know where you land on that debate, but in my opinion, a Christian shouldn’t want to differentiate their faith from their work.

Our work is a gift from God. As His children, we should strive to work in a way that honors Him, rather than separates ourselves from Him.

When we neglect to call ourselves Christian authors, then our books are no longer classified as Christian books.


What Happens When Christian Authors AND the Christian Publishing Industry Compromise?

In case you didn’t know, Christian publishing companies have been selling out to secular mainstream publishers for the past twenty years (think Thomas Nelson and Zondervan).

And as an interview between Thomas Umstadtt Jr. and Mary DeMuth on the Christian Publishing Show recently pointed out, Christian publishing companies no longer employ seminary graduates who can select books based on their Christian content. Rather, they hire business professionals who select books based on their potential revenue.

Want proof of how detrimental all of this is?

Walk into any mainstream bookstore, and you’ll probably notice there isn’t a Christian book section anymore. Our books are intermingled with varying other beliefs into an all-inclusive “Religion” section.

And large-chain Christian bookstores are now almost obsolete.

Ways You May Be Faced with Compromise as a Christian Writer

  • Do you find yourself saying that you’re a faith-based writer instead of a Christian writer to make your work seem more palatable to a larger audience?
  • Do you strike or rewrite a scene in your manuscript because an editor says it will offend too many people?
  • Are you willing to buy followers on social media so you can land a traditional publishing deal?
  • Is AI becoming a convenient way to create content for your blog since you’re so busy writing your book?

Friend, these are all real-life scenarios. These aren’t just made-up hypotheticals.

You will undoubtedly encounter one of these – or many other – scenarios along your own author journey.


I’m Not Immune to Compromise as a Christian Writer, Either

Recently, I was contacted by an individual who wanted to be a guest on the Ink and Impact podcast.

As always, I did some research and immediately, I noticed a lack of Christian-based content. In fact, absolutely nothing on any of their pages said a single word about their faith.

So, I respectfully declined their request to be on the show, stating why I didn’t think we were a good fit.

But they responded back saying that they used to teach at a specific Christian university and that several of their books were Christian-focused. So, I researched those books, found their claim to be true, and reconsidered their offer.

We scheduled an interview. After all, I thought, their proposed topic was something that would genuinely benefit my audience.

Friend, let me pause here to say that the enemy knows our weaknesses.

What I neglected to tell you up to this point is that the individual in question has a rather large email list and social presence.

As a podcast host, this was music to my ears.

I was attracted to the possibility of gaining lots of new subscribers and downloads.

And, in case you haven’t heard me share this before, I’ve always struggled with pride. This was playing very nicely into stoking my pride in growing my podcast.

Fast forward a week and I happened across another of the person’s books at my local library. It was most definitely not a Christian book.

Holy Spirit immediately convicted me of my pending interview. I knew I needed to cancel it.

But something else you might not know about me is that I hate to say no or disappoint people. I’m a true recovering people pleaser.

So I was faced with a decision: Would I allow my desire for more downloads and my fear of saying no to a person take the place of being obedient to God and serving as a trustworthy steward to my audience?

I wish I could say that I immediately canceled the interview. Instead, I waffled back and forth for a couple of days. But ultimately, I did cancel it.


When Tempted to Compromise, Turn to God

The sad thing is that this hasn’t been my first rodeo with such potential compromise as a Christian writer. And I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last.

But what I do know is that every time I choose to listen to God over my selfish desires, I literally feel better. It’s like a physical weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

Friend, God doesn’t want you to compromise as a Christian writer.

He wants all of us to be all in as His children. Our Father wants us to run to Him to seek His guidance and trust Him because of His Sovereign nature:

  • The Lord is good and He does not withhold good things from His children.
  • He is creator and sustainer of all things; He will provide us with exactly what we need, even if it isn’t always what we want.

My point in sharing all of this isn’t to point fingers or to act holier-than-thou toward others. Rather, it’s to encourage each of us to look within ourselves and honestly recognize our own weaknesses.

When we do so, we can turn to God and trust wholly in Him when the times of testing come.

Because your faith will be tested, friend, and your writing won’t be exempt. Whether it’s the content of your book or the way you market it, something will be called into question.

It’s during those moments in the refiner’s fire that we find out who we really are.

Be prepared, put on the full armor of God daily. and be the ambassador of Christ you’re called to be.

Be an Ambassador of Christ

In political circles, an ambassador represents a country’s president in other lands. They’re the president’s mouthpiece.

This means that they have to step outside their comfort zone and go somewhere new. where they’re often noticeably different from the people around them in both their actions and how they speak. They uphold their allegiance to their country of origin while simultaneously living with foreigners in a gracious and respectful manner.

It will do us well to do likewise as ambassadors of Christ. Our relationship with Him should be apparent in how we write and speak.

Does this mean that every Christian author has to write gospel tracts and Bible studies?

That they have to pound the pavement and beat people over the head with the Good News?

No, of course not.

But I do think Christian writers can convey doctrinal truths in every book we write, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction.

The message doesn’t have to be deeply theological, but rather, deeply relational. Point people to Jesus in some way.

Friend, compromise as a Christian writer happens one decision at a time. I pray that we be alert and attuned to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and that we’re willing to obey.

When feeling pressured to relent or compromise as a Christian writer, go to God and remember that this home is not our own. We are His ambassadors and we are here for a limited time.

Let’s use our time – and our written words – to come out from the masses and be separate.

As Jeremiah 23:28 (NIV) says, “And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully.”

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  1. Rick McKinney

    Dalene: I, too, struggle with wanting to please people. 50 years in the ministry revealed the fault many times. I wanted people to like my sermons, my decisions, my leadership style, etc. I’ve never fully recovered. I still fight it almost daily. I think it’s a positive thing that we both realize it’s an issue and regularly turn it over to the Master. Let’s pray for each other that we preach, share, and write for an audience of One.

    • Dalene

      Thank you for sharing that you struggle in this area too, Rick. I agree that it’s good to recognize it so we can turn from it – repeatedly, as necessary. I will absolutely join you in that prayer!

  2. Joy Bennett

    Hello Dalene~ Thank you for your work here. I prayed this morning for an additional podcast to listen to which will feed my soul as a Christian and author. The Lord showed me your podcast within seconds. I share your fierce vision and commitment to Christ and I look forward to fellowshipping with you at a distance as I listen to your show. Thanks again~ Joy Bennett

    • Dalene

      Thank you for listening and for sharing how God used this podcast to answer your prayer. That’s such an encouragement to me! May we both continue to seek and follow His guidance in our author journeys.


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