When asked by Catholic Digest how faith guides his writings, best-selling author and Catholic Nicholas Sparks replied:
“In many ways. There are certain rules, largely part and parcel of my Catholic upbringing that I don’t cross. I don’t use profanity in my novels, most of my characters are grounded in their faith, and in fact, in certain novels faith plays a tremendously strong role in guiding their morality in things they are willing to do. Certain things I don’t write about, like adultery; while you might think it might be easy in my genre, love stories, it isn’t.” (Catholic Digest, April 2010, Vol. 74, No.6, pg. 41 or you can read the entire interview following this link:http://www.catholicdigest.com/articles/food_fun/books/2010/04-06/faith-family-and-fiction-a-qa-with-best-selling-novelist-nicholas-sparks).
This interview made me think that of a friend who shared something to me.
A friend of mine enthusiastically shared a video of a musical group to me. I’ve already watch their videos on Youtube and they were amazing. The video drips with such gift in playing musical instrument that the video garner many views. My friend really loved it that’s why she suggested checking it out. She adds something that made me thinking. “Kung Christian lang sana sila ‘no? (If only they where Christians).” I sympathize with my friend. I’m also bother with that thought too. Sometimes us Christians goes to this thought, that we wish great and talented people are in God’s side. And who wouldn’t want people that made a difference in the world work for God? Who doesn’t want a great leader like Gandhi or Mandela, a computer genius like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, or scientist like the ones who discovered DNA to be a Christian, see them someday in heaven and not go to hell? That will be great isn’t? Let’s include those who we see that are sincere, nice and good people for us should be included in God’s family. We hope them to be saved so that their talent or personality will be used for God’s purpose.
The doctrine of Common Grace is a gift bestowed by God to both saved and unsaved humanity. Scriptures verifies this doctrine (see Romans 2: 14, 15, 1:24, 26, 28; Luke 6:33, Psalms 145:9, Matthew 5: 44, 45; 1 Timothy 4:10, and Hebrews 6:4-6). This gift includes such vital things like our breathing, food, water, animals, friends, talents, knowledge and resources all from the providential hands of the Lord. It is also a blessing to men by the Holy Spirit to practice moral, civil and religious activities and even apply restrictions without the renewing of the heart and seeking salvation from God. As a gift it is free it can be enjoyed, cultivate and the advancement of himself or for the sake of the world. God gave common grace for humanity as a testimony of His goodness and for the exaltation of His glory. Romans 1: 20 adds that mankind knows through common grace, that there is a God yet, despite the obvious, they deny His existence.
Common grace, since it covers the ability to be religious even if a person is not saved, also doesn’t restrict unbelieving people to even acknowledge his talents to his faith, church or God as we have read the interview with Nicholas Sparks by Catholic Digest. His faith may have helped him write great novels but unless the Holy Spirit bestow saving faith, this writer is not glorifying God. Unless he sees the biblical gospel his talents only served him here but not for the life to come. It’s a sobering thought, right? Yes, some of his books influence us readers. It touched our lives. It even inspired us write. For me it will be a dream to have a chat with him and talk about writing. I would love to learn from this author and I think you would to. Should we not savor this gifted author’s influence to us even if he will not be saved? Should we not deny praises to God to things that benefited us even it’s from an unbeliever? If it’s in line with the biblical and moral principle we uphold why not. But Christians should know better. All his talents are from God and enjoying it lets keep it in mind how wonderful God towards us. Further, we should ask ourselves if unbelievers became exceptional in their craft, should we not endeavor to aim for the best in terms of our talents and abilities also.
I don’t know what’s in Nicholas Sparks’s heart. I can only speculate and give an opinion. If he received Christ as Lord and personal Savior (I don’t know if he is claiming it or not) he is indeed saved, no question about it. But as you can see, he is in a religion that rejects the biblical salvation. That’s a hint of where he is banking his salvation. I believe if you’re truly saved you will get out of that religion that contradicts Scripture and follow Christ. It will do you no good, won’t be useful for the Kingdom of God and it will cast doubt on your salvation if you remain in error. Nicholas Sparks will face God’s judgment. But as long as he is alive he has hope. The gospel is still open for him to accept it. Except God opens Sparks spiritual eyes to the biblical salvation, he is just another human being enjoying God’s common grace bound to hell.
With that in mind we don’t know who are yet to be saved. We don’t know yet whom God’s elected. Only God knows. That’s why we are given the Great Commission. We are commanded by God to reach those people with the gospel no matter who they are. Whether it’s Nicholas Sparks or your next door neighbor we are obliged to tell them the love of Christ. Isn’t it an incentive for us to know God goodness to all men through His common grace then for us Christians act to secure them to look beyond it and be saved by sharing the gospel? Isn’t the unbelievers impact to the world is done by making use of the gift of common grace, therefore should we not use it also to reach them? By knowing the doctrine of common grace may we excel as witnesses for Christ and offer unrepentant sinners the gift of salvation by grace.
For Further Study:
Divine Compassion in Common Grace by John MacArthur Jr.
Did the Death of Jesus Accomplish Anything for the Non-Elect? by John Piper