The Faith of Charles Dickens


A holiday tradition for many families is to watch or read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. But who exactly was the man who brought us memorable characters like Scrooge and Tiny Tim?

The work of Dickens is still studied today, but few people know about his faith.

Scholar and author Dr. Gary Colledge has studied the legendary 19th century English writer extensively. The Akron, Ohio, native even studied in the United Kingdom, earning a Ph.D. at the prestigious University of St. Andrews for his work on the faith of Dickens.

“That’s what’s going to be prevalent in anything we read by Dickens — that idea that ‘real Christianity,’ and Dickens uses that term ‘real Christianity’ a number of times in letters and in his writing,” Colledge told CBN News. “‘Real Christianity’ is being like Jesus.”

Lessons from Scrooge
During his research, Colledge discovered that Dickens was a Christian and his faith in Jesus Christ surfaces throughout his works — in the themes and characters.

Colledge read a letter from Dickens to one of his critics:

“‘All my strongest illustrations are derived from the New Testament. All my social abuses are shown as departures from its Spirit. All my good people are humble, charitable, faithful, forgiving, over and over again. I claim them in expressed words as disciples of the Founder of our religion.'”

For example, in A Christmas Carol, Colledge says Marley’s warning to Scrooge about what it means to truly live life reflects the importance of imitating Christ.

“The taking care of humanity, the thinking about my fellow man, doing unto others as I’d have them do unto me,” Colledge explained. “For Dickens, the Golden Rule was absolutely crucial.”

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Mark Martin

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