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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading debut author's novels or those author's who have not had many reviews thus providing them much needed encouragement 
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Friday, 15 April 2016

Guest Post: Why Is Redemptive Fiction Important And Necessary? by David Bergsland

The topic of this post is an important one for Christian authors and readers alike. I pray it is an encouragement to Christian authors about why they write, and for them to not compromise the Gospel of Christ just to be accepted by publishing houses, booksellers, and readers or to ensure sales and author prestige.  

David Bergsland (author, reviewer, and blogger) and three other reviewers (myself included) are now issuing Awards for authors who include redemptive themes in their novels. There are three awards and can be found here: 
These awards are based on A Spiritual System for Rating Books written by David Bergsland (Click on the title for a free copy or the book cover to buy from Amazon).

I asked David to provide some background as to what led him to create these awards. Here is what he had to say:
Why is redemptive fiction important & necessary?
The basic answer is that we have huge numbers of people addicted to entertainment. But this is the pink elephant in the dining room. No one will admit it is there—even though they feed it, clean up its poop, and smell the peanut on its breath. So we must disregard this answer temporarily though it is an important realization.
So: why is redemptive fiction or better necessary to introduce large numbers of people to Jesus? The first and obvious answer is, the world!
bzzyaaht! Wrong answer!
The world cannot come to know Jesus, by definition. Biblically, the world (kosmos in the Greek) is the system developed by our Enemy (satan) to delude, confuse, enslave, and destroy mankind. In this day and age, he is having remarkable success in America—the USA specifically. Even more important to this blog (Reality Calling) and publishing house, we are seeing much direct evidence that the creep has made massive inroads into the church.
Massive numbers of churchgoers need to be saved. That is where my heart is. My goal is to work for the salvation of those who can still be touched among the religious. It’s a difficult call ministering to individuals in the Christian religion who have never heard the Gospel. We’re dealing with congregations where Scripture may be read, but it is rarely (if ever) explained as relevant.
Thousands of congregations and whole denominations refuse to allow the presence of the Holy Spirit. He is rarely given place in the “services”, Sunday school, or Bible studies. The result is millions of churchgoers who do not know Jesus personally, whose lives are completely blind to a new creature in the Messiah.
Many people are going to church for answers, but they are not finding any satisfaction. I know of people who have found the answers themselves in the Bible. They went to their pastor or priest for verification and were told they just didn’t understand the reality of these things. Several polls have told us that over half of the church CEOs (pastors and so on) have no personal relationship with Jesus. It’s just a prestigious job—at least it used to be that.
I know about these people, I was one.
I left the church in disgust in my early twenties (late 1960s). The Lord spoke to me outside the church and called back inside. I helped my father (who was a deacon in the Episcopal church) as he mentored me. We worked hard to get people saved within the church. This was the height of the Charismatic Renewal in the 1970s. Thousands were re-created as God’s children.
Today, many devoutly religious men and women read trade pub “Christian” authors looking for religious comfort. But quite a few of these give up in disgust because there’s no Truth in the fiction from the so-called Christian bookstores.
What little fiction I’ve written is for them. It’s an attempt at a fun, realistic, entertaining read containing realistic Truth battling our true enemies. Bringing true spiritual reality into technothrillers and near future books is a great joy to me, and to my readers.
When I began reviewing books, I was deeply saddened and spiritually enraged by the pablum posing as books. The Spirit within compelled me to do something about this problem. So, I began offering reviews of the spiritual content of these books. I found that novels from Bethany, Harper-Collins, Thomas Nelson, and even Tyndale and Moody were rarely Christian. Most of them were what is euphemistically called clean reads. What they actually are is more of the non-spiritual garbage we get on TV and in the movies. They couldn’t be Christian because they had no savior. None of them ever had the Holy Spirit working in the lives of the characters. The best I could hope for was speculative fiction about angels and demons which I knew wasn’t true because I had experience there.
My father was a serious, practising exorcist and spiritual warfare was part of his daily ministry. He thoroughly trained me. Spiritual warfare has become an assumed part of the ministry of me and my wife—for over 40 years now.
Plus, many of these angel/demon stories were on an old testament level with no savior or Holy Spirit either. I started rating clean reads as 0ne-star and angel/demons or Old Testament level books as two-star on a spiritual scale going from one to five. Three-star is Christian religiosity with no salvation. Four-star has characters whose lives were transformed by meeting Jesus and who used the Bible as their standard. Five-star has characters who have given their lives into the complete control of the Lord and His Holy Spirit—what is commonly called spirit-filled living.
Amazingly to me, the Lord has been a blessing.
He’s led three other reviewers to join my efforts. Reality Calling is slowly gathering a following. We have over a half dozen people in a leadership group helping each other and seeking the mind of the Spirit. I am expecting great things. I am actively looking for authors to publish. More and more authors are submitting their books to us for reviews. Even though the effort is still in its baby stages and very small, I am greatly encouraged.
I thank you for your support! There aren’t many of us yet, but what growth we have had. I expect great things from the Lord as he leads us into a larger audience and useful fruitfulness.May He be pleased...

—•••†•••–—
David Bergsland

The Skilled Workman [technical blog]
Reality Calling [Redemptive Christian Book Review blog]
Hackberry Font Foundry [Being absorbed into The Skilled Workman]


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