Allan Packer, Author of The Stone Cycle Series.
October 29, 2019
I simply wanted to thank you, not just for your efforts on my behalf, but for your efforts on behalf of readers, and especially writers, more generally. There aren’t many others doing what you’re doing, and I don’t doubt that a key reason for that is the enormous personal and financial cost of sustaining it. I can only imagine the amount of effort it must require. So thank you sincerely for all that you do!
There are times as an author when it can feel like you’re speaking into a vacuum. So it’s quite amazing to receive the kind of detailed feedback you provided on your blog. In my particular case, you’re the only person who’s reviewed the entire series (including the free novelette), rather than just one of the books. As I said in an earlier response, such encouragements help motivate me to keep writing.
My prayer is that you will also experience encouragements in your turn, encouragements that spur you on in every aspect of your calling. You deserve it!
Gary Ritter, Author of Alien Revelation
19th June, 2019
When Peter Younghusband of the website Perspective by Peter (https://perspectivebypeter.com/) contacted me with an interest in reviewing Alien Revelation, I was pleased. If independent reviewers read an author’s work, that’s usually good. What I wasn’t aware of at the time was Peter’s connection to David Bergland’s Reality Calling website (http://radiqx.com/).
It didn’t take long for Peter to read Alien Revelation. His quick message to me that he enjoyed it was certainly an ego booster. However, as we subsequently spoke, and he told me about his collaboration with David through which they were awarding the book their Christian Redemptive Fiction award, you can imagine how that was an even greater boost.
Still, my understanding of what that meant was limited. Once I read David’s booklet called A Spiritual System for Rating Books, I was much more appreciative and thankful. What David and his cohort have done in evaluating the work of Christian authors is groundbreaking—very much needed. Their rating system can speak for itself; if you’re interested in how they evaluate stories, it’s worth your time to download the booklet.
I don’t know that I always live up to their standards in what I write, but I fully endorse them. They are exactly what I attempt to achieve in my books, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. There is a level of reality that Christian authors should attempt to bring forth if they truly wish to present the import of a Christ-following faith on the lives of individuals. If we as proclaimed Christian authors ignore this, I think we do so almost snubbing God in our work.
Our relationship with Jesus Christ should not only color what we write, but should be woven into the fabric of our books in such a way that it’s integral in the lives and interactions of our characters as they make their way through our scenes and the perils we make them face.
That’s always been my purpose in writing; it’s why I state that I write with a Christian worldview. How can I glorify God through this story? How can I show what a true walk with the Lord looks like?
Peter and David are at the forefront of this thinking by what they’ve done to acknowledge authors who write in this manner. I want to thank them for their passion to see more writing that moves in this direction—in fact, moves through the Holy Spirit and brings true faith into focus as a primary element in our stories.
Their work which recognizes this effort in Alien Revelation makes the award all the more relevant.
Thanks so much. God bless.
Jacqueline M. Paul
21st January, 2018
Thank you SO much for all your work reviewing countless books for us!!!!! I know we all REALLY appreciate all the time you put into reading and then honestly reviewing them all!
Gary Ritter as appeared in Rapture Ready (raptureready.com)
Christian Fiction as Preparation for These End-Times By Gary Ritter
While this essay may seem somewhat self-serving, my intent is a larger point than it being about me, so please hang in there if you will. I began writing novels before I knew the Lord. My first book wasn’t all that good, but it was therapeutic and cathartic, as it enabled me to express and let go of feelings I had built up in the course of an unpleasant divorce. At that time, I wrote because I liked to read and also thought I could add to the suspense and thriller genres.
Fast forward a number of years. I had stopped writing due to the busyness of life. Then God got ahold of me. Still busy, but in my salvation, I determined to follow hard after the Lord. Being born again through the blood of Jesus wasn’t something I took lightly. I’m one of those who came to know God through fear (of being left behind!) and have had to experience His love in order to bring balance to my faith and witness.
About six years ago through God’s providence, I began writing again and quickly transitioned back to the long form of the novel, which works best for me. Because I now had a Christian perspective, everything I wrote, by necessity, had to reflect the nature of my faith and, more importantly, have a redemptive purpose to give glory to God. Additionally, since I’d gotten saved through reading the Left Behind series, I had a passion for the prophetic and for end-times scenarios. Thus, my writing gravitated toward bringing forth my Christian worldview through a Biblically prophetic and eschatological lens.
My quest to know God and to understand His ways more deeply has led me to interesting research. I continue to read a lot and also listen to many teachings on YouTube. In my meanderings, I was introduced to fallen angels and some of the more interesting, unusual passages in the Bible, such as the Genesis 6:1-4 account of the sons of God cohabiting with human women and creating Nephilim offspring. All this brought me to write Alien Revelation, which deals with these ideas in a fictional, present-day narrative.
Upon the book’s release, to my surprise, I was contacted by a fellow who wanted to review the book for his Christian website. Reviews—good ones obviously—are very helpful to a writer, so I agreed. I didn’t know anything about Peter Younghusband and his review website: Perspective by Peter but once he told me he liked the book very much and was giving it a positive review, I naturally wanted to learn more about his process.
Even more surprising in this episode was Peter giving the novel the Christian Redemptive Fiction award. What was that? It turns out that Peter teams up with David Bergsland, who maintains the http://radiqx.com/ website. Their desire is to advocate for Christian fiction that truly gets to the heart of our faith. In their deliberations about this, they realized that too many stories that have a Christian label are really only that on the surface. They don’t reflect the depth of faith, nor do they portray the intense spiritual battle that we face. Peter and David realized that as we near the return of Jesus, this spiritual warfare is increasing, as the Bible has so plainly stated that it will. To encourage Christian writers to more accurately portray these concepts, David wrote a guide called A Spiritual System for Rating Books:
Now, I won’t get into the rating system used; you can read that for yourself. The real issue here is how we as faith-filled believers who enjoy reading have been lulled into thinking that Christian fiction need not reflect the depth of faith as we know it, nor the realities of spiritual warfare, nor the intensity of the times as we approach the Rapture. By reviewing fictional books that provide deeper insights into these areas and awarding those authors who bring these things forth, Peter and David hope to increase the quality of what we read in this Christian genre. I have no doubt that had they been reviewing and awarding when This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti came out, that book would have earned their highest acclaim.
I think there’s great value in that. For one, it’s an acknowledgment to authors that what they write can have significant impact. If we show in our fictional context that our faith matters, to ourselves and to others—as we read these accounts—hopefully our desire to grow closer to the Lord will increase. For readers to see that books don’t have to be secular to tell a good story is also quite important. Christians don’t have to settle for books that omit God or denigrate Him. One of the first strong Christian women I knew was an actress and director. She taught me that we shouldn’t let the world take up all the oxygen in the arts, that Christians can and should reclaim that space to the glory of God. That’s what Peter and David hope to do in their efforts of awarding Christian authors who dive into and adhere to these deeper elements of our faith.
What I realized in reading David’s spiritual rating booklet and receiving the Christian Redemptive Fiction award for Alien Revelation and now subsequently for my novel, The Tattooed Cat, is that what they seek is exactly what I try to convey in my writing. I want that depth and reality. I want to portray the challenges many face in their walk with Christ, or even before as they struggle to come to faith. I want to demonstrate that spiritual warfare is real and intense, yet that we, as our fictional characters do, can overcome because Jesus overcame first.
Good Christian fiction has the potential to lead people to faith in Christ. I know that because of my personal experience with Left Behind. Through the reviews and awards that Peter and David bring to the table, good Christian fiction can also prepare us for the battles ahead as this world grows increasingly lawless and dark. The bottom line is that good Christian fiction can help us move toward deeper faith as we look up and await Jesus’ return.
Gary W. Ritter is a lay pastor, Bible teacher, and serves as Missions Director at his church. He is also a prolific author. His Whirlwind Series is comprised of three books: Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind, and There Is A Time. All these books are also contained in the collected volume of the Whirlwind Omnibus. Gary has been given the Christian Redemptive Fiction award for two novels: The Tattooed Cat and Alien Revelation. His intent in all his writings is to bring a strong Christian witness to what people read. You can reach him via his website at www.GaryRitter.com or his Facebook Author page at https://www.facebook.com/gritter3390. You can also see his video Bible teachings on his Gary Ritter YouTube page – look for the fish symbol.
Testimonial from Jarrod Edge after receiving his Spirit-filled Fiction Award on 22/02/22:
What a blessing this is!
I saw your post around midnight my time last night. I just started to cry (joyful tears).
I know you may have heard this before, but when you write a book, especially when you know that the story was given to you as a gift, by God, you never know if someone will “get it”. If that makes sense. I mean, sure people will like it, and people will not like it. But will they get what you are trying to do, what you set out to do?
You nailed it on the head. Your description of what I have done was so spot on. And at a time when I needed to hear exactly that. This award means so much more to me than any other award I’ve received. Truly it does.
Thank you, both of you. And God bless what you are doing."
To read more about this testimonial, click on the link below:
Testimonial from Jeff Brisken regarding my review of Bethlehem Boys:
It's been a few years (and a pandemic) since we last had contact.
I never wrote back to you to respond to or refuse your review of Bethlehem Boys because, as a whole, your central objections to the concept of dual messiah is completely reasonable coming from the perspective of someone with a strong belief that the Gospels present the only acceptable narrative of the life of Jesus.
In fact, the only thing I only silghtly objected to at all was that you included so much of the pivotal Nochmah chapter in your Amazon review. I didn't mind your criticism, but, heck, that's giving the narrative store!
I don't want you to think that, when you chose to create your excellent "Author's Spotlight" before the book came out, that I was intentionally withholding information from you. After all, many of the books you review on the site are speculative takes on Old Testament stories. As a Jew, I don't mind this at all, since for every writing that was included as canon in both the New and Old Testaments there were dozens of others (like the Gnostic gospels) that were rejected.
And, to one of your questions in your review, the Essenes actually did believe that two messiahs could exist at the same time. However, they had a rather different view of what messiah meant. They believed that one messiah would be the "good" messiah and the other would be the "evil" messiah. Obviously, not exactly the same as I portrayed the idea in Bethlehem Boys, but then again, the story is told from the perspectives of Jews living at the dawn of the Common Era, so they would not have had any inkling at all of who the baby Yeshua would become (although I went to great lengths to have the Nochmah predict what would happen to Yeshua (based on her reading of the infant's thoughts) following as close I felt reasonable to what was written in the Gospels.
Anyway, I do have you to thank for helping bring a degree of notoriety to the book. Before your review, I sold a few hundred copies. After your review, sales skyrocketed, with Australia becoming one of the largest markets for the book. I can only think that your review helped sparked interest. And I will tell you that you are certainly not the only Christian reader who voices objections similar to yours. (I even heard similar criticism from a few Jews for Jesus!)
I'm also writing because I've relaunched my web site, www.bethlehemboys.com, and I include a page devoted to showcasing your author spotlight and also providing a link to your review of the book, mentioning your theological objections. I hope that this at least drives more traffic to your site.