Author Guest Post | An Introductory explanation behind the heart of what inspired Dr. Litchfield to write ‘Enslaved to Saved’ an extraordinary look inside the path left behind by Christ for us to follow.

Posted Tuesday, 12 May, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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In January of 2015, I received an invitation to an upcoming Spring blog tour for Cedar Fort direct from the author, as one of the benefits of working with Cedar Fort as a book blogger is being able to engage with their authors; generally with enough lead-time before you even know of a pending tour that is coming up next or during the time where the blog tours are being scheduled, allowing you the benefit of interacting directly with the authors as you make your choices. For me this has been beneficial on several levels, as if a book (novel or non-fiction; I am developing a fondness for non-fiction of late) interests me, but I feel I might be on the fence to read it (at this point in time), I find it quite comforting to know I can reach out to the author and ask a few questions pertaining to the context of it.

The title of this book implored me outright to become interested in reading it as I have had a curiosity to uncover more about Christ (as a man as much as the Son of God) in regards to who He was whilst He lived on earth and how the legacy of His teachings left behind for us to find after He left. On a similar vein, Mum and I have wanted to dig inside the women of the Bible, to uncover more biographical bits about who they were and the lives they lived because too often we only get to know fragmented pieces about the men and women who lived centuries ago yet who have such a crucial part of our shared religious history. As far as the women go, I know we want to seek out Biblical Historical fiction as a gateway, but when I saw this non-fiction release about Christ, it was definitely a moment where I felt as if I had stumbled across a book I was meant to read ‘at this moment in time’.

Books are serendipitous discoveries — they have the tendency to alight inside our lives right at the moment we’re meant to read them.

I find they are as joyful as butterflies and as challenging as finding the rainbow after a horrific thunderstorm or natural storm system has wrecked a bit of havoc in your towne. Books which endeavour us to gain growth and humbling insight are the little lightning bugs of unexpected mirth giving us seed to thought and a propensity towards developing our awareness of what is happening in our lives and around us at the same time.

Although I do not often broach the subject of Religion directly on my bookish blog, I do refer to the fact I am a hybrid reader who reads across mainstream and INSPY (refers to ‘Inspirational’ and is not religious specific as it can be Christian, Jewish, Amish, Buddhist, Hindi, Catholic, Quaker, etc; most classify their readings as “Christian Fiction” however, the umbrella of the whole is “Inspirational Fiction” because it’s a full compass of all recognised religions.) markets. As I grow as a reader and as a book blogger, I am finding myself wanting to bridge the gap between the two markets and be more bold in my selections of the works of literature that speak directly to me and perchance will inspire someone else after I’ve shared my own thoughts, views, and impressions.

I do keep my own spiritual path tucked under my hat, as I do not believe we have to declare outright where we are on our own walk of faith, however, I do mention time to time I was raised Protestant and continue to be today. I applaud Cedar Fort to bringing these books to readers and for encouraging their authors to engage in open-minded discussions with their book bloggers because I find the open exchanges invaluable. You may find other works of non-fiction alighting on my blog time to time, even though my main focus is on fictional works of literature, I have to admit, I have a healthy appetite for stimulating literature wherein you can find ‘a story of enlightenment’ as riveting as any fictional world can develop and yield to provide!

I wanted to share a snippet of my initial enquiry about the book I had sent to Dr Litchfield as a stepping stone to explain why I was drawn to the book itself:

Most of the non-fiction I take a pass on if I feel the subject matter would apply more directly to an LDS church member, as I am Protestant and have felt some of the titles are more directly poignant to those who attend a Mormon church. However, in this particular instance, the one verifiable thread of connection between the churches I attend and yours, is Jesus Christ. He’s quite central to Christianity (both for Catholics & Protestants alike) but also, an important connective thread for LDS, as I had a wonderful conversation with two missionaries of the LDS faith who visited my local area. Our entire conversation was on Jesus Christ, and how his teachings befit the world at hand, as much as how to embrace his ideals with the perspective of acceptance, tolerance, and curating a more positive world out of love and charity. It was quite a stimulating conversation to say the least!

I nearly took a pass on submitting a tour stop for this book, not due to a lack of interest, but as I wasn’t quite as sure how it was going to be writ or to be honest, if it would be conflictive from my point-of-view compared to an LDS. I requested only one LDS specific non-fiction release, where in the end I had to affirm it was truly for LDS families, as the outlook within it was more narrow than expansive. I felt badly for it, as I research my family histories through Family Search, carrying on the tradition of my grandfather and Mum. Mum and I want to expand our efforts at some point, but with Family Search we have benefited from connecting pieces of our past we otherwise might not have known. Therefore, the previous book I had hoped would be for everyone who wanted to research their ancestry rather than one point of reference.

When your email arrived, I clicked through to your website and read the expanded synopsis you included with your email — I clicked open the PDF file for the cause/reason for Christ’s death, and noted your method of relaying facts was both informative but easy to follow as a layreader. I am presuming you carried forward a pace of thought similar to that or perhaps even evoking a bit of narrative to dig deeper into the history of this topic in “Enslaved to Saved”.

Dr. Litchfield went on to present an explanation similar to the one he’s prepared for me to share ahead of the blog tour, as my key questions were the following:

The key for me was the very last expressed thought in the synopsis: surrender to the will of Christ, which could even be inclusive of my own approach to believe and trust in the will of God (as the trinity is together & one but we all have a different path towards how our own hearts, minds, & perceptions align to root our faith into our lives). Is this then an explanation of how despite having free will in our life, we still need to take precedence and heed towards the wider picture of how our lives fit within the realm of the spiritual; to where we are being guided if we seek consul and if we remain open to what is being revealed, we are then living directly in align with God’s will?

The word ‘slavery’ is a transitionary word in your book — from what the word meant to those who were enslaved by the Pharaohs of Egypt straight through the early origins of Christianity in the time of Harold & others, to how the foundations of the Deep South were entrenched in the slavery of Africans who were brought here for cheap labour; to the modern variants of how there is still slavery in existence to those who are not yet free. I was curious do you focus on this quite heavily in the book or is it more of a juxtaposition piece where the word is explored by how the definition of what it implies has altered and changed through history? To how bending to the will outside of ourselves is not a resolute exit from our own conscience and will, but rather a lifeblood of how to live in tandem of Christ and thereby God?

The New Testament interests me greatly, which is why I have been seeking out fictional Biblical stories as much as non-fiction works which delve into the individual lives of those who lived during that timescape. Oft-times I like to approach history through fictional stories as it helps envision the world in those eras for me a bit more than reading a technical specific non-fiction which might give way to a harder point of origin for me to visualise. I wanted to ask — is “Enslaved to Saved” writ with a fluidity of context that reads like a story being relayed to the reader or is it more of an academic tome of knowledge taken out of the research you conducted? Either way, I’m interested, but I simply wanted to know how it flows — did you break it down by topical reference points or in sections of how what is known is stitched out of what can be perceived between the texts of your research?

Do you go into any kind of graphic detail about slavery or about Christ’s more difficult history? I cannot handle graphic violence or even imagery that could sour my stomach because I have a sensitive heart.

I should mention that those of us who are sensitive to violence and/or graphic descriptions, I was assured that the necessary bits about slavery from the stand-point of the Roman Empire are how they were needed to be written in order to have an authentic tone to the passages. As I haven’t yet come across that section, I cannot relay my own thoughts on the matter, but when I post my review next Monday, I will make a notation about it.
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Instead of sharing my thoughts on what he has written in this guest feature, I am going to hold my comments until my review as a reflection of how I extended myself from our conversations prior to the blog tour, my further understanding via this guest feature, and how I was able to internalise and understand the basis of where Enslaved to Saved led me to journey as I read his book. I hope that this guest feature will be beneficial to those who might have developed a curiosity about Dr Litchfield’s impressive tome on scholarly insight into Christ or if any reader or visitor of mine has become curious about how the LDS church and other Protestant churches inter-relate to each other, as they are under the same branch of Christianity. I know I had originally misunderstood where the LDS church fell, and was pleasantly surprised to find we’re all Protestant Christians together!
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Enslaved to Saved by W. Reid Litchfield

Published By: CFI (imprint) of Cedar Fort Inc (@CedarFortBooks),

an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

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#EnslavedToSaved, #ChristCentered, #BibleStudy & #ChristianNonFiction

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On the importance of how we identify with Christ (in the modern world)
by (Dr) W. Reid Litchfield

I recently read about a 2014 poll on religion, which states that 83% of Americans identify themselves as Christian. It’s a remarkable statistic in an America that feels more divided than ever. Issues of race, nationality, social status, political affiliation, gender and sexual orientation seem to increasingly dominate our conversations. This has a tendency to leave us feeling like we share nothing in common with anyone. But within this survey is a statistic that gives me hope. This poll indicates that 4 out of 5 of us share one very important thing in common: Jesus Christ.

Still, Christians in America come in more flavors than you’ll find at Baskin Robins (217 denominations to be exact based on this source). That makes for a lot of differences in the details of how we conceptualize Jesus Christ, not to mention how we worship him. Is there any unity of belief? The answer is a resounding yes. Whether you’re Catholic, Southern Baptist, Methodist or Mormon, we all agree on these fundamental tenets of the faith:

• God is our Heavenly Father
• Jesus is the Son of God
• Man has been alienated from God by sin
• God loves us in spite of our sin
• God gave Jesus to atone for our sins
• By faith in Jesus Christ man can be saved and inherit eternal life

Even still, it would be difficult to find a single passage in the Bible that we could all agree on which represents a mission statement for of Christianity. I feel the one that comes closest are words that Jesus used himself, recorded in The Gospel According to St John:

John 17:3 King James Version (KJV)

3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God,

and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

King James Version (KJV) by Public Domain

sourced from: Bible Gateway

The way Christians come to know God, differs based on their religious tradition. But a large part of knowing Jesus comes from studying his life. Virtually every Christian denomination urges its members to individually study the life and teachings of Jesus on a regular basis. For this we must go to the Bible. But the Bible is not a contemporary document. It was written in Greek almost two thousand years ago and then translated into dozens of English translations.* Translational nuances give each version of the Bible its own perspective and biases. Is there any wonder why there are so many Christian denominations?

This basis of my new book Enslaved to Saved: A Metaphor of Christ As Our Savior came into being when I encountered one of these translational nuances in my personal study. While reading the Bible (I use the King James Version) I noticed at tendency for Paul to refer to himself as the servant of Jesus Christ. Having been impressed by this detail, I looked up the word servant in my Bible Concordance to better understand what the original biblical texts were saying. In doing so, I was astounded to find that in the original Greek language that these Epistles were written, Paul described himself as the slave of Jesus Christ.

It proved to be somewhat of a game changer for me. Everyone knows that slavery is bad. It is one of the darkest stains on the history of human cruelty. Its repercussions persist for generations beyond its abolishment, and it continues to be a source of shame and resentment in our country. Yet, the Bible seemed to be speaking of slavery in such a matter of fact way.

As I looked further into this I found that the doctrine of slavery to Jesus Christ was extremely common in the writings of the New Testament. Yet this message is whitewashed from many English translations of the Bible. When the Bible was first translated into English during the early 1600s, translators selected words to maintain established social order in the United Kingdom. They could hardly have the Word of God endorsing slavery in such a vocal way. As a result, the word servant was adopted—a kinder, gentler form of service compared to slave.

I felt like I had made a discovery that significantly changed my perspective on how the Apostle Paul viewed himself in relation to the Lord Jesus Christ. He thought of himself as Christ’s slave. I expanded my study to see if this perspective was shared by other early Christians and was completely amazed. This idea was pervasive and part of a much larger theme in the New Testament than any one person or epistle.

Why would something so horrific as slavery be such a common theme in the writings of the New Testament? This question became the impetus for my book. I realized that there are many important reasons why this message would resonate with early Christians.

Firstly, the institution of slavery was a part of everyday life in the first-century Roman world. In fact, slavery had always been part of everyday life back to the time of the patriarchs. Slavery to God was part of the identity of the Jews. The children of Israel had been enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt. But God miraculously liberated them through Moses and the people then became his slaves (Leviticus 25:55). Over the course of their history, the Northern Kingdom was enslaved by Assyria followed by the enslavement of the Kingdom of Judah by the Babylonians. When liberated by Cyrus, the Jews returned to their homeland. Though now free once more, they retained an acute awareness of themes of enslavement by oppressors, and liberation by God, to whom they were forever slaves. Accordingly, there are extensive teachings in the Old Testament and Law of Moses about slavery. Furthermore, we find many references to slavery in teachings of Jesus Christ.

Since Christianity sprung from the roots of Judaism, it should be no surprise that these themes would be present within the early Christian community as well. Instead of enslavement to Pharaoh or Babylon, Christian leaders taught that men were enslaved to sin. The good news of the Gospel was how Jesus Christ ransoms those enslaved to sin, and in the process becomes a new master to them as he sets them free. They taught that true freedom comes to those who voluntarily subject their will to that of Jesus Christ and remain faithful in this service.

Anciently slavery was a condition that was worse than death, and associated with utter hopelessness and loss of control. Yet enslavement to Christ was paradoxically esteemed to be an essential element of conversion that brought joy, freedom and eternal life. By illustrating this metaphor from the context in which the New Testament was originally written, my book helps the reader gain a new perspective about Jesus Christ. This perspective strives to improve the reader’s relationship with their Redeemer, and inspire them to more completely surrender their will to His.

________________

*I counted 222 modern English translations of the Bible.

*The author quoted scripture from the NIV version of the Bible however, I had to exchange the same quotation for the one in the KJV as it’s the only one I am allowed to share on my blog. See Sources below for more information. I linked the scripture of Leviticus to Bible Gateway as well, being that Dr Litchfield did not quote it directly but referenced it as a key part of his essay.

About W. Reid Litchfield

Dr W. Reid Litchfield

W. Reid Litchfield is an endocrinologist from Henderson, Nevada. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University (B.S.) and University of Calgary (M.D.) and completed his endocrinology fellowship at Harvard Medical School. In addition to a number of scientific publications he has published medical history papers entitled On The Physical Death Of Jesus Christ and The Bittersweet Demise of Herod the Great. He is the recipient of numerous Top Doctor awards as well as professional awards for leadership in his community and medical society.

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This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of Cedar Fort, Inc.:

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Virtual Road Map of “Enslaved to Saved” Blog Tour:

The blog tour kicks off tomorrow! Be sure to follow along!

Return on Monday, the 18th of May to read my thoughts as I read the book!

Enslaved to Saved by W. Reid Litchfield
If you appreciate inspiring stories rooted in religious history I have on occasion taken books in for review that deal with a variety of themes that underscore the history of faith and religion as much as explore spirituality as a whole.
A combination of historical fact inside historical fiction and/or a contemporary setting or biographical fiction based on a living person with the occasional non-fiction:

Illuminations: {A novel of Hildegard von Bingen} by Mary Sharratt

Sebastian’s Way: The Pathfinder by George Steger

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate

Chain of Mercy by Brenda S. Anderson

The Spirit Keeper by K.B. Laugheed

Proof of Angels by Mary Curran Hackett

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis by Andra Wakins

Taking the Cross by Charles Gibson

The Oblate’s Confession by William Peak

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A Boy Back from Heaven by Celeste & Matthew Goodwin

My Good Friend the Rattlesnake by Don Jose Ruiz

The Way of Tea and Justice by Becca Stevens

The Olive Tree by Christine Layton Graham,
Joan Layton Merrell, Carol Layton Ogden

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Find out which Cedar Fort new releases I am hosting in 2015!

Upcoming reviews & features for Cedar Fort in MAY are:

[ 15th May ] Nourish by Christi Silbaugh (review)

[ 23rd May ] The Jane Journals by Heidi Jo Doxey w/ an Author Guest Post!

[ TBA May ] Summer Campaign by Carla Kelly (book review / off tour)

[ 28th May ] Ally’s Kitchen by Alice Phillips

[ 28th May ] The Recipe Hacker (book review / off tour)

Visit with me again soon!

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NOTE:

Similar to blog tours where I feature book reviews, as I choose to highlight an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog. I provide the questions for interviews and topics for the guest posts; wherein I receive the responses back from publicists and authors directly. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them; I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers.

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Enslaved to Saved”, book synopsis, author photograph of Dr Litchfield were provided by the author Dr Litchfield and used with permission. The author biography and synopsis along with the blog tour badges were all provided by Cedar Fort, Inc. and used with permission. Writerly Topics Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded due to the codes provided by Twitter. The scripture quotation from the King James Version of the Bible was used with permission as the King James Version of the Bible is in the public domain (info). The KJV is in the public domain for the United States where I reside and blog.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all. "I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story) more >> | Hire me as a betareader | Policies & Review Requests
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Posted Tuesday, 12 May, 2015 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Christianity, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Lessons from Scripture, Mormonism, Non-Fiction, Religious History, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, World Religions

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