Revelation (continued)

MCKelvey coverMy second Revelation book plug is The Millennium and the Book of Revelation by R. J. McKelvey (Lutterworth, 1999, 109 pages). Written in preparation for the dawning of the year 2000, it is, in that sense, already dated. However, its approach and message continues to be relevant and I think the book deserves to be better known. It is a brief, sensible and well-considered introduction to the book of Revelation and its concept of the millennium.

The author, Jack McKelvey, is a former principal of Northern College, Manchester and is well-known among the churches of Didsbury. I thoroughly enjoyed his book on Revelation and I recommend it heartily.

McKelvey’s book is very accessible provided you are prepared to handle a few technical terms like ‘eschatology’, and ‘apocalypticism’. Such terms are usually explained when they first appear in the book but I suspect some readers will still find their use off-putting.  (One of the reasons why wild and wacky treatments of Revelation tend to be the most popular is because they peddle their nonsense in language everybody understands. It seems that good books on Revelation require a basic theological vocabulary).

McKelvey thinks the  concept of the millennium is essential to the book of Revelation and that it provides a way for Christian believers to hold together a heavenly hope and life-affirming social engagement in the here and now. He shows the book of Revelation to be a subversive critique of the culture of its day that provokes us to think and act Christianly in relation to our world today. Here’s a taster:

What was true of John’s time is also true of ours. In its mission to the world the church has to develop a critical edge on culture. . . John’s vision offers us an alternative to the prevailing ideology. . . A world like ours, which is in danger of being worn down by evil or opting out of programmes and movements of reform, is thus offered the one thing which it needs more than anything else – hope. . .

The Book of Revelation is an essential part of the New Testament. Without it we would be less prepared and equipped for Christian life and discipleship today. Of all the New Testament writings it is the most systematic exposé of evil and its power to deceive and enslave . . . If John seems to overdo the danger facing his readers this is only because he aims to help them appreciate more fully the nature and scope of God’s triumph and the important role which they themselves are called to play in it. (52)

Hmmmmm., this taking longer than I anticipated. The rest of my top five will have to continue tomorrow.

2 Responses

  1. Well it certainly has the most attractive cover (clearly based on Picasso’s Guernica)

  2. And of course you would always prefer that to Turner’s Death on a Pale Horse (on Woodman’s cover). Me too for that matter but what do they say about judging a book by its cover? Anyway, what do you think this is a fine art review? Still, thanks for dropping by.

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