Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

16 September 2014

A Gospel Pageant by Allan Chapple

When a teacher covers a subject frequently and thoughtfully their "script" becomes well honed.  They learn what is necessary to include and what can be left out.  Where an anecdote by example is helpful or superfluous...even if it is a ripping good yarn.  Their teaching starts to look more like poetry and less like a novel.  Every word counts.  And when this experienced, well thought out teacher distils their script into a book - and they're in possession of good writing skills - you know you are in possession of gold.

Allan Chapple is that teacher and his book A Gospel Pageant:  A Reader's Guide to the Book of Revelation is one of those books of gold.


I haven't written a post in ages.  Please stay.  I know, I KNOW...Revelation.  I know.  Truly I do.  But please don't click on that cross or swipe me aside.  Really.

I have a friend who jokes (I think) about not reading anything in the Bible after James because anything after that and it's just getting way too close to Revelation.  It's funny.  (Well, it's funny if he's joking.)

And yet, I sympathise.  After some bad teaching on Revelation (including bad, bad, BAD movies at the mid-week Bible study group) pretty early on in my Christian life I have been scarred for life.  Even though I have since sat under some very good teaching on Revelation I cannot shake the knot that immediately forms in my stomach at the very mention of the book.  Someone suggests we study Revelation in Bible study - inward groan.  I get up to Revelation in my reading plan - oh no.  A post comes up on Revelation - I am reaching for my mouse ready to move on to something else.  I know.

But this year Revelation did come up as a topic for mid-week Bible study.  So this year I have taken A Gospel Pageant off the shelf to read.  I've read it four times in the last few weeks.  And I'm not finished with it yet.

If you are after a  sensible, thorough,  consistent, thought-through and ultimately not-scary coverage of Revelation then this book is for you.  It undoes our tendency to latch onto a particular part of Revelation without giving thought to the greater context - an approach which often ends up in a scary distorted interpretation. A Gospel Pageant is not about cracking codes and understanding the minutae of the book but about how to read Revelation as a coherent whole in all of its gloriousness and terribleness, reflecting the fact as learned from the rest of the Bible that the Last Day will be both terrible and glorious.

A Gospel Pageant provides the tools for a confident reading of Revelation.  As a result of reading this book alongside Revelation my view of Jesus has been magnified.  I am encouraged and spurred on to strain towards heaven and flee from hell, to strive for godliness and scarper from sin.  This book gives a well founded urgency to prayerful personal godliness, evangelism and discipleship.  It is both instructive and pastoral. 

Unfortunately the scars of my poor introduction to Revelation run deep.  I suspect I am not alone.  I know that in a year's time I will get up to Revelation in my reading plan and my heart will sink again.  It is a deep set default position which will mess with my memory and will mean that I won't retain all the details of this book.  But at 85 eminently readable pages - the fruit of many years of teaching to finely hone the script - this will now remain my handy companion when I reach the last book of the Bible until such time as the old Revelation scars have healed.

It is currently out of print but there are still a few copies floating around the Internet so I would say get yourself a copy while you still can, keep your eyes peeled for when the reprint happens or you could leave a comment here to go into a draw to win a copy - because as it happens I have a spare. Think of it as a reward for not clicking off this post when you read the word "Revelation" at the beginning and for persisting to the end.  I'll draw out a winner at the end of next week.

[Thank you to those of you do your Book Depository shopping via this blog, the proceeds of which help to fund book giveaways like this.] 


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review Meredith, I'm looking forward to reading it! (Don't put me in the draw though, I have a copy here ready to go.) I did Allan Chapple's Trinity@Night course on Revelation many years ago -- and the course was a magnificent revelation on the magnificence of Revelation, namely, Jesus. I'm so glad he's written this book. I hope they do another print run soon!

Anonymous said...

Dear Meredith, I didn't know how to contact you, so this is just to ssay "thank you" for your blogs.So many times, I am looking for some Christian content to study or read, and I come back to you. So thank you and may God Bless you and yours.

Meredith said...

Thanks Sal. It is certainly a great gift to have this teaching recorded in book form. It has been a magnificent resource for leading Bible studies.

And thanks Anon. Thanks for dropping by to visit and for your warm encouragement. The Lord bless you and keep you too.

Sarah said...

Sounds great. Another to add to my 'to-read' list.

Yes, please add me to your giveaway contenders list. :) I'm more scarred by being a past attender at a church obsessed with Revelation/end times/pre-mil/Barack Obama is the antichrist type views.

Meredith said...

I hear you Sarah. That sort of emphasis tends to stick and becomes a bit hard to shake. You would love this book.

Wendy said...

Hi Meredith, Please add me to the "giveaway-please" list. Have seen reviews of this one and am keen to read it. Nice to see you back online - we both must have decided it's time to write!

Meredith said...

Wendy!! It must be Spring. Great to have you back on the grid. I will put you into the draw and if you don't win then our mutual friend, who has just been over here, took home a copy in her luggage so there is at least one copy in your state. :-)

Karen said...

What!? I missed the giveaway?? Sad I missed it, but happy to see Sarah get a copy of the book :)
Hope you are well! K xx

Meredith said...

Hello dear Karen!! So good to hear from you. But as they say, got to be in it to win it. But it is definitely worth tracking down.

All good here. Hope you and yours are doing well.