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In the last post, I introduced Eugene H. Peterson’s book Reversed Thunder as it relates to evil. The post considered the church’s response to the recent Las Vegas massacre of 59 people and the wounding of over 500 more. It’s awkward to write “I introduced” the book because it was published in 1988. Many Jesus Creeders have read it, I suppose. Yet, I’ve heard little conversation about it among pastoral colleagues.
Let me make my confession: Eugene Peterson saved the Book of Revelation for me from dispensational oblivion. Since my conversion to Christ as a Junior High teen, I’ve been inoculated to the wonder and pastoral impact of Revelation by (over-) exposure to dispensational charts (on sheets hung across the choir loft), to rumors of a new anti-Christ every decade or so, and to endless eisegesis about the seals, bowls, and trumpets. Novel prophetic noise and date-setting all but drowned out the pastoral power of the book written to seven Asia Minor churches facing Roman Imperial persecution.
John - Apostle - Pastor - Poet - Book
John, the Apostle, was much more a pastor, a theologian, and a poet in writing the book than he was a prophet. (Yes, I am aware of the varied approaches to interpreting Revelation: historicism, futurism, preterism, and idealism.) Yes, Revelation has to do with eschatology, but Peterson notes, “What is frequently missed is that all eschatology is put to immediate pastoral use. Revelation is about now, not just the future. Treating the Book of Revelation as some kind of “insider knowledge” about the future to which only a few find the key does damage to the book and robs the church of its clear and singular focus—the crucified Jesus is the glorified and sovereign Lord. Jesus, as such, has his churches’ backs.
Because Revelation is the last book in the Bible, Peterson plays off the idea...
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