Much like he did in his earlier work, The 23rd Pastor: Pastoring in the Spirit of Our Shepherd Lord, John McCallum, long-time pastor of First Baptist Church, Hot Springs, Arkansas, has given us all a gift in his book Revealed: The Sweeping Story of Revelation. The book consists of a series of sermons John preached on the book of Revelation. The sermons are accessible, biblically faithful, winsome, engaging, well-illustrated, and warmly evangelistic. This is a “big picture” consideration of Revelation that is not so “big picture” that it traffics in non-substantive vagueries. On the contrary, John offers solid exegetical insights throughout and touches on some of the major questions and controversies concerning the book as well, but he repeatedly calls the reader back to what matters most: the beauty and glory of Jesus Christ and His victory and how these things can carry us through these difficult days.
I’ve known John for some years now and these messages are vintage-McCallum. John is a wordsmith. The influence of folks like Eugene Peterson, Calvin Miller, and Will Willimon is evident here. At times you can hear the influence of Fred Craddock as well. Let me be very clear on this point: this is a compliment, not a criticism. John’s voice is his own and he never mimics. I am simply saying that his way of approaching the text and his tone and homiletical voice reveals the influence of these men, just as we all inevitably reveal our influences. John has a poetic-bent to him and I very much enjoy and connect to and am moved by the way he expresses biblical truth in his sermons and written works.
I guess reviews are supposed to try to find something to critique. I have no criticism of John or his work. He is a friend whose advice I often seek out. I did have the thought after reading this book that I wonder if we are all reaching a point where World War II examples are losing some of their evocative force for younger people. Maybe not. I don’t know. I use a good many World War II illustrations myself. John has used a number of them here. But John’s book did cause me to chew on that question and I’m chewing on it even now. (I’ll have to ask my daughter what she thinks of World War II era illustrations!)
Regardless, this is great stuff. It is a good overview of Revelation. More than that, I would say that this book is a good orienting book. It really helps the reader set a true trajectory as he or she embarks on journeying through Revelation, and, in this journey, McCallum does a masterful job of showing that the North Star is Jesus.
Get this book!