I’m currently reading Michael J. Gorman’s brilliant book Reading Revelation Responsibility. Which is providing some excellent groundwork on understanding and carefully applying the message of that rather complex biblical book, Revelation. In particular, it’s a great antidote against the “Rapture theology” that has been (sadly) very popular due to the Hal Lindsey tracts and the “Left Behind” series of books–which, if I’m brutally honest, have perpetuated fear and have more horror on offer than hope!
I would encourage you to read this book, and also another book I’ll soon be delving into, The Rapture Exposed by Barbara Rossing.
Once I am finished with this one, I will leave a more throrough review. In the meantime, here’s a few passages that I’ve read today from the chapter entitled How Do Read It? Interpreting Revelation, discussing God, the Lamb, which taps into something I was sharing only the other Sunday morning at church;
“God is inseparable from the Lamb, and vice verse… This is a cruciform (cross-centred and cross-shaped) understanding of divine power… [p.75]
“In Revelation, Christ died for our sins, but he dies also, even primarily, as the incarnation and paradigm of faithfulness to God in the face of anti-God powers. Christ is Lord, Christ is victorious, and Christ conquers by cruciform faithful resistance: not by inflicting but by absorbing violence; not by actually killing but by speaking his powerful word. Revelation is counter-imperial, challenging Rome’s theology of Victory and Power with what many have called “Lamb Power”. We are victorious by following the Lamb, not Babylon, Rome, or analogous imperial powers.” [p.76]
“Christian resistance to empire and idolatry conforms to the pattern of Jesus Christ…: faithful, true, courageous, just, and nonviolent. It is not passive but active, consisting of the formation of communities and individuals who pledge allegiance to God alone, who live in nonviolent love toward friends and enemies alike…and who, by God’s Spirit, create mini-cultures of life as alternatives to empire’s culture of death. This is a Lamb-shaped or cross-shaped (cruciform) understanding of discipleship and mission.” [p.76]
Tristan Sherwin is the author of Love: Expressed