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Journal of Christian Studies 3/2 coming soon!


The Journal of Christian Studies volume III, issue 2 will be shipping to subscribers soon! The issue is focused on the book of Revelation. Below is the editor's note and a list of contributors. If you haven't subscribed to JCS yet, be sure to do so today to ensure you receive your copy!


Below is the editor's note and list of contributors.


Editor's Note:


I still remember when I discovered the biblical book of Revelation.  It’s not that I was unaware of the book’s presence at the back of my Bible.  It’s just that I really didn’t know anything about it.  At my amillennial home congregation, it was never taught in Sunday school, and the prolific quotations of Scripture that constituted the sermons I grew up hearing never seemed to include material from Revelation—save a few salient snippets from chapters 2 and 3.  But one Sunday evening during the sermon, my ten-year-old eyes wandered, for some reason, to the Apocalypse, and I began reading, picking up somewhere after chapter 3, through the duration of the sermon and the service.  After the dismissal prayer, I remained seated and reading.  Thirty minutes later, by the time my parents were finally ready to go and the custodian began turning off the house lights, I had made it through several puzzling, disturbing chapters of this strange book.  Although I was a little frightened by the words, I was more fascinated. 


Perhaps more than any other book in the Bible, Revelation has fascinated and moved its readers in such diverging ways.  Craig Koester puts it well:


The power of a book can be seen in what it does to people, and few books have affected people more dramatically than Revelation.  In positive terms, Revelation has inspired countless sermons and theological treatises, artistic works, and musical compositions ranging from the triumphant “Hallelujah Chorus” to the gentle strains of “Jerusalem My Happy Home.”  On the negative side, it has fed social upheaval and sectarian religious movements that have often foundered on misguided attempts to discern the date of Christ’s return.  Some are attracted to sensationalistic interpretations that find Revelation’s prophecies reaching fulfillment in the rise of the modern state of Israel, the threat of nuclear war, volcanic eruptions, terrorism, and oil spills.  Others, repelled by these speculations, suggest that Revelation might best be kept on the shelf, sealed and unread.  Yet attempts to ignore or dismiss Revelation are generally not successful; its secrets are too alluring.


C. S. Lewis once observed, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils.  One is to disbelieve in their existence.  The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.”  Analogously, I suggest that there are two common extremes when it comes to Revelation: avoid it altogether, or become obsessed with it.  While Revelation continues to be ignored in many amillennial churches and dispensational premillennialism does not have the hold it once did in Evangelicalism, others see the current conflict in Israel as the prelude to the Messiah’s (second) coming and his millennial reign.


In this issue of the Journal of Christian Studies, we aim to exemplify proper and salutary engagement with Revelation, neither ignoring it nor obsessing over it.  I asked contributors to consider addressing such questions as: What does Revelation mean in its original historical, cultural, literary, and canonical contexts?  What are the theological, liturgical, and practical implications of this document?  What does it tell us about God’s character and our response to him, about human nature and our telos in relation to God and to one another?  How does intertextuality help us understand Revelation?  How was the book received and interpreted in the history of Christian exegesis?  What was its author’s intention, and what is its message for us today?  How should we appropriate and preach Revelation or, more generally, apocalyptic? 

Collectively, the articles in this issue include wisdom either directly or indirectly related to these questions.  It is our hope that readers will come away with a deeper appreciation for the Apocalypse of John and its significance for Christian thought and practice.


Keith Stanglin


Contributors:


Garrett Best (York University), "The Old Testament in the Apocalypse of John: Revelation and Ezekiel."


James S. Bury (Harding University, retired), "Select Annotated Bibliography on the Book of Revelation."


Jan Fekkes III (Fuller Theological Seminary), "Scorched Earth Warfare in the Book of Revelation and The Lord of the Rings."


Allan J. McNicol (Austin Graduate School of Theology, retired; Center for Christian Studies), "The Significance of the Apocalypse."


Justin M. Rogers (Freed-Hardeman University), "The Rhetoric of Religious Compromise: Early Judaism, 'Balaam,' and 'Jezebel' in the Apocalypse of John."


Keith D. Stanglin (Center for Christian Studies), "Worthy of Worship: The Deity of Jesus Christ in the Book of Revelation."


Ben Witherington III (Asbury Theological Seminary), "The Book of Revelation: What It Is Meant to Be and What It Is Meant to Do."






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