Tuesday, July 03, 2012

John's Story

Title: John's Story: The Last Eyewitness
Author: Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
Published: 2006

And here's another one I listened to on CD during my drive to and from work. I was still waiting for The Hunger Games to be available. I read the Left Behind series years ago, so I was kind of interested to see how those authors would take on the life of John, an actual historic figure in the Church.

I'll be honest, I wasn't all that impressed. I thought I would be. Or maybe I just thought I would be a lot more interested in hearing this story than I was. After all, I majored in Christian Studies in college. And my emphasis was in Church History. I love this stuff.

But this novelized account of John's life just didn't grab me the way I expected it to. A lot of the time I felt kind of bored. And I couldn't help but wonder how many of these events actually transpired and how much was made up in an attempt to make the story more compelling.

The way it's told, a lot of these things make sense. They tell of a heretical teacher moving into town and drawing early Christians away from the church with his teachings. This is the reason John felt lead to write his version of the Gospel, despite the fact that three versions already existed. John wanted to combat the heresy of Gnosticism which seemed to be spreading. But did that decision really stem from being confronted with a Gnostic leader who was setting up shop in Ephesus?

And then there's the story of Caesar's apparent attempt to boil John in oil. The way the authors tell it, the Romans tried and failed to kill John. He escaped through a miracle and was then sentenced to exile on the island of Patmos, where he would go on to write Revelation.

It's been a while since I took a course in Church History, but I really don't ever remember reading anything about John being boiled in oil before being exiled.

Sidebar: I did some checking. According to extrabiblical tradition, Domitian did attempt to boil John in oil. When John survived, the audience of the Coliseum was immediately converted to Christianity. John was then sent to Patmos.

In the long run, the book on CD was okay. But it didn't cause me to want to run out and read or listen to the other entries in the series.

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