Monday, July 28, 2008

"Rescued" - Drowning in theology or swimming in story?

I heard about this novel from two pastors who had differing opinions as to the book’s theology. When it was recommended that I read it I thought I was getting into heavily ideological fiction like The Shack, or The Screwtape Letters and prepared myself to search for theological mis-steps and/or profound truths.

I was pleasantly surprised that in Rescued, by John Bevere and Mark Andrew Olsen, story has pride of place and ideological intentions take a back seat, making the book an excellent, engaging read.

Rescued is the story of Alan Rockaway and his semi-estranged son Jeff. Alan is the pastor of a 6,000 member mega-church in Denver who leads a vibrant ministry and is married to a beautiful, devoted wife.

The problem is that the beautiful, devoted wife is not Jeff’s mother and in his eyes, Alan is not the iconic pastor everyone thinks he is. A submarine accident and a live video feed ultimately lead Alan and Jeff towards confronting Alan’s divorce and the hole in their relationship. But is it for the better?

While the story of the Rockaways will engage you emotionally, Rescued has even more to offer. Much of the book focuses on mysterious characters in the afterlife watching the story of Alan and Jeff unfold, while asking their own questions about life and faith. Without giving anything away I can say that you’ll experience a little of bit of Heaven and a little bit of Hell, quite literally, while reading this book.

Rescued reads like a thriller. It’s not too long, with a fair amount of action and plenty of dialogue. Olsen’s writing will have you flipping pages quickly, so start reading early. I guarantee you’ll be up late trying to finish.

And what of the theology?

In a note following the final chapter John Bevere says: “The themes of life, death, and the Hereafter woven into this story are gleaned from my nonfiction work Driven by Eternity, and in it you will find further expansion of the two certainties I keep ever before me: what I do at the cross of Jesus Christ determines where I will spend eternity, and the way I live as a believer determines how I will spend it.”

Simply put, the nuances of real, true salvation are the focus of Rescued. Though you may find something in the book that you disagree with – because theological differences abound among us – you won’t find anything outside of an orthodox Christian perspective. It doesn’t dive as deeply as The Shack, but it’s not as light as a Ted Dekker novel.

Enjoy reading Rescued. It’s my favorite kind of reading – an exciting story that leaves you thinking!

Review by BBH staff member, Andrew Rogers

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