Jim O’Shea. The Reluctant Disciple. Ambassador International, 2018. See here to buy the book.
The Reluctant Disciple reminded me of the following:
The Devil’s Advocate: You have the offspring of an evil entity, who seduces a woman in a Christian religious environment, of all places.
Frank Peretti’s The Prophet: A cynical, skeptical reporter gets to the point where he makes a firm, public stand for the truth.
Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkin’s Left Behind: Perplexing vanishings are occurring, and a reporter is too close to evil.
The Exorcist: There is a botched attempt at an exorcism.
Ancient Aliens: This TV show presents the “ancient astronaut” view that aliens have visited the earth over the centuries, forming the basis for religious and mythological stories about the gods.
There are differences between this book and some of the above. The vanishings, for example, occur at different points for different people, rather than all at once. The two witnesses have their own YouTube channel! And UFOs get tied into premillennial, pretribulational eschatology.
In the first half of the book, we are introduced to the characters. There is Ryan, the cynical host of a cable show that deals with the paranormal. There is Eleanor, a past love interest. There is Eleanor’s brother Warren, a defrocked priest who unsuccessfully attempted to perform an exorcism.
I do not recall a whole lot that happened in the first half of the book. Apparently, something happened to Eleanor’s daughter. There was occasionally an intriguing discussion, such as one between Ryan and a Christian professor about whether the existence of aliens is consistent with Christianity, and Warren’s musings about whether the Beast and False Prophet will be regular people or something else. The first half of the book had a “comfort food” feel but was not as vivid or as competently executed as, say, a Frank Peretti novel. Still, the part of me that enjoys listening to “Coast to Coast” enjoyed the first half.
The second half of the book clearly resolved the puzzles of the first half and signaled where the author wanted to go, in terms of the book’s ideological framework. Questions occurred in my mind. How are people expected to know the truth, when a very plausible alternative scenario is being presented to them? The book makes some attempt to address this. How exactly does the book arrive at 666? Why does the letter sigma, for instance, represent six? The book presents an interesting proposal that addresses the question of whether the Antichrist will pretend to be Jesus Christ or will publicly oppose Jesus Christ.
This is an enjoyable book to read. The prose is all right. And, as one who actually likes Frank Peretti, the first Left Behind book, and Ancient Aliens, I found The Reluctant Disciple to be engaging.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Bookcrash. My review is honest.