by Vern S. Poythress
[Published in the Westminster Theological Journal 44/1 (spring 1982): 163-164. Used with permission.]
Chuck Colclasure: The Overcomers: The Unveiling of Hope, Comfort, and Encouragement in the Book of Revelation. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1981. 206. $4.95, paper.
To overcome people’s fears and hesitations about the Book of Revelation, Chuck Colclasure has written a popular commentary, in down-to-earth language, stressing its everyday relevance and application to our lives. Colclasure has, I think, achieved his goal admirably. He has combined a firm grasp of the essential truths and thrust of Revelation with a gift for exhortation, illustration, and simple writing style.
The book is definitely aimed at the largest mass-audience of Christians, not pastors or even “educated laymen.” There is no scholarly apparatus, and virtually no direct mention of competing interpretations, either of the book as a whole or of particular passages. Most of the time, this is a positive, helpful aspect of the popular style. But occasionally one could wish that space were taken in the text to weigh alternatives explicitly rather than simply handing down the “solution.” The reader is likely to gain little sense of what is more certain in interpretation and what is less. Nevertheless, the book by no means creates an atmosphere of dogmatism. Rather it conveys a warm, friendly tone to the reader, whatever his opinions. It conveys an optimism that, yes, you can understand the message of Revelation and have your Christian life strengthened by it.
In terms of over-all approach, Colclasure is idealist on the question of fulfillment of the major portions of Revelation, and amillennialist on the question of Rev 20:1–10. (The first resurrection, he believes, is the bodily
resurrection of Jesus Christ, in which all believers have part, Eph 2:5–6.) Many who disagree with him may still find, I hope, that they can profit from his example and influence in striving to see the applicatory force of the Book of Revelation.
Vern S. Poythress
Westminster Theological Seminary