The Forerunner Cry by William Porter
Well-written and focused on Jesus, but has a flawed understanding of Revelation, writes Spurgeon's tutor and author
The Forerunner Cry - Preparing our lives for Jesus’ return
By William Porter
Reviewed by Pieter Lalleman
I read this book with growing incredulity. It looks much like the books by Hal Lindsey (The Later Great Planet Earth) and the like, which I read as a teenager but have since learned to avoid. I had not expected that Authentic, formerly Paternoster, would yet publish a book like this in the 21st century. It contains rather detailed descriptions of Antichrist, the coming Great Tribulation and the millennium. It was written in the conviction and tries to spread the belief that the return of Jesus is imminent and that believers should get ready. Indeed, they should start spreading the word. Although William Porter is British, the book has an American feel, not least due to many of the examples and illustrations.
The book’s use of the Bible is extremely naïve for an author who has a PhD in ‘Revival Studies’ and its idea of ‘prophecy’ as foretelling the future is hardly biblical. Its use of Revelation militates against the proper rules of interpretation. Like me, Porter has read books by great scholars like Richard Bauckham and Tom Wright, but we have reached different understandings. Although he does allow for symbolism in Revelation, he reads it as a timetable for seven years in the future. This is not the way to understand Revelation, as I have shown in my book The Lion and the Lamb.
On the positive side, the book focuses mainly on Jesus. It does not scare the reader but encourages prayerful preparation and argues that the church will still flourish. It is well written and easy to read, with helpful summaries. It is positive about the Jewish people. It contains useful prayers and questions for reflection.
Yet it is a book that is better avoided. We can live life to the full without accepting its end times scenario.
Dr Pieter J. Lalleman teaches biblical studies at Spurgeon's College. He is the author of The Lion and the Lamb, an introduction to the book of Revelation