Russell Lackey Publishes Power and Purpose: A Book of Revelation for Today

October 5, 2016

Russell Lackey, Senior Campus Pastor at Grand View University as well as the historic Luther Memorial Church, published a book, Power and Purpose: The Book of Revelation for Today. It is currently available through Wipf & Stock Publishers, and will be available through Amazon in a couple weeks.

The book of Revelation is confusing to read. Images of beasts, trumpets, plagues, and even dragons fill its pages. In his book, Power and Purpose, Russ Lackey guides readers on an adventure through the harrowing pages of Revelation in a clear and accessible way. Along the journey, issues such as economic and political injustice, ecology, evangelism, and synthesizing faith with everyday life are raised with the hope of Christ woven throughout. The main question of the book is not how does a person escape this world, rather, who is the Lord of this world? Christians who pick up Revelation with this question in mind do not try to escape society, rather, they work to reform it. Doing this they discover that true power and purpose comes from Christ, the Lamb who was slain. This is a must read for anyone desiring to better understand the book of Revelation.

Interview with Pastor Russ:

Why did you write the book?
As a campus pastor, I run into students who would really like to read the Bible, but they don’t know how it works. I wrote the book for young adults (and anyone else interested in learning more about the Bible) who could benefit from the message of Revelation but who lack the biblical tools to understand this ancient book.

Why do you think Revelation is so important for young adults?
Revelation speaks about issues that young people struggle with such as ecology, unjust economic and political systems, community, and connecting faith with everyday life. The book of Revelation has the power to shape this generation. Power and Purpose is my attempt to guide readers through this perpetually-misread book of the Bible with Christ and the hope he brings on every page.

What most surprised you in studying Revelation?
I was most surprised by the powerful anti-establishment message that rings throughout the book of Revelation. John’s critique of Rome’s oppressive rule landed him exiled on a distant island. John’s prophetic message, though written 2000 years ago, is as true today as it was then and needs to be heard.

Why is Revelation important for the world we live in today?
People in the west are fed up with the many systems that promise peace but, in truth, enslave. We see unrest, both civil and not, throughout the media. The book of Revelation was used in the abolition movement to set people free. Its message gives voice and direction to those who are frustrated with this world and desire change. Power and Purpose will not tell you what to think or do, however, it will engage and challenge readers to reflect and respond with power and purpose.

When do you think Jesus will come again?
I would love if he came tomorrow. However, I think there is still much work for us to do. I don’t mean that we will fix everything. Rather, we as Christians are powerful people and, unfortunately, we have been living as wimps. I think Christ will wait until the church actually functions like the church, sharing the love and message of Christ in word and deed, before coming back.

What is one thing you hope for readers of your book?
The book of Revelation ends with Christians saying, “Amen, come Lord Jesus!” I would hope that instead of engaging Revelation with confusion and fear, the guidance of Power and Purpose could join readers with the Christians who, for 2000 years, have found comfort and hope in the book of Revelation.

An Excerpt from Power and Purpose:

Two thousand years ago, a man named John found himself exiled and imprisoned on the island of Patmos off the coast of Asia Minor. His crime was finding life in God instead of wealth, military might, politics, or position. John saw the world through the lens of Jesus’ resurrection. This powerful vision altered his life and compelled him to speak out no matter the cost. It made John a prophet.

Prophets are people who have seen God and are moved to speak. As the biblical scholar Abraham Heschel explains, “Prophets are some of the most disturbing people who have ever lived: the men whose inspiration brought the Bible into being – the men whose image is our refuge in distress, and whose voice and vision sustain our faith.” It is the prophet who has seen God and cries for “justice to roll down as waters.”

The book of Revelation flows from a vision given to John by God. This vision offers an alternate way of seeing life. It calls us to pick a side. We must take a stand either with God or Satan, Good or Evil, Jesus or the Antichrist. Neutrality is not an option. Revelation is not an easy book to comprehend. Reading it might turn the whole world upside down. We might, however, gain a vision of what life truly is.

Praise for Power and Purpose:

“Lackey blends a rich understanding of his subject with practical insights gained through his role as a campus pastor. He provides a vital resource for our perplexing times. Normally, I discourage new students of Christianity from jumping into discussions of Revelation too quickly, but in this case, I can enthusiastically recommend it to all, since it presents God’s cosmic story in a fresh but faithful manner. This is a gem.”
—Jeff Mallinson, Professor of Theology and Philosophy, Concordia University, Irvine; Co-Host, Virtue in
the Wasteland Podcast

“In Power and Purpose, Russell Lackey shines a much needed clarifying light into at least two ‘rooms’ where the church too often trips in the darkness—the Book of Revelation and young adults. These are areas where Lackey excels based on his life experience and ministry passions, making this a must-read for all. Open up this illuminating and scholarly work filled with new insights, and you’ll see the light!”
—Mike Housholder, Senior Pastor, Lutheran Church of Hope

“Jesus Christ is Lord over death and Lord over life. In Power and Purpose, Lackey opens up Revelation in a faithful and pastoral manner. This book reveals fresh and inspiring insights into our Lord’s life-giving purpose. A must-read for all, especially young adults.”
—Mark Mattes, Chair of Theology and Philosophy, Grand View University, Des Moines; Associate Editor, Lutheran Quarterly