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The Visitation Paperback – 2003
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A burned-out minister in small town Antioch, Washington, must wrestle with his confusion and cynicism when a self-proclaimed messiah takes over his ministry. The replacement minister looks like Christ. He even heals the sick and performs miracles. Could this messenger of hope and renewal be the real thing?
At first, this small town is abuzz with reports of miracles and religious sightings (a weeping statue of Christ, a disappearing hitchhiker warning of Christ's arrival, a soothing angel). But suddenly there's a twist of evil and demonic mystery in the air. It's up to the jaded minister Travis to track down the real story behind this visitor and somehow find a way to stop him.
Frank Peretti has been a hit sensation in the Christian thriller market but admits that up until now his books have surfed in the shallow waters of pop fiction. In The Visitation, Peretti has worked his craft more carefully--exploring how suffering leads to disillusionment in God as well as deepening his characterization. (The main character is a thinly disguised reflection of Peretti's own bout with doubt.) Fans will be relieved to know that Peretti is still dedicated to suspenseful drama, and there's still plenty of spine-chilling mayhem when all hell literally breaks loose on this small-town cast of characters. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
Though there are elements in Peretti's latest novel reminiscent of his contemporary Christian fiction classic, This Present Darkness (1989), this time he tells a quieter, more personal story that reflects some of his own experiences as a minister. It's told from the point of view of a lonely widower named Travis Jordan, who feels he has failed as a minister in the little town of Antioch, Washington. He and his replacement in the pulpit, a fervent and earnest young man, are called upon to do battle against a false christ. Not an Antichrist, but a drifter, "Brandon" has assumed many identities. The false christ heals the sick and the lame, but there are hints that he's under Satan's power and that his miracles are hollow. Travis traces his history back to rural Texas, where the young Brandon, then called Justin, was nailed to a cross by his zealot father. Thus was born the false christ. Events in Antioch grow ever more bizarre and violent, with other christs showing up to denounce each other and a showdown brewing at Brandon's ranch. A fine Peretti effort distinguished for its honest considerations of religious excess: from the zealotry of born-again teenagers, convinced that signs from God are all about them, to the impersonality of a great church in Los Angeles, so big that the minister can only be seen on closed-circuit TV. John Mort --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
When I started reading The Visitation, I wasn't really sure where the story was headed. There seemed to be a lot of back story that I thought wasn't really going anywhere - boy was I wrong! Yes there was quite a bit of back story in the beginning of the book, but it all makes perfect sense by the time you get to the end. I obviously don't want to give anything away, but the ending is amazing. You may think the book is slow, but it gets better and better, faster and faster as you get deeper into the book. Toward the end of the book you can't turn pages fast enough!
Even though you could sense that the author was trying to hold himself back from launching into a demon vs angel tirade, it was a really entertaining and deeply spiritual book for me. I could relate with Travis and his search for something deeper in the familiarity of church... Travis's struggles with his identity as a Christian and as a pastor is most representative of the times we feel spiritual distance. I thought some parts of the plot (false messiah's antics) were a little unreal, but it was entertaining. Thank you very much, Mr. Peretti!
The Visitation comes as a warning in this day and age when people follow signs and wonders and miracles instead of wanting to know God and following God's word. This is a good book to read for everyone and serves as a reminder to be careful and test every spirit as the Bible warns in 1 John 4vs1.
It's also good to help strengthen your faith and know that God still has power over sin, principalities and sickness.
The Christian walk is not the easiest but let's all soldier on. You shall know the truth and truth shall set you free!
A compelling read; from start to finish it kept me on the edge of my seat, eager to get to the bottom of things. There was no dull moment, and the satirical narrative running parallel to the historical flashbacks was brilliant. I had a number of good, tear-evoking laughs at the apt portrayals of several of the characters and their religious/denominational excesses! I loved the subtle but poignant message the storyline surrounding the protagonist Travis Jordan ultimately conveyed - that in spite of all the challenges and shenanigans religious (as distinguished from Christ-like!) people, systems and traditions tend to propagate, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the only thing that really matters and is what will sustain you when all that religious stuff fails. A personal relationship with the real JESUS on His terms is the only true way to transformation and living a life that truly counts! It was so beautiful to see the burned out, somewhat cynical minister restored in his relationship with Christ as God brought him full-circle through his unwitting involvement with the false Christ situation. The book poses a great incentive to believers to get solidly grounded in the word of God as the predicted days of deception worsen. For those unfamiliar with the bible, it's a great thought-provoker and inspiration to go dig into it to discover the truth for oneself.
I recommend this book to both the believer in Jesus and non-believer alike, although the person who was brought up in church or who is familiar with various church traditions will benefit most from the humor lacing the religious descriptions and experiences!