Thursday, November 13, 2014

Book Review: Prepare the Way

Title: Prepare the Way
Author: Joe Engelkemier
Date: 1971
Publisher: Review & Herald Publishing Association
ISBN: none, but click here to find it on Amazon
Length: 367 pages
Quote: “May God bless you as you help ‘prepare the way’ for the promised outpouring of God’s Spirit.”
Prepare the Way is a daily devotional book in which a college chaplain meditates on Bible passages, usually in the context of college life, although the book is meant to be used by adults too.
It was, however, meant primarily for the Seventh-Day Adventist denomination. Page one refers to a college: Adventist readers know where the college is located (it has since upgraded to a university). Also on page one, there’s a letter from an “academy”; non-Adventist readers might envision a military school; wrong, “academy” is the standard name for S.D.A.-operated prep schools. Also on page one, most Christians are likely at least to recognize “be one of the 144,000,” “in the New Jerusalem,” and “the power of another Pentecost” as Biblical Language. Many Christians won’t recognize Selected Messages and Evangelism as two of the slower-selling works of Ellen White.
Page two is much the same. You might not be familiar with “Autumn Council” or with The Ministry magazine, but you can work out that they’re part of the organization of a denomination.
Then on page three...whoa! “It was in 1755 that the first great sign of the return of Jesus—the earthquake foretold in revelation 6:12—took place. Then came the dark day, May 19, 1780. Following this in 1798, the 1260-year prophecy ended...” This is a precis of the S.D.A. interpretation of Bible prophecies; if you’ve studied the prophecies in a different church, or not at all, page three of Prepare the Way may not make much sense to you. You might not even recognize “Wrote the servant of God in 1868” as an older S.D.A. cliche for “As Ellen White wrote.” (Theoretically other Christian authors might have been referred to as "the servant of God," but Adventists would be prepared to expect it to be Ellen White, and would probably recognize the quote.)
Thousands of Adventists who knew and liked Chaplain Engelkemier are still active, and would love to explain everything in this book to a bewildered reader. If you are either an Adventist who appreciates this style of writing, or a non-Adventist who would like to, this book is for you. 

A Google search shows that Joe Engelkemeier died around the time I sold the copy of this book I physically owned, so Prepare the Way is not a Fair Trade Book, although we can still sell it online for $5 + $5 shipping. You may find a better deal online, although this book is not easy to find online.