Paperback, 145 pages, published by Christian Year Publications, available from John Ritchie Ltd, 40 Beansburn, Kilmarnock, KA3 1RH. ISBN 978-1-872734-43-9.
A book review is, by its very nature, a subjective exercise; it is just one person’s thoughts and opinion. The sub-title of this book is, ‘Jude made simple’, yet on first reading, the writer does not really achieve that aim. The book falls between an exposition and an explanation and is written in a colloquial, informal style which is presumably intended to appeal to younger readers. This may be one reason why the present reviewer, who can no longer lay claim to youth, found the book not entirely to his taste!
The writer correctly identifies the occurrence of the number three throughout the structure of the epistle and divides the chapters broadly around verses in groups of threes. The underlying outline and teaching from Jude’s Epistle is sound, but the narrative is impaired by the use of far too many clichés and soundbites. As an example, in three paragraphs on page 50, the following phrases are used in quick succession: The gauntlet is thrown down … go with the flow … swim against the tide … buried their head in the sand … failing to grasp the nettle … the spiralling situation … twin towered influences … mass media including cyberspace … a secular sybaritic environment … that’s old hat … intellectual lightweights and fuddy-duddy obscurantists … maintain a sense of equilibrium … never-say-die attitude … once bitten, twice shy.
Unfortunately, this style of presentation continues throughout the book, making it rather difficult at times to follow the line of Jude’s teaching. Jude himself, of course, uses a number of telling metaphors and word pictures to make his point, but Mr Gordon goes ‘over the top’ in his efforts to clarify these weighty verses.
There are a number of summaries throughout the book, presented as bullet points and often alliterative in style to help the reader to memorize the truths being taught. Mr Gordon rightly emphasizes the importance of Jude’s Epistle for the present day, but this reviewer would venture to suggest the The Acts of the Apostates by S. Maxwell Coder, quoted several times in Mr Gordon’s book, gives a much clearer and readable presentation of the epistle.