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The Visitation
[ Frank Peretti | 1999 ]

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The Visitation - Click to view!The author's greatest work by far finds the elements of his past novels--gripping action, smart dialogue, multiple perspectives, scene switching--perfected, in the process Frank Peretti going from good storyteller to truly great author in the same class with Leo Tolstoy, Pearl Buck and Ernest Hemingway. The Visitation is told through the eyes of Travis Jordan, a burn-out ex-pastor who's served for 15 years as the shepherd of Antioch Pentecostal Mission, a retired God-enthusiast with a "been there, done that, got the t-shirt" respose to churchianity. Yet even as Antioch has only looked forward to its past for so many decades, the town is hit with a series of otherworldy interventions, quickly credited to the charismatic Brandon Nichols. Giving sight to the blind, healing to the sick, lame and diseased, and feel-good insight to the seekers, Nichols' arrival is hailed as the second coming by nearly all of Antioch's population. Pilgrims from around the nation flock to the small Washington community, the faith in Antioch's Messiah increasing as he confronts the young Pentecostal pastor's pointed dare with ragged nail scars. Yet the scope of The Visitation is not so much all-encompassing as it is a wrestling match with the ideals of the church, how people behind big words and an imposing wooden pulpit, never searching the motives of their heart. The character of Travis Jordan is startlingly lifelike, his joys, fears, hopes and confusion so very real, his perspective of everything from toilet plunging to controlling church board members ringing satirically honest. From day one, the story's undercurrent is a face/off between two men who respond to the necessary establishment of the body of Christ, Trav slightly disillusioned and Nichols bitterly enraged. As Travis looks back at his life from a teenage member of a Spirit-filled small group hooked on grass, to a faithful, unnoticed attendee of a megachurch, the manipulating Messiah's life story is recounted from present to his childhood, leading ultimately to the treacherous, vengeful act of his adolescence that forever scarred his reality. Having developed drama on a nearly a dozen fronts, the climactic showdown packs more chases and mystery in its painful resolve than any other Peretti novel. Weeping with the hopelessness of those bound in a legalistic fellowship, and reveling in the salvation God has provided us, The Visitation is sure to make you think...and reexamine your mindset.
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