Pastor Alan Rockaway is on a couples retreat with his church, accompanied by his beautiful young (and new) wife and his teenaged son Jeff. The couples attending the teaching cruise from Pastor Rockaway’s mega-church in Colorado are ready to set their marriages aflame by way of the teachings they receive. Jeff, a reluctant attendee due to a difficult relationship with his father and the perceived hypocrisy within the church, is there as a videographer, recording the retreat for posterity.
A bright Sunday morning ushers in an unusual treat for the couples, as well as their home church. With his technical knowledge, Jeff has arranged for a live feed of the retreat attendees touching base with their church before they board a tourist submarine for an underwater exploration just off of Barbados. While Jeff is on deck filming the submarine’s descent – beaming the images back to Colorado – the unthinkable occurs. A rapid-fire collision occurs, with the damaged submarine dropping to the bottom of the ocean floor. People are trapped, hurting, and running out of air while a frantic church body drops to the floor in desperate intercession after viewing the accident live during their Sunday morning service.
Rescued is, in short, the most surprising book I’ve read this year. I am still astounded at what co-authors Bevere and Olsen have accomplished with this novel. I was so entirely taken in by their strong point-of-view writing that I felt they’d jumped up behind me and smacked a chair over my head. I was taken in completely unawares by their plan, to the extent that I would almost call them deceptive or sneaky, luring readers in before springing their trap. However, this is a trap you’ll want to be caught up in; a trap that will lead you to your knees in repentance before a holy God.
I found Rescued an extremely difficult book to read, and it certainly wasn't due to the easy reading prose. If I hadn’t been obligated to review it I would have thrown it across the room in disgust and left it lying on the floor. I couldn’t believe that a respected Christian publishing house had allowed this title to be published under their imprint. How far had Christian fiction fallen? My stomach literally churned and I became queasy as I came to know Alan Rockaway. Alan is not a likeable character for a Christian who takes the Bible literally.
Watching him twist the word of God to justify his sins, watching his church support him in those sins, watching him revel in them, declaring these sins as God’s will for his life – it was just too much for me. I could barely handle the flashbacks as he reflected upon his decisions, justifying them once again in the face of possible death. I kept going, only because I had to, and if you find yourself reading Rescued, I recommend that you do the same. Persevere and you will receive a rich reward; read the story until it’s end – after all, it’s only 288 pages long.
I cannot think of one person who would not benefit from reading this title; God has, and will continue to use this work for His glory and purposes. Are you ready to be challenged and driven to self-examination? Are you ready to become humbled, contrite and driven into the arms of the Father? John Bevere and Mark Andrew Olsen spent hundreds of hours in prayer and study of the scriptures in order to write this novel. In retrospect it’s apparent that they must have. Only under the Lord’s guidance and inspiration could they have pulled this one off. If you’re able to withstand an emotional roller coaster ride through the extremes of emotion, I highly recommend you pick up Rescued, then share it with your friends, your relatives and others within your church. Are you ready to experience the ultimate rescue mission?