This book, published in 1959 by author Pat Frank, is an early work in the genre of apocalyptic literature. It tells a story of a town in Florida trying to rebuild after a world-wide nuclear war. In that era, there was great concern over how such scenarios might play out and Pat does an interesting job with it. He tells of the stirrings of humanity as they try to right the ship of daily life.
This first of John’s recorded letters is structured with a set of reasons for why people should be good, be godly. This list could be taken list a rack of brochures, each giving a different reason. One of the first reasons, taken from 1 John 2:8, was to bring the ways of eternity to the present and inflates from the concepts of a new command given. John Piper points out that the command to be godly is new in the sense that godly lifestyles and behaviors are glimpses into the way life on earth as God originally intended it. A time like that is coming, but not yet here.
In Frank’s book, the things they knew and took for granted were ripped from them by nuclear war and they were forced back to basic things. As one reads the book one cheers the hard work and heroics of people like Randy Bragg, Lib McGovern, and Malachai Henry. There were those, however, who were not interested in community, but themselves. They were the highwaymen and they brought disruption.
These highwaymen are like those false teachers of John’s letter. They had been part of the community but were out being disruptive. They were not helping but harming. The post-nuclear life was getting going and a lot of good with it. Mickey Cahane, Arch Fleggert, Leroy Settle and Thomas “Casey” Killinger had not pulled together but pulled out.
Frank Bragg’s new way was not perfect, but it looked forward to a better time and place. He was bringing the ways of the future to the moment. We are to look to the future and bring those new ways into the present. Being good, a.k.a. godly is one way of looking to the future and bringing it to the now. Whenever anyone does their own thing, that is ungodly, an unChristlike thing, then harm comes.