Sunday, October 5, 2014

Left Behind and Church

Someone at church was encouraging us to go see the new Left Behind movie, starring Nicholas Cage.  Left Behind is a series of books written by Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins about the end times.  I told the pastor that I thought Presbyterians had a different take on the rapture!  He said that they do, overall, but that people in Presbyterian churches have different opinions.

I suppose that I am the sort of person who should not like the Left Behind series.  I am not exactly a conservative Christian.  I have an academic background, and a number of liberal and even conservative Christian academics tend to look down their noses on the Left Behind series.

But I actually enjoyed the series.  At least the books that I read.  Specifically the first two.  During my childhood, I somewhat gravitated towards Bircher conspiracy books and prophetic speculations.  Maybe that stuff appealed to the same part of me that enjoys science fiction, fantasy, or Stephen King books.

Like I said, I enjoyed the first two books of the Left Behind series.  Later, some of the technicalities in them made me lose interest.  But I did listen to an audio drama of all of the books, and it was awesome.  One chilling scene is when Hattie Durham—who through much of the series is a very shallow woman—-takes a bold prophetic stance against the Antichrist, and the false prophet consumes her with fire after saying, “You shall feel the wrath of your lord and god!”

My pastor told me that the next Bible study will be about Revelation.  I’m reluctant to go.  It is one thing for me to read this stuff on my own, where I have the freedom to make up my own mind about what to believe.  It is another thing for me to be in a group, where there is social pressure for me to fit in and go with the crowd.  Plus, talking about the end-times can lead to talking about politics and bashing liberals, which I don’t really want to spend my Thursday nights hearing.

The curriculum, though, looks pretty good.  The lady teaching it has a master’s from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, so she knows her Bible well, and she probably avoids a lot of the craziness that surrounds the interpretation of the Book of Revelation.  Moreover, I look at the endorsements, and there are progressive Christian names there.  The names of people who would probably be accused of being apostates of the end-times by some people in the group, if they were familiar with these figures and what the figures believe.

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