Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Going Too Far?

Other than the occasional Slacktivist "Left Behind Friday," I've not commented too much on the Left Behind phenomenon. This is mostly because I have not, in fact, read any of the books (although I did watch the first movie when it was screened at my seminary for free, followed by a discussion with producer Ralph Winter and Dr. David M. Scholer, one of our New Testament professors). Still, I find the popularity of the line (which is releasing its latest prequel novel about the rise of the Antichrist today, timed to coincide with the date "06/06/06") troubling, not least because it espouses a theology of the end times that is at odds with sound biblical exegesis (not to hear the supporters tell it, of course).

For the most part, this is simply an area where I must allow the differences of opinion to stand. I have no expectation that any commentary I can make would do much to stem the tide of "Left Behind mania." However, I came upon this article (which, in turn, cites this more expansive article) that makes me especially uneasy. It details the upcoming Left Behind video game, subtitled Eternal Forces.

Now, when they use the word "forces," they do seem to mean, on at least some level, spiritual forces of God and prayer. However, the more obvious use of the word "forces" (i.e., military forces) seems clearly intended by the description of the game. And lest one think that this is just the way that a couple of leftist sites have described the game, here are a couple of quotes from the official "Left Behind Games" web site.

· Conduct physical & spiritual warfare : using the power of prayer to strengthen your troops in combat and wield modern military weaponry throughout the game world.

· Control more than 30 units types - from Prayer Warrior and Hellraiser to Spies, Special Forces and Battle Tanks!
Besides saying that this fusion of military and spiritual warfare to mean virtually the same thing is off-putting, I'll try to keep any additional commentary on this subject to a minimum, rather encouraging readers to investigate this matter on their own, but the quote that I personally found most disturbing was this one:
The dialogue includes people saying, "Praise the Lord," as they blow infidels away.
Has Evangelical Christianity gone too far?

3 comments:

  1. In answer to your question, YES!!! However, I would like to think that the Left Behinders went awry of evanglical theology long ago. Unfortunately most of the rest of the world places them squarely among us. I would like to think that your continuing posts on Evangelical Beliefs might help to show that LaHaye and Jenkins have left Evangelicalism behnind.

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  2. Talk to Action has just posted a significant update on the Left Behind: Eternal Forces video game story, in Part 3 of its series on the game.

    The Purpose Driven Life Takers (Part 1)

    Violent Video Marketed Through Mega-Churches (Part 2)

    Revelation and Resignation (Part 3)

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  3. Thanks for the links, Jonathan. There's some interesting (and disturbing) stuff here.

    However, I want to give a (quick) alternative perspective on Rick Warren, who comes across as heavily criticized in these links. Not to excuse anything wrong Warren (or those he's associated with) may have done, but Witherington is a voice I generally trust, and he paints a very different picture (I should also note that absolutely no mention is made in this link to the Left Behind game. It's strictly about Warren).

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