NRA: The Fifth Seal

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 324-325 We’ve arrived at the tricky part of Rayford Steele’s sermon on the Seven Seals of Revelation. The first four are easy for any End-Times preacher because: A) Most people are at least broadly familiar with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; and B) Conquest, War, Famine and Death all [Read More…]

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NRA: A church without a plan

What do you suppose all these people do for a living? That’s a complicated subject here in the post-Rapture world of the Great Tribulation. Everyone can’t be like Buck and Rayford — with a spiffy new job working directly for the Antichrist. So what do all these other people do? [Read more…]

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NRA: Present-day predictions (part 2)

Rayford’s challenge to “skeptics” here is not directed to the congregation of Rapture-believers he’s addressing at New Hope Village Church. It’s directed, instead, to any non-RTC readers of the Left Behind series. It’s intended to prove that the authors cannot be dismissed as charlatans because their fictional portrayal of the fulfillment of “Bible prophecy” constitutes proof of what they’re saying. [Read more…]

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NRA: Present-day predictions (part 1)

Which is it? Because it can’t be both. Either we need to buy their books and attend their conferences, in which case the literal meaning of the text isn’t as clear and obvious as they say. Or else the text is that simple and obvious, in which case no one needs to read — or to write — 200-page books decoding the hidden meanings of this 20-page Bible passage. [Read more…]

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NRA: A Lesson on evangelism

The congregation of New Hope Village Church embodies what it means to make evangelism a top priority. After spending a long Sunday gathered together to remind one another that evangelism is the most important thing, they’re all fired up to return next week and reaffirm this paramount importance yet again. [Read more…]

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NRA: Character, plot, and theme

One way or another, characterization happens. It’s unavoidable, even for the worst writers and the worst story-tellers. Jerry Jenkins may have no interest in developing his characters and no patience for it, but he’s constantly revealing character despite that — doing so accidentally, unconsciously, and unintentionally. And what he shows us contradicts what he tells us. [Read more…]

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NRA: There’s no gospel in this gospel

The strange thing about the hymn “I Love to Tell the Story” is that it never actually tells the story. Rayford never actually tells that story either. Like the hymn, he insists that the telling of it is very important, but no one listening to his alleged explanation of “the way of salvation” will wind up any closer to understanding that than before he started. [Read more…]

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NRA: Funeral altar call

Evangelical churches are good at many things, but funerals are not our forté. The improvisational approach of most evangelical services doesn’t serve us well when it comes to funerals. So we fall back on what we know best — proclaiming the gospel of individual salvation. That’s why Rayford’s eulogy here segues into an evangelistic altar call. [Read more…]

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