NRA: Getting strong now


Prayer sessions seem to be these books’ version of the training montage in 1980s movies. These prayer scenes don’t have any of the key ingredients that every good training montage needs, but that doesn’t mean the authors aren’t trying to use these scenes in the same way. It just means that the authors aren’t any good at what they’re trying to do. [Read more...]

‘The Missing Christians’: Why are Rapture stories always so dull?

Screen shot 2014-02-11 at 2.23.34 PM

The 1952 Rapture movie “The Missing Christians” is bad. You probably guessed that, but you didn’t guess how very bad it actually is. It’s worse than you’re thinking. It’s worse than you’re thinking even if you’ve already accounted for the fact that it’s worse than you’re thinking. [Read more...]

NRA: Counting on a miracle (2)

Deus ex machina

The miracle-or-bust approach of reckless heroes with no plans doesn’t necessarily make for a bad story. And thus the little Tsion’s Escape From Zion subplot in these chapters of “Nicolae” didn’t necessarily have to be so awful. So let’s look at some of the ingredients of a successful leap-of-faith story, so that later we can see how the lack of these ingredients accounts for the awfulness of Buck Williams’ little adventure. [Read more...]

NRA: Counting on a miracle


Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 209-214 The tale of Buck and Tsion’s thrilling escape is not hackwork. Hackwork would have been a great improvement over this. If Jerry Jenkins were merely a hack then he could have done what hacks do in situations like this, ripping off ideas from popular stories and relying on [Read More...]

NRA: Pulpit ‘humility’


Jerry Jenkins seems dimly aware that he can’t portray his author-surrogate Buck Williams as too perfect. He wants Buck to be relatable, and — like an employee filling out one of those self-evaluations and reluctant to give themselves all 5s — he worries that Buck/Jenkins may come across as arrogant if he doesn’t acknowledge that the character has some flaws. So every few chapters or so, he inserts a little something to reassure readers that Buck is only human after all. The Greatest Investigative Reporter of All Time and the coolest human ever, but still human. [Read more...]

NRA: Cringe with those who cringe


“Ask the others to join us for prayer,” Tsion says to Buck, and the reader’s eyes involuntarily scan ahead to see an unbroken block of text that continues for the next two pages. Oh no. No, not that, not again. They’re going to pray and we’re going to have to watch. [Read more...]

NRA: Tsion and them that mourn

The Russians love their children too.

This is series of books in which, in the first chapter of Book 1, everyone everywhere lost all of their children. Yet since then, Tsion Ben-Judah is only the fourth person we’ve seen responding to this loss. [Read more...]

NRA: Israeli checkpoints


Tim LaHaye’s ignorance about Israel does not come from innocence or naivete — from simply not having heard or learned or paid attention. It’s an ignorance that comes from a fierce determination not to hear, learn or pay attention. LaHaye believes he already has all the truth he needs to have about Israel. It’s right there in the prophecies of the Bible. [Read more...]