Happy Birthday, Hal Lindsey — still defying prophecy after all these years


Hal Lindsey turns 85 years old today. He told us that would never happen, but it just did. Lindsey’s admirers will likely celebrate his 85th birthday today without pausing to realize that this celebration disproves everything Lindsey himself ever taught them. [Read more...]

Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 9: ‘Do Panic’


“Rayford runs into Hattie Durham. She’s still ‘drop dead gorgeous,’ but in a hysterically crying, stark-raving panic kind of way. It seems that the most significant and interesting event of the entire story has already occurred and we, the readers, were left behind. Or at least left out. (L&J rarely miss an opportunity to replace action with exposition.)” [Read more...]

NRA: Marriage lessons


Rayford Steele reminisces about how he first met and fell in love with his second wife, Amanda. But this three-page trip down memory lane doesn’t actually tell us anything about Amanda as an individual and a human being. Instead, it’s just a mini-lecture on the generic virtues of a generic Good Christian Wife. Such a woman, the authors tell us, should have a “quiet, gentle” spirit; should avoid being forward, being a flirt or a “jabberer;” and should cook and clean as a cheerful, willing servant. [Read more...]

Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 8: ‘The Babel Fish’


“Here you have God appearing center stage. A direct, incontrovertible divine miracle witnessed by millions. Absolute, doubt-destroying, skeptic-shattering proof of the existence of God. There’s freaking divine flame in the sky. Yet it produces nary a ripple of wonder, awe or spiritual searching. Alone among the millions who witnessed this event, Buck Williams is slightly prompted to be more ‘spiritually attuned.’” [Read more...]

NRA: Can’t wait for the funeral


This discussion of Verna seems intended to be a pep-talk for readers regarding the duty of evangelism. The present-day Christian readers of these books are meant to identify with the members of the Tribulation Force, whose behavior here is meant to serve as a model for how they can witness to or share the gospel with their own unsaved co-workers and acquaintances. But this pep-talk fails to recognize the difference between the starkly supernatural context of this story and the context of readers’ lives here in the real world, where such supernatural evidence is a bit harder to come by. [Read more...]

Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 7: ‘The literal donkey’s penis’

In the Royal Arcade in Melbourne, Gog and Magog are depicted as Celtic giants, because why not? (Creative Commons photo by John O'Neill.)

“This is how the entire book works. They seek out every opaque piece of apocalyptic imagery in the Bible, assemble these into a seemingly arbitrary sequence (Revelation, then Ezekiel, then Revelation again, then maybe Daniel …), and then cloddishly transcribe this imagery into an unimaginatively literal series of events. So if, in the authors’ view, Ezekiel says that Russia and Ethiopia have to attack Israel then, by gum, that is how their story will go.” [Read more...]

NRA: By him all things consist


Maybe Jerry Jenkins’ jarring refusal to maintain even the broadest, most basic consistency in his fictional world is some kind of theological experimental fiction. Maybe these huge contradictions and massive continuity errors are actually his literary attempt to convey a world in which divine grace has been withdrawn — taking with it the consistency, coherence, logic and non-contradiction that we now, by God’s grace, take for granted. [Read more...]

Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 6: ‘Peace in the Middle East’


“Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins sincerely believe that we are now living in the End Times. They wrote Left Behind in the hopes of convincing others that this is so. Yet on page after page the reader is confronted with jarring illustrations of how glaringly, insurmountably incompatible this End Times world is with the actual world we are living in. The more you read, the more this book undermines the argument that our world and the world of the End Times are the same thing.” [Read more...]