Articles from February 2010

Left Behind: Soul Harvest Review–Part 5

Previous parts

Ken’s response to Buck (p. 274, see above): “I know, Buck.  I’ve never seen anything like how you people take care of each other.”  Have we truly never seen anyone besides Christians take care of each other this way?

Later on, he says, “So once I join up I get the secret mark on my forehead?”  Earlier, Buck said, “It’s time you joined our team.”  What’s with the sports terminology for matters of faith?  Salvation is not a football game or business paradigm!

Starting on page 302, Chloe and Buck get into a little tiff: She was badly injured in the earthquake–er, the Wrath of the Lamb–and has been recovering at home, ever since Buck sprung her from that evil Global Community hospital.

She’s still not quite well yet, but her spunk has returned.  She insists on going to Israel with Tsion and Buck, but Buck insists that she stay home.

Buck also makes a few cracks such as, “Forgive her.  She’s going through a twenty-two-year-old’s bout with political correctness.”  Buck quickly gets into hot water for this, of course.

As they argue over whether or not Chloe can go to Israel, she finally says,

“Don’t parent me, Buck.  Seriously, I don’t have a problem submitting to you because I know how much you love me.  I’m willing to obey you even when you’re wrong.  But don’t be unreasonable.  And don’t be wrong if you don’t have to be.

“You know I’m going to do what you say, and I’ll even get over it if you make me miss out on one of the greatest events in history.

“But don’t do it out of some old-fashioned, macho sense of protecting the little woman.  I’ll take this pity and help for just so long, and then I want back in the game full-time.  I thought that was one of the things you liked about me.”

It was.  Pride kept him from agreeing right then.  He’d give it a day or two and then tell her he’d come to a decision.  Her eyes were boring into his.  It was clear she was eager to win this one.  He tried to stare her down and lost.  He glanced at Tsion.

“Listen to her,” Tsion said.

“You keep out of it,” Buck said, smiling.  “I don’t need to be ganged up on.  I thought you were on my side.  I thought you would agree that this was no place for–”

“For what?” Chloe said.  “A girl?  The ‘little woman’?  An injured, pregnant woman?  Am I still a member of the Tribulation Force, or have I been demoted to mascot now?”

Buck had interviewed heads of state easier than this.

“You can’t defend this one, Buck,” she added.

“You want to just pin me while I’m down,” Buck said.

“I won’t say another word,” she said.

Buck chuckled.  “That’ll be the day.”

“If you two chauvinists will excuse me, I want to try [reaching] Hattie again.”….

Er, um….Go, Chloe!  Except for the part where you say you’ll obey.  Even if you’re wrong, Buck’s not your “boss” or “daddy” telling you what you can or can’t do!

Oh, wait, or is he?  Even Chloe doesn’t seem quite certain about this.  I’ve heard and read plenty of Evangelical preachers/authors explain that a wife’s “submission” is NOT the same as “obedience.”  Yet here we see that LaHaye and Jenkins obviously connect “submission” with good little wifely “obedience.”

Somehow, in her conversion, Chloe has been turned into everything a domineering man might want in a wife–except, of course, that she argues before finally obeying.  But at least she’s standing up for herself!

Well, except that Buck gets to make the final decision.  She’s still spunky: She fights first, THEN submits.  And won’t be, er, bitter about it, even if it means she misses one of the greatest events in history, darn it!  (Does anybody else detect a little passive aggression in this?)

The passage goes on:

“I want to try Hattie again.  We’re going to have a telephone meeting of the weak sister club.”

Buck flinched.  “Hey!  You weren’t going to say another word.”

“Well then get out of here so you don’t have to listen.”

“I need to call [Ken] Ritz anyway.  When you reach Hattie, be sure and find out what name she was admitted under there [at the reproductive clinic].”

Buck went to follow Tsion up the stairs, but Chloe called out to him.

“C’mere a minute, big guy.”  He turned to face her.  She beckoned him closer.  “C’mon,” she said.  She lifted her arm, the one with the cast from shoulder to wrist, and hooked him with it behind the neck.  She pulled his face to hers and kissed him long and hard.  He pulled back and smiled shyly.  “You’re so easy,” she whispered.

“Who loves ya, baby?” he said, heading for the stairs again.

“Hey,” she said, “if you see my husband up there, tell him I’m tired of sleeping alone.”

Er, um, what?  What happened?  “Easy”?  How is he “easy”?  And why is Chloe kissing him all of a sudden?

On page 313, Chloe says about Ken Ritz, “Find out if he wants to arm wrestle.”  Buck’s response: “Aren’t you getting frisky?”  Frisky?  Who the heck says “frisky” in the younger generations?  Besides, I can’t hear that word without thinking of Mrs. Cunningham on Happy Days saying that Mr. Cunningham is “getting frisky.”  As in, for you younger ones who may not know about 70s pop culture, he wants to get his wife into the bedroom.

Which leads us right into page 314, when Ken Ritz enters the room, and everyone begins talking about the little crosses that have been popping up on the foreheads of believers, visible only to other believers.  Ken says, “Maybe it shows on my forehead.  I can see yours.  Can you see mine?”  Ooooh, I’ll show you mine if you show me yours!

To be continued

Left Behind: Soul Harvest Review–Part 4


Entire review

In the theology presented in these books, preaching the Gospel turns into preaching vengeance on unbelievers.  Salvation means to escape Hell.

Even though the authors try to tell us that the god in their books is loving, the one they present actually comes across as arbitrary and vindictive, only sparing those who have done their salvation “transaction.”  Sign here on the dotted line and I won’t destroy you–at least, not in the next life.

(After all, even Christians are killed in some of the Tribulation afflictions.  But at least they won’t go to Hell!)  Alexandre Kalomiros eloquently describes the results on society of such preaching:

But why do men hate God? They hate Him not only because their deeds are dark while God is light, but also because they consider Him as a menace, as an imminent and eternal danger, as an adversary in court, as an opponent at law, as a public prosecutor and an eternal persecutor.

To them, God is no more the almighty physician who came to save them from illness and death, but rather a cruel judge and a vengeful inquisitor.

You see, the devil managed to make men believe that God does not really love us, that He really only loves Himself, and that He accepts us only if we behave as He wants us to behave; that He hates us if we do not behave as He ordered us to behave, and is offended by our insubordination to such a degree that we must pay for it by eternal tortures, created by Him for that purpose.

Who can love a torturer? Even those who try hard to save themselves from the wrath of God cannot really love Him. They love only themselves, trying to escape God’s vengeance and to achieve eternal bliss by managing to please this fearsome and extremely dangerous Creator.

Do you perceive the devil’s slander of our all loving, all kind, and absolutely good God? That is why in Greek the devil was given the name DIABOLOS, “the slanderer”.

…The “God” of the West is an offended and angry God, full of wrath for the disobedience of men, who desires in His destructive passion to torment all humanity unto eternity for their sins, unless He receives an infinite satisfaction for His offended pride.

What is the Western dogma of salvation? Did not God kill God in order to satisfy His pride, which the Westerners euphemistically call justice? And is it not by this infinite satisfaction that He deigns to accept the salvation of some of us?

What is salvation for Western theology? Is it not salvation from the wrath of God?

Do you see, then, that Western theology teaches that our real danger and our real enemy is our Creator and God? Salvation, for Westerners, is to be saved from the hands of God!

How can one love such a God? How can we have faith in someone we detest? Faith in its deeper essence is a product of love, therefore, it would be our desire that one who threatens us not even exist, especially when this threat is eternal (from Parts I and II of River of Fire).

Some may accuse Kalomiros of attacking a straw man.  It is probably true that he paints too broad a brush when he refers to “Western” theology, but the teachings he attacks, do indeed exist in many parts of the Church, in one form or another.

Some lean more toward “love that wants us saved” than toward “desire to torment sinners,” but there is still talk of “offended holiness” and “justice,” satisfied only by the Ultimate Sacrifice which you must accept or burn in Hell for all eternity.

I grew up and spent most of my young adulthood in Protestant Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism, and I am quite familiar with such teachings.  In fact, here they are in the Left Behind books!

Here you find the lyrics of a song, “Fear in Your Eyes” by :wumpscut:, based on such teachings.  (In the beginning you hear, “I don’t believe in God, but I’m afraid of Him.”)

When I think of the term “saved,” despite being in the Orthodox Church for a few years now, I still automatically think, “saved from burning in Hell for all eternity,” without including “saved from sins” or “saved from ourselves” or “perfected, made righteous.”

I am very familiar with being taught about the Rapture and how you want to get saved and be a true Christian, or Christ will snatch away the Church and you will be left standing there on Earth, alone, left behind, looking around wondering where everyone in your church went, and despairing that you will now go through the punishments of the Tribulation even if you repent immediately after the Rapture.  (This video sums it up quite well.)

I am quite familiar with the concept of the Wrath falling on all those left behind.  If, for example, a peaceful, loving Buddhist is left behind and Wrath pours out on him, it’s because he followed the Devil’s deception instead of Christ, and never said the “sinner’s prayer.”

But can we really expect every single person on Earth to know without doubt that Christianity is the correct religion?  Is it truly right and proper for a Christian to determine who is saved and who is not, simply based on whether or not they chose correctly?

Isn’t judgment for God alone?  Is it up to us to determine that a pious Muslim woman who never hurt anyone, is condemned to Hell along with a sex slaver?

Left Behind: Eternal Forces, a controversial game which came out a few years back, inspired me to read these LB books for myself, to find out just what they really say.  I had read the criticism on the Talk 2 Action blog in 2006, and since it was so condemning, I had to see if it was really true.  Was it really “convert or die”?  From the game’s FAQ:

Are guns used by Christians against non-Christians? Why or why not? 

The storyline in the game begins just after the Rapture has occurred–when all adult Christians, all infants, and many children were instantly swept home to Heaven and off the Earth by God.

The remaining population–those who were left behind–are then poised to make a decision at some point. They cannot remain neutral.

Their choice is to either join the AntiChrist–which is an imposturous one world government seeking peace for all of mankind, or they may join the Tribulation Force–which seeks to expose the truth and defend themselves against the forces of the AntiChrist.

Note the description of the Antichrist as “an imposturous one world government seeking peace for all of mankind,” against which the Tribulation Force must defend themselves.  Er–How is peace for all mankind “Antichrist”?  This is supposed to inspire gamers to fight the Antichrist?

To be continued…


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