Left Behind: Tribulation Force Review–Part 2
On p. 53 is the ah-ha moment: Now we find out what LaHaye and Jenkins really think of other churches! Check this out:
Most interesting to Buck was the interpretation of the event [Rapture] on the part of other churchmen.
A lot of Catholics were confused, because while many remained, some had disappeared–including the new pope, who had been installed just a few months before the vanishings. He had stirred up controversy in the church with a new doctrine that seemed to coincide more with the “heresy” of Martin Luther than with the historic orthodoxy they were used to.
When the pope had disappeared, some Catholic scholars had concluded that this was indeed an act of God. “Those who opposed the orthodox teaching of the Mother Church were winnowed out from among us,” Peter Cardinal Mathews of Cincinnati, a leading archbishop, had told Buck.
“The Scripture says that in the last days it will be as in the days of Noah. And you’ll recall that in the days of Noah, the good people remained and the evil ones were washed away.”
“So,” Buck concluded, “the fact that we’re still here proves we’re the good guys?”
“I wouldn’t put it so crassly,” Archbishop Mathews had said, “but, yes, that’s my position.”
“What does that say about all the wonderful people who vanished?”
Uh, Buck, what about all the wonderful people who were left behind, as one of your friends noted in the first book?
“That perhaps they were not so wonderful.”
“And the children and babies?”
The bishop had shifted uncomfortably. “That I leave to God,” he said. “I have to believe that perhaps he was protecting the innocents.”
“I’m not sure. I don’t take the Apocrypha literally, but there are dire predictions of what might be yet to come.”
“So you would not relegate the vanished young ones to the winnowing of the evil?”
“No. Many of the little ones who disappeared I baptized myself, so I know they are in Christ and with God.”
“And yet they are gone.”
“They are gone.”
“And we remain.”
“We should take great solace in that.”
“Few people take solace in it, Excellency.”
“I understand that. This is a very difficult time. I myself am grieving the loss of a sister and an aunt. But they had left the church.”
“They opposed the teaching. Wonderful women, most kind. Most earnest, I must add. But I fear they have been separated as chaff from wheat. Yet those of us who remain should be confident in our standing with God as never before.”
Buck had been bold enough to ask the archbishop to comment on certain passages of Scripture, primarily Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
“Now you see,” the archbishop said, “this is precisely my point. People have been taking verses like that out of context for centuries and trying to build doctrine on them.”
“But there are other passages just like those,” Buck said.
“I understand that, but, listen, you’re not Catholic, are you?”
“Well, see, you don’t understand the broad sweep of the historical church.”
“Excuse me, but explain to me why so many non-Catholics are still here, if your hypothesis is right.”
“God knows,” Archbishop Mathews had said. “He knows hearts. He knows more than we do.”
“That’s for sure,” Buck said.
Of course Buck left his personal comments and opinions out of the article, but he was able to work in the Scripture and the archbishop’s attempt to explain away the doctrine of grace.
WOW. There are so many things wrong with that passage that it’s hard to know where to begin. It’s supposed to shock us with how outrageously terrible the Catholic Church is. Instead, it shocks us with how outrageously terrible this passage is:
You have an arrogant self-righteous condemnation of the Catholic church and the believers within it. You have the Pope getting raptured not because he’s a man of God, but because he tried to bring in Protestant doctrines.
You have Catholics being raptured only because they’re too young to know the Catholic church is Evil, or because they are really Protestants in their hearts. You have the guy in line to be the next Pope being portrayed as arrogantly and self-righteously condemning those who believe in Protestant doctrines.
And there’s more to come: The guy in line also drinks alcohol, even in the morning! He rejects Christian doctrine in favor of joining with the Antichrist’s one-world religion!
Also note that we have no idea what the archbishop means by “Apocrypha,” or if it’s a good or bad thing that he doesn’t take it literally. Does he mean the Deuterocanon, which is accepted by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches but not by the Protestants? If so, wouldn’t he call them the Deuterocanon, since “Apocrypha” is derogatory? Does he mean the many books which were rejected from the New Testament not just by the Protestants, but by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches as well?
But there’s more! You have Buck, a brand-new believer who barely knows anything about the Bible yet, telling an archbishop what the Bible says. What about other verses which support the importance of good works?
What about the possibility that Buck doesn’t know enough about Catholic theology to truly understand the Catholic church’s position on faith and works, and is merely parroting what he’s been taught by Bruce about the Catholic Church?
Protestant Fundamentalism is full of polemics against the Catholic Church: Catholics are seen as not really “saved”; Catholics are seen as “mistaken” about baptism and the Eucharist; some even go so far as to call the Catholic Church the “Whore of Babylon.”
I have been in Fundamentalist and Evangelical churches for most of my life, so I can tell you this is true, not just anti-Protestant propaganda. This whole passage is a big “na na na na na” against the Catholic Church for not “really” being Christian.
We find more of this on p. 275, in which Mathews promotes a New Agey view of religion, and on p. 401. The Archbishop is now Pontifex Maximus Peter, the Pope and head of the one-world religion.
Anyone who believes in the Bible as “the final authority for faith and practice,” anyone who does not go along with the one-world religion instead, is proclaimed a heretic.
Essentially, we see here the “Whore of Babylon” condemnation of the Catholic Church and the Pope.
Another writer goes into this here.
My entire review is here.