“The Rapture”: Left Behind Review, Part 2
On page 77, Rayford says to Irene,
“[Raymie’s] only interested because you are.”
She says, “And what’s wrong with that? Aren’t we supposed to be examples to him?”
“Not of fundamentalists.”
Irene made a face. “It’s not fair to use inflammatory language, Rafe. Fundamentalists have come to be known as people who kill those they disagree with. When was the last time you heard of a Christian doing that?”
Um….What? Inflammatory? Last I checked, even fundamentalists still use that word to describe themselves!
But even if it does become “inflammatory” by then, history is full of “Christians” killing others, even each other, over ideological differences, up until modern times.
And for Rafe to say “granted” shows that he obviously paid no attention in history class. Irene needs to find a better argument. You can’t use false arguments to impress the ones who don’t believe your way.
Then they start using the word “hobbyhorse” and arguing over that. What the heck is a hobbyhorse (other than a kid’s toy)?
Somehow, I don’t think Millennials (or whatever generation they belong to) would use a word like that. It sounds like a word their grandparents might use.
You don’t have to use slang (which would quickly date the book), but at least make word choices that fit the times!
On page 125 is a sermon by Pastor Billings, answering objections to only Christians going to Heaven, and everybody else being left behind to suffer God’s wrath. I’ve already dealt with this here.
On page 128, the pastor says, based on 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, “So we are not to mourn those who die in Christ, for we believe that they too will be snatched away to be with Him on that great day [the Rapture]…”
No, that’s a misreading: Paul writes, “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep [died], lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.”
Paul is not saying, “Do not mourn,” but do not grieve without hope in the Resurrection of all.
I’m a bit particular about this because I actually heard in a sermon once that we’re not even supposed to mourn our lost loved ones, because that’s very cat-like (selfish) of us.
Also, if the pastor can get just a little thing wrong in his reading of the Bible, why not this entire Rapture-based theology?
On page 132, Pastor Billings says,
Just as our works cannot save us, neither can they cause us to lose our salvation. But it is clear from Scripture that they will determine the level and extent of our heavenly reward.
So for those who say they have believed in Jesus just for fire insurance, just to stay out of hell, they would be wise to consider that everything they have ever done will be revealed in that judgment.
But–that contradicts the reasons we were given why his junior pastor, Bruce Barnes, got left behind in the Rapture, back in Left Behind! As I wrote in my review,
On pages 195-198, Bruce, a lifelong Christian who loved church, describes why he got left behind. His explanation struck me as being very legalistic:
He didn’t tithe ten percent, he occasionally looked at porn, he didn’t read his Bible, he didn’t tell people about Christ, he refused to say his church said Jesus is the only way to God. It said nothing about, did Bruce love God and his fellow man–the two commandments on which hang all the others.
On page 150, Leon tells the secretary-general of the UN
of Nicolae’s fascination with the U.N. and his savantlike memory of its history. “Trust me, sir, he will be able to tell you the day of your inauguration, how many five-year terms you have served, and how many you are expected to serve.”
Er, yes, we remember that terminally boring speech in Left Behind and how the masses inexplicably considered it marvelous. It sounds like as much fun as listening to a litany of train schedules–possibly great fun for a savant who loves trains, but no fun for the rest of us.
On page 158, we finally see the first meeting of Amanda and Irene, which Amanda described to Rayford many books ago. This was also their last meeting, since the Rapture occurred in the next chapter–and on page 160, we read that Irene could see in Amanda’s eyes that she pushed too far for Amanda’s conversion.
Yet when Amanda described this meeting to Rayford, she was full of all these glowing praises for a woman she only met once, making us wonder now at their sincerity.
Amanda seems very condescending, saying to Irene after the Bible study, “Well, aren’t you the most precious thing? So vibrant and pleasant.”
Er–what? Precious? Like what you say to a child?
And when Irene tears up and says she’s afraid her husband and daughter won’t make it to Heaven, Amanda says, “Well, isn’t that something? Isn’t that sweet?”
It sounds like a backhanded insult. You don’t talk like that about grown adults, but about little children.
Another irritation is that Amanda says she and her family have been churchgoers all their lives, yet her family keeps pushing her to be “saved,” “saved by grace,” and Irene also pushes her to “make a decision.” Isn’t she already a Christian?
On page 165, Irene finally realizes that Rayford may be having an affair with Hattie. Credit to her for not being suspicious until she stumbled upon actual evidence, catching Rayford in a lie about when Hattie was last in his car. Irene does not seem to be a jealous, suspicious wife; rather, she waits until she has actual evidence of an affair.
Then the Rapture comes, and we next see Irene, Raymie and other Real True Christians (the Slacktivist‘s term) in Heaven.
They’re also all naked, since their clothes have been left behind along with all the other sinners. Which makes even their hugs and squeals of delight as they reunite, seem naughty…. And which also makes you wonder what sins their clothes could have committed to get left behind….
On page 183, we read that everyone in Heaven automatically knows everybody else’s histories. So what’ll they do for all eternity if they can’t even talk to people about their lives?
Same for the Judgment (the first one–there are more to come), which happens for the Raptured believers in just a few minutes in Earth-time, but reviews each person’s life. So in just a few minutes, they’ve already done what could have made eternity more interesting. Now what?
On pages 255 to 257, we hear the story of Cyrus Scofield as he’s judged–Ah, yes, the author of the Scofield Bible, with the heretical interpretations which have led many into error (i.e., the system of interpretation used by premillennial dispensationalists such as the authors of the Left Behind series).
The Scofield Reference Bible promoted dispensationalism, the belief that between creation and the final judgment there were seven distinct eras of God’s dealing with man and that these eras were a framework for synthesizing the message of the Bible. It was largely through the influence of Scofield’s notes that dispensationalism grew in influence among fundamentalist Christians in the United States.
Scofield’s notes on the Book of Revelation are a major source for the various timetables, judgments, and plagues elaborated by popular religious writers such as Hal Lindsey, Edgar C. Whisenant, and Tim LaHaye; and in part because of the success of the Scofield Reference Bible, twentieth-century American fundamentalists placed greater stress on eschatological speculation.
Opponents of biblical fundamentalism have criticized the Scofield Bible for its air of total authority in biblical interpretation, for what they consider its glossing over of biblical contradictions, and for its focus on eschatology. —Wikipedia
I never heard of it until sometime in the past decade, but its influence was in the Nazarene church I grew up in. Not surprising that the authors singled him out during these judgments, with Raymie thinking,
Raymie had heard Pastor Billings mention his Scofield Bible, but he had never quite understood what he meant and was fairly certain he had never seen one.
Now, as Raymie watched Jesus give Cyrus Scofield his crowns, he thought this was a man he’d like to talk with, and it was nice to know he had an eternity to do it.
I suspect that Jesus would actually scold Scofield for leading millions into error.
Find all my Left Behind book reviews here.