Thursday, May 27, 2004

Regarding the Left Behind Series


On the United Church of Christ online forums someone started a thread on the Left Behind book series. So I decided it might (or might not!) be expedient for me to post my ideas on the books here on my blog; here's what I wrote on the message boards:

[Last night] I wrote a post about this series but then thought better and cancelled it, since for some obscure reason I feared being de-posted, but now, in the wake of Mark's saying theological pornography I'll go for it.

To echo another post, I'd written "the whole series is based on..." a completely de-formed theology and horrifically unscriptural and non-Pentecostal, in the broadest sense of Pentecostal, ecclesiology. Un-sacramental, as well.

God calls us to live out our baptism into Christ Jesus' death and resurrection as crucified and risen people, within the created order, and to imagine the church would be spirited away and out from the world when the world is going through the time of its greatest tribulation is, indeed, ob-scene to the utmost.

Not only is the Left Behind reading of Revelation horrendous theology; it wrecks the symbolism, as well, by placing it in whatever *our* own day and time is rather than in the reign of Rome's Domitian. But in general my biggest problem with the theology of the series is its portrayal of a triumphant and out-of-this-world church rather than one suffering in-this-world, which is a church that claims the cross and one in which our free and elusive God in Christ is both hidden and revealed, just as in the cross of Calvary's Good Friday. I agree that all creation is elect, but God elects us to be servants to one another and to the world, and to respond to God's call sometimes carries a high price in terms of what might be our own personal preferences and "druthers."

On another note, in Revelation I so love the vision of the New Jerusalem in Revelation, the new city or *civilization* of God, with its images of the River of Life and the Tree of Life with its leaves that heal the nations, the peoples.

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