April 14, 2004
(CBS) The latest of the "Left Behind" novels, "Glorious Appearing," has been a phenomenal success at the book stores...
...Its central audience are the estimated 100 million Americans who call themselves evangelical Christians - and their influence on politics is undeniable. In the last election, 40 PERCENT OF THE VOTES FOR GEORGE W. BUSH came from their ranks...
...The books give a graphic version of the New Testament prophecy of the end of the world, happening in our time, in which only the righteous are saved. "Glorious Appearing" tells the story of an avenging Jesus who slaughters non-believers by the millions.
...Why this sudden surge of religiosity? In this 60 Minutes Classic, Correspondent Morley Safer went back to two men who've been profiting from the "Left Behind" series for years: Jerry Jenkins and Rev. Tim LaHaye, who among other things co-founded The Moral Majority, with Rev. Jerry Falwell, in 1979....
And it's an image of Jesus that many evangelicals say is long overdue. "Unfortunately, we've gone through a time when liberalism has so twisted the real meaning of Scripture that we've manufactured a loving, wimpy Jesus that he wouldn't even do anything in judgment," says LaHaye. "And that's not the God of the Bible. That's not the way Jesus reads in the Scripture."...
...It's an event evangelicals call the Rapture, when every true believing Christian and every child under the age of 12 will vanish in an instant to a better place. All others will face tribulation...
...Rev. Rossing, a biblical scholar, teaches at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She spent a year studying the "Left Behind" novels, and now, she's written her own book, "The Rapture Exposed," designed to debunk the theories of LaHaye and Jenkins.
"You can piece together that vengeful warrior Jesus. You can find him here and there. But the heart of the Bible, the overwhelming message, even in the Book of Revelation, is a non-violent lamb who conquers, not by killing people, but by giving his life," says Rossing, who believes that the "Left Behind" authors are marketing a false view of the Bible.
"The message of Revelation is that oppression will be ended. They take the message and personalize it to evildoers. They make this an us vs. them kind of theology. If you're not with us, you're against us. They forget the message of the Bible is that each person is created in the image of God
"It was developed by this British preacher John Nelson Darby, not even 200 years ago," says Rossing. "And now it's become so ascendant in our culture that people think this is what the Bible says. But it isn't."
However, LaHaye and Jenkins say their novels are all based on Scripture - and that their novels are as much about the U.S. as they are about the Bible.
"There's a good reason for that. I think if Jerry and I were cut, we'd both bleed red, white and blue," says LaHaye. "We believe that God has raised up America to be a tool in these last days, to get the Gospel to the innermost parts of the Earth."...
...And fans of the books, who gather in the thousands, believe that LaHaye and Jenkins have all the answers.
"Well, we know that we're right, so we just present our position,"...
...The "Left Behind" novels are based on the Book of Revelation. But Rev. Peter Gomes, a Baptist theologian at Harvard University, and one of the country's preeminent Christian thinkers, says the Book of Revelation has questionable roots.
"It's the only book of all the Scripture written in a kind of metaphorical, metaphysical code. It's unlike any Gospel, unlike any poetry or history," says Gomes. "And it's called Revelation, because it's the inside of the head of this fellow John. And some people have said the inside of the head of a man who was filled with splendid and glorious hallucinations."...
...Politically, these have been good times for evangelicals. And back in the 2000 campaign, George W. Bush left no doubt about his evangelical convictions when he said that the political philosopher and thinker he most identified with was Christ: "He changed my heart. When you accept Christ as your savior, it changes your heart. It changes your life."
"Evangelicals have been on the cultural defensive, but they have waited in the wilderness, and now, in the fullness of time, they have come into possession of what they felt was once rightfully theirs," says Gomes.
"With the White House and - and Tom DeLay in the House of Representatives, the attorney general, talk radio, the conservative Fox News. These are parts of the righteous army that has finally come into its own."...
Apr 15, '04
I saw the authors of the "Left Behind" books, films, and comics interviewed on 60 Minutes Two television last evening. The quotes are exactly what these two said.
Clearly all evangelical Christians do not believe this way.
I am Christian too. I have attended services with friends, neighbors, and coworkers where people spoke in tongues, killed chickens, and taken care of a patient who believed in Voodoo spells.
One man said his blood would run red, white, and blue because, "God has raised up America to be a tool in these last days, to get the Gospel to the innermost parts of the Earth."
I love my country but cannot believe God suddenly decided we must "get the Gospel to the innermost parts of the Earth."
I believe in a loving God. The God who said, "Blessed are the Peacemakers"
Does anyong truly think or believe we can bring people to peace (and God) with bombs?
Last edit by pickledpepperRN on Apr 15, '04
: Reason: spelling