What's that sour taste? - Hehe. I have to say I laughed half way through reading the article about which I'm now posting about. Not because the writer said something funny but because I just have to shake my head at some Christians.
The Christians in this case being Tim LaHaye of "Left Behind" fame and Hank Hanegraaff, soon to be of "The Last Disciple" fame (maybe).
These two brothers have completely opposite views in the realm of Eschatology. Eschatology, for those that aren't familiar with the term, is basically the study of End Times; ie. Revelation, Armageddon, the Second Coming of Christ.
What caught my eye was that The Dallas Morning News reporter Ira J. Hadnot did a story about the disgruntlement of Tim LaHaye with the publisher, Tyndale House, of his fictional series "Left Behind."
His disgruntlement was because Tyndale is going to publish a fictional series that takes the opposite of his view of the End Times known as Premillennialism. Basically (very basic so don't hammer me unless I'm way off base) Premillennialists believe that the Church will be raptured before the Great Tribulation and will therefore not have to suffer like all the unbelievers. Christ will later come back and destroy those sinners left behind after the seven years of persecution and establish His 1,000 year kingdom.
Well the opposite fictional series is by Hank Hanegraaff and apparently takes the Full Preterist view that all of Revelation, including the Rapture and Resurrection, took place around 70 AD.
But the Rev. Tim LaHaye, co-author of the "Left Behind" books, called the decision by his publisher "stunning and disappointing" and said he felt betrayed.
"They are going to take the money we made for them and promote this nonsense," he said.
It was LaHaye's statement that made me shake my head. One, I thought to myself, 'Hey, it's Tyndale's decision, wrong or not.' It's the same thought I had when I didn't win the WORLDview Fiction Contest, which isn't to say that I wasn't depressed for a day.
Of course the other thing that occurs to me is that LaHaye feels that because his book series was and is the money making machine, that Tyndale then needs to run any new authors and their ideas past him first. Sort of arrogant, but hey, he's human too.
But, I think the thing that kind of bothers me most, and it may be that the reporter selectively quoted so I won't hold it against LaHaye, is that he doesn't honor God for bringing the increase in the statement that "we made" the money for them.
Like I said, maybe the quote is selective. Maybe not. He's just as fleshy as I am and so is prone to spitting out stupid unrighteous things too.
That's okay and I can forgive him for it.
On why Tyndale is publishing the opposing series, Ron Beers, senior VP, said:
"As a Christian publisher, we want to represent a diversity of viewpoints," said Beers. "There is nothing strange about Tyndale selling both views. There are a variety of perspectives on the end times. Some people had a problem with the theology in the `Left Behind' books."
Well, what's wrong with this?
One thing. One big thing really, and it really bothers your's truly.
Not diverse viewpoints dissecting Eschatoloy.
Certainly Eschatolgy is important to both, but good grief if LaHaye, Hanegraaff, and Beers want to teach people about the diverse views of Premillennialism and Preterism than by all means publish non-fiction books on the subjects.
But if you're going to do fiction, tell a story about characters and leave it at that. Fiction works when fiction doesn't pass it's self off as gospel.
So tell me, what are you Preterist, Premillennialist (Pretrib), MidTrib, PostTrib (Postmillennialist), or other?
I'll tell you what I am. I believe the Church (ie. Christians) will go through the full tribulation and that the Rapture, Resurrection, and Judgement will all take place on the last day.
But as my father likes to say, and I paraphrase, "It doesn't matter if you're a PreTrib, MidTrib, or Post Trib. What matters is if you've given your life to Christ. No matter what comes, He is strong enough to get you through it. I'm certainly not going to argue with Christ when He comes back for me if I think His coming was at the wrong time."
Here's a couple Eschatology articles on another site if you want to read more about Preterism and the question of the Church and the Tribulation:
Update: 2004.11.24.Hank Hanegraaff was apparently misquoted in this news article. At least that is the report from The Olivet Discourse which reports Hank as saying:
"First of all, this is not a man, it's a woman. And her name is Ira. And she wrote this article. And after she had written the article I saw the quote that had been attributed to me. So I gave her a call and she's no longer with the Dallas Morning News. What she explained to me is. The editor that took the story over after she had initially written it, but not finished it, confabulated some of my statements. And I clarified with her, "Have I ever said anything like that to you?" She said "No."