NBC's 'Revelations' Skewed, 'Left Behind' Authors Warn
- Monday, April 11, 2005
WHEATON, Ill. — Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, whose “Left Behind” series made end-times theology a nationwide topic of discussion, have expressed wariness of NBC's apocalyptic mini-series "Revelations," which premieres April 13.
One of the series’ main characters, “Dr. Richard Massey,” a skeptic Harvard professor played by Bill Pullman, looks as though he is headed toward becoming “a firm believer,” as Jenkins put it, during the course of the six-hour series.
But, said Jenkins, who has viewed the first "Revelations" episode, “[W]hat he promises to come to believe is a mishmash of myth, silliness, and misrepresentations of Scripture.
"Acknowledging that not everyone agrees with my particular take on end-time prophecies, at least they are based on some commonly accepted study,” Jenkins said. “'Revelations' seems to draw from everywhere and nowhere."
LaHaye, the creator of "Left Behind" series and a prophecy scholar, described the show as "unbiblical" and “weird.”
"This story is based on some writer's imagination about the Book of Revelation," LaHaye said. "However, the writer clearly has not studied the book or maybe even read it."
Jenkins noted that the series’ other lead character, “Sister Josepha” played by Natascha McElhone, a nun who is assigned to study the end times, is involved in a search for a baby Jesus.
"Regardless of where people stand on the interpretation of biblical prophecy, no one believes Jesus will return again as a baby," Jenkins said. "Beyond that, Sister Josepha states that her intention is to 'protect' Jesus, as if the Son of God would need human help, and that she wants to 'forestall the confrontation' between Jesus and the antichrist – as if humans can somehow influence the acts of God."
The producers of NBC’s "Revelations" have been quoted as saying they hope to appeal to the same audiences that made "The Passion of The Christ" and the Left Behind series crossover hits. LaHaye said he feels "Revelations" will fall short, noting, "This is a good example of someone who doesn't know the message [of 'The Passion' or 'Left Behind'] and doesn't know that he doesn't know."
But Jenkins said the series is not all bad news. "I believe in end-times events, and I want to see the subject of the return of Christ remain on the table of public discourse for as long as possible," he said.
If productions such as NBC's miss the mark and are commercial failures, however, the seeming awakening of Hollywood to spiritual themes may become another passing fad, Jenkins said.
Christians who watch "Revelations" may be able to discuss its inaccuracies with friends and family, Jenkins added. "I recommend watching it but with a healthy dose of skepticism," he said.
The latest "Left Behind" installment by Jenkins and LaHaye, "The Rising," currently is No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list.
© 2005 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
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