Christian Book Reviews, Author Interviews, Excerpts

Pastor's New Book Defends Popular "Left Behind" Series

  • 2004 24 Jun
Pastor's New Book Defends Popular "Left Behind" Series

An Oklahoma pastor is responding to recent attacks on the popular end times series "Left Behind."

Several books have been written in attempts to undercut and discredit the "Left Behind" series of novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. The scripture-based thrillers follow fictional characters as they face end times events from the rapture of the saints – where true Christians are gathered up to be with the Lord in Heaven – and the subsequent tribulation on Earth, leading up to the Apocalypse and Christ's second coming.

Although some have criticized the theological interpretation of scripture upon which the "Left Behind" series is based, author Mark Hitchcock has set himself the task of upholding it. In his new nonfiction book, "The Truth Behind Left Behind"
(Multnomah, 2004), he defends the pre-tribulation rapture that serves as the backdrop for the series by LaHaye and Jenkins.

Hitchcock says the most common argument, that the pre-tribulation rapture is a fairly recent idea, is simply not true. He notes that this belief can be found in a Christian sermon that dates back to the 4th century A.D., and there is documentation of a Brother Dolcino clearly presenting the idea around 1300 A.D.

Also, the author notes, there was Morgan Edwards, a Brown University president, who held to a pre-tribulation rapture during the 1700s, long before the belief was popularized by John Darby in the 1800s. "The idea that this is some new view that just came around about 150 years ago really is just not historically accurate," Hitchcock says.

"The Truth Behind Left Behind" sets out to refute the arguments of critics who claim this "pre-trib" notion of the rapture is false. But Hitchcock believes the series reflects an accurate understanding of the last days, and current events seem to lend additional support.

Hitchcock notes that Israel plays a major role not only in the popular fiction books but also in the actual events that will lead to the return of Christ. "All these prophecies of Israel being invaded, and the anti-Christ coming, and there being a temple in Israel – all of that's contingent on the people being back in the land," he explains.

"Lo and behold, as many people had talked about through the centuries who believed our view of prophecy, Israel is back in the land now. We see that as a significant event," Hitchcock says.

Thomas Ice, executive director of the Pre-Tribulation Research Center co-wrote "The Truth Behind Left Behind."

© 2004 AgapePress.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.