Upturned Tables

Forget merchants in the temple, now, the merchants have become the temple.

The week, proving that when it comes to whoring out faith on the altar of Mammon, plenty of popular writers and speakers are willing to play the pimp: Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye. They've followed the cash-cow 12 part "most expensive tract of all time" Left Behind series with at least two prequels.

Chalk Left Behind up in the same category as the Mantra of Jabez, "Jesus is my Homeboy," WWJD and Thomas Kinkade. Though that estimation probably isn't completely fair to whoever came up with the homeboy line, since he probably posesses more artistic nuance than is expressed in Left Behind.

The efficacy of the tract style approach to evangelism aside, what's the point of making someone buy 12 books at at least $20 each, if saving lost souls is the true goal? It would be interesting to see what would have happened if all the time, money and energy poured into these mediocre pieces of fiction had been channeled instead into Christians actually getting out of their comfort zone and engaging our culture? Is the church in America really so theologically atrophied that the only way we can present Christ to our friends and relatives is to buy them a series of books that read like a primate transcribed Clancy, Steele, and Chicken Soup for the Soul into twelve oversized tomes? It's about time the church got righteously indignant--as Christ did in the temple--and stand up to those who transmute our religion into some goddamned commericial enterprise and tell them we don't need more mediocre watered down representations of faith, we need committed, well-trained Christians ministering to the world.

For more thoughts on this trend, from Franky Schaeffer, see my previous post.


I'm not qualified to comment on Left Behind but I did very much appreciate Addicted . My only complaint about the book was that the goofy cartoons seemed to undermine Schaeffer somewhat.
Leeann said…
So what exactly do you propose is wrong with Christians composing literature and offering it on the free market? Forget whether you or anyone else actually considers it "literature" (before the CLAers come and mug me). They had an idea and wrote a story. Do you really think these authors are offering their works as an alternative to Scipture and the only way to salvation? Or should Christian ideas never be offered on the free market at all for fear of their corruption? And what if one - even one soul - did pick up the books just because they were interested, and decided to investigate more, and that ended up being their first step toward salvation?
God uses even the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. That's not an excuse for Christians to be foolish, but neither is it prudent for so members of the body of Christ to spend time distancing themselves from brothers and sisters with whom they fundamentally agree that Christ died for that we may undercut the very tools God may be using for His own ends - whether we care to recognize them or not.
Leeann said…
Nice censorship tactic :-p
Anonymous said…
If you would care to see a terrific exposure of the wacko 19th century beginnings of the LaHaye/Lindsey/Falwell "rapture" view which brings in millions for the Religious Right's political agendas, go to engines such as Yahoo and type in "Pretrib Rapture Diehards" (while observing LaHaye's gay hypocrisy in section "1992")! B.R.
The Wileyman said…
I can't believe that they actually mentioned Cameron Williams' Ivy League education in the front flap summary.

(Those who have read Right Behind will understand why I say that...)
Anonymous said…
Type in "Pretrib Rapture Diehards" on engines like Yahoo (while noting LaHaye's gay hypocrisy in item "1992") to see newly found facts about the pretrib rapture's 175-year-old wacko history which has been riddled with dishonesty like plagiarism, subtle revisionism of early primary documents, etc.! Need I say more? Lou
Anonymous said…
I agree with you - that the church in America is theologically atrophied. That's a good word picture. But I'm afraid that the passion with which you write to communicate your very valid points are overshadowed by your use of a certain word - which in most Christian circles, evangelical or otherwise - would be considered offensive and a cursing of God's name. Sort of pours water on the fire or righteous indignation.

Maybe if we modeled self control more, the world would see our commitment to Christ rather than our rampant hypocrisy. (and I don't just limit it to language; Lord knows there's a plethora of "addictions" we Christians have)

Out of curiosity, how are you personally ministering to the world? [Personal note: We may differ on this, but I don't believe that Christians must become LIKE the world in order to minister to them and show them their need for Christ.]
Anonymous said…
Why are you not allowing "freedom of speech" from the readers on your blog? I've posted and yet it does not show; rather I get a message that says, "Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author." So much for freedom.

Or are you just busy?

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