Sunday, August 25, 2013

Here We Go Again: 2014 "Left Behind" Movie Remake Brings Major Misinterpretation of Scripture Back

Well, here we go - as Yogi Berra once said, it's "deja vu all over again."

This time, Hollywood is not stopping at second-string - Nicholas Cage - an "A-lister" headlines the cast of a new production of Left Behind, which is currently filming. Cage replaces Kirk Cameron, who starred in the mediocre 2000 film version of the best-selling book, in a remake that promises to be big-budget and higher quality. You can read a little of the history of the film and its direct-to-video sequels here .

All of this brings up the points I made years ago when the Left Behind book series for adults and the companion series for children were burning up the best-seller list and finding their way into Catholic parishes and schools.  Left Behind, based on a faulty interpretation of Scripture that presumes there will be a "Rapture" of the "good Christians" before the second coming of Christ, is not part of Catholic or mainline Protestant theology, and is both misleading and dangerous. It is also overtly anti-Catholic. Catholics, with a few exceptions, are simply left behind in this fictionalized Rapture scenario, created by conservative anti-Catholic evangelical authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins,  published by Tyndale House, Wheaton, IL.

Now that this film is coming out, we will see a resurgence in the popularity of the "Rapture" - and misunderstanding among the Catholic faithful. Most likely Tyndale House will respond with a new edition of the book and all of this will bring this back into the national conversation. Parish leaders and catechists need to do their homework about what the Church teaches about the end times so when this new movie is discussed, they are prepared to counter it with Catholic teaching.

If you want to know more about why this movie will be a catechetical problem, read the 2003 statement on Left Behind from the Illinois Catholic Conference. I was privileged to work with the CCI on this - and the statement, as far as I am concerned, still stands. Catholics should not see this movie unless parishes provide them with the tools to understand that this is not what Jesus Christ taught.


  1. A pithy Scriptural response here (do a "find" for Rapture):

  2. Not bad - but it misses the fact that the concept of the Rapture never existed until the 19th century - and that it was made up by an itinerant preacher in Ireland and was perpetrated by unschooled itinerant preachers in the US.

  3. I think you people are missing the point. Because God doesn't divulge his will to anyone, because are thoughts are not his thoughts, and what we perceive to be correct because of the inferences we make in Scripture are in actuality false ,but our vain minds and hearts try to wrap our finite minds around something neither side understands. The core of what we believe has stood strong throughout the ages, and that is the birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, and love of Christ. And that will have to be showcased in some manner in this movie, and that's what matters.

  4. That is indeed part of the point - Jesus says no one knows when the end will come - not even him, and for some to be arrogant enough to say that we know more is the mistake that those who promote belief in a Rapture make. We Catholics - and mainline Christians - believe simply that Jesus will come again...and that is all. We say that every week in the Creed. However, to say that he will come back earlier and take the "good people" and then come back again later for "clean-up" is pure fiction.

    As to showing the love of God, I have my doubts. It will be a God of sensationalism. Based on what is in the Left Behind books the portrayal is not of a God of love, but one of harsh judgment only. The people who are left behind are left because humans are judging who is "worthy" and who is not - and that is often based on prejudice and a false understanding of what is serious sin and what is merely being human. My fear is that this movie will reopen all the falsehoods that circulated widely when the books were popular.

  5. Please Google "The Pretrib Rapture Jackpot" for the read of your life! Suzie

  6. Whatever it is, it seems to have generated a lot of negative comments, but seems to have been taken down. I am guessing it means people are trying to cash in on the fear... movie-makers, for sure.