Written by: Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, 1995-2007
Instrument of the Apocalypse: Tribulations associated with the Second Coming, consistent with Biblical teaching.
Summary: Left Behind is the first of 16 (!) best-selling novels in a very popular series. It begins with the Rapture and follows the adventures of pilot Rayford Steele, journalist Buck Williams, and assorted friends and companions as they embrace Christianity and — as “Tribulation Force” — attempt to bring other souls to the Lord as the world struggles beneath the iron yoke of the Antichrist, Nicolae Carpathia. The Left Behind books remain enormous best-sellers — the Left Behind website claims over 63 million copies sold — and have been credited with bringing Christian publishing into the mainstream.
On Screen: Oh, yes. Left Behind: The Movie, starring Kirk Cameron, hit screens in 2000; two very successful straight-to-DVD sequels (to date) followed. There is also a video game, a series of graphic novels, a lengthy (as in, 40+ installments) series of children’s books, “dramatic audio” versions of the books, and more. A few years ago they were selling Left Behind calendars, but I’m not sure whether those are still being produced. And finally, LaHaye and Jenkins knew they had arrived when Left Behind got its very own Simpsons parody (“Thank God, It’s Doomsday”).
How do you describe both the beginning and the end? We should have known better, but we didn’t. What does it matter if we think we know? In the end, there’s no denying the truth.