Left Behind: Eternal Forces Teaches "Spiritual Warfare" and "Verbal Defence"
Richard Bartholomew printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Feb 10, 2007 at 12:35:08 PM EST
A recent issue of Christian Retailing carries an article (22 Jan, p. 10) on the Left Behind: Eternal Forces videogame. As the piece notes, the game has come under attack from various groups (Christian and secular) for allegedly featuring

...teens...killing nonbelievers, teaching teens that most musicians are "singing the praises of the Antichrist" and portraying non-Christian humanitarian aid workers as part of enemy forces.

Talk to Action, of course, has been at the forefront of making these concerns public, particularly in a series of articles by Jonathan Hutson.

The Christian Retailing piece features input from Jeff Frichner, the president of Left Behind Games (LBG), who responds to the criticisms:

...Frichner questioned how it could remain true to the Bible and the novels if it omitted the violence that appears in both.

The LBG president said too few youth are taught to defend themselves-not physically, but in verbal confrontations with those who question the validity of their faith.

So how is LB:EF teaching Christians the arts of verbal defence? Frichner explains:

..."You can win the game by not firing a shot, but by conducting spiritual warfare. There's a prayer button (and) a worship button..."

I look forward to the "Oxford Debating Society" videogame, in which players will defeat opponents by use of a "rebuttal" button.

LBG is also trying to win over critics by spamming blogs that discuss the game. Since I've mentioned it a few times on my blog (see here and here), I've received several of these. GamerZ@leftbehindgames.com asks me:

Hey, with so many people having an opinion about this game, how many have actually played it? And what credibility do they have? Focus on the Family has publications which can set the record straight for everyone...at http://www.pluggedinonline.com/thisweekonly/a0002989.cfm.

While Sandi@leftbehindgames.com tells me that:
There has been alot of misleading information spun throughout the public and media regarding Left Behind Eternal Forces game. I encourage you to visit www.menofgod.us & download a trial version. I believe the first hand experience will allow you the opportunity to judge for yourself and put these rumors to a rest.

A long statement from LBG CEO Troy Lyndon follows, which includes the following disingenuous distinction:
...Our game does NOT teach the pre-tribulation theology of the book series, except that this worldview is utilized as a FICTIONAL backdrop of the game...

Is the Bible in general a "FICTIONAL backdrop", then?

Meanwhile, Left Behind co-author Tim LaHaye is feeling no reason to be modest as he speaks to Christian Retailing journo Ken Walker:

"We are fishing for a younger generation to know who Jesus is, what He did and how they can receive Him...That is why we included a mass-market paperback of the Left Behind book in the final packaging. I do not know of a book that has led so many thousands to Christ."

That's put C.S. Lewis in his place. LaHaye rejects as "preposterous" the claim that the game encourages killing enemies:
"The whole point of our lives and ministries is that we love all such people...our goal is to persuade them, not hate or do harm to them in any way."

Indeed not. That will be Jesus' job, as described in the final Left Behind novel, Glorious Appearing. And horses won't be let off lightly, either:

Men and women soldiers and horses seemed to explode where they stood...It was as if the very words of the Lord had superheated their blood, causing it to burst through their veins and skin...Even as they struggled, their own flesh dissolved, their eyes melted and their tongues disintegrated.

Christian Retailing, published by Strang, contains some useful stuff. It's a shame it's mostly not on-line.

by Richard Bartholomew on Sat Feb 10, 2007 at 12:38:29 PM EST

"The whole point of our lives and ministries is that we love all such people...our goal is to persuade them, not hate or do harm to them in any way." - LaHaye is resorting to a legalistic technicality here,  disavowing personal responsibility for writing a book series in which nonbelievers die horribly amidst rivers of blood. LaHaye loves all, perhaps, but he's made millions writing about how non-Christians will have their intestines pulled out of their bodies, to die excrutiating deaths. Ah, but it's not Tim LaHaye who will do that, but God !

Cue Barry Manilow, for Mr. LaHaye's musical refrain :

I write the books, in which the faithless die,
their shrieks of torment rise to heavenly skies,
I write the books of God extracting guts,
I write the books, I write the books......

by Bruce Wilson on Mon Feb 12, 2007 at 09:17:40 AM EST

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