Left Behind: Is It Obligatory to Attend this Movie?

Well, here we go again.

It’s not that long ago that Christians were urged to see the movie Noah, starring Russell Crowe and produced by atheist director Darren Aronofsky, who described his cinematic efforts in a March 24, 2014, Washington Times article as “the least biblical biblical film ever made.”

Bold Innocence inspirational oil painting of little girl standing on ocean beach by Steve Henderson

Have you ever returned home, alone, to an empty house and wondered — “Did the rapture happen and I was left behind?” Bold Innocence, original painting by Steve Henderson, sold; licensed open edition prints at Great Big Canvas, Framed Canvas Art, and iCanvasART.

Despite the (deliberate) inattention to spiritual, historical, and literary accuracy, too many Christians agonized,

“Should we go? Should we support this movie — even though it’s not precisely Biblically accurate (that’s an understatement) because we want to encourage the movie industry to make more of these films?”

Well, the industry is making more of these films —  and the chitter chatter for Left Behind, starring Nicholas Cage and directed by Vic Armstrong, is on high volume.

Willie Robertson Speaks

Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson, who reminds me of some relatives I’ve got living deep in hillside crevices and cracks, is on board to urge Christians to “bring some friends and family to see this movie — people who need to see to believe.”

So powerful is this “action packed thriller that will take viewers on a wild ride to the day of Rapture,” that it’s our obligation, really, to go, because according to Robertson:

“I believe people are gonna make that life-changing decision to follow Christ on the way home from the theater.”

Good heavens. With an encomium like that, how could we possibly keep ourselves, and our unsaved friends and family away?

Well, there is concern regarding Nicholas Cage, about whose spiritual beliefs some speculate, although it really shouldn’t be that difficult:

Are you a Christian, Nick? Or not? It’s really a yes/no matter: Yes, I am or No, I’m not.

Yes, or No

Three words, easy to say. Most of us manage to articulate one sentence or the other.

And the director, Vic Armstrong, whose hand rocks the cradle on this project — is he a Christian, or not? Look up, “Is Vic Armstrong a Christian?” and see all the information about his spiritual beliefs that you don’t get. (The FAQ’s on the Left Behind website describe him as “a veteran filmmaker in the action genre.”)

For those who don’t think it matters, when one makes a movie explicitly designed for Christians (and the money they provide by buying tickets, t-shirts, beverage tumblers, baseball caps, wrist bracelets and the ubiquitously obligatory — and financially lucrative — “ministry study resources”), only a fool would say that it doesn’t matter.

When the movie is hyped, tweeted, and pushed as bringing “Biblical prophecy to life in modern times,” and when the people pushing the production announce, “Here’s how you can use Left Behind in Your Church,” then isn’t a determination to be spiritually accurate — and indeed, spiritually sensitive to the point the somebody in this media circus is openly, loudly, and definitively a follower of Jesus Christ — important?

Licensed Products

Let’s go back to Willie Robertson, although 1:28 minutes of him on a propaganda video clip is 87 seconds more than I can handle, and his statement that we need to bring people “who need to see to believe,” to this production because “opening the door to unbelievers has never been this much fun.”

“Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe,” Jesus says in John 4: 48.

He also observed: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

While it’s tempting to think that all we have to do is buy a ticket (and a t-shirt, and a beverage tumbler), sit on our tushies, eat popcorn, drink pop, and answer our unsaved loved ones’ breathless questions, after the movie, about, “What must I do to be saved?” this is akin to dragging people to the church potluck, dumping them in front of the pastor, and saying, “He’ll tell you everything you need to know about Jesus.”

The major difference between the two is that, in most cases, the pastor makes a point of unashamedly affiliating himself to Christianity and Jesus Christ, while the movie’s promotional sites and FAQs, dance around the subject.

“Movie and licensed products are a way to share the subject of the rapture and the end times with friends, family, and strangers alike.” This is from the Left Behind Merchandise page, where the film is described as being, “based upon the New York Times Best Seller.”

Despite the Bible being the best selling book of all time, that’s not the book we’re talking about here, nor the book of Revelation within that book, but rather, a fictional novel based upon the book of Revelation.

Fictional. Novel.

Nothing wrong with that. Just wanted a clarification.

So, how are you feeling? Do you  feel pushed, prodded, manipulated, coerced, and pressured into supporting this movie, because it’s purported to be “Christian”?

If you do, well, as Nancy Reagan admonished — about a different product — “Just Say No.”

Stay behind. Read a book — maybe Revelation, which most of us avoid because it’s extremely complex, highly controversial as to its interpretation, and quite incredibly difficult to understand.

Ah, but mass media’s got it — and us — all figured out.

Thank You

Thank you for reading me. Normally, I post a link to articles on another site, on this site, but this time I am printing the entire article here.

If you’d like to read me in book form, you may enjoy —

The Misfit Christian (my book designed for truth seekers who feel left out and ostracized from church culture, because they ask too many questions)

 

 

 

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About This Woman Writes

Carolyn Henderson is the marketing manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. In addition to her This Woman Writes blog, Carolyn writes a regular art column for FineArtNews, an online newsletter for artists and art collectors.
This entry was posted in Art, blogging, Christian, Faith, Family, home, homeschooling, Life, Lifestyle, News, religion, spirituality and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Left Behind: Is It Obligatory to Attend this Movie?

  1. Mm, I won’t see this movie. I’m always a little skeptical of any kind of “one stop shop” for sharing Christianity- it’s about relationship, not formula. And while I think it’s interesting to speculate about end times, I’m kind of busy trying to manage the “right-now” times!

    • I agree with you, Adrie. I find it offensive, actually, that part of the advertising for this movie is that we bring unsaved friends and family to it, and the movie will do the talking for us. Christianity is a lifestyle — people are attracted to Christ’s love, compassion, grace, mercy, understanding — and we’re His hand and feet to show those things.

      As far as the “right now” times — I hear you. And lots of people are hurting through it as well. We’ve got work to do, every day, just loving, listening, and praying. Blessings to you, my friend. Keep fighting the good fight. — Carolyn

  2. Interesting article. I’m a Christian and I don’t feel obligated to attend this movie. I wouldn’t say a Christian should not attend if they want to, either, though.

    • I don’t feel obligated to attend at all either — but then again, I don’t attend church service, have no TV, and avoid mass media as much as I can.

      One’s choice to attend should be voluntary and without coercion, and I sincerely hope that, for all the people who attend, it is.

  3. dabaudoin says:

    Not a Christian, but I hardly think that the Divine will hold it against someone if they don’t pay $15 to see some movie….

    • He won’t. Your common sense observation is one that more Christians should, but don’t, make!

      • dabaudoin says:

        Once I was in the chorus of an opera at my college. I spent several hours in the green room with a woman who had a terrible headache. She refused all offers of aspirin, ibuprofen, etc., because she was going to “pray to the Lord” to heal her headache. I figured, He gave you aspirin, ibuprofen, and generous friends. What more do you want? I think Deity gives us a brain and is more than pleased when we use it to make good choices. I don’t need a burning bush to heal my headache, and I don’t need a Hollywood blockbuster to determine my faith. Just me.

        • Independent thought — such a great concept! It’s a sad, but telling concept that we can’t point to deep thinking, Christian philosophers these days. I’ve always been partial to C.S. Lewis, but he’s been gone for awhile, and the crop of celebrity Christian writers, preachers, and corporate religious establishment owners has not added anything to the profundity of spiritual dialogue.

          God tells us to love Him with our heart, soul, and mind – but somehow that last part is getting eclipsed.

          I like your kick butt attitude. We need more of that, these days.

          • dabaudoin says:

            Have you read Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis? That book had a profound effect on me in high school. And thanks for taking time to respond to me. I really enjoy your blog.

            • I started reading it, and confess that I derailed. I found it in my bookshelf the other day, and with your observation on how it affected you, I will give it another try. What was its impact — is that something that can be encapsulated? Was it one of Lewis’ works that had the most effect? Mere Christianity remains my favorite, with its measured, logical approach to the concept of God, and the Narnia Chronicles blow me away with Lewis’ turn of language, his ability to convey so many images with so few words, and the simple children’s story that packs so much adult meaning underneath.

              Thank you for your kind words on my blog — and I love talking to readers, especially those who take time to articulate themselves and dialogue. That’s a gift from the online world, that we are no longer limited to the geographical location in which we live, but can meet and interact with fascinating people from everywhere.

            • dabaudoin says:

              I’d have to reread the book to give you a detailed response, but I believe what stuck with me most is that we never have the full picture on anything. History is told by the victors, and there is always more than one side to the story. I also think at the time I identified with the main character, whose qualities were ignored due to her physical appearance. That by hiding her true nature, she created an air of mystery everyone completely misinterpreted. As a teen, it gave me a lot to think about regarding the nature of human interaction. I’m sure there were much deeper implications I would catch if I reread it as an adult.

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