Jesus Gets Left Behind

Is Christianity just getting a tickert to heaven in the Jesus express? Has the modern American version of "a personal relationship with Christ" become too one sided--Jesus gives out salvation free of charge, no obligation--all that's need is a nod of the head, an intellectual assent to the statement that Jesus is Lord? All the uncomfortable stuff, loving your neighbor and your enemies, being forgiving and merciful and all of his other teaching can get left behind.

That's the point that Sacha Zimmerman makes in her critique of Glorious Appearing, the new Left Behind Book.

I'd not seen the Pulps feature at the New Republic online -- but after reading this week's review of the Glorious Appearing, I'm hooked.

Zimmerman says she approached the book with "liberal assumptions" that it would " further alienate me from Christianity."

Instead, she said, it was so repulsive, it made her "want to defend Christianity vigorously."

Zimmer says:
Did I "see the light," or find Jesus, or otherwise metamorphose as a result of this book? Of course not. It's just that Glorious Appearing is such an ugly expression of Christianity that I could not help but think of all the beauty of Christianity that is missing from it.

What's missing from the Christianity - and from the Christ of Glorious Appearing? Any hint of the Jesus of the New Testament who preached love of neighbor and enemy and who forgave even those who killed him.

aside from being much more powerful than Satan, there isn't a whole lot of difference between the Jesus of this novel and the prince of darkness. Christ is not compassionate any longer, he has lost his patience with forgiveness, and he is happy to slaughter anyone who doesn't bow down before him, call him "Lord," and mean it. Meanwhile, all the believing heroes of the novel look on, practically cheering, "I told you so!" as millions are disemboweled, burned alive, or trampled to death. They banally regard millions of people as they are being butchered around them.

Their notion of compassion in the midst of this sacred genocide is to wonder if perhaps they should shield their children's eyes.

There it is--sacred genocide. In the Glorious Appearing, Jesus is a mass murderer who kills without remorse and whose followers feel no compassion for those Left Behind.

Zimmerman ends with a critique of Evangelicalism as a whole:

But we are not exactly a thinking nation, and good versus evil is just a whole lot easier than the kind of thought that really goes into a consideration of the genuine complexity of Scripture. And so a lowest-common-denominator Evangelicalism is the fastest-growing religious movement in the United States right now, and Glorious Appearing tops the charts.

"I kept wondering whether somebody will finally defy Christ by speaking for Jesus," writes Zimmerman.

I don't agree with the entire piece--but when Zimmerman says that Jesus gets left behind in Glorious Appearing, she's speaking the gospel truth.


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