76 of 90 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2001
I must admit, I get caught up in Left Behind mania from time to time. I've read half of the books. I've listened to a few on CD in the car. I've met co-author Jerry Jenkins on his book tours. I even think it's great when local morning newscasters talk about reading the latest book in the series.
However, all emotionalism and hype aside, something always made me uneasy about the books and their theology. I just couldn't seem to find the verses to support their multi-layered, fanciful theology.
End Times Fiction tells me why: the verses don't exist.
I just finished reading Gary DeMar's book and now I'm beginning to wonder what Tim LaHaye is up to (besides building a massive marketing empire based around his books -- much like Bruce Wilkinson has done with his ridiculous Prayer of Jabez book). If the Bible is as clear as DeMar indicates that it is, why is LaHay continuing to support, defend and propagate a theology as flawed as any a member of a cult would put forth.
End Times Fiction slowly, carefully and clearly tackles each of the theological points found in LaHaye's enormously popular Left Behind books (and in his recently published -- or re-issued -- books on prophecy), comparing LaHaye's statements with verses he uses to support them. They don't match. What LaHaye is telling the world just can't be found in Scripture.
If you've read the Left Behind books (as I have), or know someone who has, or if you've been scratching your head trying to figure out how all of the the weeks, years, events and predictions fit with Scripture, you need to read this book and pass it along.
Scripture isn't as esoteric as LaHaye makes it out to be. Nor is it as convoluted and spooky.
Gary DeMar's book makes things very clear and plain.
But be forewarned: After reading this book, you won't look at the Left Behind books -- or their author Tim LaHaye -- the same way ever again.
Yet, you may just come away with an even stronger, more biblically sound and solid, faith. And that's a very good thing, indeed.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2004
I first heard of Gary DeMar on The Bible Answer Man radio show a couple of years ago. At the time I held to the five points of Calvinism, but attended a dispensational church. To say the least, I was confused as to what to believe concerning the end times. By default, I held to a rapturist viewpoint, with premillennialism and the seven year tribulation to boot. But hearing DeMar blew my mind. I was driving home from church on a Sunday evening and had to keep driving to listen to the whole show - I was floored by his denials of all of the major tenets of what I was taught. And the fact that ole Hank endorsed him gave him credibility in my eyes (not that I agree with everything Hank says - ie his views on election etc).
The Bible Answer Man is rerun later in the week, so when it played again I was with my fiancee and we both listened to it. By this point DeMar had me questioning, but I left it at that. Oddly enough, I went to our local Christian bookstore a month or so later and saw End Times Fiction (which was surprising, cause it's not a good store!). I bought that, as well as Hoekema's The Bible and the Future and Riddlebarger's A Case for Amillennialism.
I read DeMar first and was struck by it. He's very readable and easy to understand and he made a great critique of much of what I believed.
The strenght of the book was his ability to tear down the dispensational arguments of Left Behind. It became easy to see that Biblically there is no secret rapture or any of the other unique distinctives that dispensationalism holds to.
The weakness, for me, was that DeMar didn't do the greatest job at constructing a new theology for me to consider. I was left without dispensationalism, but didn't really have anything to build in its stead. What he did provide was hard for me to believe - I have since rejected many of his preteristic and postmillennial views.
So, I rejoiced at DeMar having exposed the truth about Left Behind's theology, but was scared because I didn't really know what to believe. Trying to read Hoekema's book was horrible (although it is an EXCELLENT treatment of the subject) because I had no foundation to understand what he was talking about. I would recommend Riddlebarger as an intro to eschatology.
I also would recommend DeMar but with the caveat that you should read it alongside other books to help find a place to rest eschatologically (pardon the pun).
44 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2002
There is little doubt that the "Left Behind" series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins is a phenomenon unparalleled in the history of Christian publishing (with the possible exception of "The Prayer of Jabez"). The problem is, even though the series is presented as fiction, it is a thinly-veiled work of misguided theology. Of course, the theology presented by these books is the very popular modern theology of dispensation premillenialism, complete with the requisite doctrine of the pre-trib rapture. In "End Times Fiction", Gary DeMar takes each pet doctrine of this eschatalogical viewpoint and examines them one-by-one in light of the clear teaching of the Bible. When compared with what the Bible actually teaches, the theology that undergirds the "Left Behind" series is found seriously flawed.
So many today make the assumption that there will be a "rapture" before a seven-year tribulation period, that Russia will attack Israel, that there will be a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, and that there will be one person called the Antichrist that will lead a one-world government. They believe that the seven churches in the first chapters of Revelation correspond to different periods in the church age rather than actual churches that were in existence at the time the book of Revelation was written. It would be rather eye-opening to these people to see that these interpretations have very little support in the actual text of the Bible. DeMar does a masterful job showing that most of what Revelation and what is known as the "Olivet Discourse" of Jesus has already taken place with the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Unlike some texts dealing with this view of eschatology ("The Last Days According to Jesus" by R.C. Sproul comes to mind), this book is very easy to follow and to understand. It is a "must read" in today's climate of pop-religion.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2006
Is simply because they are rapture believers, and just can't stand that some biblical scholars have a different theology then they do, and can defend it. God is not an author of confusion, and the points made in this book are not hard to comprehend. When Jesus said "This generation will not pass.." He MEANT the people he was talking to, not people 2000 years (or more) in the future. In fact, it's the dispensationalist that must find a way to make it mean 2000 years ahead. Square peg..meet round hole. Nearly all the points are about that simple. Can't find a 7 year tribulation in the Bible? Good, because it's not there. To show his understanding, DeMar even tells you how LaHaye and others came up with this nonsense, and then slices it apart. As Demar notes in his forward, this book is not a personal attack on LaHaye, however, I feel most dipensationalist, due to their pride, and belief that know more about the Bible then everyone else will take it that way, the reviews they give to any book that disagress with them backs my point fully. I may even reccomend Left Behind enthusiast don't read this book, I don't think they can read it fairly, and won't be able to handle it. That's why I'm not giving it 5 stars, it isn't good for the people that really need to read it. Of course, that's really not DeMar's fault.
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2003
This book is for the serious seeker who wants something more than pop culture Christianity being peddled by celebrity evangelists.
DeMar does an effective job in debunking false interpretations of Revelation which seem so popular but can be so misleading. By putting Revelation in its proper historical perspective, he makes it far more believable. Revelation was meant to be understood. Unfortunately, many modern evangelists have complicated it in order to sell books and videos.
I also recommend "The Beast of Revelation" by Kenneth Gentry and Margaret Barker's "Revelation" book.
The bottom line is - if John wrote about things that were to happen some 2,000 years in the future, he was either greatly deceiving the people he was writing to or was greatly deceived himself.
DeMar makes it very clear that Revelation describes events that actually did happen making it a truly inspired book. Unfortunately, some modern evangelists have turned it into a mystery which only they can solve. They are the false prophets.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2006
There are, and have been, a multitude of Christian interpretations of the "end times" propehcies found in Revelation, Daniel, Ezekiel, the gopsels, etc. Throughout church history, good Christians have disagreed over what the prophetic symbols and language in these books represent. The pre-millenial dispensationalism synthesized from other ideas by John Darby a couple of centuries ago has easily come to dominate popular end times thought among conservative North American Christians. Why has it proven so strong? I would venture to say that its main strength is that while nineteenth century liberal Protestantism was consciously and explicitly jury rigging an amillenial eschatology to fit the spirit of nineteenth century scientific progressivism, Darby and his disciples, like Scofield and Ryrie, were claiming to have produced an end times theology that was Biblically sound, because it was Biblically literal, through and through. In our own day, publishing giants Tim LaHaye and Hal Lindsey continue to claim that their "Late Great Planet Earth" and "Left Behind" eschatology is the intrepretation of prophecy that is true to literal scriptural intrepretation where possible, and true to common sense always.
Gary DeMar's thesis is straightforward: LaHaye, Lindsey, et al. derive their pre-millenial eschatology from scripture only by repeatedly violating their own standards of literal and common sense Biblical interptretation. DeMar drives this point home again and again as he targets pretty much all of the major points of the "Left Behind" eschatology: the rise of the "new Roman Empire" in the EU/UN, the rise of the antichrist, the rapture, the rebuilding of the temple, the "mark of the beast", the seven years tribulation, and more. DeMar's analysis of "Left Behind" eschatology is Biblically informed, intelligent, comprehensive, and, though he could be a bit nicer at times, ultimately fair.
I myself had come to see a few years back that the "Left Behind" eschatology was simply missing the Biblical literalism it preached. But DeMar still had some surprises for me. For instance, the book of Revelation never mentions a seven year time period. And if we interpret the letters to the seven churches as a script for the ensuing history of the church, we have to give up what LaHaye calls the "any moment theory" of the rapture: Any Christian who realized that these letters represented a history of the church would know that the rapture couldn't come until the history had completed itself!
In short, alot of good people out there believe that "Left Behind" eschatology is built on a literal or common sense interpretation of Biblical prophecy. Sadly, it just isn't. And if you haven't read this book, you probably don't understand "Left Behind."
I can't give this book five stars because, first, most of the "Left Behind" believers and proponents are basically good people, trying to follow the Lord as bestt they can, bumps, bruises, and all, just like anyone esle who calls themselves Christian. They think they are being true to the Bible even if they aren't. And DeMar would have better served his readers by taking a more genial tone in some of his comments. DeMar's book falls short of five stars, secondly, because after trying to pull the Biblical rug out from under the feet of "Left Behind" he espouses a preterist (or, more precisely, partial preterist) view of Biblical prophecy that raises major problems itself. (Can we really believe Paul was just talking about the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in his letters to the Thessalonions?) In the eyes of some reviewers, this largely invalidates DeMar's contribution. But I disagree. We can all hope that he or someone will have a convincing eschatology to take the place of the "Left Behind" variety that he argues against. But the issue today is that too many Christians believe, and *believe that they have to believe*, the "Left Behind" eschatology. And if DeMar can free us from "Left Behind", we can explore other alternatives ourselves. So I think that what DeMar has accomplished here is contribution enough.
To sum up: DemMar's own preterist views need more defending than he himself has marshalled in this book, but he has done North American conservative Protestantism a great service in showing that "Left Behind" eschatology is not the product of literal or common sense Biblical interpetation, and that we are free to dispense with it and seek the Biblical truth elsewhere.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2013
Ten years ago the Left Behind series had topped the $50 million mark in sales. Everyone who has read the Left Behind series owes it to himself to read a critique which explains in simple terms why there is no biblical basis for the basic premise of the books. Nowhere does the Bible teach a pretribulation rapture of the Church which occurs seven years before Christ returns. If there is no pretrib rapture, then no one is left behind.
DeMar demonstrates in this book that the biblical passages referring to the general resurrection cannot be used to prove a special rapture of the Church. The assumption of a seven-year gap between the two returns of Christ, in which all of the Left Behind books take place, is based upon a mistaken interpretation of Daniel's Seventh Week. DeMar devotes ten pages to explain that these seventy weeks do not contain a two thousand-year gap.
Then DeMar devotes some forty pages to a verse-by-verse explanation of Matthew 24, the Olivet Discourse. Although Jesus spends much of the chapter explaining the destruction of the temple and the circumstances surrounding the fall of Jerusalem, which occurred in A. D. 70, LaHaye and Jenkins, in the Left Behind series, operate from the premise that this all refers to the second coming of Christ.
In all, DeMar examines ten major components of the pretrib rapture theory, showing no only the lack of biblical support, but also showing that leading dispensational authors often contradict each other.
Ironically, in light of 1 Corinthians 6:1-8, they also sue each other. Tim LaHaye is suing the makers of "Left Behind: The Movie." Also named in the lawsuit is Cloud Ten Pictures, the Canadian production company run by brothers Peter and Paul Lalonde, that was hired by Namesake to make the movie version of the first book in the series. Apparently one of the sore spots was the poor quality of "Left Behind: The Movie." But the movie quality only reflected the poorly written books. And with almost $100 million in royalties, apparently quantity is more important than either quality or biblical accuracy. Perhaps this is why LaHaye refuses to debate the issues in a public forum.
In a review of Left Behind #9, Desecration, David Kipen concluded, "The main problem with Desecration is that the thriller form and fundamental Christianity just don't mix. One is based on suspense, the other on predestination."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2011
Too often, people just believe what they are told is true and never bother testing it for themselves. People are too trusting, just because some Christian wrote it or claimed it is true. All of "Left Behind" scenarios that took on new life around Y2K (and probably will be dusted off for 2012) aren't as biblical and rational as their supporters make them sound. In fact, over half of the Christian world officially doesn't buy into them. This book not only explains why, but shows the inconsistent reasoning of the pop-culture theories. If you really want to study endtimes, you owe it to yourself to check out this book and do a thorough study. See also the excellent The Apocalypse Code: Find Out What the Bible REALLY Says About the End Times... and Why It Matters Today.
17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2004
Wish I could give this book a higher rating. However, this web site only has 5 stars. Since that's the case, I will give this book, the highest star they have. Read from my copy and just fell in love with it. Anyone that would agree with the unblblical teachings of Left Behind, Tim LaHaye's Prophecy Study Bible and Late Great Planet Earth, needs to leave that mess alone. Get this book and see first hand what the Bible is teaching about the End Times and the events that will surround it.
Don't let anyone like Tim LaHaye, Jack Van Impe, John Hagee and/or Hal Lindsey fool you into thinking that the Church will be secertly removed, before the so-called seven year tribulation. This book opened my eyes to even more truth. I am so glad that I was able to get it. Also, I am so glad that it taught me things that I wasn't even aware of.
If you are looking for a book to read from, that will properly explain the End Times, get this wonderful resource and you will not be upset at all.
For those reading this, that are Pre-Trib, please buy this book and carefully study from it. It will cause you to reexamine your beliefs and compare them with the true teachings of the Bible, on this important subject.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2001
In an era when to say that you don't believe in the pre-tribulation rapture of the church is tantamount to abandoning orthodoxy altogether, Gary DeMar provides a timely alternative to this eschatological paradigm and promotes a view firmly rooted in sound hermeneutics and the testimony of church history.
It doesn't take much to notice that the Left Behind book series is taking the world by storm. People are fanatic about these books, and even more fanatic about the theology behind them. Unfortunately, what many do not realize is that the theology undergirding the Left Behind series is an eisegetical (reading into the Scripture questionable presuppositions) approach to understanding the Bible. As a result, many are being mislead and are misleading others in regards to a false hope.
What is more, many in the secular world, because of the popularity of this doctrine (and it should be noted that popularity is never a plumbline for truth), are coming to equate to whole of Christendom with this "Armageddon Theology." Consequently, the Body of Christ is presenting a wonderful opportunity for the world to "throw the baby out with the bath water" and discount Christianity altogether, despite the fact that the Scriptures nor the majority of the Church's testimony maintain such theories.
I work in a bookstore where, because of the recent events of terrorism, many are coming in and asking about books about the end times. When handed End Times Fiction, most are immediately reluctant to even consider to possibility that the views they espouse are unbiblical. In answering a matter before they hear it, they automatically discount a very biblical approach. Thus, like many others, they are buying into a "newspaper exegesis," and subscribing to false view of the future.
I hope you won't do the same with DeMar's new book. It's a must read, and even if you don't end up agreeing with him, it will be well worth your time to consider an eschatological view held by your brothers in sisters in Christ not only presently, but throughout the history of the Church. Further, you will be more sensitive to the possible weaknesses of your own understanding of the end times, and this will foster humility in dealing with a subject that is many times accompanied by an ignorant dogmatism.
Chapters include subjects such as: the Rapture of the Church, the Great Tribulation,the Antichrist, the Mark of the Beast, and others.
Enjoy a book that just might change your life (literally, for you Dispensationalists out there)!!