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Topics on This Page
Left Behind Eternal Forces - Violence for Christians
Where is The Leadership?
Judge, Jury - and now, Executioner
Saddleback Church and Left Behind
Killing For The Kingdom
Left Behind Eternal Forces - Violence for Christians
Posted by C. Wess Daniels on Blogsite http://gatheringinlight.com)
Today in the Los Angeles Times, there is an article [Link is no longer valid] about a new “Christian” video game: Left Behind: Eternal Forces. The game aims to make a broadly appealing video game, similar to Grand Theft Auto; it is a “real-time” strategy game that “features plenty of biblical smiting, albeit with high-tech weaponry as players battle the forces of the Anti-Christ in a smoldering world approaching Armageddon.” The creators, including Troy Lyndon who used to work for Electronic Arts, say of their new game, “Left Behind has the anti-christ, the end of the world, the apocalypse…It’s got all the Christian stuff, and it’s still got all the cool stuff (emphasis mine).”
The mission was to create a game that appealed to more people, in hopes of evangelizing people for the Christian faith; something similar to “Christian houses of worship like Pastor Rick Warren’s Saddleback church…have attracted followers - in part by not being overly doctrinaire.”
Will this game really do anything good for the church? It stands to make more money than earlier Bible-based video games, but at what cost? What kinds of Christians could games like this cultivate? Other than having the characters in the game say things like “Praise the Lord” after killing people, and referring to the UN as a tool of Satan, the game battles against the “Antichrist’s Global Community Peacemakers,” a very interesting title to unpack. The army of Christ is violently plotting to kill the “peacemakers” of the Antichrist, hmmm….I wonder what these guys think of the Christian Peace traditions…?
The Times writes, “In the game, Tribulation squads unleash the usual arsenal against the Antichrist: guns, tanks, helicopters. But soldiers lose some of their spirituality every time they kill an opponent and must be bolstered through prayer. The failure to nurture good guys causes their Spirit-points to drop, leaving them vulnerable to recruitment by the other side.”
The Left Behind series has done a disservice to the church in that it propagates a teaching that is both unbiblical and based in violence. is a fairly new invention created by John Darby in the 19th century, and is not the historic position of the church or of the majority of churches outside the suburbs of America. See The Rapture
Really this video game, and these Christian-pop movements to strip the Gospel of anything that might challenge our American ideals of violence, power and money leave me flustered. Not only is the game trying to make money on the cool stuff, i.e. violence, but it makes light of the apocalypse - something so terrible that it can only be described as being “the end of the world as we know it.”
Not only should the church not support this video game, but it should send a message that we are not going to take violence, Christian practices and the end of the world (however you think it will happen) lightly and we are certainly not going to make a game of it (I’d rather you play non-christian games that do this then Christian games that blur the lines between these things, though I am not advocating this way either).
For the record not all Christians think or support the things built-into this game, in fact many of us right-out reject them. And following Jesus’ way of peace is not being overly doctrinaire.
Judge, Jury - and now, Executioner
“The idea of religious video games that celebrate the death and eternal destruction of non-adherents - worse yet, that makes their annhiliation the primary task of the Christian community - raises my abhorrence for the Left Behind phenomenon to a level of utter disgust that I previously reserved only for racism and genocide.
Left Behind is to Christianity what terrorism is to Islam. Both are narcissistic and destructive distortions of otherwise (mostly) benign religions. Believing in hell or something like it does not require us to take pleasure or desire to participate in the destruction of others. If God wants to kill certain people at a certain point in history, that’s his business. And he can certainly do it himself. He doesn’t need any help from a bunch of self-righteous, overcaffeinated adolescents with bad theology in one pocket and ammo in the other.
If someone released a jihad video game, right-wing bloggers would waste no time denouncing it and pointing out what a terrible idea it is to teach young minds that it’s a good idea to murder people who don’t share your beliefs. I fear that this will not happen with the Left Behind series of game, though; the blogosphere’s reaction is likely to go no farther than scoffing and incredulous eye-rolling.
We need to take a stronger stance against this distortion of the historic Christian faith. The novels were bad enough, and hopefully they have run their course. The video games take Left Behind’s insult to God’s sovereignty and mercy to an unprecedented level, and encourage Christian youth to stop caring about others. They push us into seeing only black and white, saved and unsaved, with ourselves as judge and jury - and now, executioner”. [www.radicalcongruency.com].
Saddleback Church and Left Behind
Mark Carver, a top aide to mega-church pastor and best selling author Rick Warren, has resigned as a business advisor to Left Behind Games, the developers of a video game in which Christian militias wage physical and spiritual warfare using the power of prayer and modern military weaponry to convert New Yorkers and kill those who resist. Mr. Carver's abrupt resignation, announced in a statement e-mailed to Talk to Action by Mr. Warren's Purpose Driven Ministries on June 6, 2006, came in response to a two-part series on Talk to Action that criticized the game's antisocial nature (warriors shout "Praise the Lord!" as they blow infidels away, and players can switch to the side of the AntiChrist to kill Christians). The series also revealed the game developer's links to Mr. Warren's empire and their emulation of his network marketing techniques. For example, Mr. Carver, Executive Director of Purpose Driven Church, served on the Advisory Board of Left Behind Games, a corporation formed in October 2001 (weeks after the attack on the World Trade Center) to develop the violent video game and distribute 1 million sample discs through pastoral networks and mega-churches. And until June 6, the Left Behind Games web site featured Mr. Carver's name and detailed his prominent role in Purpose Driven Church. [Jonathan Hutson. Revelation and Resignation (Part 3) www.talk2action.org/story/2006/6/7/41835/37829]
The Left Behind Games web site, as part and parcel of its marketing pitch, used to state:
"Mark Carver is the Executive Director for Purpose Driven, the leadership/church growth training arm of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, one of the largest churches in America with a weekly congregation in excess of 10,000."
Where is The Leadership?
“In other words, as of June 6, organizations in Mr. Warren's empire "have no connection" to the development of the video game, because on June 5, a top aide to Mr. Warren resigned from his position giving business advice to Left Behind Games, and asked that the corporation stop invoking the name brand of Mr. Warren's Purpose Driven Church. Now the organizations are making a public relations retreat, taking brisk, small steps, and making little noise about it, while at the same time attacking the messenger, and still refusing to condemn the gory game that glorifies violence and lets children strategize how to kill in the name of Christ, or the AntiChrist. Will the pastor dubbed by Time Magazine as "America's Minister" outright condemn the game and lead a boycott of any mega-churches and chain stores that plan to distribute it?”
“For crying out loud, how much leadership does it take to stand up and decry the developers of a video game that lets children gun down infidels on the streets of New York, then switch sides, command the forces of the AntiChrist, and unleash demons that eat conservative Christians? Where is the leadership? Where is the word of witness? Christianity is not about mass killings; it is about doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly before God. No part of Christianity is about distributing violent video games in the church pews.
No part of leadership is about vigorously sitting on one's hands or keeping silent as children are indoctrinated that they are living in the End Times, and may soon be called upon to perform a deadly deed to defend their creed. This abomination is not hard to denounce. The game's developers have announced their plan to distribute through mega-churches 1 million advance copies of a video game that lets children role play mass killing in the name of Christ, or the AntiChrist: children's choice. This is a violent video game whose graphics, themes, and setting evoke the tragic events in New York City on September 11, 2001, in order to make a buck. A game feature is that when people are killed, no one gives them a decent burial: the corpses of New Yorkers pile up and fester in the streets”. [Jonathan Hutson. Revelation and Resignation (Part 3) www.talk2action.org/story/2006/6/7/41835/37829] [More About Rick Warren]
KILLING FOR THE KINGDOM - JUST FUN & GAMES
By Paul Proctor. June 7, 2006. NewsWithViews.com
When a reader of mine first sent me the link to a controversial article about an upcoming new "Christian" video game for teens called, "Left Behind: Eternal Forces," he prefaced it with: "You won't believe this one." After reading it, I responded back with: "You're right…"
I thought it was just a page from one of those sacred satire sites. You know the ones I'm talking about, with their outrageous headlines and shocking reports on quirky church stuff that we all get now and then from fun-loving friends and family -- and have ourselves been fooled by at least once.
I actually had to reread the piece to see that it was indeed a legitimate product being prepared for sale through the mega church market by a company called Left Behind Games. On their website, under Board of Advisors, a man named Mark Carver is listed as "the Executive Director for Purpose Driven, the leadership/church growth training arm of [Rick Warren's] Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California." Surprised? Me neither…
According to the article's author, the video game involves post-rapture Christians in New York City battling the antichrist's "Global Community Peacekeepers" for world domination in an adventurous attempt to either convert them to Christ or kill them using an assortment of high-tech weaponry. That's right - "kill them…"
Newsweek calls it a "high-caliber shoot-'em-up," giving the end times enthusiast a generous helping of cutting-edge cyber-carnage and Christianized chaos -- just the kind of choreographed crises that draw crowds and sell things, which is precisely what many pastors are looking for these days to raise revenues and reel in those "unchurched" customers - "for the Kingdom," of course; a very spiritual endeavor, you understand. If you've been out of the loop lately, this is some of that new evangelism that's all the rage.
Its part of a celebrated strategy reinvented reverends embraced sometime ago called "being relevant to the culture." The message doesn't change, they insist, just the methods. Oh yeah - nothing new here. Sounds JUST LIKE the Gospel of Christ, doesn't it? Seems though I recall Jesus telling his disciples, before sending them out to "heal" and "preach the Kingdom," (that's "heal and preach," not kill and conquer) to not even carry with them a second coat, much less an assault rifle.
But then nobody's actually getting killed here, are they? It's just make-believe murder and mayhem - you know, simulated sin. Harmless, right? How come the church doesn't apply that same Laodicean logic to say, pornography? No worries mate! Judging from the downward spiral of today's mega church morality, I'm sure it will, soon enough.
My second reaction to this egregious tool of amusement was to not even waste time writing about it since the fellow who did, sufficiently covered the Purpose Driven connections and details. After all, biblically speaking, the ungodly premise of the game is frankly a no-brainer. I mean if Christians who read or hear about this disgraceful invention don't see anything wrong with the church promoting a video game about killing reprobates for Christ or, if you like, killing Christians for the antichrist, (your choice) there's really nothing I can add, except maybe a stern rebuke.
It does, however, give the rest of us a little peek at the delusional dreams of Dominionists -- some of whom proudly proclaim that they are going to take back this country and world FOR Jesus, as if He needed their arrogant agenda and unchecked adrenaline to do so, in spite of what the scriptures say about the last days, the apostasy and this world "passing away."
Some of its unofficial leaders are apparently more discrete about their Latter Rain aspirations than others, preferring to operate "in stealth," as if they were politically passive and apocalyptically apathetic. Either way, it is this kind of feelings-led, experience-driven, earth-centered worldview that results from believing in the power of the flesh and the ambitions of men.
"Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD." - Jeremiah 17:5
One has to wonder if computer games like this aren't really just training videos and simulators designed by ecclesiastically embedded enemies of Christ, in the tradition of Judas, to undermine the Gospel and seduce its more naive and narcissistic players into pursuing their passions rather than yielding to the Word of God; providing a purpose driven pretext for recreational rebellion; a sanctimonious sanctioning of sin and sadism for the supposed salvation of seekers under the gratuitous guise of "meeting their felt needs;" one more clever contraption of compromise, confusion and complicity intended to lure and hold a carnal Christian's attention and keep them coming back for more so as to casually coerce them into a new crusade of global zealotry; another "end justifies the means" vision and ministry brought to you by the smiling faces of the ever-clever church growth movement.
From what I can ascertain, they're just taking pragmatism to the next level here, that's all; which is precisely what unrepentant sin always does. But, hey - it's just harmless entertainment, right? Why take it so seriously? It's pretend, for crying out loud! Nobody's actually going to get hurt here; and if you object, then - well, you obviously have no real compassion for or interest in reaching young people for Christ, now do you?
Think it's all just fun and games?
Tell that to the folks out in Littleton Colorado where violent video gamers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold trained religiously at home on their computer screens in preparation for that infamous massacre of Christians and others at Columbine High School on April 20th, 1999 -- an event that led to an entire string of similar shootings in schools and churches across the country.
It should also be noted that gun-grabbing, gospel-hating liberals will surely have a field day with this soon-to-be wildly popular church toy when our war-weary, post-Bush, red-state, religious-republican era comes to a calamitous close in a couple of years, if not sooner; and proudly proclaiming oneself to be a bible-believing Christian is no longer fashionable.
In my estimation, the inevitable faith-based backlash of all this, brought on by the high-toned hypocrisy of a cavalier "Conservatism," will be not only historic -- but ultimately, just as vicious and vindictive as this video game coming to an emerging church near you.
And who'll be on the receiving end of that humbling counterattack? I assure you it won't be anyone from the Hillary Clinton For President campaign.
"…yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service." - John 16:2b