Bible study evaluates Left Behind theology

Offering both a Lutheran response and critique of the popular Left Behind series, a Bible study from the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations isLeft Behind now available online.

Adopted by the CTCR in May, the study can be obtained from the CTCR section of the LCMS Web site.  It also will be appended to the CTCR’s “A Lutheran Response to the Left Behind Series” when this report is reprinted.  The CTCR adopted the report in 2004.

With five sections, the Bible study evaluates the theology of Left Behind, which looks at the book of Revelation as a chronological series of events.  The novels depict the “rapture” as a time when believers are removed from the earth, leaving only nonbelievers for a seven-year period of suffering or “tribulation.”  The stories also describe a millennium when believers reign for 1,000 years with Christ on earth.

Traditional Christian theology, including the LCMS view, sees the 1,000 years referred to in Revelation 20 as a figurative number denoting the completeness of Christ’s reign in and with His church and the “rapture” as Christ’s one and only return on the Last Day.

The study also corresponds well with the “Whose Land Is It?” article in the November issue of The Lutheran Witness.  Dr. Samuel H. Nafzger, CTCR executive director, said the article offers helpful insight into popular theories attempting to connect the current nation of Israel with prophesies about the return of Christ.

“You don’t have to be familiar with the Left Behind series to find this Bible study useful as a way of getting at issues dealing with contemporary events,” Nafzger said.  “This study provides a great opportunity to do some very good teaching and to bring clarity in terms of basic issues relating to the end times.”

He added that the Bible study includes a glossary of “end times” terms.

Posted Dec. 5, 2006

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