LOUISVILLE, Ky. (RNS) -- Presbyterians went on record last week (June14) as opposing the end-times theology in the wildly popular "LeftBehind" book series, objecting to the idea that God would allow any ofhis followers to suffer. Delegates to the church's annual General Assembly meetingoverwhelmingly approved a resolution saying the books' theology "is notin accord with our Reformed understanding" of the New Testament book ofRevelation. The "Left Behind" series, co-authored by Jerry Jenkins and TimLaHaye, uses an end-times theology in which millions of Christians aretaken to heaven in an instant rapture and nonbelievers are given asecond chance at salvation during seven years of tribulation. Many Reformed churches, including the Presbyterian Church (USA)meeting here this week, reject such a literal view, arguing that the endof the world will be marked by a return of Jesus, judgment for allmankind and an eternal reign. The Rev. Lewis Wilkins, pastor of First Presbyterian Church inLovington, N.M., argued for the resolution, saying some Presbyterians inhis state -- especially children -- have been bullied by "Left Behind"fans. Wilkins said "Left Behind" is a misreading of the Book ofRevelation. "We don't have any information on how this is going to end, orsomething called a rapture when some people will be taken to heaven andsome will not," Wilkins said. Presbyterians aren't the only Christians at odds with "Left Behind"theology. Some Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists and Lutherans saythe series' view of the Bible is flawed.
Before his death in March, theRev. A.L. Barry, former president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod,said Revelation's view "of what will occur when Christ returns is notchiefly characterized by mass confusion, chaos and hysteria." The resolution passed Thursday recommends a church document on theend of the world and urges pastors to lead their congregations throughstudies of the books if they are causing "confusion and dissension."