Left Behind – A Little Help

Left-Behind-poster

A reboot of the Left Behind series with Nicholas Cage comes out October 2. I thought it might be helpful to take a look at some of the issues that might arise because of it, and to help you think missionally about those opportunities—whether you see the movie or not.

  1. It brings up the end times.
    1. Why is this scary:
      1. Most of us feel ill-equipped to discuss the end times. It’s an overwhelming, and somewhat mysterious topic that we can easily be tempted to just avoid.
      2. Besides feeling ill-equipped, the end times themselves are just a dark, scary topic. They are associated with death and suffering—topics many of us don’t care to dwell on.
    2. What we can do about it, positively:
      1. You don’t have to know all the answers. Sometimes the important thing is simply being willing to have the conversation. Even experts can’t agree and don’t know all the answers. The conversation, however, can be productive even if you don’t solve all the questions of the end times.
      2. Yes, there are things that are dark and scary about the end times, but the ultimate message of Revelation is that God wins! The end of times is positive, victorious, happy and joyful—we get to reign with God in Heaven! The road there may be fraught with hardship, but that’s not the end, that’s the just the journey. Let the end times remind you to focus on the actual end of times, the good news and victory more than the journey to it.
    3. Questions you can ask:
      1. What do you know about the end times?
      2. What’s your reaction to the end times? (Fear, Curiosity, Disinterest, etc.)
      3. What do you think was true in Left Behind and what was artistic license? How do you know?
      4. The thought of the end times can be scary. What hope and/or comfort do you have?
      5. Revelation can be a bit daunting; do you think the Left Behind series is a good substitute?
  2. The movie has a Christian worldview at its center. While a turn-off to some, it will attract others.
    1. In either case, it provides you an opportunity to ask some questions:
      1. Are you going to see the movie? Why or Why not?
      2. Would you say you agree or disagree with a Christian worldview?
      3. The movie deals with the end times, is this a topic that interests you?
      4. Do you know what a worldview is?
      5. Do you know what the basic components of a Christian world-view are?
    2. If you would like some additional information on worldviews and the Christian worldview – check out www.worldview.org.
  3. It can’t help but to make people think about “What happens when you die?
    1. Take the time to ask people what they think about the afterlife. Is there an afterlife? If so, what’s it like? Do they believe in a heaven and a hell? Why or why not?
    2. If so, what do they think is required for a person to get to Heaven?
  4. The story follows some “good” even “religious” people who don’t get raptured because they don’t follow Jesus. Is being good, good enough? While the answer, scripturally, is clear, the discussion is a tough one. People get easily offended by this because they know “good” people and don’t want to hear their loved ones may not go to Heaven. Don’t shy away from the truth, but don’t use it as a bludgeon, either. Tread lightly and compassionately. The truth is, God is the only one who knows the heart…but no, being good is not enough. Jesus is the only way.

These are just a few ways to take advantage of the upcoming movie. I don’t know how popular it will be, but I won’t be surprised if there is a resurgence of interest (in some degree at least) in the books, and the topics in general because of the movie. Here’s the awesome thing, though—it doesn’t really matter if anyone is interested in the movie. The fact that the movie is out there gives you a huge opportunity to start the conversation. “Have you seen any good movies lately? … Are you going to see that new Nicholas Cage movie? Have you heard anything about it? … What’s your take on it? I hear it’s based on someone’s understanding of the end times…what do you think about that?” etc. The fact alone that the movie has been released is probably more important than the movie itself when it comes to providing you with opportunities to have those conversations.

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