|HEN 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
1. The Purpose Driven Life Takers (Part 1)
2. Violent Video Game Marketed Through Mega-Churches (Part 2)
3. Revelation and Resignation (Part 3)
4. Left Behind Video Games
5. Left Behind Games Advisory Board
6. Left Behind: Eternal Forces First Impressions
7. Converting Video Games Into Instruments of God
8. Left Behind Eternal Forces - Violence For Christians
9. Game-Addict Clinic Opening in Amsterdam
Paul Proctor, a rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a distinctly biblical perspective.
As a freelance writer and regular columnist for NewsWithViews.com, he extols the wisdom and truths of scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and opinion sites across the internet and in print. Paul may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
More columns by Paul Proctor