Continuing on with Gribben’s book, Rapture Fiction and the Evangelical Crisis, we begin a new chapter focusing on what essentially the Scripture teaches about the second coming of Christ. Gribben starts off on a very positive note by writing, “Whatever the problems we might see in Left Behind, or in rapture fiction more generally, the novels are right about this — Jesus Christ is coming back” (p. 98).
Gribben sees in the church today as failing to live in the light of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. He mentions postmillennialism and preterism as contributing to this problem. Our failure to think that the Second Coming is imminent has left Christians living in sin and immorality and not living with hope.
He notes a number of issues of why Christians fail to think about prophecy including fear of the end, and fear of creating dissension. Gribben is right to note that instead we should have a profound desire to study the end times and no what to expect and to live in light of that!
He also rightly notes that eschatology should prompt unbelievers to have a desire to repent and turn to Christ! Knowing what the Scriptures say regarding the truth of what will happen in the end should motivate us to share the gospel and to motivate unbelievers to embrace it. Truly, there will be a place for us in the future, but it will depend on who’s side we stand.
Overall, I have nothing to disagree with Gribben on in this chapter (what a surprise eh Crawford?). Eschatology should motivate believers to perseverance and hope and good works and to share the gospel with a lost and dying world. Our focus is not on eschatology for eschatology’s sake, but for the sake of God and the gospel. Truly we have failed in our insipid evangelicalism. And this is what the Left Behind series reflects. The problems are not necessarily with their eschatological schema, but with their failure to understand the true nature and requirements of the gospel.
In light of our individualistic, salad bar Christianity today, whatever eschatological position we hold to we should remember that Christ is coming back, and that we should live in holiness for Him motivated to share the true gospel with the rest of the world in light of this fact.