Tim and Jerry on the cover of Newsweek
What more can be said about the Left Behind series? Not much, though this week's Newsweekcover story tries to go for one less-played angle by profiling authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins rather than focusing on the popularity of premillennial dispensationalism.
There's some nice bits in the piece, though LaHaye comes off as a bit caustic while Jenkins is the humble peacemaker. When it comes to salvation and eschatology, writer David Gates understands that they're talking about the same thing in different ways. But he misses the similarity when they start talking about themselves.
"Those millions that I'm trying to reach take the Bible literally," LaHaye says. "It's the theologians that get all fouled up on some of these smug ideas that you've got to find some theological reason behind it. It bugs me that intellectuals look down their noses at we ordinary people."
Ah, a heaping helping of anti-intellectualism, which Gates attributes to a "still-aggrieved sense of social class."
Jenkins says, "Pedestrian writing, thin characters—I can handle the criticism," he says. "I write to pedestrians. And I am a pedestrian. I write the best I can. I know I'm never going to be revered as some classic writer. I don't claim to be C.S. Lewis. The literary-type writers, I admire them. I wish I was smart enough to write a book that's hard to read, you know?" Gates characterizes this as evidence of Jenkins "chronic modesty," but misses the jibe. That's gloating, friend.
Ah, but while the magazine promises to show how the "contrasting sensibilities" of the "most successful literary partnership of all time … suggest the complexities of the entire evangelical movement, often seen as monolithic," it can't help ...1