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Newsweek catches up to Left Behind

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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 ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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