Someone stop the planet - I'm getting off. It just came to my attention this afternoon (perhaps this is old news to you) that the progenitors of the Left Behind series (Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins) launched a video game division called Left Behind Games (what else?) in February of this year, and their first project will be a game called Left Behind: Eternal Forces. MSNBC's Newsweek Periscope article recorded the following from Left Behind Games CEO, Troy Lyndon:
Left Behind Games CEO Troy Lyndon, whose company went public in February, says the game's Christian themes will grab the audience that didn't mind gore in "The Passion of the Christ." "We've thought through how the Christian right and the liberal left will slam us," says Lyndon. "But megachurches are very likely to embrace this game."
"Megachurches are very likely to embrace this game"...why does it seem that this statement nearly says it all? Sadly, this "Eternal Forces" game turns sobering biblical truth into a...game. In fact, not only do players blow away infidels with modern military weaponry, but it is even possible to play on the side of the Antichrist. Here is a summary description of the game from the Left Behind Games website:
"Wage a war of apocalyptic proportions in LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces - a real-time strategy game based upon the best-selling LEFT BEHIND book series created by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Join the ultimate fight of Good against Evil, commanding Tribulation Forces or the Global Community Peacekeepers, and uncover the truth about the worldwide disappearances!
· Lead the Tribulation Force from the book series, including Rayford, Chloe, Buck and Bruce against Nicolae Carpathia - the AntiChrist.
· Conduct physical & spiritual warfare: using the power of prayer to strengthen your troops in combat and wield modern military weaponry throughout the game world.
· Recover ancient scriptures and witness spectacular Angelic and Demonic activity as a direct consequence of your choices.
· Command your forces through intense battles across a breathtaking, authentic depiction of New York City .
· Control more than 30 units types - from Prayer Warrior and Hellraiser to Spies, Special Forces and Battle Tanks!
· Play multiplayer games as Tribulation Force or the AntiChrist's Global Community Peacekeepers with up to eight players via LAN or over the internet!"
Things like this make a sad mockery of Christ's future return - no matter what eschatological beliefs you may hold. When He returns, it will be no laughing (or gaming) matter -
Revelation 1:7 Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen.
As believers, we have a great need to stimulate one another to love and good deeds - deeds which comport with the real battle that God has assigned to us as the soldiers of Christ. Additionally, we must always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks us to give an account for the hope that is in us, yet with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:15). We are in a battle, but we cannot lose sight of the nature of our warfare:
Ephesians 6:11-12: 11 Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
The truth is that we are in a very serious battle and we must not downgrade that truth for the sake of entertainment. Here's my advice to those who occupy their time with such things: put your joystick down and go across the street and witness to your neighbor! Now that's a real battle!
Finally - what entertainment can there be in enabling a "gamer" to play on the side of Satan? After all, he is the enemy and accuser of the saints of God - even of Christ Himself. Foolishness like this should remind us all that some things should in fact be "left behind."