A Review Article “What Do I Care, I’d Be Gone Too” -- By: Richard J. Vincent

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 10:1 (Winter 2001)
Article: A Review Article “What Do I Care, I’d Be Gone Too”
Author: Richard J. Vincent

A Review Article
“What Do I Care, I’d Be Gone Too”

Richard J. Vincent

“What do I care, I’d be gone too.” These were the last words of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, authors of the incredibly popular Left Behind series, during a Larry King interview on the success of their popular fictional series.1 I believe that this statement concisely summarizes a fundamental problem behind the current fascination with the series itself.

Larry King ended the interview with this question: “Do you know what Billy Graham thinks of the Left Behind series?

Jenkins responded:

I’d be interested to hear that myself.... I do know that his secretary reads them. When I worked with him, I got to know her. And she wrote and said she was reading the first one on an airplane and, of course, the rapture occurs. She said she was hoping that her pilot wasn’t a believer and would disappear. And then she finished, “Well, what do I care, I’d be gone, too.”

For those who do not already know, the Left Behind series chronicles what many evangelicals believe will be a seven-year tribulation period sandwiched between the Lord’s secret coming for his church (the so-called secret Rapture) and his final public coming in judgment to wrap

up this present age. In short, the story involved in this fictional series has to do with events in God’s future plan for this earth that the contemporary church will not experience because of her disappearance into the heavens at the time of the Rapture.

If LaHaye’s view of the end is correct, (and this is a very big “if”), and the church of God is spared this seven-year period of tribulation and judgment, why is there so much interest among evangelicals concerning this period of time? If evangelicals will actually be removed from the events described in the Left Behind series, why then do so many care so intensely about these books? It certainly is not because these books will become classical fictional literature that will stimulate minds and move hearts thirty years from now. Dr. Graham’s secretary’s comments should actually suffice to answer this question for all believing Christians: “What do I care, I’ll be gone!”

Then why do we care so much about this series? Why is the series so unbelievably popular? Why has Left Behind become a multi-million-dollar franchise with spin-offs, merchandising, and both a recently released video and a soon-to-appear movie? Why does this series currently hold the heart of evangelicals more than any other boo...

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