The point isn’t that all these leaders are part of some kind of right-wing Illuminati. It’s simply that the seemingly wacky ideology promulgated in the Left Behind books is one that important people in America are quite comfortable with. The Left Behind series provides a narrative and a theological rationale for a whole host of perplexing conservative policies, from the White House’s craven decision to cut off aid to the United Nations Family Planning Fund to America’s surreally casual mobilization for an invasion of Baghdad — a city that is, in the Left Behind books, Satan’s headquarters.
Of course, it’s not that every reader of the more than 50 million Left Behind books sold so far is an end-times fundamentalist any more than every Eminem fan is a homophobe. Nor are the books guaranteed to change their audiences’ views on American foreign policy — the relationship between culture and politics is never that simple. But the stories people tell themselves about the world necessarily shape the way they act in it, and right now, this is the story that’s captivating America.
There’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone is entitled to their fantasies. But LaHaye and Jenkins are at pains to show that the Left Behind books are meant as more than fiction. They write on the Left Behind , “While it is true that in the broad spectrum of Protestant Christianity there are multiple views of the end-times scenario, the pre-millennialist theology found in the Left Behind Series is the prominent view among evangelical Christians, including their leading seminaries such as Talbot Seminary, Trinity Seminary and Dallas Theological Seminary.”
The Left Behind series began in 1995 with the title novel. Below is a list of Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’ Left Behind books in order of when they were originally released as well as in chronological order: