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Holy crap!

Does everyone remember the commenter Chad and his delightful brother Dallas, from this post? Their last name, as I’ve known for a long time, is Jenkins. The connection I didn’t make, despite a number of hints, is that their dad is Jerry B. Jenkins, co-author of the infamous Left Behind series. (In fact, according to many reports I have read, he’s the actual author of the series, with LaHaye serving as “prophecy consultant” in order to guarantee absolute accuracy in every detail.)

I understand that in the eyes of many of you, this will undercut the two brothers’ already shaky credibility. Nonetheless, I recommend being extra-nice to both of them from now on, because I assume that they stand to inherit a lot of money.


December 22, 2008 - Posted by | economics, religion


  1. Larry B. was the crazy liberal brother so we knocked him on the head and left him for dead. Jerry B. then wrote the series.

    I don’t see how that makes us any less credible. We’re still Christian conservative republicans…what’s the difference.

    And if my dad would quit giving all his freakin money away, then yes, we probably would’ve inherited a ton. Selfish bastard…doesn’t he care about his kids?

    Comment by Chad | December 22, 2008

  2. Corrected. I hope I get some credit for remembering his middle initial. I would’ve looked it up on Amazon, but I didn’t want them to be hawking end times merchandise to me for the next six months.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | December 22, 2008

  3. Jerry B. has pictures of the whole family up on his blog. You can view Chad’s cute little youngins.

    Chad, it might undercut your credibility to some because their assumption that you believe in biblical inerrancy, Revelation-style rapture etc., because your dad does. That’s different from being Christian, conservative, or republican.

    Anyway, happy new year.

    Comment by Rachel | December 23, 2008

  4. You know, I hadn’t read that thread before. I hate you for making me do it now.

    Comment by bitchphd | December 23, 2008

  5. Dallas’s 3 youngins are included as well…I have just the one. I guess you can also see Dallas and his wife and my wife and everyone else. I know everyone’s dying for the opportunity.

    So if I believe in biblical inerrancy, etc…that affects the rest of my views because what, I’m automatically an idiot?

    Again…what’s the difference. That’s been established already.

    Comment by Chad | December 23, 2008

  6. …if you’re so inclined, here’s an easier way to Jerry B.’s blog.

    Comment by Chad | December 23, 2008

  7. That’s a cute baby in the green pajamas, Chad.

    Can you introduce me to Kirk Cameron?

    Comment by jms | December 23, 2008

  8. “So if I believe in biblical inerrancy, etc…that affects the rest of my views because what, I’m automatically an idiot?”

    Well, yeah.

    You ever cough up one of those little white plaque thingys that stick in your throat and smell like old man? That shits gross.

    Comment by Anthony Paul Smith | December 23, 2008

  9. Chad, I didn’t and wouldn’t call you an idiot (and I’m not calling you that indirectly through the rest of the words, either; calling someone an idiot is an insult and I have no need to insult you, nor do you deserve that).

    Believing that the Bible is inerrant implies a certain worldview that is usually not found among the academic crowd, you know? That’s an assumption that might be incorrect but many evangelical or fundamental Christians have wronged “outsiders” so significantly that it will take a lot for that to go away. Also, it’s intellectually dishonest. Most people who have studied the Bible understand its excruciatingly complicated history over millennia and that many humans have had their hand in editing it. So, many educated Christians (and non-Christians, of course) aren’t going to engage in a battle of wits believing that they are on a level playing field if their opponent believes the Bible is inerrant. You know?

    Anyway, cheers. Happy Christmas, well wishes, etc., I promise.

    Comment by Rachel | December 23, 2008

  10. Oh, and just to clarify:

    Are you asking what the difference is between believing in an inerrant Bible and being republican, Christian, or conservative?

    Comment by Rachel | December 23, 2008

  11. No. I’m already viewed as an idiot around here, so me believing the Bible is inerrant doesn’t change anything.

    Comment by Chad | December 23, 2008

  12. I think you’re uninformed. That’s a fixable problem. If you willfully decide not to become more informed, or if you mistake reading a bunch of libertarian nonsense for becoming informed, then you might be heading more toward idiot.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | December 23, 2008

  13. Chad,

    You do know there is a difference between inerrant and infallible, right? I know it’s insulting to call you a idiot, but if you believe in the inerrancy of the Christian scripture in all matters you are one. If you believe in the infallibility of scripture, meaning that the bible is true with regard to matters of faith, well that isn’t idiotic. One suggests you think Jesus rode dinosaurs and the other suggests you’re a Protestant Christian. If you believe in the inerrancy of scripture it does suggest that Adam has really been wasting his time to get you to consider becoming more informed. Still, even if you did want to do that, I suspect it would be rather rough for you.

    Comment by Anthony Paul Smith | December 23, 2008

  14. Well, in that case, I should have praised Chad’s understanding of economics. With the proper flattery, I’m sure they would have been open to being an LP in my new fund……hey, my performance has always been better than Bernie Madoff’s!

    No, Chad, you still don’t understand what people are telling you. My best advice is: don’t invest in any bridges or any funds named after characters in Ayn Rand novels.

    Comment by burritoboy | December 23, 2008

  15. “We’re still Christian conservative republicans”

    You’re not conservatives. There effectively are no, and cannot be any, American conservatives. The last American conservatives were driven out / purged during the Revolutionary War.

    Americans can be, and you probably are, on the Right. But that’s why you’re not a conservative.

    Comment by burritoboy | December 23, 2008

  16. How fantastically pointless, burritoboy.

    Yes, I know the difference between inerrant and infallible. Turns out that in reality, I’m not an idiot. It also turns out that you can’t insult me, so let it fly.

    Some people are obsessed with the inerrancy of scripture. It’s never been a topic of conversation in our family…so there it is.

    Comment by Chad | December 23, 2008

  17. Why do Armageddonists and dispensationists get to call themselves fundamentalists and literalists? They read the Bible like it was written in a secret code. Their Bible interpretation is about as literal as Madonna’s.

    Comment by John Emerson | December 23, 2008

  18. Oh by the way, concerning Kirk Cameron. We had nothing to do with those little-white-plaque-thingys-that-stick-in-your-throat-and-smell-like-old-man filled movies. The script/production was passed from promising newer Christian film company to established crappy Christian film company…ugh.

    I did eat lunch on the set right next to Kirk though. Nice fella.

    Comment by Chad | December 23, 2008

  19. Well, I still think that dispensationalism is egregiously metaphorical.

    Comment by John Emerson | December 23, 2008

  20. I even know an ex-dispensationist PhD, who sometimes comments here, who says that the subtle text-reading skills she learned in church led her to abstruse literary studies.

    Comment by John Emerson | December 23, 2008

  21. Were you directing your ists-laden question at me?

    Comment by Chad | December 23, 2008

  22. Yeah, Are you an Armageddonist yourself? even granting a Biblical, Christian standpoint, the Left Behind kind of thing seems like a long stretch — one of the many weird offshoots of Christianity which have sprouted and perished over the last two millenia. (The End Times have been predicted literally thousands of times. Probably every years since 32 or so has been the end of the world.)

    If, alternatively, the books are just some sort of fiction, I rather resent people gleefully fantasizing about having me torn apart by wild beasts, or whatever it is that happens in those wonderful books.

    Forgive me for not knowing whether I’ll be torn apart by wild beast, thrown into a pit of fire, hacked apart by a bright shining sword, or whatever. I’m not a Left Behind scholar.

    Comment by John Emerson | December 23, 2008

  23. The Left Behind series makes zero predictions about when the end of the world would happen, so lumping it in with the rest of the armageddon-predictors would be inaccurate.

    But yeah…based on LaHaye’s interpretation of Revelation (combined with the other prophetic books)…the Left Behind model is plausible enough. Basically those books depict what the world would look like if LaHaye’s interpretation happened tomorrow. My dad simply put characters in the path of the whirlwind.

    If there was glee about wild beats tearing people apart (or any of the other awfuls things predicted and depicted), your resentment would certainly be justified.

    Comment by Chad | December 23, 2008

  24. If it’s fiction I regard it as hostile — what would you think if I were to write a series of novels graphically describing Christians being cruelly murdered? If it’s thought of as being in some way connected as reality, I regard it as extremely far-fetched and improbable — thank God (should he exist). And while I am not a believer, I have enough Christian background to know that not only is the theology not generally accepted in the rest of the Christian world, it also depends on a very narrow, tendentious, and forced reading of the Bible as a whole.

    Comment by John Emerson | December 23, 2008

  25. I should add that Fox’s “Book of Martyrs” does describe Christians being cruelly murdered, but it does not suggest that they had it coming to them, which the”Left Behind” series does do.

    Comment by John Emerson | December 23, 2008

  26. Plenty of the aspects of Christianity are far-fetched and improbable. Virgin birth, blindness healed, raise the dead…

    You clearly haven’t read the series, so making claims that it says “they had it coming” is hollow and incorrect.

    As far as the theology not being accepted in the rest of the Christian world…if you mean the pre-tribulationism vs. mid-trib/post-trib etc, then sure. But most of the Christian world believes in some sort of rapture/tribulation/second coming.

    Comment by Chad | December 23, 2008

  27. Oh…and there’s plenty of Christians getting cruelly murdered in the LB series as well.

    Comment by Chad | December 23, 2008

  28. I absolutely have not read the series.

    I am wrong in interpreting it as unfriendly? Or is it more like “Shit happens, some people are torn apart by beasts or thrown into pits of fire, others aren’t, there’s no right or wrong here, life isn’t fair, just chill out, OK?”

    Comment by John Emerson | December 23, 2008

  29. Most of the Christian world isn’t too bothered by it though. That’s a major difference between evangelicals and mainline Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, as well as the other more orthodox and political varied Christian denomination. I remember as a child constantly being terrified that I was going to miss the rapture because of some impurity, usually masturbation. Absolutely ridiculous and harmful.

    You should consider reading Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Dare We Hope that all Men Be Saved?. He’s Catholic, so he’s probably missing the rapture, but just buy it and read it. Ignatius Press, rather gorgeously type-set and bound. There are serious and persuasive alternatives to the kind of ideological theology that is prevalent, but often heterodox, in the Christian world.

    Comment by Anthony Paul Smith | December 24, 2008

  30. I was thinking especially of what I’ve read about the Scofield Bible a lot of people use, perhaps in a derivative form. It seems to me like a very far-fetched symbolic reading, almost an occult reading, where you pluck passages from here and there and everywhere and weld them into your own creation. (Like the Kabbala, for example which was why I mentioned Madonna).

    And my question has been, in what sense is this literalism? It’s obviously a different reading than the liberal Christian reading, which softens certain passages by metaphorical interpretation, but the Scofield reading doesn’t strike me as more literal at all.

    There’s a sort of a sidelight here — some American Christian sectarians of ca. 1800 believed that the existing Bible was corrupt, and that an edited version should be followed, with the corrupt passages deleted. One group of these became the Primitive Baptists who count as super-fundamentalist. Another group was the liberal Christians of the Unitarian type.

    For example, Thomas Jefferson produced his own edition of what he thought was the true primitive Bible. For a long time I thought that that was just his Deist way of reforming Christianity according to his own ideas, but it now seems possible to me that he actually did consider himself a believer in what he thought of as the original Christianity.

    Comment by John Emerson | December 24, 2008

  31. Primitive Baptists: Moderate Pimitive Baptists v. Absolute Predestnarian Primitive Baptists.

    Comment by John Emerson | December 24, 2008

  32. Unfriendly? I guess you could call it ‘unfriendly.’ The End Times, if it goes the way LaHaye reads it, will be unfriendly for everyone: martyred Christians and those suffering the Revelation judgments.

    But the Christian characters in the series are desperately trying to convince and convert others, and are saddened by the whole ordeal. There’s no glee or ‘told ya so’ or ‘you had it coming.’

    Comment by Chad | December 24, 2008

  33. I was thinking more of the actual this-worldly authors and readers of the series, rather than the fictional characters in the fictional books. Christians who entertain themselves with that kind of fiction do not seem to be people I would want to know better.

    Comment by John Emerson | December 24, 2008

  34. I can only speak for my dad in saying that the feeling isn’t mutual.

    Comment by Chad | December 24, 2008

  35. Cool. Well, if he were to start by unwriting all his vicious pulp fiction, we could deal.

    Comment by John Emerson | December 24, 2008

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