Leading Christian groups gave their thumbs up for the new Left Behind: Eternal Forces PC game amid controversy over its violence.
Despite blows from some religious leaders who say the game fosters religious intolerance and violence against different faiths, the Left Behind Games company highlighted the support of "numerous ministries" endorsing the game. Such groups include Promise Keepers, Concerned Women for America and Women of Faith.
"The reality is that everyone who is throwing stones, they literally have never played the game because literally 100 percent of their claims are bogus," Left Behind Games CEO Troy Lyndon told GameSpot.
Focus on the Family's reviewer, Bob Hoose, called the critiques "exaggerations," saying those who protest the game had not played the game. Focus on the Family does not endorse anything, the ministry's director of public relations, Lisa Anderson, said Thursday, but the group did have a somewhat positive review of the Left Behind game.
The game begins after the rapture. Christians ascend to heaven and Earth's remaining population is faced with a choice of joining or combating the Antichrist - Global Community Peacekeepers who try to take over the world.
Hoose assures that there are no missions in the game aimed at causing a war or killing others. Rather, "you train soldiers only to defend your people when Carpathia (head of the Peacekeepers) starts sending in the big guns."
"'Eternal Forces' is the kind of game that Mom and Dad can actually play with Junior - and use to raise some interesting questions along the way," said Hoose.
More than 65,000 units of the Left Behind video game have been sold to retailers nationwide in the first six weeks of its release, according to the company. Despite attempts by some Christian leaders to halt the sale of the game at major retailer Wal-Mart, the game remains on the store shelves of Wal-Mart along with thousands of other retailers.
Tim LaHaye, author of the popular "Left Behind" book series, which the game is based on, praised the game, calling it "the greatest invention developed in my lifetime to reach this generation."
LaHaye is currently working on a new series called "The Jesus Chronicles" with evangelical Christian author Jerry B. Jenkins. And the message is the same, they say, according to The Associated Press. The end is coming. Be ready. Know the Bible.
Instead of promoting "intolerance," as some Christian critics say, LaHaye says he's afraid for nonbelievers.
"That theme 'left behind' is a warning we want to give everybody in our world," he said, according to AP. "You need to come to grips on who Jesus is so that you can decide to accept him or, if you choose to reject him, that's your choice."
The new book opens in A.D. 95 as John is being boiled in oil for refusing to worship the evil Roman emperor Domitian. It features John sharing his memories of Jesus with "color and plot" added to the Bible stories. LaHaye called it "fiction based on fact."