TPD pp 119-120: More operational information

Tal’s troops are growing as more and more angels are called in by

“The Remnant!”

, who are apparently praying a lot lately. Why is that capitalized?  Remnant of what? It sounds like they’re refugees or something.We’re given five names (including the couple from the church scene, the Colemans) and told there’s “many more”.

“[…] they drop to their knees as easily as dropping a hat.”

Does that sentence sound incredibly wrong to anyone else out of context?

New angels are assigned to many of the people on Tal’s list in an effort to encourage them to come back to church and start praying. Which. If they’re not praying, where did Tal’s reinforcements come from? It said the prayers of the Remnant did this, do they not count as Remnant? Is it seriously just two couples and the rest are borderline? How does this work?

“And what about relatives, friends elsewhere?” Tal asked Scion.

“Plenty ‘o them are redeemed and ready for prayer.”

Wait, so, does prayer do nothing if you’re not a Christian? But apparently there’s levels of Christian: at the bottom is the potential Christian convert, then the Redeemed-but-not-Praying, then the Prayers, then the True Believers at the top perhaps?

“Shall I send emissaries to burden them?”

Tal shook his head. “I can’t let any warriors be gone for long. Instead, have messengers carry word to the watchcarers over these people’s towns and cities, and let the watchcarers see that these people are burdened with prayer for their loved ones here.”

At first I read “burdened with prayer from their loved ones”; I was wondering what’s so burdensome about being prayed over. But it’s the reverse: the burden is having to pray for people you care about’s wellbeing. What a heavy burden. I know saying words of love and caring on behalf of those I know are struggling is incredibly difficult and taxing.

That was sarcasm, by the way.

Hogan is praised by Tal for overthrowing Complacency, and more guards are put on him, trying to intimidate the enemy with sheer numbers. Despite the fact that they can’t actually smite anyone due to orders. What happens when the enemy realizes that and rushes Hogan anyway? Seems kind of silly.

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5 Responses to TPD pp 119-120: More operational information

  1. Jarred H says:

    Why is that capitalized? Remnant of what? It sounds like they’re refugees or something.

    This is an obscure (outside of Peretti’s target audience) Biblical reference. I believe it’s a reference to Revelation, where a faithful remnant of God’s followers are mentioned and praised for remaining faithful in the face of persecution. This group of people are often referred to in sermons as simply “The Remnant.” Peretti is drawing on that imagery here, I think.

    Wait, so, does prayer do nothing if you’re not a Christian?

    *blinkblink*

    Does this assertion surprise you? (This is one of those cases where I’ve probably forgotten that not everyone was involved with this sort of thing and therefor doesn’t take these ideas for granted.) This is actually a fairly common belief among Peretti’s target audience: The only prayer from a non-believer that God will ever hear or respond to is The Sinner’s Prayer.

    Of course, among the spiritual warfare types, it gets even more complicated. Not only must you be a believer, but you have to be a Believer in Good Standing. If you have sin — a toe-hold for the enemy — in your life, they your prayers are less effective at best and as ineffective as an outright non-believer at worst.

    Think back to the church meeting where Brummel is praying and one angel asks another if he feels any strength yet. The second angel replies, “Why? Is someone else going to pray?” That was based on the same principle.

    But it’s the reverse: the burden is having to pray for people you care about’s wellbeing.

    Not quite. This is Christianese, through and through. “Being burdened” in this sense means that you can’t seem to get the person you care about of your mind. You keep thinking about them and often feel worried about them for some reason you can’t might imagine. The idea is that this “burden” (these constant thoughts and worries) drives you to your knees in prayer.

    • yamikuronue says:

      “This is actually a fairly common belief among Peretti’s target audience: The only prayer from a non-believer that God will ever hear or respond to is The Sinner’s Prayer.”

      Sorry, I’ve been unclear. What I meant was, “Does praying for a sinner do nothing”? It sounded to me like being redeemed was a prerequisite for being prayed over. But I may have misread, it may be meaning being redeemed was a prerequisite for praying on behalf of the town. Looking back, it’s kind of vague.

      “This is an obscure (outside of Peretti’s target audience) Biblical reference.” and “This is Christianese, through and through.”
      Grah. Words have meanings. I wish people would define their meanings before using words in a nonstandard way. Stupid dog-whistles. That’s what’s making this read-through the most difficult: not only am I struggling against how detached from reality the plot is, I also have to cross-reference half the words just to make sure I read them right.

  2. Mau de Katt says:

    This group of people are often referred to in sermons as simply “The Remnant.” Peretti is drawing on that imagery here, I think.

    Yes, exactly, In Evangelical circles, the belief is that, no matter how apostate a community has become, how many “lukewarm Christians” have drifted away or not-quite-so-dedicated believers have given up, or worse yet, how many Christians have become “corrupted by the world’s influence” and become “backslidden,” (i.e. falling back into old pre-RTC-conversion habits, practices, and/or beliefs), there will always be a Remnant of True RealTrueChristians that are still following God and True Christian Belief etc.

    It not only alludes to the passage in Revelation that Jarred H mentioned, it also ties back into the Noah story, where the whole world was “sinful and corrupt,” but there was a Faithful Remnant — in this case, Noah and perhaps his family, if they weren’t added on just for Noah’s sake — that “remains true to God.”

    Peretti’s target audience likes to believe that they are this Faithful Remnant in the face of aMurrica’s decline into Evuhl Libruhlism and Secular Godless Humanism and all the other “-isms” that they don’t like. And more importantly, that all they have to do is pray hard enough and that will be enough; this saves them from actually having to do anything to actually fix any real problems.

  3. Daughter says:

    Actually, the term “remnant” is used numerous times in the Old Testament. In the Hebrew Bible, it refers to those Israelites who remained faithful to God (or pre-Israelites, as in the case of Noah), when all others had fallen into apostasy. It also often refers to those Israelites who are still alive after conquest/war/exile. In the NT, other than a couple of references in Revelation, it’s only used three times, in the book of Romans, and again still only refers to Jews, in this case, those Jews who choose to convert to Christianity.

    Many fundamentalists believe that the church (i.e., a generic term for Christianity) is supposed to be the “new Israel” in the common era, so it’s not unusual to see them adopt concepts or promises that were specific to the ancient Israelite nation and decide that those are really meant for Christians today. So it is with “the Remnant” — they mean those that have stayed faithful to God when others have fallen into apostasy.

  4. Aimee says:

    Just read through your deconstruction so far. I was brought up in the Church of Christ which was/is real big on Real Christians vs False Christians. Though it preaches against spiritual warfare as it is described in these books, saying that demons no longer have power to possess people as part of a doctrine that all sins are solely our own doing. The devil tempts, but I think I was taught that such a thing as a demon of deceit would be contrary to free will (as you have pointed out) and that was very important to the theology of my church. The “demons” were metaphorical – aspects of our own fallen nature and not outside supernatural forces.

    However, I was given this book and others from my grandmother who did believe in demons and spiritual warfare. She also gave me the Left Behind books even though my church preached against the doctrine of the Rapture as false doctrine (and the Elsie Dinsmore books which I think were more in line with the general ideas of my parent’s church). I read them, because I read everything, and my parents thought the basic message would be good and that I wouldn’t be lead astray by the false doctrines. I wasn’t – in that I didn’t end up believing in demons or the rapture from reading these books – but it did point out to me how vastly different Christian beliefs could be and how silly it was that everyone was so certain in these ridiculous claims.

    I definitely thought that the whole angels are powered through prayer thing was silly, though since I was a 14 year old Christian at the time I did end up praying more out of a weird sense of guilt just in case. The feeling didn’t last long.

    I don’t even remember where I saw this blog linked (foreverinhell I believe) but I am glad I did 🙂

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