The authors of the blockbuster "Left Behind" series, which has sold more than 60 million books worldwide, have now written a new book -- "The Jesus Chronicles, John's Story: The Last Eyewitness."
Authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins talked with "Good Morning America" anchor Chris Cuomo about the book's meaning.
Cuomo: A little bit of the setup here is that John probably was the youngest of the disciples, so therefore he lives the longest. He gets to be about 90 years old, and people start to speak about Jesus not being the son of God, and he decides to hold forth, right? Flush it out for me.
LaHaye: Yes, exactly. When Cerinthus, the first century heretic began to say, well, Jesus wasn't really God in human flesh, and he really didn't walk on water, he really didn't perform miracles. John was the last person who could say, wait a minute. I saw those miracles. I saw Lazarus raised from the dead, just recite things that how could Cerinthus answer. That may be one of the reasons Cerinthus didn't do well in the first century.
Cuomo: Mr. LaHaye, because of what you've done before with the "Left Behind" series, what makes this book so interesting when you start to read it? Is it [that it] reads like a gripping thriller? It has that aspect of it. So how much did you stick to scripture when you were telling the story of John?
LaHaye: Whenever the story has to be … from the Bible in actual word, Jerry shifts into that. But the buildup to it and preparation to it is taken a lot from tradition and first century stories about people's lives. And it's so fascinating, because it helps people understand why John did what he did.
Cuomo: And when you were parsing through what you wanted to use to draw upon because, you know, John is not an uncommon story, especially to Christians who've heard about it. So in deciding what to use and how to adapt it -- how did you go about that?
Jenkins: Well, I think one of the more fascinating parts of the research was finding how much tradition there is, especially even from the Catholic side. We know as Protestants and Protestant writers, and yet there so much tradition there, and as I was doing the research I found the story -- the traditional story about John being boiled in oil and not dying -- and I know that there will be some readers who will say, "Well wait a minute, that's not in the Bible."
Well, it's fiction and so where we can flush things out, we try to do that. The little boy who brought his lunch to Jesus -- we give him a name, and we have him interact with the disciples, just things that might have happened that I think will bring interest to people.
Cuomo: Are you concerned about the purists who will say no, no, no -- it must be word for word, no deviation? Are you worried about that at all?
LaHaye: Not really, because in many places it is word for word, but then the story is, as Jerry says, leading up to help people understand why it was written.
Cuomo: Tell us about some of the miracles that you put in the book, that you believe are particularly instructive.
Jenkins: Well, of course the first miracle was when Jesus changed the water into wine and one of the more interesting aspects of that is we added Lazarus. Now, the Bible doesn't say that Lazarus was there. But it says that when Jesus heard that Lazarus died, he wept, which means they had to be close. And so it makes sense that maybe he was there, and so we have him there and interacting.