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The Monitor Guide to The Religion Bestsellers

By Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / September 9, 1999

1. APOLLYON, by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Tyndale House, $19.97 As the Apocalypse lengthens, our friends from the Tribulation Force continue to battle the Antichrist to bring souls to Jesus. The woes that John prophesied in Revelation continue to afflict the world, and things worsen before they get better. Unfortunately, the more I read this series, the more disappointed I get. The authors attempt too much by providing more background than is necessary. The writing is choppy, and as the plot leaps from location to location, the reader is often left behind. (403 pp.) By Jan Moller

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2. THE VISITATION, by Frank Peretti, Word Publishing, $24.99 The latest from the top-selling author of Christian fiction is a riveting story of how a town in Washington state is thrown into turmoil by a stranger whose actions and startling healings raise questions of the Second Coming. At the novels heart is the human struggle of a local former Pentecostal pastor. He rediscovers his faith in the process of solving the mystery of the stranger and leading the confrontation between forces of good and evil. Peretti, a former pastor, weaves in a critique of religious excess and the contemporary Christian church. (519 pp.) By Jane Lampman

3. ASSASSINS, by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, Tyndale House, $22.99 Assassins takes us past the midpoint of the Apocalypse, and we see more prophecies of the book of Revelation come to pass. The continuation of the story of the Tribulation Force, those left behind after Jesus rapture, gives plenty of background on each character as they pray to be chosen by God to assassinate the New World Order leader, Nicolae Carpathia. Fortunately, the Lord has provided the underground Trib Force with better techies to override the Antichrists technology. (384 pp.) By Jan Moller

4. THE ART OF HAPPINESS, by the Dalai Lama & H. Cutler, Riverhead, $22.95 The purpose of life, says the Dalai Lama, is to seek happiness. This seemingly elementary statement requires strict adherence and mental discipline toward a benevolent, rather than self-centered, happiness. There is great value in reading about the basic spiritual values of this unique world figure and Tibetan spiritual leader: human qualities of goodness, compassion, and caring. This book is based on a series of conversations the Dalai Lama had with Howard Cutler, a Phoenix-based psychiatrist. (322 pp.) By Leigh Montgomery

5. TURNING HURTS INTO HALOS, by Robert Schuller, Thomas Nelson, $22.99 The Rev. Schuller commits his newest book to what he considers the inevitable pain and hurt of human experience. Host of the popular Hour of Power televised church service, Schuller uses stories from his own experience and others lives to illustrate that when lifes unavoidable pain is handed over to God, it can be transformed into a halo. While sometimes enlightening and encouraging, the book falls just short of delivering the tangible truths necessary to make these transitions possible. (256 pp.) By Anne Toevs