Are angels the new vampires?

Anne Rice, the author who made vampires trendy in herVampire Chronicles series, came back to the Christian faith in 1998. Upon returning to the Roman Catholic Church, Rice published two books about the life of Christ. She has now turned her attention to the subject of angels. Her new book, “Angel Time,” is the first in her Songs of the Seraphim series.

The question is will Anne Rice do for angels what she did for vampires? Rice was the author who spawned a virtual vampire industry. Stephenie Meyer’s The Twilight Series is being made into movies, and one blogger came up with the 10 most popular vampire book series. Lots of vampires and lots of readers who love vampire stories apparently.

Time will tell if Rice is able to turn angels into the next cultural trend, which would be interesting if it happened. Rather than the Goth look some kids love, we might get the Archangel look, which parents would love. Halos would become popular, and wings would make a big comeback. But I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.

But let’s say angels do become the new vampires, trend-wise that is. What do you know about angels? Rice sets her novel in a time-shifting milieu that finds a 21st century assassin transported back to the Middle Ages to defend Jews who are being persecuted. She believes angels move, not in linear time, but in another kind of time reserved only for, you guessed it, angels. Hence the title of the book, “Angel Time.”

But back to my question. What do you know about angels? Did you know that the evangelical take on angels is pretty thin compared to the Roman Catholic Church? Did you know that a guy named Pseudo-Dionysius (called that because he wasn’t the real Dionysius apparently) said there were nine ranks of angelic beings including Powers, Principalities, Thrones, Dominions, Angels, Archangels, Cherubim, Virtues and Seraphim? And, finally, did you know that angels are charged with care of creation as well as people?

In my own internet search for theological books on angels, I ran across very few. Most angel books tell accounts of how angels appeared to various people, but few give serious theological consideration to the subject of angels. In light of this dearth of material on angels, should we just dismiss the whole angelic order as though we’ve outgrown the childish notion that there are guardian angels? Or should we get to know more about angels because we might have to respond to questions about Rice’s books?

Chuck Warnock is pastor of Chatham Baptist Church in Chatham, Va. He blogs at Confessions of a Small-Church Pastor.

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