Dr. Jerry Johnston Interviews Jerry Jenkins and Craig Evans

Dr. Craig Evans is the John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins at HBU. He is a sought-after biblical scholar and New Testament expert. His books and teaching have encouraged many and led skeptics to faith in Jesus Christ.

Jerry Jenkins is a bestselling author of numerous books, including the famous “Left Behind” series. Together, they have collaborated to create the novel, “Dead Sea Rising.”

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The team behind the recently released “Dead Sea Rising: A Novel” spoke with Dr. Jerry Johnston, VP of Innovation and Strategic Marketing for Houston Baptist University. The collaboration came out of Jerry B. Jenkins’ ability to weave stories that appeal to a popular audience, and Dr. Craig Evans’ historical and archeological expertise.

Evans remembers his initial idea behind a historical fiction piece. “I was interested in writing something that relates to the past, that has real archeology, but has great implications for the present and could lead to a whole new understanding and peace,” he says. “I realized, ‘I can’t write this. Fiction is complicated.’”

That’s when Evans’ literary agent steered him to the talents held by the likes of Jenkins. “We hit it off right away,” Evans says. “It was a lot of fun exploring possibilities.”

Evans and Jenkins worked together to create a plot about a woman in her late 30s in a modern-day setting. Her story intersects with the past, allowing Evans’ expertise to play into the storyline. While Evans doesn’t consider himself a fiction writer, he did try his hand at creative writing.

“I have made up scholarly conversations – the kind you might overhear,” Evans says. “I like to feed him stuff that he can seize and incorporate. My goal is to make sure that everything has to do with history, archeology and scholarship.”

A paid writer since age 14, Jenkins considers it his mission to write for God’s glory. “In my mid-teens, I was called to full-time Christian work,” he says. “I thought that was the end of my writing. The wife of a Christian speaker actually encouraged me. She said God sometimes equips us before He calls us. If you’re equipped to be a writer, that may be the vehicle you use to fulfill your calling.”

Jenkins progressed in his gift from being a teenaged sports writer to a New York Times bestselling author, known for almost 200 books, including the “Left Behind” series.

“I’d like my legacy to be that I was obedient to the call,” Jenkins says. “That’s success.”


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