Friday, June 23, 2006

I recently spoke with someone close to me about the current End Time Mania that has such a tight grip on the American Evangelical community. This happened when she passed me a copy of a "book" (really nothing more than a photocopied manuscript with a plasic binding) called Beyond Babylon by James Lloyd. The book was basically full of End Times predictions. Predictably, it also included an appendix with numerous corrections and clarifications of prophetic statements made in earlier versions of the book which had failed to come to pass or had been shown to be otherwise flawed. She was so wrapped up in this she spent $35 on this photocopied "book" without thinking twice about it. Of course, part of the underlying reason there was that the show she ordered it from was on the SkyAngel network, and since it is a religious network whatever shows are on there must be reliable, right?

Anyway, I explained to her the fruits this type of "book" produces: fear. And quite often that fear and mania associated with eschatology leads people to completely neglect more important areas of doctrine. There are far too many people in our churches that probably could not list for you all Ten Commandments, but they could rattle off the details of the scroll, vial and bowl judgements in Revelations. I skimmed through the book she had given me, and my very first response to it was "Hal Lindsey wrote the same thing 30 years ago. The names have changed slightly, but everything else is the same." And I told her as much.

I told her that all the End Times mania is really nothing more than the latest Church fad. It sells books and gets people's attention. But when it comes down to it, eschatology is not the primary lens through which we should be reading the Bible. It isn't long before people are looking to extract all manner of things from Scripture using things like "Bible Codes." They become so caught up in it that they will make statements such as "We are now 98% confident that the UN Plaza will be hit by a terrorist nuclear bomb between Friday evening June 30th and Saturday evening July 1st, 2006." Of course, when this "prophecy" fails to come to pass like so many others, it's always the result of a slight miscalculation or some other explanation...anything but the cold hard truth that these people are false prophets preying upon people's fears and often milking them for plenty of money. And this field is as highly competitive as it is lucrative. The lengths to which some of these authors will go to promote their views over and against the competing views of others is simply astounding.

So what prompted this little rant? An article today stating that "'End Times' Religious Groups Want Apocalypse Soon. Now, I have to laugh at this as one who does not believe the Bible teaches a "Pre-Tribulation Rapture." That aside though, the article speaks of those in the Evangelical community who are basically trying to dictate (or at least hasten) the timing of the Second Coming simply by using technological means to get the Gospel to everybody, believing that this fulfillment of the Great Commission will necessitate the completion of the final paragraph in this chapter of human history.

Folks, nobody knows when He's coming back. If you are spending more time worrying about trying to figure out when He's coming back than you are devoting proper time to prayer and non-eschatology Bible study (as so many are these days), then something is horribly wrong.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I think that of all the living people I've never met but would like to sit down and have a beer and a chat with, Ann Coulter has got to be in the Top 5.

You know when prominent liberals in America go out of their way to remove the context from your statements you must be hitting a sore spot.

I gotta tell ya though...I love this article by Phillip Elliott of the Associated Press. The section at the end of the article listing the "quotable Coulter" is priceless, both because of the wonderful wit of Coulter they contain and their obvious use by a slanted writer to give his approval of the criticism of Coulter documented earlier in the article.

One thing that really cracks me up about Coulter is that she shares a similar trait with Rush (well, more than one, but this is the one I love): people, especially liberals, simply cannot tell when she's kidding and when she's not. Over the years I've met a few individuals who had the remarkable ability to say something with a completely straight face and get you going, only to reveal later that they were fooling you the whole time. After awhile though they would only reveal it on select occasions, leaving you wondering most times if they were serious or not.

People like Ann Coulter always keep you on your toes and make you think hard about what they say. They may occassionally apologize for fooling you, but they are completely unapologetic when it comes to telling you the truth.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

This one makes me sick: Father of beheaded man blames Bush, not Zarqawi

Talk about your moral relativism. How sick and demented is this man, Michael Berg, father of the beheaded Nick Berg. The elder Mr. Berg doesn't seem to care that al-Zarqawi claimed direct responsibility for the execution of his son. No...he blames George W. Bush. After all, it was because Bush dared to make good on the threats of the global community that al-Zarqawi had to behead innocent American citizens for all the world to see, right?

Mr. Berg, you make me sick. You and the Cindy Sheehan's of the world are a disgrace to your country and dishonor the death of your loved ones with your blind hatred.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

It's amazing how far superstition will go.

Everybody made this huge deal over the fact that yesterday was "the Devil's Day" because of the "666" implications of it. Now forget for a moment that in order to even get the number 666 from the date you have to be pretty loose about it. NOBODY truncates the leading zeros from a year in short form, so the closest anybody would truly get is 6/6/06. Of course, writing it as 06/06/06 is the mathematical equivalalent of 666...until you remember that that last number is truncated and is actually 2006.

And while you're forgetting about all that, forget also that this infamous number is applied (rather cryptically) to a man, not a day.

Anyway, among the headlines I saw the morning after the end of the world was the following:

New Hampshire man is 6-foot-6 and turned 66 on 6/6/06...

I didn't even read the article. I didn't have to. I've read this kind of garbage far too many times, particularly around 9/11. And in fact, that is exactly what I was reminded of...more specifically, an email originally sent around by David Pawson regarding the supposed significance of the number '11' on 9/11.

The only thing that surprised me yesterday was that Hal Lindsey wasn't in the news.