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.


Blogger Calvinist Jedi said...

Nice rant, and it is right on.

1:16 PM  

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