Tuesday, October 21, 2008
People get ready......
To be a Christian today is to have been exposed to end time prophecy. My heritage, the same one that gave a fairly legalistic spin to the Sabbath, had a broad view of the return of Christ. It differed from premillenialism, and actually was named because of the belief that there is no future millennial period, that we are, in fact living in the time between Christ's coming and final return. There would be no observable signs before His return.
This view was challenged big time when Hal Lindsey published an immensely popular book in 1970 entitled "The Late Great Planet Earth" The premise, you know, was that the world would end in an Armageddon conflict within a generation from the taking of the Land by Israel in 1948, there would be a "catching away of believers" and then the Anti-Christ would appear. It was classic premillenial theology applied to the headlines of the cold war and the rise of Russia and China.
Since this is not a theology blog per say, just let me share that this topic created along with the political unrest, assassinations, and ugly war, a feeling that pervaded the youthful Christian world I had begun to inhabit. My teachers, however, seemed to take the whole thing quite casually and with explanations that were not so sensational but were quite helpful. I also realized that there was a bit of censorship going on when I tried to schedule the documentary that followed the book in our campus theater and was discouraged from showing it.
The first point I make is that this time I was firmly convinced my teachers were right and I refused to participate in the "pack your bags, the end is near" thinking.
I saw a lot of evangelism fueled by urgency, too many people giving up dreams because Christ was near, a lot of apprehension and unhealthy thinking, which saw bad news about international relations as good news because it agreed with Lindsey's teaching. As each date that Lindsey said "could very well be the year" my skepticism rose and I was thankful to be A-Millennial, whether I really understood it or not.