"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Found on Christianity Today's website

In American eschatology, only bad Christians—by which people like The New York Times columnist Frank Rich mean "Mr. Bush's base," and the red-staters for whom Revelations was presumably created—are rooting for the Apocalypse.

In Sunday's Times, (Frank) Rich explains that Revelations is part of the Christian right's culture of death: From The Passion to Terri Schiavo to Pope John Paul II, we conservative Christians are apparently obsessed with death over life. "No one does the culture of death with more of a vengeance literally so than the doomsday right," Rich wrote. "The Left Behind novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins all but pant for the bloody demise of nonbelievers at Armageddon. And now, as Eric J. Greenberg has reported in The Forward, there's even a children's auxiliary: a 40-title series, Left Behind: The Kids, that warns Jewish children of the hell that awaits them if they don't convert before it's too late. Eleven million copies have been sold on top of the original series' 60 million."

Rich, of course, misses the point (in the same way that Scottish soccer fans recently missed the point). Granted, some dispensationalists over the years have missed the point, too. But most have kept focus: The Second Coming of Jesus is something that all Christians agree on and eagerly await. "Come, Lord Jesus" is not a curse, but a prayer of hope.

When Christ returns, as the Nicene Creed says, he will come "in glory to judge the living and the dead." And yes, he will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire. We Christians eagerly await that day. But what we look forward to isn't seeing unbelievers destroyed while we scoff, "See ya, suckas!" The chaff that we most eagerly await the destruction of is the destruction of our own chaff, the immolation of that part of us that keeps us from seeing and following God as he truly is.

JB here. I have been certainly guilty of wishing to see my enemies immolated ( and smoked and roasted too) but as I grow older there is a stronger sense of wishing for the end of my own sinfulness and failures/inadequacies. Talking with the patients in nursing homes reminds me of the passing away of time and the certainty of loss of all material things except for the friendships developed over the years of one's life.

It is not possible that non-believers can ever understand the desire to radically pursue after Jesus Christ. JB

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