Over at The Pangea, Kurt posted something about the end times and all the misguided theology behind it. If you thought you know a lot about the end times via “Left Behind” theology, you might want to consider a different option. An option that is more biblical and one that is less fanatical. Even the video above promoting the board game gets it wrong at the beginning, “As we enter the end times…” Now this is simply bordering to unbiblical territory.
I wonder what profit might the gospel presented by a “left behind theology” deem for the Christian community as a whole.
It says that when the rapture happens all ‘hell’ is going to break loose. You might be thinking what I mean here. Well, it’s easy really. Rapture is when the faithful will be taken up to heaven. They will just disappear and vanish into thin air. So when this happens planes piloted by born again Christians will be pilot-less because he was raptured. So having no pilot the plane will crash. Cars driven by born again Christians will suddenly be empty and just crash into cars driven by those who are not raptured and eventually kill them. I say to this what wonderful theology, what great insights. That Christians would be the ones who are responsible for many deaths because they vanished.
There is also a rousing obsession with how the Antichrist and the number of the beast are interpreted. Those who do not have this number imprinted on them will not be able to buy stuff when the Antichrist comes to power. Now doesn’t this sound too literal in a way someone reads the text? Revelations is understood as a book that is filled with visions and there is a way to read the text carefully.
And with all this being bombarded to the people in the pews, the Church by some amateur (forgive my harsh tone here), it simply breeds a compounding message of doom and gloom. Now, you were talking that Jesus message was about good news…but the bulk of the message of what I hear from this sort of gospel presentation is to scare the wits out of people. Do you think there will be genuine love and devotion instilled in people if this is the message that is given? If scaring the crap out of people is the number one instigator of telling people about God’s plan then you might want to think again about that.
The message would be always to repent of living in a worldly manner and start living life that glorifies Jesus which is always assumed that people know what is meant by this. But the standard designation of this is by way of living in a worldly manner is doing stuff like smoking, gambling, listening to secular music, reading Harry Potter, watching Pokemon, drinking beer and many more that you also are accustomed to. And as for living a life that God is pleased with, reading the bible (even if it was without understanding), going to church (as long as one goes to church), tithing, praying, getting involved in ministry, and all things religiously acquainted to Christianity. Well for me this is such a narrow way of how living life is supposed to be in the way that pleases God. Many thing are left out. Stuff like living in community, loving one another, no segregation of peoples groups in the church, eliminating greed, being responsible stewards of God’s creation, helping the poor, being salt and light to the world and need I say more?
I say a gospel in the vein of “left behind” ideology simply degrades the whole idea of the kingdom of God and what the gospel really is. Ascribing to a “left behind” mentality is simply being professional escapist Christians, rude and irrelevant, with only the care of blasting off to heaven.
I have to admit that talking about social, cultural and global issues are somewhat quite new to me. Particularly because most Christians here (my context) shy away from dealing, probing, discussing, sharing their opinions about these issues. Christians in the Malaysian context on the island of Borneo which is known as East Malaysia have not really presented issues like for example the war in Gaza or the global financial situation in a reflective manner as a form of how Christians should tackle these issues. Many (now this is my own observation and critique), when addressing issues like this, take the Gaza war for example, simply explain issues like this in terms of eschatology; that is with an End Time perspective. The typical engagement on issues of war is simply to explain that the world is simply getting wicked and wars that we see happening are signs that the end is coming soon. Because of this fact we are to live right for those who are Christians, in the way that we pray regularly, attend Sunday service or Christian programs/events, read our bible faithfully and all the normal Christian disciplines we know about. As or those who have yet made a decision for Jesus, they are encouraged to do so to escape the wrath and untimely death if it so happens so that they can a place in heaven. I find this typical, something that I have observed about for my experience living here. I simply want to make things clear that I have no affiliation of any kind with a group in describing these matters, but my personal observation. I simply wish that the church would be actively involved in social issues of sorts, speaking their opinions where it mattered and lend a helping hand to society around them. Involvement needs reflections, and a christian one is what I seek the church here to seek. We have ignored too much the world outside in whom we were and are called to effect, to be salt and light in our context and to the nations. There are many issues that are popping up, and at an increasing level if I might add. Is there a Christian mind ready to engage them? Or is the Christian and the church simply awaiting the heaven bound timetable and simply ignoring the very place where God calls them to be witnesses?