Frightening article on American evangelicalism

Frightening article on American evangelicalism

The following quote is taken from this CBS article which I found through TheLogo.

All four evangelical Christians, however, agree that they feel confident that they won’t be “Left Behind”.

But do evangelicals think they will live to see the Rapture?

“My thinking is I sure hope so. I think it’d be really cool,” says Ice.

Rev. Peter Gomes, a Baptist theologian at Harvard University, is one of this country’s preeminent Christian thinkers. He says that the chief source for such belief is a highly controversial book of the Bible: Revelation.

The chief source for the doctrine of the rapture is the book of Revelation? There is nothing in the book of Revelation that clearly communicates anything like the rapture.  There is one paragraph in 1Thess 4 that stands as the only the only solid support for this doctrine.  Note: Reading the whole article gives me the impression that Gomes is describing evangelicals and not necessarily his own theology.

The description of evangelicals in the US is almost frightening. It talks about evangelicals moving from their cultural defensiveness to “come into possession of what they felt was once rightfully theirs” and seeing America as God’s tool to fight a religious war.

For many the line between secular power and God’s power are blurred.

  1. #1 by Char on February 29, 2004 - 7:34 pm

    You have used the right word: frightening! (That is, of course, exactly the response that CBS is trying to incite.) Sadly, whether by media agenda, or by direct intent, this stuff reflects on all “evangelicals”. I find the timing of this post and your previous one provide an interesting juxtaposition! I’ll stick with 1 John! I must admit, however, it is a much more challenging option for me.

  2. #2 by Leighton Tebay on February 29, 2004 - 8:26 pm


    You are right in saying that article paints all evangelicals in a bad light when I know very few that actually believe in all that stuff.

  3. #3 by Brett on March 1, 2004 - 11:05 am

    “It talks about evangelicals moving from their cultural defensiveness to ‘come into possession of what they felt was once rightfully theirs’ and seeing America as God’s tool to fight a religious war.”

    Sounds like a Spiritualized Manifest Destiny. So scary…

  4. #4 by felix on March 1, 2004 - 11:27 am

    In my experience, some of these guys also mistakenly refer to Mt. 24 and being swept away (which is clearly referring to events in the first century, but never mind!).

  5. #5 by Toni on March 1, 2004 - 11:39 am

    This sounds very much like an American news station putting together a bunch of observations to come up with a story. Or is the US really like that? I certainly hope not!

    And does everyone out there really buy into the ‘left behind’ series as ‘gospel’? I know a lot of people that have read them, but virtually everyone treats them like a work of fiction. My biggest concern over them is that they make Christians look greedy and grasping – mostly because of the high price to content ratio.

    Having said that, the idea of a rapture is certainly no more flakey than some of the stuff I’ve read on blogs recently. Just the presentation that appalls. I cannot imagine why the US should be the focal point of God’s work on the earth.

  6. #6 by Leighton Tebay on March 1, 2004 - 12:20 pm


    In my circles this kind of stuff just isn’t talked about much. I remember being in to in highschool but when I got in to a Revelation course at bible college I was offered a few other grids to interpret prophetic books. That was pretty much the end of my dispensational days.

    I think there are a large contingent of conservative fundamentalists that really buy in to this stuff. I’d say as a general trend American evangelicals have merged patriotism with their faith which is very different from Canada.

  7. #7 by Toni on March 1, 2004 - 4:41 pm

    Interesting to hear the cultural differences. In the more ‘charismatic’ churches escatology is a fairly popular subject, although a little less so than it was 10 to 20 years ago. We went through a ‘rapture’ kick in the late 70s thanks to Hal Lindsey et al, before most people thought it through a bit more and decided that didn’t ring quite true. Guys like John Houghton taught at the bible weeks about the return of Jesus, discussing pre, post and amillenialism. I certainly wouldn’t say it’s all cut, dried and understood (ha ha) but it just isn’t a big issue.

    Thinking back to a Texan family we met when we first moved here 13 years ago. Tom cornered me and asked what I was doing, because these were “the last days” or something like that. It was certainly a big deal to him, but I thought that was just part of his character. If there are a lot of people like that then that IS scarey. Lovely people, but they were living in a different world from the rest of us.

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