Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Christian Zionism & the Second Coming

Don Wagner of Northpark University does a great job in this April 12 WBEZ interview, unpacking the history, theology, and persons of note behind so-called "Christian Zionism." The infamous Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsay, and other works (including a TV series called "Revelations", soon to air on NBC), promote a potent mix of politics and theology with far-reaching implications. Worth a listen, definitely.

As for this old-school Jesus freak, I do think Jesus will return soon. But I don't think a modern state of Israel, Russia as "Gog" (or "Magog", I forget?), or America as God's hard right hand, is part of biblical second coming theology.

Further, I am always amazed, amused, and simultaneously saddened by the way these evangelical Christian ideas place "evil" so far away from us, the good Christian folk. It seems to me that most of the New Testament makes precisely the opposite point; the poor rotten sinners are the ones Jesus is closest to, while the "good country people" (to borrow an appropriate short story title from Flannery O'Connor) take a biblical whacking.

But that's just me, maybe. The guy I look at in the mirror every day is one of those "nice church folks," so I trust I'm talking about that which I know.

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