Kevin Wilson has a post up discussing the recent trend for people to associate a certain presidential candidate with the antichrist. Perhaps Kevin is merely karma whoring, but regardless his post is worth a read.
I find two things quite fascinating–first, that any time there is a political race in America, one of the contenders (normally the democrat) is labeled the antichrist. I personally remember Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and now Barack Obama being labeled the antichrist at one point or another during their various campaigns. Oddly, I don’t seem to recall John Kerry being called the antichrist.
The second, and far more interesting thing, that Kevin’s post brings up is that evangelical Christians tend to read Revelation as a sort of guide to the future. I used to do the same. Thank God that one of my professors in college helped me understand that prophecy isn’t about predicting the future. Quite the opposite, its about impacting your behavior now. “Repent!” said the ancient prophets; I’m fairly certain St. John would agree.
The difficult thing becomes communicating this to evangelical Christians today. I speak specifically of students, though the problem applies across the board. There are students in my youth ministry who could not even tell you the number of books in the Bible, let alone their names, yet they all share this common misconception that Revelation tells us the future and that one should read it to know “what is going to happen.” How is it that such a thing even possible? My perplexity increases when some declare that “Revelations is my favorite book.” Oh yes, because one normally mis-names their favorite book (Kevin, I share your pet peeve).
Perhaps I should bring myself back from the brink of senseless complaining for a moment and propose something helpful. This is a primary reason why I heartily support pastors (including youth pastors) getting themselves a good education. The first step to this is, of course, learning Hebrew and Greek. Then reading some critical commentaries on the prophetic literature might be helpful. To be honest, many of my classmates from Davis, which is itself a quite dispensational school, at least understand that Revelation is not meant as some kind of roadmap. That’s not to say all my classmates understand that, or even the majority. But many of them do.
So, now that I have meandered from politics to the Bible to youth ministry and finally to personal reflection I think I’ve covered every area that my blog commonly deals with, excepting video games. Of course, the Left Behind video game doesn’t even deserve mentioning.