I grew up in a fundamentalist Bible church, whose pastor was influenced by Dispensationalism. This is a form of Biblical interpretation cooked up in the nineteenth century and promoted by an American preacher called C.I.Schofield. There were lots of similar freelance Protestant preachers doing end time stuff at the time. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons etc. Like most Protestant doctrines, Dispensationalism is a mish mash of man made, late invented theories never heard of before in the great history of the Church.
Dispensationalism breaks down the Biblical revelation into various eons of time, saying that God works in different ways in different sections of time. This method of Biblical interpretation is still a favorite past time of a huge number of Evangelical Christians in America, and a major part of it is a prediction of Christ’s second coming. (pictured above)
Happily, most of the Evangelicals who are dispensationalists are pretty orthodox in their beliefs otherwise, but their emphasis on Biblical prophecy and end times does skew their Christian understanding and perspective, and the more extreme Dispensationalists actually teach a very weird form of Christianity in which they never preach from the gospels for instance, because that bit of Scripture was not of the ‘Church Age.’
Anyhow, in my boyhood church we were subjected to long sermons from the Book of Revelation and the book of Daniel and various other Old Testament prophets. These sermons were all about the Mark of the Beast, the coming end times, the dangers of Communism and the European Common Market (which would be the herald of the one world government headed by the Anti Christ). The whole thing was a kind of Evangelical Christian fortune telling hobby. None of it has come to pass of course, but this doesn’t stop the preachers. They just adjust their prophecies a little bit and make them more vague and keep going.
Now it seems the world will end in 2012.
For the life of me, I can’t see why people who call themselves Christian fall for this stuff. The gospel could hardly be clearer, “No man knows the day or the hour when the Son of Man comes.” The other thing which ought to be perfectly clear is that somebody’s world is certainly going to end within my lifetime: mine.
It might happen today, and I’d better be ready.
I couldn’t really care less about end-times pseudo-prophecies. Like you, my own end looms higher in my priority list.
It always amazes me, that after the precribed “end of the world” time has passed, people still follow the false prophets. A very good example is Joseph Smith the prophet of the Mormons, he said Jesus would return to earth on his birthday–that was before the year 1900–and I haven’t seen Jesus’ return yet. The Bible states very clearly that Jesus will return in a cloud of glory and everyone in the world will see him. False prophecy, false prophets, false religions. And people still continue to follow the? Very bizzare. Sheesh, twisting and turning Jesus’ message–they give true Christianity a bad name.
Another thing which is strange about this phenomenon is that it really is (from a historical point of view) an extreme position, and yet a huge majority of Evangelical Christians in America subscribe to it.It may be extreme, but it’s not minority.
Well, I never get into the END TIME panic or anything of the sort, but like the early Christians and as the Scriptures urge us, I eagerly wait for the day!It wasn’t really until Augastine that a symbolic view of revelation took place. Completely understandable too. In Revelation Christ says “Behold I come quickly”… the early Christians thought that meant quick in their own concept of the word. But to God a day is as a thousand… He is outside of time. Still, we take Christ at His word, and we should indeed look up, for our redemption is near.Blessings to you all.-g-
There is not one good and true thing that satan does not try and plagiarize. Prophecy is one of them. The feign concocts false stories within the real and true story so as to blind us and take away our attention from the real thing. In essence, what he wants to do, while certainly deceiving those who give in to such hysteria, is to simultaneously use that hysteria to get the others to become so cynical towards the subject that will never give the real thing a second blink. I’m not suggesting that’s what your post does, and I totally agree with it, but sometimes I get this horrible feeling that we, in dismissing this very generalized kenning called ‘end-times’, we become hardened to the notion of ‘end-of-our-era-as-we-know-it-times’, and thus render ourselves that much more vulnerable to despair if or when some cataclysm were to take away our comforts, or our familiar way of life. And I’m no better than anyone else in that arena. Jesus speaks in Scripture about reading the signs of the times, and likens it to simply reading the weather. Redaing the signs of the times, one would have to be an idiot not see that our era as we know it is about to capsize with more of a crash than when Rome fell.
That’s an interesting remark, that such apocalyptic brand of Protestantism is particular American. As a matter of fact, it’s always intrigued me quite a bit how what happened in the 1850s or so influenced the springing up so many sects in America.May St. Elizabeth Seton pray for America.
I also grew up in such an environment. Part of the attraction, I think, has to do with the fact that this dispensationalism allows them to uh, DISPENSE with certain parts of Scripture which run against the grain of their beliefs by saying, “this is not for today”. There is even a certain strain of dispensationalism, usually called hyper-dispensationalism, which states that only the Pauline Corpus, if all of that, is applicable to this “church age”. Guess these folks never heard of Marcion.
The world had better not end before the London Olympics after all the money we are spending on it.
As a child, I went to various evangelical churches that preached a lot of this stuff about the end of the world. We even watched a (horrible) movie about end times in youth group Wednesday night bible studies featuring guillotines at which Christians’ heads were chopped off FACING the blade. (Anyone ever seen this? Horrible acting, and very, very scary. Scarring, actually.)All that stuff, preaching politics at the pulpit, and a youth pastor blaming women’s short skirts for sexual assault and rape led me to leave religion as soon as I was out of the house and at college.After many years, I have found my way back to God and, surprisingly, the Catholic Church. But as we all know, dispensationalism is a big money maker. (The Left Behind novel series is just one example.) It exploits human beings’ morbid curiosities. I also think that it is the post-modern version of the “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” type jeremiad – using fear to “win souls.”Another example of how Biblical interpretation can go any which way without authority and tradition.
Don’t get me started! I went through hell for a few years with my wife, who, despite being very very catholic, blundered on to Jack Van Impe one night on TV. That was all it took, the seed was planted in her brain, where it grew into a near-madness.
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I read a work of apologetics that said the heresy is PRE-MILLENNIAL dispensationalism, which holds that the Rapture will happen, followed by a period of tribulation. The Church teaches that the Rapture will happen, sans the long period of tribulation, according to the article I read. (The Antichrist, barcodes, etc. either weren’t mentioned or probably debunked in the article.)Is there any truth to Dispensationalism? Would that explain polygamy, holocaust, and other unsavory things in the Old Testament? God does appear to work in different ways in history.Kevin
Polygamy was never commanded by God. It first appears in the ungodly Cainite descendents (Lamech) who took two wives. Introducing this sexual competition into the urban society resulted in the sons of God (godly Sethite men) marrying the daughters of men (the ungodly, selfish, sexually competitive Cainite women).Sarai and Abram took matters into their own hands and had Ishmael, who from then till now has harassed the chosen people (Isaac line). They set up perpetual problems through their concibinage and adultery…nowhere commanded by God though legal according to Mesopotamian/Babylonian law at the time.Abraham made things worse by having another concubine Keturah, nowhere commanded by God–and her sons headed eponymous tribes that oppressed Israel almost to destruction.Lamech, the Cainite sons of God, and Abram/Abraham acted outside God’s will–who nowhere ever commanded polygamy or concubinage! So don’t blame God for that.The God-man Jesus said Bereshit (Hebrew) = In the beginning (Genesis) it was not so, when he teaches on indissoluble marriage between one man and one woman. Everything else is human sin and hardness of heart.Re Catholics and the end, we have good habits. One Eucharistic Prayer says we are “ready to greet him when he comes again.” The Embolism says “as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” We pray a Marana tha! through the mysterium fidei / memorial acclamation.Wait in joyful hope!Ready to greet him!Marana tha!A lifetime of praying the Mass, the morning offering, and the acceptance of whatever death God pleases to arrange, my father came into his dying process with peace and grace. He died July 4, surrounded by family and friends who love him, praying, talking, singing, and holding his hand. The fruit of a life of faith and love, lived well and fully. He could see the angels and his wife and brother and sister and parents and was reaching for them. It was a happy death.About a week before, I got caught in a terrible storm, rowing on a lake surrounded by cliffs with no escape but to row all the way back to the boat ramp. With lightning all around me, and being on open water soaking wet with electronics, I thought, I am going to get struck by lightning and die out here today. I kept rowing hard and doing what I needed to survive (and obviously made it), but I was also preparing for death. Beyond being curious what dying from lightning and/or drowning might feel like, and being irritated at not being able to tell my family to sue Accuweather for criminally negligent weather forecasting, I truly felt ready to meet the Lord with peace and joy in my heart, and felt gratitude for my life and all the love. It’s all a grace, you know.Perfect Fear Casts Out Love. The End Times madness teaches perfect fear.Perfect Love Casts Out Fear. God pours his love, his spirit in our hearts, and we are to live that love, and be not afraid.End Times crazies get negative about the world and life and lose their peace and quit loving the world and their neighbor. By their fruits you shall know them. My discernment of spirits says this teaching is false. The fruits aren’t godly.