Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pack Your Bags!

Well, folks, I think this is good-bye. Armageddon is just about upon us, so it seems we ought to make pre-emptive niceties toward each other, shake hands and say adieu.

Anne Graham Lotz (daughter of famed Billy Graham) has declared that we're now at the great convergence in history when we can expect to see the end of human existence.

“We’re looking at the end of human history,” said Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of renowned evangelist Billy Graham and president of AnGeL Ministries, at the recent convention of the National Religious Broadcasters. “That our generation is the generation that precedes the return of Christ, what a privilege, what a responsibility to share the gospel with the world in this generation.”

You know, that's really a sentiment that I've never understood: how is it more of a privilege to share the Gospel in the end times than to share it in the times before? If we hold to the conviction that time is not linear to God, then why do we suppose that there's a higher premium on sharing the Gospel toward the end of our interpretation of the times than before the end? Will the outcome be different somehow?

And when did it pass by the attention of educated, or just interested Christians that the advent of Christ was the beginning of the end? I mean, His physical presence on earth marked out the half-way point, didn't it? Wasn't it like the old English math question, "how far can you walk into a forest before you're walking out?"
Answer: half-way.

Well, it would seem that Christ's birth marked the half-way point in human time, so haven't we been on our way out of time since then? In which case, the seeming especial importance of sharing the gospel at the end of time has been the historical norm since the earth received Christ some 2000+ years ago. That would mean that it was just as important to share the gospel then as it is now. This by that, there is clearly no difference in degrees of importance sharing the gospel now than there was then.

Nonsensical sentiments like that drive me batty.

In any case, haven't we heard these kinds of predictions before? Hal Lindsay, Grant R. Jeffrey, Swedenborg, Jack Van Impe, etc. They've all set their dates. Those dates have come and gone. They've thus shown themselves to be false prophets. I suppose we'll have to wait and see if Ms. Graham Lotz and her band of merry prognosticators show themselves true, or not. For now, I think I'll hold on to Malcolm Muggeridge's quip about pining after the eschaton:

"We love to think of ourselves as positively the last generation of people: it enhances our sense of importance."


Anonymous said...

Hey Chris,
"We love to think of ourselves as positively the last generation of people: it enhances our sense of importance." How true and kudos to Malcolm.
I have lived long enough now, to have been a part of about 2 1/2 "Last Generations". I am currently working on the third stretch of being a "Last Generation" believer. (I am capitalizing these two words for extra emphasize, to make them appear really important on your blog.) My journey has been a little bit like a type of Christian reincarnation. I keep coming back to this same point of waiting in ecstatic anticipation for the glorious return of Christ, not having made it through the previous round of eschatological predictions. I wait, looking to the heavens... on my roof top... checking the calendar while leafing worriedly through The Late Great Planet Earth, and...bummer, He doesn't show up and suddenly, like the numbers rolling on the fuel pump gauge, I'm cast into the net of the next generation declaring itself to be the "Last Generation." Ouch-Chihuahua, my aching rapture sensor!
If, as you say some suggest, that Christ was the half way point in history, and human history, for sake of this argument, is measured by calculating some obtuse mathematical formula derived in the sodden bowels of NASA, to determine 6,000 years of history from Adam to Christ, there should be another 4,000 years of "Last Generations" to go. How cool is that? Everyone gets to be in the "Last Generation"! That's like having Christmas everyday! And, get this, having Christmas everyday means celebrating the message of Christ… like, everyday! Truly wicked (I mean this in the most positive sense of the modern usage of the word).
So, I guess, Anne Graham Lotz (God bless her) is really just carrying on the recently time-honoured tradition of carry on the torch of the "Last Generation". Oh, except, isn't she like… old? In her 50's, or maybe even pushing 60 judging by the un retouched photo on her website? So, like, I guess, she's actually carrying the fizzled flame from two generations ago of "Last Generation" Christians. Cool. Way to wave the torch, Anne.
But, seriously, (which I find increasingly hard to be in these neurotic, navel-gazing "Last Generation" times) has there never been a moment on the Earth in which even for one millisecond it has not been a privilege to share the miracle of this undeserved grace. The advent of Christ marked the beginning of the most amazing period in all of human and non human history. And, joyously, it's not over, yet.
We really should get over our delusions of self importance and continue to share the good news regardless of what generation we find ourselves in.

Christopher said...

Amen, Wyatt! I would love to hear you preach a sermon on this subject. *hint, hint* :)

Anonymous said...

"We love to think of ourselves as positively the last generation of people: it enhances our sense of importance."

i personally would hate this to be true. I want my sons to live full lives and see their sons grow and lead full lives and for them to meet their grandsons, etc...

Anonymous said...

Glad you mentioned this article today.
First I'll start with what is last, since that rang true to me somehow ... although i don't understand why it should be true.
I mean, why on Earth should it enhance our sense of importance -- why do we need to constantly do things to enhance our sense of importance.
Perhaps because we live in pieces, much of the time, as broken humanity trying to piece this whole thing together.
There are times when i dread the coming of the end and times when i long for it.
I guess because there are times when i love my life, as it is, and times when I am weary and just want to go home ... or at least to see what we have all been talking about.
We sing about Jesus as though he were the greatest part of our existence. And, if that is true, why wouldn't we want to be with him -- to trade in these wings that seem to barely get us off the ground, for the real thing, for wings that will enable us to soar far above all of this.
Until then, we soar in spirit.
Why do we need to predict anything?
And i agree with you: why is sharing the hope of our heart more important if we believe we are in the final time before the Lord?
If it's precious, it's precious anytime.
It is a timeless message.
Doesn't the Word focus us on the day we're in. I know that I certainly have enough to focus on each day without wondering when the end will be.
I loved the message today, the challenge to "grow in grace". That seems like an "OK" goal ... grow in grace and while we're doing that to be ready, in season and out of season, to give a reason for the hope that is within us.
I'll do my part -- make myself available -- and let Him do the rest.
Oh to be content and not constantly longing ...