Christians to start Armageddon?

Sean C. Morgan

Here’s a good one: Conservative Christians are trying to bring about Armageddon through war in the Middle East.

I first encountered this idea two or three years ago when some pseudo-intellectual faxed an opinion piece to The New Era.

Since then, I’ve started seeing this theory more often, mostly in pieces published on the Web and on the radio from left-wing talk show hosts. Most recently, I ran across an opinion piece in Russia’s Pravda, that country’s equivalent of the New York Times there.

According to some of these folks, John Hagee is the leading edge of this conspiracy. By some long-winded connection in his administration to Hagee, President Bush is considered to be among these “Armageddonists,” as the Pravda column calls such Christians.

He is the guy who can make Armageddon happen, and the way the leftists and anti-religionists tell it, Hagee says the road to it lies through war in Iran.

I’m not sure exactly which flavor of Christianity these folks are accusing of this conspiracy. Without offending Christians of varying stripes here, it appears to be any of the types who voted for President Bush.

Though the vast majority of Christians do not hold this point of view at all, though they might disagree on details, in few cases is this notion challenged.

Eschatology, the study of the end of the world, has been grounds for church splits in the past as Christians try to figure out exactly when and how the end of the world will come.

Preacher R.C. Sproul points out that Martin Luther, in the 1500s, and Jonathan Edwards, a century later, both thought theirs were the last days.

Sproul says that he could see the world going on another millennium or two. At the same, he time admits, the end could be soon. Either way, man does not know the day or the hour that Christ will return or when the beginning of the end starts.

Others think these are surely the last days, and they point to the conflicts in the Middle East and political development in Europe as proof. Tim LaHaye provided a scenario about how the end of the world, the Tribulation and Armageddon may look based on just that in the 12-book “Left Behind” series.

Christians have all kinds of hypotheses about the subject, and they for some reason can curl the paint right off the walls debating this particular subject.

One thing they don’t argue about is WHO will bring about Armageddon. In one manner or another, that is the final battle as this world gives out its last gasp. It is something that will probably take place through the natural course of history.

Look around. Humanity is no better today than it ever has been. People hate and kill all the time. It’s part of human nature. It will never change if man is left to his own devices. He will self-destruct without God. Armageddon represents this self-destruction.

Christians do not need to bring about Armageddon. It will simply happen. A few nutballs out there might think that they can bring about Jesus’ return simply by creating an Armageddon somehow. They’re rare if they exist. Hagee is the exception if his book really does purport this. His Web site gives no indication of this viewpoint.

Christians should cringe at this whole idea.

No matter what particular eschatological viewpoint a Christian accepts, it is entirely based on Biblical prophecies. A prophecy is something like a newspaper story, only told ahead of time. It is an apocalyptic message to be sure, but that’s all it is, a message.

Christians have not been ordered by their God or their book to create Armageddon. Nowhere in the Bible is there any encouragement, let alone a comamnd, to do this. They simply have been forewarned that the end will come.

In the mundane world, this conspiracy theory would be like blaming a police officer who says that driving drunk will result in fatalities, tantamount to accusing him of planning to kill drunken drivers.

I’ve read calls for banning the teaching of religion to anyone under the age of 18 or banning religion completely. This Armageddonist conspiracy is one among several ignorant, misinformed ideas held by leftists and some foreign newspaper writers that fuel such hatred for Christians.

Christians need to answer this charge.

To be sure, a small handful of people do respond in the forums. One succinctly explained that the end of the world is God’s department, that Christians who would suggest creating Armageddon are trying to usurp His power.

For those who think the Christian idea of Armageddon a fantasy, it is certainly a harmless fantasy. It requires no action on the part of Christians except the duty to share the gift of Jesus Christ with others; and that’s just words. If it’s only a fantasy, the world need not fear either the Christian Hell or the Christian Apocalypse.