Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Farewell to Mars (3)

Brian Zahnd gets stirred up about warmongering eschatology.

Isaiah, in his prophetic poems, frames the Messianic hope like this: A Prince of Peace will establish a new kind of government, a government characterized by ever-increasing peace. Weapons of war will be transformed into instruments of agriculture. At last the nations will find their way out of the darkness of endless war into the light of God’s enduring peace. This is Isaiah’s hope. Christians take Isaiah’s hope and make a daring claim: Jesus is that Prince of Peace. Jesus is the one who makes Isaiah’s dreams come true.

From the day of Pentecost to the present, this is what Christians have claimed. But then a doom-obsessed dispensationalist performs an eschatological sleight of hand and takes the hope away from us. On one hand, they admit that Jesus is the Prince of Peace who has come, but on the other hand, they say his peace is not for now … it’s only for when Jesus comes back again. Bait and switch. Yes, swords are to become plowshares … but not today. For now plowshares become swords; in our day, it’s war, war, war!

They abuse Jesus’s prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem in the first century by always applying it to the latest contemporary geopolitical events. They replace the hope of peace with an anticipation of war! They find a way to make war a hopeful sign. Think about that for a moment! And here is the worst irony: It was precisely because Jerusalem failed to recognize Jesus as Isaiah’s Prince of Peace right there and then that they rushed headlong into the war that ended with their own destruction!

End-time prophecy experts keep trying to force the same mistake on us in our day. We should refuse. I am a conscientious objector to the doom-obsessed, hyperviolent, war-must-come, pillage-the-Bible-for-the-worst-we-can-find eschatology of Hal Lindsey and his tribe. We must reject that kind of warmongering misinterpretation of Scripture.Zahnd, Brian (2014-06-01). A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor's Journey Toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace (Kindle Locations 1895-1908). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.
I present an eschatology that is more consistent with the gospel of peace in Times and Seasons. I may not have got it totally right, but do not know of anyone else who has even attempted to do this.

No comments: