Paul Coleman (an author I'd never heard of) contacted me on Twitter and asked me for feedback on a book he's been working on. In a nutshell, he means well, but the book seems to be too much of a rant for my liking. My full response, on his website, is reprinted below:
Thanks for inviting me to submit feedback. You've asked a difficult question of a difficult person:_)
Seriously, had you written this book 20 years ago, I'd be lapping it up. At that time, I was very much into the alarmist interpretations of prophecy put out by Hal Lindsey, Tim La Haye, and others. The problem was that so many pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that appeared to fit perfectly turned out to be misplaced. According to the books I was reading, the expansion of the European Union to ten (10) members in 1979, when Greece joined, represented the 10 horns of Daniel's beast - and I couldn't help but notice how these same people kept rearranging the puzzle pieces when the European Union expanded from 10 members to 12, then 15, then 20, then 25, then 27. Russia (Gog and Magog) was going to attack Israel in the 1980s, get wiped out by God. A much respected Bible-teacher and prophecy "expert" in my own country (New Zealand) warned us that Y2K (1 January 2000) would result in all computers around the world snuffing out, disrupting communications and creating a power vacuum that would likely usher in the rule of the Antichrist. Many Christians prepared for it by stockpiling food and other essential items. The preacher I told you about looked silly when Y2K turned out to be nothing more than Yeltsin throwing in the towel as Russia's President (and by the way, the Yeltsin era shouldn't even have happened - Russia was going to be wiped out by his time).
Don't get me wrong, Paul. I believe every word of the Bible, including the prophecies about the end times. But I've come to realize that we don't always understand as much as we think we do. The popular interpretations that I mentioned about turned out to be WRONG. Some of those who were wrong have apologized; the great majority have not. They have simply rearranged the puzzle pieces and are still selling their theories.
When it came to interpreting prophecies of the Bible, when was the last time you heard a Bible teacher say the words, "I DON'T KNOW"? I'd be hard put to remember when I heard any preacher utter those words. Yes, prophecy is a jigsaw puzzle, preachers attempt to put the puzzle together - and VERY dogmatically insist that their interpretation is correct. A lot of time, and money, and energy is WASTED this way. Instead of trying endlessly to fit the puzzle together, why can't we just allow events to take their course? The puzzle will assemble itself as time goes on.
We should be watching and waiting prayerfully, not engaging in endless speculation.
Paul, I really appreciate the INTENT of your book. I agree with the need to be prepared for the worst - I really do. What bugs me is that I've already seen too many Christians get distracted from what God has called them to be doing in the here and now. The Bible tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, not on the world. Whether your book achieves that objective or not, I cannot say, as I haven't read it in its entirety. But I hope it does.
|Election protests in Iran||less than a minute ago|
|Wikipedia notes Twitter, Facebook, and blogs as places for protesters to organize - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Irania|
The power that the internet puts in the hands of ordinary people is incredible. That's something that was unimaginable when I was young. Just last week, Time Magazine carried an article about how Twitter is changing the way the world works. It appears that free and instant communication and networking may prove to be a potent political weapon as well.