I recently was sent a copy of the book, What In The World Is Going On? 10 Prophetic Clues You Cannot Afford to Ignore...by Dr. David Jeremiah.
It disturbed me and I needed to understand why.
Clearly, I disagreed on many ideas put forth by this Senior Pastor of the Shadow Mountain Community Church of California. Disagreement is one thing, feeling disturbed reveals an inner conflict of another kind. For surely we do not feel disturbed by every disagreement that we may have with another, do we?
Fundamentalist Christianity subscribes to the idea that there is a need for salvation and that the only way for this to happen is through the Savior Jesus Christ. And although I could contend that the truth of that statement may be bigger and wider than the doctrine of Jesus: "The way, the truth, and the life,"that was not what was disturbing to me. The Fundamentalist also subscribes to a belief system which contends that the Bible is the "Word of God". Everything about the Bible is blessed, solidified and eternal. It is exactly as God had intended it. And there may be many reasons why one could refute that as well, although that is not what was troubling to me.
The Christian Bible is composed of two "Testaments." They are in essence an old agreement with God (the Law) and a new agreement with God through Jesus the Christ. (Grace and the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ) As God's Holy written word, any thought that would lead to questioning the contents of the Holy Scripture would be anathema; for "even the devil can appear as an angel of light". If something has you questioning the "Word of God" then assuredly the problem lies within you.
Knowing this, I continued to read anyway, although I would contend that many have found through prayerful perseverance, that the "way" is found less in concrete words and more in Logos.
(Greek: "word," "reason," "plan") In Greek philosophy and theology, the divine reason that orders the cosmos and gives it form and meaning. The concept is found in the writings of Heracleitus (6th century BC) and in Persian, Indian, and Egyptian philosophical and theological systems as well. It is particularly significant in Christian theology, where it is used to describe the role of Jesus as the principle of God active in the creation and ordering of the cosmos and in the revelation of the divine plan of salvation. This is most clearly stated in the Gospel of John the Apostle, which identifies Christ as the Word (Logos) made flesh.
The fundamentalist Christian gains comfort in carrying the Bible, with its highlighted and underlined passages, and looks at many Bible verses as God's promises; checks to be cashed when trouble comes. This mindset has the faithful holding tight to the written word and then dissecting it over and over in the hopes of gleaning some new nugget of revelation and thus, in my opinion, missing the forest for the trees. I am oft reminded of the words of Alan Watts who once stated, "The common error of ordinary religious practice is to mistake the symbol for the reality, to look at the finger pointing the way and then to suck it for comfort rather than follow it." But no, that wasn't what I found disturbing about this book.
So just what exactly did I find troubling?
Life is hard. I have come to believe that people the world over are doing their best with what they know and with what they have. People want to live in peace and happiness. But the premise of this book is divisive and proposes otherwise (especially regarding Muslims) and if you don't agree then perhaps you are being naive. They contend that human life on our planet revolves around Israel and Christianity. The world is a "fallen world" and fundamentalist Christians believe that the end times are before us. As it is that they are the "salt of the earth," they are working hard to help us to escape the "wrath to come."
Excuse my cynicism, but gee, thanks! Jesus is coming and boy, is he pissed!
The heart of the matter for me is this, to quote from page 8: God looked upon the earth and looked for a group of people to choose as his own. "His choice of Israel had nothing to do with merit. It was not because she was more numerous than other people in the world; she was the least (Deut 7:7) It was not because Israel was more sensitive to God than other nations. Although God called her by name, Israel did not know him (Issiah 45:4). It was not because Israel was more religious than other nations. Why did God choose the Jews over all the other peoples in the world? Because it was his sovereign purpose to do so.
So, let me get this straight. God chose and blessed the Jews. Later, God decides that the law needs a revision. God decides to send Jesus to make a new agreement that will include the gentiles as well. And now he is going to send his wrath upon the world because everyone is not covered (you need to be a Christian) by the new agreement. And all this because it was his sovereign purpose to do so.
Great testament on character.
Dr. David Jeremiah tells his fellow believers (this time specifically referring to the Muslims) that "our prayers, our testimonies, our love and our care for our (Islamic) neighbors may not turn the inevitable tide for the world, but they can turn the tide for individuals and allow them to escape the wrath to come (by making them all Christians).
The red flag (for me) not only goes up but it poked me in the eye as I continued to read. With many examples being used from Fox News stories and interviews, the author continues to give us the straight dope. He praises President Bush for bravely and accurately naming the "axis of evil." He contends that God was behind the discovery of America by Columbus and that the United States is and was forever intended to be a Christian nation.
The too many to name reasons as to how Dr. Jeremiah came to his conclusions brings to mind another Fox News favorite, Ann Coulter. Much of this now makes sense since Ann Coulter would readily place her name on the list of God's redeemed.
The author also looks closely at "the rapture" and proposes several pieces of scripture to support this less than 200 year old teaching. The word rapture is found nowhere in the Bible and the Rapture Doctrine can easily be traced to 1830's England.It is a global evacuation by God of "the saved" before the seven year tribulation wreaks havoc upon the earth. This evacuation will not be pretty. There are Christian pilots, surgeons, bus drivers, military personnel; all will disappear in an instant - regardless of where they are and what they are doing. "In a split second the Lord will call all believers to himself to share in his glory."
The startling veil began to lift. My internal conflict, what was really troubling me, was becoming clear.If this perspective on God, on God's love, on God's chosen and redeemed people were true, then I would have a very difficult choice ahead of me.