Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Anti-Anti-Christ

One of the first blogs I read regularly is by a guy name Fred Clark, who, for the past three years, has been offering an ongoing review and critique of the book Left Behind. Yes, it's sad that it's taking him this long, though he only discusses a couple pages (or sometimes even just a couple paragraphs) at a time, and only posts these on Fridays (this is a sideline to his primary blog, on which he posts most frequently and on more diverse subjects). His critiques are very intelligent, witty, and theologically insightful. You can check it out here.

A paragraph in last Friday's post caught my attention:
Unlike John of Patmos or the author of John's epistles (the only place the word "antichrist" is used in the Bible), LaHaye and Jenkins don't really seem to regard the sense in which the Antichrist is Christ's opposite. That opposition is hard to miss in the book of Revelation -- beast vs. lamb, power vs. love is one of the book's central themes -- but L&J seem to have missed it both there and in their representation of it here. Their Antichrist is an anti-christ, an anti-messiah, in the sense that he is a false liberator who brings slavery. But where Carpathia chooses to pursue power, those who oppose him do the same. L&J's version of the evil beast will be defeated, ultimately, not by the lamb, but by the good beast. In Left Behind, good triumphs over evil not because it is intrinsically different, but because it is simply more powerful. God has a bigger gun than the devil.

Fred has pointed out previously that LaHaye and Jenkins--and, by extention, many Christians today--are not so much Christians as they are Anti-Anti-Christian. Many times, people of faith (on both the conservative and liberal extremes) seem to identify themselves more by what they are against than what they are for. I hope we in the church can ask ourselves--what kind of witness does the world need more? An angry fist and cold shoulder to the self-serving ways of the world, or a calm and confident demonstration of Christ in the world?

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