What You Will

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Tim LaHaye, media darling

Israel and Hezbollah are at each other's throats. Baghdad is engulfed in a civil war (unless you still buy into the U.S. Defense Department's culture of denial). Iran and North Korea are nuclear powder kegs led by people who who just might enjoy playing with matches.

For enlightened Christian comment in these difficult times, to whom does MSNBC turn? Our old pal, "Tsunami Tim" LaHaye.
Biblically speaking, the very nations that are mentioned in prophecy—and have been mentioned for 2,500 years as occupying the focus of the tension of the last days—are the very nations that are involved in the conflict right now. ... no generation has had so many signs of the times as our generation. We have more reason to believe that Christ could come in our lifetime than any generation before us.

This, of course, has been said in every generation. It's exactly the same argument Hal Lindsey was using thirty years ago. And it's exactly the same argument some other nutjob will use thirty years from now ... unless, of course, Tim turns out by mere coincidence to be right. But if you ask me, every generation has exactly the same amount of reason to believe in Christ's return. And here it is: Christ said he would return. What other reason do you need?

As for the "very nations that are mentioned in prophecy" claim, Tim is conveniently forgetting the United States. We're involved, but we're not mentioned in prophecy.

The interview keeps going downhill. Brian Braiker, a journalist with nerves of butter, puts up a bit of a struggle, but soon capitulates to dear old Tim:
But my understanding is that current biblical scholarship reads some of the apocalyptic scenes in the Bible as metaphorically addressing events that were taking place as the Bible was being written.
These are usually liberal theologians that don’t believe the Bible literally.
Excuse me? So in order to take the Bible literally, we have to completely ignore the historical context in which it was written? We have to assume Biblical writers wrote things that were completely unintelligible to their own generation, because they were really writing with Tim LaHaye in mind? That's a "literal" interpretation?

It's funny, too, how much the literal interpretation of Bible prophecy has changed. In Hal Lindsey's day it somehow involved the Soviet Union; now it doesn't. I didn't realize literal interpretations were so mutable.

Once again, MSNBC has bypassed any number of theologians and Christian commentators who could perhaps have said something worthwhile about the Middle East crisis du jour, and instead given ink to someone who has no credibility — but sells a lot of books.