Rod Dreher: “Apocalypticism is a narcotic among millions of American Christians”

On the Sunday before the presidential election, Texas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress used “Obama” and “Antichrist” in the same sentence.

I want you to hear me tonight, I am not saying that President Obama is the Antichrist, I am not saying that at all. One reason I know he’s not the Antichrist is the Antichrist is going to have much higher poll numbers when he comes. President Obama is not the Antichrist. But what I am saying is this: the course he is choosing to lead our nation is paving the way for the future reign of the Antichrist.

Which prompted this rather pointed response from The American Conservative‘s Rod Dreher:

I am a conservative Christian who believes that Obama’s re-election is on balance a bad thing for American Christians, for a number of reasons. I see no reason why a pastor shouldn’t have given a sermon warning about the threats, as he saw them, of returning Obama to the White House. But invoking the Antichrist, and working the congregation up into thinking that this election was an apocalyptic choice (even if you non-credibly disavowed that this is what you were doing, e.g., I’m not saying that Obama is the Antichrist, but…)? Come on.

If I had been in that congregation and listened to that sermon, that would have been my signal to find another, more spiritually sober church. Apocalypticism is a narcotic among millions of American Christians, and it makes us drunk, ruining our political judgment and making us prone to say things in public that make ordinary people think Christians are crazy.

[…]

Come on, Church, be better than this. Again, I’m a conservative Christian who believes in traditional eschatological views on the End of Days, and who believes that this is an important topic of study and serious discussion among Christians. Just to make that clear. But the wildly disproportionate interest that popular American Christianity has with the End Times not only makes us look stupid, it also makes us actually stupid, insofar as it corrupts our prudential judgment with emotional hysteria.

You know, if Jeffress were a regular Christ and Pop Culture reader, he’d have known that we settled the Obama/Antichrist debate four years ago.

About Jason Morehead

Jason Morehead lives in the lovely state of Nebraska with his wife, three children, zero pets, and a large collection of CDs, DVDs, books, and video games. He's a fan of Arcade Fire and Arvo Pärt, Jackie Chan and Andrei Tarkovsky, "Doctor Who" and "Community," and C.S. Lewis and Haruki Murakami. He's also a web development geek, which pays the bills — and buys new music and movies. Twitter: @jasonopus. Web: http://opus.fm.

  • recovering cathaholic

    Thank you for this response. I’m weary of Christian followers of this kind of pablum. Open THE BOOK and search the scriptures. Oh, and please tune out those blabbering radioheads who work people (particularly Christian people) into a panic over political issues all the while having no particular theological insight into biblical escatology. The Constitution is NOT divinely inspired.

  • http://www.christianfutures.com Metaphysicsman

    I was done with the conservative church’s view on eschatology when a sweaty revivalist preacher in the 60′s was telling all of us youth-kins that 1974 was the year that Jesus was probably coming back in order to take on the evil leaders of the USSR who, by the way, will order 4 MIG jets to break the USA’s air defenses and unleash biological and chemical nasties into the Mississippi and Colorado rivers bringing our entire country to its knees. So, megachurch leaders keep the Fear Factor in place with their fleeced flocks when all they have to do is mention that when a civic leader is not following their conservative political agenda, then he/she is simply PAVING THE WAY for the Anti-Christ?

    Yep, you are right, Dreher. I teach philosophy at the local community college here in conservative-ville CO Springs. However, most youth get it. They laugh with derision at conservative Christian students in their classes who unknowingly repeat these idiotic statements from their church’s pulpits. I feel sorry for them because like me when I was a youth, this is all I heard when politics was brought up in church. Youth leaders lament that their charge often leave the faith when they go off to college…and then blame it all on us instructors. All we do is unleash the Totos who pull back the curtain and expose the great megachurch Oz’s.

    There IS hope, however. Since I tell all my students from week one that I believe in God and am a follower of Jesus, my enlightened students at least can’t entirely blame those Guy(s) for the deception.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X