I had an interesting conversation with writer Andrew Logan who is working on a piece about Hal Lindsey, author of The Late Great Planet Earth which became a bestseller. He (i.e. Andrew Logan and not Hal Lindsey) found his way to me via Fred Clark’s mention of my blog post “Evil in the Youth Group” which focused on how the end-times teachings I encountered in my teens were bearing disturbing fruit today, as evidenced by an individual who was respected as a leader in our youth group now posting conspiracy theorist propaganda about the election being stolen and the need to stockpile guns to get ready for civil war.
After speaking with Andrew at some length I’m convinced that the article he is writing is a really important one and that the phenomenon of conservative Christianity focused on the “end times” needs more attention than it is getting. There is a direct line from Hal Lindsey’s books, written in the context of Cold War fear and distress about the cultural shift that started in the 1960s, to the current phenomenon of Fox News conservative Christianity that espouses QAnon and related conspiracy theories.
Andrew would like to connect with people who were exposed to Hal Lindsey’s ideas earlier in life to find out how it impacted you. Did it cause a crisis of faith when the predicted end failed to materialize, or did you double down on the overall approach even if you’ve continued pushing the anticipated end into the future? If you’d be willing to talk to Andrew about your experience, let me know and I’ll happily connect you. Given my piece about my youth group as the place where I first encountered these ideas, I’d be particularly thrilled if I heard from anyone who was in my youth group back in the 1980s. Where have you ended up with regard to these ideas that we talked about so fervently back then? How has your mind changed if at all, and how has your faith been impacted? But I’m eager (and Andrew is eager) to hear from anyone with this kind of experience. Let me know and I’ll connect you, or if you’d prefer to be anonymous, just leave a comment here and I’ll make sure Andrew sees it.
And Fred Clark, if you’re reading this, Andrew specifically wanted to reach you but didn’t find a good way of connecting, and I seem to have lost your email address. Let me know if I can connect you two!
I was struck to see that the NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) published an article about Hal Lindsey and his impact. There’s also a PBS Frontline piece about him under the heading “America’s Doom Industry.” There’s also a Masters thesis online from WKU about Hal Lindsey’s influence promoting dispensationalism in the 1970s.
By the way, does anyone else besides me remember the booklet 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be In 1988? I’ve blogged about it a few times before:
Do also read the blog post that sparked this one, which you can find here:
The book and booklet mentioned in this blog post: