A Note From Our Editor: "Dangerous Eschatology"
With this issue of the Global Journal, we enter upon our second year of publication. Reactions have been uniformly positive. A recent letter is typical:
"It seems long ago that I had the privilege to sit under your instruction at the Apologetics Institute in Strasbourg [www.apologeticsacademy.eu]. We look forward to another workshop. In the meantime I have logged on to your journal and try to stay updated on your voluminous and precise efforts at defending the faith. I purchased the Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics and was drawn to your book review. Your points are well taken and instructive." Clearly, the Global Journal is fulfilling its objectives.
But readers of the Editor's Introduction do not want to be subjected only to the plaudits that the publication has elicited. They deserve a comment or two on substantive theological issues. Needless to say, what follows represents only the Editor's ranting and raving: no official Patrick Henry College position is being espoused.
I am presenting a paper on "Prophecy, Eschatology and Apologetics" at the 51st Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (Danvers, MA, near Boston, at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, 17 November). The theme of the conference is Eschatology, so I was fascinated to read a news report in the British publication Protestant Truth (September-October issue), titled, "Dr. Paisley Expresses His Understanding of the Times." The article informs us that Ian Paisley (the Northern Irish firebrand EuroMP who, when the Pope visited the European Parliament some years ago, denounced him personally as the Antichrist) "has identified the seat which he believes has been reserved for the Antichrist at Strasbourg." This is Parliamentary seat number 666, which has not yet been assigned! Paisley is also convinced that the new European currency (the Euro) carries the mark of the Beast, and he "also disclosed that the 'Tower of Babel' is being used on posters emanating from Europe and views this 'as a truly suggestive prophetic sign.'"
This would be amusing if it were not so dangerous. In my book, Human Rights and Human Dignity, I note that "American evangelicals, taking their lead from pop eschatologist Hal Lindsey, frequently assert that the European Economic Community, with its ten [!] members, represents the ten toes of the great image in the Book of Daniel and thus is a vehicle of the antichristic end times." In point of fact, the EEC (now the European Union) has never had ten members; it jumped from nine to its current membership well passing that number! And Paisley's "Tower of Babel" posters in Strasbourg were in fact advertisements for contemporary music concerts--probably worthless aesthetically, but hardly antichristic or official EU policy.
My maternal grandmother had a book (now in my library) by the late Oswald J. Smith, proving that Mussolini was the Antichrist. A 19th century French publication, also in the Montgomery collection, demonstrated that Louis Napoleon was the Antichrist. Maybe evangelicals should be a bit more careful. Perhaps they would do better to concentrate on the effective proclamation and defence of the Faith to unbelievers ("speaking the truth in love") rather than creating unnecessary offence and bringing ridicule down on the biblical Gospel. People worry me who seem to know more about the details of the world's end than it was given to our Lord to know when He was here on earth (Mk 13:32) . So, Good Reader, the Global Journal will always try to provide you with solid theological fare--not speculative smoke and mirrors.
The present issue contains two brand new articles and one that has appeared (in some sense) before. Lisa Cunning shows what a proper biblical feminism entails from the biblical perspective. The Revd Harold F. Carl discusses the Trinitarian dimension of John 14-16. Look for a future article from Pastor Carl on the Christology of Mormonism. He is Chaplain of Berry College, Rome, Georgia, one of the finest private institutions of evangelical origin in the United States; your Editor was privileged to deliver a series of apologetic lectures there a few years ago.
The Editor's own article in this issue was previously published (if one can use the word) in a certain evangelical theological journal which shall remain nameless. The editors of that journal made numerous changes in the text without the author's permission: he learned of them only on reading the published article. So here the essay appears in its proper form for the first time. -- And, incidentally, we emphasise to potential contributors to the Global Journal that we never do that. If we want to make changes, we always contact the contributor first. It's only the ethical thing to do.
John Warwick Montgomery
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