Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience (1 Peter 3:15b-16a ESV)
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Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, the co-authors of the series, have both e-mailed me (after I wrote about the "Left Behind" series in July) to protest that their books do not "celebrate" the slaughter of non-Christians but simply present the painful reality of Scripture.Let me refresh your memory, Mr. Kristof:
"We can't read it some other way just because it sounds exclusivistic and not currently politically correct," Mr. Jenkins said in an e-mail. "That's our crucible, an offensive and divisive message in an age of plurality and tolerance."
Silly me. I'd forgotten the passage in the Bible about how Jesus intends to roast everyone from the good Samaritan to Gandhi in everlasting fire, simply because they weren't born-again Christians.
It's clear that we are taught by Scripture that if you aren't in the book of Life, you will burn. Sorry if this offends anyones sensibilities, but it's true. And we don't get in because of the good stuff we do, we get in because of our relationship with God in Christ.
Kristof applauds evangelical social action, and our relief efforts throughout the world. Unfortunately, he misses the reason we do those things. They are not a means to an end -- we don't do them to score points with God, or to counteract the effects of all the bad stuff we've done. We do them out of a sense of service to God -- He has commanded us, as His children, to do these things. Point is, we become His children first, by faith in Christ, through the grace of God. Kristof, and liberals like him, put the cart before the horse: they put the good works before the faith (if they include faith at all). But the Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).Kristof then brings up the repeated attempts at date setting -- the whole 88 Reasons thing, and the Millerites I've talked about before, and ties LaHaye and Jenkins in with them. This makes me really wonder if Kristof has bothered to read the books -- never has any attempt been made at setting a date for anything that happens in the books. No references to Presidential administrations (which I've seen in other books in the genre), etc. They are writing about what they think will happen eventually -- not in ten years.