I don’t know if there are purple hearts in the study of theology, but in helping some of you to avoid this atrocious book, I hope you can see that I am jumping on a grenade on your behalf. I’ve never read anything that made me want to throw things, weep, and laugh all in such short succession.
Today, for your intellectual abuse stimulation I have a few bits of Lindsey’s wisdom about the ecumenical movement. These are culled from chapter 10, “Revival of Mystery Babylon,” in which he argues that a renewed interest in the occult across the world, combined with a unified but apostate church, will serve to empower the coming Antichrist (who supposedly is coming from a renewed Roman empire, which Lindsey claims is basically the EU). Now, be prepared for your laughter to be turned to mourning:
We believe that the joining of churches in the present ecumenical movement, combined with this amazing rejuvenation of star-worship, mind-expansion, and witchcraft, is preparing the world in every way for the establishment of a great religious system, on which will influence the Antichrist. (Lindsey, 104)
There is, in this chapter, an astounding gap: nowhere does Lindsey endeavor to explain what will become off all the other religions of the world and their practitioners. One can only assume that he either thinks there will be no more Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims at this time, or else he puts all of them in league with the hippie kids dancing in the forest. At any rate, it is a major flaw in his argument. Not that the argument itself is strong to begin with, of course.
There is obviously a free-church bent here, insofar as the target is very clearly Mainline Protestantism (that is, all the major denominations such as Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians). He also has a very stunted ecclessiology, simply saying that the “true church…includes all believers in Christ.” (116) I wonder if he would include Mormons in that list? Jehovah’s Witnesses? If the only criteria is “believing in Jesus,” understood in a purely intellectual and consensual way, then he really has a broader definition of church than he should be comfortable with. I suppose it was too much to hope, at a minimum, for something like Luther’s definition of true Word and sacraments.
And now for a real gem:
When people move away from Christianity the church will lose its power and influence to a great religious movement, a satanic ecumenical campaign…
Years ago when we first heard about the ecumenical movement, we couldn’t pronounce it(*) but we thought it sounded like a great idea. It seemed plausible that all the “good guys” (**) in the churches should join together to fight all the evil on the outside. There are many fallacies in that way of thinking. When all of the various churches begin to amalgamate in one unwieldy body, soon the doctrinal truths of the true church are watered down, altered, or discarded. (119)
At this point, I can only suggest that you find a bottle of Advil, take two – with water – and perhaps look into some blood pressure medication. If you’re anything like me, you’re now infuriated. In the unlikely circumstance that you care about Jesus but aren’t infuriated by Lindsey’s sentiments, then go read John 17 and reconsider.
*I take this to mean that they don’t use big words at Dallas Theological Seminary, Lindsey’s alma mater.
**Oh, c’mon. I don’t need to say anything here, do I? You know why this was stupid.