Progressive Revival

Progressive Revival


Pavlovian Premillennialism

posted by Randall Balmer

I suppose you’ve got to give the Republicans of the Rove era credit for their inventiveness, if not their chutzpah. In 2004 their nominee, who had essentially been a draft dodger, was pitted against a genuine Vietnam War hero (a species hard to come by). How did they respond? They went directly after John Kerry’s war record in an attempt – largely successful – to tarnish his credentials as a combat hero.

This year the Republicans have a decidedly uncharismatic and relatively untelegenic candidate pitted against a fairly unexperienced Democrat who nevertheless knows how to give a good speech and motivate the masses. At a time when the nation and the world are looking for inspired leadership, after eight years of moral bankruptcy in the Oval Office, the Obama candidacy has captured the imagination of millions of Americans and, not surprisingly, the citizens of the world.

So how do the Republicans propose to counter Barack Obama’s appeal? In subtle and not-so-subtle ways, they are seeking to portray the presumptive Democratic nominee as the Antichrist foretold in the Book of Revelation.

Others have offered detailed analyses of John McCain’s ad, “The One,” that depicts Obama as a nefarious force on the world stage. And there is no doubt that the ad plays effectively on evangelical fears of the Antichrist and a “one-world government.”

But attempts to stir evangelical fears, based on premillennial sentiments (Jesus is coming at any moment) and the nineteenth-century teachings of John Nelson Darby, miss a larger point: Evangelicals are no longer as devotedly premillennial in their convictions as they once were.

Premillennialism became popular late in the nineteenth century when evangelicals felt marginalized in American society because of industrialization, urbanization and the influx of non-Protestant immigrants. They carried premillennialism into the twentieth century in large measure because it comported with their own sense that they were marginal figures. Jesus would come back at any minute and avenge their sufferings.

Despite concerted efforts on the part of leaders of the Religious Right to stoke those sentiments of marginalization, however, evangelicals no longer feel as peripheral to American society as they once did. They are overwhelmingly middle-class and upwardly mobile. They have, despite occasional protestations to the contrary, achieved remarkable successes politically, economically and socially over the last half century so that the siren song of premillennialism no longer has the same appeal it once did.

When I was growing up as an evangelical in the 1950s and 1960s, the mantra was always, “Lord, come quickly.” Now, with evangelicals feeling more and more comfortable in American society, despite the rhetoric of their leaders, the mantra (albeit unspoken) is “Lord, take your time; we’re doing okay.”

That’s not to say that the McCain ad is not effective. The popularity of the Left Behind series suggests that premillennialism still has a hold on many evangelicals (though I suspect that much of the appeal lies in a kind of lingering curiosity rather than heartfelt conviction). Evangelicals, in their heart of hearts, however, may no longer be the Pavlovian premillennialists that the Republicans think they are.



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It's today

posted August 9, 2008 at 11:49 pm


“I don’t want them PUNISHED, with a BABY!!!!”
That sounds like something the anti-Christ would say.



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rlb1961

posted August 11, 2008 at 11:50 am


I think the more progressives beat on this drum, the more damage they do to themselves. The average evangelical who only catches snippets of political commentary are not going to hear, “Republicans are trying to make it appear that Obama may be the antichrist”. They will hear, “…Obama may be the antichrist.” To those who actually take time to view the ad and read the comments, they are going to assume the people making such an issue about this either have no sense of humor or are seriously troubled themselves. Bottom line, I don’t think this argument hurts the Republicans or helps the Democrats except with the people already inclined to think the worst of the Republicans.



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Paul seeking wisdom

posted August 11, 2008 at 5:14 pm


It seems that the GOP and others feel it is all right to twist the Bible to suit their own agenda. After years of being demonized by the “God’s Own Party” for being anti-war, anti gun and anti death penalty, now that we have a candidate that speaks theology better than their candidate, they cast him as the Antichrist. Go figure, its all right to use God and Country if you are Republican but wrong if you are a democrat? This is my country to and I want to preserve it for the future.



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rlb1961

posted August 11, 2008 at 5:42 pm


Well, both parties use the Bible and anything else to their advantage, and neither party is above twisting the facts. It is not something that is particularly associated with the Republicans. I’m not saying it is right for either party, just that is is a fact. Voters have to be discerning in their evaluation of ads and speeches by political candidates, especially when religion is involved.
However, while Obama speaks in religious terms, I find the theology he espouses somewhat suspect, so that does not endear him to me. When I look at his actual record, not his rhetoric, it is even more clear. For example, his adamant, uncompromising support for abortion in all circumstances, even to the point of supporting the killing of children born alive after an attempted abortion make me question how much his judgment would be guided by Christian principle and how much by political expediency.



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sharon wise

posted August 13, 2008 at 8:53 am


Tell me why they think because he is african american he is anti-christ… seek God and you will find the answer



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bkrbabe

posted August 13, 2008 at 9:35 am


where to start.
as like many christians i feel the “end of times” is coming ever so closer. the world is going crazy, relentless murders of unspeakable intensity seem to be happening on an hourly basis. the only thing missing is the rise of the antichrist. this supposidly charismatic, understanding, sympathetic person will charm many if i remember revelations correctly. he will come from nowhere, seemingly appearing overnight and say exactly what the scared masses want and need to hear in order to gain popularity. sounds familar doesn’t it? i didn’t need a tv add to point it out, though it is amusing that mccain is. it’s mud slinging at an all time high.
i am not saying Obama is or isn’t. it’s interesting for sure. but if your faith and belief is strong there is nothing to fear. christ will come and we will be saved….BELIEVE!!!!!!!!



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paul

posted August 13, 2008 at 11:16 am


when you speak of moral bankruptcy of the present administration are you to young to remember the previous eight years?



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karen

posted August 13, 2008 at 12:21 pm


wow its amazing how when a black guy becomes a nominee for president he is the antichrist, if any one seems like they are anti-christ its bush,the person who killed hundreds when he was govenor , now killing thousands as president in a bogas war. GOD HAVE MERCY ON HIS SOUL this is a narrow road and few there be that find it!



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Pankie60

posted August 13, 2008 at 1:03 pm


What I find interesting is how much fear is ruling the minds of tenacious, cognitive thinkers. Is this a soap opera in real life? I personally think it is safe to say that Obama is not the anti christ, if you read your Bible you will see “it” will not come out of the U.S. This brings me to an interesting point, how unprepared are we as a country for CHrist when at the first bit of controversy we stop to watch the “car accident”. Doesn’t this undermine the traversing of the message of the Gospel of CHrist? and isn’t this what our nemesis desires. After 9-11 everyone was waving patriotic banners, readilying agreeing with our leaders to go to war and never once doing what the scripture says…question of our leaders with a discerning spirit? I for one will not stop using the God gift of free choice which GOd gave me nor the brain to discern what deserves my attention and energy. Lets get back to studying and praying for awareness, in all things. Spiritual and secular.



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Eze Ama

posted August 13, 2008 at 3:57 pm


To suggest that aborn again christian full of the Holyt Ghost is the anti-christ is to arrogantly blaspheme God.This is much worse when the one suggesting is an adulterous beer seller with no respect for the marriage institution.



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gladys

posted August 13, 2008 at 8:15 pm


How dear McCain an adulterous beer seller and his co-murderers suggest that Obama is the antichrist. Obama is more christian than McCain who does not even attend church service or even have affiliation to any church. At least Obama has a church he attended for 20years, he even paid his tithe which is one of the obligation of a good christian. How much tithe do McCain and his household contributed to any church? Whether Obama pastor or his church left for God to judge. Remember the book of James that says “judge not, so that thou may not be judged.” Which church does McCain attend? None I suppose. The Republicans will not stop at nothing just to remain in power. Now, they are using blasphemy to deceive the American citizen. Oh God! I can’t just imagine how vengful the wrat of God will be when it decends on these group of people who are twisting God’s word. Remember, Lucifer the devil is here to destroy, lie, kill, rape, deceive, mislead, steal, chaotic, and a war monger. Christians please beware of these group of deceivers, liers, thieves and war mongers. We know them, but do not be fooled for the second time around.



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Laura

posted August 14, 2008 at 12:57 pm


Christ Followers are to look to God’s Word to see what He says about all things.
I think that we need to look to see how Barrack Obama’s agendas and views line up with The Bible. What does the Bible say about abortion, killing, war, marriage, taxes and how does each presidential candidate stand up to Christ’s views. It’s really not about my opinions or views-its about looking to The Bible for direction on how to live my life.
Regarding the anti-christ Revelation does talk about overthrowing Satan/The beast. If you look in the Bible it actually says that anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ is the antichrist. I John 2:22-23 says, “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist-he denies the Father and the Son” No one who denies the Son has the Father: whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also”.
Also, as Christians we have nothing to fear from the anti-Christ because we remain under Christ’s protection.
I John 4: 1-4 says, “but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the anti-christ which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world”. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one in the world”



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Elaina

posted August 15, 2008 at 7:52 am


Obama has THE WORST position on Abortion (actually, his position is Infanticide) of anyone in the Senate, including Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. He advocates allowing a born child (during an attempted abortion) to be left to languish and eventually die. And he has stated that Jesus is not the only way to God, totally ignoring the scriptures: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father except through Me.”



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cheryl3

posted August 15, 2008 at 8:54 am


Hey There,
I just want someone to get in there and change some of the things that are wrong with America.I am a Christian but I didn’t look any less favourably on Bill Clinton when he did his boo-boo.He did a lot of good when he was in there and I figured it was between him and his wife and his God.Every body has different opinions on moral things .Everything someone has ever done comes out when a person chooses to put them selves in the spotlight .I personally think that the devil uses silly,insignificant stuff to get us off track of making the world a better place.It’s fine to have opinions,God created us to think but until we get it through our heads(other countries already know this)that a person is not obligated to throw every thought and action out there so other people can pick it apart and pretend they can read the persons mind and tell what they are going to do in the future.I do get overly excited sometimes about the end times but what will I do if I live my life and don’t really live because I’ve got that on my mind?When Jesus was on earth everybody thought the end was very close (it didn’t happen)Jesus also told us that we would know and there are many other signs of the antichrist besides how many letters are in his entire name.I am white (not the color of a sheet of paper)but I believe peoples beliefs about Obama are meant to frighten people in to not voting for him.Plus admit it people,life gets boring sometimes doesn’t it and the story about the end times (Daniel and Revelations)is a lot more interesting than the story of how we’re gonna fix the economy(yawn),find different sources of energy (yawn),
Hoping for good changes for our children,
cheryl3



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WHAT ARE BARACK OBAMA'S VIEWS THIS WEEK?

posted September 3, 2008 at 12:25 am


well let’s see, hmmmmmmmmmm? Symptoms
A person with narcissistic personality disorder:
Reacts to criticism with feelings or rage, shame, or humiliation
Takes advantage of others to achieve own goals
Has feelings of self-importance
Exaggerates achievements and talents
Is preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence, or ideal love
Has unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
Requires constant attention and admiration
Lacks empathy
HMMMMMMMMMMMMMM which canidate does this mostly remind you of? you decide. I am not saying which one I think that it is.
That’s all.



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Tracye

posted September 14, 2008 at 6:07 pm


If God be for you who can be against you? Each candidate as well as the rest of American needs to be living a life that is pleasing to God. God must be sick of the sins of American. We need a leader with the moral authority and wisdom from God to turn this nation around.



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