Is Dispensationalism Hurting American Political Policies in the Middle East? -- By: Michael Stallard
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Is Dispensationalism Hurting American Political Policies in the Middle East?
Professor of Systematic Theology
Director of Ph.D Studies, Baptist Bible Theological Seminary
“It’s hard to believe, but the Bush administration’s foreign policy and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq are influenced by the writings of a cave-dwelling hermit who had apocalyptic visions some 2000 years ago.”1 Such a claim, in spite of its clear overstatement, nonetheless echoes a belief that is held by religious and political liberals and many conservative evangelicals. Another concerned writer notes that “it is somewhat alarming that swathes of the evangelical community…naively accept a potted version of biblical eschatology in relation to the Middle East which puts them firmly on the side of injustice and post-colonial oppression, as far as most inhabitants of the region are concerned.”2
In a similar vein, a recent edition of Christianity Today highlights the analysis of Kevin Phillips, a former Republican strategist, who is apparently quite unaware of the many varieties of evangelicals in America. Phillips, in a stark criticism of dispensationalism (perhaps without knowing the term), complains, “The rapture, end-times, and Armageddon hucksters in the United States rank with any Shiite ayatollahs, and the last two presidential elections mark the transformation of the GOP into the first religious party in U.S. history.”3 Collin Hansen’s CT review summarizes Phillips’ massive tome with a test to discover if any individual is contributing to the downfall of the United States—Are you now, or have you ever: (a) attended a megachurch; (b) driven an SUV; (c) read any of the Left Behind books; (d) voted for President Bush; (e) lived in the South. Hansen asserts that the tone of Phillips’ book is that a “yes” answer for two or more of these questions means that you as an
JODT 10:31 (Dec 2006) p. 6
individual American are causing America’s downfall.4 This means deep trouble for this author. I have in my life been a member of a church of almost 20,000 members. I have read all of the Left Behind books in the original series. I voted for Bush twice (and his father twice). I was born and raised in the southern part of the United States. To add insult to injury I recently bought my first SUV. To those like Phillips I am a hyper-demon responsible for the coming destruction of a once-great country.
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