Multitudes of Christians are Suffering from E.N.T.!
With a few revisions, I am republishing an article I wrote in July of 2019. All I ask of the reader is to at least open the post or mail-out and read it to the end, and then pray for a willingness to adjust your eschatology in every area that diminishes the power of the gospel to extend the kingdom of God to disciple the nations.
A note of clarification is in order before proceeding. E.N.T. is not ear, nose, or throat problems, but a theological issue that I call, End Time Paralysis. It’s the belief that we are headed for a global upheaval that is prophesied in the Bible and we are helpless to delay or avert it.
It’s symptoms are experienced by young and old alike. Lance Wallnau shares a comment that his young daughter made as he was tucking her in bed: “My normally buoyant daughter, Joy, made a comment curling up to go to bed, ‘my school is worried about Ebola and all this talk about the end times…why was I born now when all my dreams have no future?’”
Leah Smith, author of a great little book entitled, “Diapers, Dishes and Dominion: How Christian Housewives Can Change the World”, testifies to living with End Time Paralysis (E.N.T. from henceforth) for years and it’s effects on her: “I used to be a useless Christian. My bad end-times beliefs not only terrified me, but completely immobilized my spiritual life. Bible classes at my private school encouraged our imaginations to run wild, and what started out as a pre-teen fascination and curiosity in Biblical prophecy soon turned into an intense phobia. By the time I was a teenager I was afraid to listen to the news or read the newspaper for fear that I would see more “signs” of the “end.” I became afraid of technology. I was afraid of barcodes (I was told these were the mark of the beast). I couldn’t watch movies that were “futuristic” or apocalyptic in nature. I became so fearful that I had a hard time enjoying life at all. Sunny days were gloomy to me as everything reminded me of my impending doom.” Leah was eventually liberated from E.N.T. by a victorious kingdom gospel.
End Times Paralysis affects tens of millions of Christians worldwide. Afflicted by the mental and psychological effects of years of indoctrination by certain popular teachings on Bible prophecy, these victims suffer from a profound worldview impotence, believing that Christians are supposed to live beaten down, marginalized and defeated lives. They then rationalize their apathy and begin arguing things like “the world is evil and Jesus will rapture us out of it in my lifetime,” “the antichrist is coming,” “Christians should not get involved in worldly things like business, finance, politics, arts and entertainment, medicine, or economics.” This compounds their apathy and leaves them averse to making any impact upon a society. Since they believe that this life will be overcome by the devil, they deduce that Christians should remain impotent and not be involved with society at all.
John MacArthur’s eschatology is but one of many major enablers of E.N.T.. He declares, “We are interested in people becoming saved. That is our only agenda…. It is the only thing that we are in the world to do.”
Many of us, myself included, grew up in churches where we were taught and became convinced that there would be no future generations. As a result, we focused all our attention on simply getting people converted before the Second Coming of Christ. We withdrew from politics, the arts, education, and other influential areas and from the effort it took to maintain a godly presence in those critical arenas. Instead of training our children for leadership in the world, far too many of us preached against such participation, asserting that “this old world is a sinking Titanic and we must get as many off and ready for Heaven as we can.” We inferred that the Model Prayer should be adjusted to ask, “Thy will be done on earth during the Millennium. But for now, please get the Third Temple rebuilt and send the Anti-Christ, so two-thirds of the Jews can be killed by this man of sin (Zech. 13:8), and we can transfer from the nasty-now-and-now to the sweet-by and by and our mansions in the sky!”
Dr. William Dyrness, professor of theology and culture at Fuller seminary, tells of a producer at 20th Century Fox in the 1930s who wrote letters to several evangelical colleges, asking them to send their graduates to become screenwriters, to help make good, wholesome movies. Did the church capture this golden opportunity? No! One college president wrote back saying he’d sooner send their young people to hell itself than to send them to Hollywood.
Gary DeMar’s article, Why Young People are Leaving the Church, states: “Who wants to be part of a religion that is continually preaching inevitable gloom and doom? A philosophy calling for an escape from time is not likely to involve itself in the battles of time.”
Continual exposure to this type of teaching stifles and scares our youth and tends to drive them either from the faith or into some “safe place” i.e., inside the church building.
One of the frequent remarks I have heard over the years from Jesus-loving believers is, “With the worsening, last days situations, why would anyone want to bring a child into this world? This attitude makes it futile to even think multi-generationally.
End Time Paralysis perpetuates self-fulfilling prophecy. By stripping the Church and Bible of influence in society, by replacing the preaching of Christian ethics to rulers with the constant announcements that Israel must be invaded, that evil governments must triumph among men, that all that can be expected is for things to go from bad to worse, results in good, well-intentioned men and women of God becoming complicit in the spread of evil in the world rather than the spread of God’s Kingdom as He commanded.
The basic American eschatology of the last 100 plus years infers that the Anti-Christ will build the Third Temple in Jerusalem because God’s Temple, that the Holy Spirit is building, is basically useless as far as the successful extension of Christ’s kingdom and the making of disciples of all nations.
Therefore, so many modern Christians rest content when inept missionaries make only a handful of converts after a lifetime because they expect historical defeat, and then a Rapture. To most modern Christians, failed missions are a confirmation of their worldview. In fact, they see this as confirmation of prophecy, and thus one step closer to their escape.
God’s Word and Spirit were not given to cripple and debilitate us. They were given to be liberating, to lead us into truth and love, and a sound mind. Instead, E.N.T. type theology works on fear and torment. As John tells us, these things are the antithesis of the love God has shed upon us and into our hearts.
As for me personally, after years of study, I refuse to embrace an understanding of biblical prophecy that re-empowers a dis-empowered, cross-defeated devil; that robs the future of any hope other than a desire to get off the planet as soon as possible; that sabotages the clear command of Jesus to make disciples of all nations; that takes away my children and grand-children’s future; that celebrates every bit of bad news as just another sign that Jesus is about to come back; and that basically believes the gospel is not as strong as the lies of the devil; and the like the world system, the Church will fail and end up, with the exception of a small remnant, an apostate Bride.
Darrow L. Miller issues the type of challenge that every Christian needs to hear and heed: “Enough of a passive life, waiting for the return of Christ! Enough of seeking personal peace and affluence! Enough of an anemic gospel that may bring hope for eternity but brings no hope in time, leaving human lives, communities, and nations trapped in ignorance, poverty, injustice, and despair!
“No! The kingdom is on the offensive. Christ is King of heaven and earth. He has unfurled the banner of the kingdom of God, the flag of freedom. And he cries out, “Follow me!” He is leading us. The place that he is taking those who would follow is toward the compelling vision of the coming of the kingdom of God. He is calling us, commanding us, to follow him into the midst of the battle, into the hard and dark places. In those spaces we are to live lives that baptize and teach that which transforms. Our lives, in some small way, are to captivate the imagination of people trapped in hopelessness and emancipate people in the prison of despair. And he promises us that he will be with us always and even the gates of hell will not prevail against us.”
O Lord, deliver us from the defeatist, fear-filled, paralyzing, unbelieving, eschatology of End Times Paralysis! Bring us to embrace a King who is reigning now. A gospel that is the power of God unto salvation. A triumphant, Spirit-empowered, joy-filled lifestyle that believes we can march from victory unto victory because Jesus is already Victor over all the forces of darkness. Enable us to believe in a future that is as bright as the promises of God as we take the Word of God into every arena of life and see the kingdom come and the will of God be done on earth, just as it’s being done in Heaven!