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11.24.2004    |    Still Left Behind
Nick Kristof, a reliable voice for the Upper West Side Culture, weighs in on the Apocalypse in the Gray Lady. Once again, a New York salon-dweller writes about those poor demented fundamentalist Christians. The immediate target of Kristof's ire are Tim LaHay and Jerry Jenkins, authors of the Left Behind series.

As might be expected from a stalwart of the left, Kristof's higher virtue, if not his highest, is not salvation, but tolerance. As in, how intolerant of these red state rubes, to write about how unbelievers will be cast in a lake of fire, and Jesus will do the smiting. By Jesus, no less. Shocking.

In fairness, Kristof at least references the essential Gospel chapter, John 3. In which I assume he meant John 3:17-18 (NIV):
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
This is rather direct, and hard to parse in any other way but its plain meaning. But to those who worship in the temple of multiculturalism, this is a cardinal sin -- to state that not all beliefs are equally valid.

From Nick's own word processor:
If Saudi Arabians wrote an Islamic version of this series [Left Behind], we would furiously demand that sensible Muslims repudiate such hatemongering.
Well, yes, we would. Perhaps because the Muslims wouldn't wait for God to execute His judgment, and would continue the violent jihad that has been the norm since the 7th Century. And, perhaps because we Christians know that Muslims have a perverted and wrong view of God.

Kristof compounds his error and shows his scriptural ignorance with this silliness:
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.
Fascinating for a multiculturalist, relativist, even one with good instincts as Kristof (his reporting on the genocide in Darfur gained my everlasting respect). The passage Mr. Kristof seeks is Revelation 20:11-15 (NIV):
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
As for who is it that is doing the judging, that is Jesus on that throne, and, as we sometimes recite from the Nicene Creed, "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead..."

As for who goes into that lake of fire, given their plain meaning, I'm not surprised that Kristof denies seeing these words of Jesus in John 3:3 (NIV): "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again". This, plus Revelation 20 make it clear that only those born again in Christ Jesus will be saved. Except to those who prefer to deny the plain text meaning of Scripture.

As for Ghandi, the good Samaritan, etc., I'm glad that Kristof can predict the end times to know that we Christians think they will not be saved. I don't know how or if such will be born again. I do know that what we call "heaven" is simply our limited way of saying, "unity with God." I also know that the only way to that final unity with He Who Is must be through Christ Jesus. If not now, then at the end times.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.