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theology & religion

All Theology is Man Made

I have been so taken back with all of this nonsense coming out of mouths from some right-wing Evangelicals about how so and so (often Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama) is the Antichrist and how the world is going to end shortly that I have to make a comment.

First of all, no theology is biblical, period! Theology – the study of God – is exactly that, humans trying to understand God within their own preconceived context. Yes, every brand of theology uses Scripture to support their particular dogma, nevertheless, the interpretation is still arrived at through human-made criteria. It is through our contextual notions that we arrive at our particular view about the existence or non-existence of God. Outside of the West, for example, many Christians know nothing of the Enlightenment philosophy that drives most of our contemporary theological thinking, Evangelical Christian and otherwise. In fact, this philosophy comes not from the so-called Christian mind, but from the Deistic mind.

Here in the West, we tend to think of theology as a timeless and universal distillation of biblical truth. Yet, theology is ever-evolving and far from universal. In fact, theology is quite diverse. Perhaps one of the best examples of this is the millennialism of much of Evangelical Christianity. (For the record, there is only one passage in the entire bible that even alludes to a millennium, chapter 20 of the Revelation of St. John. The passage, however, is similar to contemporary to John, non-biblical Jewish Apocalyptic writings.)

The millennialism, – dispensational premillennialism1 – that drives these Antichrist and end of world comments is not timeless (nor universal). Dispensational premillennialism comes from the theological thinking of the Calvinist theologian, John Nelson Darby in the 1930s.2 Not only did the theology give rise to mainstream Evangelical Christian versions, it also gave rise to such fringe Christian groups as the Jehovah Witnesses and the Seventh Day Adventist.

Perhaps, there needs to be some rethinking before one opens their mouth with claims of the world's end and labels of Antichrist.

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1. Holds Israel and the Church as distinct elements.
2. While millennialism has at least one biblical passage for support, dispensational premillennialism has none. The entire theology comes from inferences made from "reading between the line," something that Darby was honest enough to admit.