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Beware the Zombie Christians
In Defense of the Faith
Friday, April 15, 2016
Alf Cengia

Beware the Zombie Christians. They're coming to get you!

I could be wrong but I think I've only ever seen two zombie movies. One was an old Bob Hope film, while the other was a more modern British comedy. Everyone knows what a zombie is and isn't. They're mindless walking undead. If they get a chance they'll kill you, and they don't have to have any reason.

The concept of a world taken over by zombies has spawned a bunch of horror movies and terms such as "Zombie Apocalypse." At one point during the Bob Hope movie, Richard Carlson explains what a zombie is and Hope immediately likens them to a certain voter-type.

More recently I was watching a Jan Markell video in which she referred to a column article which appeared in the U.K. Zombie Christians and the end of the world. Who are these zombies? It all sounds very familiar:

"It's easy to point a finger at the fundamentalist fringe who have been mass marketing the apocalypse through films like A Thief in the Night and Left Behind, based on a weakly constructed theology of rapture where believers are beamed up to heaven to avoid the catastrophes awaiting the planet. Their theological vision is called "Premillenialism" (sic) and according to Professor Peter Kuzmic of Westminster Seminary has led to a laissez-faire attitude to everything from global development to environmental concern." (Emphasis mine)

Now, I grant you that my wife likely thinks I look like a zombie first thing in the morning, just before my first bucket of coffee. And I have been known to walk around aimlessly. Usually, it's because I've forgotten where I left my coffee cup. Not because I'm looking for a victim.

Aside from the erroneous and dismissive quips about premillennialism and the rapture - the writer of the column, Krish Kandiah, promotes an expanded gospel:

“Christians have tended to deliver an altered and edited gospel that is robbed of its scale and supremacy, producing zombie Christians that are merely souls waiting for heaven.”

He writes that ours is a sub-biblical Christianity owing more to "cultural captivity than courageous commitment." Pastor Kandiah regrets that theologians haven't done more to challenge someone else's articulation of the gospel rather than doing their own theological homework. He suggests it's time we reconnected with the whole of Scripture in order to discover God's plan for the world.

According to Kandiah this gospel plan includes justice, evangelism, the vulnerable and truth. From this he extrapolates that we should also care about Climate Change. He claims that it was the precursor for the Syrian conflict and will likely cause more wars and [therefore] refugees in the coming decades.

In the real world, conflicts with Islam and even environmental disasters precede Climate Change by centuries. Furthermore he has attached the doctrine of Climate Change to the gospel message. Yet there's little about the true gospel in the article.

What an inglorious irony!

My intention isn't to single Kandiah out. His ideas are prevalent in today's churches. If it isn't the environment, it's gender-diversity issues or liberation theology.

Kandiah advises that we should reconnect with Scripture. But that isn't what he's doing. Those pushing these social agendas engage in "cultural captivity." There's nothing courageous about flying the climate flag. Very soon it may even be a criminal offense if you don't.

Incidentally, Climate Change has more to do with social control than the environment, or the gospel. Don't believe me? According to former United Nations climate official Ottmar Edenhofer:

“One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with the environmental policy anymore...We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy."

Speaking of courage and commitment, so-called Left Behind theology - with its attendant doctrines of premillennialism and Zionism - is seen as repugnant among postmodern millennial Christians. What is popular is a revision of core doctrines such as creation, sin, hell, penal-substitution and Christ's atonement. There's nothing brave about following the crowd.

Social justice and environmentalism play no part with the gospel. The gospel is concerned with escaping God's wrathful justice (Rom 1:18; 1 Cor 14:3-4). Waiting for heaven (heavenly mindedness) and good works aren't incompatible. Neither is caring for the environment for that matter. The Puritan emphasis on heaven, Christology and holiness was a catalyst for many good works throughout the centuries.

Waiting on the Lord's coming and doing good works should go hand in hand (Matt 24:44-46).

The writer's attitude to premillennialism suggests he's either amillennial or postmillennial. If he's the former, I don't care for his millennium. It's a dud. It's not the one I read about in my Bible. If he's the latter, the church has had nearly two thousand years of miserable failure. Scripture clearly indicates that Christ must return to usher in the Kingdom (Matthew 24, Revelation chapters 19 and 20), not the church.

Neither am I impressed with accusations that premillennialists (especially the dispensational variety) are racists or warmongers for their literal understanding of Zechariah 13 and 14. Anti-Zionists like Hank Hanegraaff have accused Christian Zionists of anti-Semitism based on Zech 13:8, yet in the same breath accuse them of worshiping Israel. And what does it say about the theologian who changes the meaning of a troublesome chapter because it doesn't comply with a presupposition?

By the way, it isn't just Zombie Christians who eagerly anticipate Christ's return. So does creation.

Psalm 96:11-13 is a favorite: 

Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice
Let the sea and all that fills it resound. Let the fields and everything in them exult
Then all the trees of the forest will shout for joy
Before the LORD, for He is coming - for He is coming to judge the earth
He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with His faithfulness

Then there's Psalm 98:7-9

Let the sea and all that fills it, the world and those who live in it, resound
Let the rivers clap their hands; let the mountains shout together for joy
Before the LORD, for He is coming to judge the earth
He will judge the world righteously and the peoples fairly

Paul wrote that even creation groans in anticipation for God's sons to be revealed, and redemption from the corruption it has been subjected to (Rom 8:19-25). See also Rev 21:1-6.

Are you clapping your hands and shouting for joy at the prospect of the Lord's return?

Beware the Zombie Christians! I'm not sure what really defines a Zombie Christian. But if it involves being heavenly minded and eagerly waiting for Christ's return...then I aspire to be one.

How about you?

About Alf Cengia

Last article: Anti-Semitism: Nothing Up My Sleeve

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