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Volume 15, Issue 4: Counterpoint

Hal Lindsey

Interviewer: Aaron Rench

CBA (Christian Booksellers' Association) Convention, July, 2003

C/A: The CBA represents a lot of Christians. Its one of the biggest conventions in Christianity. Does the CBA show a healthy thriving Christian culture?
HL: I'd say this is a bad place to take the barometer reading. Here at CBA everybody is intent upon promoting their particular product. I do think the fact that we have so many people interested in books, and the quality of books that I see would indicate that there is a strong believing remnant in this country. That's the most encouraging thing I see. Books more in-depth in the biblical concepts than they used to be.
C/A: Is there anything at the CBA that would make you say that this is unhealthy?
HL:Well, I haven't had a chance to get around here much. I haven't been around hardly anyplace but my own booth. But, you know, I haven't seen anything that would be a red flag to me.
C/A: What would a red flag be?
HL: Well, I guess I am supersensitive to the concept of merchandising and things like that. Getting ahead of the spiritual purpose for why they're here. That can happen very easily because with success comes a lot of push to be self -promoting and for publishing companies to push authors to write more and more if they are successful. Pretty soon they can get pretty thin on content
C/A: What do you define eschatology as?
HL: Eschatology is the theology of last things. And primarily we understand it today as prophecy that relates to the events that lead up to the return of Christ including the return of Christ and things that happen to the world thereafter. So, in my opinion, that was the last segment of theology that needed to be developed. It was left to the end in church history I believe. And God predicted that would happen in Daniel 12 where he told Daniel that the book of prophecy was sealed until the time of the end. And now as never before, in at least the last many centuries, there is tremendous interest in eschatology, the prophecies about the last days. I think that was to be expected.
C/A: In the same vein, what would you tell Christians, as a hypothetical question—these are always fun—if our Lord decided to tarry 50 or 100 years. What would you exhort Christians to do? What would you lay out as a game plan for those hundred years? What should they be doing?
HL: Well, it's very hypothetical, we really don't know, I think for the first time in history since Christ left these earthly scenes that we've seen the whole scenario of prophecy come together that He predicted would come together. And all of this fits right in at the same time that Israel, against impossible odds, was reborn as a nation after being scattered throughout the world for 2000 years. So, I don't believe we've got 100 years. But if we had 100 years, I doubt my message would change a great deal. I just say the times are urgent. I believe that this is not a time to be wasting a great deal of money on big edifices, big church buildings and things like that. The money should be put into missionary work, evangelism, and we don't need palaces as church buildings to do that. I think entirely too much money is being put into things as if we're going to be here for a millennium instead of 100 years. Let's say I knew it would be 100 years, I'd still say, hey we need to really be reaching this world for Christ, and there's where the emphasis of resources should go.
C/A: A little bit on your writing, I see here you wrote Everlasting Hatred, the Roots of Jihad. How do you think the Trinity shapes culture as opposed to how Islam and Allah shape the culture for the Muslims? How would you say the Trinity should shape culture for Christians?
HL: That's a very good question. The more I studied Islam, and I've been studying it about 30 years, the more I realize the God of the Koran and Mohammed named Allah is not anything like the God of the Bible. Allah is duplicitous, advocates violence and so forth. Let's put it this way: if you follow Mohammed, then you will follow someone who was vindictive, violent, advocating the spreading of faith by the sword. Even though there were some ethical moral things included in it, interspersed among that, revenge and things like that are advocated. So, if you follow Mohammed, you follow Allah, then you are always going to have a violent streak through the culture which is what you have in Islam. There is no concept, for instance, of democracy in the Koran. Its always a tribal leader like the Sheik that's the powerful one. On the other hand, if you follow Jesus Christ and you follow His example, then there's going to be a caring, a peacefulness, a concern for people, a hatred for violence except where it is absolutely necessary to defend yourself and your country and family. So, the two are absolutely poles apart.
C/A: When we think of things in terms of the Trinity, the three and the one, how does that shape culture? How does that have practical application in our lives today?
HL: It's unique because you take the Trinity, they are three in personality but one in essence, and you look at the attributes that the Bible ascribes to the three Persons within the one Godhead, and you'll find that those absolute attributes are, righteousness, absolute justice, absolute power, omnipotence, that this reflects into the culture that believes it. It will cause a tremendous difference. For instance, in America in the beginning, not everyone was a Christian, but there was a strong Christian influence over everything. And so it really shaped even the economics that we have. Our economy was built on the assumption of Christian ethics and morality, and our economy assumed that the average man could be trusted to be honest and have integrity. So free enterprise was developed on that basis. But today you can't trust the average American to be honest, and so even the businesses are falling apart like Enron. All the people that were cheating, corporate officers, you would expect them to tell the truth about their holdings, about their assets, about their cash liquidating and all that. They were lying about it in order to make gain, and this is something that never would have happened in the beginning of this country. But, when the reflection of the Triune God that was part of our culture then was taken away because the Bible has been banned from everywhere, from schools, banned from the classroom, banned from the courthouse, we're almost hermetically sealed from any Christian influence from our culture at large. Our country is falling apart.
C/A: Just a few more questions. This may seem random. You're a writer, how important is poetry to writing prose? How important is poetry in writing?
HL: My grandmother was poet laureate of Alabama. So poetry was always held in high esteem in my home, in my family. I think poetry is very valuable in communicating thought. God thought so, the Psalms, all poetry. Isaiah 53 is written in perfect poetic meter in the original Hebrew. So, I think its very important. But I think you have to have a gift to do it. I don't have…I have a daughter that does. I think it is a wonderful, wonderful means of writing and communication.
C/A: Who are some of your favorite classical authors, not from this century? Name your top three authors.
HL: I love Spurgeon. There was one. . . I love the writings of D.L. Moody, and Louis Sperry Chafer.
C/A: Name your top three secular authors of anytime? Who would those be?
HL: Earnest Hemingway. I loved, admired his style. Can't think of his name right now, but he wrote The Hodge. I've read a lot of his works, I just can't think of his name right now. He wrote The Hodge and O Jerusalem. And, I like the author of The Source, great historian, can't think of his name either, but that's cause I'm seventy-three years old.
C/A: I also brought a couple books that have been published by Canon Press and they are parodies. This one is a parody of Left Behind by Lahaye and Jenkins, and this one is a parody of Armageddon. I'm just curious what you think about them? Let me put it this way, is there a place for Christian parody, for brothers to do this?
HL: In my opinion, no. I think it's completely out of the Christian spirit. I think there are a lot of people that are jealous of just about anyone who makes a big success, and they've always got to find something to pick at. I feel if they've got something to say, they should go to the person and say it and not try to make a mockery. Most of them who do this don't know the author very well. I know Tim Lahaye. I've known him for almost 40 years and he's a godly, dedicated man.
C/A: What do you think if someone tried to justify this Biblically, using the examples of Malachi and Elijah or Jesus?
HL: Malachi et cetera were mocking unbelievers.
C/A: Malachi isn't necessarily mocking unbelievers. He's mocking God's priests.
HL: Mock them? I've studied it many times. I didn't see any mocking.
C/A: When he says what you bring before God, would you bring this before the governor? He is making fun of them. You guys are pathetic. You bring this to God, but would you…
HL: I didn't see it that way. He's raising a question to shame them, but I didn't see it as a big parody. These are questions I don't like, by the way.
C/A: Oh. Okay.
HL: I despise those who berate brothers publicly. I just think it's out of place.
C/A: That's why I'm asking. I'm thankful that you're…
HL: That's carte blanche. I think its out of place.
C/A: Okay. Would you want to say…I'm getting your thoughts on…
HL: See, this is the kind of stuff I don't even bother to read, so I don't have an opinion on it.
C/A: What would you say, for instance to the author here, Nathan Wilson, from one Christian to another? What would you tell him?
HL: I would say he's obviously got gifts, but he should put them to better use. Something that would be more uplifting, something that would be more profitable. For instance, what's his purpose for writing that? Is it to bring repentance, something he sees in Lahaye that he doesn't believe is right? That's not the way to do it. It's making money off of stirring up controversy.
C/A: So, what's the proper way of getting a brother…
HL: If you have something against a brother, go to him personally. If he doesn't listen to you, go to him with a couple of other brothers, but, you know, I've seen a lot of criticism of other brothers, and when you get right down to it, the problem is that they haven't gone to them, they haven't talked to them and I just think that is the way this sort of thing ought to be handled.
C/A: Well. I appreciate it. I appreciate the interview and your taking the time to answer my questions.
HL: Nice to see you.

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