This man, call him Norman, became my instant partner in spotting whales. Norman told me the weather has changed. Norman did not answer directly but politely switched the subject to what is no doubt his favorite when he finds a listener, his Christian walk:
“I am a Christian so I believe it’s all [weather included] in God’s hands. God is winding things up; he is going to end everything…after the rapture and tribulation…the end times….”
Norman had opened the door to a discussion with life and death implications, the Judeo-Christian churches’ role in the Serial War era. Judeo-Christians are called by many names; the Christian Right, dispensationalists, Charismatic, Mormons, Pentecostals, and even Christian-Zionists, but all believe what Norman had just stated.
I dread to lump this spiritual and sincere man, Norman, in with some of the intentionally bloody Christian-Zionists, but they have a common link to a State that calls itself “Israel.” If we could call every pastor and religious writer to debate (I have publicly debated one prominent Christian–Zionist), it should center around one defining query that effectively detects Christian Zionism’s abuse of God’s word:
“Do you believe the (present day) State of Israel is the fulfillment of Biblical prophesies?”
If we can remember nothing else, ask this one question. Norman has already told me his answer by telling me about the “end times” and “rapture.” So, returning to Norman, I skipped to the second defining query:
“Norman, should it matter to you as a follower of Christ if there is a Rapture and Armageddon and an end times…don’t you have to act out following Christ regardless of what you may think is coming?”
If you get a positive answer to this question you should win the day. With Norman it was not necessary to debate the point, he answered instantly and emphatically:
“No it should not matter. Yes you’re right, it should not matter to a Christian…(our actions should not be different) …I am pro-life and my state passed a bill to ban abortion, but it’s being challenged in the Supreme Court… (thoughtfully) we may have gone a little too far...no exceptions for life of mother, incest, or rape…”
“…If you are truly pro-life don’t you have to also oppose the mass assassination of the innocent in wars?”
Norman could not think of a Jesus answer, so he abandoned the scripture for a secular response:
“In the Old Testament there were numerous times God commanded the Israelites to annihilate entire populations because of their evil acts."
Note that Norman has now introduced Israel into the discussion for the first time.
"Would Jesus have done that? Jesus did not give the modern state of Israel that right either…”
Norman’s answer? He did not answer, but I think he nodded, ever so little. We shook hands, and Norman gave me the chance for a last statement.
“Norman, I must tell you: the churches like yours have blood on their hands, and they are spilling the blood on you... It’s not only our leaders. You cannot be pro-life if you ignore even one Iraqi mother or child’s right to life, even if you consider them enemies. God cannot honor your church if it fails to honor life. The church has failed in it pro-life efforts because it’s only half sincere about all life. God is consistent. We must oppose all unjust killing; it is not an option with Jesus. It has been a blessing to me to talk to you, Norman. See our website if you have questions.”
It is my prayer that Norman will not be able to forget.