One element of toxic theology that frustrates and angers me more than most other elements is obsession with end-times issues. I could say much more about this right now, but I’ll just offer a couple comments and post a video for your viewing.
My initial comment is this. We can talk about the “end times” if we want, as long as we agree that we’ve been in the “end times” for 2,000 years, and we agree that if we live like the world’s gonna end tomorrow all the time, we will forget the deeper call of the Scripture to obey God and provide a way of life that’s wise and sustainable for hundreds of generations following ours. One of the major offenses of the evangelical Christian community in America is that our obsession with end-times approaches (which are secondary to other issues in the Bible) lead us to think, speak, and act unwisely and often selfishly in the present.
Example 1. Why should I care what car I drive when Jesus could come tomorrow? So let’s buy a Toyota Sequoia or Nissan Armada and neglect that together they average 14 miles-per-gallon and pollute the air around us, lowering quality of air, forcing us into deeper dependency on oil, and therefore leading to us justifying military actions to secure cheap oil, etc etc as we ignore the effects of our way of living on the global community surrounding us.
Example 2. Why should I bother with the extra work of recycling when Jesus could come tomorrow? So I keep throwing everything into the trash, hauling it to the dump, and neglecting the larger reality that most of our trash is transported and stashed in poorer-communities-lacking-the-power-to-stand-up/communities-we-really-don’t-care-about-anyways-and-would-rather-ignore. This includes our own inner cities as well as developing countries.
Example 3. Why should I bother with obeying Jesus and caring about the oppressed when my end-times obsession tells me to prepare for the Apocalypse and/or “support Israel” no matter what? So I listen to writers like Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins and leaders like John Hagee obscuring the command to give our lives for every human being (like Palestinians who’ve lived for generations in refugee camps) with fear-mongering demands to support the people of Israel because it’s the end-times and we’ll be judged if we don’t.
Example 4. Why should I bother with the Biblical command to radical sharing of my possessions and way of life when my end-times theology tells me to beware of “socialism” and “class warfare”? So I buy into my own pagan culture’s demand that my possessions should BELONG TO ME and NOBODY ELSE and should go where I SAY and NOWHERE ELSE and should be given completely non-coercively because no one can tell ME WHAT TO DO WITH MY STUFF other than me. And in the process I ignore one of the primary messages of the Bible; the call to relationship and community.