Left Behind or Left Befuddled
By Gordon Isaac
This book is one of the more pleasant I have read regarding the phenomena of millenialism. It is short, concise and to the point for one. He also deals with why it matters, which is something often missing from other books trying to convince the premillennalist of his error.
“Left Behind or Left Befuddled” takes on pre-millennial dispensationalism head on, by taking on the book series most responsible for promulgating this irresponsible position, “The Left Behind Series.” And though he quotes from this series in many places, he does not limit his critique to the book series itself, but in critiquing the pre-millenialism, he brings this critique to bear on the books themselves. The concentration on the left behind series, though, helps to keep the critique short, and down to earth.
I found several points in this book to be quite interesting. For instance, I had never realized the organic relationship of dispensationalism to Campbellite and other nondenominational movements stemming from Darby’s exile from an established church. That premillenial dispensationalism was also a reaction to Secularism and Darwinism which had undercut the authority of the Bible in society was also something that would not have dawned on me. Not only do I find these points interesting, but also helpful for my understanding of those who hold these views.
His treatment of Luther on Revelation was interesting, though I would have liked to see a bit more discussion on how Luther could appeal to Revelation while at the same time labeling it antilegomena.
Finally, the real treasure of the book is his treatment of “why this matters.’ Interestingly enough Isaac Gordon goes on to show how the millenial mindset has all sorts of awful consequences, personal, social, and national in scope. He shows how this sort of interpretation of the bible, comes at a hig price in regard to the interpretation of the rest of scripture, in actuality robbing a person of proper hermeneutical skills to interpret scripture in any way that will let the gospel free them from fear. He shows how the codes and language used in these circles close them off from meaningful evangelism to the rest of society, and worse, paint the church as being dangerous for society. And on the national scope he shows how dangerous elements of the Israeli underworld have used this movement to support violence in the Middle East, duping Christians from their money, even while turning their assaults on Palestinian Christians, and trying to disrupt peace talks. In fact, such is the vision that it will not allow for peace. I had always thought that premillenialism was an assault on the gospel, the forgiveness of sins that Jesus Christ won for the world with his death and resurrection. Dr. Gordon shows that in fact it is.