How Christians Who Rioted at the Capitol Have Their Roots in The Left Behind Theology Which Opened the Door to Conspiracy Theories. A Twitter Thread by David Cassidy

A Presbyterian pastor in Tennessee has a solid Twitter thread that looks at how bad theology related to Hal Lindsay and Tim Lahaye opened the doors to conspiracy theories and combined with the myth of the Christian state led to the D.C. violence. The event was a long time coming and comes about because of faulty and bad evangelical theology.

“Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Galatians 5:16 NIV

Q Anon Shaman and Brian Gibson a Christian nationalist pastor. The picture was taken in Arizona but both were allegedly in the the Washington, D.C. riot in different capacities. 

This morning I awoke to a fascinating Twitter thread that explains how evangelicals got to the point that some were storming the Capitol. What was the theological path that got us to this point in history? David Cassidy leads Christ Community Church (called C3) in Franklin, Tennessee. The church was founded by Scotty Smith and is a part of the Presbyterian Church of America.  Cassidy has led Christ Community since 2014. 

On Twitter, David Cassidy laid out in a theological thread how many Christians got to the point we are in, with some rioting and storming the United States Capitol. Its a progression from Tim Lahaye and Hal Lindsey’s bad theology. The constant talk of the end of the world is coming led to conspiracy theories being embraced. And the marrying of a mythical Christian state. This is a good thread I want to add to the blog during this discussion on Christian nationalism.


7 thoughts on “How Christians Who Rioted at the Capitol Have Their Roots in The Left Behind Theology Which Opened the Door to Conspiracy Theories. A Twitter Thread by David Cassidy

  1. There certainly are some strange bedfellows here, but I see two different camps.

    Christian Nationalism is definitely post-millennial in that it entertains the belief that the world must become better and better until there is no difference between Heaven and Earth and Jesus sort of moseys on down to take his throne in Jerusalem.

    Radical Premillennialism seeks to usher in the events discussed in the works of Lindsey and Lahaye through politics. In my humble opinion, the two groups share different ideologies, but more or less the same methodology. Post-millennialists seek to usher in the Kingdom through political takeover and the premillennialists through international chaos.

    I have always believed the two events that destroyed Christian evangelicalism were the publication of The Late, Great Planet Earth and the formation of the Moral Majority.

    As an evangelical, I personally have taught that when Christ returns let him be interrupting our work in evangelizing, feeding the poor, comforting the afflicted, etc.

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    • As I understand it, “Christian Reconstructionism” (i.e. “Handmaid’s Tale as How-to Manual”) began among Post-Mils who originally went for the long term. The idea was to “win hearts & minds” for over a century or two until everyone voluntarily accepted Christian Theocracy. (And when the world was Cleansed and Christianized, Christ would return to head the Theocracy in a ready Christian World.)

      But then it hybridized with Hal Lindsay/Left Behind Pre-Mil, otherwise know as Rapture Ready (i.e. “any minute now… any minute now… any minute now…”). Since Christ Was Coming SOON (“any minute now…”) Christian Reconstructionists/Nationalists had to jump to the Endgame NOW! Instead of 200 years winning hearts & minds, Take Over NOW and FORCE a Christian Nation by Any Means Necessary. And after the Coup comes the Cleansing.

      The flaw in this hybridization is If “Christ is Coming SOON” and “It’s All Gonna Burn”, why stage the Coup at all? But asking that is just Vain Imaginings of Man(TM), not THE! WORD! OF! GAWD!

      Another factor was the gushing about The Millennium I heard on so many Christian AM radio sermons and teachings, gushing about how When Christ Returns “HE SHALL RULE WITH A ROD OF IRON!” coupled with James Dobson saying “Christians should prepare NOW for the jobs God will give them in The Millenium”. I don’t know about you, but put these two together and it says God will make Us Christians His Enforcers — like some sort of Divine SS or NKVD. And “As Above, So Below” in forcing a Christian Nation.

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      • If the fundagelicals are right about the Millenial Kingdom (which I don’t believe they are), how is it any different from your garden variety dictatorship?

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      • God’s Speshul Pets (guess who?) are the ones Holding the Whip, with full Sanction from On High.

        I think on her blog, Nyssa the Hobbit did a review of Left Behind: Volume 13(?) (the sequel volume set in The Millennial Kingdom) and according to the excerpts she posted, that IS pretty much the case. The now-immortal, Resurrection-Bodied Author Self-Inserts throw their weight around all over the remaining Heathens with full Divine Sanction. (Sounds like BAD Wish-Fullfillment Revenge Fanfic.)

        Like Medieval Angelology and Demonology, the subject forms a complex super-detailed edifice of speculation built on a foundation of minimal primary source materials.

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  2. On the face of it, it sounds to me like an ammillenialist who doesn’t
    like pre-millenial, pre-trib theory and finds a reason to take a shot at
    it.

    The problem with that theory is that in the left behind series, Jesus has
    just raptured the church and there are people left in the chaos who have
    come to see that Jesus really was who he said he was and are trying to
    survive in the face of an antichrist. I see these survivors as resisting
    in order to survive. I don’t see them as trying to overthrow in order to
    replace with their own kingdom of God government. As for the correlation
    to present events, the fact that they are under powers they don’t like
    and are resisting is the same, but after that the events and purposes
    become less similar.

    My substitute theory is that Christians of all stripes (whatever “mil”
    and on the right and the left) have found that through voting they have
    inflence. And that “power” feels pretty good. It gives them such a “rush”
    to “bring in the kingdom” (or at least makes their expression of
    Christianity so much more viable in the culture), that they are willing
    to set aside their principles. On the left, many (not all) are willing to
    set aside such principles as non-violence in the midst of activism, even
    rejecting things that people they respected espoused (such as MLK –
    interesting and sad to see some of the love fade for him and to say we
    have to move on and beyond his way of advancing the agenda). On the
    right, many (not all, thank you) are willing to vote for a man who does
    not have the values they seek to advance (not at all), but he seems like
    the guy who will effectively and actually use power on their behalf. When
    they lose that power in the election, they’ve become so addicted to that
    power they are willing to resort to violence (as many on the other side
    have done) and even go beyond the level of violence perpetrated in 2020
    in that they have attacked the seat of government itself. And each side
    defends its actions. As an aside, as one on the right, I’m in favor of a
    full investigation of DJT, and if the facts lead to the possibility that
    he should not only never hold office again, but should spend time in
    jail, then so be it. January 6 was about patriotism? No way. The riots
    this summer were about protesting? No way. And not a bit more than
    January 6 was about “protesting”). It is all about lust for power (though
    with good intentions) that has all gone very awry. By the way, my theory
    doesn’t mean that the majority on either side truly claim Christianity,
    but that this is the kind of thinking that professing Christians on both
    sides have adopted. In the lust for power the two sides are the same. In
    terms of advancing a kingdom, it is more like a civil war – who will have
    the power? It is no longer about exchange of ideas and trying to
    convince through argument with some openness to compromise.

    Your thoughts on that theory?

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