A Squandered Heritage –
As a Christian and an American I’m often struck by the divergent opinions espoused by fellow believers concerning America’s place in Bible prophecy. On one end of the spectrum you have those who believe America is not implied or mentioned in the Bible’s prophetic texts. On the other hand are those who say the USA is a central figure in the Bible’s end-times prophecies. One thing both sides seem to agree on is that America’s moral decline plays an integral part in either scenario.
Into this mix of conflicting and competing world views Jeff Kinley offers a timely and important look at the subject in his new book The End of America? – Bible Prophecy and A Country in Crisis.
It has been some time since I’ve read a better or more eloquent exploration of America’s greatness and failings than given by Mr. Kinley in this book. I especially appreciated Mr. Kinley reminding his reader that we as Christian’s must remember that our ultimate allegiance belongs to a heavenly king, a kingdom, and a city not made with human hands. In today’s supercharge political environment, it’s a reminder that I believe should be at the forefront of our thoughts.
The book begins in Chapter 1 with an exploration of the question: Is America Really in Decline? I must warn the reader that Mr. Kinley pulls no punches when looking at the underbelly of America’s moral decline.
Then in Chapter 2, Mr. Kinley gives sobering context to our country’s moral decline by sharing a compelling overview of our Judeo-Christian roots. I really appreciate this part of the book because I felt Mr. Kinley did a great job of painting a balanced picture of America’s Christian heritage. In the book he did not paint every founder as an evangelical Christian but rather showed how a diverse group of men from various backgrounds and religious beliefs understood the importance of setting our country’s laws upon Judeo-Christian principles.
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In what I hope is taken as constructive criticism, I think it would have been helpful for Mr. Kinley to explore a bit more thoroughly the corrosive influence humanism played in undermining America’s Judeo-Christian roots. Like the Biblical wheat and tares, those seeds of humanism which always lie dormant in the human heart were provided fertile grounds in early years of the republic. Those seeds originally sown in Eden by the adversary found ideal conditions to flourish as “We the People” case off the shackles of Biblical morality in an over estimation of our own “exceptionalism”.
Those shackles of Judeo-Christian morality were cut completely during the mid-1900’s by our Supreme Court when it began to eradicate religion in the public sphere. What few realize is that these events were not an accident but a purposeful agenda. During the years 1941-1971 a majority of the Supreme Court justices belonged to an organization which has as one of its core tenants the promotion of secular humanism. I believe this context is essential to understanding the accelerated decline of morality in American in the mid-20th century. It would have been a valuable addition to the book.
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In Chapter 5, Mr. Kinley looks at American’s Holocaust – Abortion and our National Shame. This chapter was quite frankly heart breaking and terribly sobering. By the time you have finished this chapter you are left with the unescapable conclusion that we as a nation have nurtured an atrocity of proportions which makes the bloodshed of the past 6000 years of human history pale in comparison. Instead of proclaiming American greatness and exceptionalism we should be bowing our heads in shame because of what we have allowed to take place on our watch. This chapter really made me realize our extreme hypocrisy as we point to the tens of thousands of precious souls killed by Islamic terrorism each year, or the 6 million precious Jewish souls murdered by the cold blooded hands of the Nazi’s during WWII, yet each year the blood of 1 million innocent children soaks the soil of our own land. Where is the greatness in that?
In Chapters 6-9, Mr. Kinley focuses in on Bible prophecy, potential scenarios for America’s demise, and the consequences of our national moral decay. Although I don’t agree with Mr. Kinley on some of his eschatological assumptions, there is a lot of valuable information in these chapters.
Once particular area of disagreement regards Mr. Kinley’s Gog and Magog scenario. This section of the book I found to be especially lacking in context. As an example I quote from page 212 of the book:
“As to the timing of this particular battle, I believe there is scriptural evidence to suggest it will occur sometime after Israel enters the land before Jesus Christ returns. More specifically, the Bible tells us it will take place during the “latter years” and when Israel is “living securely” in the land (Ezekiel 38:8, 11, 14, 18-22).”
What Mr. Kinley fails to explain in his book is that Israel “living securely” (yashab betach) is taken originally from the context of Leviticus 25 & 25 and is a Biblical promise to Israel contingent upon their obedience to the Torah. Further Jeremiah 32, Ezekiel 28, 34 and Zechariah 14 all congruently describe Israel dwelling securely (yashab betach) during the millennial reign of Christ. Not to be ignored is Revelation 20 were it describes the attack of Gog and Magog as taking place in the latter years when Israel is in fact dwelling securely in their land.
In consideration of the importance Mr. Kinley places on the Gog & Magog invasion of Israel as it relates to the Rapture and his end-times framework, at the very least he should provide his readers with a more contextual explanation of why he believes Ezekiel 38 & 39 description of Israel “dwelling securely” in the land is exceptional to the context provided in the balance of the Biblical record.
The reason I believe this is so important is what we believe about prophecy can’t help but influence how we see the world. Today many of my evangelic peers see the Russia of today as the embodiment of the prophesied Gog and Magog. At the very least these expectations should be tempered with a complete contextual rendering of the applicable passages relating to Gog and Magog and its timing. Anything less creates a potential stumbling block as we draw closer to the end of this age and the return of Yeshua.
Finally Chapter 10 is a call for Christians to be the light and salt to the world around us. Mr. Kinley rightly encourages his reader not to hide their lights but to be active agents in our spheres of influence in the time remaining before Yeshua returns.
In closing, my respectful disagreements notwithstanding, this book was an outstanding look at America, its Judeo-Christian roots, and our place in Yahweh’s redemptive plan for mankind. I sincerely believe this is one of the books every American Christians need read this year. After you’ve read the book then I’d encourage you to open your Bible’s and see if these things be so.
Author: Jeff Kinley
Book Title: The End of America? Bible Prophecy and a Country in Crisis
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Book Reviewed by: William Struse