Lately, my research for an article on American Evangelicalism and the Apollo 11 moon landing has led me to The Late Great Planet Earth, the 1970 apocalyptic best-seller by Hal Lindsey.
It’s my first time reading Lindsey’s book. I’m aware of the impact it had on 1970s popular culture (named the bestselling non-fiction book of the decade by New York Times, etc.), but I didn’t realize how sensationalistic the book is — although, quite frankly, it doesn’t surprise me.
Given the popularity of the book with Christians and non-Christians in the 1970s, I’m curious: what effect (if any) did the book have on the Brethren in Christ? Did church members read The Late Great Planet Earth? If so, how did they respond?
Readers: Have you read Lindsey’s book? What did you think? And do you know anything about its reception within the wider Brethren in Christ Church? Respond in the Comments section!
3 responses to “The Brethren in Christ and The Late Great Planet Earth”
Yes, read it at sixteen. It had a significant impact on my thinking. Likely positive at first, but it surely became quite negative. Mr. Lindsey tapped into a latent fear born within the shadow of the Cold War & threat of nuclear war. He turned prophecy into a money making cottage industry.
His exegesis of the parable of the fig tree was flat-out wrong. According to him the fig tree flowering in the desert was Israel becoming a nation in 1948. He then extrapolated from the words of Jesus that from that flowering one generation would not pass away before all the prophetic utterances regarding the second advent of Christ came to pass. And he said a Biblical generation was forty years, therefore, 1988 was to be the end of history as we know it.
Anyway, I’ll be interested to see where research takes you.
IMHO, the OT sentence for a false prophet should have carried out on Mr. Lindsey—if not actually, then at least metaphorically he should have taken to the edge of town & stoned. The body of Christ should reject any so-called prophetic musings that are or have been discredited by the passage of time.
The 2011 Impact Seminar on Revelation will present a BIC -and, to my way of thinking – a far more Biblical view.
I must give a little anecdote here. When I was in my fourth grade year at Epworth Christian School (no longer operating), our high school bible teacher mentioned THIS exact book during a chapel sermon. He included the same parable Ken mentioned. I have a vivid memory of his closing remarks, “and there are some who believe the span of a generation is 40 to 60 years.” Thereafter an alter call followed where many kindergarten-12th grade students responded.