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Concern About Christian Militancy is Appropriate

Reader comment on item: A Christian Boom

Submitted by Horace Jeffery Hodges, Ph.D., Hanshin University (Republic Of Korea), Nov 28, 2002 at 16:24

Mark (November 26, 2002 at 14:52), refering to Daniel Pipes's article "Christian Boom," asks,

"What do you mean by Christian Militancy?"

then remarks:

"I'm not worried about Protestant jihad, it's not in the Scriptures."

I'm also interested in this "militancy" -- though I suppose that I'll need to read Jenkins's book to find out what Jenkins (or is it Pipes?) means.

I can, however, imagine some worrisome scenarios in which a "Protestant jihad" could develop. The Christianity that is growing in the South may be traditional and conservative in many respects, but I'll bet that it also has a strong apocalyptic orientation that interprets the final book of the Christian scriptures, Revelation, as a template for the near future. If so, then many of these non-Western Christians may tend to see Muslims as a whole, and not just the militant Islamists, as followers of the Antichrist.

If we look at the Protestantism of the radical Reformation, we see that this can indeed lead to "Protestant jihad," regardless of whether this is really "in the Scriptures."

Moreover, a lot of this sort of Christianity today is charismatic, as Pipes -- following Jenkins -- notes:

"[T]heir notions of spiritual charisma, their aspiration to direct spiritual revelation, their efforts to exorcise demonic forces . . . [lead to] increasing tensions develop with the liberal Northerners."

Note the reference to "direct spiritual revelation." This goes beyond a traditional textual religion and its institutionalized hermeneutics. 'Prophets' can receive new 'revelations' that 'abrogate' olders ones. We may, in fact, face some Protestant jihadis in this uncertain future, and it does not take a large group to cause immense destruction. Nineteen suicide bombers brought down the WTC, severely damaged the Pentagon, and killed about 3000 people. If these Southern Christians have "tensions . . . with the liberal Northerners," imagine the potential for tensions with Muslims. And imagine the consequences if Christian militants crashed airliners into Mecca and destroyed the Ka'aba.

As Pipes and Jenkins point out:

"Christianity and Islam are on a collision course, competing for converts and influence. Some countries 'might be brought to ruin by the clash of jihad and crusade.'"

I hope that the "liberal Northerners" are paying attention. For that matter, I hope that traditional Northerners are as well.
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