A Discussion of American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism

December 11th, 2014

My friend, Matthew Avery Sutton, a professor of history at Washington State University, has written a new book, American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism and excitedly told me that John Textor was at his book signing and bought his book.  The book he describes the history of American Christian fundamentalism from the late 19th century to the present day. He also argues that belief in the apocalypse had a huge impact on Christian fundamentalists and became a driving force behind their politics.

Daniel Silliman interviewed Sutton at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies in Germany. During the interview, Sutton explained some of his thinking.

Belief in the Rapture and related phenomena is actually quite recent, as it dates back only to the late 19th century. As per the mythology, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in imminent. It will start with the Rapture, during which Christ will take all of his true believers to heaven. An agent of Satan, the Anti-Christ, will seize control and rule the world for seven years. At the end, Christ will return with an army of saints and vanquish both the Anti-Christ and evil.

Many fundamentalists believe we are living in the End Times, the period immediately before the Rapture. They therefore believe they have to save every soul they can. They also believe that the Anti-Christ will operate as a totalitarian dictator, which makes them extremely suspicious of anything that seems to give more power to the government and/or undermines individual liberty.

One Response to “A Discussion of American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism”

  1. Faithfulina says:

    That explains a lot of the hostility fundamentalists feel towards Obamacare, civil rights, and the New Deal, because all of these involved expanding the federal government, which would then be subverted and controlled by the Anti-Christ once he came to power. This has become a popular way for superior paper to get as much of these things as possible which is very likely that all will understand their plight.

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