On Sunday November 23 the COG-PKG pastor Ronald Weinland took part in an Australian television documentary called Apocalypse Now? You can read a transcript of the documentary at this site :- http://www.abc.net.au/compass/s2428806.htm
Perhaps the most interesting parts of the documentary were the contributions made by four leading Australian commentators -- sociologist Richard Eckersley, biblical scholar John Dickson, literary academic Greg Clarke, and psychologist Susan Tanner.
These are a few selected highlights :-
“Surprisingly, being certain about the end can actually bring relief to those suffering anxiety…”
“Apocalyptic thinking can be very useful to people who need to feel a sense of control, and they therefore feel calm because they know what’s going to happen. Living with uncertainty, living with a question mark is the hardest thing to do for all human beings. We like to know what’s going to happen. That’s why we visit clairvoyants and you know we have our tarots read and all sorts of things….”
“Such misunderstandings could well prove dangerous…Ron Weinland’s interpretation of the Book of Revelation gives him – as an end-time prophet - the right to injure or even kill those who oppose him.”
“Is there a danger if an individual thinks that he or she is the witness, one of the witnesses? I think there’s a danger for that person certainly, because they’re going to be disappointed. I mean the reality is, I’m confident, they will one day realise that they weren’t, and so there’s a danger of a religious meltdown for that person. I guess it’s also dangerous if that person started to feel that they could perform great wonders in the world and tried to create a movement around him or herself, that’s possibly dangerous as well.”
“There are massive risks when someone has extreme delusional thinking. There are risks to the individual. And there are obviously dangers to other people and that can be hundreds or thousands of other people, when someone is totally controlled by their delusional thinking. And you know we have lots of examples of that in our history.”
“The danger really is to their faith actually, [when the apocalypse] turns out not to be true. And if you’ve pinned your Christian hopes not on Christ and the symbolic meaning of the Book of Revelation, but on the literal interpretation of it, you are bound to be disappointed because the book doesn’t mean those things. So my great fear for people like that is that they will throw the baby out with the bathwater and be left with no faith at all. That’s a great tragedy.”
“Stories about the end will always appeal to human beings and that is part of our psychology. What I hope people will do is sort out the truth from the fiction and recognise what we can understand from the bible about God’s view for this world and not tip over into paranoia or confusion or fear, which often has terrible social consequences.”
A related question to the discussion above is: How did the Book of Revelation get into the New Testament? (It is obviously very different to the four gospels and the letters.) The author, Laurence Gardner has an interesting response to that question in his new book called The Grail Enigma (pp.250, 251) :-
“Given that so many texts were excluded from the New Testament when the selection was made at the Council of Carthage in AD 397, it is remarkable that [the book of Revelation] escaped close scrutiny at that time. It was greatly disputed however, and seems only to have passed the selection process because Eusebius claimed it was an authoritative work and, although he considered it in some ways unsuitable, he refused to condemn its apostolic provenance. Even so, the Church has since done its best to divert people from this book [Revelation] by portraying it as a sinister prophecy of foreboding and doom. By way of propaganda … even the very word ‘apocalypse’ has become [to mean the same as] disaster. But the fact is that John’s writing (esoteric as it is in some respects) amounts to precisely what its title conveys. The Greek word ‘apocalypse’ translates quite simply to ‘revelation’, and relates more precisely to the revealing of hidden truths.”
(Emphasis by ‘Que’.)
Note. See also this post by Mike from 'Don't Drink the Flavor Aid'.