Wednesday 13 December 2017

Who/ what is the Antichrist? Recognise by motivation, not doctrine

The Antichrist is often wrongly assumed to be an anti-Christian - like the majority of modern political, business, and other leaders in The West. But the idea is meant to convey a person who is superficially, apparently Christian - who therefore gathers the support of Christians... and then leads them into deceieved but self-chosen damnation.

Also, there need not be one Antichrist - but a multitude - it can be a type rather than a group.

How to penetrate the deception? Well it is seldom a matter of false doctrine - because doctrine is easily faked or distorted - the world is full of people who advertise that they are doing X, but interpreting matters so that they instead destroy X - and humans are very vulnerable to that kind of deception at all levels: the own-nation-hating patriotic politician, the women-destroying feminist, the pro-science advocate who converts research into bureaucracy; the doctor who causes sickness; the educationalists who transform teaching into form-filling...

So good doctrine is compatible with being Antichrist; while on the other hand 'bad' Christian doctrine seems perfectly compatible with true Christian status, in that real, exemplary Christians are found in many churches and denominations.  

No - what makes Antichrist, and what makes Antichrist detectable, is any kind of Christianity pursued with unChristian motivation.

I say 'detectable'; but of course detecting motivation is a matter of intuitive inference, which each must do for himself (or else take the word of somebody he intuitively trusts as being both well-motivated and sufficiently informed).

In sum, we should not accept Christian leadership from anyone who does not place Christianity first, and foremost, as the priority in life (and repents their failures to live-up to this ideal).

The danger is that in today's climate, even someone who is merely interested-in and lukewarmly-supportive-of Christianity (perhaps as a means to an end of a more peaceful and prosperous society), might be set-up by Christian followers, out of a kind-of desperation.

Since this leader is, as a matter of fact, Not primarily motivated by Christianity - he will then use Christianity as a means to socio-political-business ends - as well as to fulfil personal goals such as status, sex, wealth etc. Since he is a leader, he will draw his followers down the same path - thus Christianity is made secondary, redefined expediently, evaluated in materialistic and worldly terms. 

And this is an Antichrist, one of many - although not The Antichrist. I expect several names have come to mind as you read this - and names of not-bad, not-the-worst people... well, they (and not the obvious baddies) are indeed the Antichrists of our time.


Unknown said...

"Also, there need not be one Antichrist - but a multitude - it can be a type rather than a group"

This seems rational. Note that by symmetry we would expect that Christ could also be a multitude in the same sense. This seems hopeful!

-- Robert Brockman

Bruce Charlton said...

@RB - Only one Jesus Christ - but our destiny could be that we become like him in kind.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

The term "antichrist" comes from the epistles of John (no other biblical writer uses the word), and John never speaks of "the Antichrist" as a unique individual. "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist" (2 Jn 1:7) and "as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists" (1 Jn 2:18).

Robert, I don't think symmetry can be expected here. The rules is, many pretenders, only one genuine article.

Chiu ChunLing said...

I think that the additional problem with motivation is that the motives of all Christians to be Christian is fundamentally unlike Christ's motivation. Basically, Christ being innocent voluntarily suffered the cost of sin for all of us so that we wouldn't have to suffer it for ourselves. To be Christian means that we, being guilty, accept Christ's suffering on our behalf so that we can avoid the just consequence of our own sinful nature.

The most we could be motivated as Christ was would be if we accepted Christ's suffering for us, not because we wanted to avoid the just consequence of our own sins, but only because Christ wanted us to avoid it. And yet I have it on pretty good authority that this is not even what Christ would want, He suffered so that we wouldn't on the presumption that we wanted to avoid the just consequences ourselves and not just because it's what Christ wanted.

And yet...if we don't at least feel the tension of this contradiction, if we don't feel our unworthiness for wanting Christ to take the burden of our sins, then Christ cannot remove it from us. It is only with our sincere gratitude for Christ's Atonement that it is able to have any efficacy, the supernatural elements that we do not and cannot understand have no power if we are not also grateful for being saved.

Or more shortly, despite our unchristlike motives for being Christians, the line is when those motives are unchristian enough that we feel impelled to change the doctrine of Christ. This is why Christ says we should beware bad doctrine and teaching, not worry about "bad motives" for sound principles.

Bruce Charlton said...

What lay behind this post is the attempt to correct the idea that some supposedly/ actually evil politician or businessman is The Antichrist.

I think what most people mean by Antichrist is actually Satan incarnate. Some followers of Rudolf Steiner believe that this demon-person (they call Ahriman) has was foretold, has recently incarnated, and is in his late-teens/ early adult years.

What is valuable about the Antichrist idea is the insight that the most effective evil contains good - and perhaps the most effective evil of all would be - say - 99% good, but that element of covert, insidious one percent of evil is the true motivator - pursued throughout; and operates to subvert/ invert/ overthrow the 99 percent of good.

Chiu ChunLing said...

I do think that it is important to point out that Satan doesn't have his own personal body, and doesn't need one as long as there are multitudes of people willing to be his servants and do his work. Because unlike the great redeeming work of Christ, the work of Satan is well within human capacity.