While we were at the Prophecy Summit at Pikes Peak, I posted a short note about the wonderful group of people that were in attendance. I meant it; the sense I got from the people I spoke to was that they were intelligent and hungry for answers they aren’t getting at their home church.
That’s not surprising, nor is it a condemnation of churches in general. Discussions of the UFO phenomenon alongside Bible prophecy just don’t happen in America today (except, of course, on the History Channel).
Anyway, my point is this: Instead of leaving well enough alone, I concluded my piece with a snarky jibe at a group that registered for the conference specifically to confront some of the speakers. It was not done in a spirit of Christian fellowship, and I am sorry.
Doug Hamp, who has taken a lot more flak than I have, had the proper reaction. When the topic of this group’s presence was mentioned late Saturday night at the conference, he led us in prayer for them. And no, it was not in any way, shape, or form a prayer asking for a heavenly smite-down. Props to Doug for leading us in the proper, loving Christian response.
Jesus told us to love our enemies. He backed up his talk by forgiving the men who put him through the most brutal form of torture known to mankind. So who am I that I dared to be annoyed by a blog post?
Here’s where I’m coming from: Many of the speakers at Pikes Peak have become our friends over the last few years. We don’t agree on everything, but, to the best of my knowledge, we do agree that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Not by works, secret knowledge, or anything else. Grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Period.
I will not break fellowship with a friend just because he appeared at another conference with someone whose theology I disagree with. Association is not necessarily guilt.
So why do we happily associate with so-called nephilim hunters? Statistics.
Here are a couple that I find significant: A 2012 National Geographic survey found that more than a third of American adults believe in UFOs. Nearly 80% believe there is evidence that space aliens have visited Earth.
Contrast that with this: A 2009 study by the Barna Group found that only 9% of Americans have a biblical worldview. For the purpose of the survey, a “biblical worldview” was defined as accepting these tenets:
- Absolute moral truth exists;
- The Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches;
- Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic;
- A person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works;
- Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth;
- God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.
Sadly, only 19% of people who self-identified as “born again” Christians have a biblical worldview.
So, to sum up, Americans are about eight times more likely to believe in space aliens than in the God of the Bible — or, more precisely, God as He is described in the Bible.
What happens, then, when your typical American sees lights in the sky that defy an easy explanation? How does your typical American Christian respond? Not well, apparently, since about 80% of born-agains don’t accept the Bible as authoritative. Apparently we American Christians — and it’s probably not unique to us — prefer a buffet-style religion in which we can leave out the hard parts.
What we get, of course, is a small-“g” god who looks a lot like the face in the mirror. But I digress.
Since the typical believer has already rejected the Bible as the final authority, things that appear to defy a biblical explanation (because UFOs, ghosts, demonic possession, etc., are never discussed in church) are likely to drive him or her elsewhere for answers — to “experts” like the the ancient aliens guy on the History Channel.
And I guarantee that Crazy Hair Giorgio is not preaching the gospel.
The speakers at Pikes Peak who addressed the UFO phenomenon attempted to do so within a biblical framework. Criticism of, say, careless use of the Book of Enoch or other extra-biblical sources is fair. But if we believe in an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God, shouldn’t we Christians at least try to reach out to those souls who are being led to damnation by the well-packaged lies of the ancient aliens gospel? (And New Agers, transhumanists, occultists, and so on.)
We think so. The numbers support our view. So we’ll keep trying. And praying — no more snarkiness, if I can help it.