U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., never has been bashful in spouting her theological beliefs.
Most recently, she told fellow Republicans at a dinner in Knoxville, Tenn., she believes humanity is “in the last of the last days” with the “Second Coming of Jesus” approaching.
Speaking to the Knox County Republican Party, she said: “It is an honor to serve in this time. I believe that many of us in this room believe that we are in the last of the last days and that’s not a time to complain, that’s not a time to grumble, to be dismayed, to be disheartened, but a time to rejoice.”
“You get to be a part of ushering in the second coming of Jesus,” she added.
Earlier this year, Boebert hinted that Jesus could have prevented his crucifixion if he had owned AR-15 rifles. “How many AR-15s do you think Jesus would have had?” Boebert asked a crowd at a Christian event in Colorado. “Well, he didn’t have enough to keep his government from killing him.”
How she managed to support this affront to the nonviolent Jesus boggles the mind.
Now, Boebert has said she believes Jesus will return because Satan will beg him to because Christians are out in such “a great force,” not because they are “hiding in caves” due to “a government lockdown.” How strange! Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the 10 Commandments. Boebert has come from a cave in the Rockies to announce a new twist on how the second coming will “go down.”
This is bad conservative theology
Boebert has strayed off the reservation of the wacky and the crazy conspiracy theories and entered the land of theology. Yet even conservative evangelicals would dispute the theological claims Boebert has made.
“She has plenty of company when she says she believes we are living in end times.”
She has plenty of company when she says she believes we are living in end times. There’s always a market for that claim, especially in the United States. Prominent evangelical pastors share the same worldview.
Robert Jeffress, in his book Countdown to Apocalypse, makes the same case as Boebert. He does possess more theological sophistication than her as he makes sure no one mistakes him for one of those preachers who predict the date Jesus will return.
Jeffress wrote: “If anyone tells you that they have pinpointed the year or the month or the day or the hour of Jesus’s return, do not believe him. That person is either a false prophet or a seriously deluded Bible student. Jesus strictly forbids setting dates for his return.”
Maybe he needs to tell Boebert that.
Except in his book, Jeffress shifts gears and claims, “I’m convinced we are living in the ‘last days’ according to the Bible. After writing this book, I am more convinced than ever that we are living proof that we are living in the period of time the Bible calls ‘the last days.’ If that is true, then we may be the generation that sees the Second Coming of Christ.”
So maybe Jeffress and Boebert do have something in common.
“Her remarks are so far off the map of Christian thought, it is tempting to ignore her; but one should not.”
But Boebert departs from the dispensational world in her astonishing claim that Satan will convince God to send Jesus back for the true Christians. Her remarks are so far off the map of Christian thought, it is tempting to ignore her; but one should not. There are always people willing to believe anything no matter how absurd it is.
This is theology that belittles God
Boebert assumes there is an actual superhuman being — Satan — who has access to the throne of God and can show up unannounced in heaven and “beg” God to send Jesus back to earth. Even if you believe there’s a literal Satan, this is still a nonsense suggestion.
According to conservative evangelical beliefs, Satan was a rebellious angel who tried to overthrow God and take over the throne of heaven. He was defeated and cast out. At the throne of grace, there’s room only for the Holy Trinity, the angels and the saints. The writer of Hebrews informs us that we have access to the throne of grace where we can come to ask for help: “Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Nowhere in the Bible do we read of Satan accessing the throne of heaven.
Besides all this, there is a “great gulf fixed between heaven and hell,” according to Father Abraham in conversation with a rich man residing in hell. Abraham patiently explained to the rich man that “those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.” Then the rich man begged Father Abraham to send someone back to earth to warn his five brothers. The begging sounds sincere and heartfelt, but it is denied. No good biblical literalist is going to buy the idea that Satan is coming to heaven to beg God to send Jesus back.
This is theology that forgets Satan is a loser
Then, there’s the reality that Satan is still nursing his wounds and building his resentment over what happened when Jesus came to earth the first time. Despite gargantuan efforts to have Jesus murdered as a child, to have him succumb to temptation, and participating in his crucifixion and death, it didn’t work out for Satan and the powers and principalities. God raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at the right hand in glory. Satan is in no mood to repeat his mistakes. It’s one thing to be a three-time loser, but Satan is too sharp to try it all over again.
“It’s one thing to be a three-time loser, but Satan is too sharp to try it all over again.”
Tragically, Boebert gives the devil too much credit. It’s one thing to “give the devil his due,” it takes a lot of gumption to give the devil an audience with God in a blatant attempt to undo the purpose and will of Almighty God.
Boebert offends every Bible-believing, Calvinist-imbibing believer by suggesting Satan could somehow be persuasive enough to outwit God, or manipulate God, or persuade God to change God’s unalterable plan for the earth. Even free will Arminians scoff at Boebert’s suggestions.
This is theology that is confused
There’s also the matter of Boebert announcing that Christians are out in “great force.” She probably still believes the crowd at Trump’s inauguration was larger than that of President Obama and that it was the largest crowd ever assembled in Washington, D.C. The sad reality is that Christians are not out in “great force” unless there’s some rally being held to deprive some segment of the population basic rights.
Christianity’s light grows dimmer by the day in an ever-enlarging secular culture. As Charles Taylor paints the picture so eloquently in A Secular Age, we now inhabit a “disenchanted” world where belief in God is no longer the default setting. There’s never been a better time to be an atheist.
Publishers compete to publish the rantings of the “New Atheists.” David Bentley Hart, in Atheist Delusions, says, “Never before have the presses or the press been so hospitable to journalists, biologists, minor philosophers, amateur moralists proudly brandishing their baccalaureates, novelists, and (most indispensable of all) film actors eager to denounce the savagery of faith, to sound frantic alarms against the imminence of a new ‘theocracy,’ and to commend the virtues of spiritual disenchantment to all who have the wisdom to take heed.”
How Boebert manages to connect “living in caves” and “government lockdown” with “Satan begging God to come get his children” is beyond imagination. Perhaps her inadequate biblical knowledge recalled an old Sunday school lesson where the teacher read that the faithful “wandered in deserts and mountains and in caves and holes in the ground” (Hebrews 11:36–38). Her allusion to American Christians “living in caves” confuses American Christians going down the rabbit hole.
Maybe she’s confused by the constant assertion by evangelicals that Democrats are all the devil or agents of Satan. Maybe she is hallucinating or afraid the Democrats have all decided to start praying for the rapture to occur before the 2024 election.
Think about it: Since most of the nation’s rapture believers are evangelicals, Christian nationalists and, by default, Republicans, the rapture would give Democrats total control of the White House and Congress. By larger margins than Franklin D. Roosevelt enjoyed in 1936 when there were 322 Democrats and 103 Republicans in the House and 76 Democratic Senators and 16 Republicans.
This makes me wish I could reconsider the rapture, but I can’t do it. As conservative Anglican New Testament scholar N. T. Wright put it, “Say goodbye to the rapture.”
And say goodbye to Lauren Boebert’s foray into the land of theology.
Rodney W. Kennedy is a pastor in New York state and serves as a preaching instructor at Palmer Theological Seminary. He is the author of nine books, including the newly released The Immaculate Mistake, about how evangelical Christians gave birth to Donald Trump.
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