In 2007 I first published Chrysalis Crucible, a coming-of-age novel about young Andy Norton who goes off to West Berlin in the early seventies to evangelize – with all the answers. You can find a page about it on this website.
I’ve republished it (2015) as Kindle eBook and Amazon print-on-demand.
Andy discovers in West Berlin instead that not only are people not asking the questions to which he has answers, he is being confronted with a barrage of questions coming at him so fast and furious like clay pigeons in a skeet shoot, that he has no time let alone capacity to keep up with answers.
Not least is this the case temporally with massive State violence blessed by the Western church. Not least is this the case spiritually with a doctrine of hell of eternal conscious torment, the Ultimate Cosmic Violence, and blessed by the Western church. (See for example “Farewell, Rob Bell”.)
Dr. Hans Beutler is lead protagonist in Andy’s changing views. An earlier mention of Hans is in Chapter Forty-Five. Now in Chapter Forty-Eight, Hans holds forth in deeply disturbing discussion about State violence, Christian faith, and America “Land of the Free”.
Hans swallowed his Bratwurst, took a sip of water, and then began. “Let’s discuss Billy Graham and ideology, seeing as he trained at Wheaton College, too. Once, he went behind the lines to preach to the GI’s about salvation. I’m sure this was at the expense of the American government. If not, it was obviously done with their full permission. Why? Because Billy Graham was a good propagandist for the ideology of the war America was fighting against the Communists.
“I can guarantee that in no part of Dr. Graham’s gospel message was there a call to ‘love your enemies.’ On the contrary, if soldiers became Christians and proceeded the next day to blow their enemies to bits—for the love of whom Jesus died, too—Reverend Graham would have fully approved. He did, in fact. And that’s ideology at work alien to the Gospel. Specifically, that’s American anti-Communist ideology triumphing over the Gospel. Or Darkness overcoming the Light, to use biblical language.
“So I ask, how is that in keeping with Jesus’ teachings? Did it ever occur to Evangelicals to go to North Vietnam with the message that God loves the Viet Cong, too, and that one should lay down one’s life for them rather than take theirs? Apparently not. So when Billy Graham went to the American troops with the ‘Gospel,’ should not part of his message have been that they should stop the slaughter because God loves the North Vietnamese as much as he does Americans? Or does God not love America’s enemies?
“My conclusion from simple observation is that Evangelicals routinely practise an under-your-breath ideologized footnote theology that reads repeatedly, ‘Except our enemies,’ when quoting John 3:16 and all similar New Testament ethical teachings. How could Billy Graham tell the North Vietnamese that God loves them when he fully blessed his own country in displaying the exact opposite feeling—hatred unto death? How could he do this when he was still praying with the President for victory in the War, when he apparently willed the utter inversion of the Gospel regarding treatment of neighbour, enemy, and Creation?
Please click on: Chapter Forty-Eight