Author: Hal Lindsey
Book Review by Joseph Canfield
THE ROAD TO HOLOCAUST by Hal Lindsey. Bantam Books (hardback) 1989, 294
Hal Lindseys latest and most disgraceful publishing effort has
already been devastatingly reviewed by a number of Christian writers and scholars. Charles
Provan was given space in several issues of Christian News (New Haven, MO) to analyze the
work and treat it as if it had been intended as serious scholarship and exposition. The
Passantinos, Bob & Gretchen in Witch Hunt1, show that
Lindsey has become the star of Premillennialists who regularly traffic in unfair and
untrue assertions about those who happen to disagree with them about eschatology.
Thankfully, the Passantinos work has gone into a second printing. May we see a
In The Road To Holocaust, Lindsey vents spleen and throws bile
against the Reconstructionists (the vital Postmillennial group). Lindseys method of
attack arouses legal concerns. Today anti-Semitism is a serious charge. Yet
with blithe abandon and apparent unconcern, Lindsey uses the word with what could easily
be interpreted as deliberate malice. Strangely, or maybe not so strangely, the evident
lack of fair play has been accepted by Premillennialists with demure quiet. They are
unwilling to allow brothers who differ to have the benefit of fair play.
The Reconstructionists have responded in a reasoned manner. From Tyler,
Texas came a 68 page booklet, The Legacy of Hatred Continues2,
by Gary DeMar and Peter J. Leithart, which shows how spiteful Lindseys work really
is. In the August 1990 issue of Chalcedon Report3 Timothy
Vaughan reviews it in a column captioned, The Road To Deceit. Vaughan shows
how Lindsey in his loose rage committed a serious blunder, one which will probably not be
mentioned in the Evangelical press. Chalcedon, claimed by Lindsey to be a hotbed of
anti-Semitism, has on its staff a substantial percentage of converted Jews, hardly
incipient nor actual anti-Semites.
There is some question as to whether the
married-more-than-once author was actually named Hal Lindsey at birth, or
whether he adopted it later in life as a pen-name. Whatever his name, Lindsey plucks ideas
out of context without careful reading. His statements are rife with misquotes. He offers
interpretations so bad that genuine theologians among the dispensational camp
must blush with shame.
We should have known this vicious and un-Christian attack would come.
At least one statement in his first book, The Late Great Planet Earth4
foreshadowed it. On page 176 (LGPE) Lindsey says, There used to be a group called
postmillennialists who believed that Christ would root out evil in the world,
abolish godless rulers, and convert the world.... No self-respecting scholar who looks at
world conditions and the accelerating decline of Christian influence today is a
Postmillennialist (typical newspaper-style rhetoric). Besides downgrading the
sovereign power of our Lord, the statement (quoted in part) mis-describes the true
postmillennial view. It mocks the scholarship of the godly men who make up the vanguard of
the resurgent (and never even sick, much less DEAD) postmillennial group. In contrast to
Lindsey, no postmillennialist uses newspaper-style exegesis. But what Lindsey describes as
postmil error is exactly what the Lord Jesus told the Church to pray for in the
Lords Prayer (Matt. 6:6 and 9-13). Lindsey and Jesus do not seem to agree.
Lindseys book may be one of a number of desperate attempts to
retain support for a faltering idea-system, Dispensationalism. The desperation is
suggested by Hals blithe way of throwing around the term anti-Semitic,
especially in light of the well-established significance of that term in todays
culture. Lindsey is not only incorrect, but by specifically naming Reconstructionists,
comes very, very close (if not in fact) to actual criminal libel.
In his introduction to The Legacy of Hatred Continues, Gary
North says Lindsey was asked to allow the Tyler group to review the manuscript of The
Road To Holocaust with a view toward sensible discussion of points of difference.
North notes that even Registered Letters were ignored. Approaches by competent counsel
were rebuffed. Attempts at contact which were in the pattern of specific New Testament
directives regarding differences between brethren were ignored. Lindseys crudity in
rebuffing friendly and Scripturally proper advances leaves a strong impression that he has
no concern for truth and has a rather low quotient of brotherly kindness.
The intense animosity Lindsey has against Reconstructionists shows
itself in a blind mistake. In the August, 1990 issue of Chalcedon Report, in his column,
The Road To Deceit, Timothy Vaughan, in a footnote (p. 8) says, One
absurdity of Lindseys thesis is his ignorance of Chalcedons staff and its
associates. The major nationalistic background is Jewish, then Celtic and lastly
Armenian. Hardly a breeding ground for anti-Semitism.
The concluding chapter of The Legacy of Hatred Continues is
written by Steve M. Schlissel, pastor of Messiahs Christian Reformed Church,
Brooklyn, NY. A converted Jew, Schlissel is as thoroughly Reconstructionist as anyone at
either Chalcedon or Tyler. Like those at Chalcedon, Schlissel shows the same concern for
brethren after the flesh that Apostle Paul showed in Romans 9-11. Essentially,
Reconstructionists are Anti-anti-Semitism. The more one looks, the more it becomes evident
that Lindsey cares not a fig for the real facts in the matter.
Since there is nothing in the background of Hal Lindsey to suggest
capacity for genuine scholarship in Biblical interpretation, the book (allegedly) must
have been put together with major help from people of similar mind. Certain
expositions are characteristically dispensational, typical of exegesis that is
in fashion at Dallas Theological Seminary and other dispensational
institutions. Some are trite, some denigrate the Person and Work of Our Lord. On page
46-47, Hal places the World so firmly under Satans control that one might wonder how
even the Lord could break in to snatch us for either redemption or rapture. In
the light of Luke 10:18 and with any understanding of Christs cry on the cross,
It is finished!, the Christian mind must boggle at Lindseys hopelessness
and pessimism in face of the present and progressively advancing spiritual kingdom of God.
When Lindsey gets to page 109, he repeats the clichˇ that Acts 15:16
refers to a political state. True scholarship shows that tabernacle in Acts
refers to succoth a tent, not a State. Proper reference is to the Tabernacle
(Tent-succoth) which David raised to house the Levitical elements after composing Psalm
24, pending construction of Solomons Temple. Study suggests this Tabernacle could
also be foreshadowing the typological significance of the work of the apostles. They built
a temporary dwelling place (30-70 AD) for the presence of God until the spiritual temple
was completed at 70 AD? It is interesting that Paul was a tent-maker by trade.
He did more than just make physical tents (cf. Acts 15:16 and Acts 18:3).5
On page 153, Lindsey claims the law of Moses was given ONLY to Israel.
While Israel had a special place in Gods plan, Lindsey subscribes to the
chauvinistic (Zionist) view which shackled the Jews and approaches the humanist view that
the God of Israel was merely a tribal deity. For evidence that both moral and ceremonial
laws had been taught and understood from the Fall even before Sinai, see the writing of
George Smith of Cambourne, Cornwall, England, referred to in Endnote 5. Smiths 1856
work has not been surpassed in understanding of the redemptive work in the earliest days.6
Those Fundamentalists who keep company with Lindsey and look with
strange hope for a personal antichrist seem to have no understanding of what Jesus
actually accomplished on the Cross during those hours of darkness, nor any idea what the
covenant judgment at 70 AD meant.7
Based on his assumption that 16th and 20th century social conditions
are identical, Lindsey has a field day over Luthers remarks against Jews. Luther
almost becomes the first card-carrying member of the Nazi party. There is no justification
for this wild-eyed paranoia of Lindseys. There is a drastic difference between how
Jews were perceived in Luthers day and today. As Edith Simon reminds us in her 1968
biography of Martin Luther, Luther Alive, It has been said that today the
only Jew it is permissible to abuse is Jesus Christ.8
While quite acceptable to Lindsey such accusations as his are hardly honorable or
objective. They ooze with the same kind of hate, bias and bigotry that he accuses
Lindseys claim to scholarship in writing The Road To Holocaust
is about as valid as Scofields claim of his influence on Belfast in his Titanic
story (March 1914). The book is not worth purchasing unless it be used as an example how a
movement going soft-headed in its death throes also turns hateful at the same time.
Reading it is an exercise in masochism, but illuminating in the sense that it answers many
questions about the decline of Lindseys movement and how he feels about it.
In his Introduction to The Legacy of Hatred Continues, Gary
North wrote, For twenty years, Mr. Lindsey has received nearly a free ride,
intellectually speaking. Scholars within the Christian community have paid almost zero
attention to his books. . .9 But despite giving him
little scholarly notice, the Evangelical community has made very sure his books are in
Christian bookstores all over the land. Most of these stores would still
refuse to stock any work which is even remotely Amillennial, Postmillennial,
Reconstructionist or preterist. Evangelical leaders must know how unfair, even libelous,
Lindseys charges against Reconstructionists are. But, not a word has been spoken by
them against it. The book is promoted unhesitatingly by them. Lindseys litany of
hate is unfortunately becoming many Evangelicals first introduction to outstanding
men like Rushdoony, North and Morecraft, to name just a few.
In his August 1990 newsletter Dispensationalism in Transition, Vol III,
No. 8, Gary North said (under subtitle First The Head Goes Soft) that when a
movement dies, it dies at the top first. Dispensationalism has been under pressure for a
generation. Its leaders have come off badly in face to face contacts with non-Dispos. Its
scholarship is bankrupt. But it still has a constituency which is very reluctant to
acknowledge the softness at the top.
Consider this scenario. Despite public assurances to the contrary, the
leaders, knowing the real state of their movement, want to at least keep the folks in the
pews from the truth. By a generous slap-dash of anti-Semitism, the most
vibrant alternative is introduced in an unfavorable light. The faithful will not learn for
a long time how they have been had. The alternative (Reconstructionism) not
only will be blackened in the Christian community, but [they hope] some of the smear will
reach outside as well. So much for the integrity of the Pre-trib Rapture idea!.
Whatever you believe, do not just sit and wait for a Rapture which has
too many automobiles in it to be an Eternal phenomenon. Drop Lindsey and all those who go
along with his un-Christian libel.
Clock of Scofield
Clock of Scofield, wound up tight
Scares one sleepless day and night
Along comes Lindsey with his two bits
With do-it-yourself prophetic kit!
Pride and nerve do know no bounds;
Gods planet earth doomed without good grounds.
More prophets rise, and rave, and rant,
For many run-without being sent (Jer. 14:14)
Of prophetic books there is no end;
They invade like locusts-the truth rend.
Their name is Legion - for many there be,
For doctrines of demons - todays their day!
Are you a mixed-up Scofield fan?
Are you sold out to his ready-made plan?
Adieu to Scofields prophetic art,
Take not Lindseys lore to heart.10
1. Witch Hunt by Bob and Gretchen Passantino,
Foreword by Walter Martin, Nelson, 1990
2. The Legacy of Hatred Continues, A Response to Hal Lindseys The
Road To Holocaust, by Gary DeMar and Peter J. Leithart, Tyler, TX, 1989
3. Chalcedon Report, August 1990, Vallecito, California, 95251
4. The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey, Zondervan, 1973
5. George Smith, Cambourne, Cornwall, England in 1856 published
The Harmony of Divine Dispensations being a Series of Discourses on Select Portions
of Holy Scripture designed to show the Spirituality, Efficacy, and Harmony of the Divine
Revelations made to Mankind from the Beginning The exposition of the Tabernacle of
David by Smith is one of the best in centuries.
6. Smiths work shows evidence of a universal knowledge of the
purposes of God more specifically detailed at Sinai, indicating any chauvinistic view of
limits on redemption before Calvary are rather incorrect. Smiths work (Longmans,
London, 1856) was also issued in America. Its implications are so devastating to
dispensationalism that we suspect there will be a determined effort by them to make the
work disappear. It should be reprinted to rejoin Christian classics.
7. Apropos is Gary Norths statement in Political Polytheism
(1989) page 141, God supposedly says to His eternal enemies, I hate you so
much, and My hatred of you is increasing so rapidly, that I will let you beat the stuffing
out of my people, whom I love with increasing fervor as they increase in righteous
self-knowledge. The ways of God are strange. . . if you are an amillennialist or a
8. Luther Alive by Edith Simon, Doubleday, New York, 1968, p. 346
9. Legacy op. cit. p. v
10 From Whither America, II by Fred G. Bennett, Puyallup, Wash. edited.