Article originally published in Patheos.com written by Bill Blankschaen, (01/07/2013)
I don’t know about you, but I usually have low expectations for Christian fiction, or anything resembling it. Maybe the Left Behind series permanently lowered my hopes that Christians could write engaging, culturally relevant fiction without sounding, well – in a word – nuts.
So it was with some reluctance that I picked up The War Against God, a novel by David Kullberg, recently published by Andershire Books in 2012. But I’m glad I did.
Not only did I discover that Christians can creatively address political and cultural issues in captivating ways, they can tell some darn good stories, too. The War Against God is unabashedly Christian in its worldview, but not in that awkward stuff-the-gospel-down-your-throat kind of way at which many Evangelicals excel.
A Darn Good Story
The story comes first. But the story happens to be about two worldviews colliding and the lives of those influenced by the ideological impact. Gordon Connelly is a globalist billionaire intent on engineering a government takeover of the world food supply via genetic manipulation of seeds. Motivated by an intense, personal hatred for God, his plan employs a massive media and legislative campaign called Tolerance for America that will eventually criminalize the Church. As one character explained:
[H]umans willingly embrace abstract concepts of right and wrong, such as love, justice, honesty, and tolerance, versus hate, injustice, theft, and intolerance. But most people don’t think in abstracts, and they depend on society to define the terms, to give concrete meaning to ideas. Therein lies the opportunity. (252)
Connelly manages to gain the support of much of evangelical Christianity with a two-pronged approach. He discourages conservative Christians from voting by enlisting the unwitting aid of a dynamic Evangelical speaker (Allen Wilder) who tells Christians to drop everything and get ready for the Rapture. Meanwhile, the God-hating Connelly also heavily funds a progressive Christian (Buzz Nelson) who persuades younger Christians that government activism, a revised social gospel, will usher in a new utopian era for Christ.
The goal sems to be political, using Wilder to get conservative Christians to stay home and Buzz Nelon to energize discouraged, young voters with an exciting new, “Christian” vision of an earthly paradise achieved through community consciousness. (252)
Connelly very nearly succeeds, except for a handful of committed and meddling believers who see the stakes clearly and act on their faith to expose the falsehood, preserve freedom, and keep the humanistic power grab at bay. One might naturally conclude that such a plot must have been hatched following the rise of George Soros, President Obama, and certain progressive Evangelicals who call for Christians to withdraw from politics these days to practice true religion. In fact, the story hatched more than a decade ago in David’s mind.
War of the Real-World Views
Make no mistake, The War Against God depicts a battle of worldviews, but in a tangible way that tugs at the heart as much as at the mind. Kullberg clearly spent time developing the mix of characters who share an authentic depth often missing from Christian fiction. That’s not to say that all ends well. This isn’t a sanitized sitcom with halos and white robes all around. For example, the tension between the humanist Connelly and his Christian son, a US Congressman who risks much to resist his father, seems to typify the incongruity of the two worldviews and how vast the gulf between them.
Nor do all live happily ever after, and certainly not without some scars. Explosive action, seductive relationships, subterfuge, harrowing kidnappings, cold-blooded murder, passionate romance, life-transforming repentance — all these fit into Kullberg’s riveting tale as if they each had a place within the Christian worldview. And they do.
A Warning to Conspiracy Nuts
This is not your standard conspiracy-theory book. If you’re expecting brainless pablum and irrational rantings about the New World Order and such, you’ll be disappointed. The War Against God is an intelligent, intellectually stimulating safari across the wide savanna of ways our worldviews affect all areas of life — politics, genetics, prophecy, psychology, media, love and relationships, to name just a few.
But it also makes a subtle point that conspiracies are seldom what we envision them to be. You don’t need a smoke-filled room or a secret cabal to have a conspiracy, just a few like-minded people of influence who embrace the same worldview and work toward the same ideals.
Ending the End Times Madness
I’d be remiss if I didn’t note how much I enjoyed one point in particular. The War Against God displays a victorious and optimistic gospel outlook for the future on this side of eternity, a rare find these days. But it goes a step further by politely dismantling the dispensational eschatology that has gripped so much of Evangelical Christianity (think Hal Lindsey, Left Behind) and encouraged many Christians to quit caring about culture because “soon we’ll be going home.”
I say politely because the characters who push back against this relatively new method of interpreting prophetic passages do so without the vitriol that usually accompanies such end-times discussions. And that’s a good thing. But so is hearing a rational and historical (not hysterical) treatment of eschatology from someone outside the echo chamber of much of modern Evangelicalism.
Two Thumbs Up
Two thumbs up for this captivating read that will get you thinking and praying as it entertains. After reading The War Against God by David Kullberg, I have fresh hope that more thoughtful Christ-followers will follow his lead and creatively apply a Biblical worldview to cultural issues through stories such as this one. Who knows, it might even start a movement or — dare I say it — a conspiracy.