Fanaticism, the end of the world, and May 21st

Theologian R.C. Sproul once said, “I once read the following definition of a fanatic: ‘A fanatic is a person who, having lost sight of his goal, redoubles his effort to get there.’ The fanatic runs around frantically getting nowhere. He is a basketball player without a basket, a tennis player without a net, a golfer without a green.”
Christians lose sight of the goal for a variety of reasons. Some are fanatical over politics. They believe that to be a real Christian you have to vote Republican and watch Fox News (or Democrat and watch MSNBC). Some are fanatical about health, wealth, and romantic love. Some believe that to be a real Christian you have to be successful in every area of life. Some are fanatical in their theology. They wrap their faith in a certain belief about a certain thing and refuse to listen to anyone.
Unfortunately, I have met plenty of people from each category. It might be easy to make fun of them, but it is not funny. It is not funny because they are real people who have lost sight of what matters. They often drag their family and friends into their fanaticism.
A group of people firmly believe that tomorrow Christians will be raptured up into heaven. These people have quit their jobs, sold possessions, and traveled across the country (often with their children) encouraging others to believe the end is near. Even though the Bible tells us that no one can know the time, they have become fanatical about a date
Instead of laughing at those who become fanatics, we ought to stop and look at ourselves. We ought to ask if some area of our lives has lost sight of the goal even while we try to double our efforts.
We would all do well to take some time tomorrow and ask ourselves, ‘What are you doing and why are you doing it?’ Without that kind of introspection, we all run the risk of fanaticism in some shape or form. You do not need to pass out pamphlets on a street corner, proclaiming the end is near, to be a fanatic. You just have to lose sight of your goal.


One Response to “Fanaticism, the end of the world, and May 21st”

  1. Liz Payne says:

    Oh, to be as gospel-centered as Paul was and to not lose sight of my goal – that is my pursuit!

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