By Doug Krieger, Dene McGriff and Doug Woodward
FOREWORD By: Cris Putnam - The City Sliding Down the Hill
I am honored to introduce The Final Babylon by three distinguished authors whom I respect. No doubt I was asked to preface this work because of my own recent ventures into the genre of speculative eschatology, co-authoring with Thomas Horn: Petrus Romanus - the Final Pope is Here and Exo-Vaticana. The former volume is referenced in The Final Babylon. Please note that without a careful reading, one could construe a conflict. However, I perceive no disagreement between the scenario presented here and my own. Like the false prophet, Babylon in the Bible is the symbol or type of any religious system that opposes God. Likewise, the Antichrist and his “base of operations” – “Mystery Babylon” of Revelation 17-18 is also a commercial center of political power that imposes its will on the world. While it is hard to conceive a better match for the economic/political constituent than the case argued by Krieger, McGriff, and Woodward, the spiritual component is also entirely consistent with my own ideas about idolatrous Romanism. Indeed, if the Tribulation and return of Christ are truly upon us, then the thesis presented in The Final Babylon is not only compelling, it is necessary. Nevertheless, I anticipate that many will demur.
Naysayers may counter: “Surely America has been the ‘City upon a Hill’ used by God to evangelize the world?” Indeed, this once was the case; but today in particular the northeast U.S. is one of the largest unchurched regions in the world. The irony is that the “City upon a Hill” reference as applied to America began with a sermon called “A Model of Christian Charity” and was written in 1630 by the Puritan leader John Winthrop as his community of followers sailed to New England. In sharp relief, it is not an overstatement to lament today that we likely would require missionaries from Africa to evangelize New England. While those Puritan values were formative in the founding of our great nation, hundreds of years later we are reaching the extremity of a sharp decline. Founding Father John Adams wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” James Madison echoed these words with this statement: “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind of self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” [Emphasis added]
Accepting this at face value, we should not be surprised that under the Bush administration the Patriot Act effectively gutted the Constitutional freedoms once enjoyed by our citizens. No matter what we once were, as a rule we are no longer a moral and religious people. Our leadership is all too often lacking in ethical, let alone biblical motivation when making decisions behind closed doors on behalf of the country. We are all the worse for this lapse.
Growing up in the Bible belt during the late 1960s and early 1970s, I recall a lingering remnant of traditional American values. Although I really did not become a Christian until adulthood, there was a sense of common decency and respect generally absent in our American culture today. The radical existentialism of the 1960s led to postmodernism and the deconstruction of traditional morals upon which our country was based. Not surprisingly, this has led to a moral decline few would have thought possible a few decades ago. It has prompted strident and largely counterproductive political responses from mostly well-intended evangelical believers. For instance, social scientist Robert Hunter recently observed, “Speaking as a Christian myself, contemporary Christian understandings of power and politics are a very large part of what has made contemporary Christianity in America appalling, irrelevant, and ineffective – part and parcel of the worst elements of our late-modern culture today, rather than a healthy alternative to it.” He was possibly speaking of the loudest voices in the movement we know as The Moral Majority, which while well-intended actually did more harm than good by coupling Christianity to a specific political agenda rendering evangelicalism into a non-ingratiating caricature of itself.
But it is not just our political inclinations that are no longer aligned with biblical mandates. American Christians have largely been seduced by “the world”; that is, its ideals and methodology. The President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Daniel Akin has written, “The church of the Lord Jesus has been seduced by a skilled seductress: the American dream.” Interestingly, one of the worst offenders, televangelist Jim Bakker, (infamous for his PTL Club theme park, gold plated bathroom fixtures and air conditioned dog house) had a radical epiphany in prison. Afterward, he suggested that Revelation’s prostitute, the “whore of Babylon”, “is materialism.” Despite the lessons learned by its worst offenders over the past two decades, the consumer mentality of our culture infects the believing church to an even greater extent today.
Since the lesson of Revelation 17–18 has stood as perennial warning for all Christendom throughout the ages (as does all of Scripture in providing relevant instruction) inasmuch as Christian leaders have often been led astray by the grandeur of the world system, it certainly applies no less to North American evangelicals at this precarious moment. The text before you speaks not only to the idolatrous influence of an end time commercial empire (18:11); but also to the arrogance of its people’s imagined invincibility (18:7–8). As the sole remaining super power, when one searches for the political entity or “system” upon which the Antichrist will build his empire, the U.S. is a hard candidate to beat.
Cultural critic Neil Postman argues that Western society is now a “technopoly,” a culture that worships technology. He attributes this to rampant scientism and a constant progression of new improved technology fueling an ostensibly better and better quality of life. Postman argues that in a technopoly “people are conceived of not as children of God or even as citizens but as consumers - that is to say, as markets.” Whereas Christian ministries surely do not intend such a worldly approach to bringing about the Kingdom of God, their methods, however inadvertently, sneak it in nevertheless. We see this overtly when Ministry “success” is measured by growing market percentages and comparative statistics. One would be hard pressed to deny that American Christianity has developed the “business model mentality” where quantified success trumps the organic intimacy of the ecclesia. Instead of building and expanding vibrant personal relationships, growing congregations are viewed as “our slice of the burgeoning markets.” A prominent case in point: Rick Warren’s unholy union with marketing guru and management consultant Peter Drucker. This manner of commercialism creates a corrosive naturalistic ethos in the Church of Jesus Christ that undermines our commitment to a biblical perspective on evangelism and discipleship. Hunter writes that powerful commercial interests embedded in our ecclesiastical institutions makes, “resistance to [such] effects nearly impossible.” In other words, most of American evangelicalism has been assimilated into the technopoly. The Babylon of Revelation 17-18 portrays this technopoly well; furthermore, given its inability to serve as censor to its own unethical motives (“only money matters”), as the colossus of international trade, it dominates as the principal exporter of immorality.
To be more conclusive in this indictment, pornography is a huge business in the United States with total sales estimated to be $12.62 to 13.33 billion per year. Then there is the horrendous matter of abortion. Since Roe vs. Wade in 1973, (as of this writing), there have been over 56 million American children sacrificed on the altar of easy sex and convenience. Even worse, the Protestant mainline denominations – Episcopal, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), and Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PCUSA) – are knowingly leading people to hell. Not satisfied with merely condoning homosexuality as an acceptable alternative sexual practice and lifestyle, they are ordaining homosexual clergy to preside over their congregations. Ignoring the clear warnings in Scripture, they thumb their noses at God, denying His clear teaching against homosexuality, inverting His created order. And what’s worse, the so-called Emergent Church embraces by the droves, the “spirit of the age” – enthusiastically announcing same sex marriage as something God leads us now to “affirm and accept.”
Jesus connected such debauched choices to the time of His return saying, “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded” (Luke 17:28). Jesus’ allusion to Lot living in Sodom inescapably implies the widespread acceptance of sexual immorality in the last days. It should go without saying (but I find it necessary to be explicit lest I fail to make my point clear), Jesus’ analogy elucidates that the state of the world in the last days will reflect Sodom and Gomorrah, which the reader will recall was literally “blown away” in judgment by God for its rampant sexual immorality. Consequently, should we really be so astonished that Muslim peoples, who value modesty, think of the U.S. as the “great Satan” when the most popular TV show on the planet is Baywatch? As the major exporter of immorality, America will certainly drink the cup of fornication and the cup of wrath (Rev. 14:8–10; 16:19; 17:4; 18:6). Biblical scholar Craig Keener observed:
Whereas Rome was the Babylon of John’s day, however, it was only one of several actors in Babylon’s role. Subsequent history reminds us that just as the false prophetess of Thyatira was a new Jezebel, the false prophet of Pergamum a new Balaam, the evil emperor a new Nero, and Rome a new Babylon, so the empires of history continue to return in successive incarnations that repeat the same basic lies. That the Babylon of John’s day has fallen, however, like most Babylons since and all that have preceded it, gives us courage that the final Babylon, too, will perish before the glory of God’s invading kingdom. [Emphasis added]
So is America the final Babylon? If you believe that the return of Jesus Christ is within the next decade or so then this conclusion seems inevitable. But don’t take my word for it. You have in your hands the work of three immensely qualified authors who have laid out a systematic well-reasoned argument to that end. But one major caveat is in order: in reading this book you will likely come under conviction that your patriotism, however well-meaning and based as it is no doubt upon the finest ideals that America possessed in its early history, may now be no better than idolatry. For America’s governing philosophy no longer consists of such noble principles. It has been defaced by an anti-biblical utopianism on the one hand which diminishes personal liberty and an atheistic materialism on the other which consumes the soul of its people. Should we challenge the justice of God or His righteousness in calling our nation to account for its impact upon our world? Ultimately the reader must decide whether the epithet Babylon the Great, aka Mystery Babylon, is indeed, as these authors assert, an invective proclaimed by the angel of Revelation 18:1-3 against the United States of America:
1 After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory.
2 And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!
3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”
Cris Putnam - Logos Apologia (Please check it out)
North Carolina, June 2013
 John Adams, “Message from John Adams to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts,” Belief Net, accessed May 1, 2013 http://www.beliefnet.com/resourcelib/docs/115/Message_from_John_Adams_to_the_Officers_of_the_First_Brigade_1.html.
 James Davison Hunter, To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World (Oxford University Press: 2010), p. 95.
 “Radical by David Platt Editorial Reviews” Amazon, accessed May 1, 2013, http://www.amazon.com/Radical-Taking-Faith-American-Dream/dp/B00A16O7A2.
 “The Re-education of Jim Bakker,” Christianity Today (Dec. 7, 1998), p. 62.
 Neil Postman, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. Kindle Edition (Random House, Inc.). Kindle Locations 610-612.
 Hunter, To Change the World, p. 209.
 “Abortion Counter” accessed May 1, 2013 http://www.numberofabortions.com/
Mireya Navarro, “Openly Gay Priest Ordained in Jersey,”The New York Times, December, 17, 1989.
ELCA News Service, “ELCA Assembly Opens Ministry to Partnered Gay and Lesbian Lutherans,” ELCA.org, August 21, 2009, http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/News/Releases.aspx?a=4253.
 Eric Marrapodi, “First Openly Gay Pastor Ordained in the PCUSA Speaks,” CNN.com, October 10, 2011, http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/10/10/first-openly-gay-pastor-ordained-in-the-pcusa-speaks/.
Nicola Menzie. “Rob Bell on Gay Marriage Support: God Pulling Us Ahead to Affirm Gay Brothers, Sisters,” Christian Post (March 22, 2013) accessed May 2, 2013 http://www.christianpost.com/news/rob-bell-on-gay-marriage-support-god-pulling-us-ahead-to-affirm-gay-brothers-sisters-92395/
Craig S. Keener, The NIV Application Commentary: Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2000), p. 434.