We were able to welcome our good friends Jeff and Jane Jue this weekend on their first trip to Ireland. Jeff is Associate Professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary who joined the faculty there during my tenure in the Academic Dean’s office. He is a graduate of Westminster Seminary (California) and gained his doctorate from Aberdeen University. Jeff is a 5th generation Chinese-American and his wife Jane, who is a physician in Philadelphia, is from a Korean-American family. I had the honour of officiating at their wedding in Princeton University Chapel four years ago.
Jeff was in Ireland to give a paper on millenarianism (the theme of his doctoral dissertation) at a conference in Trinity College, Dublin where he was able to establish good links with Crawford Gribben. Dr. Gribben holds the position of Long Room Hub Senior Lecturer in Early Modern Print Culture at TCD and has recently published a well-received book which analyses the theological issues underpinning the success of the Left Behind series of novels among Western Christians (Writing the Rapture: Prophecy Fiction in Evangelical America).
As we negotiated our way over the stones at the Giant’s Causeway on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, Jeff and Jane were reflecting on why the spectacular setting of the North Coast had never been used as a setting for a major film. It got me thinking that perhaps some creative evangelical novelist writing out of the Left Behind school of thought might actually be able to give some bizarre, eschatalogical significance to the Giant’s Causeway. Is there a malevolent cosmic figure who plans to use that location as the place where his fiendish plan for world domination will begin? And then I thought: Could it all begin with the construction of a Visitors Centre? Maybe we are in the “end times”?