What Mr. Lindsey really speaks about, is the rise in spiritual fascination that is outside of the traditional Christian view in the mid 20th century. People were becoming fascinated with various forms of Eastern Mysticism, mediums, and a pagan worldview.
While he argues that this is a new development, it doesn’t take that much research to see that the mystic movement was extremely popular in high society by the 1920’s (Harry Houdini was known for his fascination with Séances) and I think anyone that grew up in Appalachia, or South Louisiana (like I did) understands the popularity of competing spiritual foundations. The dark side of American wasn’t a new thing, but had transitioned from the backwoods to the mainstream. It also wasn’t a derivative of folk religion, but completely distanced from Christian thought. There was an interest in the future, but an alternate way to both know it and live into it.
What he is right about is recognizing that America was entering a Post-Christian state. In the end of the chapter, Mr. Lindsey writes that what people are interested in is a view of the future in which mankind matters. This hasn’t changed at all from today. The chapter is finished with a short focus on Biblical prophecy, written from the standpoint that prophecy is a foundational part of faith. The truths of Biblical prophecy give a “secure and yet exciting view of his destiny”.
For the most part, I agree with this chapter and how humanity is interested in the future. Where I do start to leave, is the idea of Biblical Prophecy being a foundational part of Christianity. If we read the Patristic creeds, or the Protestant Confessions, prophecy was never understood in this manner among Christians. Revelation (not the book) is found in it’s supremeness in the person of Jesus Christ.
I wish I had the time and energy to spend more time talking about prophecy in this manner, but the short of it is that Old Testament prophecies centered on God’s people and their relationship with him. The prophet was a leader that served as a witness to YHWH in society. Understanding the highly allegorical role of OT apocalyptic writings (as a genre, not disregarding as Holy Writ) is a complicated manner, and when this is combined with prophetic writings and the prophetic role, a pretty bad combination can be made.
I think Hal Lindsey had a good grasp on popular culture that exists till today, however anyone who interprets scripture has the holy task of continuing God’s word, not finding a new meaning for a new people inside it. That is the line of danger that many of us face as we teach, write and preach.
Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be