Is it the End of the World?

Is it the End of the World?

Preaching to Nobody

posted by jfletcher

Having watched the American Church “evolve” over the past few decades, one of the things that stands out to me is the decline in teaching about Bible prophecy. It is a huge story that no one is talking about.

Recognizing that quite a few Beliefnet readers are not conservative Christians, I still wonder what readers think about my premise today. Does your pastor teach about prophecy? Does he seem to hate it? Is he embarrassed by it? No?

I am reminded of what Paul wrote to young Timothy:

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:2-4)

Of course, there are different definitions today of what it means to preach the Word. We used to be clear on terms, but no longer. For many, they are elastic and can be adapted to any situation. But sound doctrine would include substantial teaching about the Second Coming.

I believe it is clear that Scripture is what we would call finished revelation. The authority of Scripture is paramount, but today we have a wide spectrum of different views, most notably coming from what I’d call the Religious Left: Emergents and the so-called Seeker-Sensitive crowd.

After about a six-month investigation (“research project” might sound less ominous), I have concluded that the one linchpin of the Bible that its detractors hate the most is predictive prophecy. Oddly enough, this is itself a fulfillment of prophecy, as we read in Jude 3,4:

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

A significant way to deny Christ is to denigrate or ignore Bible prophecy, which is crowned of course with news that Jesus must prevent man from destroying himself at the end of time.

Groups like the Leadership Network (responsible for such popular venues as Catalyst conferences) seems particularly anxious to distance itself from what I’d imagine they would privately consider to be a “Neanderthal approach” to Scripture, namely that God can and did give us a fairly comprehensive blueprint of the future.

For many in our world today—almost especially the centrists and leftists in the Church—the idea that man can’t bring the Kingdom of God to Earth is downright hateful and perhaps unhinged.

These two starkly contrasting worldviews—Jesus Christ will physically intervene soon to save the planet and mankind from destruction, or, man can usher-in a new era of utopian splendor—are on full display now.

Bible prophecy teaching and preaching from the pulpit is out of fashion now, and the wrong done by such as Harold Camping are only convenient excuses for today’s preacher/leader to avoid teaching a biblical view of predictive prophecy.

Israel’s existence alone should prove Bible prophecy to them, but of course that idea is hateful because of new interest in the Palestinian narrative.

No, today’s Christian leader avoids prophecy at all costs, since he/she doesn’t want to preach to nobody.

How sad that this reality is all the rage today. For never before has the fulfillment of prophecy been so front-and-center in our world.

For the most part, today’s Christian leader is missing it. They would prefer to talk about sex, pro sports, Hollywood films…anything but the most obvious proof that God is alive and in control.

What do you think?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Dan

    I certainly preach the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ – but I have a lot of problems with the framework of dispensationalism made popular by Scofield as in anyway a Biblical eschatology… which I’m riskily assuming is what you mean hear as “Bible prophecy teaching and preaching.” I’d rather teach then Bible than misguided Scofield or Brethren speculation.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Evangelist Michael A. Albert

    I am thankful to be in a church where my pastor believes in teaching the whole council of God and allows me free reign to teach and preach prophesy.
    I would rather be laughed at by unbelievers, doubters, heretics and back-slidden preachers than preach to a bunch of pew warmers who only want a Gospel to fit their sinful and unbelieving lifestyle. Those type of “preachers” may have their hands full on the day after the Rapture trying to explain why they did not teach this.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Pat Finnegan

    You’re spot-on, Jim–sad to say. Too many pastors have been sucked into stuff like the ‘prosperity gospel’, or have been totally deceived by the Dominionists and ‘emergent’ church. May God continue to give your courage, in speaking the truth!

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