Oh my. Here we go again. David Wilkerson, author of The Cross and the Switchblade and the pastor of Times Square Church in New York City, let loose a wild blog post on Saturday in which he claimed — while “compelled by the Spirit,” of course — that we were on the verge of an “Earth-shattering calamity.”
I don’t dare summarize what he wrote, though. I’m going to quote it verbatim. Just so you can get the all-caps drama of it:
For ten years I have been warning about a thousand fires coming to New York City. It will engulf the whole megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires—such as we saw in Watts, Los Angeles, years ago.
There will be riots and fires in cities worldwide. There will be looting—including Times Square, New York City. What we are experiencing now is not a recession, not even a depression. We are under God’s wrath.
Sigh. Are you trembling yet? Pronouncements like this are a big reaon why I wrote Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse: because they just beg to not be taken seriously.
This is also as good a time as any, I guess, to rehash my views on Christians predicting the End Times, the Second Coming, the Apocalypse, or whatever you want to call it. In almost every case, I think these predictions are crap. Pretty much always.
Oops. Did that come off too strong?
You wouldn’t know it from the all-time Christian best-sellers list, but there are more important parts of Christianity than trying to decode Revelation, figuring out what 666 means, or figuring out which date to mark “Jesus returns!” on your calendar. LOTS more important parts. Life is too short — and there are too many hurting people in the world — to scare the rest of us with breathless predictions of apocalypse. Things like loving your neighbor, caring for the least of these, and living out the Gospel of grace.
Blogging in ALL CAPS about the possibility of “riots and fires worldwide” as a result of our sinfulness is not one of those things. Not at all.
After having written that first Pocket Guide, and after having learned a few things about biblical prophecy and mankind’s very sorry 0-for-million batting average when it comes to predicting the end of the world, my stance on The End is this: I call myself an eschatological agnostic. I don’t pretend to understand what Revelation means. I don’t know what will happen at the end, or when it will be, or what it will look like. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. To say anything other than that, I believe, is too arrogant and presumptive for my tastes.
If I say the Spirit prompted me to write the previous paragraph, does it counteract Wilkerson’s warnings? Just wondering.
David Wilkerson has done some admirable things for the Kingdom in his long career. But this isn’t one of them. He just earned himself a place in any future reissue of Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse (if, indeed, there IS a future…). Cue scary music.
Update: John Piper responds to Wilkerson’s ranting. His advice? “Stick with the Bible, David. It is scary enough.” Brilliant!