Evangelicals and 'End-times'


#1

When I was in ministry, the problem I found with Bible studies was that I was simply trying to teach the Word (albeit from my slant), while many were simply trying to have what they already ‘knew’ confirmed in their own minds.
Others were constantly looking for something ‘new’ and became bored easily. Application fell on deaf ears, except for the few who were tenderhearted and truly seeking to serve God.
However, Bible studies on Revelation and ‘end times’ tend to be VERY popular. One preacher I knew up in Pa. has an ‘end-times’ Bible study every year to ‘bring in the crowd’. People who normally would be bored with a study of Romans or Ephesians, suddenly show up at the church door.

What in your estimation, is the reason behind the evangelical/fundamentalist obsession with Revelation and ‘end times’?


#2

May God send His Holy Spirit to all who are seeking God and seeking truth!

I wonder if sometimes the following scriptures are a little pertinent in some situations…at least these texts came to mind in response to some of your reflections

“The time is sure to come when, far from being content with sound teaching, people will be avid for the latest novelty and collect themselves a whole series of teachers according to their own tastes; and instead of listening to the truth, they will turn to myths.” [2 Timothy 3:3-5]

“Have nothing to do with the pointless philosophical discussions and antagonistic beliefs of the ‘knowledge’ which is not knowledge at all; by adopting this, some have gone right away from the faith. Grace be with you.” [1 Timothy 6 20-21]


#3

There are multiple reasons:

1)Someone always thinks they found the “correct” understanding of escatological (end times) passages while those before them “got it wrong.” That is the legacy of Sola Scriptura.

2)Many Evangelicals like the pre-Tribulation Rapture because that doctrine (falsely) teaches that when the time of great persecution starts all the “good Christians” will be taken away beforehand to safety and not have to suffer the persecutions. This comes from the “easy believism” gospel.

3)The lack of a solid theological foundation leaves them open to being tossed around by every new wind that comes along. The “Left Behind” fiction books became popular because many of these Protsetants had no foundation and were bored so they grab onto whatever is out there, ESPECIALLY if it is “entertaining” the way the Left Behind series supposedly was.

4)As the poster above noted, there have always been people with ants in their pants, too eager to want to know what will happen to bring whatever comfort they can find.


#4

This is a great question.

I grew up Episcopalian and was never quite comfortable with the tendency of evangelicals and Fundamentalists to dwell obsessively on eschatology and treat “Revelation” as though it were the point of the Bible.

It never made sense to me, primarily because all of those predicting the imminent end of the world have been wrong for the past two millennia. Indeed, whenever their latest prediction turns out to be wrong, they simply “revise” it. This is what David Currie refers to as “the rolling Apocalypse”.

In retrospect, I think what draws them to such obsession is a profound discontent with the world as it is. They want to be revealed to all as pure and holy and yearn for Judgment for this reason. I can’t help thinking of Michelangelo’s “Day of Judgment” and am much more ambivalent about it—all those people being damned doesn’t give me the same satisfaction it apparently gives the “End Times” crowd.

When I first met my Pentecostal wife, I forbade her to even discuss Revelation with me. It was enough to hear our pastor pulpit-thump constantly on the topic with apparent glee.

I yearn for eternal life; but seeing the world end and the suffering of billions is not something I particularly care to witness. It may be a failure in faith on my part, admittedly, or a last echo of disdain for the uncharity of the Rapture fanatics.


#5

#6

The common answer I have been given over the years is the birth of the nation of Israel in 1948, which they connect with Jesus’ words in Matthew concerning the fig tree. I asked one fellow once: if Israel ceased to be a nation tomorrow, where would that leave your prophecy? The common reply is ‘it won’t.’ Its a wall that is difficult to break through.


#7

Israel has never stopped being a nation, even in dispersion. That is Gods prophetic word, not “my” words, or yours or anyone elses. If the current secular goverment of Israel fails(and alot of people in the world are working and hoping for it), it still does not make the Jewish people nationless.

At the end of Jeremiah 31, concerning if Israel will always be a nation, God says if you or anyone can tell him how he put the universe together, he will then cast off all of the descendants of Israel for all they done.

Sorry if this is a “difficult” wall for you to break through.


#8

You really missed the point of the post.
:cool:


#9

I was obsessed with end times back in my evangelical days. I guess the thought of bing apart of biblical history in the making exciting. The possiblility of seeing the anticrist unfold before our very eyes. Its romantic in some sort of sick obsession with destruction. I guess it stems from watching Star Wars too many times. Being apart of the christian rebel aliance. I remember watching some end times movie at church one day and coming out just euphoric. When Y2K came and went I realized I had been DUPED. We had a pastor here in WA move his whole family up into the mountains in anticipation of the end times. Bottom line.Its because the thought is thrilling. That was then of course


#10

This is nothing but my “gut” intuition on the subject, but it seems to me that one of the main reasons for the fascination is simply trying to “git people saved”, that is get them into church and down the aisle to commit to Jesus. That is why so much of the “end-times” stuff is like SOON and RIGHT NOW.
Because of this they have to get out and really evangelize hard 'cause the rapture or whatever will be upon us any day. Of course it’s been this way for how many years now? How many times, going back hundreds of years, have preachers declared the day and hour of the coming?

Of course they always seem to overlook Jesus own words that say you won’t know, that even He didn’t know when His second coming will be. That is why the Church has always said to watch and wait, live a Good Live, be prepared, but don’t try to predict.

I also like the idea someone expressed about always looking for something new. This is very true and is a part of our culture. Being a Christian is the simplest thing in the world, but just repeating and living the Great Comandment bores some people. I think this is especially true for those who put so much stock in just the Bible. They are limited in what they can read, but not in how they can interpret it. Thus they lose on two fronts. They lose the tremendous store of christian writings that are part of the historical church, and they lose the guidance of Christ’s True Church on earth by which they may be assured that they are understanding correctly.

My 3 cents worth.

Peace
James


#11

Heard many an evangelist say ‘if the rapture happened tonight…’. So if I don’t say the ‘sinner’s prayer’ immediately, I’m in danger of being tortured for seven years on earth.
Which brings to the forefront the idea that God spends seven years torturing those ‘left behind’ with the full knowledge they won’t repent.
Kind of like a Biblical Saw 3.:eek:


#12

What is especially odd is to compare their view of the end-times with their view of salvation. They criticize Catholics for fearing God’s wrath at our sins while simultaneously trembling at the notion of not being perfectly right with God when the Rapture happens.

Our Pentecostal pastor would bounce from week to week between preaching, “What are you worried about? You’re saved!” to “What, are you crazy? I don’t know why you think you’re saved…”

This theological whiplash seems to be deeply embedded within evangelicalism and Fundamentalism.


#13

I don’t know, maybe it is because we live in a minor apostasy?

but don’t really worry about that.

Didn’t you hear how Scott Hahn reassures us: you know, 10,000 years from now, the world will be the same, with so many percentage of terrorist Muslims, and wars, and most devout Christians will be a minority like they are now in the Global North, and everbody else will be fornicating, contracepting, and aborting, and euthanizing and divorcing and remarrying, but there won’t be any consequences.

Our great, great, great… descendants will still have their suburban comforts, their SUVs and nice modern houses, and doritos and Aerosmith, and everything will just be the same as it is now, and the evangelicals will still be saying, “the end is near”, and by then, everyone will ignore them.

I mean, really, don’t you understand? The “chastisement” could just as soon be 10,000 years from now. I mean, you don’t actually think there are consequences to sin and lack of faith, do you, that is, in THIS world? We know there are consequences in the after life, but not this life. Don’t listen to Father Rutler when he says in 30 years there won’t be high schools. He’s just a fanatic. Listen to Scott Hahn and just don’t worry about our culture in crisis. After all, most of the book of Revelation was fulfilled in the first century. We are now in the wonderful Millennium, in which the devil is chained [sic].

Allelluia, rejoice, we are in the Eucharistic reign.

:slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


#14

Scott Hahn says 10,000 years from now people will be still in rebellion to God and eating Doritios, but yet the devil right now is chained? :shrug: Where does this guy come up with this stuff?


#15

Scott Hahn says 10,000 years from now people will be still in rebellion to God and eating Doritios, but yet the devil right now is chained? Where does this guy come up with this stuff?

The devil was defeated and chained at the Cross…What Christian would deny that.

he is still around in a very strong way, but keep in mind something very simple… When a predator is mortally wounded, but still able to fight, that is when it is most dangerous…

Second example…

Hitler and his army KNEW they were lost on D-Day… but yet they fought and fought very hard…

Even though they had been mortally wounded at that point

(As a note my Hitler reference is NOT the stupid go long enough in a thread an Hitler will be used mentality. It is used simply as a historical reference to show that someone can be defeated, but still be very dangerous)

In Christ


#16

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.