Swine Flu, Avian Flu, SARS, Hurricane Katrina, The Indonesian Tsunami, 9/11, the World Wars—every time there is a disaster, someone in the religious community declares it the beginning (or continuation) of the end, and they have Bible verses to prove it. Some people have gone so far as to mark our exact final day (sometime in 2012, if you have not heard). Well, here’s my two cents.
Yes, I believe the world will eventually end. When? I have no idea, and neither do the people who say they do. All anyone can do is speculate. Wars and disasters have been occurring since time began. What about the Black Plague? The American Revolution? The Civil War? These events were as horrific as recent ones—perhaps even more so—and “evangelicals” were as sure then as now that we had only a few years left on this Earth. Yet we’re still here.
Trying to pinpoint a date is useless. The more you get it wrong (and you will), the less people will believe you—it’s the simple “boy who cried wolf” phenomenon. Instead, if you’re so worried about everyone (or really everyone’s souls), get them saved so they will be ready when the last day sneaks up on all of us. There are better ways to do that than scaring people into being “desperate for God,” literally. (The term “fire insurance” comes to mind.)
The church is meant to be a house of refuge, right? Not a house of prophecy. God will handle those details.