Thursday, October 08, 2015

Will the World End on October 7th?

Well, since it is now October 8, I think I can say, without fear of contradiction, the answer is, "No!"

Chris McCann, the founder of the fringe Christian group eBible Fellowship, said the world was going to end on October 7, 2015.  He confidently claimed that the Earth would be completely “annihilated.” 

According to McCann, God “shut the door to heaven” on May 21, 2011, meaning that "salvation is ended."  (I am wondering how he explains all those who have come to faith in Christ since then.)

But none of this means that McCann isn’t hedging his bets.  Looking at the website yesterday, I couldn't help but notice that they had a schedule of broadcasts posted for October 8th and the days following.

Of course, in making this prediction, McCann is simply adding himself to the list of those down through history who have predicted the end of the world.

There comes a point at which orthodox Christians must say "Enough!" to foolishness of this sort.  Why?  Because our Lord is going to return and the world is going to end someday, and the Scriptures have much to say concerning that end.  Scripture tells Christians to be watchful and to be ready.  But it also admonishes us, "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Matthew 24:36).

Just before his Ascension, the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”  Jesus replied, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority (Acts 1:7).  

The damage done by Christians who purport to know the date of Jesus' return or the end of the world is that it brings the legitimate prophecies of those events, the totality of the Bible, and even Christianity as a whole into disrepute.  Misguided teachers seeking the limelight end up making the Christian faith the subject of jokes and ridicule.  

As one who teaches systematic theology, I firmly believe that we are called to teach about eschatology—the study of prophecy and the end times.  And as a pastor I know that we are called to be prepared, sober, and vigilant.  But part of being "sober" in this context means that we are commanded to avoid those things that "promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God's work—which is by faith" (1 Timothy 1:4, 1 Timothy 6:4, 2 Timothy 2:14, Titus 3:9).

When people make sensational predictions about the return of Christ or the end of the world, it is more about them than about the Gospel, because people focus more on the prediction and the one making it than they do on Jesus.  But when the prediction doesn't come true (as it hasn't 100% of the time thus far) the world scoffs not only at the prediction but at the Lord the one making the prediction claims to represent.

My advice to Mr. McCann and other end-time speculators: Preach the Gospel, win souls for Christ, build up his Church.  It may not get your name in the media as much, but it will bring more glory to Christ, which is what Christian ministry is about in the first place. 

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