I have referenced an April LifeWay poll before but it takes on even more meaning now. It revealed that a “vast majority of pastors see end times in our current events.” Are they talking about this from their pulpits and re-assuring their people? I do not think so. Are they sharing about our glorious future, giving assurance to people? How about talking about the “blessed hope” now that hope in the world is fading?
Pastors were encouraged to keep quiet about the soon return of the Lord. Pastor Rick Warren even said in his Purpose Driven Life book that teaching Bible prophecy would distract you from your purpose and make you unfit for the Kingdom of God. Pastors listened to him!
Why are we surprised? Prophecy watchers have been warning people for years that end-time events could be shocking, even before the Rapture. We have let people know that Tribulation events would cast a shadow on the Church Age as God gears up to close the Church Age. We have talked about the “birth pangs” of the last days for decades.
Church issues are the most frequent inquiry I get here at Olive Tree Ministries. Other leaders tell me the same. What has happened in the last 30-40 years? Many people visit church after church only to walk away disheartened. Others are lifetime members of a church and have seen changes that left it unrecognizable — spiritually speaking.
There was a time when news of last days’ significance was sporadic. I could easily do a weekly radio program and hit the highlights of the week in an hour or two on air. In the last decade, that has all changed. Now, when trying to prepare a new message on the signs of the times, I find myself having to leave out information due to volume. Some things just have to be set aside.