By Patrick Hawthorne
As a teacher of Bible Prophecy, I tend to laugh when I hear the words…DOOMSDAY Preacher! “Avast ye scurvy dogs. Make way for the DOOMSDAY Preacher.”
No…no… I do not laugh the maniacal laugh of a half crazed pirate hungry for power. My laugh is more of a snicker type laugh; a “heh heh heh,” type laugh. Of course, I perform this non-maniacal snicker type laugh as I strap on my flint lock pistol with matching eye patch and sword.
“G’yaaaarrrrrrr, matey..,” I say as I confront some poor lost soul who is trepidatiously walking the plank of life. “Hast thou prepared thy soul to meet thy maker? Hmmm?”
Doomsday Preacher. Being curious as to where the term originated, I was somewhat surprised to learn that it is a relatively young term. If I am to hold fast to innocence and believe that the internet would never, ever purposefully lead me into error, it was a phrase coined by a sociologist in 1966 to identify a cult who made cataclysmic, end-of-the-world predictions. As is common with really cool names, the term morphed until it eventually found its way into the Church to identify those who teach on end-times prophecy. Yet, is that a correct term? I would say that, in some cases, it is not too far off in its accuracy.
Over the years, I have listened to quite a few End-Times prophecy teachers. Some have been excellent while others have been…well, doomsdayish in their delivery. By that, I mean that their deliveries often incite fear rather than faith. For a person to be in fear after hearing an end-times teaching indicates one of two things. 1) The listener is not right with the Lord and needs to make the necessary correction, or 2) The teacher is teaching in a manner that encourages fear.
The Bible tells us that we have not been given a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7). It also tells us that perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). If the minister of end-time prophecy is teaching in a manner as to intentionally encourage fear then I personally believe that they are in error. We are not called to be “Doomsday” preachers, but to present the Word – even the last days prophecy message – in a spirit of power, love, and definitely with a sound mind. After all, we are talking about the return of Jesus. That fact alone ought to produce hope and not fear. Be blessed.