I know how the popular teachers in circles I run around with paint people who believe that the church will be raptured BEFORE a great 7 year tribulation (pre-tribulationist) BEFORE Jesus comes and sets up His kingdom for a literal 1000 years (pre-millennial). It is clear they think we have taken our white bed sheets, made them into robes, and wait on top of mountains, biting our nails, looking for Jesus to come and rescue our helpless selves from this big bad world. The problem is, such a picture is patently false.
I could not believe my ears when I heard Bill Johnson say something so totally outrageous in this vein, that I decided I have to address this growing and disturbing trend among some of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am pleading with you, my friends. I love you. Think carefully before you soapbox on the Second Coming. I appreciate Bill Johnson greatly. I use his teaching CDs in my leadership training. I appreciate his emphasis on restoring God's Presence and Power in the church. And I probably still will. But in his teaching on Hosting the Presence, given at Morningstar Ministries, from a set of CDs I just purchased, he said something so outrageous, I couldn't believe my ears! He linked the legalization, promotion, and increase in abortions to the proliferation of teachings on the Second Coming in the 70's. He did! He actually tied a precious doctrine of the Church to abortion! He said that the Second Coming teachings gave young people no hope, so that they just decided to have abortions!!
You can't make this up!
So let me get this straight. Jesus coming soon gives people no hope? So now, we Christians setting up the Kingdom is the Great Hope?
As I shared this with some friends who have ties to Bill Johnson's church, they proceeded to tell me that a popular teaching there is that those who are praying for the soon return of Christ are literally damning millions to hell. What?!!!? This is all going WAY too far!
First of all, the last prayer in the Bible is "Come, Lord Jesus." So I guess John the Revelator is damning millions to hell? Secondly, I don't damn anybody. Neither do you! Except maybe yourself. God is Judge. People make their own decisions about God. Thirdly, the Assemblies of God, which is a pre-tribulaionist, pre-millennial movement has been one of the most world-transforming movements in all of history! Our belief in the soon return of Christ thrust us initially to seek and restore the teaching of the fullness of the Spirit IN ORDER THAT we into go into all the world, transforming lives, transforming cities, transforming nations! Maybe the pre-tribulationists and pre-millenials you know are sitting on top of mountains doing nothing. I don't know any of those people. I'm too busy to look for them while I'm contending with my brethren for the transformation of my neighborhood and the nations!
The Scriptures teach me to look for His Coming. "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ..." (Titus 2:11-13). Brothers and sisters, know that next time you rail on people who look for Jesus' return, you are talking about Joe Sazyc, and millions of awesome, world-changing, Jesus-loving, men and women of God!