find it incredible how some preachers manage to distort the gospel. The word gospel means “good news,” and good news
is supposed to make you feel better. But the way some preachers explain the gospel
can leave you feeling hopeless and lost.
is, of course, a motivator, and it’s possible to manipulate Scripture into an
intimidating doomsday message. That can certainly get some attention – at
least, for a time. Predicting the end of the world can turn into quite the
lucrative business. But when prophecies ultimately fail, do we hear those
preachers apologize? No, we hear justifications and excuses as they try to
maintain their authority by reigniting fear.
Y2K? As the new millennium approached, there were dire predictions that many
older computers could not process the date change from 1999 to 2000. This, it
was suggested, would lead to catastrophic failures, and a world crisis. Many
leading preachers jumped on that prophecy bandwagon. Computers crashing would
signal the beginning of the tribulation, they warned. Some went as far as
selling rations and water purifiers – encouraging people to stockpile propane
and withdraw cash from their banks.
the fateful moment arrived, very little actually happened. The worst reports I
recall were that 150 slot machines at a Delaware racetrack stopped working. In
Australia, two bus ticket machines stopped working. The worst damage occurred
in Germany, where 20 million bankcards became unusable. The world as we know it
kept going. No apocalyptic predictions came true. The doomsayers were shown,
once again, to be false prophets.
latest end-of-the-world obsession concerns the Mayan Calendar that ends a
144,000-day cycle in 2012 on Dec. 21, the day of the winter solstice. The
number 144,000 sounds biblical, so the doomsayers are once again out there
warning us to expect something drastic to happen. Unfortunately there will be
some who will be taken in by it. Fear, it seems, is never far away.
this totally misses the point and the purpose of prophecy. As the angel
explained to John in Revelation 19:10: “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of
prophecy” (NIV 1984). And the testimony of Jesus is good news – of his
salvation, forgiveness, and eternal life. This means that the gospel is
the true prophetic word.
then, does the gospel deny or overlook the “bad news” of our sin, the power of
evil and its tragic consequences? No, it assumes it, while never giving it
center stage – never lending it the upper hand – because Jesus himself is the
first and the last word. Through his life of obedience, his crucifixion, his
resurrection, his ascension – once and for all – evil ultimately has been
conquered, sin is forgiven; death itself has been overcome. New life is at
and receiving the gospel urges us to repent of our unbelief – in the truth and
reality of who Jesus is and what he has done. It is through repentance that we
experience the faith, hope, and love of our Savior. The good news of Jesus, the
gospel, his prophetic testimony, should never leave us quivering with fear.
Instead, we are filled with great hope and peace that transcends our own
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.