Many churches, intentionally or not, avoid preaching on Biblical Prophecy simply because it is hard to understand. It confuses many members of the congregation, and pastors may feel like they are not properly equipped to teach on the subject. Dr. Ankerberg addresses whether or not it is alright for churches to avoid the topic of prophecy altogether.
Dr. John Ankerberg: The first one is from people that are in churches where their pastor never preaches on prophecy. In fact, some of their leaders have said it’s not important to speak on prophecy; don’t study it; don’t teach it in the Sunday school class; don’t worry about it. What would you say to them, Ed?
Dr. Ed Hindson: Well, one fourth of the Bible is prophetic in nature. If we’re going to preach the whole counsel of God, you have to deal with Bible prophecy. I’m always amazed; the apostle Paul in the book of Acts went to the town of Thessalonica. There were no Christians there. He only spent three weeks in Thessalonica. He preached the gospel, people were saved, he planted a church, and he taught them Bible doctrine, including prophecy. Because he said in his second letter to them, in 2 Thessalonians 2:5, “Don’t you remember when I was with you I taught you all these things?” And in the context he’s talking about Bible prophecy. If it was important enough for Paul in three weeks to teach them about salvation and the doctrine of Christ and the doctrines of God, etc., and salvation and prophecy, then it’s part of what we need to be teaching as well. In the Bible there are 23,000 verses in the Old Testament, for example, over 6,000 of them contain prophetic material; almost 8,000 verses in the New Testament, 1700 of them contain prophetic material. Of the entire Bible, almost 28% of it is prophecy. You can’t avoid that and still preach the whole counsel of God.
Dr. John Ankerberg: Yes. Ron?
Dr. Ron Rhodes: Let me just say that, on a personal note, prophecy also has a tremendous evangelistic value. You see, I became a Christian because for the first time in my life I was educated on Bible prophecy. So it’s not just a matter of understanding the future, it’s life-changing as well. Now, one of the things that we learn from the Bible is that prophecy involves direct revelation from God. Allow me to share a verse with you from 2 Peter 1:20-21. Prophets didn’t originate the message, God did. And the verse says, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”