Newsflash—According to Associated Press, Bible Ministries International has announced that the Judgment Day predicted in the Scriptures begins on May 21, 2011. Somehow through the manipulation of calendars and biblical references, the organization that wants to remain nameless, wants people to know that the door of salvation will be shut on this day and the end-time clock is in motion. As a matter of fact, the organization has embarked on a billboard campaign to let everyone know.
What do Southern Baptists say about the return of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Here is what the Baptist Faith and Message states:
X. Last Things
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.
Throughout our history, Southern Baptists have consistently stated that we believe the Scriptures are very clear that Jesus is coming. Furthermore, we have openly resisted those who would be so presumptuous as to think they can place God on a timetable of human design. When He comes, it will be sudden—as a thief in the night.
We have understood the Scriptures to teach us that every generation should live as if they are the terminal generation. Jesus chose not to reveal a precise date. However, He does warn His followers that as long as history continues there will be troubles and major calamities in the world. He strictly cautioned His followers to stay away from attempting to predict the timing of His return.
When the Lord Jesus tells His disciples that the gospel must be preached to all the nations (Matthew 24:14), He isn’t giving us a methodology for hastening His return through aggressive mission strategies. He is stating that the purpose for being here is to share the gospel with the nations. We must not allow wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes or any other circumstance keep us from our mission.
Consequently, we, the followers of the Lord Jesus, should be aggressive, focused, strategic, and abandoned to multigenerational strategies to reach the lost in this world. We need to implement personal and cooperative strategies that share the gospel now and with future generations. Jesus is calling His disciples then and now to avoid worldly entanglements and live “full throttle” for His purposes. He tells His followers to stay on message preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. Live as if you are ready to meet Christ face to face at any moment—in the twinkling of an eye.