It is hilarious and sad the way people who recite the creed every Sunday are ridiculing the preacher who said that judgment day was scheduled six minutes from right now, as I write these words—May 21, 2011, 6:00 p.m. It's hilarious because the people who are laughing seem to forget standard Christian teaching, which is that the last trumpet may sound at any moment for the whole world, just as it personally sounds for each of us when we die. An old prayer asks God to spare us from an unprepared death; that is, we need to be ready to die at any moment because we just might!
The six minutes have come and gone; it has now been eleven minutes. I spent some of those googling the world-wide death rate, and learned that 107 per minute is a consensus figure. That means in the fifteen minutes since I first brought it up, over 1600 people have died. Since the Bible says directly, not in code, that it is appointed to each of us to die once and after that comes judgment, in the 24 hours that make up this day, over 150,000 people are going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ beforei it is over.
So while the minister and his followers who believe the Bible to be a code book-- rather than a straightforward message from God--were wrong about the world as a whole, they were dead-on (pun intended) about those 150,000. Since the day still has almost six hours left in it, you and I, dear reader, have plenty of time to be among them. The day is only three quarters done. If this is an average day, there's enough time left for 30,000 more people to die.
Fifty years ago I learned theology from a wise and learned theologian named Donald Frisk. He had a masterful knowledge of the Bible and the doctrine of the whole church, not just that of his denomination.. Concerning the end of the world he did not agree with those who keep setting dates and have to keep revising their predictions.
Before I ever met Frisk, I didn't agree with the date-setters either. . He didn't have to convince me.
But Frisk wasn't harsh with the date-setters. He said—and after so long a time I can still repeat the gist of it-- "Our main disagreement is not with those who set dates for the end of the world and the return of Christ, but with those who don't believe in the return of Christ at all."
We have more in common with the date-setters than with those who ridicule them, because along with them we believe the Bible as the Creed summarizes it. Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father Almighty, and from there he is going to come to judge the living and the dead. We don't know when, but it's going to happen—and we're all going to be there. What's funny about that?