One subscriber recently criticized my criticism of evangelicals who anticipate imminent doom and head for the hills. He wrote that when Communists took over China 60 years ago, Christians who fled survived and those who stayed generally died. His conclusion: "Fleeing to the hills may be timely."
Indeed it may. Predictions of disaster always arise in difficult times. Sometimes they're accurate. Sometimes they're not. One man of God in New York City, pastor David Wilkerson, wrote six months ago, "I am compelled by the Holy Spirit to send out an urgent message to all on our mailing list. . . . AN EARTH-SHATTERING CALAMITY IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN. IT IS GOING TO BE SO FRIGHTENING, WE ARE ALL GOING TO TREMBLE—EVEN THE GODLIEST AMONG US.
He continued, "For ten years I have been warning about a thousand fires coming to New York City. It will engulf the whole megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires."
It would be easy to say that Wilkerson was wrong because six months have gone by since this latest forecast of 1,000 fires. But tomorrow might prove him right—and since a millennium is a day to God, sometime in God's tomorrow he probably will be right, unless Christ first returns. The United States, like every other great power in history, will not last forever.
The important thing is that Wilkerson, following his forecast, did not recommend heading to the hills. He wrote, "I will say to my soul: No need to run . . . no need to hide." And he wisely gave a practical recommendation: "Lay in store a thirty-day supply of non-perishable food, toiletries and other essentials."
One problem with predictions of imminent doom is that God's righteous judgment could rightly occur almost any time. Why not in 1973, when the Supreme Court legalized abortion? We individually and nationally sin so much each day that we deserve God's wrath. Yet if Christians had headed to the hills in 1973, think of the thousands of Christian schools, crisis pregnancy centers, and other ministries that never would have been formed. Think of all the lives and souls that would have been lost and now are saved.