I recently viewed a video clip of Tony Palmer, an Anglican/Episcopal bishop, addressing a gathering of Pentecostal ministers with a message from Pope Francis appealing for unity and reconciliation. In a heartwarming message the pontiff reached out to the pastors present, inviting them into the embrace of the Roman Catholic Church. Kenneth Copeland, a popular Pentecostal minister, responded positively to the pope’s call for unity. Only time will tell where these overtures will lead. But how should Seventh-day Adventists respond to these and other world events?
Here is my take: We should neither ignore them nor overreact to them.
To ignore the significant events taking place in the religious, political, social, and economic world is to deny the reality that we are living in incredibly unusual times. To be lethargic on the knife-edge of eternity may be eternally fatal. Echoing the words of the slothful servant, “My master is staying away a long time” (Matt. 24:48), is a recipe for spiritual disaster.
Ellen White wrote, “Those who place themselves under God’s control, to be led and guided by Him, will catch the steady tread of the events ordained by Him to take place.”* If we view our world with Spirit-anointed eyes, we will see the “steady tread of the events” and avoid both extremes of apathy and end-time sensationalism.
Some conscientious but misguided Adventists see in almost every headline an omen that Christ is coming this year or next. Some have prophetic timetables all calculated to forecast their opinion of just when Jesus will come.
The thing that matters above all else is to be prepared for Jesus’ coming. The only way to be ready for our Lord’s return is to love Christ supremely, know Christ intimately, obey Christ willingly, and share Christ passionately.
* Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 7, p. 14.