Anne Graham Lotz is the daughter of Billy Graham. Like her famous father and brother, Franklin Graham, she has quite a following among Evangelicals. Recently she sent out a letter calling for “a national prayer initiative entitled 777: An Urgent Call to Prayer. The Call is for God’s people to pray for each of the first seven days in the seventh month July 1-7. Then on the 7th day, July 7, we are to pray and fast for 7 hours.”
Prayer is a good thing, and if this is all that Anne Graham Lotz was advocating, I wouldn’t be writing this article.
Here’s how her letter begins:
“As you may know, my husband is in declining health. I am no longer traveling and speaking as much as I have for the last 26 years since I am staying home to care for him. As a result, I have had time to be quiet and listen more to the whispers of the Spirit. He has revealed things to me in the stillness that I’m not sure I would have heard in my former busyness.
“One of the things He [God] has impressed on me is that we are living at the end of human history as we know it.”
This is not unusual for the Grahams to make the claim that the end is near. Her father, Billy Graham, wrote, “I do not want to linger here on the who, what, why, how, or when of Armageddon. I will simply state my own belief that it is near.” This was in 1983. That was more than 30 years ago. Everything was supposed to come to an end in 1988 according to many prophecy writers like Hal Lindsey and Chuck Smith.
In a 2013 email interview, Billy Graham wrote, “There’s a great deal to say in the Bible about the signs we’re to watch for and when these signs all converge at one place we can be sure that we’re close to the end of the age. And those signs, in my judgment, are converging now for the first time since Jesus made those predictions.”
As anyone who is familiar with the history of prophetic speculation knows, these types of predictions have been going on for nearly two millennia. I have a library full of books on the subject. In 2000, American Vision published Francis X. Gumerlock’s book The Day and the Hour: Christianity’s Perennial Fascination with Predicting the End of the World. Anne Graham Lotz and her entire family should read it.
In addition to Billy Graham and Anne Graham Lotz, Franklin Graham has gotten on the end of the world bandwagon. James Dobson had Franklin Graham on his May 6, 2010 radio show to discuss anti-Christian measures coming from our government. Both Dobson and Graham saw prophetic significance in these events. They were claiming that the return of Jesus must be around the corner.
If this is the case, then why bother with the turmoil in the world? Nothing can be done to change the inevitable. While Christians are predicting the end, the rest of the world is going about its business reshaping the way we will live. Can you imagine what would happen if Christians got fully engaged in what’s happening to our nation? Many sit on the sidelines believing that the world is too far gone to save and their only hope is for the return of Jesus.
Consider this from the producer of the reboot of the Left Behind film starring Nicolas Cage. Producer Peter LaLonde told The Blaze in an interview that “he believes the world is currently living in the end times before the Rapture, the prophecy where believers are said to be taken from Earth to heaven at the Second Coming of Christ.” He went on to say:
“It’s prophesied in the Bible and the Bible says that before the beginning of the tribulation which will be in the end times, which I have no doubt we are living in the end times so therefore it could happen tomorrow, that the church is going to be called home and caught up in the air and taken to heaven and that’s what this movie’s about.”
I wrote a book in response to the Left Behind series in 2001: Left Behind: Separating Fact from Fiction. What was true (or untrue) about the book series and the first film series has not changed. It is much more fiction than fact.
All this talk about the end of the world is having an impact on Christians around the world. Millions see an inevitable end, the rise of secularism, and the galloping of Muslim hordes over the face of the earth. They are being told that their only hope is to be “raptured” from this world in the very near future. Is it any wonder that a two-percent of the homosexual community is rewriting our laws? Two percent!
Prayer is a wonderful thing, but so is living out the full implications of the Christian faith. Don’t get caught up in the end of the world bandwagon. It’s been done to death.