Chuck Smith is putting on his Nostradamus pants again.
The Calvary Chapel founder wrapped up the 2012 SoCal Prophecy Conference at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills last Sunday with happy talk about the world's imminent doom and the rapture of the church.
According to Christianpost.com
, Smith smiled during a sermon in which he spoke of war in the Middle East
that could escalate to a global nuclear holocaust and the world's economies treading water in the crapper.
"How can you make, you say, all these dire predictions with a smile on your face?" Smith reportedly said. "Well, because the outlook for the church is very bright. We're almost there and I know how this story ends, and that it's always comforting when you know that it ends and 'they all lived happily ever after.'"
Smith said the world will get worse before the return of Jesus Christ.
"The Bible tells us that things aren't going to get better," he said. "Evil days are going to get worse and worse. Jesus said in Matthew 24:12, 'And because iniquity of the earth will abound, the love of many will wax cold.'"
Smith ended the conference by saying the future of the world is "pretty bleak", but for the church "it's exciting."
Remember ye heathen: horrific news for the world means good news for evangelicals. That's how come they hate peace accords and get warm fuzzies all over when natural disasters kill thousands of people.
Of course, this isn't the first time Smith, who is 84 years old and is being treated for lung cancer, has gotten a gleam in his eye when chatting about widespread calamity.
In his 1978
book Future Survival
, Smith predicted that Jesus could return in 1981
"I could be wrong, but it's a deep conviction in my heart, and all my plans are predicated upon that belief," Smith wrote.
Even fellow Christians are weary of Smith's habit of hanging the future on highly-symbolic and apocalyptic literature that is interpreted differently by believers.
, a Christian dominionist
, writes at Americanvision.org
: "I wonder if the 8000 people in attendance at the conference know about Chuck Smith's penchant for date setting going back nearly 40 years. I wonder if the Christian Post reporter knows of Smith's poor prophetic track record. Maybe he's too young to know the history."
DeMar goes on to say that on Dec. 31, 1979, Smith told those who had gathered on the last day of the year that the rapture would take place before the end of 1981. Apparently, Smith said ozone depletion would fulfill prophecy during the 7-year period known as the "Great Tribulation", citing Revelation 16:8: "And the fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun; and it was given to it to scorch men with fire."
According to DeMar, Smith also made reference to Halley's Comet passing near Earth in 1986 and wreaking havoc on those not raptured, as its debris hit the planet. DeMar writes:
"Here's how Smith explained the prophetic scenario in his book Future Survival which is nearly identical to what appears on the taped message: The Lord said that towards the end of the Tribulation period the sun would scorch men who dwell upon the face of the earth (Rev. 16). The year 1986 would fit just about right! We're getting close to the Tribulation and the return of Christ in glory. All the pieces of the puzzle are coming together."
Depends on whose puzzle yer playin' with, Chuck.