The tendency of the media to connect any major Middle East event to biblical prophecy has itself become predictable. Since the first bombs began falling in Baghdad, journalists working the end-of-the-world beat have been calling evangelicals for comment.
"War in Babylon has evangelicals seeing Earth's final days," says the San Francisco Chronicle. "Direst of predictions for war in Iraq," a Washington Post headline reads. Even Connecticut's Norwich Bulletin says, "Are these the last days? Some Christians say so."
Do many evangelicals really see end times indicators in this second U.S. invasion of Iraq?
To find out, Christianity Today assistant online editor Todd Hertz interviewed two representatives of dispensationalism, a movement known for speculating about end-times prophecy: Todd Strandberg, the founder of the online Rapture Index and Dr. Mark Bailey president of Dallas Theological Seminary, a school widely known for dispensationalist teaching.
Bailey began at Dallas in 1987 as a professor, and in 2001 became the seminary's fifth president. Bailey's writings include essays in the books Countdown to Armageddon (Harvest House, 1999) and The Road to Armageddon (Word, 1999).
Have you seen much media attention regarding biblical prophecy and the war in Iraq?
Our faculty has had ten major media interviews in the last week. We have been in touch with Time magazine and a number of both local and national media outlets. There is always interest when there is war in the Middle East.
How does the amount of evangelical speculation differ now compared to the first Iraq war?
It is not a lot different now. Because [the first Iraq war] was so quick and new, there was probably a bigger splash. With this new conflict and the absence of Israeli ...1