As yet another apocalyptic epic hits the big screen this week—Sony Pictures' 2012 opens Friday—pastors and pundits are weighing in on the discussion about the end times.

The film focuses on the date Dec. 21, 2012, when the ancient Mayan calendar officially expires—prompting some prophets to predict doomsday. And some people are scared.

"I get letters and calls every day from people saying, 'Is this it?'" says Jerry Jenkins, co-author of the end-times Left Behind books. "Everything we dramatized in the Left Behind books—the one-world government, one-world currency, threats against Israel—here it is on our doorstep. It's alarming and I think it should be."

Others insist there's no cause for alarm. Instead, Christians should be calling for sanity, says Scot McKnight, Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University.

"We have the opportunity to witness to the sanity of biblical eschatology by soaking ourselves in Israel's prophets, Jesus, and early Christian eschatology," says McKnight. "Jesus warned us about setting times and pretending to know what is not ours to know. Our responsibility is to be faithful to the tasks to which we are called and let God wrap up history when he so chooses."

Some pastors are seeing the film's release as an opportunity to start conversations about faith, the end times, and "the real facts of the Second Coming," as Dudley Rutherford, pastor of Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch, Calif., puts it.

"The Bible makes it clear that no one knows day or the hour," Rutherford says. "You can know the season when Jesus is coming back, but anytime someone makes a prophecy that this is the day, I know it's not the day."

In the movie, John Cusack plays an L.A. limo driver ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Tags:
Read These Next
Current IssueA Shoplifter’s Search for God
A Shoplifter’s Search for God Subscriber Access Only
I equated material possessions with happiness, until a high-school mission trip changed my thinking.
Current IssueOn Immigration, Welcoming the Stranger Is Only One Piece of the Puzzle
On Immigration, Welcoming the Stranger Is Only One Piece of the Puzzle Subscriber Access Only
Why Christians should support reforms that recognize both the dignity of immigrants and the rule of law.
RecommendedIn ‘The Case for Christ,’ Experience, not Evidence, Is the Real Clincher
In ‘The Case for Christ,’ Experience, not Evidence, Is the Real Clincher
Pure Flix's adaptation of the apologetics classic succeeds most where it preaches least.
TrendingWho’s In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?
Who’s In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?
The age of the Internet has birthed a crisis of authority, especially for women.
Editor's PickTogether for the Gospels
Together for the Gospels: Unprecedented Unity Among Bible Translators Transforms Giving
Lessons learned from illumiNations initiative could help other causes.
Christianity Today
Doomsday at the Cineplex
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

November 2009

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.