Survey Shows That Few Pastors Connect Middle East Politics With the Second Coming and End Times

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Like everyone else, US Protestant pastors may have been closely watching the recent events related to Iran, but probably not because they thought it had anything to do with the return of Christ.

Pastors are more than three times as likely to believe Christians can speed up the return of Christ by the spread of their faith than by backing certain geo-political changes, according to a new study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

“While Scripture specifically says we cannot know the day or the hour of Jesus Christ’s return, we were interested in pastors’ views on whether Christians can play a role in bringing about that return any sooner,” explained Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.

Around 1 in 8 Protestant pastors (12%) believe Christians can speed up the second coming of Jesus by supporting geo-political changes mentioned in the Bible, with 5 percent strongly agreeing.

Eight in 10 pastors don’t believe their support will have an impact on the timetable of Christ’s return, including 61 percent who strongly disagree.

During heighted conflicts with Syria, a 2013 LifeWay Research study found many Americans were likely to link global conflict with end times.

Almost 1 in 3 saw the conflict as part of the Bible’s plan for the end times. One in 4 thought a US military strike in Syria could lead to Armageddon. And 1 in 5 believed the world would end in their lifetime, including 32% of evangelicals.

“A large majority of pastors do not see biblical prophecies about future changes among nations as a roadmap for advocating specific international engagement,” said McConnell.

In the most recent study of Protestant pastors, there is no significant difference between mainline and evangelical pastors regarding their views about international political affairs speeding up the return of Christ. There are, however, differences among ethnicities.

White pastors (11%) are less likely to believe backing geo-political events will hasten Jesus’ second coming than African American pastors (20%) or pastors of other ethnicities (22%).

Pastors 65 and older (16%) are more likely to agree than younger pastors, those 18 to 44 (9%).

Additional education decreases the likelihood a pastor agrees that support from Christians of geo-political events will speed up the return of Christ. Pastors without a college degree are more than twice as likely to agree than those with a bachelor’s or master’s degree—22 percent to 10 percent.

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Source: Christianity Today

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