If these are the end times, why should Christians pray and get involved in social issues? Many ministries like yours say that believers should be spreading the gospel, praying for solutions to problems like hunger and poverty, and working to shape our country's laws. I have serious problems with this. My study of the Bible and my understanding of "the signs of the times" convince me that this is the last generation and that Christ will be returning soon. If that's true, what good does it do to pray that things will get better? Couldn't we actually be opposing God's will by praying such prayers?
We have two observations to offer in answer to your question. First, it's by no means certain that we are living in the "end times." None of us can possibly know for sure that this is the "last generation." Jesus said so Himself (Matthew 24:36). You are free to adopt this view if you choose, but there are a couple of things you should understand. Number one: Christians have entertained expectations of this nature in every generation since the first century. Number two: many contemporary believers do not agree with your interpretation of the biblical evidence.
Our second point is more important. From our perspective, it's a serious mistake to assume that we should give up praying for our fellow men and seeking to do them good as the end of the age approaches. Under no circumstances should we abandon our duty to love our neighbors as ourselves. This is almost like saying that we should "continue in sin that grace may abound" (Romans 6:1). Jesus didn't see it that way. On the contrary, He said, "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work" (John 9:4). Paul was thinking in a similar vein when he wrote to the Galatians, "Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10).
The apostle Peter is even more direct. In a famous passage, he writes about the end times, when "the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat, [and] both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up." How does Peter expect Christians to behave in the face of such events? The answer is clear. He does not suggest that we should throw in the towel and abandon the battle for godliness and righteousness so as to avoid "opposing God's will with our prayers." On the contrary, he says, "Since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?" (2 Peter 3:10-12).
As Peter sees it, then, we don't encourage the coming of the Day of the Lord by throwing up our hands and allowing evil to have its way. We do it by practicing holiness and doing good wherever and whenever we have the chance.
If you would like to explore these concepts further, call us. We have a staff of pastoral counselors who would love to speak with you over the phone.
Christian Research Institute