For all the accusations against Hal Lindsey, I must admit that every time I have ever watched and listened to his show, I never have found him to go over the edge on date setting.
I observe him dutifully watching, and when he interprets current events based upon His Word, and then expresses joy in events leading to the Second Coming, I really don;t find any fault in his positions.
On the contrary, with the resources available to him, if he didn’t share with his watchers/listeners the observations he makes, one could accuse him of not performing with the spiritual gifts God may have given him.
I wholesale agree.
He spoke to the staff at a Baptist church where I was interning at a counseling center in San Diego, once.
He was exceedingly reasonable and not near as puffed up with himself as I was expecting.
That was 1974/75 era . . . I think he’s been humbled more since then.
I agree. He has a calling as a watchman. It is his Godly duty to speak up.
And, as you note, he has lots of resources and connections in high place. God has enabled him in many ways and Hal must follow through or be accountable TO GOD.
Compared to God’s opinion of Hal’s doings, Sylvester can go masticate rocks.
To the casual observer, there is no doubt that Hals rhetoric has become somewhat more subdued since the debacle of the 70s and 80s. But Hal is still using current events, mainly in the middle east, to predict (albeit less specifically) the return of Jesus real soon now. Thats why a more appropriate label for him today is date-suggester. Indeed, most of the prophecy pundits have gotten more sophisticated in their approach to predicting Jesus return since those heady days of late 70s and early 80s.
Its interesting to note that many of the great date-setters of the 19th century had significant followings even after their predictions failed to come true. Two notable ones are William Miller and Charles Taze Russell. Miller was a Baptist preacher who predicted Jesus would return around 1844, and was the founder of the Adventist movement. Even after Millers failed prediction, other Adventist faithful continued in the belief that Jesus would still return real soon now. Russell believed and taught that Jesus was going to return in 1878, and when that prediction failed, he modified his teaching and went on to found an organization that eventually morphed into the Jehovahs Witnesses. The zeal of his followers never waned in spite of his earlier missteps. It seems they could rationalize just about anything, including the true nature of Christs return.
Has Lindsey ever confessed I was wrong about the 1981/1988 prediction, and give an explanation as to why he was wrong? Where exactly did he fail in his interpretation of Bible prophecy? I suspect many of his listeners today do not know of the earlier failed predictions, nor do they care as to why his methodology (futurist literalism, which he still holds to) failed so miserably back in the 70s.
Most Christians are just not critical enough when they listen to or watch these pop prophecy preachers. They take every word as gospel, and often lack the tools to do hard Bible study on their own. Cf. Acts 17:10,11. So if Johnny T.V. Preacher says that Hesitations 4:19 is speaking about events in modern Israel, well then, that just must be true. Why should they doubt Johnny T.V. Preacher? What will folks think of Lindsey, Smith, and Co. in a hundred years? Will they be watching the 22nd century version of YouTube and wondering What were these guys thinking?
Ignorance of the Bible and Church history are killing the Church today. Theology is too important to be left to experts.