1. For 1,800 years Christianity thrived without what passes for "prophecy teaching" today, and
2. The majority of Christians who are alive today do not accept the rapture or other end-time events as taught by some.
William Miller's interpretations of the Bible convinced his followers that Jesus Christ would return in 1844. When Jesus failed to follow these same interpretations, the event became known as the Great Disappointment. But the failure of this method of interpreting the Bible (dispensationalism) did not stop many in the generations that followed from making similar mistakes.
In our generation, Hal Lindsey's Late Great Planet Earth continued the addictive and popular teachings of dispensationalism. Due to many failed predictions, forecasting the exact date of Jesus' return is not as popular today. But the fictional predictions of precise events that will lead up to the return of Jesus Christ is booming prove there is big money in the prediction business.
The latest entry in a long line of fatally flawed prognostications is the Left Behind series. Because The Plain Truth contributed many of its own failed predictions in past decades, we believe we have a unique perspective and a duty to point out the pitfalls on fictional predictions addiction.
In 1994, Gary DeMar published Last Days Madness, helping to popularize an alternative viewpoint of biblical prophecy. In his newest book, End Times Fiction, DeMar carefully and systematically reveals the failure of the method of biblical interpretation followed by the authors of Left Behind. In this book on fictional predictions, Christian author R.C. Sproul notes in the forward to End Times Fiction, "The Left Behind series is clearly fiction. But it involves the literary genre of fiction to teach a theological viewpoint that the authors do not believe is fiction.
I believe these books are devoured by people who regard the theological premises upon which they are based as true and valid. The beliefs that are based on fictional predictions in these books are for entertainment purposes and to give the Christian believer a look into the possibilities of fictional predictions. Since the second century, people have looked at passages in the Bible and have predicted that their generation is the final generation. I don't think it's any different today. The bubonic plague wiped out a third to half of the population of Europe. The Lisbon earthquake happened in 1755. There have been horrendous wars for the last two thousand years. That's why I think it's important to look at the time parameters that Jesus gives in Matthew 24.
Where do I stand on fictional predictions? I think that everything should be taken in the proper context.