Most Baptist churches and denominations take positions on biblical prophecy. They believe the Bible has important things to say about what will happen at the end of the world, and what the Christian's role will be during that time. Although many Baptists hold to a very specific view of biblical prophecy, there are a diversity of views to consider.
The Return of Christ
Nearly all Baptists believe that Jesus is coming again. They believe that Jesus will return to earth and, through a series of events prophesied in the Bible, bring about the end of the world. Baptists differ on the details of those events but they believe Christ will judge all people, living and dead. Nearly all Baptists also believe in a literal heaven and hell as physical places where all human beings will spend eternity in resurrected bodies.
The Southern Baptist Convention has a basic statement of faith about the end times and biblical prophecy. This statement reflects the beliefs that Christ will return, bring about the end of the world in His own way and time, and judge the living and the dead. Beyond those essentials, however, Southern Baptists are a diverse group in how they interpret biblical prophecy. A large percentage of Southern Baptists are Premillennialists. Premillennialsts believe Jesus will return again one day and at some point after His return, establish a 1,000-year "millennial kingdom."
Fundamentalist Baptists have a much stricter view of doctrine than Southern Baptists. The 1878 Niagara Creed outlined 14 "fundamentals," which this group of Baptists considered to be essential to faith. In addition to beliefs such as the virgin birth and Scriptural inerrancy, this group laid out a specific view of biblical prophecy. This view states that Jesus will return and take believers away to heaven. They call this event the "rapture." They believe the rapture will be followed by a 7-year period of tribulation, after which Jesus will come again. They believe Jesus will then judge humanity and establish a 1,000-year kingdom on Earth.
Other Baptist Beliefs about Biblical Prophecy
Baptists aren't monolithic in their beliefs about biblical prophecy. Some don't believe in a literal 1,000-year kingdom, for example. These "amillennialists" believe that the kingdom of God is not a literal earthly kingdom, but rather the reign of God in the hearts of believers. Other Baptists reject the idea of the rapture and believe Christ will one day return, judge all humanity, and then establish a 1,000-year kingdom. These variant voices aren't as loud or obvious as the others, but they do exist.
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