Q. A question on 2 Peter 3:3-4; who are the scoffers? Are they in the body of Christ? Do they not believe that Christ is coming back, or that he isn’t coming back soon or, that it cannot be known? The pastor at my church believes the Bible says we cannot know when the end is near, and so does not address the subject. Is he a scoffer? He does expositional teaching from the Bible every week and does believe in the rapture, he just does not believe that current events can indicate where we are as regards to prophecy. I appreciate his avid defense of the gospel and his desire to spread the good news, but I have been discouraged by his unwillingness to address what seems obvious to me, that we are quickly approaching the return of our Lord.
A. 2 Peter 3:3-4 reads; “First of all you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this coming He promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has from the beginning of creation.”
For the most part, evangelical scholars believe the scoffers in 2 Peter 3 represent people who call themselves Christian but don’t believe in a literal 2nd Coming. They claim to believe in God but don’t think He intervenes in the affairs of men. This is consistent with the “watchmaker” theory of liberal Christianity. It holds that God is like a craftsman who built a complex time piece, wound it up, and then stood back to watch it run without any further involvement on His part. Peter accused them of deliberately forgetting about past judgments like the flood, the 1st Coming, and lots of other events which prove that God does intervene in human history.
Your pastor may or may not fit this description. Many pastors are taught in seminary to avoid end times prophecy since it’s controversial and could be divisive, threatening the stability of their congregation. They’re told it’s much safer to keep their flock focused on the church’s work in this world and let the next one take care of itself. Often these pastors are not even taught about prophecy and therefore don’t consider themselves to be competent to teach it to others.
Also, many denominational seminaries are officially a-millennial, which means they don’t believe in a literal fulfillment of end times prophecy. Any one of these factors could have influenced your pastor to avoid teaching prophecy. It’s sad to say, but the vast majority of believers have to learn about End Times prophecy from sources outside their church.