Apocalypse Now(ish): Irvin Baxter's End Times Empire

Death, destruction and the end of humanity: Dallas pastor Irvin Baxter is building a media juggernaut by predicting the very worst.

He's sitting in his office at Endtime Inc.'s headquarters, an unadorned off-white building on President George Bush Parkway in Plano. The lobby has dusky purple walls and a large, gold-trimmed mirror hanging on one wall. Opposite the receptionist's desk are Baxter's DVDs, copies of Endtime magazine and several pamphlets he's written, all displayed on glass shelves. In the next room, a dense cluster of cubicles holds some of Endtime's 40-person staff. A six-foot-high banner in one corner is patterned with an American flag, superimposed with an image of a bald eagle and a message: "Reclaiming America: One Mind at a Time!"

Baxter's office is filled with heavy wood furniture; he nods at an enormous bookshelf that takes up an entire wall. "That's my education right there," he says. A flag of Israel is folded neatly on a ledge, and a menorah sits on the shelf above.

He is largely self-taught. He finished high school but never attended college or seminary. But since age 20 or so, he's been developing and preaching his particular vision for the end times, in which this massive war will kill a third of humanity, and Jesus Christ will return and whisk his followers heavenward after vanquishing the Antichrist.

Plenty of Christians believe in the end of days. But in Baxter's reading of the Bible and world politics, the whole thing will happen very soon. More unusually, he claims that the United States will play a heroic and central role in opposing the forces of the Antichrist.

If Baxter's followers get educated fast and get right spiritually, he tells them, they can expect to rule and reign with Jesus after he returns, in the thousand years of peace that follow. But things are going to get pretty hairy first, with the looming specter of "socialistic one-world government," "rampant homosexuality" and Islam.

Although it's quiet this morning, Endtime HQ is an exciting place to be these days. Last year, Baxter became one of the newest stars of Trinity Broadcasting Network, the most popular Christian TV station in the country. TBN is a juggernaut, with a main studio in Southern California, eight auxiliary studios around the country and five subsidiary broadcast networks. It doesn't subscribe to the Nielsen ratings system, but its popularity is better gleaned from its reported annual revenue anyway: $175 million in 2010, including some $92 million in donations from devoted viewers. And while a series of nasty lawsuits and public scandals have pitted TBN's founding family against itself, a spot on the network is still a ticket to the big-time for Baxter. He pays to be on the network, according to Endtime; they don't pay him. But the number of potential new viewers he could net is staggering.

"He's hit the jackpot," says Rusty Leonard, who runs a nonprofit watchdog group called Ministry Watch.

Even more impressive is where Baxter has landed on the lineup: After just a few years on the Church Channel, TBN's minor leagues, he was recently promoted to a primetime slot on Wednesday nights, 6:30 Pacific, right before TBN founder Paul Crouch's own show, Praise the Lord.

It's an enormous jump for Baxter, who until 2005 was a small-town pastor and traveling evangelist in Indiana, like his own father, Irvin Baxter Sr. "God has been so good to us," he says. Endtime also recently began raising money for another huge effort: a "prophecy college," to be located in downtown Jerusalem.

"What I want to do is to teach the Jews the prophecies of the Bible, so that they're not operating blindfolded," he says. "Because more prophecy will come to pass in Israel than in any other place on earth over the next seven, eight or 10 years," if not sooner, he says. "We're entering the time of the most rapid prophetic fulfillment. So between our television effort, sending magazines out and our prophecy college, we're hoping we can be instrumental in teaching those prophecies to those who will listen."

Baxter is a bona fide news junkie, especially where the Middle East is concerned. His radio show, "Politics and Religion," often delves into ruminations on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process or detailed explanations of troop movements in Syria. He says he reads the Economist regularly, three different English-language Israeli papers, and Drudge Report and Israel's DEBKAFile, two far-right blogs. "I try to read both liberal and conservative sides, try to stay as balanced as I can," he says. But he is deeply conservative, and believes that "religious tolerance" is driving the United States into ruin (along with gayness).

A particular worry is "one-world government" — aka the United Nations. He warns that President Obama may allow the U.N. to take over the United States and somehow prevent Christians from worshipping freely. In a thriller Baxter wrote a few years ago, titled Dark Intentions, the Antichrist is from the former Soviet Union. But a recent writing speculates that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon could potentially be the Antichrist (although he concedes it's "unlikely").

Baxter is also concerned with government surveillance; like many evangelicals before him, he's constantly looking out for the "Mark of the Beast" referenced in Revelation 13. The chapter refers to a strange, monstrous animal, and says that anyone without its mark won't be permitted to buy or sell.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
26 comments
GA030382
GA030382

I will agree that the DVD prices are steep.  Especially since the word of the Lord should be free.

But the DVDs were really done well.

JesusFollowerForever
JesusFollowerForever

I like how you shared his Holy Ghost Experience because that's a real experience everyone should try to receive it is a promise to everyone, read acts chapter 2:38 and the whole chapter along with it. The Holy Ghost changed my life I was addicted to many different drugs for years but the Holy Ghost changed me forever and delivered me from my addictions forever. I'm glad to be free.

jeremyconr
jeremyconr

I firmly believe that Mr. Baxter is a genuinly good man. I do appreciate a look at his ministry from a different point of view. I think he is honestly doing the best he can with his preaching and with the financial contributions he recieves. His ministry is what has worked best for me .

   I believe its not a Christians job to chastise anyone, maybe point them in a better direction, but not to belittle .  I think its a Christians job to live the best life they can quietly and live the life others would want. Not everybody wants to be a Christian, but that is their right. Its no mans job to judge. I hope everyone gets to experience the peace of mind I have had for the past 10 years, but I cant show them through words.

scottie1620
scottie1620

Praise Jeezus! I got to get me one of them thar prophetic churches! If there are enough ignorant, illiterate, stupid people around here with enough extra money to contribute to my cause, then I, too, can live the life of Robert Tilton, Robert Shuler, Oral (sic) Roberts, James Robinson, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Jimmy Swaggert, Creflo Dollar and the rest of those charlatans who have conned their way into a comfortable living by playing on the fears of the uneducated mental midgets among us.

 

Anybody who believes this "endtimes" garbage needs to take the money they give to these guys and spend it on a good psychiatrist. Professional help may get you over this delusion of belief in sky fairies and endtime prophecies. And, by the way, the last two Presidents who talked about one world government in flowery terms were George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. They called it the "New World Order", and it is the very same "New World Order" about which Hitler talked, along with many other far right fascists for the last 1,000 years.

abeliever
abeliever

I've been following Bible prophesy and the Book of Revelation for over 30 years now.... and I find Pastor Baxter's videos and presentations about the last days or the endtimes to be about 90%  accurate... His timeframes are exponentially excellerating as each year goes by... the signposts are definitely there.....

kritter3
kritter3

It is great to live in a country where religious ideas are free to be disseminated to those who are willing to listen. If this article reveals anything, it is the possibility that the IRS might be used as the agent to silence anyone with an opinion. If we want to talk about taxing Non-profit organizations, we need to thing about the unintended consequences. Breast cancer research, climate change, and charities that directly help the homeless and those in poverty are just a few categories of nonprofits affected. 

I cannot remember the last time I heard about someone building a 5 million dollar "empire." Dallas must be fairly scandal free these days if we are digging this deep to try and find one.

jstump
jstump

Hey Anna, enjoyed the article and interesting take on the conference.  One correction though, the well dressed folks up front were all visitors while many of the folks in the back were the regular attenders.  We wanted the guests to have the best seats in the house.  The gentleman with the "Free" tattoo on his forehead is Darron - a veteran of the Iraq war - and an amazing person!  He definitely tends to get noticed.  :) 

 

We're so glad you came!  Next time let us know as we would love to recognize you and your paper.

 

God bless,

Jacob Stump

PhoneHome1
PhoneHome1

@ZachsMind #End of times = full of POISION & FEAR all for MONEY

Randy
Randy

I like how the font of "EndTime"'s cover is the same as the font on TIME magazine's cover.

Steve Nabors
Steve Nabors

Minus natural events, if an Apocalypse does occur I can almost guarantee it will be caused by the deadly virus of religion.

Louise Clifton Siebert
Louise Clifton Siebert

I'm more afraid of these religious crack pots than i am the end of the world! Maybe he should have his own reality show like honey boo boo..we all love watching a good train wreck

Jarod Warren
Jarod Warren

Another one? I seem to remember the Bible having some choice phrases regarding false prophets. Ah well, I guess like carrying dogs in purses, predicting the apocalypse has become the new.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Now what was it that PT Barnum said?

sunny-in-texas
sunny-in-texas

Sorry to nitpick, but it seems the author is using "prophesy" in places where she should be using "prophecy". Just kinda driving me nuts. Thanks!

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

"...at thirteen years of age, I figured something was wrong with me."

 

The one thing in this guy's life he got right.

 

I also love that he envisions himself behind "them all" on his white horse, watching it all unfold. *sheesh*

 

Megalomania, it isn't just for breakfast anymore!

sarahjane1923
sarahjane1923

@Dallas_Observer This is not required work reading, but I can't stop. It's like a well-written trainwreck.

WackyCrackerTracker
WackyCrackerTracker

I still say that "End Times 2: Die Prejudiced, Prudish And Proud" is the best in the series, although the CGI wasn't as impressive as the original.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

I'm in the wrong 'bidness'.......this ENDTIMES CRAP sells better than a hooker in an oil camp!  But sadly, I'm not a deceiver-oh, dern.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Isn't it overly prideful for 'Christians' to think that they are the ones to live in the 'end times?'  as all of em have for the last 2000 yrs.

jereca16
jereca16

They only way you can debate an issue is if you fully understand both sides you look down on Christian. Because you are a simple worldly person who knows absolutel. Nothing of God so you can speak of something you no not of. God is real and trust me so is the devil but you will blindly follow him because your uneducated from the truth ( which is god). Noone knows for sure exactly when or what will happen in the end but irvin has done his best to depict what God has told us. Also so you know this is the only era that has turned away from God every generation before us as well as every country ever built has known god he is not fictional. He gave you the air you breath( a waste). I pray that you find true knowledge and understanding so you wont suffer for you ignorance. God bless.

scottie1620
scottie1620

 @kritter3 The IRS is the ONLY agency that grants non-profit status, and it is done under specific terms and conditions. If the IRS revokes a non-profit status for violating the rules, then it does so because the "organization" is failing to operate according to the law, not because they are silencing anybody's voice. You are free to say anything you want to say to anybody at any time, and you do NOT need a non-profit exemption from income tax to do it. One has to be pretty dumb not to see the difference.

jereca16
jereca16

Your a good man. :) only a godley man could write that reply.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

 @jstump That's a really important correction, and I apologize sincerely for the error. Thanks, Pastor Stump. Glad you found the article interesting, at least. Thank you too for having me as a guest in your church. 

joe.tone
joe.tone moderator

 @sunny-in-texas If it makes you feel any better I just fired myself for this offense. I immediately rehired myself, because I need the health care, but for a moment, justice was yours.

 

Joe Tone, editor

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

 @sunny-in-texas I think you're right. That's my mistake, and it should rightfully drive you crazy. We'll try to get in there and fix it momentarily. The print editions of the paper will stand as a monument forever and ever, though. 

reneeboyette
reneeboyette

There was a Pastor that always taught -- dont take my word for it -- go to the Bible and verify all that is said--- and once again Go to the Word of God the Bible -- there are teaching throughout the entire Bible --- that prove the endtime will come -- and gives signs of these times.

 
Loading...