Irvin Baxter, who preached the end was near, dies at 75
This obituary is part of a series on people who died during the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.
“We are on the brink of the greatest prophetic fulfillment in 2,000 years,” Reverend Irvin Baxter Jr., founder of Endtime Ministries, told listeners at the opening. an April episode of “End of the Age”, his television show. “It looks like all the pieces of the puzzle are in place for the last seven years before Armageddon begins again this year.”
Mr. Baxter had spent decades finding signs of impending final judgment in an amalgamation of Bible verses and current events. His April prediction was based, among other things, on his reading of developments in the Israeli-Palestinian accord pushed by the Trump administration.
“The way it looks to me like it’s going,” he told his listeners, “it’s very likely that you and I and the whole world are entering the last seven years of Armageddon again in 2020.”
Mr. Baxter, who was 75, died on November 3. An announcement by Endtime Ministries said the cause was complications from Covid-19, a disease which, in other showsMr. Baxter had suggested that it was a punishment from God for the sins of the world, which he said included homosexuality, abortion and unmarried couples living together.
The announcement did not specify where he died. The department’s headquarters are in Plano, Texas.
Irvin Lee Baxter Jr. was born July 8, 1945 and raised in Richmond, Indiana, in the east central state near the Ohio border. His father was a Pentecostal pastor there and a pastor of Oak Park Church.
One teenage night, listening to a traveling preacher in a revival meeting, Irvin Baxter was overwhelmed.
“I heard someone speak in tongues on the microphone system,” he said, and realized that the voice was his. He had found his calling.
He became a traveling evangelist at age 19, and in 1973 he was pastor of Oak Park Church, a position he held for over 30 years. But he found himself devoting an increasing amount of energy to what he saw as a calling: alerting the world to prophecies he believed would soon be fulfilled.
In 1991, he founded Endtime Magazine. He also started a radio show and began marketing DVDs and other media to sell his vision for the future. He left Richmond and the Oak Park Church and moved his Endtime business to Texas in 2005.
Mr. Baxter’s shows were broadcast by various media, including the Trinity Broadcasting Network. He has been quoted in news articles whenever end-time fears have increased – in 2003, as the United States prepared to invade Iraq, in 2018 during a celestial phenomenon known as the name of blood moon.
Its reach was moderate compared to that of famous televangelists like Billy Graham. One of Mr. Baxter’s regular “prophetic conferences” in Texas drew 2,500 people; Mr. Graham regularly filled the stadiums. The Endtime Ministries Facebook page has 211,000 subscribers; the Billy Graham Evangelical Association has 2.5 million.
Mr. Baxter was a strong supporter of President Trump and his policies. This included the fact that Mr. Trump downplayed the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“When you talk about the coronavirus, the choice is this: either we open as much as we can as fast as we can, or we close everything,” he said in a program aired on October 23. “If you shut down everything like we did once, it had disastrous effects. President Trump rightly says that we can no longer do this. The cure is worse than the disease.
Mr. Baxter was hospitalized four days later, the ministry said.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Judith; three daughters, Karla Denise Sistrunk, Kara Michelle McPeak and Jana Gayle Robbins; eight grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.