I don't understand those fundamentalist Christians. They look forward to Jesus coming and get excited about the thought. Yet they believe that there will be lots of suffering before he comes. Why would they look forward to Jesus coming if it means people will suffer?
In case this man had not realised people are suffering now. We live in a world ravaged by war, disease, hunger, crime and natural disasters. Christ's coming is to bring an end to this suffering. He shall establish a kingdom of peace. He will end war and violence. He will renew the earth and transform it to perfection.
Yes, there will be suffering before Christ comes. At the Day of the Lord, there will be cosmic disturbances and disasters that will ravage the earth, wreaking its rebellious governments. When Christ descends to earth at Armageddon, He will destroy the armies of this world. The majority of the population of the earth will be wiped out.
The reason this suffering will take place is not because God takes pleasure in hurting people. Far from it; the Lord does not take delight in the death of the wicked. Yet there is a war going on and people must choose sides.
The suffering will be unleashed upon a world that has rejected God's ways and made alliance with the kingdom of Satan. Just as the defeat of the Axis powers in the Second World War could not take place without the suffering of Germans and Japanese, likewise the end of Satan's tyranny will not take place without the destruction of those who have sided with him.
I suspect the problem with this liberal theology lecturer was that he did not believe in Satan. His theology had no room for a cosmic war and the establishment of a new world under Christ's government.