…that read thus:  God’s Stimulus Package: The Rapture! and a simple, stray thought came to me.  Does this  I believe errant escatological view, this predominate doctrine in evangelical America of a pre-tribulation rapture, possess the tendency, even if not realized by most of those who adhere to it, to produce more an anxious anticipation of avoidance rather than an eager and joyous expectation?  Or, to put it another way…am I more excited about being whisked away from bad stuff than I am about the Second Advent of my Redeemer…more a focus on an event versus than a focus on a Person?

Only in a culture relatively prosperous and indulgent, distanced by decades, for the most part, from far-reaching trauma on a national scale, could an eschatology of escape and easy entitlement take root and flourish.  The early church, while often under great persecution, poverty, and tribulation, longed…and expected… to see Christ return.  I, too, a misfit with no righteousness of my own, saved by grace lone, by faith alone, in Christ alone, soli Deo gloria, long to see Him return.

Could ramble for hours, but enough for now.

Matthew 24:7-9 (ESV)

7 For nation will rise against nation, and  kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

9 “Then  they will deliver you up  to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.

Acts 1:11 (English Standard Version)

11and said,(A) “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven,(B) will(C) come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

John 17:15 (English Standard Version)

15I(A) do not ask that you(B) take them out of the world, but that you(C) keep them from(D) the evil one.[a]

1 Thessalonians 4 (English Standard Version)
13But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep,(AD) that you may not grieve as others do(AE) who have no hope. 14For(AF) since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him(AG) those who have fallen asleep. 15For this we declare to you(AH) by a word from the Lord,[d] that(AI) we who are alive, who are left until(AJ) the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For(AK) the Lord himself will descend(AL) from heaven(AM) with a cry of command, with the voice of(AN) an archangel, and(AO) with the sound of the trumpet of God. And(AP) the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be(AQ) caught up together with them(AR) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so(AS) we will always be with the Lord. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.

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4 thoughts on “I saw this church sign a couple of days ago…

  1. The NEWEST Pretrib Calendar

    Hal (serial polygamist) Lindsey and other pretrib-rapture-trafficking and Mayan-Calendar-hugging hucksters deserve the following message: “2012 may be YOUR latest date. It isn’t MAYAN!” Actually, if it weren’t for the 179-year-old, fringe-British-invented, American-merchandised pretribulation rapture bunco scheme, Hal might still be piloting a tugboat on the Mississippi, roly-poly Thomas Ice (Tim LaHaye’s No. 1 strong-arm enforcer) might still be in his tiny folding-chair church which shares its firewall with a Texas saloon, Jack Van Impe might still be a jazz band musician, Tim LaHaye might still be titillating California matrons with his “Christian” sex manual, Grant Jeffrey might still be taking care of figures up in Canada, Chuck Missler might still be in mysterious hush-hush stuff that rocket scientists don’t dare talk about, John Hagee might be making – and eating – world-record pizzas, and Jimmy (“Bye You” Rapture) Swaggart might still be flying on a Ferriday flatbed! To read more details about the eschatological British import that leading British scholarship never adopted – the import that’s created some American multi-millionaires – Google “Pretrib Rapture Diehards” (note LaHaye’s hypocrisy under “1992”), “Hal Lindsey’s Many Divorces,” “Thomas Ice (Bloopers)” and “Thomas Ice (Hired Gun),” “LaHaye’s Temperament,” “Wily Jeffrey,” “Chuck Missler – Copyist,” “Open Letter to Todd Strandberg” and “The Rapture Index (Mad Theology),” “X-Raying Margaret,” “Humbug Huebner,” “Thieves’ Marketing,” “Appendix F: Thou Shalt Not Steal,” “The Unoriginal John Darby,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” “The Real Manuel Lacunza,” “Roots of (Warlike) Christian Zionism,” “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers,” “Pretrib Rapture – Hidden Facts,” “Dolcino? Duh!” and “Scholars Weigh My Research.” Most of the above is written by journalist/historian Dave MacPherson who has focused on long-hidden pretrib rapture history for 35+ years. No one else has focused on it for 35 months or even 35 weeks. MacPherson has been a frequent radio talk show guest and he states that all of his royalties have always gone to a nonprofit group and not to any individual. His No. 1 book on all this is “The Rapture Plot” (see Armageddon Books online, etc.). The amazing thing is how long it has taken the mainstream media to finally notice and expose this unbelievably groundless yet extremely lucrative theological hoax!

  2. Quite honestly, I do not question the intent, the motives, of most involved in teaching this dispensationalist pretrib rapture eschatology. I have come to be part of the minority report who believe it is error even though the vast majority of American churches adhere to it in varying degrees of interest.

    Here is a concern…if….if…history, by the sovereign hand of God, is now drawing to a tumultuous close and you have thousands upon thousands who are expected to snatched away before the really bad stuff happens (with planes crashing as pilots are raptured away, with unregenerate women becoming ‘un-pregnant’ when the preborn are raptured from the womb, etc…) and it turns out they are not….what happens to their faith? God providentially cares for and loves His children, but we know such care and love does not infer an absence of suffering and trial. Slowly, and by His grace I am learning and growing deeper in faith and trust in my Saviour, and such growth generally will not happen without testing.

    Bigger picture, my growing understanding of this eschatology is that it is born of a dispensationalist theology that infers the church is a God’s ‘b-team’ in redemptive history and that there are two people of God, the ethnic Jew and the Church. Pastor John Hagee is maybe a good example of a hyper-dispensationalist. I reject that notion of there being two distinct peoples of God on Biblical grounds.

  3. I think the reason why eschatology is so ambiguous is because we’re not supposed to know, eh? I’m of the opinion that a lot of heresy is born when we try to answer every question. I don’t think that every question is to be answered. I believe that absolute truth is in Jesus and that we can learn truths about God through His Word for a lifetime and still not learn them all, but I don’t think we’re going to figure it all out until heaven.

    I like your perspective on this issue. It’s like prosperity Gospel – some of the logic isn’t bad, but if you step back and realize that it’s basically an Christianized version of the American Dream, started in America, and is really only taught in the wealthy West, then you’ve gotta say “hmm.”

    I think it’s safer to believe anything other than pretrib…that way, if the suffering starts, you’re not feeling let down.

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