Saturday, May 21, 2011

Not all of us believe in the "Rapture"

Well, I almost made it past rapture-pa-looza without commenting. I am going to be short and sweet here. I have no desire to be controversial on this topic. Many of my Christian and Non-Christian friends have asked me about the prediction that the "rapture" was coming today.

My opinion was that it would not happen today primarily because I believe it will never happen. I don't believe in the rapture. It is ok if you do. I can see how some Christians interpret a few Biblical passages in a such a way to get there. I'm just saying that I am not one of them.

I do believe in some down-right unbelievable things: physical resurrection after death, a second physical returning of Jesus to earth, a future "New Heaven and New Earth," etc. I am not denying the rapture because it appears on the surface to be unrealistic and a little wacky. I am denying it because I don't believe it is mentioned the Bible as a futuristic prophecy.

Instead of writing why I believe this, I will include a few links below to some New Testament scholars who have influenced my thinking on how to interpret the disputed passages, particularly I Thessalonians 4:13-18.

We need not dread the end of the world. Our faith teaches that the world will be redeemed and beautiful someday through the reign of God in Jesus. That's our future. That is the truth that spurs us to endure the current "tribulations" that some of us are currently suffering. The world isn't going to end so much as it is waiting to begin. That's the point, IMHO (as the kids say).

So, read these links if you want to know more. (I have some fear of the comments to follow this post. I hope no uncivilized arguments ensue. I won't be commenting. If you know me personally we can talk about it next time you see me...) *

*I am hoping listing Jim Zartman with Greg Boyd and N.T. Wright will not go to his head.

**If I am wrong about this I will issue an apology to those of you who believe mid-flight. I promise.


Fallhiker said...

As a Lutheran we don't believe in the "Rapture".... Neither it seems did any of the reformation rebels such as obviously Luther or even Calvin. The story goes that the "Rapture" was concocted by a Franciscan Monk (I suspect a Jesuit) in Chile in the early 19th century under an assumed Jewish name claiming to be a converted rabbi. The reasoning springs from a desire to scare people away from protestantism and back to catholicism. So keep the faith you are not alone in a religious disbelief concerning the "Rapture"

hananiel said...

All Christians believe in the rapture as defined by 1 Thes 4:16 since we believe all scripture is divinely inspired. We may disagree about its relation to other biblical events, especially those in the book of revelation but 1. Jesus is coming back. 2. The dead in Christ will rise first and then we who are alive will be "Caught up to meet him" . What we disagree is whether we return to earth or wait in "heaven" or something else. Granted we must take a stand against the trite pop christian culture but we must be on guard against taking a culturally convenient position of ridiculing our brothers in faith - even if they be simple minded and the enemies of faith be intellectually sophisticated.

amymck said...

Now I'm really confused, I'd never have thought I'd disagree with you but then again I'm finding out all sorts of things these days that challenge my faith. I think Jim's blog about the rapture has something I've always said myself, "That is why so many things have to be unlearned as well as learned." I have found a lot of what I was taught growing up is not what I agree with and am continuing my search for what the truth is of my belief system, but I guess I never once thought that this was an issue I would have to re-think. thanks for making me question it, because I'd rather think about it and decide I was right or wrong instead of just believing what was pounded into me as a kid when I was gullible and naive. I fear I'm doing the same to my kids today, but hope I'm not screwing them up like my parents and the "church" did to me.

Exist-Dissolve said...


I'm not sure I see the logic in equating a denial of the notion of the "rapture" with "taking a culturally convenient position."

Like Joe said, the motivation of those who deny the notion of the rapture (myself being one of them) is not because it seems "weird" or "irrational," but rather because it's so shaky as a theological concept, both biblicaly and in the light of historical Christian thought.

Therefore, to suggest that "all" Christians believe in the rapture (which, by extension, denies the Christianity of those who reject such a notion) is simply going to far. I simply can't see such an idea as "the rapture" being a part of the fundamentals of Christian belief (it has not been, historically).

Like the poster, I don't necessarily have a problem with Christians believing in the rapture. But to make this an "essential" of faith? Sorry, can't follow on that one.

DanThoms said...

I by no means believe that "the rapture" is essential to Christianity. I did skim the links and listen to the youtube video and I don't think they make a very strong argument. For those of you who don't believe in the "rapture" do you believe in the second coming of Christ and if so do you believe that it is a physical event.

Guitar Tone Conversations said...
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DaveKroger said...

For all the times that someone has predicted that "the rapture is imminent" and... guess what?... no rapture. One would think that the next 'predictor' would think twice before making any announcements. My bottom line is that I don't care whether there's a "rapture" or not. We might be as productive if every cloudy day we go outside and look up, watching for Jesus to come back. (probably not such a good suggestion given the probability of being struck by lightning.)I do NOT want to read... "38 people (more or less) killed by lightning because some nutjob [me] said they should go out and watch for Jesus to come again on the clouds."

hananiel said...

@exist-dissolve my object was to include on what we believe in common not exclude on what we believe differently. Apologize for sounding that way. IMO, The debate is over the book of revelation. If you read the links they don't comment on the veracity of 1 Thes 4 or a different interpretation even, but just how it relates to the rest of the future of the body of Christ.

Shannon said...

Hananiel - "all Christians believe in the rapture"? I'm really not sure how you can say that...until just a couple hundred years ago NO Christians believed in the rapture, and even now only a portion do. Basing a whole doctrine on one questionably translated and hard to understand verse is always a bit shaky.

Bennie Butler said...

Ultimately Christ will handle things as he see fits. Rapture or not, our ultimate destination is the same.My only concern is that if there is no rapture, then the faith of millions will be severely tested. Having been taught that there is a rapture, but confronted with a man whom proclaims himself as God and has all the answer as can see the potential problems. That said, I am a Christian...if there is a rapture, great..I will see you mid air, but if there is not, I am to be well prepared, having an answer to give all those who ask as to He who lives in me.

Bennie Butler said...
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