Sunday, 3 August 2014
ENTERTAINMENT:: No, Christians Should Not Believe in 'Left Behind's' Rapture Theology, Says Prominent Christian Philosopher
you read the book of Revelation, you won't find any mention of
the rapture there," said William Craig, a Research Professor of
Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology and Professor of
Philosophy at Houston Baptist University.
Instead, Craig says, the idea of the rapture comes from a
"misinterpretation of 1 and 2 Thessalonians where Paul is
describing the coming of the Lord and resurrection of the dead,
which will occur at His coming."
"If you compare what Paul says there to what Jesus says about
the End Times, Paul uses the same vocabulary, the same
phraseology. I think it's very plausible that Paul is talking about
the same event that Jesus predicted, namely the visible coming
of the Son of Man at the end of human history to usher in his
kingdom," said Craig. "But proponents of the rapture view, say
that Paul is not at all talking about the second coming of the
Christ there. What he's really talking about is this invisible
preliminary secret return of Christ to snatch believers out of the
world before the great tribulation occurs. I think there's no
textual warrant for that at all."
According to Craig, the rapture became a popular theory about
the End Times due to the influence of the Scofield Reference
Bible, which was published in the early 20th century and
promulgated John Darby's mid-18th century's views on the
rapture. Later, Christian institutions, among them Dallas
Theological Seminary, and churches began teaching the validity
of the rapture.
"A good many Bible-believing Christians absorbed this view as
their mother's milk as it were and have never thought to question its Biblical credentials," said Craig.
Craig affirmed that it was completely possible for Christians to
watch the upcoming "Left Behind" movie or read the series, but
they should resist taking its claims seriously.
"It could be maybe good fiction. It would be say like reading
science fiction or fantasy novels like The Lord of the Rings . Just
so long as you're not deceived into thinking that represents
biblical eschatology," said Craig.
Craig, who leads Reasonable Faith , an apologetics organization
that equips Christians with the resources to speak about their
faith in an "intelligent, articulate, and uncompromising yet
gracious" manner, called upon Biblical scholars, pastors and
other church leaders who also refute the rapture to speak out
about their position.
"It is astonishing, if I'm correct about this, American evangelism
is very widely misled, that it has departed from the historic
Christian position about the second coming of Christ. That's
really rather sobering, because if we're wrong about this, what
other things might we have misinterpreted?" he said.