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Dangers of Dispensational Rapture Fantasy

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  • Dangers of Dispensational Rapture Fantasy

    I am sure that Tim LaHaye unreservedly believes in the dispensational theology that inspires his Left Behind book series. No doubt, he has done the Church a service in recalling it to a serious consideration of the blessed hope of Christ's return in glory. Too often we mainline protestants have shied away from being any more specific about this teaching than the one line in the second article of the Apostles' Creed: "From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead." Because of Left Behind's popularity we mainline folks are forced to deal with the issue in our pulpits and Sunday schools. No longer can we conveniently igonore the bulk and heart of the book of Revelation as does the Revised Common Lectionary. If we do, we endanger the faith of Christians in our pews as well as those of our fundamentalists friends.
    To be sure, whether one is a dispensational futurist or a preterist or an idealist or a historicist is a secondary issue. Being wrong on issues surrounding the apocalypse is not equal to the heresy of denying trinitarian doctrine. However, errors in eschatology can lead one down a road to disappointment that can shatter one's faith not only in the promised Return but also in the One who is returning. With respect to dispensationalism there are 2 theological errors and one ethical/political errors that should inspire mainline protestants to sound a clarion call of warning to there fundamentalist friends.
    Dispensationalism asserts that before the return of Christ to establish his millenial reign there will be a seven year period of great tribulation before which the church is snatched away to heaven, waiting there while non-believers suffer God's wrath and messianic Jews evangelize and convert previously procrastinating and unrepentent gentiles.
    We might argue endlessly with dueling proof texts but to get to the heart of the matter, dispensationalism reflects a one dimensional view of the cross as substitutionary punishment to satisfy the wrath of god. Although this is one aspect of the cross, it ignores or at least trivializes Jesus command to "take up your cross and follow me." What we have in the book of Revelation is a call for Christians to be witnessing martyrs in tribulation until the ressurection of the dead and the final judgement. Certainly there is a protecting from God's wrath during this tribulation but there is no hint of LaHaye's escapist fantasy. God spares His children His wrath but not persecution at the hands of God's enemies. If LaHaye is right John the Revelator is counseling Christian wimpiness not endurance to the end. The witness of putting down our crosses as we breeze away to bliss when the going gets apocalyptically tough is anything but a Christian testimony.
    If indeed God does expect Christians to endure persecution to the very bitter end, then we begin to see the dangers implicit in the rapture fantasy. First, it tempts Christians to loose faith when persecution gets more serious than what evangelicals imagined they endured in the Clinton era. Second, it tempts those who think they are tougher than Job to put off the decision of faith. No need to give up sin and follow Jesus today if I get seven years of second chances.
    Finally there is a danger here and now that ought to trouble both beleivers and unbelievers alike. Dispensationalists are making Israel right or wrong a litmus test for politicians in hopes of forcing God's hand. Bush is valued for keeping hope alive for the final Israelite generation with Biblical borders. This serves only to further irritate overly inflamed irridentism on both sides of the Israeli/Palestian dispute. Expect no peace, more terror and greater pain at the pump as long as the State Department has to answer to the LaHaye's crowd of eisegetical escape artists.

  • #2
    There are dispensationalists, myself among them, that believe that the Church is removed prior to the tribulation, without the seven year waiting period.

    The dispensationalists I know do not believe that they can force God's hand. Perhaps you are thinking of some of the prosperity preachers.....

    My own opinion is that we have things we need to do, end times or no end times. That's what the church should be concerned with, not trying to make odds on when the bowls, trumpets, horsemen, etc. will appear.
    Last edited by Crow; August 2nd, 2004, 12:17 AM.

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    • #3
      How about a small nuke on the Temple site to force God's hand?

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      • #4
        libevangelical-
        You obviously have not read the Left Behind books. LaHaye & Jenkins do not propose wimpiness in believers who are converted after the rapture.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by billwald

          How about a small nuke on the Temple site to force God's hand?
          nahhh. that's what those dirt-bags were doing on 9-11...trying to engage THEIR endtime beliefs....
          shall I sin so grace may abound?

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          • #6
            Also, putting off faith in Christ until the tribulation is dangerous, because we are not promised tomorrow. Which means we are not promised to live to the tribulation, let alone through it. Even if the rapture does not occur before the tribulation, there is no promise that Christians will all live through it.
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            • #7
              Homophobic Greek Orthodox Dispensatioanalism

              Originally posted by lighthouse

              libevangelical-
              You obviously have not read the Left Behind books. LaHaye & Jenkins do not propose wimpiness in believers who are converted after the rapture.
              If you would learn to read you would see that i was talking about encoraging Christian wimpiness of those who think they can be raptured. Your profile and derogatory language shows how confused you are.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by libevangelical
                What we have in the book of Revelation is a call for Christians to be witnessing martyrs in tribulation until the ressurection of the dead and the final judgement.
                libevangelical,

                I no not see the word "Christian" used at all in any of the unfulfilled prophecies describing the "great tribulation" and the wrath that will follow.In fact,there is not even one mention of the Body of Christ in all the unfulfilled prophecies relating to that time.It is as if the Church has disappeared off of the face of the earth.And that is exactly what is going to happen.
                Certainly there is a protecting from God's wrath during this tribulation but there is no hint of LaHaye's escapist fantasy.
                If there is protection from God's wrath for the believers on earth during the tribulation,why will there be so many martyrs?

                And there is more than a "hint" that those in the Body of Christ will meet the Lord in the air before the events of the great tribulation.Here the Lord Jesus tells those in the Church that they will indeed be kept from that time when the whole world will be "tried":

                "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth"(Rev.3:10).

                So we see that the pre-trib rapture is not based on anyone's fantasy,but instead on the sure promise of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

                In His grace,--Jerry

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                • #9
                  Re: Homophobic Greek Orthodox Dispensatioanalism

                  Originally posted by libevangelical

                  If you would learn to read you would see that i was talking about encoraging Christian wimpiness of those who think they can be raptured.
                  How so? There aren't any pre-rapture Christians in the Left Behind books.

                  Your profile and derogatory language shows how confused you are.
                  Would you care to explain? What derogatory language, and what about my profile makes me look confused? I know exactly what i believe, and why I believe it. And where to find it in the Bible.
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                  • #10
                    Re: Re: Homophobic Greek Orthodox Dispensatioanalism

                    Originally posted by lighthouse

                    How so? There aren't any pre-rapture Christians in the Left Behind books.

                    I was refering to your ability to read the book of Revelation and my post. It is very clear that the book of Revealtion is addressed to john's brother's in the tribulation and that these are Christian brothers. Christians are sealed and protected from God's wrath during the tribulation and at the coming of Jesus to judge the living and the dead. They are not however protected from the wrath of Babylon. Pretrib rapture is a fantasy that sets Christians up for dissapointment and tempts them to think that God has betrayed them when times get tough and God does not rapture them. Tim LaHaye is a cult of nostalgia advocate bent on defending bigotry against Muslims, women, gays, scientists and liberals. he has never made a positive contribution to the church or the world with any of the filth he writes.

                    Would you care to explain? What derogatory language, and what about my profile makes me look confused? I know exactly what i believe, and why I believe it. And where to find it in the Bible.
                    OK now I see ur a geek not a greek orthodox Christian...a Greek Orthodox Christian would never by this dispensational non-sense. Your derogatory language is not Biblical.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by libevangelical

                      OK now I see ur a geek not a greek orthodox Christian...a Greek Orthodox Christian would never by this dispensational non-sense. Your derogatory language is not Biblical.
                      First of all, be careful how you do quotes. You made it look like I said something you said.

                      Now, down to business. I do not have a set belief on when the rapture will take place. In fact, I would much prefer to be present for the seven years, so I could be useful as a menace to the anti-Christ. But I trust in God's plan, and His will takes precedence over mine. As for dispensationalism, could you please tell me what Galatians 2:7 says in your Bible? And also the verses, 1 Corinthains 9:17, Ephesians 1:10 & 3:2, and Colossians 1:25.
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                      • #12
                        Lighthouse believes there are multiple ways to heaven

                        Gal 2:7 "But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; "

                        Now we both know in Romans 1:16 "gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;"

                        Lighthouse how many different gospels are there in the history of mankind?

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                        • #13
                          That depends on what you mean by gospel, Nimrod. There is one main gospel, which is the good news that Jesus died for all of us. But it is true that there was a time that Jews who grew up under the law still kept the law, because that is what they were used to. So, when the disciples preached to them, they still preached the law. But those Jews are dead, and the Gentiles were never required to keep the law. And Paul preached to the Gentiles. Salvation is by grace, not by works. Dispensationalism is knew to me. I haven't even heard the word until I came to TOL, even though I knew Jefferson four years ago. I find it to be interesting, and scriptural. I still don't know how it can solve a couple of the issues, or how it relates to the rapture and tribulation. But I will, soon enough. It seems to me that you have never read The Plot. You should. At least so you can understand dispensationalism. Even if you don't agree with it afterwards. At least you would understand what you were arguing against.

                          Now, is it wrong, immoral or of the devil for a Christian to talk about stuff other than God? Can a married Christian talk about how much they love their spouse? can a single Christian talk about how they feel, romantically, about another person? Can they talk about their pets? You get the idea.
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                          • #14
                            Nimrod,
                            • So they [the twelve] departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. Luke 9:6


                              He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
                              Peter answered and said, "The Christ of God."

                              And He strictly warned and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day." Luke 9:20-22

                              Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!"
                              But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men." Matthew 16:22-23


                            Christians normally refer to Christ's crucifixion and resurrection as "the gospel."

                            If Christ revealed to the twelve that He would be killed and be raised on the third day (and commanding them to tell no one) in Luke 9:20-22, then what was "the gospel" He had already sent them out to preach earlier in that same chapter?
                            Last edited by Turbo; August 5th, 2004, 05:31 AM.
                            BRXI: Should Christians support the Death Penalty?

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                            • #15
                              KOG, baby, KOG!
                              shall I sin so grace may abound?

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