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A Rapture Box. Really?

The sign reads, “”In case of the disappearance of True Christians, there are instructions located in the above box to help those who are left behind.

Kristen sent me the link to this from a blog she reads. It was spotted in a small baptist church which hosted a piano recital.

A few thoughts…

  • This could be a reason why there are fewer and fewer True Christians out there. I’m just saying if I saw this at the back of my church, I’d go home and Google a Rapture Box-free place to worship.
  • I’m actually curious to know how many people really believe in a pre-tribulational rapture, like the one of Left Behind and Harold Camping fame. Or are we, collectively as evangelical leaders, just kind of giving it a wink and a nod and I’m breaking some sort of honor code by mentioning it?
  • As a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, a place that has hung it’s hat on this but somehow turned down the publication of the Left Behind series, I can pass the test of all the Bible verses which create the concept of a pre-tribulational rapture. Let me tell you, it’s pretty thin from a hermeneutics perspective. But I passed the test.
  • The Sunday after the rapture, is the pastor going to take an offering and/or do an altar call?
  • Let’s say that all the True Christians suddenly disappeared from the planet. What are the chances people are going to read Left Behind, slap their heads, and say… “Oh, we missed it. This is why this happened!?
  • I looked, you can’t buy this on Kirk Cameron’s website for $149.99. But he should totally sell it.

If you’re offended– I’m not mocking you. I’m poking fun at something we, as conservative evangelicals, have hung our hats on. I’m one of us. This is part of our heritage as much as big hair and jean skirts. Every theological twist/turn has things like this. These are part of our identity. We laugh because we know.

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18 Responses to A Rapture Box. Really?

  1. Danny Eiler March 28, 2012 at 7:14 am #

    I do not hold to a “left behind” eschatological view.  I, like you, find the verses used to prove it incredibly weak.  In fact, this morning I was listening to a preacher on the conservative station I turn it to occasionally (moody actually, haha) and I was listening to him preach about winning people before the rapture.  And I just thought to myself how sad it is that so many people (most in my congreagation in the south anyway) just accept this with so little scriptural backing just because there are books or a preacher says so.It actually makes me wonder with “theologies” I hold that have no scriptural backing as well, and I preach them without even truly questioning them.

    • Gigi May 4, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

      How about you read in either the King James or the New King James, 2nd Thessalonians chapter two where it says that he, the son of perdition cannot rise to full power until He in capital letters meaning the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way. If the Holy Spirit lives in us we must be raptured before the antichrist can rise to full power. We as Christians are not going to take the chip that is connected to health care from Obama that is actually the mark of the beast. Many new versions do not capitalize He when talking about God, the Son or the Holy Spirit, that’s why I want you to look at these versions. Then ask yourself, if you are really a preacher, how many in your congregation are you leading astray by not teaching them on the end times and the Rapture. Think about it, if you are a true Christian and you know that for instance Obama is the antichrist, would you not try to cast the devil out of him??? Really??? Please read Thessalonians chapter 2! We as Christians can not physically be here when the antichrist rises to full power. The Holy Spirit is the only power that is restraining him from having full power. Be very careful where you are leading his sheep! How are you going to feel standing before God and telling him you laughed at the concept of the Rapture and led many astray as many false prophets have done. Please do not lead your people to hell. May God reveal to you the truth so that you don’t mock the truth!

      • Adam McLane May 5, 2013 at 6:06 am #

        Sorry, but the rapture is one of the thinnest theological positions there is.

        First, it’s pretty much an invention of the 19th century. There’s just not a strong case for a pre-trib rapture historically, even among evangelicals. Prior to Darby, just not much there. And Torrey’s book pretty much cemented it as there for another new theological invention of the 20th century, dispensationalism.

        Second, you have to do some hermeneutical olympics to get to something called a “rapture.” Half a verse here, out of context, plus half a verse there, out of context… latching thoughts of Daniel with thoughts of Revelation… while there is so much good scholarship within evangelical circles, even among dispensationalists, the amount of fiction that gets added into the scholarly works trying to prove a rapture makes it the thinnest of held beliefs.

        Last, even if there is such a thing as a rapture… and who knows, there may be… it has zero relevance for you or I. In fact, a “well, when it hits the fan we’re out of here and Jesus is going to take care of you” mentality is absolutely destructive in the face of the Gospel. We, as believers, are called into dark places to do messy, hopeful work. Not just so that the words of Christ may prevail but also so that our very lives will express Good News in our communities.

  2. the_snuffy March 28, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    So let’s leave them that book instead of a Bible. That makes complete sense!

  3. Jeffpom March 28, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    I tend to live by “treat others as you’d like to be treated.” So I hardly really talk about this type of theology with other Christians.  I don’t want them tearing my beliefs apart and criticizing what I believe – so I don’t do the same to them. Especially since I’m particularly uneducated in things like this.

  4. Ben Read March 28, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    I graduated from Liberty University, which loves Tim Lahaye and the Left Behind Series (Lahaye Student Center, Lahaye Ice Rink, etc. etc.) which isn’t a bad thing, he’s very generous with what those books made him.

    I think I’ve always considered myself pre-trib, but I don’t know, I could be wrong, but unfortunately I’ve become more of a “God clearly says no one will know, why would I waste time trying to figure it out.” In the grand scheme of things, I’d rather people just live with the reminder that God is coming back and the things we accomplish on this world won’t mean anything, lets focus on that a bit more. If your evangelism has to come to rapture at all, you’re  doing it wrong.

    • Adam McLane March 28, 2012 at 10:37 am #

      I think it’s that code of silence thing. We’ll teach it ‘cos we have to, but yeah… who cares if it’s really the “right” thing.

  5. Carl March 28, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    pre trib?   post trib?  I’ve never really paid much attention to it.  All I’ve got to say is if the rapture really is coming, for all our sakes, it better happen SOON.

  6. AdamLehman March 28, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    If I had to bet, I’d put money on the idea that those books created a net loss in number of “true Christians.” 

    Though they may have been helpful/useful for encouraging & challenging others. 

  7. Jason Roth March 28, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    I consider myself pre-trib but think that we have contextualized eschatology to fit our current time. I too attended Liberty and was given a heavy dose of PreMillenial Dispensationalism and while I have problems with some of the finer points I definitely hold some of the same views but again I am not a sold out advocate. I think the idea of the rapture box is incredibly stupid because if this eschatological view is true then the very basis of the idea is that no one will know what happened. The ones “left behind” will not put this together or understand and may not even notice. Which is why I believe that contrary to the fear mongering that Christ is not coming back “tomorrow”

  8. andy gill March 28, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    you’d label yourself as a “conservative Christian”? weird. never thought of you as one (though never really deeply thought about it either) 

    • adam mclane March 28, 2012 at 11:41 am #

      Ha, well that’s the thing about labels. They are kind of a moving target. To my liberal friends I’m one step away from bob jones. To my conservative friends I am super liberal. Yeah, w/e… I’m in the middle.

  9. kolby milton March 28, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    Andy, This this rapture box a business you are going to work on?  haha.  I bet at least a 1000 churches would buy one.  

  10. Jason Alexander March 28, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

    Pre-trib, post-trib, mid-trib… among other evangelical Christian perspectives, do they ultimately matter to non-Christians?? Are ANY of these perspectives compelling to the Christian faith in themselves? Or is how we live and treat each other a more compelling testimony? I may be simplistic in my view, but “it is what it is”, meaning God has it figured out regardless of our inner Christian arguments or understanding – so does it really matter, or should we focus that energy on “being a good neighbor” in the here and now?

  11. A Drive-By Toga March 29, 2012 at 5:41 am #

     

    @Jason
    Alexander,

     

    Yes,
    it really does matter to us non-Christians. 
    Oh, we find the concept of Rapture to be completely certifiably crazy—no
    more or less than a spacecraft of aliens behind the Hale-Bopp comet.   The
    problem is the vast number of voters and politicians who more than
    half-heartedly believe the notion. Enough they embrace a foreign policy
    perspective truly terrifying to behold.

     

    While
    superficially claiming the desire for peace, any indication (and inclination)
    toward war excites them with the thrill they will be swooped up to the
    ever-lasting Chinese buffet while us poor heathens finally “get what we deserve”
    for mocking their beliefs like comparing them to Heaven’s Gate.  (See what I did there?)  They WANT Israel to go to war in the hopes it
    will catalyst the Rapture, Tribulation (yeah dead heathens!) and Jesus triumph
    return where the Christians can proudly proclaim, “Hate to say I told you so…but…”

     

    If
    Christians wanted Rapture Boxes in their homes, and quietly lived their life
    with this wacky idea—we would have no problem with it.  What is scary is how this belief plays out in
    the real world.  The foundation of
    Rapture is Revenge.

    • Adam McLane March 29, 2012 at 5:56 am #

      This is an important point. Certainly, the doomsday mindset informs foreign policy as Toga has described. 

      So… if this is something most of us either completely reject or hold onto with the thinnest of threads… what would happen if we released this mindset, and THAT began to inform our foreign policy influence? 

      That’s a “what if…” statement that I’m exploring this August when I travel to the west bank. 

  12. Johnny Ward April 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    [Thanks, Adam. Caught the following on the net. Any reaction? Lord bless.]

    PRETRIB RAPTURE SECRETS

        How can the “rapture” be “imminent”?
    Acts 3:21 says that Jesus
    “must” stay in heaven (He’s now there with the Father) “until the
    times of restitution of all things” which includes, says Scofield, “the
    restoration of the theocracy under David’s Son” which obviously can’t
    begin before or during Antichrist’s reign. (“The Rapture Question,” by
    the long time No. 1 pretrib authority John Walvoord, didn’t dare to even
    list, in its scripture index, the too-hot-to-handle Acts 3:21!) Since
    Jesus can’t even leave heaven before
    the tribulation ends (Acts 2:34,35 echo this), the rapture therefore
    can’t take place before
    the end of the trib! (The same Acts verses were also too hot for John
    Darby – the so-called “father of dispensationalism” – to list in the
    scripture index in his “Letters”!)      
        Paul explains the
    “times and the seasons” (I
    Thess. 5:1) of the catching up (I Thess. 4:17) as the “day of the Lord”
    (5:2) which FOLLOWS the posttrib sun/moon darkening (Matt. 24:29;
    Acts 2:20) WHEN “sudden destruction” (5:3) of the wicked occurs! The
    “rest” for “all them that believe” is tied to such destruction in II
    Thess. 1:6-10! (If
    the wicked are destroyed before or during the trib, who’d be left
    alive to serve the Antichrist?) Paul also ties the
    change-into-immortality “rapture” (I Cor. 15:52) to the posttrib end of
    “death” (15:54). (Will death be ended before or during the trib? Of
    course not! And vs. 54 is also tied to Isa. 25:8 which is Israel’s
    posttrib resurrection!)
       Many are unaware that before
    1830 all Christians had always viewed I Thess. 4’s “catching up” as an
    integral part of the final second coming to earth. In 1830 this “rapture” was
    stretched forward and turned into a separate coming of Christ. To
    further strengthen their novel view, which the mass of evangelical
    scholars rejected throughout the 1800s, pretrib teachers in the early
    1900s began to stretch forward the “day of the Lord” (what Darby and
    Scofield never dared to do) and hook it up with their
    already-stretched-forward “rapture.” Many leading evangelical scholars
    still weren’t convinced of pretrib, so pretrib teachers then began
    teaching that the “falling away” of II Thess. 2:3 is really a pretrib
    rapture (the same as saying that the “rapture” in 2:3 must happen
    before the “rapture” [“gathering”] in 2:1 can happen – the height of
    desperation!).
       Other Google articles on the 182-year-old pretrib
    rapture view include “Pretrib Rapture Politics,” “Pretrib Rapture
    Scholar Wannabes,” “Famous
    Rapture Watchers,” “Pretrib Rapture Diehards,” “X-Raying Margaret,”
    “Edward Irving is Unnerving,” “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “Walvoord Melts
    Ice,” “Wily Jeffrey,” “The Rapture Index
    (Mad Theology),” “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers,” “Roots of
    (Warlike) Christian Zionism,” “Scholars Weigh My Research,” “Pretrib
    Hypocrisy,” “Appendix F: Thou Shalt Not Steal,” “Pretrib Rapture
    Secrecy,” “Deceiving and Being
    Deceived,” and “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty” – all by the author of the
    bestselling book “The Rapture
    Plot” (see Armageddon Books).

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