Will American Christians survive if there is no rapture?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by D.R., Feb 23, 2003.

  1. D.R.

    D.R.
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    Do you not think it interesting that the majority of conservative New Testament and Theological scholarship does not believe in a pre-trib rapture, yet the majority of American Christians do? I am in the category of those who do not believe in a pre-trib rapture. I believe that Scripture does not teach this. So my question is 1)why do we have this belief that the majority of those who have studied Scripture longer than the typical American Christian does not have, and 2) what will happen to American Christianity if there is no pre-trib rapture and this is found to be a false teaching? Will there be a great turning away under intense persecution? Also why are pre-millennials not worried about the persecution of all nations predicted in Matthew 24 before the return of Christ? My personal opinion is that American Christianity will fall like a rock if there is not rapture. Many will turn away, the rest will be killed. Are you ready, just in case you are wrong?

    DR
     
  2. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    Ready for what??? I am pretrib; but if I should be wrong...I will not deny the Christ who washed away my sins and gave me eternal life with Him in Heaven.

    "According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death.
    For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
    Philippians 1:20-21

    I sure hope you have more faith in yourself standing true to God than you do the rest of the Christian population... [​IMG]

    Sue
     
  3. LadyEagle

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    Just wondering where you got this fact. Do you have any verifiable sources? Does this include all denominations (including Catholics and Jews), or just Baptists? Just curious.

    In response to your question: No, American Christians as a group will not survive. Many will turn away because they don't know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior to begin with. Many are in churches which presently have "a form of godliness but deny the power thereof." They go to church and maybe even read the Bible, but they don't know the Author of the Bible. They don't know Jesus.

    If there is no rapture, I can see a day when there will be Civil War in American streets, tanks in the streets, mobs killing & looting. Radical groups going from door to door with AK-47s and murdering citizens. I can see the day of homicide bombers in our public places, McDonalds, malls, stadiums, churches, and synagoges.

    If radical Muslims come to power in America as is their stated goal, Christians will be slaughtered here too, just as they are in other countries. Joining in with them will be all those who hate Christians and Jews, and those who are angry at society and the world in general.

    I believe Jesus is coming back for His Bride, just as He said He would. But in the event the Rapture doesn't come before the Great Tribulation begins, then I will be one who stands as a believer in Jesus Christ. I will not denounce my faith in Him, Who loved me and bought me with His own precious blood. And I will not take the mark. No matter what they do to me.

    Not everyone who professes to be a Christian knows Jesus Christ. The ones that do will stand true to the end, IMO.
     
  4. I Am Blessed 24

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  5. Helen

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    It is Jesus who keeps us safe in Him, not we ourselves. No matter what happens, our eventual well-being is in His hands, not our own.
     
  6. Tim too

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    Matthew 24:10-13 NIV
    At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

    1 Timothy 4:1 NIV
    The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

    DR

    I am in the camp with those who believe the rapture is a false teaching. This has lead me to ask another question that flows out of the question you ask. In the great apostasy that is coming before the antichrist is revealed are those “Christians” true believers?

    In the love of Christ,
    Tim
     
  7. Thankful

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    I believe in the pre-trib rapture. I do not believe that I will be here for the tribulation.

    Am I prepared? Yes, I trust in Jesus with all my heart and soul. He has promised me eternal life.
     
  8. Andrey

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    My soul's survival is not based on anything that I will do, or that I believe.

    It's is based on God's grace, period.

    How does that song go, you know, the one from that Dancing movie . . .

    "I will survive!"

    . . . of course, true survival (and more!) is in God's presence, wherever and whenever that is.

    &lt;&gt;&lt;
     
  9. D.R.

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    I am encouraged somewhat by your posts, though most of you answered for yourself and not for the general population of those who say that they are Christians. In response to what Sue said, yes, I am very skeptical about the "Christian" society at large. I believe that the majority of people who sit in our churches today are not saved. I see Lordship as the only type of salvation. You either come fully, or you don't come at all.

    As for the statistics you asked for. I will say that it is an informal study done by some friends of mine and I, who have looked at contemporary scholarship and judged based on certain books by key Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodist scholars. As far as the ecumenical seminaries go Trinity, Westminster, Denver, Regent, Reformed, Gordon-Conwell, Beeson, and Wheaton have basically no one in their Biblical Studies or Theology dept's who believe in a pre-trib rapture. Even some progressive dispensationals at Dallas do not (maybe all of them now). In the Southern baptist seminaries, I cannot speak completely for them, but there are no pre-tribers at New Orleans and Southwestern in the same departments. I would assume with Southern's theological slant, that there are none at Southern. That leaves Southeastern to only guess at. But since New Orleans and Southwestern are the two largest seminaries in the world, it would be easy to declare that the majority of the evangelical scholarly world does not believe in this viewpoint. Most are amillennial, historical premillennials (which means post-trib rapture), or preterists (who say that all the prophecy has been fulfilled in the first 2 centuries after Christ). As for Jews, they are still looking for the Messiah and Catholics generally are spread across the field on their views. However, I said conservative scholarship and they are not evangelicals, so I would regard them as neither conservative, nor scholarly (though there are many Catholics who are very erudite in various Scriptural matters).

    If you want to check it out, just go to the Seminaries discussion board and ask the seminary students at the various places what they are being taught in that regard. You might be surprised at what you find.

    In conclusion, I agree with Timothy and think we must give up this erroneous doctrine before we lull the church to sleep. All of the prophesies of Revelation and Matthew were fulfilled at least once, at the time of the original readers. None of them experienced a Rapture, and we should not believe, even if their is a double-fulfillment of those prophecies (which historical pre-millennials do generally believe), that there will be one in our future to spare us from suffering in the present age.

    Two questions to think on:
    1) If the church has been persecuted for 2000 years in some way, why do we believe as Americans that we will be spared before the full force of tribulation worldwide is applied?
    2) Is the rapture what many American Christians put their hope in and if so, could this cause a great turning away, as Timothy and others suggested if it does not happen?

    Lastly, Peter says, "For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome of those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the Godless man and the sinner? Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right" (1 Peter 4:17-19).

    Peter here is talking about a coming judgment of tribulation that would befall them, not a heavenly one. He is still talking to us today about a coming judgment. I believe tribulation is for the Church (the new Israel), and it is the judgment meant for the household of God. Beware that you do not put your hope in a false desire to not be persecuted. Even if there is a pre-trib rapture, it will only come after a full scale persecution of the Church. For Jesus Himself has said that all nations will hear and all nations will be persecuted before these things come to pass (See Matthew 24).

    Just hoping to exhort,
    WE HOLLA
    dr
     
  10. Tim too

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    I agree with you DR. Why should we in western civilization think that we will be spared tribulation when the church all around the world is suffering tribulation at the hands of the evil one. I call the pre-trib view piece meal and pie in the sky theology (P.I.T.S.). Piece meal because to make the pre-trib argument you have to jump all over the Bible pulling scriptures out of context to make it work. Pie in the sky because it says we are going to be pulled out of this world before anything really bad happens. We are so comfortable in our post industrial revolution lifestyles that we think if someone disagrees with our religious views or rejects the Christ we are telling them about we have been persecuted. All the while around the world Christians are suffering by being jailed, beaten, and killed for their faith in Jesus.

    Look at the oversight in the pre-trib view in the following scripture.

    Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers… that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

    Pre-tribbers completely disregard what the scripture says to make it fit their doctrine. Paul says we will not be gathered to the Lord until the anti-christ is revealed. Pre-tribbers go on down to the unnamed restrainer and interpret that as the Holy Spirit to erroneously show that the church has already been raptured.


    2 Thessalonians 2:1-8
    2:1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.

    We need to wake up and warn our friends deceived by this lie before it too late!

    In the love of Christ,
    Timothy
     
  11. Andrey

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    What about those of us that believe that the rapture comes in the middle of the tribulation? It comes when Jesus returns, which is AFTER the anti-christ assumes the throne of Jerusalem!

    Church is church, whether in America or elsewhere in the world. Anybody that wants to draw a line between them is a divider, not a uniter.

    We each have our part to play, and pride helps none of us, least of all me.

    Jesus is not your Savior if He is not your Lord.

    &lt;&gt;&lt;
     
  12. D.R.

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    Audrey,

    First of all I am not suggesting that it is illogical to believe in a rapture. However, the verses that are used to promote this idea are generally found not only in Revelation, but in Matthew 24 as well. In the Matthew passage, if taken with a view toward premillennialism, seem to suggest that there must be two requirements for the occurrence of the end of the age. Those would be that the gospel goes out to all nations (literally, people groups). There are still about 1700 completely unreached people groups. And there will be persecution in every land. This word seems to suggest a physical persecution. If this is a double fulfillment (for this entire passage has been fulfilled once in AD 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem), then if you study the first occurrence of the fulfillment you will find a gruesome path of destruction laid by the Romans toward the Jews and some Christians. We in America should expect nothing less.

    Why did I highlight America? Well, it is a very different Christianity here than in persecuted and restricted nations. That is not to make a division, that is just fact. People lay down their lives every day in many foreign countries, unlike America, where we live high on the hog. This will cause problems is persecution comes fast and hard.

    Finally, I do agree with Lordship salvation. I am an advocate of McArthur's book, The Gospel According to Jesus. Have you read it? Good stuff there if you haven't.

    WE HOLLA
    dr
     
  13. Andrey

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    DR,
    I have not yet read the book, nor have I heard of it before you mentioned it. Thanks for doing so, I will add it to my list of books to get and read.

    There are many throughout the world that hate America, and I may have jumped to conclusions when I saw what could have been read as an Anti-American heading.

    Christians are also not persecuted in Canada, Mexico and many parts of Western Europe, but I can see how you used "American" as meaning those that are not persecuted and are blessed with material goods.

    My parents escaped persecution and I was born in America because of their flight.

    God Bless You,

    P.S. It's Andrey, not Audrey! How easy it is for us to misread each other!

    &lt;&gt;&lt;
    Jesus is not your Savior if He is not your Lord!
     
  14. D.R.

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    Andrey (I realized the mistake immediately after sending it),

    I am not Anti-American, but I am anti-American in regard to our Christian misconceptions, tunnel vision, and egotism. For far too long, Americans and all Western Christians in general have lived without persecution, but that day is coming to a close. As for your mention of Canada, there is already a distain mounting for Christianity there that is more prevalent and widespread than in America. It is true that there is revival going on in Mexico and Latin America, however.
    dr
     
  15. Andrey

    Andrey
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    Why? Why do you desire the suffering of Christians?

    just suppose that it has been God's will over the last 150 years or so that Christians NOT suffer in certain parts of the world?

    Why would anyone that follows a compassionate God want people that are the part of the chosen to suffer?

    I sense much pain in you, much anger and pray for your soul. It may be that you need cleansing as much as you hope and pray that they get it.

    I still love you, you do not have to be perfect for me to love you.

    &lt;&gt;&lt;
     
  16. Thankful

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    I can only answer for myself. I cannot know what is in someone else's heart.
     
  17. Artimaeus

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    I do not get my doctrine from the majority of Americans, nor the majority seminary professors, nor the majority of posters on an internet discussion board. I get my doctrine from the Bible and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I do, however, listen to other people to see what they have to say. Please, pardon my bluntness but I am pre-trib and pre-mill and I was unaware that I or anyone like me was under the impression that Christians wouldn't suffer and are therefore unprepared for it. The vast majority of American Christians don't suffer because this country was founded on Christian principles and as those principles are slowly removed from society we will begin to suffer more and more. I can already be threatened with jail for voiceing the opinion that homosexuality is a sin that is condemmed by God (Hate speech). If you want to get a good handle on eschatology just read J. Dwight Pentecost's book, "Things To Come" (I didn't get my doctrine from him either, he just says it so much better than me.)

    Nominal Christianity will not fall apart because an event they didn't believe in in the first place does not happen. Real Christians will not fall apart because our faith is in Christ, the Holy Spirit inside of us, and the Father that put us all together.
     
  18. Brett Valentine

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    My hope and prayer was for a pre trib rapture. I used to fear being left behind and having to go through the tribulation. I started reading Foxe's Book of Martyrs, and a strange thing happened. Amidst all those horrible stories, I began to see God's power in the midst of all that death, and it occurred to me that if i found myself in that position, God would be there to sustain me. What a strange (but wonderful) peace.

    I don't worry about it much anymore. I think that book should be "re-introduced" as the required reading it used to be back in the 70's (at least in my area). That and the similar one written or compiled by the members of DC Talk which has some of the contemporary stories of present day martyrs.

    Brett
     
  19. D.R.

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    Ok, let me address some of the issues that a few of you have brought up. First, for my friend Andrey who thinks I am bitter and have much angst for others, I would say listen to John Piper. He is one of the most loving, most compassionate ministers in the Church today (while being one of the most scholarly and well respected academically -- he has published about 20 books from top publishing houses and you can visit his website at www.desiringgod.org). He longs for the persecution of the church to begin so that the true believers can be revealed and so Christ can come again (Matthew 24). This is why I too long for persecution. It is not because I am bitter, but through persecution do we see the power of the Holy Spirit manifested more clearly and more necessarily. The book Brent mentioned makes that clear (Fox's book of Marytrs or the Voice of the Martyrs book, Jesus Freaks). Also consider Scripture, first it (the NT) was written almost entirely to a people who were persecuted. Secondly, there are many poignant statements that look favorably upon persecution and place it as a great gift from God. Jesus spoke of this often to the Disciples. Peter in 1 Peter 4:14 says, "If you are reviled for the name of Christ, YOU ARE BLESSED, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you" (emphasis added). Two things to point out about this, the context is of a physical pain nature for the group to whom Peter is writing is suffering under the persecution of Domitian or Nero, both of which were extremely harsh in their means of punishing Christians. Secondly, Peter makes persecution out to be joyful. It is as though he is saying, "Come church, be persecuted, for in doing so you are blessed beyond what you could be without it." Another Scripture to be mentioned is Colossians 1:24. Here Paul rejoices in his sufferings because he is able to "fill up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions." What is important about that is that Christ's afflictions lack something. What is it? Certainly it is not their worth, but rather it is the personal presentation of that suffering to others. Other people can come to Christ only through an observation of your sufferings. In Pilgrim's Progress John Bunyan paints this in how one is killed in the town of Vanity and two come to Christ through witness this. I could go on and on, but I will give you one more reason why I look forward to the suffering and persecution of the Church. It is because of Revelation 6 -- the Fifth seal. The martyrs come out from under the throne and groan for vengence. They are told, "that they should wait a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also." It is obvious from this text that there is a number of martyrs needed to be killed in order for God to avenge them and thereby come and destroy all His enemies and set up His eternal reign. I long for that day to come quickly. Many have no problem praying for the day of the Lord to come and rapture them, but what about the day of the Lord to come and bring forth persecution as in 1 Peter 4:17, "It is time for judgement to begin with the household of God, and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the Gospel of God." So because of those Scriptures, I say come, persecution, come and Church rise up and face the coming dawn, prepare the Way of the Lord by suffering righteously for Him, so that at His coming we may lift our eyes and not shrink back and be ashamed.

    Ok, to Artimaeus, first of all I would say that we cannot say that just because we founded this country on Christian principles that we deserve not to suffer or even that because of that is is God's will that we not suffer. Actually many of our principles were not Christian, but deistic from Jefferson and Franklin who were certainly not Christians, but were moralists. Still today they suffer in hell for not recognizing the name of Christ. I would rather say that yes, it is God's will that Americans would not suffer for the past 150 years for the name of Christ. Yet, that does not mean that we should not recognize that this time is coming to a close and that we are beginning to run head first toward a day of reckoning that will bring AMerican Christianity to its knees (literally). We have already seen it begin in Canada.
    Secondly, I do not need to read anymore eschatology from anyone else to understand that we live with the idea that the rapture will in some way save us from persecution. It is all over the pages of Left Behind, Hagee's books and everywhere else you look for the premill, pretrib view. Why is no one with this view writing about the coming persecution before the rapture? Because essentially they don't believe it is going to happen to them. Over and over again is quoted the Scripture that if it were not for God cutting short the days of the elect, none would survive as some sort of ticket out of persecution, yet that Scripture itself is a testimony to just how bad it will be for the elect. Dwight Pentecost is not the best anyway for the premill, pretrib view. He is nothing in comparison to his followers at Dallas like John Walvoord. Still I think Ray Summer is the best on Revelation and the end times. But to debunk your theory, unless you are a New Testament scholar you still read the NT through the eyes of someone else. You are still a sheep in need of a shepherd. That is why James told his hearers, "Let not many of you become teachers, my brothers, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgement." You can say all day that you know Scripture because you read it and the Holy Spirit confirms it, but we are all tainted with sin, even in our study of Scripture. Why do I put more trust in some seminary professors than others, because of their work in the Scriptures, their desire for truth and their willingness to admit they are wrong and change their position when that occurs. As a fellow sheep following other teachers, I think we should do the same. I think we will all be surprised one day to see what we thought we knew, but were following the lead of other who were wrong. I am not saying that to be arrogant as though I am right, I am saying that to say we should all be humble in what we think is right. The reason why I am writing these posts is to help others think outside their own boxes. If I am wrong, then we have nothing to worry about in American Christianity, but if the pre-trib guys are wrong, then several generations of Christians have been led astray and are waiting for an event that will never actualize. I think that is more dangerous that some of you are admitting it is. Lastly, Nominal Christians do believe in the rapture. In fact they have faith, just in an event and not in Christ. But of course I believe that the phrase nominal Christianity is an oxymoron. As Andrey has properly said, There is no salvation apart from Lordship.

    So Church I exhort you to at least recognize that this rapture doctrine should be seen in light of a secondary event to the primary event of complete persecution engulfing the Church. Let us not write books about the signs of the apocalpse, let us write and read books about how to prepare for the last days of persecution and torture that will come about according to and by the will of God. The context of the NT was to those who were about to or were in the midst of experiencing intense persecution. Today the context is still the same. The question of Christ's millennial reign is up for grabs, but the question of persecution for the Church of Christ in America and every other nation is not. It will come, Will we be ready as a whole? Shouldn't we be getting ready, as well as getting our congregations and friends ready?

    In Christ,
    DR
     

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