Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Carson Weber, Jun 13, 2003.

  1. Carson Weber

    Carson Weber
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    Discuss this interview:

    The Rapture: Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?

    Author Carl Olson on a Flawed Eschatology That Has Captivated Millions


    EUGENE, Oregon, JUNE 13, 2003 (Zenit.org) - Confusion about the Rapture, due to the popularity of the "Left Behind" series, is growing in Catholic and Protestant communities.

    In response, Envoy magazine editor Carl Olson has recently written a new book entitled "Will Catholics be 'Left Behind'?" published by Ignatius Press to explain Catholic eschatology and Church teaching on the end times.

    Olson, a convert from "dispensationalist" Protestantism, shared some key points from his book with ZENIT.

    Q: What is meant by the Rapture? Where did this idea originate?

    Olson: For millions of Americans, especially many fundamentalists and evangelical Protestants, the "Rapture" or "pre-tribulation Rapture," is the fast-approaching secret and silent disappearance of Christians from the earth prior to a time of tribulation.

    It is believed to be distinct from the Second Coming, and proponents claim this event is described in passages such as 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. The term "rapture" is taken from the Latin word "rapiemur," used by St. Jerome for the Greek word in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 meaning "caught up" or "snatch away."

    Vague notions of such an event have been around for about three centuries, but the form that is so popular in North America originated in the 1830s in England with an ex-Anglican priest, John Nelson Darby [1800-1882].

    Darby created an entire system of theology called pre-millennial dispensationalism, based on a radical separation between Old Testament Israel, described as God's "earthly" people, and the New Testament Church, his "heavenly" people. The Rapture is the means by which God will remove the heavenly people from the world so that he can finish the work begun with his earthly people.

    Darby's ideas spread to North America in the late 1800s and were developed and systematized by a number of American fundamentalists, notably C.I. Scofield, Lewis Sperry Chafer and Charles Ryrie.

    Dispensationalism's popularity grew enormously in 1970 with the publication of Hal Lindsey's best-selling "The Late Great Planet Earth," and that popularity continues today, as evidenced by the "Left Behind" novels, created by noted fundamentalist Tim LaHaye, which have now sold about 50 million copies.

    Q: Does the idea of the Rapture have any precedence in the history of Church doctrine?

    Olson: Not as it has been articulated by Darby and his modern dispensationalist disciples.

    The idea of Christ returning two more times is not found in the early or medieval Church, and is of modern origin. Some dispensationalists do attempt to locate passages supporting their beliefs in ancient Church texts, but such attempts are highly subjective and selective, and ignore the larger context of those texts.

    Catholics, along with the members of the Eastern Orthodox Church and most Protestants, believe that those alive at the Second Coming will be caught up to meet Christ in the air.

    First Corinthians 15:52 refers to the "last trumpet," a clear reference to the final trumpet that will sound at the Second Coming -- as in Matthew 24:31 -- so that passage cannot be referring to a Rapture event several years prior to the Second Coming. As many dispensationalists actually admit, their use of such passages is predicated upon their theological premises, leading to forced and inconsistent interpretations.

    Q: Looking at various works of Catholic art, such as Michelangelo's "Last Judgment" in the Sistine Chapel, it would seem that Catholics believe in the Rapture. How would you respond to this claim?

    Olson: As I noted, Catholics do believe in a rapture event, if by that we are referring to believers being caught up to meet Christ at the Second Coming, or Parousia -- not several years prior.

    Dispensationalists believe that the Last Judgment will not occur until the end of an earthly, millennial reign that follows the Second Coming. Millenarianism has been rejected by the Catholic Church.

    Q: Some Catholics have been caught up in the "Left Behind" frenzy. How do you account for the popularity of these books, and how can the Church respond?

    Olson: Being a former fundamentalist and dispensationalist, I was surprised to meet and hear of many Catholics, including some priests and directors of religious education in parishes, who were reading and recommending these books. It was one reason I wrote "Will Catholics Be 'Left Behind'?"

    I think the "Left Behind" books and dispensationalism are popular for many reasons: They are exciting and sensational, they seem to make sense of difficult sections of Scripture such as the book of Revelation, they appear to predict approaching global events, and they suggest or even promise that the end of the world is upon us.

    Some readers of the "Left Behind" series aren't interested in the theological vision of the books, but many others believe that the events described in the book, including the Rapture, are biblically based.

    It is quite exciting to think that you probably won't have to suffer and die like others because you'll be taken up from the earth in the near future. There is also the exhilaration of supposedly possessing special knowledge about what will happen in the approaching months and years.

    There is an attitude among many Catholics, including some leaders, that millenarian beliefs such as dispensationalism are part of a "fringe" element that need not be taken very seriously. This is a mistake, as can be seen in the number of Catholics who leave the Church for fundamentalist groups, or remain Catholic but accept beliefs about the Church, the Kingdom and the end times that are not compatible with Catholic teaching.

    I've found that a large number of Catholics have little or no idea what the Church affirms or rejects in the realm of general eschatology. There is a need for better catechesis, for homilies that address these issues when appropriate, and for leaders and educators who are sensitive to the attraction of these books and the questions they raise.

    Q: How can your book help Catholics and non-Catholics understand this issue better?

    Olson: My book has three major goals: to provide needed historical and theological context to beliefs about the end times, to critique the errors of the "left behind" theology, and to present a Catholic perspective on general eschatology, salvation history, the Church, the Kingdom and interpreting Scripture.

    In critiquing dispensationalism, I examine its historical and theological origins, and respond to the biblical arguments used by its leading proponents and theologians. Some chapters address the book of Revelation, the millennium and the history of millenarian movements.

    The book is exhaustively footnoted, but the main text is written in an accessible style so that readers with little or no theological training can learn more about these topics and better understand how to respond to the "Left Behind" books as well as better appreciate the Catholic vision of salvation history and eschatological events.
     
  2. BobRyan

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    It is with great hesitation that I post in favor of something the Catholic church says about the coming Christ - given that Brother Ed has made it clear - they believe Christ returned in 70 AD. (So that is not the 2nd coming)?

    I would agree with the doctrine here - although I am certain that Christ did not "return in 70 ad instead of at the 2nd coming".

    I also hold to the Bible's statement on the 1000 years as being trustworthy - real and factual.

    (Just as I hold to the Genesis "account" as factual and reliable).

    So - as I said - I find agreement with the snippet above and would like to know how Catholics manage to fit that into "No really Christ came back in 70 AD").

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  3. Kathryn

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    Bob: Jesus Christ having come already in the year 70 AD is not a teaching of the Church and never has been. I suspect you misunderstood something Brother Ed said.
     
  4. BobRyan

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    I call for a Catholic Council to convene. Carson, Ed and Kathryn - let me know what you decide. So far, I thought that Ed and Carson where on the same page here and that I understood them to say that Christ came in 70 AD. (something about "This generation will not pass away until all these things...") Matt 16.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  5. Joseph_Botwinick

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    IMO, Catholics will not be left behind because the rapture myth is a creative farce made up by a bunch of Sci-Fi authors. Also, looking at the Olivet Discourse, I would say that they are the ones who will be taken away just as it was in the days of Noah...Probably only a Preterist will really understand that (Just kidding)... ;)

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  6. Kathryn

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    Christ came at the Incarnation. He is with us still in the Eucharist, the feast of heaven and earth, ..... supper of the lamb. “… and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20 He promised to come in Glory to judge the living and the dead at the 2nd coming at the end of the world.

    God bless
     
  7. Yelsew

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    If the Christ remains with us in the eucharist, How is it that he will return? Why is it that the Christ told his Apostles to "do this in rememberance of me". "Rememberence" implies that what is remembered is away from the one doing the remembering.
     
  8. Yelsew

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    If there is a rapture in accordance with the scriptures, there will be many Catholics, Many Baptists, many Methodists, etc., etc., that are left behind. After all, "One will be taken the other left behind". Those taken are the true believers, those left behind are those that play "church".

    The Bride of Christ will be taken the Body of Christ will be left behind.

    The Bride of Christ is the Spirit of the Body of Christ. As scriptures tell us the flesh offers nothing, the spirit is the life of the body. Paul talks of being absent from the body is being with the Lord. So yes, there will be Catholics left behind, but not all Catholics for many do have the true faith.
     
  9. Singer

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    So yes, there will be Catholics left behind, but not all Catholics for many
    do have the true faith.


    Yes, it's the same rule that applies to Protestants....that being:
    "Whosoever has the Son has life....whosoever does not have the Son;
    does not have life" 1John5:11,12

    To me, that puts the emphasis on any church at the bottom of the list of
    importance.

    There's no reason Catholics can't have the Holy Spirit as it is offered to
    "whosoever will belive that Jesus is the Son of God" 1 John 4:15.

    That's how we receive God's indwelling and how we receive salvation.
     
  10. BobRyan

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    Carson -

    You are posting on your thread but not answer the question as to how your 70 AD coming of Christ idea fits in with what you said at the start.

    Is there a "reason" for that?
    ;)

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  11. LaRae

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    For the zillionth time....Catholics don't believe there was a "coming" in 70AD.....if someone said it, go to them and ask them why they think this. It is NOT a teaching of the Church.


    LaRae
     
  12. Ray Berrian

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    Someone said that Carl Olson was a ' . . . convert from dispensationalism.' He clearly had a flawed faith and broke away from the Rock, meaning Christ. [Psalm 61:2; Psalm 78:35; Psalm 92:15; Psalm 94:22; Psalm 95:1; Matthew 16:18] Carl's defective faith became apostate when he joined the Roman Catholic Church if not before this monumental change. A faith that is not sterling will also bring into evidence errant eschatology, thanks to brother Augustine and his church is the kingdom philosophy.

    In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, 'And I say also unto thee, thou art Peter {the Greek word is Petros meaning a piece of the rock} and upon this rock-{meaning Christ coming from the Greek word Petra suggesting the massive rock. Most of the New Testament was written by the Apostle Paul and not by the blemished character of the 'thrice, denying Peter.' There is no Biblical evidence that Peter even visited the city of Rome, yet alone, to be its elevated and first papal bishop. Remember, 'a bishop must be blameless.' [I Timothy 3:2] Peter, the small rock would not fill the requirements and yet the myth seems to have endeared itself to a believing public.

    When we speak of an apostate we are portraying a person who departs from his faith or religion; an abandonment of creed and renunciation of religious obligations.
     
  13. BobRyan

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    LaRae - I liked what you said - I would really like to find that it was true.

    Here is what Carson is now saying about Christ having already come again - in 70 A.D.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  14. Kathryn

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    Where does it say 70 AD?
     
  15. LaRae

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    In Christ,

    Bob
    </font>[/QUOTE]Bob,

    Ok let's make it a zillion and one!! [​IMG]

    First off you need to take it up with Carson, I can't read his mind on this or anyone else who mentioned this before.

    Secondly....the Church does NOT teach anything about Christ coming in 70ad. We ALL are awaiting the return of the Messiah.

    I've had this discussion with other Catholics on a predominately Catholic forum (some very learned in Church teachings also) and it's news to them about any 70ad return of the Messiah.


    LaRae
     
  16. BobRyan

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    LaRae -

    As I said - nothing would please me more than to discover that Carson and Brother Ed are out on their own little limb of Catholicism and that this 70AD return of Christ error is NOT something that the RCC teaches.

    I am all for it!!

    But Carson is being "curiously quiet" on a point that he has been outspoken in promoting along with Ed - (And on THIS the thread that Carson started - he is not responding).

    They had a thread on this board a month or two ago where Ed and Carson went into this in a little detail.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  17. Carson Weber

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    Hi Ray,

    the Greek word is Petros meaning a piece of the rock} and upon this rock-{meaning Christ coming from the Greek word Petra suggesting the massive rock.

    Gary Hoge, a former Baptist, has destroyed this argument in his online article, Is Peter the Rock? found here: http://www.catholicoutlook.com/rock.html

    The renowned Protestant Biblical scholar D.A. Carson writes:

    "Although it is true that petros and petra can mean "stone" and "rock" respectively in earlier Greek, the distinction is largely confined to poetry. Moreover the underlying Aramaic is in this case unquestionable; and most probably kepha was used in both clauses ("you are kepha" and "on this kepha"), since the word was used both for a name and for a "rock." The Peshitta (written in Syriac, a language cognate with Aramaic) makes no distinction between the words in the two clauses. The Greek makes the distinction between petros and petra simply because it is trying to preserve the pun, and in Greek the feminine petra could not very well serve as a masculine name. . . Had Matthew wanted to say no more than that Peter was a stone in contrast with Jesus the Rock, the more common word would have been lithos ("stone" of almost any size)." (1)

    And the Protestant Biblical scholar Oscar Cullman, writes in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament:

    "The Aramaic original of the saying enables us to assert with confidence the formal and material identity between p tra [petra] and P tros; P tros = p tra. . . . The idea of the Reformers that He is referring to the faith of Peter is quite inconceivable . . . for there is no reference here to the faith of Peter. Rather, the parallelism of "thou art Rock" and "on this rock I will build" shows that the second rock can only be the same as the first . It is thus evident that Jesus is referring to Peter, to whom he has given the name Rock. . . . To this extent Roman Catholic exegesis is right and all Protestant attempts to evade this interpretation are to be rejected." (2)

    1. D.A. Carson, The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Volume 8 (Matthew, Mark, Luke), ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), 368.

    2. Oscar Cullman, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. by Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1968), 6:98, 108.

    There is no Biblical evidence that Peter even visited the city of Rome

    In Peter's first epistle he wrote, "She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings." Babylon is used six times in the book of Revelation as a code word for Rome. G.J. Polkinghorne, writing in the Protestant International Bible Commentary, explains:

    "Babylon (5:13) cannot be the city on the Euphrates, which after A.D. 41 was very sparsely populated and with which Peter had no connection. Nor can a Roman garrison in Egypt be seriously considered. Rome must be meant, cf. Rev. 17 and 18, as was universally accepted until Reformation times. The symbolic designation would save trouble should the censor's eye light on the letter in transit." (3)

    3. G.J. Polkinghorne, "1 Peter," International Bible Commentary, ed. F.F. Bruce, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 1551.
     
  18. Carson Weber

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    Hi Bob,

    You call the subject you're referring to a "70AD return of Christ error"

    Pray tell, was Jesus lying when he said:

    Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom (Mt 16:28)?

    This is also paralleled in Mark 9:1 and Luke 9:27.

    The Gospels are quite clear that Jesus said he would come in his kingdom in the time of his present generation.

    Was Jesus lying?
     
  19. LaRae

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    Bob,

    If Carson or Brother Ed want to speculate or theorize about this....they can, I am not aware of any 'official' teaching that Christ came in 70ad in some sort of rapture.

    If you don't want to believe me, then go look at one of the online catechisms or the vatican website.

    Go ask on Steve Ray's Catholic Convert message board. They are tons of Catholics (and some non-Catholics) who will be able to go into greater detail.


    LaRae
     

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