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The Rapture Trap?
Prophecy - Signs
Friday, April 17, 2015
Alf Cengia

Every once in a while a magic lever gets pulled releasing a wave of criticism against the pretrib rapture belief and pretribbers. Lately, Facebook and YouTube have been full of anti-pretrib proclamations.

One critic recently claimed it was the belief in an imminent rapture which is why Christians don't care what happens to the world. He added that this belief is what keeps us from the being the salt and light we were intended to be.

Then Chuck Baldwin decided to "recant" on Facebook. He repented of the "pre-millennial rapture". I guess he meant pretribulational. Anyway, he wrote:

"For too long, many of our pre-millennial friends have been using a belief in the Rapture as an excuse to sit back on their blessed assurance and do nothing. Even if the doctrine is true, the way it is being used as an excuse to not engage the liberty fight is downright shameful."

I'm all for protecting civil liberties within the framework of the law and the Bible. Yet I wonder where Baldwin gets his data demonstrating that pretribulationism, in particular, is hampering his cause.

Another individual wrote that he was desperately looking for a church in his area which wasn't pretribulational. Apparently all pretrib pastors either lie or are deceived. Unfortunately this isn't an isolated opinion. He rejected Robert Jeffers' church because he's pretribulational. Ironically Jeffers has stated that he avoids being dogmatic. He doesn't push the rapture timing issue because it can be divisive.

A posttribulationist once came after me on a forum. He insisted that pretribulationists are vulnerable to deception and apostasy, so he wanted to warn us. The truth is that he loved to argue and mock because he also went after prewrathers.

My wife and I attend a non-pretrib church. Last Sunday the junior pastor mentioned the upcoming sequel to the Left Behind movie. I squirmed in my seat and prepared for the worst. Then he used 1 Peter 4:7-11 to show that Jesus could return at any moment. And in light of that we should all be busy going about the work which Christians are called to do.

This is a missionary church holding to the imminent return of Christ while busy sending the gospel to Europe, Asia, South America and other regions. As far as I'm aware it doesn't have a missionary outreach to "vulnerable" pretribbers. Is there some irony here?

I once came across someone whose nickname implied he was "courageous and bold." He claimed pretribulationism cultivated stony soil and was the most dangerous of all views. Call me a cynic but I suggested he might consider spreading the gospel in the Middle East (early tribulation practice). He didn't reply.

Let's all understand this point one more time - pretribbers do not (and should not) believe the church is exempt from experiencing tribulation. This is occurring now and has throughout history. Don't use that excuse. It's an old horse that's been beaten to death and won't race.

Moreover, it has been my experience that even non-pretribbers ask for prayers to alleviate difficult times. Nobody likes tribulation. Speaking of which, I'm interested in how my non-pretrib friends prepare for it.

Many years ago I learned a valuable lesson. I hung around with a daredevil group who loved adventure. You know the kind. One of the ladies - a real dynamo - organized for us to do a static-line parachute jump out of a Cessna airplane.

We got there at 9:00 AM for a full day training session. The jumps started early next day. If you think parachutes are always folded in a sterile environment and double checked - think again. At least they weren't then. With a little quickening of my heart beat, I watched people speedily fold them on a dirty concrete floor in an open shed. No checking! I was glad I wasn't going to jump first.

All the jumps sort of went well. We survived. However, the ground person who flagged directions mistakenly guided me onto a barb wire fence. Fortunately I kept my legs together. It might have ended up messier than just a tetanus injection!

The other minor tragedy was my fearless dynamic friend. She was confident and had prepared well. Yet while descending she suddenly went into a panic and froze. As a result she failed to heed the warning to slow her descent at 50 feet. She fell too quickly and fractured her ankles.

The point is you cannot rely on yourself. Do you think you have an advantage over pretribbers because you expect to be persecuted by the Antichrist? That's pride at work. You're in dangerous territory, friend. Put your faith in Christ (Rom 8:38-39). You have no advantage over a pretribulationist who has done that.

Puritan William Gurnall (The Christian in Complete Armour) wrote:

"He who enjoys in his bosom the peace of the gospel, is the person, and the only person, that stands shod for all ways, prepared for all trials and troubles."

Somewhat contrary to Baldwin's agenda, Gurnall also suggested that one way to prepare for the "Evil Day" was to die to the enjoyments of this life. The Apostle Paul shared the same sentiment about this life and the gospel in Acts 20:22-24. Read it.

The real trap isn't rapture timing - it is the neglect of the gospel message.

Tragically, many mainstream churches are abandoning fundamental Christian principles in favor of diversity issues. Think about the social gospel, same-sex marriage capitulation and denial of inerrancy. What about those who spiritualize Christ's resurrection, deny sin, hell and the Trinity? What about Universalism, Ecumenism and Inter-Faith Dialogue?

Get the picture?

What are we doing about that?

About Alf Cengia

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