Rapture or Rupture?

Go here for my latest article for Integrated Catholic Life–on the Protestant idea of the rapture. This used to scare us as kids, “Would we be ‘Left Behind’?” In fact, thinking back, it is not only a pretty effective preaching scare system–”All the good people will be taken by Jesus and you’ll be left here with the bad people-so you better get saved.” It is also pretty creepy to put kids through that because every kid is terrified of getting lost or his parents dying and him being left behind. I can understand why some non believers consider it a kind of child abuse. Oh well…let’s move on.

 I was brought up in a fundamentalist church that followed a system of Bible interpretation called dispensationalism. This is a theological method devised by a Protestant Bible scholar called C.I. Schofield. His basic thesis is that God’s work in the world occurs in different time periods or “dispensations”. God’s message to humanity and work within history happens different ways in different times.

Dispensationalist theology is the foundational system for all the “end times” prophecies that abound in this sort of Protestantism. It involves the “rapture” in which Jesus returns supernaturally and takes all believers to heaven–leaving the wicked behind to suffer seven years of tribulation before the final return of Christ and the Last Battle of Armageddon.

Some writers on religion say these beliefs are mainstream Christianity. This reveals the sad ignorance of the typical American about historic Christianity. Anyone who thinks dispensationalism is mainstream sees American Evangelicalism as “mainstream”. This is to be blind to Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Anglicanism and the other Christian groups.

That Dispensationalism is considered mainstream is a problem, however, the real problem is with Dispensationalism itself.

Read the whole article here.