Ridding the Rapture from our Lips: Evangelical Young Adults and the End


The term “rapture” within eschatological discourse can take on many shades of meaning and nuance; some are convinced the term can be retained as long as we are sure to clarify what is meant by it. However, I’m persuaded that the term is beyond recovery seeing its continual use may lead to a slow “death of a thousand qualifications.” There is simply too much sociopolitical baggage that accompanies the term itself. Hence, I will employ the term “rapture” to describe the secret catching away of the church within the dispensational tradition of interpretation following its brain child John Nelson Darby and made popular with its widespread dissemination in the Scofield Reference Bible. I prefer the term “The Great Greeting,” or something like it, as it emphasizes what I believe to be one of St. Paul’s primary points within 1 Thessalonians 4: that when the Messiah returns to consummate his royal rule his people will meet him at some point along his reappearance so as to accompany him on the commencement of the new age.

That said it’s hard not to notice the fervor for this particular doctrine within conservative circles is undergoing a great thaw, especially with the younger generation of Evangelicals. Why is this? Is this a good thing? What are we replacing it with? And are the reasons for no longer affirming the rapture legitimate? READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE HERE


Lawrence is going to make a full series out of the issues he raised above. I’m excited and plan to read along!!!!

Question: Why do/don’t you accept the “rapture” as popularly understood? If you no longer hold to the doctrine, can you tell us about your journey toward a different theological approach?


If you are interested in this subject as it connects to “The Great Tribulation” (Mark 13), I invite you to read my series: Earthquakes – Signs of the Times? Based on this academic paper

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  • I used to believe in it I guess just by default. As I started learning some church history, I had to wonder why it was such a new doctrine if it was as obvious in Scripture as proponents tend to say it is. Then I looked in Scripture and realized that it (probably) isn’t there after all.

    As my overall theology continued to develop I found that Rapture theology had too many points of cognitive dissonance: if we’re supposed to engage the world now instead of hiding from it, why are we going to be pulled away later? if God was loving and nonviolent in his ultimate revelation as Jesus, why is he going to change his mind and wipe out all the people we don’t like?

  • Chris B

    I came to faith in the pentecostal tradition where the rapture was a big deal. I no longer believe this way. My journey to a more historical understanding of Jesus return started with some problems I found with believing the rapture as commonly understood, e.g. the world is bad, you can’t fix it, all will be well when Jesus returns. There were other things as well. My understanding changed when I started reading books that had a different view and also when I found out how the doctrine came about and the misuse of scripture by Darby et al. I think the preoccupation with the timeline of Jesus return and the prophecy obsession that goes with that is unhealthy for the church and a distraction from the gosepl.

  • I was raised believing in the rapture, so I took it as truth because everyone else I knew did. It wasn’t until I read NT Wrights book “Surprised by Hope” when I learned of something different. Then I continued to research and Greg Boyd has some great insight as well. Now I’m surrounded by people who believe in the rapture and see me as strange, but I can no longer see this view as valid. It’s not so much the rapture itself, but the evacuation theology – a belief that since the world is going to burn and we are getting evacuated – that leads to a destructive belief. Unfortunately this evacuation theology can lead to carelessness of our planet and environment…it did at one point for me.

    • Kristin Normansen

      This is pretty much my story as well – and Surprised by Hope was such a weight off me when I read it, a I was already ready to be done with all the “rapture crap.” The purpose of living to bring New Creation to the here and now is so much healthier than waiting for it all to burn so we can be happy in heaven.

      It actually instilled so much fear in me as a child… I often would look around and believe we were living in the end times and cried myself to sleep. As I got older, I would be so scared that I wasn’t “on fire” for God and was going to be left behind. The verse about being lukewarm and spewed from his mouth haunted me. I’m so ready for the church to move away from this theology because I really believe it is damaging on many levels.

  • David

    The rapture is big in America, I hear it often from my American friends. You hardly hear it in the UK. Sometimes it sound like: “I cannot wait for the rapture, get away from this evil world”. Sometimes it is used to try and frighten people into the Kingdom. I personally just try and follow Jesus every day. If Jesus returns here great, if with are taken away to be with him great, it is not a big deal in my life.

  • I grew up being taught this as my family attended churches which preach the same type of eschatology. My journey was one of discovery of clearer truths in scripture (in contrast to many of those I had been taught), that pointed more to Jesus. My parents sent me to a Christian school and we always learned about Jesus. As my family went to different churches, I just accepted their teachings because I was told to and they would offer some line of reasoning. But there was always something in the back of my mind always telling me that something was not right. Many of these teachings did not point to or line up with the Jesus I read or learned about in the Gospels. Once I started to focus first on finding truths in scripture for my self, this led to focusing on Jesus (life and teachings) more, which in turn led to my being skeptical of the whole dispensational view. This included my seeing people’s literal obsession with eschatology, lifting up eschatology teachers/pastors as having greater knowledge, which seemed to me like modern day soothsayers to the people who idolized them. This brought me to investigate eschatology for my self and I came to believe in a partial preterism view (at the moment). All I know, (almost for sure) is that the dispensational view of eschatology and the rapture within this view, has very weak biblical evidence.

    In any case, the people who helped me the most were my assistant pastor (at my current church) who introduced me to authors like Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, Roger Olson, NT Wright; which eventually led me to authors like Shane Claiborne, Greg Boyd, John Howard Yoder, etc.

    An on my journey with Jesus goes….