The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Heresy?

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coffeeblocks33
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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Here

Postby coffeeblocks33 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:44 pm

I don't really have a dog in this fight, but IIRC, the rapture is a fairly new bit of theology. I think it came up around the 1800's, and it could be even younger (somebody correct me on this if I'm wrong). I know most (maybe almost all?) Catholics don't buy into the rapture doctrine. If I'm not mistaken, Mormons don't either (ArcticFox? Sstavix?)

Anyway, like I said I don't really have a dog in this fight, so carry on. :)
I'm pleased that this was mentioned early in the thread. "Dispensationalism" is a piece of theology that is barely 200 years old. It's failure (other than it's obvious eisegetical tendencies) is that it tries to answer in detail what Christ's second coming will look like. Christ's Return/the Resurrection of the Dead/the Final Judgment/the New Creation are all creedal beliefs that every orthodox Christian shares. You can hardly be called a Christian if you don't believe in these things. The truth that Christ will return is not open to debate; He is coming back. However, exactly what Christ's return will look like and what will precede it... there has always been disagreement about that.

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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Heresy?

Postby Wolfeman » Sat May 02, 2015 3:02 pm

I personally believe any discussion should always come back to what Scripture says. The Bible is very clear that our heart is deceitfully wicked and we can't trust our feelings or emotions. The very first thing Satan did was take God's word, twist it and tempt man. Satan even used scripture to tempt Christ. If scripture is that easy to manipulate, our feelings, beliefs, understandings and thoughts are so much the more.

In a community as varied as this, using only scripture is difficult because there are some that have authorities outside of just the Bible. Allowing those authorities into the discussion muddies it a bit but it's still entirely better than "this is what I think or feel".

God loves us and wants us to know Him. Christ died on the cross so we could have a home with Him forever. They aren't some mystical beings hiding behind riddles and mystery.

I love the humor of pan-millennialism but the reality is that we are called to search the scriptures, to study them out to show ourselves approved unto God. We are to try others and what they teach against the scriptures. Not just laugh it off as unknowable or unimportant.

(I'm pre-trib and pre-millennial if you want to know based on what I believe the Bible teaches overall)

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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Here

Postby Wolfeman » Sat May 02, 2015 3:08 pm

the rapture is a fairly new bit of theology. I think it came up around the 1800's, and it could be even younger
I'm pleased that this was mentioned early in the thread. "Dispensationalism" is a piece of theology that is barely 200 years old.
I'm so glad this was brought up. Ecclesiastical cooperation between denominations and even religious groups is also a VERY young idea. America's religious freedom came from this very problem in that denominations have always fought against and persecuted other denominations. From the earliest days of Christianity it has been so until just very recently. We need to rely on history and old teachings and stop this heretical cooperation!!!

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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Here

Postby ChickenSoup » Sat May 02, 2015 8:56 pm

the rapture is a fairly new bit of theology. I think it came up around the 1800's, and it could be even younger
I'm pleased that this was mentioned early in the thread. "Dispensationalism" is a piece of theology that is barely 200 years old.
I'm so glad this was brought up. Ecclesiastical cooperation between denominations and even religious groups is also a VERY young idea. America's religious freedom came from this very problem in that denominations have always fought against and persecuted other denominations. From the earliest days of Christianity it has been so until just very recently. We need to rely on history and old teachings and stop this heretical cooperation!!!
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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Heresy?

Postby Wolfeman » Sun May 03, 2015 9:49 pm

I was trying to point out the poor logic behind ignoring something just because it's relatively new using sarcasm.

There has always been division among groups since the Bible tells about Cain and Able. Joseph and his brothers, the tribes of Israel, gentiles and Israelites, Pharisee and Sadducee, Catholic and Ana-Baptist, among reformation denominations and so on. This persecution and fighting was what led to the religious freed amendment in the Bill of Rights. Ecclesiastical cooperation and fellowship is a very new concept. Yet we accept it and embrace it because there is some biblical basis to it (and against it as well). To just offhandedly ignore the rapture and millennialism because we believe it to be a new concept is shortsighted and ignorant.

I'm sorry my use of sarcasm came thru poorly and misunderstood.

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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Heresy?

Postby ArcticFox » Sun May 03, 2015 9:56 pm

To just offhandedly ignore the rapture and millennialism because we believe it to be a new concept is shortsighted and ignorant.
I agree with you that it isn't wise to simply ignore something just because it's new. At the same time, new doesn't necessarily mean better, either. Like anything else, it's always good to have an open mind and look at things objectively.
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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Heresy?

Postby RoosterOnAStick » Sun May 03, 2015 11:31 pm

I tend to agree that being new in of itself does not mean it is automatically false. On the flipside it doesn't mean we should accept it without measuring it against the things we have known to be true and false in the past. Unlike science which is an ever growing and changing field of human discipline, matters of faith and correct theology are different. One revelation has been given to us once and only once by God through His Son. Sure, there is still much that can be discovered as we grow in our faith and grow deeper into the mysteries of said revelation, but that revelation is as unchanging as God Himself. God doesn't give "new" revelations as the one He has already given us is sufficient for our salvation. So anything that arrives as a new doctrine must be tested to see whether it increases our understanding of God's revelation or runs counter to it.

Based off of this principle, I am convinced that The Rapture and the theological framework of pre-millenialism that The Rapture fits into are false. First, the idea of a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ on this planet after His second coming was shot down a couple of times in the early church. In those days the doctrine was known as Chiliasm. While it was debatable whether the original Nicene Creed that came out of the First Council of Nicaea contradicts it (the phrase "whose Kingdom shall have no end" being the clause in question), the later Council of Constantinople and also writings of St. Augustine are far more explicit in their condemnation of chiliasm. The Orthodox Church in particular is very much against Chiliasm and it takes an amillenial interpretive framework when looking at the Book of Revelation. I believe the Catholic Church is of a similar position.

Now when you fast forward to 19th century England in the Reformed Protestant world, you find a similar teaching re-emerged in a small sect called the Plymouth Brethren. This group is where the more modern day version of the Rapture and pre-milleanialist teaching has its roots. The founder of this theological movement was one John Darby, who taught most of the things we hear today from this theological belief system. There were things such as a secret pre-tribulation rapture, a special theological revelation for the Jews of Israel, the literal 1,000 year reign on earth, etc. This framework was however denounced as heresy by prominent Reformed theologians of the time, such as Charles Spurgeon.

Two other notable Reformed Protestant theologians were Benjamin Wills Newton and George Muller. The former was also a prominent leader in the Plymouth Brethren and opposed Darby's pre-milleanialism. He opposed a pre-tribulation rapture, instead saying it would happen afterwards and would not be a secret one. He also had a very different idea of dispensationalism, with it being more referring to different periods of history (Old Testament, Coming of Christ, and the New Covenant aka the Christian Church). He also dismissed as unscriptural Darby's idea that some of the Gospels, Matthew in particular, were meant as a special Gospel for modern day Judaism instead of as a part of the Christian Church. Another former member of the Brethren sect was George Muller who had similar concerns. Newton lost the ensuing power struggle between himself and Darby and eventually was removed from the Brethren and the Darbyists labeled him as a heretic.

He was supported by most of the prominent Reformed Theologians of England such as the aforementioned Charles Spurgeon. However, an American Darbyist named Cyrus Scofield wrote the Scofield Annotated Bible which allowed the Darbyist message to get out to a broader audience. Thus, sometime in the early mid twentieth century what was originally successfully denounced as an unscriptural heresy by the previous century's Reformed Protestants became a dominant and popular view amongst many evangelicals.

So from where I am sitting, the early church and three of the major denominations of today were against this teaching and revealed it to be unscriptural. This belief was already shown several times to be false, and simply repackaging it in a new form will not make it any less false.
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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Heresy?

Postby ArcticFox » Mon May 04, 2015 1:38 pm

When stuff like this comes up as a point of disagreement the only part that really bothers me is how rabidly people will sometimes argue for their side. It's one thing to have a friendly disagreement, it's another when people start branding each other heretics over it. The early Church, and to an extend the modern one, is the story of "You're a HERETIC!" "No U!" "No U!" "No, YO MOMMA!" Like Rooster said above.

Personally, I do not believe in the Rapture either but I don't think that anybody's in danger of going to Hell if they do.

And I'm not saying the arguments for and against aren't reasonable or anything. I just don't know that it matters all that much.
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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Heresy?

Postby RoosterOnAStick » Mon May 04, 2015 2:34 pm

When stuff like this comes up as a point of disagreement the only part that really bothers me is how rabidly people will sometimes argue for their side. It's one thing to have a friendly disagreement, it's another when people start branding each other heretics over it. The early Church, and to an extend the modern one, is the story of "You're a HERETIC!" "No U!" "No U!" "No, YO MOMMA!" Like Rooster said above.
Well, that's...not exactly how I intended this to be understood. I was more going for the whole "it was false in the Early Church, it was false in later churches, and there hasn't been any convincing arguments in favor of it being true now. There haven't been any arguments to sufficiently refute the earlier arguments made against.
Personally, I do not believe in the Rapture either but I don't think that anybody's in danger of going to Hell if they do.
Well no I don't think people are in danger of Hell if they believe this error or that this even puts one outside of Christianity. My point was really to emphasis that this doctrine nonetheless was more than just a mere theological difference in opinion though. There is a time to be lenient and non-dogmatic about things. There are times however where firmness is necessary to emphasize an important theological doctrine.

For example, I feel that from a theological standpoint, a belief in either Creationism or Evolution is not relevant. It is not an essential part of the Faith, nor does it have the potential to seriously undermine our understanding of it.

By contrast, I do think pre-millenialism can undermine a proper understanding of Scripture. While not a teaching essential to salvation in of itself, it certainly leaves the door open to far more dangerous deceptions. One only needs to examine the fruits of it. First and foremost is the escapist nature of the belief itself. It gives a false assurance that those who are "saved" at the right time will be whisked away just before all the end times tribulations. That Christians will be spared suffering and tribulation, where in general the Christian experience throughout history has often been the exact opposite. This sort of wishful thinking is endemic of a train of thought in the current religious scene that seems to emphasize worldly comforts and such.

To be sure, God does provide relief from suffering and allows us to grow from it. However, if even Christ Himself wasn't spared the kind of suffering necessary for His crucifixion, death, and resurrection, what makes us think we will be spared from all suffering? It makes us woefully unprepared for the spiritual struggles we will face in life at the very least.

Then we have the usual people constantly searching for "signs" of the end or the possible impending rapture. Everyone is searching for what they feel is their due reward. It certainly doesn't help that many charlatans have arisen to exploit this. It is easy to dismiss them as nuts of course, but theologically, how can you refute them if you yourself hold to the same false teaching that is the foundation of theirs?

The more prevalent manifestation though isn't so much the extreme doomsday cults, but a more subtle searching of the "signs" that has become much more geopolitical in origin. The most common form finds its political expression in not only people's views of what is going on in the middle east, but also trying to do what they can to support whomever they feel will be "key" to the end times. For most this means of course pledging unconditional support to the current nation state of Israel. However, regardless of one's views of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, the issue is the motivation. The motivation isn't exactly out of Israel's best interests, but only because they believe it will fulfill their own end times prophecies. If it didn't happen to involve Israel, I doubt there would be anywhere near as much support.

The fact that the Church at large shouldn't officially be involved in politics such as this is problematic in itself. Using another nation state as a means of fueling hope that your particular interpretation of end times (and a flawed one at that) is not healthy. What is equally as unhealthy is the rather undue emphasis that has been placed on it by the adherents of said interpretation.

Ultimately, has it really brought anyone else to knowledge and acceptance of Christ? I can't think of the last time anyone was saved by reading the Left Behind novels. I have seen people who have either converted to the faith or had their faith nourished by those who focus their lives on the core essentials of it rather than believing in this stuff (or taking it particularly seriously).
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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Heresy?

Postby ArcticFox » Mon May 04, 2015 3:37 pm

I see what you mean there, though I have an issue more broadly with the "Once saved, always saved" idea, which is a component of the Rapture thing.
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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Heresy?

Postby Wolfeman » Mon May 04, 2015 5:50 pm

When stuff like this comes up as a point of disagreement the only part that really bothers me is how rabidly people will sometimes argue for their side. It's one thing to have a friendly disagreement, it's another when people start branding each other heretics over it. The early Church, and to an extend the modern one, is the story of "You're a HERETIC!" "No U!" "No U!" "No, YO MOMMA!" Like Rooster said above.
We are called to love but there is a biblical precedent for calls of heretic.

2 John 1:10-11
If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

However, we must view that verse in context with the verses that come before it.

2 John 1:7-9
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

Most Christian denominations don't fall into the category and so we need to abide in peace with them if not agreement or fellowship.

I just don't know that it matters all that much.
We are called to study to show ourselves approved and to test those things we are told against scripture. God doesn't say what is and what isn't important. I feel we are on very shaky ground when we start claiming this is important and that isn't. I understand what your saying and I agree fully but I also feel it's important to add that caveat.
There haven't been any arguments to sufficiently refute the earlier arguments made against.
YOU don't feel that there have been any arguments sufficient to refute your beliefs. I personally believe quite the opposite. We need to make sure we separate opinion from fact. This includes personal interpretation of scripture.

I agree with your points on the danger of looking for signs and trying to make them fit our theological beliefs and fleshly desires for rewards. However, a dislike of how scripture is applied is not a reason to ignore (what I feel is) clear biblical teaching.

Which brings us full circle to the first post. It's fine to disagree on Scripture, interpretation of Scripture and beliefs based upon those two. However, if we fail to use scripture to back up our opinions and beliefs, we are on shaky ground and in grave danger of being deceived by our own heart and flesh.

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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Heresy?

Postby ArcticFox » Mon May 04, 2015 6:25 pm

We are called to study to show ourselves approved and to test those things we are told against scripture. God doesn't say what is and what isn't important. I feel we are on very shaky ground when we start claiming this is important and that isn't. I understand what your saying and I agree fully but I also feel it's important to add that caveat.
You're right about that. I was just thinking that in most Protestant traditions, the one and only requirement for salvation is to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. From that perspective, everything else is little more than bonus material.

It's one of the reasons I don't hold to that tradition.
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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Heresy?

Postby Wolfeman » Mon May 04, 2015 11:25 pm

You're right about that. I was just thinking that in most Protestant traditions, the one and only requirement for salvation is to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. From that perspective, everything else is little more than bonus material.

It's one of the reasons I don't hold to that tradition.
I firmly believe it's not tradition but biblical teaching. However, I am interested in what you believe and how you feel the Bible supports it. Unless you're Catholic and then never mind.

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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Heresy?

Postby ArcticFox » Tue May 05, 2015 12:22 am

Wow... not Catholic anymore, but why would that be a problem if I were?
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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Heresy?

Postby Wolfeman » Tue May 05, 2015 1:14 am

I already know how and why Catholics believe the way they do. Since they also use sources outside of just Scripture for their beliefs I disagree with them. No need to discuss something we have no way to have common ground on.

I did not mean that in any negative way and if it was taken that way, I'm truly sorry.


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