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Ben Witherington on “Rapture Theology”

I have written on the topic of “Rapture Theology” — more properly called Dispensationalism — before. But, in case you doubt my perspective — or want further reinforcement of it — here are some videos from the Asbury Theological Seminary’s Seedbed that discuss this topic.

Dr. Ben Witherington III, a well known conservative New Testament scholar discusses the history of Dispensationalism and it’s interpretation of Scripture. I have included three videos by Dr. Witherington.

Where Did Rapture Theology Come From?


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Toward a Wesleyan Eschatology

the-end-is-nearHere’s a question that often comes up:

Where do John Wesley and his early followers fit in the familiar end-time schemas of a-millennial, post-millennial and pre-millennial (and it’s pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib flavors)?

People looking for information about this find that there is very little available.

Here’s the reason: John Wesley doesn’t fit any of these schemas exactly. He has been claimed by both pre-millennialists (Christ returns to establish an age of peace and righteousness on earth) and post-millennialists (an age of peace and righteousness on Earth is established through the advancement of Christian faith, and then Christ returns). And, individual quotations from his works can be lifted out both to support or refute both viewpoints.

First, let me note Wesley’s approach to the book of Revelation, as a way of introducing and illustrating the problem. (more…)

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“Rapture” Theology

clouds-jesusFrom time to time, Christian End Times speculation heats up again. The latest wave of interest began with John Hagee’s pronouncements about the Blood Moons. No doubt it will be fueled further by the re-making of the Left Behind movies — now starring Nicolas Cage.

I’m old enough to remember the Larry Norman song “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” (used extensively in evangelism) and the evangelistic film churches used to show “A Thief in the Night.” Then after all that, I also remember the brief furor that was caused by a booklet that gave 88 reasons why Jesus was returning in 1988. More recently, Harold Camping predicted Jesus’ return on May 21, 2011. Over the years, many of the predictions of end-times prophecy teachers have failed — some quite spectacularly — but, this is quickly forgotten when a new round of predictions starts up again.

The doctrine of the Rapture has been a staple of American fear-evangelism for a long time. In this teaching, Jesus will return secretly to remove all true Christian believers from the world — then a time of horrible Tribulation will ensue. And, it is still commonly taught by certain well-known “prophetic” teachers.

Evangelical and conservative Christians pride themselves on their devotion to the Bible. Yet, there are certain common features of conservative Christian teaching about the return of Christ which have little or no backing from the Scriptures. Specifically, the teaching that Christ will come silently and secretly to take believers out of the world, seven years before he returns in glory, is a teaching the lacks Biblical support. (more…)

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Teddy Ray: Absent from Flesh — the casualties of bodiless theology (sex, the Church, the Eucharist, and Christian fiction, for starters)

Teddy Ray

Teddy Ray

Guest blog by Teddy Ray. Teddy is a pastor and preacher for the Offerings Community, and the executive pastor of First United Methodist Church in Lexington, KY. He blogs at Teddy Ray: Theology, Ministry & Life with God.

He says about his writing: “My goal is to provide a pastoral voice on issues related to the church, its ministry, and Christian living. I do this as someone with much hope for the church and for Christianity in the West, but also as someone concerned that the North American Church has lost its way on a number of points. With that, I hope some of these thoughts will point to a different way of being church, doing ministry, and living as Christians than what seems most prevalent today.”

He has been doing some very good writing at his blog. He is also doing some updating of the sermons of John Wesley: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today. (more…)

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