Why I Want To Be Left Behind

empty-suitIn some Evangelical Christian circles, saying, “I don’t believe in the rapture,” is a bit like saying, “I enjoy kicking puppies.”

People are often shocked and surprised to hear it. And yet it’s true… I don’t believe in the rapture. At least not as it’s commonly understood.

But let’s back up a little bit. What exactly is the rapture? Well, at a popular level, it’s the belief that, at some point before Jesus’ final return (there is debate about exactly when), believers will be “raptured” to heaven. Planes will crash as pilots disappear,  and there will be lots of spare clothes lying around for everyone.

As strange as it may sound to people who are unfamiliar with this doctrine, it has widespread acceptance among many Evangelical Christians. For many, it has simply gone unquestioned, so when it is questioned, they feel disturbed.

So, why don’t I believe it? Continue reading

Earthquakes & End Times

In New Zealand we’ve recently had a rather severe earthquake; 7.8 on the Richter scale, centred in Kaikoura. Thankfully, there were very few casualties, though the damage to infrastructure was significant.

In the wake of the quake, social media filled up with all kinds of comments, many of which were in response to some very unfortunate remarks from a prominent Kiwi televangelist. For a great engagement with some of the biblical issues at play there, I recommend this post by Frank Ritchie.

However, judging by social media, the quake has also seemed to exercise the end times enthusiasts. My experience in Christian ministry over the last 7 years has taught me that there are a lot of these folks out there in our churches. Usually their enthusiasm is fueled by pop-theology done by teachers with not much credibility beyond an internet following.

Why do these teachers and this subject get so much air time in the evangelical Church?

To be fair, some of it, I think, is a genuine sense of fear and intrigue. After all, the bible does say things like, Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” (Matthew 24:7-8). Continue reading