Is it Unbelief? :: By Jonathan Brentner


I’m weary of the excuses that I hear from pastors as to why they cannot talk about Jesus’ glorious return for His church. I’m tired of preachers going to great lengths to avoid saying the dreaded word, “Rapture.” You would think the church building roof would instantly cave in on the worshippers at even the mention of such a dreaded word.

Why are pastors today so afraid to talk about our future new bodies and Jesus’ return to take us to the place that He is preparing for us? (John 14:1-3). The good news they have to share is beyond spectacular and amazing, yet so many go to great lengths to avoid even mentioning our “blessed hope.”

Pastors say they fear causing division, but is that any reason to avoid teaching what Scripture tells us about the day in which we live? Is that any cause to withhold the truths about our glorious future from the ones who need it the most as they face perilous times? Pastors today have the most spectacular news, an over-the-top wonderful and joyous hope to share with their people. Why the silence?

In essence, they sacrifice biblical truth on the altar of maintaining peace. Of course, the scoffers will make their opinions known. I have painful memories and scars, both physical and emotional, from dealing with scoffers as a young pastor. Even now, the opposition to my ministry is intense at times.

Why should these mockers of our biblical hope determine the message that we proclaim? Should our message not rather come from the leading of the Holy Spirit? We do not possess “a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind?” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Where’s the courage to stand up for what the Bible says about Jesus’ appearing? It seems almost nonexistent today!

Some preachers say they want to focus on the Great Commission and bringing others to Jesus, which are admirable objectives, to be sure. But why should that interfere with giving the saints the glorious and joyous news that they so desperately need to hear at this time?

The apostles turned the world upside down with a message that emphasized an eager anticipation of Jesus’ imminent appearing. After Paul’s short stay in Thessalonica, the new believers in that city knew all about the coming Day of the Lord, Jesus’ imminent appearing, the future “man of lawlessness,” and the antichrist’s desecration of the temple in Jerusalem during the tribulation period. If Paul included these things in his proclamation of the Gospel while in Thessalonica, why do pastors refuse to talk about them with mature saints?

The apostles saw no conflict whatsoever between carrying out the Great Commission and preaching about Jesus’ imminent appearing and the Day of the Lord. Paul even talked about the still future antichrist during his proclamation of the Gospel in Thessalonica.

Some pastors insist they are not equipped to talk about prophecy. But is this not true about any topic or passage of Scripture? Do they not study many hours in preparing a sermon? An abundance of resources exists today that can prepare them to effectively speak on this topic.

Is unbelief the culprit behind the silence in America’s pulpits regarding prophecy? I know this is the case for those who deny the restoration of a kingdom for Israel during the Millennium. But what about those pastors that claim to be premillennial?

Perhaps I am far too critical, but I think that if pastors truly believed what Scripture says about the end times, Jesus’ appearing, the glorious restoration of Israel, and our reign with Christ during the Millennium, they could not possibly remain silent about these glorious truths. Do they not understand all the treasures that Jesus has prepared for us, beginning with the Rapture and our immortal bodies? Why should fear keep anyone from sharing such spectacular and joyous news, even with unbelievers?

Perhaps it’s just me, but I truly do not understand the current reluctance to mention the Rapture in connection with our hope for the future.

Jesus is coming to give us immortal bodies and take us to the amazing place that He’s preparing for us. That’s far better news than hearing that one has won a three hundred-million-dollar lottery! Yet, in most pulpits, we hear not a peep about the Rapture, the most wonderful and encouraging and joyous news that pastors could possibly share with their congregation.

I am so weary of trying to understand this.

Such is the state of many churches that claim to be Bible-believing. Mention that you believe in the future restoration of a kingdom to Israel and the Rapture, and pastors treat you like a pariah in their midst. They ignore and totally dismiss you: “How dare you connect current events with what the Bible says will happen in the future? You must be some sort of ‘doomsday’ radical!”

No, I simply believe what Scripture says about the Day of the Lord.

I praise God for the men in our day who have the courage to preach what the Bible says about the day in which we live. Unfortunately, they are far too few. Pastors such as Brandon Holthaus, David Jeremiah, Tom Hughes, Jack Hibbs, Billy Crone, and JD Farag have encouraged and blessed me beyond measure during the past several years. Any pastor would do well to learn from these men of God and follow their example, but so few have the wisdom to do so.

I sometimes wonder why I see these things when so many leaders of our churches do not. But then I realize that it’s not me at all; it’s just what the Bible says. I simply believe the words on the page with the ongoing help of the Holy Spirit inside me.

It’s not complicated; there’s nothing at all special about me or my insights into our biblical hope. The Lord does everything in spite of me.

Perhaps it’s not unbelief that keeps many pastors muzzled by fear, feelings of inadequacy, a misguided desire to maintain the “peace” at all costs, or errant reasonings that come from a faulty understanding of the Great Commission.

But in the back of my mind, the question remains: Is it unbelief that keeps some pastors silent about the most amazing and glorious and joyous news they could possibly share with the saints? What else would cause them to sabotage the spectacular hope of the saints?

I can only wonder.

My book, The Triumph of the Redeemed-An eternal Perspective that Calms Our Fears in Perilous Times, is available on Amazon. This is not only an outstanding resource for focusing our attention on what lies ahead but also establishes a firm biblical foundation for our hope in Jesus’ imminent appearing.

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Jonathan C. Brentner

Website: Our Journey Home