I recently read a passionate article by Jonathan Brentner on the divorce of Rapture theology from the gospel and from pulpits. I so resonated with the main points he made. The absence of this topic—and related topics—from our churches today is a great tragedy!
When Rapture discussion ended some thirty years ago in the church and elsewhere, so did discussion of the Millennium, Israel’s key end-time role, the trend toward the Tribulation, the building of the third temple in Jerusalem, the prominence of end-time deception, the rush to a cashless society and Central Bank Digital Currency, and so much more!
It became almost impossible to understand the times from a biblical and prophetic perspective! And right at a time when people began asking earnest questions as they observe the turmoil of our times.
I am taking a few talking points from the Brentner article below. I will post a link to the full article at the end of the comments I am quoting.
Somewhere in the past, a tragic divorce occurred; theologians decided we must separate the return of Jesus for His church from the proclamation of the gospel. The results of this untimely divorce have led to a dearth of understanding among believers regarding Jesus’ appearing and the joyful anticipation that comes with such awareness.
Confused believers hear that they will surely die rather than meet Jesus in the air, which directly contradicts the New Testament in passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:51 and 1 Thessalonians 4:17. The Apostle Paul believed there would be many saints alive at the time of the Rapture, but many preachers today disagree with him on this matter.
The divorce of the Rapture from the gospel has resulted in a near blackout of teaching about our “blessed hope” in churches today. This negatively impacts new believers as well as seasoned saints, as it leaves them ill-prepared to live in a fear-ridden society because such teaching provides no prophetic context into which they can place the violence and lawlessness of our day or the push for a New World Order.
The new converts in Thessalonica were so fixated on their soon departure from the earth that when some in their midst died, they grieved unnecessarily, thinking they would miss out on the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:13-19). In response, Paul emphasized the primary place of the “dead in Christ” during the rapture, telling his converts that Jesus would resurrect them first at His appearing (4:16).
Another sorrowful result of this divorce is this: It takes the eyes of believers away from their ultimate hope at a time when they need such a focus. Instead, their eyes remain focused on earthly aspirations.
Very few pastors talk about what happens at the moment Jesus returns for His church (1 Cor. 15:51-55; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Thess. 4:16-17). Even those that believe these things never ever mention the believers’ hope of immortal bodies for fear that talking about the Rapture might hurt attendance.
Find Brentner’s entire article here.
As I wrote in a previous article, What Happened to My Church? someone made a conscious decision some 30-40 years ago that we should have a “new way of doing church,” although many members and attendees agreed there was nothing wrong with old ways of doing church. Terms began being used like “purpose-driven,” “seeker-sensitive,” “church-growth movement,” “postmodernism,” “Emergent,” and more.
Joel Osteen and his fellow travelers began telling us we could have our best life now as Christians. Who would want to long for His appearing with that in mind?
People started to hear about love, unity and tolerance. We must be known for what we agree on, not what we disagree on. Everything and everyone must be accepted. Aberrations must be accepted. People loved having their ears tickled. They would be encouraged to “feel good” and have their self-esteem built up. Sound doctrine was being set aside.
The saving of souls was being set aside for the entertainment factor and social justice causes. It seemed that many in the church no longer cared that so many were on their way to hell! What an offensive, intolerant thought. But clearly sound doctrine will separate and divide, so we must tread lightly in that area. Relevant issues have vanished from most pulpits.
Here in 2023, all of this would be called “wokism”! And a marvelous cure for wokism would be a focus on the fact that the King is coming—perhaps today. Pulpits that are focusing on this glorious good news are growing exponentially, and don’t have to worry about church growth!
We feature Brentner’s book, The Triumph of the Redeemed, highlighted below, and highly recommend it. It will be an uplifting, encouraging read in our rapidly-darkening world.