Why the rapture minded and baptists are wrong, and other tips on writing a successful post Part 1

To write a successful well liked article, one merely needs to throw rapture views or baptist views under the bus. Bonus points are awarded if you grew up baptist and throw a side of spiritual abuse on the table. Accolades added if we get back to Jesus as the main thing. Lastly, we can’t miss the extreme importance of stating that such discussions are why people leave the faith or don’t take Christianity seriously. The cliched question of “why we can’t get along” is then neatly placed upon the sacrificial alter where Baptistic or rapture minded theology is slanderously slaughtered. I forgot to mention nostalgia points for puritans.

Bashing the rapture minded and baptists is easy points

This post is a first in a series about why I am a rapture minded baptist, why I stayed in church, and why I have not given up on ministry. This post will focus mainly on the rapture minded aspect, the next will on Baptist theology. The reason for the series is being tired of hearing straw man arguments and mischaracterizations. I also see both rapture minded and baptist theology being a better answer to what is going on in our world than other viewpoints.

God [the Father] is the story of history

The Jesus centered, Gospel centered, can’t we all get along crowd misses the central point of Jesus’ life and ministry- to bring people into a relationship with the Father. While Jesus is the main character of the Bible, knowing the Father is the plot and point of the Word. The Jesus focused, gospel centered, let’s be whimsical critiques, as well as the “let’s be spiritual not religious” side of deconstructionism miss this essential point. In making Jesus relatable we cannot forget that we have to do what Jesus says. Or, is the issue not the relatability of Jesus at all, but is the camouflaging our desire to make a god in our image? By extension, a god that is liked and helpful. While the holiness of God is something abused, the pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme.

God is not done with Israel

The point of God restoring Israel is that God will make Himself known. It is not human achievement that finalizes the New Covenant. A key demonstration of that finalization is the restoration of national Israel amongst the other nations. Or, God is a liar. What then is the Church? Though by faith we are all spiritual descendants of Abraham, we are not one people though we are of God. True, not all Israel is Israel, but Israel is still restored as a central argument of Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans. The high church denominational track of deconstructionism misses this point, as does the resurgence of postmillennialism. God’s integrity, the perseverance of the saints, and who is the hero hinge on this point. God, not man, brings about restoration. God does this to demonstrate with perfect clarity that it is He who is acting, not us, Israel, or anything else. The Goalpost for this, is God graciously restoring Israel to her former glory.

The plain interpretation of the Bible

The Bible as the authority is the central tenet of Baptist and rapture minded thought. Not history or tradition, but the Bible. This leads to what I call the blue collar test: God used slaves and average workers to establish both His Word and mission. The issue is will we take God at His Word, or won’t we? John MacArthur, of whom I have numerous issues, is correct in his observation that a restored Israel, rapture minded viewpoint is something people are taught out of. It is the natural reading of the text. It is the argument of Romans. It is the test for humility of Christ’s church. While his name escapes me, a covenant theologian said that “if Israel means Israel, then the [rapture minded] viewpoint is correct.” Why? Because it is the plain reading of the text. While time, history, and linguistics make for complicating Christianity, we must not forget that the Bible as originally written was done so in a way that common people could both understand and live in God’s ways.

The problem of timing

While the argument is made that a rapture minded, and even baptist views are newer and or recent inventions, the counter can also be made that they are restorations of truths missed or ignored. Repentance and return are themes in Scripture, Ezra being a prime example. Just as the Gospel was preached and people saved throughout all of church history, we also acknowledge glaring mistakes and changes. Church history, like the history in the Bible, is messy. This is not a problem but a feature of history whereby the hero is God and not us. Salvation has and is always by faith through grace in Christ. I would argue that what is considered a new invention is actually re-discovered truth akin to the reformation.

Humility as an answer

Straw-manning and taking pot shots at the rapture minded mindset to score points is to miss glaring issues with current church theology. While doing such makes one seem thoughtful and enlightened, it comes egregiously close to the warning Saint Paul gives in Romans. If God did not spare the natural branches, neither will be spare you. The flux and turmoil of theological views will continue until the rapture. We see this in Jesus’ letters to the churches in Revelation. We see this in the narrative of the Old Testament. God is the hero who is revealing Himself within the context of His relationship with Israel, as plainly spoken in His Word. We must acknowledged that we are in the “and also to the greek” category. Part of not being ashamed of the Gospel is recognizing it is to the Jew first. The one people of God exist in many nations, plural, not singular. The church is not spiritual Israel or her replacement even though we are all descended from Abraham by faith. Humility is the key to understanding this.

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