Sometimes an apologist must make a defense of the faith to unbelievers, and sometimes an apologist must defend correct doctrine against erroneous doctrines of fellow believers. This post is the latter sort of apologetics.
The most prevalent end-time doctrine in the United States is the doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture. Bible prophecy experts have written entire libraries in support of this doctrine. The fictional Left Behind series of Christian thrillers, which begin with a pre-tribulation rapture, are wildly popular and have even been made into a movies.
I’ve heard the pre-tribulation rapture preached all my life. I’ve studied prophecies in the Bible. I don’t find the arguments for a pre-tribulation rapture convincing at all.
I am not writing this post in order to be divisive or to put other believers down. I am not all-knowing and more prominent and scholarly people will disagree with me. Please do not dismiss what I have to say on that account. Instead, hear me out, and research the topic for yourselves. If you should still disagree with me that is fine. Just be sure of what you believe and why you believe it.
“Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” ~Romans 14:5b
One of the biggest issues with the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine is that it is a new doctrine. No one taught this doctrine prior to the 1830’s. The pre-tribulation rapture was first taught by an evangelist and preacher of the Plymouth Brethren named John Nelson Darby. In many ways Darby was a great man of God, however, I believe his eschatological views were incorrect.
We should be suspicious of any new doctrines, but newness alone would not prove the pre-tribulation view wrong. The standard of all Christian doctrine is the Bible. If the pre-trib rapture is a true Christian doctrine, it should be supported by Scriptures.
What does the Bible say about:
-signs of the end?
No other books, no other predictions, have the same authority as God’s Word. Any argument for or against pre-tribulation rapture must be based on Scripture alone–sola scriptura. The Bible will form the basis of my arguments against the pre-trib view in subsequent posts.