Friday, September 01, 2006

blessed hope

I'm currently reading this book by George Eldon Ladd, who was a long-time professor or New Testament History and Biblical Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. In this book (first published in 1956), Ladd looks at a historical survey of end-times literature, making some interesting points:

1) The earliest church fathers were primarily, if not totally, futurists, with regard to the way that they interpreted Revelation. This means that they believed in a literal Great Tribulation and Anti-Christ, the details of which are given in Revelation.

2) That these same men believed in a post-Tribulation Rapture of the Church. He is disputing the pretribulation premillenialism which is very common today via Tim LaHaye's writing. He also disputes the view of Revelation which is characteristic of Reformation Theology, which states that there will be no 1000 year earthly reign of Christ upon his return at all.

This is a good scholarly yet readable, and well-documented book. Here's an excerpt from the first chapter which give the nature of the rest of the book:
The question of the relationship of the Rapture to the Tribulation may be set in proper perspective if we first survey the history of prophetic interpretation. The hope the Church throughout the early centuries was the second coming of Christ, not a pretribulation rapture. If the Blessed Hope is in fact a pretribulation rapture, then the Church has never known that hope through most of its history, for the idea of a pretribulation rapture did not appear in prophetic interpretation until the nineteenth century.(19)

1 comment:

Ezra said...

The theology behind the pre-trib rapture is rather convoluted, so much so that its hard to believe that Paul or any of the writers ment to convey such a teaching. I find it depressing that Christians seem to feel that the Lords coming must be imminent to be blessed. Besides when should feelings ever dictate what you believe.

Thanks for the post and reference to the book.