Cover image for The rapture exposed : the message of hope in the book of Revelation
The rapture exposed : the message of hope in the book of Revelation
Rossing, Barbara R.
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Publication Information:
Boulder, Colo. : Westview Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xii, 212 pages ; 24 cm
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BT887 .R68 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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The idea of "The Rapture" - the return of Christ to snatch born-again Christians off the earth - is an extremely popular interpretation of the Book of Revelation in the Bible and a jumping-off point for the best-selling Left Behind series of books. However, most Christian churches and biblical scholars condemn rapture theology as a distortion of Christian faith with little biblical basis. Yet this interpretation, based on a psychology of fear and destruction, guides the daily acts of thousands if not millions of North Americans and people worldwide.In The Rapture Exposed , professor of theology and ordained minister Barbara Rossing argues that the Left Behind novels' script for the world's future distorts the Bible, is disingenuous, and flat out wrong. There is neither "rapture" of Christians off the earth, nor does Revelation predict a seven-year tribulation culminating in war in Israel and the Middle East. Rather, Rossing argues, Revelation offers a vision of God's healing love for the world - a love that will not be left behind. The Rapture Exposed makes the case for reclaiming Christianity from fundamentalists' destructive reading of the biblical story and back into God's beloved community.

Author Notes

Barbara R. Rossing teaches New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She holds a doctorate from Harvard University Divinity School and a Masters of Divinity degree from Yale University Divinity School. An ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, she lives in Chicago.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Arguing against the dispensational theology of Tim LaHaye anderryenkins' Left Behind novels, Rossing advances an alternative view of the Revelation of St.ohn, a text that has fascinated biblical scholars and lay readers--beginning, no doubt, with those to whom it was first addressed--for almost 2,000 years. Although a professional New Testament scholar, Rossing writes for a popular readership, including Left Behind fans. She places the Revelation in a tradition of apocalypse and prophecy that has less to do with violence or prediction than with vision. In so doing she argues powerfully against the fascination with violence characteristic of much dispensational thinking. For Rossing, the Revelation is a rapture in reverse --God raptured, so to speak, into the world as Immanuel, God-with-us. That, she says, is a vision of a newerusalem, a beloved community--a vision of peace and justice that has inspired a host of good stories and still inspires persistent hope in the face of oppression and violence. --Steven Schroeder Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Ordained minister Rossing is ready to do battle with evangelicals both within and outside of her Lutheran Church camp. Rossing, who teaches New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, begins her sparring by taking on the widely popular Left Behind series and all it presumes to communicate about the future of the world. Claiming that the Left Behind authors' interpretation of prophetic biblical verses is "fiction," Rossing firmly asserts that the Book of Revelation has a completely different purpose than to predict upcoming world uprisings and the eventual end of the earth. Instead, Rossing believes that this biblical vision is meant to inspire humanity to seek out "repentance and justice." Rossing also maintains, somewhat unfairly, that rapture enthusiasts extol a careless, abusive attitude toward God's created world, since rapture theology declares that the followers of Christ are soon to be removed from it. More significant is Rossing's belief that Revelation does not offer a prophetic look at Jerusalem as the inevitable battleground between good and evil, but rather extends the promise of a New Jerusalem that will open its arms to all nations in peace. While Rossing's scholarly work is well organized and obviously carefully thought out, evangelicals may take issue with the blanket statement that "most Christian churches and biblical scholars condemn Rapture theology as a distortion of Christian faith with little biblical basis." This book will likely upset Christian conservatives while appealing to many in mainline denominations. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Rossing (Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago) has written this book largely in conversation with the fundamentalist/dispensationalist approach to Revelation of Tim LaHaye, Hal Lindsey, and others. Pointing out that this approach to the Revelation only began in the 19th century with J.N. Darby, she carefully demonstrates how meaningless this interpretation would have been to its original recipients. By careful exegesis of biblical passages used by dispensationalists, she shows that many of these passages teach the reverse of what the dispensationalists claim. Rossing's work is informed at all points by recent, responsible interpreters of the Revelation. A major emphasis throughout the book is the disdain for the cosmos of the dispensationalists, who treat it as something only fit for destruction; and the "appalling ethics" to which this leads. Though dispensationalists see the kingdom of God brought in by defeat of the "Antichrist" at the battle of Armageddon, Rossing notes that victory comes only by the slain lamb in the Revelation. She also emphasizes how contrary the Armageddon theology is to the teachings and spirit of Jesus. Rossing concludes that "hope is surely Revelation's most profound contribution to our world today." ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers, undergraduates, and professionals/practitioners. J. E. Lunceford Georgetown College