I have mentioned Tom Krattenmaker, editorialist for USA Today, under the topic of “Evangelicals and Sports.”  I’ll be doing more of that in the days ahead.  However, I consider our differences in that arena somewhat mild and less important than in the area of a recent editorial:  “What if the end isn’t near?” (August 23, 2010).  The subtitle comment of the article tells the basic thrust:  “Too many evangelical Christians welcome the biblical rapture with an unsettling eagerness.  This fatalistic view serves neither fellow humans nor the planet.  A new breed of believers thankfully is taking another path toward Jesus.”  In general, I read the editorial as a gigantic caricature of my own pre-trib rapture view which I consider to be main stream among my kind of evangelicals.

The article goes on to champion the work of Tyler Wigg-Stevenson, founder of the Two Futures Project, who is attempting to get evangelical Christians to “join the nuclear abolition cause.”  The article bemoans the fact that many evangelicals who hold the pre-trib rapture are enamored with end times stuff and are therefore not willing to engage the needs of the world such as abolishing nuclear weapons and helping the environment.  This article reminded me of an event that occurred when I was an aerospace engineer working on F-16s for General Dynamics in Ft. Worth while I attended Dallas Theological Seminary.  A fellow worker came to sit down in my cubicle and told me that Christians were responsible for pollution.  He was a member of the Sierra Club and had rather strong feelings about this.  When I asked him why he thought this way, he gave me two reasons:  1.  Christians use the cultural mandate passage in Gen. 1:26-28 to give us the right to rape the planet; 2. Christians believe Jesus is going to come back and jerk us off this planet so we don’t care about fixing anything that is wrong.  This was the first that I had encountered that thought.  It is interesting that at the time I had been a pre-trib rapture kind of Christian for 8 years and had never heard that in any of the churches I was involved in.  I have encountered it since, but I don’t view those who shun all social activism as representing the majority of Christians who believe strongly in the Second Coming.  I feel so strongly about the caricature of this article that I intend to make several posts highlighting various facets that I think need to be explored along different lines instead of the in-your-face drubbing that is given.

Among the issues I want to explore in future posts are the following:
1.  How many pre-trib Christians hold different views of nuclear weapons and environmentalism from the author’s because of factors other than biblical views of the end times;
2.  The generous use of overstatement throughout the article;
3.  Unwarranted assumptions and limited options that are sometimes given (why are there only two futures?  why not 3 or 4? are we really dealing with all the possibilities?);
4.  The false charge of fatalism in light of the true nature of the doctrine of imminency;
5.  The use of fringe views or minority views instead of scholarly and thoughtful presentations of the pre-trib perspective;
6.  As a corollary to # 5, the futurism of the pre-trib view which does not allow for predictions of the future in a true pre-trib perspective.  In other words, the article seems to be unaware that it is being critical of historicist misrepresentations of the pre-trib perspective rather than the pre-trib perspective itself.
7.  As a corollary to # 1, the idea that the article (may) assume that current political environmentalism is what the Bible teaches about care for the created order.