Friday, August 8, 2014

Unger Responds to Piper & Taylor on the Rapture

I guess after William Lane Craig's comments were aired, others thought they'd throw their hats into the rapture-bashing ring. Anyhow, hat tip to Dan Phillips for this one:

A few days ago, I had an article passed on to me called Nine Reasons We Can Be Confident Christians Won’t Be Raptured Before The Tribulation from Justin Taylor’s blog, in which he was summarizing the teaching of John Piper.  A bunch of folks got worked up (on the internet?  What?), but my superiors asked me to respond and so I agreed to write a response.  Now I’m no stranger to disagreement and my various theological positions that have essentially made me the sweaty asthmatic nerd on the playground of Evangelicalism (nobody likes an outspoken cessationist who is Calvinistic and dispensational), so I’ve basically got nothing to lose!...keep reading


Unger has amended his article to present a softened stance. Perhaps some sensitive soul was offended. That was commendable of him, though I liked the first edition. I like some of the following observations:

Now I celebrate the life and ministry of both John Piper (who gave me my wife) and Justin Taylor (who’s done wonderful work at Crossway).  I understand that they’re not on the same page as me when it comes to hermeneutics and, as a result, eschatology.  I also know that many who have left pre-tribulational circles (as well as other circles that people love to hate) tend to have had painful encounters with two guys who seem to be elders at a whole lot of churches.

I get that.  I know that there’s bad defenders of pre-tribulationalism out there, and I get that there’s obnoxious arguments and graceless “end times evangelists” who teach ideas about the end times that are laughable.

That being said, I also get the idea from a lot of ex-pre-trib fellows that a majority of their understanding of pre-tribulationalism comes from crabby elders and silly extra-biblical ideas that they rejected in their youth (I too was caused to suffer through Jack Van Impe videos).  When I have conversations with ex-pre-tribs, I regularly learn that many of them haven’t done much serious reading of pre-tribulationalism in their recent adult years, and generally assume that the theological convictions they reached when they were young are mature and settled, although they wouldn’t ever say that about any other point in their theology.

Fact is that obnoxious arguments and lack of grace aren't limited to curmudgeonly old pretribbers whose Scofield Bibles may only be prised from their cold dead hands. Unger mentions Hal Lindsey (I don't know Impe) in a less than favorable light. I kinda get that too, sort of. But I thought that was a weak ending to his response. It was unnecessary.

I don't think Hal's a great representative of dispensationalism, but he doesn't deserve the cheap shots that get fired off at him by non-pretribulational critics. I find many of them are quick to cry foul at any hint of criticism of their own views. In that respect I've found that Hal has broader shoulders and more class than many of his detractors.

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