CNN On “Rapture Anxiety”

Been a long time, folks.  Glad to be back.  My last series about Fred Butler’s anti-KJV-Onlyism kind of wore me out and I needed another good punch in the face to get the blood flowing again.

Strangely, that punch came from CNN.  I usually couldn’t care less what the mainstream American media has to say, but this one “triggered” me (to use a modern buzzword).

The following CNN article takes aim at the Rapture of the Church and we will answer it in our customary fashion.  Lord willing, it will help someone.

Here is the article:

My comments are in bold.  Begin article:

Thirteen-year-old April Ajoy had a sense something wasn’t right. It was quiet in her Dallas house. Too quiet. Her brothers were gone. Her parents were gone. On her parents’ bed, a pile of her mother’s clothes signaled something terrifying.  Maybe if there was a puddle of blood, that’d be something, but we don’t want to be too doctrinal this early in the article…

Ajoy’s mind began churning, trying to remember, trying to make plans. When was the last time she had sinned? Should she refuse the mark of the beast? At least, she thought, if she was put to the guillotine during the time of tribulation, it would be a quick death. So we see that little miss Ajoy never had much Bible teaching.  So immediately we will note that the problem isn’t the Rapture doctrine in itself, but bad Bible teaching.  CNN will fail to realize this and therefore spend the rest of the article on a wild goose chase.  Typical for lost men.

The “last time you sinned” has nothing to do with missing the Rapture or not.  The only question is whether you trusted Christ for salvation or not (John 1:12).  That is what puts you into the Body of Christ (Eph 3) and if you are in the Body of Christ, then you will be Raptured (I Thess 4).  Your last sin has nothing to do with it.  We are eternally secure in Christ.  (Rom 8:38,39)

Read the passage in I Thess 4 again.  The context is whether saints who are already dead miss the Rapture.  There is nothing about your “last sin”.  Why?  Because it has nothing to do with missing the Rapture.  Little miss Ajoy was never taught the truth about the Rapture or Eternal Security.  Her mental problems are a result of bad doctrine, not the doctrine of the Rapture.  

From the moment they are old enough to understand, millions of people raised in certain Christian communities are taught that the rapture is something that can happen at any time.  Though there are different schools of thought as to how such an event would go, the basic idea is the same: Righteous Christians ascend into heaven, while the rest are left behind to suffer. However it happens, it is something to be both feared and welcomed, Feared by lost but not by Christians.  Paul tells us to “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (I Thess 4:18)  to be prayed about and prepared for every moment of a believer’s life.  Yes, because after the Rapture is the Judgment Seat of Christ.  THAT is to be feared. (II Cor 5:8-11) 

Ajoy grew up in an evangelical church, surrounded by constant reminders that the rapture was just around the corner. Highly unlikely that she heard it THAT often, but ok.  Most people who identify as evangelicals in America today don’t put as much emphasis on the Rapture as Paul did…  She was taught to never sin, since it could be the very last thing she did before Jesus returned to Earth. Paul never follows this line of reasoning because it is a false line of reasoning.  There are many reasons to not sin.  Missing the Rapture isn’t one of them.  Paul’s omission of this thought speaks volumes and the doctrine of the Eternal Security of the Believer cancels out this thinking 100%.  Dramatic rapture-themed books and movies, created as fiction, were presented as real glimpses into the end of the world.  “What saith the Scriptures…”  Who cares about those works of fiction?

“When I was probably 8 or 9, I remember my brothers and I spending a good 30 minutes looking out into the sky,” Ajoy tells CNN. “We took turns counting down from 10, and at that time, we were convinced Jesus would come back.”  That’s just kids messing around and is irrelevant to the topic at hand.  

Now 34, Ajoy is one of a growing network of “exvangelicals” who have removed themselves from what they now view as the damaging beliefs of some evangelical, Pentecostal and Baptist churches. I would completely agree with her that the belief that a Christian can lose their salvation is a “damaging” belief.  She runs a popular TikTok account discussing faith and, among other things, the effects of traumatic religious experiences that can last for years – even a lifetime.  People leaving Christianity isn’t noteworthy.

A question of Biblical proportions

“Rapture anxiety,” as it is often called, is recognized by some faith experts and mental health professionals as a type of religious trauma. I’ll say it again, “Rapture anxiety” comes from false doctrine about the Rapture, not from the Rapture itself.  Darren Slade, the president and CEO of the Global Center for Religious Research, has been studying religious trauma across several faiths and denominations for years. He’s not smart enough to see the root cause of the problem.

“This is a real thing. It’s a chronic problem,” he says of rapture anxiety. “This is a new area of study, but in general, our research has revealed that religious trauma leads to an increase of anxiety, depression, paranoia and even some OCD-like behaviors: ‘I need to say this prayer of salvation so many times,’ ‘I need to confess my sins so often.’” It is his job to prove that these are wrong.  He doesn’t.  He just wants us to belief that he is so smart that we should just take his word for it.  We won’t.  I believe that there are millions of Christians in America suffering from religious trauma.  Correct doctrine is the starting point for fixing those problems.  Slade can’t get you that.  He is a “physician(s) of no value”. (Job 13:4)

“Now imagine,” he continues, “You are taught that at any minute, you could be left here on Earth. What does that do to the teenager who just had premarital sex, or even simply took the Lord’s name in vain?”  Once again, this is a false way of looking at the Rapture.  You should feel guilty about premarital sex and taking the Lord’s name in vain.  That guilt should cause you to repent and get right with God and not do it again.  It shouldn’t make you question whether you’ll get Raptured.   You’d think the “CEO of the Global Center for Religious Research” would know what the Bible says about the Rapture, but of course we know better…

Experiences like Ajoy’s – a latent fear of an impending, inevitable end – are very common among communities of religious trauma survivors. On social media, former church members recall being tricked by church leaders into watching violent rapture-themed films or crying themselves to sleep thinking about people and pets that would be left behind when the end finally came.  That guilt has nothing to do with the Rapture.  It is guilt that you are not doing right.  It should spur you to get right with God in spite of any abuses by dumb church people.  

Chelsea Wilson of Marietta, Georgia tells CNN that while growing up in an evangelical community, talk of the rapture was so intrinsic that children would play pranks to scare each other into believing everyone around them had been raptured.

“As if,” Wilson says, “it were a scary campfire story.”  Again, this is  just kids messing around.  Who cares?

The concept of the rapture, known theologically as dispensational premillennialism, Those are not equivalent terms and CNN should know that.  Dispensationalists don’t believe what this article is claiming they believe about the Rapture.  CNN is slandering.  Dispensationalists teach Eternal Security.  This article presents them as believing the opposite.  Slander.  Do better CNN.   is not prevalent in Catholic or mainline Protestant denominations like Episcopalianism or Presbyterianism, and is most commonly adhered to in evangelical and fundamental churches. This line of theology draws heavily upon a letter from the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians, included in the Bible, that says believers in Jesus would be snatched or seized into the air.  We get the term “Rapture” from the Latin translation of I Thess 4:17.  It’s just a theological term. 

Interpretations of this verse vary widely among Christian leaders, many of whom see it as a common example of poetic metaphor among Paul’s writings. Whenever a “Christian leader” doesn’t like a plain teaching, they will call it something like “poetic metaphor”.  That’s all this is.  Take that junk and toss it in the garbage where it belongs.  However, this striking imagery forms the basis of a lot of modern ideas about the rapture – so much so, Slade says it’s not uncommon for people with religious trauma to report having a fear of heights as they imagine their final ascent.  That makes no sense.  They’ll have bodies like Christ.  Do you think Christ is scared of heights?  What a bunch of hogwash.  This nonsense comes from bad doctrine.

Survivors also cite the influence of fiction works, like the “Left Behind” book series and the 2000 movie adaptation, which they say were presented in their church circles as accurate glimpses into a post-rapture future. These works have reached such a level of infamy in these faith communities that some survivors (!!!) say the descriptions of suffering and terror in the series greatly influenced their rapture-related fears. Often, patients misdiagnose their own problems. That’s all this is.  (There is a reason Ajoy’s initial thought of the guillotine seems oddly specific – it features in a graphic execution scene in the 1972 rapture film, “A Thief in the Night.”)

Slade knows just how deep modern rapture theology can go. As a Baptist preacher and religious scholar, he was surrounded by peers who would attend “end of days” or “end of times” conferences. These meetings, many of which are still held today, focus heavily on events in the Christian Book of Revelation, and attempt to connect scriptural elements with current events in the world. It’s why fringe groups are left in the lurch when predictions about the end of days don’t manifest.  This has to do with Non-dispensational theology.  Dispensationalists believe the book of Revelations happens AFTER the Rapture.  Why did CNN forget to mention that it switched away from talking about Dispensationalism???  You don’t have to wonder.  They are more than willing to resort to lies to try and discredit the Bible.  Lost people do it all the time.  

However, Slade’s biblical studies eventually led him to an uncomfortable truth: The rapture, as it is taught in some Baptist, evangelical and fundamentalist communities, is scantly mentioned in the Bible. Hogwash. Is II Thess 4, I Cor 15, I Thess 1:9, Phil 3:20, 21, Titus 2:13 “scantly”?  The Rapture is intimately connected to almost all the doctrine laid out by Paul in Ephesians and if there is no Rapture then the nature of the Church becomes a confusing mess.  Like the mess that little miss Ajoy was taught in her church.  In fact, modern rapture theology only dates back to the 1800s.  Nope. It dates back to the writing of the New Testament.  If the teaching is wrong Biblically, then throw it out.  

This and other realizations led Slade to leave the Christian faith and focus his energy on the academic side of religion. Realizing that the Rapture doctrine was true is why I left mainstream Protestantism.  It was a devastating transition.  It wasn’t for me because I’m not a slobbering baby.  It wasn’t easy, but it was right.  God helped me through it.  Moving towards the correct doctrine moved me closer to God.  Slade moved further from God.  That’s why it was so hard for him.  

“I lost my family, I lost my community. I lost everything,” Slade says. Eventually, he was diagnosed with complex PTSD from his experiences.  Without a doubt, there was more at play than the Rapture in this guy’s experience.  For sure there are bad Christians in his family that were jerks to him.  But we all know there are Atheists and Muslims who are jerks too.  

A shared experience

For Christians who begin to question their beliefs, the fear of what could happen if they name their doubts out loud can be just as overwhelming as rapture anxiety itself.  Of course CNN is right to say that most Christians in America don’t handle a loved one’s doubt well.  They might have some truth right about things like the Rapture, but they can still be completely messed up on things.  There’s nothing wrong with “naming their doubts”.  

“It’s taboo to talk about,” Ajoy says. “Because there is this idea that if you need to worry about the rapture, well, what have you done to worry about?”  There is a kernel of truth here.  Too much doubt can be sin.  “And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (Rom 14:23)

Ajoy, who still identifies as a Christian, first questioned rapture theology when she was in her late teens, after discovering that the word “rapture” doesn’t appear in the Bible at all.  No one claimed it did.  It is a theological term to describe a doctrine that is, most certainly, biblical.  Years later, she mustered the courage to ask a question in a closed Facebook group.

“Did anyone else ever genuinely think they got left behind as kids?”

The post received hundreds of responses.

“So many people said, ‘I thought I was the only one,’” Ajoy says.  As the saying goes, “Kids are stupid.”  I’ll spare you the “original English”.  

Slade says suffering in silence, and the threat of losing one’s entire community, compounds religious trauma. Finding other people who have had similar experiences can provide a much-needed voice in the wilderness of doubt.  That’s a good way to describe it, “the wilderness of doubt.”  

It can also lead people to redefine their faith, or abandon it altogether. The number of Americans identifying as Christian has been steadily dropping for years A 2022 Pew Research Survey estimates about 64% of Americans identify as Christians, but that number could drop below half by 2070 – and could be surpassed by a majority population with no religious affiliation.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there was NEVER a time when half of America was Christian as the Bible defines it. (Acts 11:26)  These Pew Survey numbers are meaningless.  Ask a Christian who spends a lot of time doing personal work and Street preaching what the numbers are and you’ll get a better estimate.  

“There’s no doubt that we are seeing a major paradigm shift in Christianity,” he says. “One of the common things people are deconstructing for is, they don’t feel welcome. They don’t feel the church matches their personal values. That’s because they are dumped in atheist indoctrination camps called “Public Schools”.  No surprises here.  They are tired of what they see as a system peddling in shame and rejection.”  Sure, then leave your unbiblical local church and find a Biblical one. 

Nearly every day, Ajoy gets messages from TikTok followers who are grateful for her content, and grateful for a safe place to bear witness to painful religious memories.  Leaving the faith of the Bible isn’t the solution.  I’ll say it again, moving away from churches with bad doctrine is the solution.  I know from experience.  

“It still surprises me how many people think they are still going through this alone,” she says.

Even now, Ajoy admits that every once in a blue moon, when the house gets quiet and she can’t see her partner or children, she’ll feel a reflexive pang of panic.  This is baby stuff.  If the Rapture is wrong, then get rid of your “pang of panic”.  If the Rapture is right, then get right with God and the panic will go away.

“To people who are going through this, who are questioning, I want to say that there is no fear in love,” she says. “You shouldn’t have to be afraid of the answer.”  Yep and the answer is to get away from bad churches.  

End Article:

So we see that, as usual, the lost journalists at CNN give a slanderous, bigoted report of a problem and then fail to get to the root of the issue.  The root issue is bad doctrine.  I believe there are spiritual abusers in good churches.  There always have been and always will be.  This article tries to deal with that.

But the vast majority of problems are caused by bad doctrine as we see in this article. If you have doubts about the Rapture.  Let’s discuss them.  Not how it makes you FEEL, but we can discuss whether the doctrine is correct or not.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Joh 8:32

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isa 8:20


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