Exvangelicals Cite ‘Rapture Anxiety’ as Source of Religious Trauma; Some Evangelicals Fire Back With Criticism

"April Ajoy, who spoke with CNN, said that she experienced fear that she would be left behind when the rapture came" - C.Leaders

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pvawter's picture

What's scary is how the original article on CNN frames Christianity as a performance based religion where one slip-up can damn an otherwise well-meaning and sincere individual to hell. There is no gospel in the words of the writer or the 2 primary sources for this look into "rapture anxiety."

And then this Church Leaders piece implies that calling out such anti-Christian beliefs as are held by Ajoy and Slade is evidence of a lack of empathy and a commitment to dogma over people. What rubbish!

T Howard's picture

Perhaps Christianity is viewed as a performance-based religion. Let's not shoot the messenger here.

While we would deny that salvation itself is performance based, certainly, there is an aspect of our sanctification (i.e. putting off / putting on) that can be seen as performance-based.

Don't we preach, and doesn't the Bible affirm, that if someone professes faith in Christ yet lacks good fruit (i.e. works) that they are most likely unregenerate?

Now, I've never heard this communicated as "one slip up and your damned to hell," so perhaps there is some strawman action going on here. But, we must acknowledge that salvation should produce a changed life.

Couple that with the purity culture that ran rampant in the 80s-90s (i.e. have premarital sex and you're a second-class Christian), and I can understand how young people can view Christianity as a performance-based religion.

Dan Miller's picture

pvawter wrote:

What's scary is how the original article on CNN frames Christianity as a performance based religion where one slip-up can damn an otherwise well-meaning and sincere individual to hell. There is no gospel in the words of the writer or the 2 primary sources for this look into "rapture anxiety."

And then this Church Leaders piece implies that calling out such anti-Christian beliefs as are held by Ajoy and Slade is evidence of a lack of empathy and a commitment to dogma over people. What rubbish!

All religion is assumed to be performance based.

And, yes, the threat of coming judgment has been a warning to humanity to choose a side pretty much forever. Phrases such as "the day of the Lord," "I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life," and "cast into outer darkness" are all examples.

The purpose of these is to warn. So, yes, be warned. 

Larry's picture

Moderator

Given that the Bible places quite a bit of emphasis on the judgment and the fear we should have of it, why would "rapture anxiety" be unexpected for some? 

RajeshG's picture

Larry wrote:

Given that the Bible places quite a bit of emphasis on the judgment and the fear we should have of it, why would "rapture anxiety" be unexpected for some? 

From Genesis 3 to at least Rev. 14, we see many times that proclamation of future judgment to come is a key part of proper evangelism (cf. Gen. 3:15; Acts 10, 17; Rev. 14).

Mark_Smith's picture

This article, especially the original CNN story, reveals several things about the "evangelical" community (which is so broad it is hard to characterize even with broad strokes):

1- We are terrible theologians...

2- We are terrible parents when it comes to teaching our children the one truth faith once delivered to the saints...

3- We are so lazy about detailing and understanding what we believe that it leaves roads wide open for the less educated to pave in whatever they imagine rather than the truth...

4- We therefore become fixated on a few external things (don't have sex outside of marriage, don't be gay, don't get divorced, don't drink...) rather than develop real harvest of the fruit of the spirit...

5- We are terrible at answering questions from those among us who have questions because we don't know ourselves because we have been lazy and all the above...

6- This then causes anyone but a few to walk away thinking Christianity is traumatic and shallow...

***We have a lot to learn from this ****

 

 

Mark_Smith's picture

Josh S wrote:

Thankfully, there is a treatment for "rapture anxiety". Make sure you're ready to see Jesus.

Honestly, I find the attitude of this response to the article despicable. Here is the first sentence: "Recently, the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans over at CNN ran a story on religious trauma."  The purpose of this post is NOT to help people, but to whip them in line with sarcasm. The woman in this piece, Ajoy, is a victim of bad theology. Her parents and her church let her down when she was young. They didn't teach her "real" rapture theology. They instead taught her a caricature that her childhood mind turned into something bad and threatening. I see it all the time in adult "believers." They have a sad skeleton of true theology rather than the real thing. This fact should convict us to teach better, have better programs, and MORE time in the word of God, not less.

 

Josh S's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

 

Josh S wrote:

 

Thankfully, there is a treatment for "rapture anxiety". Make sure you're ready to see Jesus.

 

 

Honestly, I find the attitude of this response to the article despicable. Here is the first sentence: "Recently, the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans over at CNN ran a story on religious trauma."  The purpose of this post is NOT to help people, but to whip them in line with sarcasm. The woman in this piece, Ajoy, is a victim of bad theology. Her parents and her church let her down when she was young. They didn't teach her "real" rapture theology. They instead taught her a caricature that her childhood mind turned into something bad and threatening. I see it all the time in adult "believers." They have a sad skeleton of true theology rather than the real thing. This fact should convict us to teach better, have better programs, and MORE time in the word of God, not less.

 

 

Mark, your rebuke is noted and taken seriously. But I think you're missing the point. You will notice that I did not mock the disillusioned, confused exvangelicals but the people that should had known better. My goal was not to shame but contexualize. The media today has a function similar to that of the magicians in Babylon. They illuminate and interpret. I think it's important to frame the discussion in that light. I notice that your rebuke did not deny the accuracy of what I said, but focused on how it might make people feel.

It's clear you do not know my heart, because my motive is to help people. The exvangelical movement is based upon a victim status (valid or invalid) that grows bitter at authority and ignores the only issue that matters - is this-or-that doctrine true? The most unloving thing anyone could do is feed that self-destructive victim mentality. My goal was to call people out of that mentality and to accept grace.

Josh Stilwell, associate pastor,  Alathea Baptist Church, Des Moines, Iowa.

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