Presented at The Bible Faculty Summit Annual Conference August 6–8, 2019, International Baptist College and Seminary, Chandler, Arizona The Rapture: Cosmic Segregation or Antidote for Oppression? A Critical Response to the “Racial Ideology of Rapture” by Nathaniel P. Grimes By Cory M. Marsh *
In keeping with trending social issues, a recently published article in Perspectives in Religious Studies (National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion, published by Baylor University) by Nathaniel P. Grimes made a bold, if not sensational claim: the dispensational understanding of the Church’s rapture is a racially coded theology legitimizing evangelical mistreatment of minorities in America since the wake of the Civil War. Perceiving the rapture to be a doctrine invented by Darby and exploited by Scofield, Moody, and other Caucasian leaders of the American Bible Conference Movement, Grimes posited the pretribulational rapture was an idea used to promote a “cosmic segregation,” a heavenly avenue of escape for white supremacists from blacks and other ethnic groups which society had marginalized.
The current paper will offer a critical response to Grime’s thesis, exposing a flawed research methodology he used to validate positions condemning the rapture as a racist doctrine. Further, against the backdrop of contemporary hotbed notions of social justice, this paper will positively build a case for the pretribulational rapture as a biblical antidote for oppression against minorities in the current economy. The thesis will be supported by two main drives: (1) the church is a spiritual, non-political institution comprised of the most marginalized people-groups in human history forming a collective body whom Christ will spare from impending devastation and doom upon the earth; and (2) the imminent appearing of Christ as taught in the pretribulational rapture demands an urgency in applying biblical social justice themes out of love for all ethnicities in obedience to Christ.
Dr. John J. Yeo serves at Southern California Seminary as Professor of Old Testament. His primary interests lie within Old Testament interpretation and Biblical Theology. His publications include the chapter on “Ruth” in A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament (Crossway, 2016), an extended article on “Name Theology” in The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Logos Bible Software, 2012), and book reviews in various theological journals. He also served as a translation specialist on the Book of Job for the revised edition of the Christian Standard Bible (Holman Bible Publishers, 2017).
Dr. Yeo also aspires to safeguard the Bible’s divine inspiration and inerrancy. His published dissertation, Plundering the Egyptians: The Old Testament and Historical Criticism at Westminster Theological Seminary (1929-1998) (University Press of America, 2010) documents and evaluates the significant changes that occurred at Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia) from an anti-critical stance towards an open, integrationist position which is now being mirrored today in certain areas of evangelical scholarship.
Prior to coming to SCS, Dr. Yeo was Assistant Professor of Old Testament and Academic Dean at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta, GA and Associate Professor of Old Testament at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature. Dr. Yeo has also ministered to youth and college students for ten years as well as serving as an assistant and interim pastor in Northern Virginia and Southern California.
Education Ph.D., University of St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto, 2007 Th.M., Fuller Theological Seminary, 2000 M.A., Westminster Seminary California, 1996 B.A., Biola University, 1990
The Ninth International Brethren History Conference put on by the Brethren Archivists & Historians Network (BAHN), which will be held at the Sidholme Hotel, Elysian Fields, Sidmouth, Devon, England (UK), on July 2-4. The conference theme is “Elements and Ordinances in Brethren Life” and the paper Dean Fazio will be presenting is titled “A Sketch of the Elements and Ordinances of Nearly Two Dozen Proto-Brethren Assemblies from 1818-1820.” The significance of his research is that it focuses on a period of history that pre-dates John Nelson Darby’s initial gathering with the early brethren to break bread in Dublin in 1827-1828, which later came to be known as the Plymouth Brethren movement.
Students experience many barriers to producing quality research. Library anxiety is one. They mistakenly believe that they should be able to navigate a library by the time they reach college, and they feel shame that they cannot. Alex Nunes suggests that this current generation of students has an additional level of complexity for library instruction: because they have great confidence in their own (untaught) research abilities, they tend to dismiss the value of libraries. Thus, they are not prepared to produce quality student research.
The San Diego Voyager recently highlighted the work of one of our graduate students Margy Hill. Here is a link to the article, as well as, a short video about pursuing studies at the Seminary.
“My love for Christ and passion to help women fulfill their God-given purpose fueled the birth of the Women’s Ministry Connection in 2002. I desired to provide an environment where women leaders could connect to be encouraged and strengthened in their faith. Leadership can be a lonely place. Women give so freely of themselves to help others, but often lack a place where they can be refreshed. I also recognized the need to raise up and develop the next generation of leaders. With that in mind, I added opportunities for training to equip women in key areas of ministry. In its early inception, the Women’s Ministry Connection served a few churches. Today, I have the privilege to serve hundreds of churches locally and throughout the United States. As a teacher and an author of women’s Bible studies, I enjoy the opportunity to speak into the lives of women of all ages and church backgrounds.”
A Dispensational Look At Thomas Aquinas: A Review Article
by Prof. Cory M. Marsh
Summa Theologiae: Volume 49, The Grace of Christ by Thomas Aquinas. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006. 234pp., paper, $49.99.
Perhaps no greater name can be associated with terms such as scholasticism, natural theology, Aristotelian philosophy, and Catholic theology than Thomas Aquinas. The 13th century Dominican friar excelled in philosophic-theology, single-handedly bridging the gap between Aristotle and the Pope by mastering the art of typological, Christocentric, and allegorical interpretation. Aquinas (his name taken from his place of birth) founded a school-of-thought called Thomism, a theology grounded in an epistemology that places truth, and the human ability to seek it and reason from it, at a global-level accessible to all human beings regardless of their regenerative state before God. While he wrote several commentaries on Aristotle’s works as well as various theological tractates, by far his most significant work which standardized Western, medieval theology was his five-part (or 61 volume) Summa Theologiae. This monument to Roman Catholic, scholastic-medieval thought, though never finished, was an expansion of his earlier apologetic work Summa contra Gentiles. The following review will be on volume 49 of Summa Theologiae, comprised of Questions 7–15 — all centered on The Grace of Christ — as it is this particular tome where Aquinas best extolled the mystery of Christ’s humanity, much of which is supported by his theological, rather than literal, interpretive approach. Accordingly, this review of Aquinas’ work will not conclude without first evaluating The Grace of Christ from a dispensational perspective, as it is particularly in the realm of hermeneutics that dispensational thought has much corrective light to shed on Aquinas’ thought-provoking, yet erroneous conclusions. Be that as it may, there is still much in Aquinas that commends itself and is worthy of serious reflection.