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Go ahead and enjoy the Nicolas Cage movie remake of “Left Behind,” but don’t believe Jesus is going to snatch Christians away so they miss the Tribulation, says theologian William Craig.
Scheduled for an October 3 release in theaters nationwide, “Left Behind” tells the story of those stranded on Earth after millions of Christians suddenly vanish and the world is plunged into chaos. 
The film is based on the bestselling series of 16 novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, which were adapted into three action thriller films starring Kirk Cameron, Left Behind (2000), Left Behind II: Tribulation Force (2002), and Left Behind: World at War (2005) – as well as a computer game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces (2006).  
Built around biblical prophecies in Revelation, Daniel, Isaiah and Ezekiel, the books tell the story of what happens after true believers in Christ have been "raptured," taken instantly to Heaven, leaving non-believers behind in chaos and conflict. 
However, "This doctrine is not really found in the book of Revelation," says Craig, a research professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology and professor of philosophy at Houston Baptist University. “If you read the book of Revelation, you won't find any mention of the rapture there.”
Instead, says Craig, “the idea of the rapture comes from a misinterpretation of 1 and 2 Thessalonians where Paul is describing the coming of the Lord and resurrection of the dead, which will occur at His coming," reports Morgan Lee at the Christian Post.
"If you compare what Paul says there to what Jesus says about the End Times, Paul uses the same vocabulary, the same phraseology,” Craig told Lee. “I think it's very plausible that Paul is talking about the same event that Jesus predicted, namely the visible coming of the Son of Man at the end of human history to usher in his kingdom. But proponents of the rapture view say that Paul is not at all talking about the second coming of the Christ there. What he's really talking about is this invisible preliminary secret return of Christ to snatch believers out of the world before the great tribulation occurs. I think there's no textual warrant for that at all."
Not everybody’s thrilled with Craig’s warnings. “In our opinion, there's going to be a lot of theologians in hell,” comments the website Sanctified Church Revolution. “We think Satan is using William Craig … He allegedly argues that the creators of the movie are in error, because the book of Revelations says nothing about the rapture, but it does in Thessalonians.  However, regardless of wherever the Bible speaks about the rapture, the main thing is, we've got to be ready when Jesus Christ comes back.”
According to Craig, the rapture theory became popular through the Scofield Reference Bible, published in the early 20th century, which explained John Darby's mid-18th century's rapture teaching. As a result, a number of Christian institutions, including Dallas Theological Seminary, began teaching about the rapture – spreading it to churches.
It’s a dangerous theology, taught bestselling author and Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom, whose personal story was told in the movie “The Hiding Place.” Before her death, she said those who teach a pre-Tribulation rapture are among the false teachers Jesus in Matthew 24:4-5 warned the church to avoid. 
"A good many Bible-believing Christians absorbed this view as their mother's milk as it were and have never thought to question its Biblical credentials," Craig told the Post.
However, don’t let it keep you from enjoying good Bible-based entertainment, says the professor. Craig told the Post that if Christians watch the upcoming "Left Behind" movie or read the series, they should resist accepting the theology.
"It could be maybe good fiction,” Craig told the Post. “It would be, say, like reading science fiction or fantasy novels like The Lord of the Rings. Just so long as you're not deceived into thinking that represents biblical eschatology." 
Publication date: July 31, 2014
A new poll claims that one in 200 churchgoers are involved in a homosexual relationship. 
According to the study, 0.6 percent of respondents indicated that they were involved in a relationship with a person of the same sex. The number of respondents who answered that they were living with their partner was slightly smaller. 
In response to this statistic, Ruth Gledhill for Christian Today wrote, “Although statistically small, given the size of the survey, the number is high considering the widespread hostility to homosexual relationships among the leadership of many Christian churches.”
Other findings from the study include the following: 
  • 60 percent of respondents indicated that they were married
  • 5.8 percent answered that they were divorced
  • 6.5 percent said they were remarried following a divorce
  • Two-thirds of respondents said that Christians should not cohabitate before marriage
  • About two-thirds said that Christians should marry other people of faith
  • Over two-thirds believed that physical desire did not have to lead to sex
  • About 70 percent believed that their spouse or significant other had been planned by God
They survey was conducted by Christian Research for Christian Today. 1,401 practicing Christians over the age of 16 were polled online. 
Publication date: July 31, 2014
The governor of Massachusetts has signed a bill that would once again prohibit pro-life speech around abortion clinics. The previous “buffer zone” law that forbid pro-life advocates from speaking to women within 35 feet of a clinic was struck down by the Supreme Court in June.
Supreme Court justices decided unanimously that the law prohibiting free speech was unconstitutional. However, the latest bill signed by Governor Deval Patrick will reinstate the previous buffer zone rules. 
Anne Fox, spokesperson for Massachusetts Citizens for Life is predicting the pro-choice legislators will push the bill into law. 
“As fast as they can get it through the House and signed, Massachusetts will have a law which is worse than the old Buffer Zone.  It effectively creates a 25-foot zone and the penalties are scary – $50,000 and three years in jail. The legislature is in the process of disrespecting the Supreme Court and penalizing law-abiding citizens,” Fox said. 
Publication date: July 31, 2014
The Chambers Dictionary has released its 13th edition with changes to the previous definition of marriage. Marriage is now defined as “the ceremony, act or contract by which two people become married to each other.” 
“Husband” and “wife” were altered as well to encompass married gay couples. Husband is defined as “a man to whom someone is married,” while wife is “a woman to whom someone is married.” 
The Chambers Dictionary was not the first to edit definitions in response to cultural changes. The Macmillan Dictionary changed the definition of marriage to “the relationship between two people who are husband and wife, or a similar relationship between people of the same sex,” in August 2013. 
Macmillan has not yet altered the definitions of “husband” and “wife,” but may do so in the future. Editor-in-chief Michael Rundell said, “In a same-sex relationship, two men are probably not going to refer to themselves as ‘wife,’ but it’s two women, they might, so we need to keep an eye out for that.” 
Publication date: July 31, 2014
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