Book Review–The Rapture Exposed, by Barbara R. Rossing

The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation” is a full on exorcism of the damaging theology and practice that arises from adopting the end-times ideas espoused by the (sadly and revealingly) popular Left Behind series of novels.

Rev. Dr. Rossing examines the problems caused by adopting a Rapture-orientated, “dispensationalist” reading of the book of Revelation. A view that has become prevalent throughout the works published by Tim LaHaye (The Left Behind series) and Hal Lindsey (The Late Great Planet Earth). Not only are the recent historical roots of this interpretation exposed (it is not the traditional or only way of reading Revelation), but Rossing also clearly demonstrates how shaky its foundations are in the key scriptures that its students claim use to support their view. To embrace a “Left Behind” theology is to embrace a hermeneutical approach that is very selective of its key texts, uber-literalistic, and, in most cases, moves beyond its own literalism by importing into the text ideas and concepts which are clearly not intended by the original authors to their original audiences.

Having recently finished Reading Revelation Responsibly by Michael Gorman, I would suggest that the The Rapture Exposed makes a great follow on/reading companion to that work. Whereas Gorman’s work provides a more thorough framework to understanding the key symbols and themes of Revelation, Rossing’s work provides a more thorough critique of the ideas purported by Tim LaHaye and alike.

If you truly want to grasp the true message of Revelation—a message that doesn’t endorse violence but subverts it—then I would highly recommend this book!

–Tristan Sherwin, Author of Love: Expressed


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