A Surrejoinder To David Rausch’s Rejoinder -- By: Timothy P. Weber

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 24:1 (Mar 1981)
Article: A Surrejoinder To David Rausch’s Rejoinder
Author: Timothy P. Weber


A Surrejoinder To David Rausch’s Rejoinder

Timothy P. Weber

Though I never considered David Rausch’s original article to be a personal attack, after reading his rejoinder I am beginning to get a little suspicious. Rausch initially criticized a few pages’ worth of my views on the relationship between Jews and premillennialists. Now he takes issue with my whole book.

It is safe to say that Rausch does not care for my Living in the Shadow of the Second Coming. He calls it shoddy, shallow, simplistic, inaccurate, insensitive, imprecise and pejorative. He thinks my main thesis is a psychological fantasy, states that I portray premillennialists as ethereal, slinking robots (an interesting image, to say the least), and claims to have located the thousands of pages I did not read while I did my research. He does not even like the book’s title and assures us that Arno C. Gaebelein (who died in 1945) would not have liked it either. If Rausch is right about all this, somebody ought to put my book out of its misery. After reading his analysis, one might seriously wonder how the manuscript ever sneaked by a dissertation committee at the University of Chicago, the editors of Oxford University Press, and so many book reviewers (including some premillennialists)—all of whom rather liked it.

One side of me would like to give a detailed, blow-by-blow response to Rausch’s rejoinder. But his arguments are so ad hominem and personally directed that it would be hard to do so without sounding overly defensive and self-serving. I will gladly leave it to the readers of JETS and my book to judge the spirit and validity of the bulk of Rausch’s comments. Though I choose not to answer Rausch in kind, I would like to draw attention to some of the more substantive issues in his rejoinder.

First, I am surprised by Rausch’s claim that I caricature premillennialists in such a distorted and negative way. As indicated in my introduction, I wrote to correct those who “present premillennialism as a reactionary movement of the socially disinherited, psychologically disturbed, and theologically naive.1

Throughout the book, I endeavored to show that

premillennialism must be seen as an authentic part of the conservative evangelical movement at the end of the nineteenth century that gained popularity among those conservatives who favored a rather literalistic interpretation of Scripture, and who recognized in premillennialism a way to remain both biblical and evangelical under difficult circumstances.2

With the exception of Rausch, no reviewer has called the book a negative or unsym...

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