Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JMAT 1:2 (Fall 97) p. 100
Robert Van Kampen, The Rapture Question Answered: Plain and Simple. Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell, 1997. 211 pp. Paperback, $10.99
Robert Van Kampen, in The Rapture Question Answered, has given a summary of his position on the timing of the rapture of the Church. This position, known as the pre-wrath rapture of the Church, apparently originated with Van Kampen himself beginning with personal Bible study in 1984. His book follows a more comprehensive book on prophecy entitled The Sign, which is also the name of an Internet site at http://www.signministries.org/ that advances Van Kampen’s prophetic ideas. The Rapture Question Answered also serves as a companion to the earlier work by one of his converts, Marv Rosenthal, entitled The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church (1990).
Van Kampen’s book begins with a chapter affirming the need to follow a literal “at face value” hermeneutic. Other views of the timing of the rapture have occurred, in his mind, because of the abandonment of taking the Bible in a straight-forward way. While the adoption of literal hermeneutics is to be applauded, as well as his rejection of evolution (which is used as an illustration in the chapter), it is not at all clear that the book has demonstrated that all other views have abandoned such an interpretive approach.
Irony exists in this respect when one notices that the first passage he mentions in the chapter is the often quoted verse (1 Cor 14:33) which says that God “is not a God of confusion” (p. 16). Van Kampen takes this particular verse in anything but a literal way when he uses it to mean that God’s Word has no confusion in it. While this present writer would agree that the Bible is not a convoluted collection of contradictory statements, one cannot take this verse as addressing this issue, for the context shows that the statement is referring to order in church worship services. So initially one must fight some suspicion that the author is really serious about his claimed approach to Bible interpretation. Unfortunately, this notion is not eased by reading the remainder of the book.
Chapter two contains some interesting biographical information concerning Van Kampen’s pilgrimage, with the rather arbitrary climax that the sign of the coming of Christ as
JMAT 1:2 (Fall 97) p. 101
described in Matthew 24:29–31 is “the key to understanding the timing of Christ’s return” (p. 47). Chapter three establishes his view of basic features of the Day of the Lord wrath, including the need to see the rapture as initiating (on the same day) this awful time ...
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