The Rapture: Cosmic Segregation Or Antidote For Oppression? A Critical Response To The “Racial Ideology Of Rapture” -- By: Cory M. Marsh

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 024:2 (Fall 2020)
Article: The Rapture: Cosmic Segregation Or Antidote For Oppression? A Critical Response To The “Racial Ideology Of Rapture”
Author: Cory M. Marsh


The Rapture: Cosmic Segregation Or Antidote For Oppression?
A Critical Response To The “Racial Ideology Of Rapture”

Cory M. Marsh

Abstract: This article offers a much-needed critical response to a 2016 essay published in Perspectives in Religious Studies. In this essay, author Nathaniel P. Grimes suggested that the doctrine of the rapture was an idea used to promote “cosmic segregation,” a heavenly avenue of escape for white supremacists from blacks and other ethnic groups which society had marginalized. Framed against contemporary notions of social justice, the article will first expose Grimes’s flawed methodology used to validate positions condemning the rapture as a racist doctrine before building a positive case for the rapture as a biblical antidote for oppression against minorities in the current economy.

Key Words: Rapture, cosmic segregation, white supremacy, social justice, suppression

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Introduction

In keeping with trending social issues, a recently published article in Perspectives in Religious Studies 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.2 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 that society had marginalized.

The current article will offer a critical response to Grimes’s thesis by first exposing a flawed research methodology he used to validate positions condemning the rapture as a racist doctrine. Additionally, against the backdrop of contemporary hotbed notions of social justice, the essay 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.

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