However, the concept of an "any-minute rapture, followed by the Second Coming of Jesus 7 years later," Brown contends, may not be rooted in truth. Instead, Brown invites Christians to consider whether "rather than being rescued from a time of Great Tribulation, God will enable us to endure and overcome while in the midst of it?"
Looking back to his infancy in Christ in the '70s, Brown recalls that the imminent return of Christ and the pre-tribulation was taught as a given: "This was Bible. This was truth."
The more Dr. Brown pored over the Scriptures and studied them, however, "the more I realized I didn’t learn this doctrine from the Scriptures. I learned it from other books."
"Once I went back to reading the Scriptures alone, without other commentary or interpretation, delving into the Hebrew and Greek as best as I could," he continued, "I concluded that the pre-tribulation rapture was not scriptural."
Dr. Brown says he wasn't surprised when he learned that "the doctrine was virtually unknown throughout Church history until the 1830s."
Still, he says, some of his best friends, some of the "finest Christians on the planet", and even some of the best Bible teachers affirm a pre-tribulation rapture.
That's fine, he declares: "I don’t divide over this issue, and I don’t fight over it."
While Dr. Brown would not divide in fellowship with other believers over this side issue, he and his colleague Professor Craig Keener felt that "now was the time" to publish their latest book, Not Afraid of the Antichrist: Why We Don’t Believe in a Pre-tribulation Rapture, and it already has its share of opponents who "bash" it and refuse to read it.
"Within the Church, there have been competing views about the end-times for centuries," Dr. Brown explains, "and we can agree to disagree with love and respect."
Dr. Brown assures that "Prof. Keener and I do not bash those with whom we differ, and they will see that we examine opposing views with fairness and grace."
Ultimately, Dr. Brown hopes that readers will be encouraged that "throughout Church history, right until this moment, our fellow-believers are suffering atrocities for the gospel – being burned alive, buried alive, beheaded, tortured, imprisoned, and exile. Yet, in Paul’s words, 'in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us' (Romans 8:37)."
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