Religion Reporting

I wish that reporters who cover the religion beat knew their theology better. For example, in this article, which is about the efforts of “moderate Christians” (those who follow Christ in moderation?) to counter teachings about the rapture. The writer, Andrea Hopkins, does a pretty good job of comparing Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind novels with the teachings of the of Lutheran and Episcopal ministers she interviews, but she slips late in the article when she confuses the rapture with the second coming:

The success of the graphic novels is just one indication of the strength of belief in rapture, Armageddon, and the subsequent second coming of Jesus Christ. A 2006 survey for the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found 79 percent of American Christians believe in the second coming, with 20 percent believing it will happen in their lifetime.

I should hope that all Christians would believe in the second coming, since Jesus himself promised that it would happen, and it’s been included from the very beginning in foundational documents like the Nicene Creed. But the rapture is a distinct sub-belief, believed only by premillenialists, and then only by some premillenialists.

Also, Hopkins, as well as some of the ministers she interviews, seem to think that the rapture is based on Revelation, when the true foundation of rapture theology is 1 Thessalonians. I really wouldn’t expect the average reporter to pick up on this, but it’s disappointing that these ministers aren’t a bit more precise.

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