Rapture Games

It’s a unique experience to grow up as a fundamentalist child who is constantly under the threat of either being suddenly yanked out of the world in the twinkling of a eye or being left behind as an orphan for seven years of tribulation. This is stuff that will keep an eight-year-old up at night. If I’m in heaven, who’s going to feed my dog? (In case you’re wondering you can prepare ahead with a letter to an unsaved animal lover via raptureletters.com)

But to their credit, fundamentalist children are nothing if not creative when faced with the possibility of suddenly being disembodied. For example, there’s a helpful clause in Scripture which says that “no man knows the day or the hour” of the Lord’s return. If you’ve ever made it a bedtime ritual to proclaim “I know the Lord will return tomorrow” in hopes of using reverse psychology on the Almighty to stave off the End Times, you might have been a fundamentalist child.

But for those without a clever Rapture-prevention strategy, the fear of being left behind in the midst of Tribulation chaos is a real one for fundamentalists of all ages. The ubiquitous tale of pilots sucked out of the cockpits of their airliners to the doom of the passengers calls for giving some careful scrutiny to the flight crew when boarding an aircraft to see if there are visible clues to their salvation status. “Everybody relax, the pilot has a mustache.” It looks like any unsaved passengers will get to live for another day.

If you’ve ever been awakened from a dead sleep by a car horn and your first thought was “I’ve been left behind!” — you probably have been a fundamentalist.

292 thoughts on “Rapture Games”

  1. The images of driverless cars crashing into other cars and planes plummeting from the sky made many a Wednesday night service into nightmares. Who wouldn’t miss the opportunity to hear of how your parents might be heading toward the sky to be with Jesus while you, if you hadn’t “accepted” Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Good times.

    1. Only a slightly different variance, what about scare tactics used on parents to rattle them with the rapture?

      As one who converted TO Pre-mill from A-mill, I have always been amazed by those who say babies and children go in the rapture.

      No evidence anywhere in the Bible of that at all.

      The Rapture , according to every one who beleive in it, is about the removal of those indwelt by the Holy Spirit (the Church) , not innocencey.

      I believe babies and those too you to understand who die go to heaven…but not the rapture. Apples and oranges.

      Yet every time I have brought this up to a Pastor who preaches that they do–I am met with hems and haws or blank satres b/c they never thought of that.


      1. I’d always been taught that the Rapture was for those who were saved. The issue of babies and young children wasn’t really mentioned, and not being a parent, I didn’t think about it. (I do think there was a Christian cartoon out there with a nurse on the cover shrieking about how all the babies were missing, and of course the Left Behind series had young ones raptured to heaven.)

        Now that I have children of my own, I am HORRIFIED to think of my husband and I being raptured, and my 3 year old or even 8 year old left behind to deal with the Tribulation WITHOUT ME! Where’s the comfort in that? Where’s the joy? “Yay, I made it to heaven!!!! Hooray!!!! Who cares about my poor, pathetic, frightened, deserted child left on earth to starve unless she gets the mark of the beast?” That’s just awful. And upsetting.

        I think it’s that scenario that’s made people decide that children get raptured too.

        1. To be consistent, you’d have to believe that pregnant women would find themselves suddenly not pregnant anymore, too. I had a friend who actually told me that would happen. Even at my fundy-est, I thought that was over the top.

        2. @grace2live, I know! So I’m really wondering what my position is. I’ve always been pretrib, premil, but where is the hope in believing that my little children will be left behind? I believe in a God of love and compassion with a heart for the fatherless and helpless. I just don’t see how snatching away believing parents and leaving their little children behind fits with this image of God. I guess I’m going to have to do some praying and studying, because I cannot pray “Even so come, Lord Jesus” if His coming means my little ones will be left alone.

        3. I have thought long and hard about the Rapture, having also been raised pre-Trib and pre-Millennial. I am reminded that one of the principles of Bible study is that you don’t study a verse or a passage by itself, but by comparing it with other passages that address the same topic. The Rapture is explicitly described in I Thess. 4, but that’s really about it. The passage at the beginning of Acts may or may not be talking about the Rapture. There are other passages that may be talking about the Rapture, but they are not explicit about when it will occur, let alone how the details about children. Therefore, I refuse to be dogmatic and say, “This is exactly how the Rapture will come to pass.” I don’t even know if we have the slightest grasp of what the Rapture will really be. And you know what? I don’t have to. The Lord will keep me in His care no matter where He has me, and I will follow and trust Him no matter where or when that may be.

    2. Pastors Wife – Seems as though I get slammed alot for using scripture on SFL but its the only way I know to live, so how about this verse for consideration.

      1 Corinthians 7:14 “For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

      1. Thanks for sharing the verse. That verse along with the end of Acts 16:31 are ones that I don’t totally understand. I can only rely on a God of love and mercy.

        1. PW – Yes, they do kind of seem to go together. I think I understand the Acts verse alittle better because of its context.

          I too am confident and relying on our loving Saviour, and trusting Him fully.

        2. PW, I was confused by that verse for a long time until learning (in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement) a bit about culture differences. Being from a very individualistic culture, we have a tough time understanding the “entire household” part. What I learned is that Jewish culture at the time was more of a collectivistic culture, where groups tended to make decisions as a whole. Thus, the passage focuses not just on him but on his entire household. That’s how I’ve come to understand it, at least. Hope it’s helpful!

        3. Oops…I said Jewish culture, but the jailer wasn’t Jewish of course. I’m pretty certain most middle eastern cultures at the time were collectivistic…most of the world is, in fact. We’re at the pretty extreme end of individualism.

  2. Not to mention the “watch night” services on New Year’s Eve… In our slightly more liberal IFB church, end-times movies were a part of the schedule each year, and let me tell you, that was some scary stuff for a 12-year old. I don’t know why, but there seemed to be an unstated assumption that the rapture was even more likely than usual to happen at midnight on December 31st, 1999 (EST, of course, since that was our time zone)…

    1. “(EST, of course, since that was our time zone)” 😀

      Seriously though, growing up under that burden was a nightmare at times. Surpassed only by “what if I die today and there is unconfessed sin in my life?”. 😡 😡 Ever watch “The Burning Hell” by one Estus Prikle (IFB)? I could say the lines…

      Fundie theology is psychologically seriously warped.

    2. LOL at the “unstated assumption.” I know exactly what you’re talking about. My church growing up screened the Thief in the Night series (known in the vulgar tongue as “the Rapture movies”) one film at a time over the course of about three years. They began with the second movie, though, since A Thief in the Night had a couple scenes with hippie Jesus music.

      1. Your church thought “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” was hippie music? I heard that song sung as a special several times in my church. But I can see how the scene with the girls in their hideous 70s clothes and hair and the long-haired blond guy singing the song might have been a little too much for some folks. I haven’t seen that movie in close to 20 years. Good times. 🙄

      2. Ooo, the Thief in the Night movies scared me so, so badly as a young teen! I still have visions of that girl Pattie screaming she wants to take the Mark of the Beast after all, just before the freak earthquake hits and engages the guillotine she was strapped to, sending her to her eternal punishment! Lol, I slept with the light on after that one!

        Our church thought the music was Hippie Jesus Music too, but frowning upon the music wasn’t enough to deter them from the potential benefits of scaring the pants off a bunch of teens with the Thief in the Night and all of its B-list glory!

    3. I remember the year 2000 being a big time when a lot of folks “strongly suspected” that the Lord would return. Never mind that since our calendar is off by a few years, it wasn’t actually 2000 years from Christ’s birth.

      I remember hearing a fundy preacher tell the tale of how he was in an airport on New Years Eve 1999 and watching the news reports about the New Year countdown in Israel. He suddenly thought that maybe the Lord would come back on Israel time and felt bad that he was drinking coffee since it was something “Brother Roloff” used to preach against.

      He set his cup down and watched the countdown. Nothing happened.

      So he looked around and said “Lord, I hope you don’t mind if I finish this” and picked his coffee cup back up again.

      He told this story from the pulpit.

      1. Wow.

        I actually have this weird thing about .22 long rifle ammunition (bear with me) because of Y2k. In my corner of Fundyland there was a mixture of anticipation that, yes, The Rapture Would Happen, and that all computers everywhere would go down and we’d be back in the stone age. One of my teachers gave me a book about how to prepare for that meltdown. It’s tone was shrill paranoia. The only bit of advice I clearly remember is to get a swimming pool for the water and hoard .22 LR, because that would be valuable in the inevitable barter economy.

        I’ve wandered far afield here. Forgive me. But Fundyland is just that kind of morass.

        1. I could probably write an entire book on the lessons learned by the reactions of Christians in general and fundies in specific to the Y2K scare.

          We had a church who send us 20 pages of instructions on how to deal with the coming crisis.

          It included stockpiling fuel and food at the church and then stockpiling guns to shoot anybody who wanted to take it away from them. It was beautiful.

        2. I remember delivering the Saturday morning papers (I had a paper route for about a year back then)early so I could get some extra sleep Saturday morning and it was about 11:50 PM when I got started on New Years Eve 1999…12 Midnight…12:10 AM…12:30AM came and went….no electrical outages…no mushroom clouds…no gang wars over food…I used the ATM to get some money and bought a dounut and coffee…that was that. Morons.

        3. Y2K was not just a fundie “Duck and Cover” event. I actually had to spend the night on the phone for a conference call with all the telephone central offices for the company I worked for at the time. We were on the call all night incase the systems crashed when the date reached 2000. (of course if they would have then the call would have dropped and we would have been unable to restore the system anyway so it was just an exercise in paranoia.)

        4. Can someone please explain the fundy obsession with guns to me?

          I can’t seem to find the verse that says “If someone demands your coat, then bust a cap in their @$$”

        5. @Robin,
          I will give you my hypothesis: it’s because American Fundamentalist view the Constitution on the same level as the Scriptures: INSPIRED. Because of this, the 2nd Amendment provision to keep and bear arms is sacred and denial of this “right” is akin to denying the Trinity or something. That’s my story and I’m stick’n to it. :mrgreen:

        6. @Robin,

          “Can someone please explain the fundy obsession with guns to me?”

          It’s not universal. I spent ten years at PCC, and they were moderately anti-gun, at least for the “little people.” Dr. Mullenix and Dr. Mutsch both preached against the ownership of guns for defensive purposes as demonstrating a lack of faith. I think it pretty much comes down to whether or not the local man o’gid likes guns or not; if the M.O.G. likes them, they’re sacred, and if he doesn’t, they’re worldly, just like with any other issue.

          FWIW, I’m pro-gun ownership, and am most definitely not a fundie.

      2. The date-setting isn’t over yet. We’ve got a bunch posting on billboards around Nashville that Jesus is coming back on May 21, 2011. I get reminded every day on the way to get coffee. I guess on May 22, I’ll go get my coffee and see who looks disappointed. *shrug*

        1. I have heard that one too. I already have my white sheet ironed and I will be standing on a mountaintop on 5-11-11. SO EXCITED!!! :mrgreen:

      3. This particular rapture believing fundy (me) went to bed at 8pm on Dec. 31, 1999 and had a wonderful night sleep. The idiots proclaiming the end of the world seemed to forget all the passages about God being in complete control and the joy and peace we believers should have no matter what happens. I believe the doctrine of the rapture with all of my heart but I am not worried about it either. Paul wrote about it not to scare people into believing but to encourage those who already believed. Where many fundamentalist have failed is that they try to explain every detail of the rapture (of which there are very few) and go beyond what is stated in Scripture. They also try and use it as an evangelistic tool of which it is not. We have no business doing that. They also incorrectly use passages in the OT and the Gospels referring to the Second Coming and try to make it apply to the rapture. 🙄

      1. Seems like their still pushing it too. The problem being, it’s only as valuable as a rate of exchange as the present society places on it. So, if you own, let’s say, 10 hogs and a mass of food, someone flashing gold before your eyes will do little for you…however, HE wants to buy some of your food and maybe a hog…therefore, your hogs become the present rate of exchange and the gold becomes a conversation piece. What I suppose I am saying is that barter would become the norm rather than some hillbilly sitting on a bunch of gold and silver that no one cares about because you can’t eat it.

        1. Smith, You sound a lot like Dave Ramsey. The good thing is that I bought the gold for $290 an ounce and now it is worth over $1,400 an ounce. Besides I think my subdivision has covenants against hogs in the back yard.

        2. Bill, If you find out your subdivision will allow hogs, 1,400 will buy quite a few, hey, come to think of it I need a Christmas ham, maybe you go into business, oh, no wait a minute, let’s wait and see if the democrats are going to mercilessly tax new business’s before we make our business plan. Uh-Oh I’m stirring the pot again.

        3. @Bill,
          That’s fine…except if the economy tanks, then it’s worth nothing! You might be able to trade with others who have gold, however, few and far between will be the people who have it…then what?

        4. I’ve pretty sure that if the world undergoes some catastrophic meltdown, I’m going to be one of the ones that doesn’t make it. I don’t know how to grow or can food or sew my own clothes (or sew up gaping wounds). My house is stockpiled with books, not guns or food or ammo (or gold or pigs). I can show people how to diagram sentences, act, play the piano, or understand Shakespeare – but I’ve got the feeling those skills aren’t going to be in demand in a post-apocalyptic society.

          OK, that got really off-topic. Sorry!

    4. @Robin – This seems to be a recurring theme here (on SFL) that fundies have an overt attraction to guns, never ever heard or obsd that in my 40 years in fundyland, and I live in a rural area.

      1. Yeah, I’m not sure how Fundies get labeled as gun-crazy, and it certainly can be true, just as almost anyone can be gun-crazy. I grew up in a Fundy church–among many Fundy churches–in rural Georgia. I knew many hunters, a few gun collectors, maybe one or two legitimate “gun nuts”–and just as many people who didn’t hunt and/or didn’t like guns.

        1. Must be the fundies I know…because most that I have known pack some serious heat and act as though toting guns around and having a packed gun safe is a Biblical mandate. …mostly to ‘bust a cap in whoever comes to touch ‘mah stuff’ 🙄

        2. Both former IFB pastors of mine carried guns, since their lives had been threatened numerous times by the unsaved who were afraid of the truth, to hear them tell it. So yes, to me “Fundie” and “gun-crazy” do go hand in hand.

        3. let him who doesn’t have a sword go and buy one – a gun being a modern-day sword, naturally.

      2. I think it may be because, at least here in the southern US, most fundies are very politically conservative, and owning guns or at least supporting the 2nd amendment goes along with that.

        Our old pastor didn’t preach about guns or anything from the pulpit, but it was open knowledge that many church members carried either on their person or in there cars, and there were a few cases of weapons being compared or bought and sold in the parking lot after church (I got a great deal on a hunting rifle from our Sunday School teacher).

    5. Yeah, but those Jesus people singing “I wish we’d all been ready” set up a bunch of us for when DC Talk did the remake and then we decided maybe they weren’t all bad…

  3. I’m not even kidding–the Rapture terrified me. Didn’t matter how “assured” I was that I would “get raptured.” Just remembering all the anxiety I had about it as a kid is enough to give my flight from Fundyland a second wind. I still have nightmares about it occasionally.

    It’s almost enough to rob the joy from the ridiculous and outright hilarious Fundy myths that have accrued on the Rapture concept like a year of bread mold–that all airliners are required to have one unsaved pilot on board (apparently the FAA is dispensational), et cetera ad nauseum.

    1. all airliners are required to have one unsaved pilot on board (apparently the FAA is dispensational)

      I remember hearing that one as a kid. I thought it was nonsense even back then.

      1. That always made me laugh. If “the world” were against Christians, then why would they take them so seriously on the point of the Rapture so as to mitigate for something they view as a fairy tale at best and a dangerous delusion at worst?

    2. BTDT, I had nightmares for days after seeing that damned movie. Thing is, I was (and still am) a scary movie fan and I’d seen a lot worse on TV but that was and I Knew it was just fiction, where ‘Thief’ was being presented as something that could happen and sooner rather than later. I also remember in high school wondering what the point of being alive was since (according to our pastor) I wasn’t going to live long enough to go to college, get married or do anything but sit in a boring sunday school class.

    3. I never wanted the rapture to happen either, and this always bothered me, because we’re SUPPOSED to want it to happen soon.

      Have you ever suddenly noticed your friends were no where to be found, and freaked out a little that maybe you got left behind? That used to happen to me at the mall in Greenville if I couldn’t locate my BJ friends.

      Then in 2000 when the rapture was in full-hype I got a dog, and I was always filling extra water into his bowl, with a prayer that someone will come find him before he runs out. He’s too short to reach the toilet bowl.

      1. “I never wanted the rapture to happen either, and this always bothered me, because we’re SUPPOSED to want it to happen soon.”

        Right on! That was my biggest objection to the way they view Revelation. Even if you believe in the Rapture as they preach it, it’s supposed to be intense joy and not this scary thing that they often preach.

    4. Every time I came home to an empty house as a kid, I was in a state of panic that my family had been raptured and that I wasn’t really saved. Whether one believes in it or not, the Fundy teaching on the rapture is totally inappropriate for kids.

    5. It used to scare the crap out of me too. I remember as an adolescent boy (I’m 48 now) hoping I would be able to at least have sex before Jesus came back. Oh, what adolescent boys think about… 😉

  4. The threat of the imminent Rapture was what got me saved when I was at Word of Life Ranch. We were told, using all kinds of lurid stories, that it was right around the corner. Scared the crap out of me.

    That was in July of 1965. Jesus hasn’t showed up yet . . . 😕

      1. Jesus didn’t say “come to me, all you who are scared out of your minds and stay up sleepless nights.” Yeah, it is great that he got saved but at what cost? That he was terrified of a loving, mericiful Lord who sacrificed Himself so we wouldn’t have to live through terror?

  5. Pilot with a mustache! Classic.

    Atonement time. Anyone who ever put a “Warning! In Case of Rapture This Car Will Be Unmanned” bumper sticker on their car gas to say 10 “Seig Hyles”.

  6. “It’s almost enough to rob the joy from the ridiculous and outright hilarious Fundy myths that have accrued on the Rapture concept like a year of bread mold–that all airliners are required to have one unsaved pilot on board (apparently the FAA is dispensational),…”

    Isn’t it funny how Fundies are supposed to not be “of the world” but they know ALL the rules the world follows when it comes to their pet paranoia(s)?

  7. Thanks for the reference to “The Burning Hell” by Estus Pirkle. I had heard of this years ago but had forgotten about it. I just watched a brief clip on YouTube. Interesting that out of all the nicely coiffed women and white-shirt-and-black-tied men in that audience, the one prime candidate for hell was the young guy with the long-ish hair and the goatee. (Well, gee, who ELSE would it be??)

        1. That is the State’s Motto. On the North Carolina State Seal..
          Not just the Wolfpack, but the entire state.

          btw, I am a Wolfpack fan, and my son is a Dukie. (so we are a house divided….) 😯

  8. Then there’s this: http://eternal-earthbound-pets.com/

    The irony gives me the giggles.

    My outstanding rapture memory is of sitting in a missionary service hearing a story (no doubt, 100-percent verified by the teller) about a group of orphan girls living in China who were so excited for the rapture that they would wake up at dawn every morning and run to the window to look for Jesus. I felt a few hours of guilt over that and considered asking my mom to wake me earlier in the morning so I could do the same. But that feeling passed quickly.

    1. For those who love their pets enough for them be taken care of in case of rapture, but who don’t love people enough to share Christ. . .

      I was pleased the site was run by atheists and not some church – that would be really (un)funny.

    2. I remember Tom Williams (the “cowboy preacher” who hung out with Hyles and has had various Christian dude ranch ministries) telling about an orphanage/ boarding school where the students would wake up in the morning and be freaked out if there were no clouds- the logic being that if there were no clouds Jesus could not return. He said they would pray all day for clouds. And then of course he ended his story with something to the effect of “Are YOU that dedicated to looking for Jesus’ return?”

    3. This left behind pet idea occurred to us several years ago when we’d be gone on tour for weeks at a time, and we laughed about it. So I fiddled around with the words to an old cowboy song called “When the Work’s All Done This Fall” and came up with this bit. It’s meant to be a for-fun song, though, for the record, I do listen for trumpets. It used get some good ay-mens when we played the 1611 churches. 🙂 There was a cowboy who came to our WY church more regularly than some members because he had promised his wife he would, but he openly said this salvation stuff wasn’t for him. We thought we’d hit Val up for taking care of the pets for us. I’ve been gone for a few years from there but friends tell me Val finally came to Jesus. I never told him I wrote this song for him. Might have scared him to gettin’ saved sooner!! 😆

      Bill Please Feed My Horse

      A group of jolly cowboys were discussing plans at ease
      Said one, “I’ll tell you something, boys, if you will listen, please.
      The way the world is going, things are gettin’ bad down here,
      So don’t you be surprised, boys, if I someday disappear.

      Now don’t look so dismayed, boys, as I’m tellin’ this to you.
      You know I’d never pull my freight is there is work to do.
      But Jesus said He’s coming back to take His people home,
      So someday you might look for me and find that I am gone.

      Now, Bill, you won’t trust Jesus, you’ve said so all along,
      So I expect you’ll be here after I am gone.
      There are some things that worry me around the ranch, of course.
      If someday I should vanish, Bill please feed my horse.

      Hi deedle ay-ee yodel ay-ee yodel-ay-ee

      You seen that bumper sticker on my pickup bumper and
      It says ‘In case of rapture this vehicle is unmanned.’
      Bill, I left a paper in the bunkhouse, you can check,
      That says you get my pickup if my pickup isn’t wrecked.

      Bob, you take my boots, Fred, you take my hat,
      Cause I won’t be needin’ them up there where I’ll be at
      Bill, you always liked my saddle, so it’s yours, of course.
      Take the saddle blanket, too, but don’t forget to feed my horse.

      I’ve told you fellers many times how Jesus died for you
      And if you put your trust in Him, you’d be going, too.
      Just get saved and come with me to that heavenly home,
      And if you do, about my horse…well, I guess he’s on his own.

      Hi deedle ay-ee yodel ay-ee yodel-ay-ee

  9. I have clear memories of seeing a “theif in the night”-style play and being totally freaked out; watching those movies AND singing that song with my friends (“I wish we’d all been ready”)(now THAT’S going to be in my head all day 😡 ).

    In high school our Bible teacher had us watch those movies (or similar?) for weeks on end and I’d ask to leave the room because they terrified me. I was ripe for an anxiety disorder, anyway, because of (carefully concealed) family history, but fundy fearmongering and my complete inabilbity to live up to impossible expectations pushed me over the edge to full-blown panic attacks.

    It’s really leaning toward mental/emotional abuse, isn’t it?, to keep scaring the crap out of children who have already “accepted” Christ as Savior and are “saved.” I guess they had to make really, really, really sure we were uncertain enough to keep working our way to heaven.

    1. “to keep scaring the crap out of children who have already “accepted” Christ as Savior and are “saved.” I guess they had to make really, really, really sure we were uncertain enough to keep working our way to heaven.”

      Oh, wow, Sarah! You said a mouthful there. That’s a lot for me to think on! It always amazed me that the Paul wrote in the Thessalonians chapter that we were to COMFORT one another with these words not SCARE THE PANTS OFF EACH OTHER!

  10. I never understood how the fundy mindset absolutely forbade any movie beyond a G rating and pre-approved status, but managed to produce horrific slash rapture movies and books. We passed around a rapture novel on my bus when I was in the third grade — gave me nightmares for weeks.

    (BTW, I’m copyrighting “Slash Rapture”.)

  11. You can watch the whole “Thief in the Night” series on youtube.

    Now it makes me laugh. . .and feel sad that 6 year olds were subjected to a movie that would have been R-rated back in the 80’s and early 90’s. Especially certain scenes like the woman laying there, while the guillotine blade is hovering above her head. Before it finally chops her head off.

    What made it worse at a young age, was that in most horror movies, it was truly unlikely that the events pictured could actually happen. As a young fundamentalist child, you were CONVINCED, that it very well COULD happen to you. What if you didn’t say “the prayer” and “mean it enough”??? The guillotine could very well be where you end up.

    1. “What if you hadn’t meant it enough?” YES!!! My fear exactly!

      My parents, though, were VERY sheltering (we didn’t have a TV until I was 16), so when they showed the movies at our church I was 11 or 12 and they wouldn’t let me see them. All kids under 13 stayed in the fellowship hall.

      I did see them a couple years later at some youth retreats. They were SCARY!

      Anyone remember the child with the balloon? Later you hear the guillotine and a prisoner sees the balloon drifting up past his cell window toward heaven.

        1. Those movies are so poorly made but their images have the power of nightmares. I can still see every moment of the guillotine scene as clearly as if I’d just woken up sweating from a nightmare.

        1. I remember my salvation as being in direct contrast to this damning fear. God saved me when I realized salvation was based on what HE had done, not what I had done or whether I had “meant” a prayer enough.

    2. I never saw those movies even though I was saved in the late 60’s. Somebody asked me one time if I was “familiar with The Thief in the Night” and I said, “What kind of a girl do you think I am!”

    3. I never saw those movies, but I had friends who did and who described them quite vividly. I kept wondering . . . why guillotines? Why not firing squad or lethal injection? Because guillotines are so messy and allow you to scare the living daylights out of everyone, that’s why.

  12. Darrell, the percentage of your posts that chronicle something I have actually experienced rivals any other blog I have ever read. It’s like you were sitting there on my shoulder as I grew up…

    I had my fair share of “rapture scares” throughout my life. Wake up in the morning and the fam is not in the immediate vicinity? “Wow, I knew I would blow it. I missed the RAPTURE and now I will probably die a horrific death without my family!” Come home to an empty kitchen? “OMG-where-are-they-I’ve-been-leffffftttt-behinnnnnnd!” Had more than one such freak-out session.

    And now I’m OCD. :scratches head: If I told my family, they would be like, “Why? You had such a perfect childhood. You have no reason to be that way. Just stop doing it.”

    SFL: scaring the crap out of you, and then shaming you for your timidity.

    1. x2! I can’t count how many times I was in a state of panic because the house was empty. And every time I “got saved”, I was worried if I meant it enough that time and it would stick and I’d have peace. Well, it’s hard to have peace when every preacher and Sunday School teacher it trying to disturb you. 😕

  13. The comments, as a;ways, are a worthy read, but I have to stop and give kudos to Darrell for this:

    QUOTE: The ubiquitous tale of pilots sucked out of the cockpits of their airliners to the doom of the passengers calls for giving some careful scrutiny to the flight crew when boarding an aircraft to see if there are visible clues to their salvation status. “Everybody relax, the pilot has a mustache.” It looks like any unsaved passengers will get to live for another day.END QUOTE

    I was laughing out loud at work!

  14. During one Watchnight Service, I was sitting next to my brother Uriah and they dimmed the lights to start the Rapture Ready Movie. Brother Calhoun, who is very old and very senile, boldly walked from his spot on the Amen Pew in front back to where Uriah and I were sitting. He pointed his finger at the two of us and said, “THERE AIN’T GONNA BE NO HANKY PANKY DURING THIS PICTURE SHOW, IS THERE?” I was so embarassed. Uriah said, “Brother Calhoun, this is my sister!” Brother Calhoun stepped back and looked horrified. “YOU MEAN YER DATING YER SISTER!!??”

    It took quite a few minutes to calm him down and for my dad, the Head Usher, to get him back to his seat. Mrs. Calhoun apologized later via a boxed cassette series by one of the Rice daughters from a Joyful Woman Jubilee. And, there’s a new rule that women sit on one side and men sit on the other during our Family Film Night, just so Mr. Calhoun doesn’t get upset.

    1. CMG, you will do well to just stay away from Brother Calhoun the best that you can, and tell other young ladies to do the same. For him to accuse you and your brother like that, especially since he should know your innocent soul even better than we do here, means he has a dirty mind. The Bible warns against wolves among the sheep, and he is certainly acting like a wolf!

      1. Who doesn’t love CMG? 😀

        If more Fundies were like her, some of us might feel better about the movement. Maybe. A little. Didn’t say anyone would go back, though.

  15. “If you’ve ever made it a bedtime ritual to proclaim ‘I know the Lord will return tomorrow’ in hopes of using reverse psychology on the Almighty to stave off the End Times, you might have been a fundamentalist child.”

    I so did that! I also believed that the verse about the “Son of Man coming in the clouds” referred to the rapture, so I was always happy for a cloudless day (no clouds = no rapture).

  16. Many sermons, illustrations, and really bad movies on end time pontification created within me a fear that Christ would return and that I might not be ready. Absolutely did the reverse psychology prayer many times. Vividly remember many nights of nightmares when the movie “Red Dawn” came out in the theaters. Not that we were allowed to go to a moving picture show, but I saw an ad. I realized that the USSR, “the Great Bear”, could conquer the USA like the movie said and bring in not only WWIII, but the tribulation as well. Yikes!

  17. I remember countless conversations about the physics of the rapture:
    – “If I’m raptured, but I donated my kidney to my unsaved brother, will that kidney be ripped from his body?”
    – “If he donated his kidney to me, will it simply drop to the floor when I’m raptured?”
    – “When the dead in Christ rise, will their posthumously donated body parts be ripped from the recipients?”
    – “What about my false teeth/metal knee/pacemaker? Will they simply fall to the ground?”
    – “What about my tattoo? (From when I was unsaved of course) Will the ink drop to the floor and stain the carpet?”
    – “If an unsaved woman is pregnant, will her unborn baby be raptured out of her womb?”

    These are the questions that really matter.

    1. You missed one that was big in my circle – when we are raptured, will we explode into chunks and leave behind a pool of blood as our soul & spirit leaves our body.


      I can find pages and pages of forum threads debating this.

      1. I believe there was Ruckmanite dogma floating around at some point that piles of skin and blood would be everywhere since “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven.” Who knew my heavenly body would be a skeleton!

  18. Put me down as another person who had nightmares about being left behind! Once I looked up from being lost in a book and realized the house was dead silent! Everyone was GONE! Now they were actually outside in the back yard, but I was terrified the rapture had come.

    It was horrifying because there was NOTHING to do! I’d already asked Jesus to be my Savior! What else could I do? Unfortunately, I’d done it more than once when I felt doubt so according to some preachers that was a sure sign of damnation. It proved I wasn’t trusting; lack of trust = unbelief = unsaved. I didn’t know how to BE any more saved than I was. It was a constant, constant fear that I’ve lived with my whole life, and I’ve only as an adult tried to rest on what Jesus has done for me, but there are times when I absolutely despair of my salvation because I’m so scared I didn’t have godly repentence or admitted I was a sinner the right way.

    1. Put me down as another person who had nightmares about being left behind! Once I looked up from being lost in a book and realized the house was dead silent! Everyone was GONE! Now they were actually outside in the back yard, but I was terrified the rapture had come.

      I still have that residual panic from time to time. Here’s something that occasionally happens when I’m home visiting my family: everyone is out of the house; I try everyone’s cell phones and my Dad’s office phone and no one answers; a long while goes by… Eventually I convince myself they’re out buying groceries or running errands, which always turns out to be the case, but darn if I don’t, at some point, however brief, have a cold wave of Rapture panic sweep over me.

      I don’t guess I’ll ever get rid of that. :/

    2. “I didn’t know how to be any more saved than I was. ” = exactly. I would pray please that the rapture could happen and I not die; because if the rapture happened and I was still here then I still had a chance to get saved.

      1. @Sarah, “I would pray please that the rapture could happen and I not die; because if the rapture happened and I was still here then I still had a chance to get saved.”

        We were taught that anyone who had heard the Gospel and rejected it would have their hearts hardened so they could NOT receive salvation after the Rapture. Thus, finding the house empty didn’t really scare me that my family was gone and I’d be left to face seven years of tribulation alone. It was that being left behind PROVED you weren’t saved and you’d NEVER have the opportunity to repent. From that moment, you’d have unalterable proof that you were doomed to hell for eternity because you’d already heard the Gospel but hadn’t been truly saved. Absolutely horrifying.

        1. And don’t forget–during the Tribulation, at least during the second half, you wouldn’t even be able to kill yourself to get away from the horror. If you took poison or jumped off a building, your life would be somehow preserved, so you wouldn’t get an easy “out”.

        2. PW, we were taught the same thing about salvation after the rapture for those that had already heard the gospel. After I read some of the Left Behind series, I realized that some people believed that salvation was still possible after the rapture. That gave me some hope that just maybe I’d have a chance of salvation if I were left behind.

        3. That’s really harsh . . . we were fundy lite, I guess. I don’t know if I was actually told one could be saved after the rapture or invented it to relieve the fright.

        4. Me too. Because no matter how many times I prayed in my head, I was convinced that I didn’t mean it enough to be saved. I tried so hard to mean it but couldn’t.

          I still try not to think about this stuff.

        5. Same teaching at my church. Every time I couldn’t find my family, I was sure I was eternally doomed. No hope at all, and couldn’t even die to avoid the Tribulation. Suffer first, then burn in hell. Yay. 😯

          Darrel, this has got to be the post on SFL that has brought up the strongest reaction in me. I’ve been out of Fundyism for 20 years, and I can still feel this stuff like it was this morning. 🙁

    3. Nearly all of Christianity promotes this unhealthy fear of not being saved. Some of the “best” (ie, worst) and most popular sermons are all about it. The fruit is only more fear and doubt, or self righteousness.

      Fear, Doubt and condemning preaching is not exclusive to the IFB’s, although they are definite masters of the art.

    4. I actually had a nightmare about this one time. I still remember it. I dreamed that I was on a snow retreat with my youth group, going inter-tubing down the slope. When I reached the bottom my dad was there (he never came to youth group activities, but hey, it was a dream). I asked him how he was and he said fine, but he wondered if the Rapture was about to happen because of the brilliant red sunset just starting. I turned to look and then, a second later, the Rapture happened. I could feel myself being lifted up and it felt so strange that I started yelling, “No, no, don’t take me!” And then a moment later I was all alone on the ski slope. Boy, was that weird.

  19. How many of you had parents that at one time or another plaid this Rapture Game. They laid out some clothes, shoes, socks, pants, skirts, blouse, shirt, belts and all and then went and hid in a closet waiting for you to find the empty clothes? Then when you were on the edge of total melt down come out and sermonize how that one day this could actually happen…. yeah, that’s the kind of Christian teaching that will get the children saved… Salvation by Trauma!
    Small wonder so many Fundies see God as a Cosmic killjoy ready to strike you down at any monment for not being good enough, not being in His will, and not prayed up. Oh the terrors of not being prayed up or having unconfessed sin in your life and dying. Fundies don’t believe in Purgatory, unless you die with unconfessed sin. (And if the sin is against a M-O-g, or was bitterness towards the same, then hell is the only place one could go.)

    1. Indeed! But there was always the awkward, “Do we include underwear in the clothes layout” question. If we do, we have to see the undergarments of another, and there is a chance that there may be those of opposite genders seeing the unmentionables. But if we don’t include underwear we’ll look like some sort of dirty sex crazed hippies who go around free-swinging their man parts.

      It’s quite a quagmire.

      1. Rings and jewelry are a must as well. Didn’t you watch the first Left Behind movie? Of course LeHay gave everyone an out, a second chance. Of Course, he side stepped Thessalonians and created his own Rapture doctrine but what the LeHay. J.N Darby, and C.I.Schofield bulit their Empires on Dispensationalism why not Tim LeHay? You know Margret McDonald would be proud of her legacy.

        btw, I still get a kick out of Larkin’s End-Times drawings. Hege’s colorized mural is striking but Larkin was so much more detailed.

    2. Hahaha a friend and I did that as a prank to my sister once. She walked into my room and saw our clothes laid neatly on the bed and when she finally came outside and found us she was totally freaked!! Haha

    3. Don, I have been reading and having fun and thrown out a few of my usual “conservative” comments here today, but what I’m wondering about, and I know from reading here these last several weeks that you take the bible and your faith seriously. What do you think about the rapture? I do believe the Lord is coming and in the twinkling of an eye, I think this is just prior to the 7 years of tribulation. I understand this is the pre-millennial view of end times, however I’m not locked into this, so if you don’t mind, and have a few minutes, could you share what your view of the “rapture” is.

      1. Greg,
        I guess when pressed I’d have to say I’m historical pre-millennial. Historical pre-mil does not include the pre-trib dogma from the teachings of Margret McDonald, J.N. Darby, C.I. Schofield and the prophets of Dispensationalism. I cannot find anywhere in scripture that God’s people were ever delivered out of Tribulation through being snatched out of the tribulation. They were always delivered through the trial, and the tribulation. So this idea the we are going to be taken out so we don’t have to suffer is contrary to the History of how God strengthens and deals with His people. That also creates different classes of Saved people. This idea that OT saints were saved by works, and the NT saints are saved by faith, and the Tribulation saints are saved by another works/faith… naaaa, can’t see that. All saints of God in all times past, present, and future; were, are, and ever will be saved by Grace alone through faith alone.
        So I do not base my fellowship with other believers on non-essential doctrines such as escatology, Bible versions, extra-biblical standards and such. I make a firm stand on the essential doctrines, Jesus’ deity, the virgin birth, Jesus’ sinless perfection, his death, burial and resurrection, the trinity, original sin… but dispensational doctrine I just no longer will be dogmatic about. Especially since so much regarding escatoloty is not made clear in scripture and to make absolute statements other than, “One day, according to His own choosing and in His own time Jesus Christ will bodily return to this earth to Rule and Reign as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords,” is mere conjecture on our part.

        Hope that answers your question.

        1. Don – Tks alot. I suppose I’m fortunate that I was never dogmatic about dispensational doctrine, guess I missed that fundy bullet, but I made up for it in alot of other areas, believe me.

          I think I feel some heavy studying coming up, I appreciate your response.

        2. Though I do consider myself pre trib, I would agree with Don.

          Eschatology IS very important, as it shapes and informs so many other doctrines–very evident as you study denominations and their differences.

        3. When I was immersed in the IFB mentality, I just couldn’t fully accept the Dispensational pre-tribulational rapture position. I had to do a lot of mental jumping jacks and push-ups to make what I knew about the Bible fit into that neat system.

          I hold to a pre-wrath premillennialism.

  20. “If you’ve ever been awakened from a dead sleep by a car horn and your first thought was “I’ve been left behind!” — you probably have been a fundamentalist.”

    OHMYGOSH, that was me one night!! Hahaha

    1. I lived near a nuclear power plant as a teenager. At least once a month the plant used to test it’s siren. One time they did it in the middle of the night. Woke up, thinking I was hearing the “Trump” realized I was still in my bed, and got scared. Ran upstairs to find everyone else still in their bed.

      Did anyone else worry about hitting their head going through the ceilings? 🙄 I used to pray the rapture happened when I was outside! 😳 :mrgreen:

  21. I remember predictions related to the establishment of Israel as a nation (based on some interpretation of Matthew 24:34 that never quite made sense) and the nations of the European Union being related to the ten toes in Daniel’s vision. And I remember the use of multi-media slide projectors in the days before powerpoint. Nothing revs up fundies like a prophecy conference.

  22. “This is stuff that will keep an eight-year-old up at night.” ✔
    “If I’m in heaven, who’s going to feed my dog?” ✔
    “If you’ve ever made it a bedtime ritual to proclaim “I know the Lord will return tomorrow” in hopes of using reverse psychology on the Almighty to stave off the End Times, you might have been a fundamentalist child” ✔
    “If you’ve ever been awakened from a dead sleep by a car horn and your first thought was “I’ve been left behind!” — you probably have been a fundamentalist.” ✔

  23. This was the story of my life as a kid. I remember being told a vivid, horrifying tale of a little boy coming home from school and not being able to find his mom anywhere and she had been Raptured. Thus began almost 15 years of terror … every time my mom would leave the house to go visit a neighbor or take a walk without telling me, I would go into an absolute panic attack with crying and hyperventilating and near-fainting. I had nightmares–bloody, gory, horrific ones–about the end times almost every night of the week for years and years. I was afraid to even look at the moon for fear it would turn blood-red while I was watching. Hearing horns of cars or trains or even musical notes made my heart stop. I lived in absolute fear for YEARS. I “got saved” like 30 times to try to make my terror go away, but it never worked. I was afraid to sleep, afraid to die, afraid to live. I was even afraid to talk about it with anybody because I didn’t want to be judged/condemned for my fear and I knew deep down they wouldn’t be able to help me with it because they never had before … it was always, “pray this prayer after me” and that didn’t do anything for me. I had a very superficial understanding of conversion and I had grown up being in IFB church 3-4 times a week. 😥

    Personally, I don’t find fearmongering to be the best way to motivate me to do or believe anything and really be sincere about it. So … eventually, much later I did experience genuine conversion, but I’d say it was in spite of all those years of being terrified by Sunday School teachers and evangelists, not because of it.

    Another thing that bothers me, and always did, is how IFB churches treat talking about Revelation or whatnot like this exciting good time. It’s like telling fun ghost stories except in a sermon. Way more people would turn out for an end times sermon at our church, and listen with delight to the ways the world would be judged. It never sat well with me, and not just because I was having panic attacks in the pew … eventually I’d just pray to get sick on those days, because our pastor went through Revelation at least once a year for weeks at a time.

  24. Not only did I try the “reverse psychology” thing by praying about a specific time I “knew” the Rapture would happen (to ensure that it wouldn’t), but I also knew people in college who played Rapture on roommates.

    Was anyone else at BJU when an entire prayer group left piles of clothes, jewelry, contact lenses, etc. carefully posed in their rooms to scare the unsuspecting roommate who was about to return to the dorms?

  25. I remember being absolutely blown away when I first read the following words from the Belgic Confession (emphasis mine):

    Therefore, with good reason the thought of this judgment is horrible and dreadful to wicked and evil people. But it is very pleasant and a great comfort to the righteous and elect, since their total redemption will then be accomplished. They will then receive the fruits of their labor and of the trouble they have suffered; their innocence will be openly recognized by all; and they will see the terrible vengeance that God will bring on the evil ones who tyrannized, oppressed, and tormented them in this world.

    😮 There is absolutely nothing remotely “pleasant” or “a great comfort” about the way the Rapture and the judgment were taught in fundamentalism. NOTHING.

    1. Entirely too much of the Fundy attitude toward the Rapture (not that I believe that it’s going to happen)seems to be taken from this document, though: “and they will see the terrible vengeance that God will bring on the evil ones who tyrannized, oppressed, and tormented them in this world.” They seem to think that that’s EVERYBODY ELSE, and they’re looking forward to it, gleefully.

  26. It was CS Lewis’ books, depicting the joy that the children had when Aslan appeared, and his joy in returning to them, that made me realize that the second coming of Christ (which at that time I thought still lay in the future) would be a joy to me and not a terror. That was probably one of the early pointers I had to realizing that Fundamentalism is so hucked up, like the bully who tells a younger child that the younger child’s parent is going to be really mad upon returning and punish the child and blame the child, etc.

    Christ delights in His people, and it is our joy and peace to delight in Christ.

    1. The Last Battle chokes me up every time I read it (and I’m not an emotional person!). It is so, so, SO very different from the way I was taught to view the second coming in fundamentalism!

      Christ delights in His people, and it is our joy and peace to delight in Christ.

      Well said. It’s stuff like this that makes me realize just how aberrant fundamentalist teaching is.

    2. “the second coming of Christ (which at that time I thought still lay in the future)”

      You no longer think this?

      When then is …or was…the second coming of Christ?

        1. Wait…a very large portion of scripture is about future events, you say it isn’t important what one believes about the Second coming of Christ whether it is past or future?

          This is very, very important. Soteriology and eschatology are not independent of one another.

          If you think He has alreay come, then you need to read 2 Thessalonians which is written to combat that error.

    3. That is my favorite part of the series too.

      Realizing that our sins have truly been taken away and forgiven and knowing that God won’t see them when we will finally be able to see Him is liberating when you allow yourself to be awed by that fact. So often we can get caught up in guilt and self pity because we messed up intentionally or unintentionally but in the end if you have accepted his grace, not said a prayer and “meant” it, but have personally decided to accept his love, redemption, and forgiveness you are guiltless from that moment on. (Of course there is a whole ‘nother discussion about committing sin because you can/living as if you love Christ which may or may not be safe to get into here)

      The song “His Robes for Mine” so often hits me. Picturing God looking at me, disgusting, fallen, backsliding me, seeing his perfect son’s sacrifice, and loving me can almost become overwhelming. 🙂

      1. I like how you said that!

        BTW, “The Last Battle” makes me cry, but I loved how Aslan’s Country was seen as better and more amazing and exciting and wonderful than they could have imagined (not boring and filled with clouds and harps).

        C. S. Lewis describes the same thing in “Screwtape Letters”: “All horrors have followed the same course, getting worse and worse and forcing you into a kind of bottleneck till, at the very moment when you thought you must be crushed, behold! you were out of the narrows and all was suddenly well. The extraction hurt more and more and then the tooth was out. The dream became a nightmare and then you woke. You die and die and then you are behond death.”

    1. Who didn’t. It only made me more eager and I ended up with the wrong person and made a huge screw up of my youth. I wasn’t a fundy at the time… I joined fundyism to try and curb my behaviour (I did not comprehend God’s grace and I was already fundy in thinking before I joined).

    2. I was definitely one of the ones who prayed that I’d be able to get married BEFORE Christ’s return, but I felt guilty, because we were supposed to be longing for Him to return TODAY!!! But then everyone who told us that were old folks and already married.

    3. The church I grew up in and got married in had a “Prophesy Conference” the week we were to be married. The conference Started the Sunday previous and ended on Friday. We got married on that next day, Saturday. People wondered why the bride was crying at her wedding. I was just worried sick the rapture would happen before we had our wedding night. All that planning gone in a twinkling of a eye. True story! Sad.

  27. Anybody remember the sermon illustrations of guys at a fundy college playing a rapture prank on one their fellow dorm mates? Something about how all the guys coordinated to leave at the same time while leaving books open, showers running, hair dryers blowing, clothes in empty piles on the floor. Then the prankee woke up to find all these things and proceeded to go crazy with fear that he had been left behind.

    Anybody remember that? Funny thing is that I think I heard it used more than once and with a different college each time.

    1. My pastor has used that one. Only he told it like this: he and the other dorm students made it look like the rapture had happened, and this one other guy who had just come back from class (I think) had found everything, and had then run outside saying “you forgot me!!”

  28. I never understood why preachers would get all upset if there was even a glimmer of ‘one world government’ in the news.
    I mean if we KNEW that a certain event was to happen before the coming of Christ wouldn’t we welcome it and not preach against it? Shouldn’t we have been out there encouraging all the governments to get together so Christ would return?

    A a lot of what these rapturists taught just did NOT make sense to me. Scripture was being squeezed and pulled in all sorts of ways trying to make it fit. It scared me but it also made me skeptical in the same way you get when you listen to ghost stories. I stumbled across a preterist site several years ago and have never looked back.

    1. I wondered about that too.

      The preacher would be getting worked up and the congregation would be shuddering “ooh” when he put up his “facts” that such a thing was coming about, and I was wondering why everyone was so nervous when I thought they’d be rather happy about the whole thing. I mean if the big bad One World Government is coming and you’re not going to be a part of it, why freak out?

      Though I guess they could be nervous because that means they have to evangelize more, thump their Bibles harder because that’s their way of “loving people.” No one bothers to heed their message because of their behavior, so the people in the congregation go back to church and hear an end-times message again that just drives them further into anxiety.


  29. The evangelist who always came to our church closed his sermon with the “automobile accident” story. I was able to remain in my pew only because we lived close enough to the church that we walked home. 😕

    1. Yeah, every “evangelist” that came to any church we were in when I was a kid managed to slip in some version of the car accident story. Of course, the person who died had ALWAYS felt the “tug” to go forward and get saved, but had resisted. . .

  30. I never saw those awful movies everyone keeps referring to here, but did anyone else ever read the books, “666” and “1,000” ? They were pretty vivid. I especially remember the scene where two starving women are walking down the street and see a scrap of food. They end up wrestling over it, getting into a big pile of mud or something in the process, and in the end only one of them comes out. And then the narrator talks about how “protein” snacks are made out of people’s dead bodies, and how he has gotten used to the taste over time.

    1. My parents had “666” which I read several times. It was the scariest stuff I was allowed to read at the time. (“The Chronicles of Narnia” were off-limits because there was a witch in the book.)

      Remember how the number of the Beast was a BRAND that they burned into people’s foreheads? We’re come along way: now people think it’s a computer chip inserted under your skin!

  31. After reading all of this it seems that there should be a 1-800-RAP-TURE number or a website that people could call if they think the rapture has occured. Naturally, no one will answer the phone 😆

  32. “If you’ve ever made it a bedtime ritual to proclaim “I know the Lord will return tomorrow” in hopes of using reverse psychology on the Almighty to stave off the End Times, you might have been a fundamentalist child.”

    That’s a great one! I wish I had thought of that when I was growing up. I usually just prayed the sinner’s prayer 2-3 times a day in hopes that the Rapture would happen before I had a chance to slip up and sin again.

    1. I never thought of using reverse psychology either, but I did pray more than once because I was scared, not that I’d sinned and lost my salvation, but that maybe my original prayer (and any thereafter) were nullified because I hadn’t confessed the right way or felt the right amount of remorse or admitted my sin in the right way.

      1. Seriously, did ya’ll follow me around and monitor my entire child/teenage years? There were nights that I would wake up at 3 in the morning and stay awake until 6 am, scared out of my mom that I did not repent the right way, say the right words, was not sincere, didn’t believe enough…it was horrifying. My poor mother and father would try and talk to me and presented the Gospel over and over and tried to reassure me but it was just a vicious cycle.

        Now, I know that I was suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and it was just presenting itself in that way. But it was dreadful while I was going through it.

        1. Hey, I have OCD too, and I think most of my “rapture anxiety” as well as my salvation anxiety is due to that.

        2. When I started doing research about OCD/scrupulosity, the symptoms and characteristics of those who suffer from it sounded SO familiar. There have been so many times where I have begged God to take this from me and to make me just to “stop worrying” (any of my obsessions — both religious and non) but they haven’t been taken away. I have come to accept the fact that it is a “thorn in my side” and rest in God’s grace.

          And I can definitely agree, K, that our salvation/end times anxiety can be related to OCD. The thing OCD feeds on is uncertainity and OCD-ers are ALWAYS searching for reassurance. Many great Christian minds (primarily, Martin Luther) wrestled with this demon of OCD.

          *And sorry ya’ll for going slightly off topic* But, K, have you gone through CBT or any type of therapy?

        3. In no way, would I consider myself a model child, at least in my own eyes. But from an outsiders perspective, I can see how I was a “good” girl. Good grades, read my Bible, dressed modestly, didn’t flirt, didn’t do anything “bad.” But I took it to extremes. For instance, I was terrified that I was not obeying God enough, so I decided to fast. It just so happened to fall around Thanksgiving and I was petrified that my mother would be furious with me if I didn’t eat but I was also petrified that God would hate me if I did eat. It was a miserable, MISERABLE time. This was just one instance when my anxiety disrupted my life and my family. Too bad it didn’t stop there.

          Tony, I completely agree that Fundamentalism is a perfect breeding ground for OCD and other anxiety disorders.

        4. I’m a scrupulosity OCD too! I have seriously considered CBT, I was a psychology major and I thought that would be the best fit for me as far as therapy is concerned. In fact, I did a little with myself based on what the textbooks talked about, and I taught my husband how to help me with stuff and he does that. But since I quit my high-stress job and finished school and stopped being a fundamentalist my stress levels have plummeted. OCD, for me, is very closely linked to stress. So at the moment I’m not doing any therapy or taking any meds and I’m pretty okay, but if my life situation changes in the future I will probably have to do so for my own sanity.

          I do think fundamentalism is a ripe breeding ground for OCD. Mine runs in my family, and they weren’t all IFBers, but at the same time the environment is really important and I think my natural condition was exacerbated by the extreme guilt tactics used on me as a child, as well as all the rules and the manipulation and the excessive tabs kept on everybody.

          Also, I really wish Darrel would do a post about fundamentalism and mental disorders. I was taught growing up that mental disorders didn’t exist (they were all “sin problems”) and psychologists were quacks. When I first started manifesting my OCD tendencies, I literally believed I was demon-oppressed (not possessed, I was a believer) because I had no other explanation for the “voices” in my head compelling me to do inane, crazy things over and over.

          And take heart, Jessica. I have come to the same conclusion as you about the OCD being a thorn in the flesh or whatnot. For whatever reason, God gave me this affliction. I’ve certainly learned a lot from it, but it is hard and sometimes I get very discouraged knowing it will never go away. The hardest part for me for a long time was having to question my own convictions when others could blissfully be “led” by their emotions and impulses and attribute it all to God, and I couldn’t. But God is good and He takes care of me (and has given me excellent counselors to help me out in the form of family and friends).

        5. My husband also had OCD. He didn’t grow up truly Fundy, just some side experience and the SBC Fundy-lite, but I definitely believe there is a correlation between OCD and Fundamentalism/controlling religion.

  33. My OH has just started saying ‘Should we build up stocks of baked beans for the time when we can’t buy or sell without the mark of the beast.’
    I told him I’d report him on SFL if he didn’t stop.
    He didn’t.
    So I am.

  34. I’m well-stocked on guns and ammo (7.62×39: because shooting something twice with 5.56 NATO is just silly), enough that I don’t feel the need to stockpile food and water. I’ll just take it and shoot whoever gets in my way. 😈

    Nah. I think I’m probably still dispensational for lack of anything better to be, but I don’t worry about the rapture at all. I’ve got pre-trib, pre-mil friends who have become every combination of every pre-, post-, and a- version of each, and they can all support their conclusion. I figure I’ll just be surprised when it does/doesn’t happen. And if the rapture does happen before the tribulation (and Don, you make a very interesting case for why it wouldn’t), I highly doubt it’ll happen anytime soon. Old people have constantly been saying “Things are as worse as they’ve ever been! Surely Christ is returning soon!” since Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church 2 millennia ago. That’s a long time to cry “Wolf!”

    Side-related note: Darrell, you need to highlight Bob Shelton.

      1. Sarah, a pox upon you! Now I can’t get that song out of my head:
        “Coming again, coming again!

        May be morning, may be noon,

        May be evening and May be soon!”

        ok there has to be an antidote… it’s a small world after all….. 😕

        1. I will not give in to that song! I’m listening to “O Praise Him” by the David Crowder Band right now, and I will NOT start humming “Coming Ag –” No!

    1. At BJU I took the stance that it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that Jesus wins everything else we’ll just find out when it happens. I don’t care and it doesn’t change anything about my faith.

      But my first church after BJU I was talking to my pastor and he asked what systematic theology book BJU used. When I told him he said, “come back when you get a real systematic theology.” His major beaf was dispensationalism. We discussed it at length and was astounded by some of the things I just never thought about. Today I wouldn’t even call myself dispensational. I’m gladly a nothing.

  35. The fundie preachers I had to listen to would always say “It’s a-comin!” at every opportunity. One said “I might not live to see it, but you young people will!” And I too have felt the rapture panic that many of you are stating.

  36. I remember seeing one of those movies as a kid, as well as people preaching about the rapture all the time. I used to be really freaked out about it…
    One summer I went to music camp at BJU. I was in a smaller group that had a class and then went to practice and somehow didn’t get directed back to the right place. One thing lead to another and we ALMOST got in big trouble w/ public safety… (cause goodness knows campers in the wrong place have evil intentions rather than being clueless.) Anyway, I got scared and went back to my dorm -which was locked. I sat outside wondering what the heck I was going to do, where were all the other people, and why was campus soooo quiet. Finally a girl came up and had used her card to unlock the door. I was sure she would chew me out for whatever I did wrong, but she just let me in and walked down the hall… by then I was sure that she was unsaved and I had missed the rapture. After I got in the door I went to my room and sat on my bed for an hour SCARED SILLY. The phones rang incessantly and I couldn’t even bring myself to answer the one in my room. Then, everyone came in and it turned out I had just missed a chapel….. 😯

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