Scripturally speaking, the Rapture seems, in regard to its timing, to be more closely linked to the Tribulation than to any other event. Since it will occur at the parousia of Christ (second coming), the question really becomes whether Christ will come back before, during, or after the Tribulation. It is with this in mind that the authors of Three Views on the Rapture joined together to offer their explanations for the three major timeframes for the Rapture, as it is related to the Tribulation. All three authors are members of the Evangelical Free Church of America, and all three teach at the denomination's seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. As they state in the preface, "All three of us are wholeheartedly devoted to upholding the clear truths of Scripture but we do not believe that the relative time of the Rapture is one of these 'clear truths'." Thus, the radically divergent views offered in this book.
The format of this book is very fair, and quite open. Each author states their respective position, and the others are given opportunity to respond. Thus, the reader is presented with a much broader picture of each position than a simple statement of the position might give. All three authors are premillennialists (they believe that the parousia of Christ will inaugurate the millennium), but the divergence in their views shows, in a good way, that premillennialists are not all homogenous in their beliefs.
Richard Reiter begins the book with a short history of the development of each position regarding the timing of the Rapture. Paul D. Feinberg then offers his arguments for a pretribulation rapture. Gleason L. Archer presents us with the arguments for a midtribulation rapture (often called mid-week, in reference to the seventy weeks spoken of in the book of Daniel), and Douglas J. Moo gives us the arguments for a posttribulation rapture. Each is able to show respect for the others' arguments without comprimising their own. And if that was all Three Views on the Rapture offered (a true spirit of respectful ecumenism), it would be worth purchasing. But it offers so much more, because the combination of three voices on each position gives a much clearer, and more cogent view, which aids greatly in understanding. This book belongs in any theological library.
Premillennialists continue to be divided on the question of the rapture of the church. Will it occur before, in the middle of, or after the tribulation? Drs. Feinberg (pretribulation), Archer (midtribulation), and Moo (post-tribulation) present the cases for their respective positions. They also critique each others positions, and they provide a defense in response to the critiques of their fellow authors. Firmly held and clearly stated convictions are tempered by an irenic spirit. The interactive and fair-minded nature of the Counterpoints format allows the reader to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each view and draw informed, personal conclusions. Three Views on the Rapture is introduced by Richard Reiters helpful essay tracing the history of this debate in American evangelicalism. The Counterpoints series provides a forum for comparison and critique of different views on issues important to Christians. Counterpoints books address two categories: Church Life and Bible and Theology. Complete your library with other books in the Counterpoints series.
Stanley N. Gundry is executive vice president and editor-in-chief for the Zondervan Corporation. He has been an influential figure in the Evangelical Theological Society, serving as president of ETS and on its executive committee, and is adjunct professor of Historical Theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He is the author of seven books and has written many articles appearing in popular and academic periodicals.
Gleason Archer Jr. received a PhD in Classics from Harvard University, an LL.B from Suffolk Law School and a Bachelor of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. Early in his career, Archer served as assistant pastor at Park Street Church in Boston. In 1948 he became Professor of Biblical Languages at Fuller Theological Seminary in California and in 1965 Professor of the Old Testament and Semitics at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois, where he later became an emeritus faculty member in 1989. He spent the remainder of his life researching, lecturing and writing.
Paul D. Feinberg, (ThD, Dallas Theological Seminary) was professor of biblical and systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Douglas J. Moo (PhD, University of St. Andrews) is the Kenneth T. Wessner Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College. His work centers on understanding the text of the New Testament and its application today. He has written extensively in several commentary series, including the NIV Application Commentary, Pillar Commentary, Tyndale New Testament Commentary, and the New International Commentary on the New Testament.
Richard R. Reiter (ABD, NYU) has done extensive research in the eschatology of American evangelicalism.