On page 124, Rayford explains to Mac that “[j]ust about anybody who was raptured knew it was coming. They didn’t know when, but they looked forward to it.” Here is more evidence that the ones who are raptured are the ones who have the “proper” theology, while the others are left behind.
Also, I and others in my youth group hoped to do a lot more living before getting raptured: We didn’t want to miss college, marriage, kids, grandchildren, etc.
On page 132, Rayford tells “how a holy God had to punish sin but didn’t want any of the people he created to die.” He explains about Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross: “All we had to do was believe that, repent of our sins, receive the gift of salvation. We would be forgiven and what Billings referred to as ‘reconciled’ to God.”
He explains the proper wording of the prayer Mac is supposed to pray, all the points he needs to cover. Mac says, “So if I believe that, I’m in?”
The problem here is the concept that God’s hands are somehow tied by some moral law greater than He is. This fits in with the penal substitutionary atonement theory, that God’s justice was so offended by sin that, basically, blood had to be spilled. (See Redemption, Penal Substitutionary Atonement, Satisfaction Theory, Soteriology.)
This is not the Orthodox view, which is often described as Christus Victor: The focus is not the business transaction of the Satisfaction Theory, but Christ rescuing us, paying the ransom to release us from slavery to sin and death, becoming like us so we can be like him (Irenaeus), entering into our humanity so he could redeem it. (Theopedia, Christus Victor)
The often-used term “transaction”–and Mac’s If I do that, I’m in?–show the LB books are focused on a business transaction: You sign your name here, and your sins are forgiven; you don’t go to a fiery Hell after you die.
After Mac decides he believes that, Rayford tells him there’s more he must do: He needs to confess with his mouth the Lord Jesus (Romans 10:9-10). What does this mean, he asks? Rayford replies that he’s supposed to tell somebody–lots of people, in fact….
Um, you’re reading in things that aren’t there, Ray. You confess with your mouth at baptism; you confess with your mouth when you are ordered to relinquish your faith or die a terrible death. It doesn’t say that you must go around telling a whole bunch of people about your conversion in order to be saved.
Remember that when Romans was written, the Church was enduring persecution; in fact, in many parts of the world, the Church is still under persecution. (And I don’t mean milquetoast stuff like not being allowed to pray at a school football game. Yeah, people saying nasty things about your religion is annoying, but I don’t mean that, either.) Confessing your faith could mean losing everything.
It’s not about going around saying “I just got saved” to your friends, your family, the dog next door, the hair stylist, and the old lady on the subway, but about standing for Christ no matter what the cost. Something which you would think Ray would understand, living in the Tribulation.
On page 156, Rayford can’t believe that Buck’s phone is busy. Which is very strange, considering that Buck’s phone is practically soldered to his ear. For four books, Buck has been obsessed with phones! (Some have suggested on the Slacktivist blog that his attachment to phones is a strange sexual fetish.)
On page 159-60 we read the statement of the prophecy guru Tsion Ben-Judah, “Much bad teaching is going out on the Net, Cameron.” Yeah, and much of it comes from the authors of these books.
To be continued….