VFTB 225: Dr. Doug Stauffer – Questions About the Pre-Trib Rapture

Dr. Doug Stauffer
Dr. Doug Stauffer

THERE IS an old hymn with these lyrics: “When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be…” But it seems we Christians looking for the return of Jesus can’t agree on when he’s coming back, especially in relation to other key events of the End Times.

Dr. Doug Stauffer joins us to answer questions about the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. He discusses Jesus’ target audience in Matthew 24, the difference between expectancy and imminence, and shows us how important commas can be in interpreting passages of scripture.

Please join Derek and Sharon Gilbert Sunday mornings at 10:30 AM Central Time (UTC -6) for the Gilbert House Fellowship, our live online Bible study webcast. Log on to www.GilbertHouse.org for more details.

Discuss these topics at the PID Radio Cafe, visit the VFTB Facebook page, and check out the great Christian podcasters at the Revelations Radio Network.

Download a smaller, lower-fidelity version of the mp3 of this show by clicking here.

40 Comments on VFTB 225: Dr. Doug Stauffer – Questions About the Pre-Trib Rapture

  1. Hi Doug,

    Feel free to contact me when you are ready to defend your pretrib position in a public moderated debate:

    Regards,

    Alan E. Kurschner

  2. This guy is kind of ridiculous. He interprets the bible based on political beliefs. He actually mentioned race riots… as if that is a logical and inevitable eventuality. That is a concept based on a right wing, political concept that has little or nothing to do with scripture. If he is that bias on how he colors his interpretation how can you trust his judgement on anything else.

    • Paul,

      With all due respect, I think you missed Doug’s point. Pre-tribulation Rapture believers are sometimes criticized, usually by Post-Tribulation Rapture believers, as wishful thinkers who hope for a cosmic rescue before things really get bad. Doug was responding to that. If his interpretation of scripture was through a political lens, a belief in a future race war would more likely come from a mid- or post-trib believer.

      The belief in race riots is not at all a right-wing concept. The elite class is manipulating events to keep tensions near the boiling point between Anglos, Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, gays, straights, etc. See our 2007 interview with Paul and Phillip Collins on P.I.D. Radio about this topic.

  3. Derek, I had a very difficult time following Doug on his analogy even though I am fairly well read in this area. Can you have Alan Kurschner back on to decider this interview. Our God is not a God of confusion. Doug has confused me.

    • If you have specific questions for the follow up, please email me at . Alan will be back on in the future, I am sure.

  4. Many thanks to the host for having Dr. Stauffer on yet again(?) to defend the pretrib rapture position, along with its equally MIA cousin: the doctrine of imminence aka as an ‘any-moment rapture’. Of note: Dr. Stauffer’s presentations are bringing people over to the prewrath rapture view; they’re that weak. As such, I hope he gets more airtime. Dr. Stauffer is debating prewrath. Due to his politically correct, ostensibly pious notion that ‘debate = sin’, he’s just doing it shadow-boxing style. The sound of one hand clapping. Dr. Stauffer’s One-Two punch:

    Pretrib Punch One:
    It’s a sign of the times (pun intended) when the pretrib rapture has to be defended by a KJV-only(!) proponent, using a bizarre, strained ‘even commas are inspired’ defense to obscure the plain teaching of 2 Thess 1 & 2. Inspired commas are an unlimited supply of NFL time-outs, to Dr. Stauffer. Stop the clock repeatedly to interrupt the flow of Paul’s own argument, so that each half-verse can be stuffed with the pretrib paradigm. This just in: the NT was written in uncial (capital) Greek letters, crowded together with no spaces and no punctuation. Inspiration extends to the original autographs (2 Tim 3:16); NOT translations made from copies, 1500 years later. That’s a creepy, mystical almost Catholic notion. Extant Greek copies convey the quality & authority of being God-breathed: to the degree that they represent the original autographs. Chapter & verse numbering schemes, footnotes and (wait for it now…) PUNCTUATION were added centuries later, by men following their Byzantine, Catholic & medieval *traditions*. KJV Punctuation is TRADITION, not God’s Word and Dr. Stauffer should know better. I know: “if the King James Bible (one of its numerous editions) was good enough for Paul, it ought to be good enough for us too.” And prayer isn’t formatted correctly unless it’s in King James English. [Makes sign of the cross.] Look: if I put an ORIGINAL 1611 KJV in front of Dr. Stauffer, I would bet him a Starbucks decaff that neither he, nor his audience, could read or even understand the 400 year old “English” used there. I doubt he has ever READ or studied the 1611 KJV, even though he attributes inspiration to it. In his next solo(?) debate on VFTB, I urge him to make his pretrib rapture case ONLY from the unintelligible, ‘inspired’ (punctuation and what.. fonts?) 1611 King James Bible. That’s right: the one that contains the Apocrypha.

    Pretrib Punch Two:
    Likewise, Stauffer’s appeal to an inferior, poorly-attested reading ‘the Day of Christ’ in 2 Thess 2:2 is special pleading at best. His pretrib doctrine can’t stand if the best, strongest witness to the underlying text reads, ‘Day of the Lord’ Even if Stauffer’s KJV ‘Day of Christ’ IS the original reading, it doesn’t support Stauffer’s novel, ‘happy in heaven’ interpretation of that phrase, in these verses. Context, context, context. 2 Thess 2 recounts the same Day of the Lord theme Paul laid out in 1 Thess 5. The Thessalonian letters don’t say the Day of the Lord won’t overtake Christians; they say that it won’t overtake them *like a thief in the night*… i.e. by SURPRISE. Reason being: they’ve been briefed with the countdown signs, so they wouldn’t be “in darkness” about the subject.

    The ‘inspired commas’ argument, along with the enamored of a variant reading reminds me of the type of eisegesis we come across with, sad to say, cults like Jehovah’s Witnesses when they need a verse to say something it doesn’t Throw in an inspired comma, and stuff the verse with a pretrib idea not found in the text.

    The Thessalonian letters, when studied at face value (even in the modern KJV) are _devastating_ to pretribulationism. They teach a pre-wrath rapture. They do not teach ‘imminence’; they teach intra-tribulational expectancy.. which is VERY different than some secret dog-whistle rapture. The resultant practical effects between these views.. the mental preparation called for in the daily lives of last-generation believers of the church is HUGE. Watchful expectancy keeps one sober, on our toes. The belief that the last generation gets an early boarding pass i.e. gets evacuated without a scratch from the Antichrist’s Great Tribulation.. before his Great Tribulation? Holy smokes. I can’t imagine how angry, crushed and devastated those people will be when they’re forced to take the mark of the Beast or die… having hung their faith on Phantom Doctrines like pretribulationism and imminence. The faith of many will be shipwrecked. The deception will be great, and the temptation to apostasize will be formidable. Pretrib teachers will be dropping like Goldman-Sachs banksters & Wall Street CEOs.

    Let’s review Paul’s argument:

    The misguided recipients at Thessalonica heard a false report, and thought they’d missed the rapture promised in 1 Thess, and were experiencing the Day of the Lord’s wrath. Some had quit their jobs in despair!

    If pretrib were true, Paul’s 2 Thessalonian letter could have been very short. All he had to say was, look: the rumor you heard is false. How can you know? Because you haven’t been raptured! You’re still on earth; you haven’t been evacuated to heaven. Case closed: go back to work and stay alert for the signs & the sequence we have taught you.

    In kindness, Paul goes over the whole countdown with them again, starting in 2 Thess 2:1ff. Their ‘gathering together’ (rapture) and associated Day of the Lord (DOL) won’t come until several things happen FIRST. The great (doctrinal) apostasy with the revealing of the Man of Sin. Paul repeats & elaborates on these signposts to immunize believers from being blind-sided by the Day of the Lord. They’re ‘in the light’ because they’ve been WARNED: coached about the countdown of signal events! The DOL (which starts with the rapture) will come upon UNbelievers like a thief in the night. Same DOL: two very different impacts upon each of two opposing groups: believers & unbelievers.

    Dr. Stauffer: you’re refusal to have a public, civil, Christian debate with a Prewrath adherent over the subject of the rapture is disappointing, given your zeal for the topic. You’re hiding behind verses that condemn fleshly debate. Like the word ‘lust’ (epithumia/-thumeo) in the Bible, its moral implications depend on the context. Lust just means ‘strong desire’. It can lead to sinful behavior (James 1); or be godly in nature cf. Gal 5:17. Fleshly debate is temper-driven, self-promoting, & egotistical debate i.e. debate which only seeks to promote the speaker. NOT all forms of debate are a food fight; a work of the flesh. If they were you’d have to retire your shadow-boxing debate gloves.

    You’ve been challenged to a charitable, God-honoring debate format by Alan Kurshner. I urge you to take him up on it. In the spirit of Jude 3, we’re told to “..earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints”, [‘ta..pistei’ is not limited to the gospel; contextually it’s the whole corpus or didache of Christian teaching.] Paul corrected Peter publicly in Acts, was that carnal behavior? Paul also dialogued convincingly, in public, with pagan philosophers (Mars’ hill; Acts 17). He did it to set forth the truth, not to promote himself. Certainly your pretribulationism can withstand polite, civil cross-examination from another Christian, in some formal public format with equal time & a moderator. Iron sharpens iron. “The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.” Proverbs 18:17 KJV

    I do commend you, Dr. Stauffer for reading (hopefully) some recent books on Prewrath. Works by Alan Kurshner, Charles Cooper, Robert Van Campen, H.L. Nigro and Marv Rosenthal are a must. The more recent book, Three Views on the Rapture (by Craig A. Blaising, Douglas J. Moo, Alan Hultberg) is a superb example of godly debate, between Christians of good will. Conversely, a solid attempt to refute prewrath can be found in a book by Renald Showers. In the end, the Scripture alone is authoritative. Once we see that the Word itself distinguishes sharply between the Antichrist’s Great Tribulation (with his Satanic wrath against believers), and the Day of the Lord (God’s subsequent wrath against the wicked & the Antichrist), the scales may fall off our eyes.. as they did mine, decades ago. The Day of the Lord is a rich, clear topic throughout the Bible. It is not ever equated in Scripture with the Great Tribulation, or Daniel’s 70th week. The Bible keeps these separate. They have different timings, purposes, goals, and agencies.

    p.s. I liked your treatment of the ‘apostasy’ (i.e. a doctrinal falling away: not the rapture), and the removal of the restrainer (Michael, the archangel). IMO you nailed these: bravo.

    You’ll be in my prayers, Dr. Stauffer. Respectfully: maybe we’ll meet someday, before the rapture, when you’ve come on over to prewrath. I’ll bring my KJV & we’ll fellowship peacefully. Last guy off the pretrib luxury liner, please turn off the light.

    -Greg Anderson
    San Diego, CA

    • [Greg Anderson – you might enjoy this snippet I saw on the net recently. It followed the Schimmel/Stauffer rapture debate in 2016:]

      Re Margaret MacDonald, here’s what Dr. F. Nigel Lee stated: “Dave MacPherson, in his various books, has made a major contribution toward vindicating Historic Christian Eschatology. The 1830 innovations of the disturbed Margaret Macdonald documented by MacPherson—-in part or in whole—-immediately spread to Edward Irving and his followers, then to J. N. Darby and Plymouth Brethrenism, and were later popularized by the dispensationalistic Scofield Reference Bible, by Classic Pentecostalism, and by latter-day pretribulationists like J. F. Walvoord and Hal Lindsey.” (Dr. Lee stated this as the holder of nine EARNED doctorates [!] and as Australia’s most eminent evangelical scholar!) Google “X-Raying Margaret,” “Margaret Macdonald’s Main Point” and “Margaret Macdonald’s Rapture Chart” to find out what Dr. Stauffer censored. Stauffer’s “research” failed to notice that even Hal Lindsey calls Margaret a partial rapturist in his book “The Rapture.” And Walvoord’s “The Rapture Question” refers to partial rapturists as “pretribulationists” (p. 105) – pretribs who, in their “rapture charts” see “church” BEFORE the rapture as well as seeing “church” AFTER the rapture; they are “church splitters”! It’s amazing how many pretrib defenders have seized on Margaret’s statement “The trial of the Church is from Antichrist” and then gotten into a tizzy in public while ranting and screaming that “Margaret was a posttrib” or, even worse, that she was demon-possessed or in a trance or that “MacPherson has covered up many before 1830 who clearly taught pretrib”!!! Google “Scholars Weigh My Research” to find out other evangelical leaders who have endorsed MacPherson’s research since 1970. Also Google “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” “Pretrib Rapture Stealth,” “C. I. Scofield’s Hidden Side,” “Famous Rapture Watchers” and “Dr. Watson’s Pretrib Non-Discovery” – just some of the hot articles on the British blog “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing” hosted by noted teacher Treena Gisborn. BTW, this past July 5th, pretribber Dr. Erwin Lutzer told a packed Moody Church that there are now posttribs as well as pretribs among the MBI personnel, adding “Here at the Moody Church we have decided to not draw a line in the sand about these two views.” (!) But MBI is only reflecting the many worldwide who are now abandoning pretrib for other rapture views – and scary world events are helping to bring about the collapse of the 188-year-old pretrib fantasy!

  5. Derek, I hope you will consider hosting a public moderated debate between Alan and Doug. I believe it is essential to help listeners discern between Truth and Error!

    • I have considered it, and I am not interested. I am more than happy to discuss the issue with proponents of any view as long as they do so from a scriptural basis. Debate is too often more about entertainment than edification.

      Believers in the pre-millennial return of Jesus should really get along a lot better than we seem to. We see through a glass darkly, but Christ’s return before his millennial reign is pretty clear. Beyond that, let’s turn our guns outward. There are far greater threats to the faith, some, like Dominion theology (based on postmillennial eschatology), already inside the walls of the Church, than pinpointing the exact time of his return.

  6. A pastor friend of mine once challenge me with the statement that the Gifts of the spirit, especially the Gift of “the mighty finger of” discernment” should always be exercised with the Fruit of the Spirit, especially patience and kindness. As an attorney, for the last 25 years my professional life has been engaged in the business of advocacy, and with that experience I must agree with Dr. Stauffer in that debates and other confrontations, rarely focus on arriving at the truth and are often determined by the skill of the debater, sometimes at the expense of the truth. Most “Christian” debates I have witnessed, often begin with a veneer of politeness and yet quickly lose focus, devolving into the pursuit of tangential issues and/or personal attacks of some form or fashion. Rarely, (at least in my opinion), can any good or any truth be distinguished in such debates. I spend my days following logic, reason and the law and respectfully, I found Dr. Stauffer’s presentation to be laid out wonderfully, connecting relevant facts with theory. If anyone found the presentation to be confusing, I would challenge that person to ask themselves, whether the presentation actually veered from Biblical truth, or whether the presentation challenged the beliefs of the listener regarding the rapture. If the former, then so be it. If the latter, I would challenge you to open your Bible and commit the matter to prayer until you arrive at your answer. Insecurity fuels vitriol and vitriol clouds discernment. Instead of parroting pages of presuppositions from other authors, take these verses and look into the references for yourselves. I have grown extremely weary of teachers and Christian celebrities in the alternative Christian media, fire off personal attacks against those who hold to a pre-tribulation viewpoint. As a result, I can no longer listen to speakers who continue to characterize and/or agree with the sentiment that those who proffer a pre-tribulation viewpoint are “false teachers” seduced by “doctrines of demons.” Again, I ask you, do these accusations truly reflect the Fruit of the Spirit, vis-a-vis Christian brothers who happen to hold a different view on a matter that is not salvivic? I hope that we can all agree with the observation that the world we live in is quickly spiraling downwards (or at least is suffering significant moral decay) and that a division in the church is on the horizon where many will follow a false, social gospel. As a result, I would challenge anyone who is seething with the desire to openly debate the rapture, to check their spirit and their motivation and instead focus that energy upon the Great Commission.

  7. Hi Derek,

    Thanks for your comments on the matter of “debate.” I want to reply to it.

    I have listened to and attended hundreds of academic theological debates in my lifetime. I do not recall any of them being entertaining; instead, they were informative and more often than not this dialogue format was much more beneficial than listening to two monologues.

    For example, I am debating Thomas Ice in Dallas this fall. And I can assure you that if someone is planning on attending the debate to be entertained they will be disappointed. They should visit the Dallas zoo that day instead.

    The Bible teaches that debate is encouraged and is a communicative instrument God gave Christians to glorify Christ. There are many examples given in Scripture, but here is just two verses that illustrate the principle of debate:

    “The first to state his case seems right, until his opponent begins to cross-examine him.” (Proverbs 18:17)

    “always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess.” (1 Pet 3:15)

    Sure, not everyone is called to participate in _formal_ debates, but the concept of believers sharpening each other’s iron and correcting each other in a public format is a good thing, not a bad thing.

    We do not need more monologues on the rapture issue behind the keyboard and microphone, we need meaningful dialogues. It is a way for our theological traditions to be held accountable.

    Christians who love God’s truth should seek after meaningful interaction. It is beneficial for God’s people; it is glorifying to God.

    Debates are intended to be faith-building mediums of exchange for the people of God and for the glory of our Lord Christ.

    Thanks for your time, Derek!

    Regards

    Alan E. Kurschner

    • Hi, Alan: I understand your point, and I agree with Peter in 1 Peter 3:15, especially the last part: “Yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

      I am confident that you and Dr. Ice will hold to that. My concern is more for the audience. Truth be told, almost all of the private email I’ve received about a debate has not come from undecided people seeking clarity, but from people wanting a forum in which a representative of their views will demolish a position with which they disagree.

  8. I found the discussion interesting, especially the biblical thoughts on debates. Presenting questions to be answered serves a useful function, as opposed to having two people debating eschatological views in a formal setting.

    Almost every eschatological position is “biblical”, but they each reflect different ways of thinking about scriptures and the world, sometimes from dramatically different perspectives. Every position brings certain assumptions with them and leads to certain praxis.

    I find eschatological interviews interesting. I find eschatological debates tedious and divisive. It unnerves me how malicious people who say they are Jesus’ disciples become when different perspectives about end-times come up for discussion. “You’re an idiot and I question your salvation, and I love you!” just doesn’t follow. When Paul got in Peter’s face about his race-based salvation, neither questioned each other’s salvation and they didn’t resort to name calling and mudslinging. In fact, the Holy Spirit did the actual speaking and changing of Peter’s heart. They didn’t debate. Debates tend to harden positions rather than change people’s perspectives.

    I appreciated Dr. Stauffer’s acknowledgement that reviewing another perspective has led him to think differently about a couple of concepts and verses, within his overall position. That doesn’t tend to happen in a debate, but it can happen in open-ended discussions.

    Jesus created, Jesus saves and Jesus is coming back graph out our starting and ending points. The details within this frame are up for discussion with love and grace.

  9. One additional thought about eschatological discussions. I find it tedious when a critic of someone’s view pulls out some verse and basically says, “What about THIS verse, huh? How do you explain THAT! You can’t? Well, then your whole system crumbles!”

    To me, that’s like looking at a Vincent Van Gogh painting and saying, “Hey, this brush stoke right here? Why did you do it that way? You can’t explain? Well, then your whole painting falls apart.”

  10. Long time listener, first time poster…

    D.S. keeps mentioning in his interviews, talks, and sermons (Alan posted links to 2 on his site) that anyone who comes up with a view different from Pre-Trib is not reading the Bible. ?? I’m reading and reading and reading and reading (and studying of course) and see a totally different teaching than D.S. does. I know many who are devoted to the Scriptures and see different than D.S.

    If you read the Bible thru Dispensational glasses, you can see Pre-Trib. If you take away the Dispensational glasses, you see Pre-Wrath. Teacher’s like him say that Pre-Wrathers are twisting God’s word to fit their view and then follow that up by twisting God’s words to fit their view. Comparing Matt 24 with both Thess letters and then Revelation, it becomes very, very, very clear the progression of the future events in the last days. But Dispensationalists throw out Matt 24, twist Thess, and then don’t need Rev at all. Why would Jesus instruct the apostles (the church!) about the coming events if they only pertained to the unsaved Jews (will the unsaved Jews ever read the Christian writings?). And why did God give those amazing visions to John if they didn’t affect the church? (Who’s reading Rev, the unsaved??)

    Jesus clearly teaches in Matt 24. Sad that so many discredit His plain and simple teaching.

    BTW, I actually read D.S. book on Dispensationalism years ago. The book did give me a clear view of Dispensationalism which before I read it, really didn’t know what it was. I’ve since read reviews of that book that claim that D.S. is considered Hyper-Dispensationalism. I’m not a Biblical scholar, just a homeschool mom, but my personal study of scripture shows that Dispensationalism has serious flaws especially when it gets into the time of the church age.

    I also agree with the others about a debate. I think there’s value in a conversation-type discussion, much like Rob Skiba and Doug Hamp often do. It doesn’t have to be a spectacle, just 2 sides asking questions and clarifying their views to each other. For instance, D.S. mentions that pre-wrathers have to be replacement theology in their view. That’s absolutely false. He says he’s read Pre-Wrath works but still can’t see why one can be Pre-Wrath and absolutely NOT be replacement theology, I just wish someone could point that out to him in a discussion. I’m sure there’s other false accusations Pre-Wrathers have against Pre-Tribbers, that need to be cleared up. A discussion with both sides would be very helpful in this regard.

  11. Derek: thanks again for allowing my lengthy post. A substantive correction:

    My earlier ‘If pretrib were true’ paragraph (above) should have said:

    If Pretrib were TRUE, Paul’s 2 Thessalonian letter could have been very short. All he had to say was, “Look: the rumor you heard is false. How can you know the Day of the Lord hasn’t come upon you? Because you haven’t been raptured! You’re still on earth; you haven’t been evacuated to heaven, right? So case closed: go back to work and don’t look for signs or some sequence of precursor events, because there won’t be any before the any-moment rapture.”

    See my previous post re: how Paul *actually* comforts the Thessalonians.

  12. Hello everyone….I did read all of the comments and thank each of you for taking the time to comment on the interview. However, I am preaching in the Houston area on Sunday and performing my son’s wedding tomorrow. So, these discussions were simply a reading break from the work and family time that accompanies a wedding (with almost every comment putting a smile on my face). It is late but I thought I could steal away for a few minutes while everyone is readying themselves for bed. I also wanted to relieve any concerns that my silence could signal that I was raptured out already.

    Thanks for all the comments. I stand pretty firm on most of what I said. I guess to do it all over again, I would have chosen better words than “race riots” and would have said that anyone, pre-trib or otherwise, that has ever taught that the church will not and the Christian does not suffer tribulation, has completely missed a significant part of the Bible’s teachings. Using this against strawman argument someone that knows the Bible as though we too are guilty of teaching that tribulation is not a part of the Christian life, is wasting your keystrokes. However, I do believe that Daniel’s 70th week which involves the Time of Jacob’s Trouble and tribulation unlike any other time applies to a post Church Age period.

    Many of you seem to be asking for a good public fight between a pre-trib and pre-wrath guy through the unscriptural mode of debating condemned by scripture. Well, as much as I would love to be that guy in the flesh, my new man tells me that I must not allow myself to be drawn away by the temptation to sin. There is another way other than putting on a show and disobeying the clear teachings of scripture but I will need to save that thought for another day.

    BTW–all those who have a problem with my being interviewed in the fashion that Derek interviewed me are a bit disingenuous if you did not equally voice your opposition when the pre-wrath men have been interviewed, right? Have your ever thought about why you are so mad now and not when you were listening to them? Remember that all choirs like to listen to their own tune.

    Furthermore, are you saying that PID radio which many of you seem to be avid listeners should change its format? Or are you saying that I need to compromise my scriptural convictions to satisfy men? I’ve been saved and preaching way too long to worry about pleasing men now. Done that! Displeased God! Not interested!

    Here is the scriptural format for PID radio: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to GIVE AN ANSWER TO EVERY MAN THAT ASKETH you a reason of the hope that is in you WITH MEEKNESS AND FEAR:” (1 Peter 3:15).

    If you really want to be scriptural, put any scriptural question forth…but don’t waste time asking me my opinion or viewpoints outside of scripture…I try to limit these. My comment on race riots serves as a case in point. Race riots are not in the Bible but “perilous times” are. I simply slipped outside the purview of scripture…my apologies. Thank you to the person that pointed that out because I learn something from everyone. That one comment will again teach me to be more cautious in the future…oh, one more thing, I am not your enemy. I believe the Bible…even the punctuation found in the English which gives clear meaning to certain thoughts. I love God’s word and submit myself to its authority and not my education though I have a significant amount of it including being a Certified Public Accountant.

    Blessings, Doug (wow, these ladies are sure slow getting ready for bed since I have had the time to right such a long treatise. But, once again I must be focused on some much more important and pressing matters).

  13. Doug,

    So I take that as a “no, I am not interested in defending my pretrib beliefs in a public moderated debate.”

    I do look forward to coming on Derek’s show next month and responding to your specific points.

    Have a good day.

    Regards,

    Alan E. Kurschner

  14. Hello Derek,

    I listened to this episode while heading home, driving the Oregon coast late last night. To be fair, this is the first time I have had the opportunity to listen to this gentleman, so there might be some background information from his previous interview which might be important.

    I also want to declare that I have believed and supported the pre-trib rapture position for more than 40 years and taught it both as a pastor and bible study teacher. That is not to say that I have taken the pre-trib rapture position without a few battle scars along the way as I took a brief hiatus into the pre-wrath world for about six months, struggling over of all things 2 Thess 2. But having rectofied that issue, I am back.

    Doug certainly is a talkative fellow, with a passion for what he teaches. I appreciate several things he mentioned such as his openness to consider an alternative view for the ‘restrainer’ as well as his desire to put aside the opinions of the ‘Church Fathers’ to study the bible for himself which reminds me of George Muller who came to a similar conclusion.

    That being said, I am troubled by a couple of matters.

    Dr. Stauffer placed great emphasis on the strategic placement of commas in the text, and he does so in order to separate events and infer periods of time between them.

    While I agree with the importance to rightly divide the Word of God, it cannot be accomplished by use of punctuation. While there is a zeal to support the accuracy and infallability of the bible, people need to realize that the original New Testament Greek manuscripts were primarily written in all capital letters and contained little or no punction at all.

    In the same manner by which the translators of the King James bible often inserted addition text (shown italicized) for clarification, translators have inserted punctuation where they often believe it makes best sense.

    Consider the words of Professor Metzger (link is provided after his quote)

    Once translators have decided which form of text to translate and what the Hebrew and Greek words mean, the problem of punctuation arises. In antiquity it was customary to write Hebrew and Greek manuscripts with few, if any, marks of punctuation. The beginning of a sentence was not identified by a capital letter. Not until the eighth or ninth century A.D. did Greek scribes begin to be more or less systematic in the use of punctuation marks. Though exegetes can learn something concerning the history of the interpretation of a passage by considering the punctuation in the manuscripts, translators need not feel bound to adopt the punctuation preferred by either the scribe or the editor of the printed text. Furthermore, since there are no quotation marks in any of the manuscripts, the decision of where to insert these in the translation is totally in the hands of the translators.

    Bruce M. Metzger is Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey
    http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/article_trans_metzger3.html

    Here is another from Micheal W. Palmer:

    The ancient Greeks did not have any equivalent to our modern device of punctuation. Sentence punctuation was invented several centuries after the time of Christ. The oldest copies of both the Greek New Testament and the Hebrew Old Testament are written with no punctuation.

    In addition, the ancient Greeks used no spaces between words or paragraphs. Texts were a continuous string of letters, with an occasional blank line inserted to mark the end of a major section, though even this was not always done.

    They also had no equivalent to our lower case letters. Texts were written in all capitals.

    Micheal W. Palmer
    Greek Language and Linguistics Gateway
    http://greek-language.com
    http://greek-language.com/grklinguist/?p=657

    And one more:

    The earliest form of the letters was the capital, used in inscriptions out in stone. A modification of this used for manuscripts is called uncial. All Biblical manuscripts in Greek before the 10th cent. A.D. were written in uncials. It is important for the reader to keep in mind the lateness of some of the editorial devices. The earliest uncial manuscripts were even without breaks between the words. Breathings, accents, and punctuation marks-which often greatly influence the translation-are later editorial additions and should be treated as such.

    http://www.scripture4all.org/ISA2_help/DatabaseInfo/GNT_intro.html

    As you can see, our earliest manuscripts were without punctuation and were added later by translators. Punction cannot therefore be considered inspired at all. Therefore heavily pushing punctuation to support a position is fraught with peril, even if the position is correct.

    Another problem area for Dr. Stauffer was found in 2 Thess 2:2, where he insisted that the Greek text indicated Christ, as in the day of Christ, and not Lord, as in the day of the Lord.

    His position here reveals a less than balanced and forthcoming approach to the Word of God. My point here isn’t to argue whether it should be translated Christ or Lord but to indicate that Dr. Stauffer failed to mention that manuscripts other than the received text used in the KJV use KURIOS which is Lord and not KRISTOS which is Christ.

    His insistence that ‘the Greek text’ indicates Christ and not Lord reveals perhaps more of a ‘KJV only’ bias than anything else.

    Thank you for your time Derek.

  15. Derek

    Only people that live outside of a major metropolis, I live in LA; Would think race riots are even plausible. It’s a paranoid, xenophobic concept that has no basis in historical or modern fact. Again, it’s more of a white supremacist rhetoric than anything else, and as such, I find it very hard to take people that espouse such ridiculous ideas credible.

    FYI I’ve listened to this show for years and love it! just don’t think your guest is sane 😉

    • With all due respect, Paul, you have it backwards. I grew up in Chicago and I can attest to the attitudes of people of different racial backgrounds who live in close proximity. It’s often ugly.

      I’ll say again, Doug is not alone. Listen to the interview I linked to in my earlier response. There are forces at work trying to provoke a racial conflict. Think about it–if we’re fighting each other, we’re too busy to pay attention to what the elites are doing to all of us.

  16. Let me be short. It is rather simple when you realize there is a difference between the Gospel of the Kingdom that was presented to Israel and rejected, and several of the mysteries given to the Apostle Paul from the Ascended Lord from Glory. During this dispensation of Grace the flood gates are open to Jew and Gentile alike, but scripture makes it clear that mostly Gentiles are responding during this period. Please study Paul’s mysteries that were given to him, and had never been revealed before to any man. If you do some study you will realize that Paul is the only person that speaks of the Body of Christ, which is the New Creation composed of Jew and Gentile during this dispensation. Paul reveals the second part of the Resurrection, which was a secret before the Risen Savior revealed it to him. The Resurrection was known from Job to the Sadducees, but not the second part that the dead in Christ will rise first, then the Catching Away of the Body of Christ who are still alive at that time. Pastor Stauffer touched on this on one of his interviews do a study of the difference between ‘the Day of the Lord” and Paul speaks of “the Day of Christ”. The Day of Christ is our Blessed Hope, the Day of the Lord is one of doom and gloom throughout scripture. Paul also reveals the Blinding of Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in, then you will have a dispensation change…the Jews in Jerusalem with a Christ rejecting world that says Let’s destroy them..Daniel 9:24-27…What is presented during the Tribulation period… the King is Coming..endure, hang on, don’t take the mark…what do you need for a promised Kingdom to Israel the coming King with his Saints from Glory, then Israel will receive their King and be the Head of the nations and not the tail. Believe me this is the short version!!!! Keep Looking Up, James

    • Or in Los Angeles: Remember Rodney King?

      This wouldn’t necessarily be a white-black thing. There is a lot of tension between black and Hispanic communities, maybe even more than between Anglo and African-Americans.

  17. Again, Rodney King and Ferguson are being interpreted as race riots because people live in isolated communities. They are about abuse of power and a feeling of anger and helplessness to a system that is not addressing a communities needs.

    Race riots are a myth, a white supremacist myth that comes from the idea that all other races are savages at heart. It’s simply a false dichotomy and not something that solid exegesis should be built around.

    We can’t just make up scenarios that sound good for our story line and run with them like there are any true facts behind them.

    • Paul, if white supremacists are responsible for race riots, which is entirely possible based on America’s ugly history of race relations, that wouldn’t make them any less real.

  18. I would like to direct my comment to Derek.
    I believe I speak for many others in saying stand strong brother. The debaters will find a stage and an opponent somewhere else. I am a big fan of the vftb format. I see a value in having the various guests and allowing them to make their points, also a value in your honest thoughts on your journey that you have shared with us Derek. I am not totally on-board with any single guest but my world-view and understanding of Scripture continues to take shape.
    I like Rollin’s pints, and would like to hear from some others on both sides of the trib, after you deem them worthy of bunker time.

    Blessings

  19. I understand what Paul is saying, and I think we’re conflating the definition of “race riots.” Slavery knew no ‘race’ until some early colonial landowners found it a useful way to divide the enslaved population as a way to weaken the threat to the elite. The decision, in the 1600s, was intentional, and the notion of inferior “races” or sub-cultures pervades, having found “scientific” justification in Darwin’s own writings, and remains a tool to distract and shape and weaken society by certain puppet masters.

  20. Doug, I can agree with that. Race is a modern term, nationality used to be defined as belief system or where you were from not skin color. But yes, the idea that the inferior races will rise up to attack a benevolent white race is 100% a invalid, concept based on isolation. People that aren’t mixing with other people have an easier time creating enemies out of perceived differences, which in reality, usually don’t exist.

  21. Perhaps Pastor Stauffer is actually surmising if the checks stop, then the anarchy begins? Did you see about two years ago when the Government Bank Cards stopped working in a few cities and all kinds of chaos took place? Call it race riots, call it have or have nots etc. Does it really matter? People will be killing for your stuff or someone’s!!!! I think that is his point or am I missing something?

  22. Y’all are all silly. If one simply opens the KJV bible and a reads start to finish on passages it clearly says the Christians will be on earth for the tribulation and we will be raptured for gods wrath. Your teachings teach the tribulation And gods wrath are same event. The bible clearly says it is two seperate events. While we so not know the day of Christ return we can k ow when the tribulation is near an is starting. Tribulation first, then rapture an gods wrath next. Read Mathew 24 start to finish. Can’t be more clear. Tribulation is mentions in some fashion 22 times. All 22 times it says the Christians will go thru tribulations of some sort if not the tribulation. Pre trib rapture don’t have a leg to stand on if they read start to finish and not pick scripture. Pre trib doctrine is part of the apstosy preparing the Christians for slaughter.

    • I respectfully disagree. Any true Christian knows that Jesus warned us we would suffer tribulation before his return. I submit that Christians in many parts of the world — Iraq and Syria, for example — are suffering tribulation right now.

  23. The problem with most teaching today is that people fail to “rightly divide” the scripture and also inadvertently teach replacement theology.

    2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING the word of truth.

    The fail to rightly divide and teach that the church replaces Israel by applying passages for Israel to the church and vice-versa.

    I read Matthew chapter 24 and in there and I don’t find the church or the rapture. I find Jews who are gathered together BY THE ANGELS during the tribulation following the beginning of the Day of the Lord (announced at the 6th seal and commenced at the 7th seal). Verse 29 is the primary sign just prior to the Day of the Lord…sun & moon darkened, stars fall from heaven.

    Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

    30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

    31 And HE SHALL SEND HIS ANGELS with a great sound of a trumpet, and THEY SHALL GATHER HIS ELECT from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

    This GATHERING is for protection and those gathered will be the ones who populate the soon to start millennium. The Bible says of the rapture that Christ HIMSELF will take us out…unlike this event which has the angels being sent to gather the elect (Israel).

    RAPTURE: 1 Thessalonians 4:16 For THE LORD HIMSELF shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

    17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

    The Church will not even be on this earth during this time as evidenced by many scriptural proofs including the 3 1/2 years that Satan (the dragon) will persecute the WOMAN (Israel) with no mention of the church.

    Just read the Bible in context and see who Satan persecutes when he is cast out of heaven by Michael. First the casting out:

    Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and SATAN, which deceiveth the whole world: he WAS CAST OUT INTO THE EARTH, and his angels were cast out with him.

    Now, the timing four verses later: Halfway point, prior to the Abomination of Desolation mentioned in Matthew 24:

    Revelation 12:13 And when THE DRAGON saw that he was cast unto the earth, he PERSECUTED THE WOMAN which brought forth the man child.

    14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a TIME, and TIMES, and HALF A TIME, from the face of the serpent.

    Where is the church?…been in heaven since the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week which deals with Israel and Jerusalem.

    Daniel 9:24 SEVENTY WEEKS ARE DETERMINED UPON THY and upon THY HOLY CITY, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

    Where is the mention of the church in this? Do we really replace Israel here? Are we going to be ministered to by Michael the archangel, Moses and ELijah or the 144,000 Jewish male virgins…only if we replace Israel (which everyone agrees is heresy).

    There is not one scripture verse that teaches anything other than the fact that the church will not be for any part of Jacob’s trouble/Daniel’s 70th week. Claiming that Matthew 24 debunks the teaching of the Pre-trib rapture is claiming that the church replaces Israel, but Paul writes that God’s covenant with them was never eliminated.

    Romans 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

    27 For THIS IS MY COVENANT UNTO THEM, when I shall take away their sins.

    The church never usurped this covenant; in fact, the purpose of the church is stated earlier in the chapter in relation to Israel.

    Romans 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

    God purposes for the church over the last 2,000 years to provoke Israel to jealousy…not to replace Israel. Daniel’s 70th week begins with the church out of the way so that God’s focus can return to His people.

    The choice is simple: believe the Bible, rightly dividing it or let well-meaning people convince you that God will have mass confusion in Daniel’s 70th week with the Church mixed with national Israel. I personally choose to trust God’s word and His defined and definite plan. Blessings, Doug

  24. My first comment will be directed to the DEBATE question. Even right here in this forum those who don’t like or agree with debates are debating the issue. It is hard to accept such an “anti-debate” stance when they themselves are debating that stance.

    Also this debate over debates appears to be nothing more than semantics. Lets have a dispute if that makes it more Biblical and acceptable.

    Acts 17:17 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.

  25. Doug Stauffer is by far the most consistently logical and persuasive Pre-tribber that I have heard. But after listening to several of his sermons several times it has become clear to me that he is forcing his beliefs upon the texts and not deriving his doctrine from the Scriptures. I can see no reason for adding a huge gap after the second comma of 2Thes 2:3 other than to make it fit with his Pre-trib doctrine. He takes too much liberty and places way too much emphasis on commas of his choice. In 2Thes 1:7 Doug places much emphasis on the first comma but completely ignores the word “when” that follows. I found much of his explanation strained and convoluted. All verses which tie “the rapture” to Matthew 24 Doug automatically claims are not talking about the rapture at all without any contextual explanation… other than it does not fit into his Pre-trib theology. To make a long analysis short, Doug Stauffer has strong preconceived Pre-trib views and interprets the Scriptures in light of his doctrine and not the other way around.

  26. In response to Doug Stauffer’s statement: “The Bible says of the rapture that Christ HIMSELF will take us out…unlike this event which has the angels being sent to gather the elect (Israel).”
    This is clearly a biased interpretation based upon Doug’s preconceived believe in a Pre=-trib rapture.

    Mark 13:26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
    “…they see the Son of man coming…” They see the Son of man HIMSELF coming. Yes, Jesus HIMSELF, and “… then shall he send his angels…”
    Just because Jesus HIMSELF comes does not mean that Jesus HIMSELF gathers together his elect.

    Compare that to 2Thes 2:7 “…when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,”
    Jesus HIMSELF “…shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,”
    Did you get that? “…WITH HIS MIGHTY ANGELS,…”

    Now compare those to 1Thes 4:16 “…when the Lord himself shall descend from heaven…”
    Does this passage mean that because it is Jesus HIMSELF descending that he HIMSELF is taking us out in a Rapture?
    The passage does not mention angles taking us out but IT ALSO DOES NOT MENTION JESUS HIMSELF TAKING US OUT.
    I would argue that Jesus in not the one catching us up in 1Thes 4:17 but rather the angels because the verse reads that we “…shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:”
    We are caught up by whom to meet the Lord in the air? If Jesus is the one catching us up then we will meet him on the ground when he catches us up… and we will meet the angels in the air.
    This entire passage makes more sense and fits much better in harmony with 2Thes 2 and Mark 13 if we allow that the angels are catching us up and not Jesus.

  27. [Re Doug Stauffer, here’s a hot web piece that discusses him.]
    Re Margaret MacDonald, here’s what Dr. F. Nigel Lee stated: “Dave MacPherson, in his various books, has made a major contribution toward vindicating Historic Christian Eschatology. The 1830 innovations of the disturbed Margaret Macdonald documented by MacPherson—-in part or in whole—-immediately spread to Edward Irving and his followers, then to J. N. Darby and Plymouth Brethrenism, and were later popularized by the dispensationalistic Scofield Reference Bible, by Classic Pentecostalism, and by latter-day pretribulationists like J. F. Walvoord and Hal Lindsey.” (Dr. Lee stated this as the holder of nine EARNED doctorates [!] and as Australia’s most eminent evangelical scholar!) Google “X-Raying Margaret,” “Margaret Macdonald’s Main Point” and “Margaret Macdonald’s Rapture Chart” to find out what Dr. Stauffer censored. Stauffer’s “research” failed to notice that even Hal Lindsey calls Margaret a partial rapturist in his book “The Rapture.” And Walvoord’s “The Rapture Question” refers to partial rapturists as “pretribulationists” (p. 105) – pretribs who, in their “rapture charts” see “church” BEFORE the rapture as well as seeing “church” AFTER the rapture; they are “church splitters”! It’s amazing how many pretrib defenders have seized on Margaret’s statement “The trial of the Church is from Antichrist” and then gotten into a tizzy in public while ranting and screaming that “Margaret was a posttrib” or, even worse, that she was demon-possessed or in a trance or that “MacPherson has covered up many before 1830 who clearly taught pretrib”!!! Google “Scholars Weigh My Research” to find out other evangelical leaders who have endorsed MacPherson’s research since 1970. Also Google “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” “Pretrib Rapture Stealth,” “C. I. Scofield’s Hidden Side,” “Famous Rapture Watchers” and “Dr. Watson’s Pretrib Non-Discovery” – just some of the hot articles on the British blog “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing” hosted by noted teacher Treena Gisborn. BTW, this past July 5th, pretribber Dr. Erwin Lutzer told a packed Moody Church that there are now posttribs as well as pretribs among the MBI personnel, adding “Here at the Moody Church we have decided to not draw a line in the sand about these two views.” (!) But MBI is only reflecting the many worldwide who are now abandoning pretrib for other rapture views – and scary world events are helping to bring about the collapse of the 188-year-old pretrib fantasy!

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