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Rapture Fiction and the Evangelical Crisis

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Rapture Fiction and the Evangelical Crisis

Jesus Christ will soon return to the earth. This book, like the rapture fiction novels it discusses, finds its hope in that statement's truth. Nothing that this book argues should therefore be understood as in any way underplaying the significance of our Lord's second coming, or its central importance in consistent Christian living. The New Testament documents shine with the anticipation of glory, and this book must not dull that hope.

Rapture Fiction and the Evangelical Crisis seeks to retain rapture novels' enthusiasm for the return of Jesus Christ at the same time as it examines their presentation of the gospel. Its most basic argument is that rapture novels have emerged from an evangelicalism that shows signs of serious theological decay. In their descriptions of conversion and Christian living, rapture fiction novels demonstrate a sometimes inadequate understanding of the gospel, the church and the Christian life. These novels are some of the best-selling 'evangelical' titles in the world, but the faith they represent cannot be identified with the historic orthodoxy of evangelical Protestantism, the 'faith which was once delivered unto the saints' (Jude 3). The novels' combination of theological inadequacy and massive popularity is evidence that evangelicalism is now in serious crisis.

Crawford Gribben is the lecturer in Renaissance literature and culture at the University of Manchester, a member of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, and the author of The Irish Puritans: James Ussher and the Reformation of the Church. Before his current post at Manchester, he taught in the School of English at Trinity College, Dublin, and was a visiting lecturer at the University of Lausanne and a visiting scholar at Westminster College, Cambridge. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. His research interests centre on three major themes: the literary culture of Puritanism; relationships between literature and theology, especially in Irish and Scottish contexts; and the history of apocalyptic and millennial thought.

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