Rapturing books: Read more on the end times

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Recommended resources on the end of the world, the Second Coming, and eschatology:

Father Dermot Lane, an Irish Jesuit and the president of the Mater Dei Institute in Dublin, is one of the most respected English-language experts on eschatology. His book Keeping Hope Alive: Stirrings in Christian Theology (Wipf & Stock) gives an excellent overview of Christian eschatology and develops a theology of hope that engages contemporary human experiences and challenges.

The best book that tackles the fallacies of rapture theology head-on is New Testament scholar Barbara Rossing's The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation. Rossing not only thoroughly debunks the dispensationalist fundamentalism that informs the Left Behind books. In the process she also helps readers to better understand and gain hope from the Book of Revelation, whose message Rapture preachers have long distorted.

For those interested in learning more about the key scriptural passages that are the basis for the invention of the Rapture scenario, Rossing's epilogue on "Debunking the Rapture by verse" is highly recommended. For shorter takes of Rossing's perspective, see also the somewhat zany interview by the Wittenburg Door and the feature "Let's Hear It for the Loving, Wimpy Jesus" in the Chicago Reader.

The now-defunct catechetical journal Living Light published a special issue on the "End of Time and Last Things" (Winter 2003). It covers the topic from a number of different angles and provides resources for Catholic religious educators to help them improve what they teach about eschatology, a topic that the General Directory for Catechesis has identified as a "lacuna" (missing piece) in catechesis.


The Statement on Left Behind Books and Videos by the Catholic Conference of Illinois is the most direct official Catholic statement on dispensationalist theology to date.

The Diocese of Joliet has created an appendix to its Faith Formation Curriculum,"What Catechists Should Know About the End Times," which includes a list of recommended books and other resources

Also worthwhile: 

Raptured or Not? A Catholic Understanding by Michael D. Guinan, O.F.M. (Catholic Update)


David B. Currie, Rapture! The End Times Error That Leaves the Bible Behind (Sophia Institute Press)

Paul Thigpen, The Rapture Trap: A Catholic Response to End Times Fever (Ascension)

The best historical overview of American premillennialism is Living in the Shadow of the Second Coming: American Premillennialism, 1875-1982 by Timothy P. Weber, the former president of the Memphis Theological Seminary.

One of the best overall critiques of fundamentalism, in particular of fundamentalist scripture interpretation, is the late Scottish Old Testament scholar James Barr's book Fundamentalism.


These resources accompany "Ready or not, here I come…again," which appeared in the December 2009 issue of U.S. Catholic (Vol. 74. No. 12, p. 20).

Also see: In case of Rapture, don't be fooled

About the author

Meinrad Scherer-Emunds

Meinrad Scherer-Emunds was the executive editor of U.S. Catholic. He is currently the director of communications for Maryknoll Lay Missioners.

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