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Book Review: “The Falling Away: Spiritual Departure or Physical Rapture? A Second Look at 2 Thessalonians 2:3” by Dr. Andy Woods
If we went for a coffee today, perhaps we could talk about this book.
How did I get it?
You know, I’m blessed with a wonderful set of friends. My friend Rob sent me this book. Rob and I met around 2010 in an upstairs back room of the Bible House in downtown Ottawa. He was working for the Canadian Bible Society, managing their bookstore there, and we had just leased that room for our church, Calvary Fellowship of Ottawa to serve as a clubhouse.
In one of our first conversations, we discussed this verse:
“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.” - 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (NKJV)
The question is that word “falling away” is also translated “apostasy.” Rob wanted to know what I thought that word meant. If it meant apostasy, everything we believed about the end of time according to the Bible was wrong. If it didn’t mean that, what does it mean?
I told him that I thought it was referring to the rapture of the church, described in 1 Thessalonians 4 and showed him how I got there. He agreed. That’s really how we met. And, we’ve maintained a friendship largely around theological discussion ever since.
He came across this book and sent it to me a few months ago.
This is all timely for me, because I just listened to Albert Mohler interview Daniel Hummel about his new book “The Rise and Fall of Dispensationalism.” I didn’t know that it has fallen. This belief in the rapture is central to Dispensationalism. It felt like they were a bit too giddy in their belief that it has fallen. I’ve ordered the book.
What is it about?
This book, is about how to define this one Greek word “apostasia” in this sentence from the Apostle Paul to the church in Thessalonica and therefore how to understand what Paul is saying.
The question is: Is Paul describing a “spiritual falling away?” In other words, are a bunch of people going to stop being Christians before the AntiChrist shows up?
Or, is Paul describing a “physical falling away?” In other words, a “taking away” like what he wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4. If so, then, there will be a rapture, a “taking away” of believers in Jesus and then the AntiChrist will show up.
Dr. Woods explores the options, their ramifications and arguments for both sides. He gives 10 reasons for why it’s referring to the rapture.
What did I think?
I think he’s right. Even though reason #2 (2 Thessalonians is an early letter) seems really weak to me, I still believe he’s right.
It’s really a pamphlet more than a book. In my opinion, however, he’s done a masterful job on the subject. There’s not much more to be said.
What about you? Would you disagree with Dr. Woods? If so, why? What do you believe Paul is saying to these believers in Thessalonica?