In this corner, weighing in at less than 200 years of theological inventiveness, hardly attested by the gospels and only decipherable by the most creative of Scriptural interpretations, ... not one, but many times claimed and never validated ... THE RAPTURE.
And in this corner, weighing in at 2,000 years of sacred history, fully attested by all four gospels, the undefeated anchor of Christian hope, the undisputed vindication of all that Jesus said, did, and endured, here it is, the one, the only ... EASTER SUNDAY!
Okay, you two, come to the center of the ring. Now, I want a clean competition, see? No low blows, no cheap tricks, no preying on people's fears or emotional appeals about being "left behind." Got it? Just some good, solid biblical interpretations, theological integrity, and most of all, compassion. See, if you have emotions, and symbolic interpretations, and number-crunching, but don't have love, then ya' got nothing, see? So, none of that. Just get out there and give the people here what they came for, a good reason to crown one or the other of you as the champion of faith, the pinnacle of theology and practice. Got it? All right, shake hands and come out showing your best stuff.
(Ding!)And Rapture comes out swinging! It's using blogs and raucous preaching! Ooohh, it lands a heavy timeline! What's that? A best-selling series of novels that escapes criticism by calling itself 'fiction' when challenged, but styling itself as 'truth' when appealing to audiences. And now, a flurry of suggestive symbolic pictures, some of which look like actual people existing today! And there's a repetitive claim that "every prophecy has already been fulfilled," which nobody even understands! I tell ya, folks, Rapture is pushing like there's no tomorrow. It's thrown all caution to the wind, cares noting about the long-term fate of the universe, and even ridicules any concern about the earth as a form of pagan idolatry. My goodness! Can the champ take it and still survive?
What's this? Easter is simply standing in the ring, absorbing blow after blow. Easter is letting the fury pass, with hope and confidence. Easter is taking a beating as if it has been abused, despised, and afflicted before! Easter is giving hope for all who have been victimized, granting strength to all who have been weakened by life's incessant worries, proclaiming triumph to any who has been bruised by the powers of violence and ridicule. And now ... it's official. Rapture has spent itself with repeated false alarms, so that Easter is the only truth left standing.
Rejoice, ladies and gentlemen, Easter has prevailed again!