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Judge Phil Ginn urges Christians to ‘look forward to that glorious event not with anxiety, but rather with great anticipation’

October 3, 2022

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A number of “ex-Christians” are reporting feeling extreme levels of fear or depression due to what they call “rapture anxiety.” These “exvangelicals” — former Evangelical Christians who have since left the faith — were apparently traumatized when they were subjected to “violent rapture-themed films” or spent their childhood years “crying themselves to sleep thinking about people and pets that would be left behind when the end finally came.” One expert on religious trauma claimed that rapture anxiety is a “real and chronic” issue.

Judge Phil Ginn, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu), countered these outlandish claims, pointing out that the anxiety that these so-called “ex-Christians” feel proves that they were never really part of the faith — true believers have faith in their heavenly destination rather than a fear of what’s to come.

“It is sometimes interesting to see folks formulate a strong opinion about an issue with which they have little concept of the reality of the subject matter,” Ginn stated. “Just ask a bunch of folks who are like minded, and collectively all of you can have the same conclusion that is not constructed upon any concept of the truth. Such is the case with CNN which, of course, based on a ‘study,’ has now apparently concluded that the eschatological doctrine of the imminent return of Jesus Christ for His church is a ‘chronic problem.’ In doing so they quote some ‘exvangelicals’ (former self-described evangelical Christians who have turned to unbelief), who describe rising anxiety over concerns of being left behind at the rapture.

“There are really so many levels of misconception thrown together in the article that it is somewhat difficult to know where to start. First, there is no such thing as an ex-Christian, but there are many make-believe Christians. So many people want a small dose of Christianity simply to avoid the pitfalls of unbelief, as in hell. When it comes to belief, it’s kind of the same principle as being pregnant — either you are, or you are not.”

Ginn continued, “Secondly, true Christianity is never based on the fear of punishment. The genuine Christ-follower responds to the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His victory over death by His Resurrection. Christianity then is nothing more than our overwhelming response to Christ’s great gift of salvation offered freely to those who truly believe. It is our desire to live in such a manner that we might reflect in our own lives what Christ so eloquently portrayed in His — not for our own glory or benefit but simply out of gratitude. 

“Ironically, the ‘anxiety’ felt by some of those who were interviewed might just be one last tug from the Holy Spirit gently pulling them toward belief. Just maybe they ought not to run from it, but rather learn from it and seek the face of Christ while He still may be found. Fear or anxiety can lead to a search for the truth. But true faith in Christ casts away all fear because we know that we are no longer left alone in our circumstances, be they good, bad, or indifferent.

“In the end, it is our culture, through its minions like CNN, that is seeking to draw our sight away from the cross and into the camouflaged bedlam that it offers. Satan is the father of lies while Jesus proclaims, ‘I am the truth.’”

Ginn concluded, “At SES, we are standing steadfast in the truth of the Gospel, and, yes, we have the audacity to believe in the rapture, when Jesus will return for His own. That belief is no longer very popular in a culture that seeks to lead the gullible ever so slowly into oblivion. At the same time, we realize that in America, the good times really are over for good and that they are not coming back. But we rest assured in the promise of Jesus that He is coming again. We look forward to that glorious event not with anxiety, but rather with great anticipation. 

“So, while we continue to work in the vineyard of the Lord, we will keep one wistful eye on the eastern sky and our listening ears peeled for the sound of the trumpet. Even so, come Lord Jesus!”

Judge Phil Ginn was appointed president of SES in April 2021 after a distinguished career as both a lawyer and a judge. Over the course of his 22-year judicial career, he was privileged to hold court in almost 50% of the county seats in North Carolina. He holds a B.A. from Appalachian State University, a J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Doctor of Ministry from Southern Evangelical Seminary. Prior to his appointment as SES president, Judge Ginn served as SES Chairman of the Board of Trustees. 

SES will take part in the upcoming Digging Deeper Conference on October 7-8 in Burke, Virginia. The Digging Deeper Conference is a two-day event engaging today’s questions from a Christian perspective. World class speakers will help us dive into discussions around science, theology, philosophy, apologetics, and more to get at the age-old question, “What is true?” Thinkers, skeptics, men and women of faith, scientists, professionals, students, agnostics, atheists, and anyone else who is honestly seeking truth are welcome to attend.

The mission of SES is to train men and women, based on the inerrant and infallible written Word of God, for the evangelization of the world and the defense of the historic Christian faith. SES offers a range of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees (along with several for-credit certificates) that uniquely integrate theology, philosophy, and apologetics to build a complete and systematic Christian worldview.

For more information on SES, visit its website at www.ses.edu or its Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (704) 847-5600.