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Thursday, 16 February 2017


      John Darby defender Dr. Paul Wilkinson dropped some names when beginning his rebuttal of the electrifying "Left Behind or Led Astray?" DVD produced by Joe Schimmel's Good Fight Ministries. And Wilkinson concluded, even before offering any evidence, that the DVD is full of "myths" and "lies"!
     So I'll start my response to him with the following conclusions, even before offering any evidence, that have come my way:
     My first book "The Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin" (1973) received undeserved kudos from "The Witness" (the oldest and largest Darbyist Brethren magazine in England) in April 1974: "What [MacPherson] succeeds in establishing is that the [pretrib] view outlined was first stated by a certain Margaret Macdonald...early in 1830."
     Later on world-class Australian scholar Dr. F. Nigel Lee (with nine earned doctorates) stated: "Dave MacPherson, in his various books, has made a major contribution toward vindicating Historic Christian Eschatology. The 1830 innovations of the disturbed Margaret Macdonald documented by MacPherson - in part or in whole - immediately spread to Edward Irving and his followers, then to J. N. Darby and Plymouth Brethrenism, and were later popularized by the dispensationalistic Scofield Reference Bible, by Classic Pentecostalism, and by latter-day pretribulationists like J. F. Walvoord and Hal Lindsey."
     And I haven't even thought of calling anyone a liar yet!
     While feeling unqualified to respond to some of Wilkinson's points, I will give the following facts:
     When Hal Lindsey's books see "the one taken and the other left" before the "man of sin" is revealed, we all know he's expressing the "kernel" of the pretrib view.
     But when Darby defenders read Margaret Macdonald's 1830 pretrib rapture account (where on lines 58-63 we see what I've long said is her main point: "the one taken and the other left" before "THE WICKED" is "revealed"), they sound like Wilkinson who, in his rebuttal, dares to declare that "her utterance bears no resemblance whatsoever to a pre-trib Rapture."
     Guess how he gets away with this. He stops quoting her at line 45 of her 117-line account and resumes quoting at line 60 and thus can omit quoting the rapture part ("the one taken") of her "kernel."
     Thomas Ice, Wilkinson's American counterpart, does the same nervy thing. When quoting her account in his 1990 BibSac article about her, he stopped quoting her at line 58 (just before "the one taken" etc.) and resumed at line 72 - and thus censored ALL of her "kernel"! For insights into Ice, Wilkinson should Google "Pretrib Rapture Pride," "Walvoord Melts Ice," "Thomas Ice (Bloopers)," and (by a British Ph.D) "Be careful in polemics - Peripatetic Learning."
     Wilkinson even calls Margaret a posttrib and somehow doesn't know that phrases like "The trial of the Church is from Antichrist" (lines 85-86) express her partial rapture view, that all partial rapturists (like Pember and Govett) talk the same way, and that even Walvoord's books describe partial rapturists as "pretribulationists"! (I also urge him to Google "X-Raying Margaret," "Margaret Macdonald's Rapture Chart," and "Pretrib Rapture's Missing Lines." And no one should confuse Margaret with Mary Campbell who was involved with telepathy and automatic writing.)
     When many including Darby visited Margaret in mid-1830, all (except Darby) concluded she was teaching a partial rapture form of pretrib. John Cardale visited the prayer meetings held in the Macdonald home and described them in his Dec. 1830 article in Irving's journal "The Morning Watch" (hereafter: TMW). Cardale listed 17 details about the speakers and what they taught.
     Amazingly, Darby's 1853 book described his visit to those meetings and listed practically word-for-word all of Cardale's details except one. Although Darby mentioned Margaret's "texts on overcoming" (the "tribulation" part of her "kernel"), he omitted the first half of her pretrib partial rapture "kernel" - what she taught about "the coming of the Lord" (rapture) as the church's "deliverance" before the "judgments coming on the earth" (which all, except Darby, understood as a pretrib separation!).
     Irving reflected her novel view in TMW in June 1831 when he saw a pretrib rapture in Rev. 12:5's "man child" who's caught up, and described the scene as the "two-fold company - the one gathered before , and the other after the travailing woman is cast out into the wilderness...."
     Is Wilkinson aware that TMW (Sep. 1830) was the first publication to publicly air pretrib? It saw "Philadelphia" raptured before "the great tribulation" and "Laodicea" left on earth. Meanwhile Darby was still defending posttrib in Dec. 1830 in the "Christian Herald."
     Darby idolizer Wilkinson was not happy when he heard Joe Schimmel saying that "the evidence is quite clear that Darby and his followers were late-comers to pre-tribulationism and that Darby was quite familiar with pre-trib teaching among the Irvingites before he accepted and then proliferated the doctrine...." Dr. Mark Patterson also states on the DVD that Darby learned the pre-trib rapture from Irving.
     Here's Wilkinson's knee jerk reaction to Schimmel and Patterson: "The evidence is not only unclear, it is non-existent!"
     And here's my knee jerk reaction to Wilkinson: My Google piece "Edward Irving is Unnerving" - which mentions Patterson and Walker - proves that the evidence for Irving is existent!
     Right now let's look briefly at the earliest "rapture" development of the Irvingites and the Darbyist Brethren during the contested period stretching from 1827 to 1839:
     1827: A few, including John Bray, have claimed that Darby believed in pretrib this early. But Darby's first two papers (1827 and 1828) discussed only the "heavenly church" and the "church's unity" - and Darby then looked for only the posttrib "restitution" and "refreshing" in Acts 3. (I invite all to Google "Is John Bray a PINO?")
     1829: Darby's first paper on prophecy. He expected only the Rev. 19 coming. And he showed Irvingite influence. He mentioned "Mr. Irving" five times, "Ben-Ezra" (Lacunza) once, and "Morning Watch" twice. Darby said he was an avid reader of Irving's works and journal and heard Irving preach. (My "Rapture Plot" discusses Darby on 145 pages.)
     1830: Margaret had her pretrib revelation in the spring. TMW (Sep.) reflected her pretrib partial rapturism (church/church dichotomy) and saw worthy "Philadelphia" raptured before "the great tribulation" and less worthy "Laodicea" left behind. Darby was still defending posttrib historicism in Dec. in the "Christian Herald" and waiting for only Matt. 25's "judging of the nations." (Darby discusses TMW four times in his 1830 paper and five times in an 1831 letter. Let me add that from 1830 to 1833 TMW repeatedly taught pretrib and any-moment imminence while Darby was still defending the posttrib view, as my "Plot" portrays.)
     1832: Darby still doesn't believe in a future Antichrist but only in "present antichristian principles."
     1834: We find Darby and the Jews waiting for the same day (Heb. 10:37).
     1837: Darby saw the church "going in with Him to the marriage [Rev. 19], to wit, with Jerusalem and the Jews"!
     1839: Darby's first clear pretrib teaching. His pretrib basis then (and many more years) was Rev. 12:5's "man child" caught up before a 3.5-year tribulation - but Irving had been the first one to use this Rev. symbol for the same purpose in TMW in 1831!       
     True, one can find a few minor errors in the "Left Behind or Led Astray?" DVD being discussed because no one is perfect including me. But I believe that as the world gets even more scary and dangerous, more and more pretribbers will overlook any blemishes in the same DVD and will congratulate Joe Schimmel and his group for their foresight and love for God's everlasting truth.


Irv said...

I've been tempted to say that all of us readers of your "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing" get our money's worth when we peruse the articles on it such as the one here - especially since we pay no money for the priceless items! Thanks and God bless and reward you!

Treena Gisborn said...

Thank you Irv. God bless.

colin said...

An interesting read.

I have always thought "Good Fight" a rather unfortunate name for a Christian ministry. There again, we ARE told to "earnestly contend for the faith" Jude 1.3.
As seems to be so often the case today, since the introduction of the errant pre-tribulation rapture at least, the fight seems to be ever among Christians! Unbelievers couldn't care less about the Second Advent/rapture, for they don't believe it will happen!
Nevertheless, this is all part of THE apostasy/"falling away" in 2 Thess 2.3, and the "perilous times" 2 Tim 3.1, that now is, and will increase toward the coming "man of sin", is it not?
Oh well, it is probably easier to convince some of the 'flat earth' truth than the 'pre-trib' error!

Calling Wilkinson a "Darby idolizer" evokes a picture of him bowing down to an image of the 'great' man!

God bless.

Treena Gisborn said...

Just guessing - the name perhaps came from the old hymn:
"Fight the good fight with all they might"?
Good fight ministries are the only ministry who have ever been nice to me, so I am on board with them. I do see things pretty much the same way as Joe Schimmel, apart from the timing of the rapture. I have listened to his teaching on this two or three times but I still don't get it. However he is much more humble than some I could name but won't.
I did read Paul Wilkinson's paper on Darby - he might just as well bow down to an image of him!
I never really saw unbelievers as part of the apostasy - you have to believe in the first place to fall away. I guess they are part of it in the sense that they totally reject God in the end though.
God bless

colin said...

Thanks for reminding me of that hymn-the words of that old hymn are so wonderful!

But, still, there seems something wrong about fighting when we are supposed to "turn the other cheek"? Many, in war time became pacifists because of what they believed the Scripture to teach?

"The weapons of our warfare are not carnal" 2 Cor 10.4, and the sword we fight with is God's word-Hebrews 4.12! I have no doubt this is what Pastor Schimmel means regarding the "Good fight"?

But nevertheless, it it is so tragic that Christians seem to be expending so much of their resources and energies against each other. But could it be otherwise? We can hardly expect unbelievers to be involved in this warfare, or am I missing something?

God bless.

Treena Gisborn said...

It is bewildering Colin I agree with you. Nevertheless Jesus Christ, Paul, Jude etc. warned about false teachers in the last days. If false teachers, who appear to be Christians, are not opposed, then the spirit of error will reign? 1 John 4:1-6. Unbelievers do not have spiritual discernment - it must look like a complete mess to them.
Prayer is vital and I trust that God is working by His Spirit.
God bless