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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Male-Dominated Pretrib Rapture  by Dave MacPherson

      By now most everyone knows that the famous pretribulation rapture can be traced back to1830 and to a young woman in Scotland named Margaret Macdonald. But how many are aware that this end time belief has been dominated by males during the 187 years of its existence?
     My book "The Rapture Plot" (available online) lists several reasons why the male-dominated theological world of 1830 gave her no public credit for her novel prophetic invention:

     She was a female.

     She was young.

     She was uneducated.

     And she had been a Christian only a year.

     A few months after her history making revelation, a journal published by Rev. Edward Irving known as "The Morning Watch" (which had sent writers to interview Margaret in mid-1830) repeated the essence of her new view in its Sep. 1830 issue but gave her no credit - the first instance I've found of plagiarism in pretribulationism's history which has long been riddled with dishonesty!

     Credit for Margaret was still lacking two years later when the same journal talked about recent advancements in theology. It didn't mention her but undoubtedly had her in mind when it stated:

     "The Spirit of God has caused several young women, in different parts of Great Britain, to condense into a few broken sentences more and deeper theology than ever Vaughan, Chalmers, or Irving uttered in their longest sermons; and therefore more than all the rest of the Evangelical pulpits ever put forth in the whole course of their existence."

     In 1833, after he had joined Irving's church in London and then had become disillusioned with the new pretrib rapture that Irving had accepted, British lawyer Robert Baxter left that assembly and wrote a book exposing the same rapture notion, referring to it as "the delusion" that had "first appeared in Scotland" - but again Margaret's name was missing.

     Margaret's pretrib revelation was included in a book in 1840 by Robert Norton M.D. who, by the way, had married her in 1835 and who later became a leading historian in the Irvingite church founded by Irving. Although he didn't reveal Margaret as the pretrib rapture originator in 1840 (since it wasn't customary then to identify the authors of personal revelations while they were living), after Margaret died in 1841 he finally named her as the theory's originator in an 1861 book of his.

     Meanwhile John Darby of the Plymouth Brethren knew that the Irvingites had been teaching the new pretrib doctrine while he had still been clinging to the historical posttribulation view. He also knew that the secretive and non-missionary-minded Irvingites had never wanted to share the new escapist doctrine with outsiders in a big way.

     In an 1834 letter while talking about the new pretrib view that Irving's journal had been teaching, Darby told fellow Brethren that "the thoughts are new," adding that during any teaching of it "it would not be well to have it so clear." In fact he gloated about this in an 1843 letter while telling about hearers who had been accepting the new fly-away belief "without knowing whence it came or how it sprung up all of a sudden"!

     Not one to let a good thing go to waste, Darby decided that he could capitalize on it if the Irvingites weren't going to. So between 1862 and 1877 opportunist Darby spread the "borrowed" pretrib escapism while planting new Brethren assemblies in countries around the world including the US.

     The highlight of my "Rapture Plot" book was my accidental discovery of a well engineered plot in the late 1800s to wrongfully credit John Darby of the Plymouth Brethren as the pretrib rapture originator. This was accomplished after his death by one of his followers who secretly and maliciously made many quiet revisions in early Irvingite and Brethren documents and skillfully covered everything up - a plot that has long been unknown by church historians everywhere!

     We now fast forward to Kansas and a simple gravestone in Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Atchison which is etched with "Leontine Cerre Scofield (1848  1936)." Leontine should have been one of the most famous women of all time. But she's still unknown because her husband never referred to her publicly after he became famous.

     He was obsessed with making money, legally and illegally. He stole thousands of dollars from friends and deserted Leontine and his children for several years. His desertion forced her to work for the family's support.

     He claimed he was converted to Christ in 1879. But a year later he was in a St. Louis jail for six months on a forgery conviction. He had stolen his mother-in-law's last $1300 in a real estate scam. On Dec. 8, 1883 Leontine divorced him for deserting her and their two daughters - and he remarried three months later!

     As late as 1899, when he preached D. L. Moody's funeral sermon, he was still issuing IOU's to keep  from paying back the thousands of dollars he'd stolen!

     In 1909 he pulled off the biggest coup of his money-obsessed career. He became the biggest trafficker of the pretrib rapture which he featured in the margins of a book. The published work that made him wealthy is still a big seller today and is known as the Scofield Reference Bible which states on the title page "Edited by Rev. C. I. Scofield, D.D." (but it doesn't reveal that he added the D.D. himself instead of letting some institution confer it!).

     Although many in recent days have been abandoning the same 187-year-old fly-away fantasy after finding out the facts about its dishonesty-riddled history (as outlined in web articles like "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty," "Pretrib Rapture Stealth" and "Pretrib Hypocrisy), males still seem to be dominating as writers, publishers, and promoters of it, and there seems to be no end of pretrib rapture books, videos, movies and internet articles.

     If women had had the same opportunities as men after 1830 (when a young lassie came up with the now-famous pretrib interpretation), their basically discerning and honest nature would have exploded this male-dominated theological hoax long before now!


Irv said...

Treena, how any person on earth, with an ounce of intelligence, can continue to support or defend the Johnny-come-lately pretribulation rapture nonsense is an utter mystery to me. Teachers of such unbiblical garbage should be rounded up and imprisoned on a desert island somewhere!

Treena Gisborn said...

Yes indeed Irv. This information is very helpful.
God bless

colin said...

This was before the suffragette movement, but anyway! (How things have deteriorated since?)

However could Margaret MacDonald, J.N.Darby, and any one else for that matter, at THE time the pre-trib rapture WAS born, have known that this novel doctrine would not only grow to re-shape the world-wide Christian eschatological landscape, but would also bring a great many unbelievers into the dramatic Hollywood RAPTURE movie-world scene?

I believe that Darby WAS genuinely deceived by this new doctrine, indeed, as it is borne out by his writings, the erroneous pre-trib rapture became a convenient theory for him to separate Israel from the New Testament Church. Having said this, any good theologian could have (and many did) reminded Darby & Co that Gentiles/heathen/strangers/Egyptians, call them what you will, were always saved even in the dim and distant Old Testament past by God's grace, alone; Exodus 12.48, Numbers 9.14 etc. They were all part of God's called out people from Adam to the great white throne, the ONE true Church of the ages.

Darby became very enthusiastic in his endeavours to promote this new theory, and MacPherson's account of things are very interesting, and I believe there is much truth in them, but nevertheless, the Open Brethren leaders, Newton and Muller didn't make much of it, as they knew the pre-trib rapture was unbiblical. Muller put it best when he said;

"...I came to see I must part company with John Darby, or my precious Bible, and I chose to cling to my Bible and part from Mr Darby."

If only pre-trib believers today would heed Muller's words?

God bless.

colin said...

Further to my last post, I should have clarified that the Open Brethren leaders didn't dwell upon the Margaret MacDonald/Irving incident-they practically, to all intents and purposes ignored the wee Scottish lassie, relying solely upon Gods's word for their direction.

I am sure that the MacDonald/Irving episode was the catalyst wherewith Darby became energized, and MacPherson's analysis is commendable, but to some that are anchored in God's word, it becomes something of a sideshow, as interesting as it may be.

Some errantly think that the timing of the Lord's Second Advent is "not a salvation issue". To be deceived by such gross deception is to plainly deny God's written word. Daniel 8.25 shines much light upon this; the prophet is telling us in no uncertain terms that the beast "shall destroy many". The beast/Satan WILL "stand up against the Prince of princes.." No doubt Satan will destroy many through plain injunctions such as Hosea 4.6; "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge"?

God bless.

Treena Gisborn said...

I agree Colin. The timing of the rapture is a critical subject, since (in my view) it is connected with the "falling away" of Matthew 24:10.
I think Dave MacPherson's material does prove that Darby was dishonest in that he had no original ideas of his own, but rather he stole them from the Irvingites, Margaret MacDonald being the catalyst as you say.
The pre-trib theory has its roots in spiritual deception which continues to this day, mostly due to the pseudo scholarship of Thomas Ice and his associates.
God bless

colin said...

When we say "The timing of the rapture is a critical subject", I think we mean that having the knowledge of the exact split second moment it happens is not so much of paramount importance as knowing and believing that this event CANNOT possibly ever happen before the great tribulation? Let alone seven years or more before the Second Advent of Christ!

Not only does MacPherson's material prove Darby was dishonest, but Ice and Company have been passed the baton from him! Are they even more dishonest in their attempts at re-writing history?
God bless.

Treena Gisborn said...

The PTRC, the Berean Call and the PWMI are at least as dishonest, if not more dishonest than Darby in their promotion of pre-trib. It really is appalling that these false teachers are putting a stumbling block in the way of so many believers.

"..the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?" Jeremiah 5:31

"So then each of us will give an account of himself to God." Romans 14:12

God bless