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Wednesday, 17 May 2017


     Jesus spoke of those who "compass sea and land to make one proselyte." Likewise there are pretribulationists who compass the globe to find the existence of "pretrib" teaching long before the embarrassing date of 1830. Sometimes even non-pretrib "soldiers of fortune" look for the same evidence, even if it turns out to be ammunition for pretrib rapturists.
     Francis Gumerlock, a Latin teacher at (Roman Catholic) Holy Family High School in the Denver area, has been claiming that a "Brother Dolcino" in northern Italy during the Middle Ages taught the pretrib view centuries before Margaret Macdonald did. (For a while Dolcino headed the Apostolic Brethren, a radical non-Catholic Christian sect viewed as "early reformers" which made many enemies; eventually Dolcino was burned at the stake in 1307.)
     Gumerlock presented his claim in an article titled "A Rapture Citation in the Fourteenth Century" which appeared in the July-Sep. 2002 "Bibliotheca Sacra," Dallas Seminary's journal. The same article is still on the web.
     Before he focuses on Dolcino, Gumerlock discusses what he calls "inadequate" pretrib rapture history. In the same BibSac article he spells my name two different ways (also Margaret's two different ways) before he relates that "thirteen-year old" Margaret (she was 15) uttered a prophecy in an "Irvingite meeting" (she actually received her pretrib "revelation" in her home). He even says that crediting John Darby with pretrib "is inadequate because recent scholarship has brought to light examples of pretribulationism in church history between the writing of the New Testament and Darby."
     Interestingly, militant pretrib defender Thomas Ice (in his article "Yet, Another Pre-Darby Rapture Statement") reveals that "Gumerlock is very much opposed to pretribulationism..." In light of this, it's surprising that Gumerlock gives his imprimatur to Ice and other pretribs who've claimed to have discovered pretrib teaching in some pre-1830 sources. Or maybe it'$ not $o $urpri$ing!
     For example, Gumerlock agrees with Grant Jeffrey that Pseudo-Ephraem (whom Jeffrey incorrectly changes to "Ephraem the Syrian"!) taught pretrib in the 4th century. (Google "Wily Jeffrey" and "Pseudo-Ephraem Taught Pretrib - Not.") And Gumerlock also endorses John Bray's assertion that 18th century pastor Morgan Edwards was another pretrib. (Google "Morgan Edwards' Rapture View" and "John Bray a PINO?")
     The oldest known source revealing Dolcino's theology is evidently a text titled "The History of Brother Dolcino." It was composed in manuscript form in 1316 nine years after Dolcino's death by an anonymous person (!), was recopied in 1551, and reprinted and edited a number of times between the 1600s and 1907 by secondhand copyists, according to Gumerlock.
     Gumerlock's 2002 BibSac article stated: "Dolcino is known to have written several letters outlining his eschatological teachings, but none are extant." It it noteworthy that this incredible statement by Gumerlock was deliberately omitted by Thomas Ice in the previously mentioned article of his. Evidently Ice doesn't want his readers to know that his much-touted claim for Dolcino rests on no original evidence (!) but only on an anonymous copyist and later centuries of secondhand copying and editing!
     The same history (dated 1316) stated this concerning Dolcino's rapture belief:
     "And that the Antichrist was coming into the world within the bounds of the said three and a half years; and after he had come, then he [Dolcino] and his followers would be transferred into Paradise, in which are Enoch and Elijah. And in this way they will be preserved unharmed from the persecution of Antichrist." (Note that Dolcino's "rapture" was not before Antichrist's arrival but after Antichrist had been on earth an unstated amount of time.)
     Is this really pretrib rapture teaching?
     Gumerlock tells us that in the same "History" (p. 9) Dolcino and his followers believed that the Roman Church was "Babylon" and the "great whore" which had long exhibited "pride, avarice, luxury and many other vices," and that it had already "perished"!
     Since Gumerlock's "Rapture Citation" (p. 17) says that Dolcino "was clearly influenced by the teachings of Joachim of Fiore" (and his year/day theory which was already a century old), and on p. 8 sees similarities between Dolcino's Antichrist and Pseudo-Ephraem's sermon as well as the treatise of Morgan Edwards (who believed that the papacy had been playing the "Antichrist" role for 1000 years), it is reasonable to conclude that Dolcino believed that most of the tribulation had already happened and that only a tiny portion of it remained - hardly a pretribulation rapture scheme!


Irv said...

Maybe we should all pray for the sunset - and hope that all of today's pretrib rapture desperados will ride off into it and never be heard from again!

colin said...

Methinks this is a definite case of "clutching at straws", if ever there was one!

Pre-trib rapture 'theology' is patently a very powerful tool to deceive those who will not "search the scriptures". Deception is a MOST devastatingly powerful influence to come under. Often I have wondered if false teachers KNOWINGLY deceive for financial gain, or are unknowingly deceiving for "filthy lucre". Surely, no one would believe a lie, unless they WERE deceived? The scripture that gives us much light on this matter is 1 Corinthians 2.8, where it says "...for had they KNOWN it, they would NOT have crucified the Lord of glory." Who would KNOWINGLY crucify God!??

God bless.

Treena Gisborn said...

It has often puzzled me how Christians can swallow some of the false teachings doing the rounds today Colin. Surely being a Christian is all about TRUTH?

There is the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, and the spirit of error/deception. (1 John 4:6; 1 Timothy 4:1 cf. Isaiah 19:14). I believe that the present stupor is a judgement from God that will exact a heavy cost in the end. (Jeremiah 5:31).

"The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).

God bless

colin said...

yes, correct-God in Christ DOES say "The truth shall make you free." John 8.32.

Let us not bend to error and deceit; always seeking the truth, no matter what the cost?

God bless.