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!