Wherever one turns today on the Internet news sources, sooner or later you discover they will post up an article on the Rapture. This is true of many of the general religious sites as well. I'm not really sure of their motives because in almost every case they end up exposing or revealing the shallowness of their understanding of the Bible and lack of scholarship pertaining to Church History. Being retired affords me the luxury of time, and I make sure that I make good use of it. I have 12 particular sites that I monitor the news daily, and this does not begin to include all my peripheral alternative media sites. I am signed on or subscribed to no less than twenty related sites that enable me to get the most important news that provides a pulse of our culture and society. The past couple months I have been spending quite a bit of time at the seminary library where I have been doing what few have the time or interest to do, research the Pre-Tribulation Rapture teaching writings. Those of you that still believe in the "Blessed Hope" will be richly blessed with what I have coming your way!
Religious sites in particular, are especially guilty of attacking the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Today, we have seen some falling away by those that once held to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture position. This is less related to Biblical literacy than it is to the social and cultural phenomenon that has been buttressed by Biblical illiterates. I am speaking to the point that the institutional church has been invaded by the culture. I have said for more than thirty years that the institutional church has lost its voice of moral authority as a consequence of the US Supreme Court's decision of June 25, 1962. Back then the institutional church chose not to fight and simply rolled over and played dead. The culture has been in serious decline ever since that pivotal event. On June 25, 1962 the Court ruled against prayer in school and essentially banned God from the schools (the public realm) of the land. It's a fact that since that date over 80 social indices have been in decline in the land where God has been banned from the public realm.
The present US Supreme Court's recent decision further determined the destiny of the USA that was made on October 1st, 2014. America's demise is a certainty and the state of communities around the nation are evident by the fact that one out of every five children in the USA, more than 16-million, live in poverty, squalor, and survive on food stamps.
In 1967, I re-opened an abandoned church, that my predecessor closed before I was appointed to the 4-small rural church circuit. He closed it without understanding the dynamics of the rural culture where he was the pastor. He was educated, articulate, polished, cultured, but he could not relate to the dirt-poor farmers on an Appalachian road that depended on coal slag to fill in the pot holes. Against the wishes of my superiors in the Methodist Conference, I saw to it that the folks got Sunday School at noon and I came in for a 1 pm worship service on Sunday afternoon. Everyone said it would not last, but for the remaining three years I was the student-pastor and we averaged 70-80 for worship and 50 kids for Sunday School. My predecessor who closed it later left pastoral ministry to become director of the Good Will Agency of the local Annual Conference.
The church in the USA and most of the Christian world today are so splintered and are scattered in all directions seeking to get a "new" filling of the Spirit. Bro. Mike Hoggard talks occasionally about the scattering of the church seduced by the likes of Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, TBN, and the "Emergent" church movement that is traveling the road back to Rome. The "Emergent Church" movement is a post-Christian era pied piper "enchantment" of the church that can't seem to find its purpose. Unfortunately, the church is not going to stem the tide of decline so long as it continues to put the cart before the horse. When the church adopted the Social Gospel idurin the period between 1900 and 1920, it ceased to or turned its back on the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Liberalism was the death knell of the Biblical message in America. So today when you hear anyone tell you that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is a lie, chances are they know very little about their church history, or even understand the Bible itself for that matter.
Pre-Wrath advocate Marvin Rosenthal lied about the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. A frequent statement that he made back when Marvin Rosenthal was either dismissed or departed under mutual terms by the "Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry" was that the Pre-Trib Rapture teaching was of Satanic origin and unheard of before 1850. Rosenthal proclaimed, "Satan, the father of lies, gave to a fifteen year-old girl named Margaret MacDonald a lengthy vision." Did he give any documentation to back up that statement, or did he merely assert that it was true? Apparently a lot of people believed Rosenthal, and the man that gave him the theology for it, Robert Van Kampen. That was pseudo-theology, ("pseudo" is a Greek word for lies) simply a big lie and many have since owned that lie for themselves. This series of posts will set the record straight! The Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine originated with the Apostle Paul!
In my post "Edify One Another", I stated my belief premise that Paul was the first to teach the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, based upon a collective analysis of the book of Acts and the epistles confirmed to have been written by the Apostle Paul himself. Various scholars believe that Marvin Rosenthal was relying on the questionable works of Dave McPherson, a journalist that has dedicated his life to discredit the Pre-Tribulation Rapture teaching. In a minute the reader will learn why he held his vendetta for the Pre-Trib Rapture position.
Marvin Rosenthal made a number of outlandish statements such as, "those who did not deal with the issues, misrepresented the facts, or attempted character assassination". Not surprising, this description is exactly what Marvin Rosenthal did and precisely what he was charging others with in his characterizing the origin of the Pre-Trib Rapture teaching. The folks who constantly attack the Pre-Tribulation Rapture have repeatedly done the same thing by parroting the statements of Marvin Rosenthal and Dave McPherson. It may have helped sell the Van Kampen/Rosenthal books, but it brought scrutiny of the light of truth down upon their dishonest and deceptive methods. These people are champions of the Hitler propaganda style of getting people to believe their lies; they merely repeat it over and over and over without documenting proof and hope it may stick with some people, who in turn will continue to repeat the same lies. Ultimately Rosenthal and Van Kampen, before his untimely death, came to believe it to be so, and thus others have accepted their statements as truth when they should have been paying more attention to Acts 17:11 and 1st Thessalonians 5:21.
In 1994, Marvin Rosenthal revised his remarks about Margaret MacDonald by stating that John Nelson Darby and the Plymouth Brethren in 1830 created the Pre-Trib doctrine. He can't even get it right as to what John Nelson Darby created. Darby while blamed for the creation of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine, should be accorded and recognized as the originator of "Dispensationalism", but NOT the Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine. Since Marvin Rosenthal couldn't get his facts straight concerning Darby or MacDonald, one has to question everything about the Pre-Wrath Rapture confusion that has ensued since. To lay guilt by association is a weak and lame means of promulgating the Pre-Wrath doctrine. My personal belief is that Robert Van Kampen was a willing spirit (like in the 1988 movie 'Fallen" staring Denzel Washington) to buy Satan's lie to mislead the church about the Pre-Tribulation Rapture.
This Satanic lie has found a home in the "Body of Faith" to promulgate further the lies that lack credible scholarship, truth, history, or facts to back it up. I will offer the reader the scholarship and history that refutes their Big Lie that they broadcast to the Christian world that either MacDonald or Darby invented the Pre-Tribulation Rapture! I have never found any substance from the facts of history that prove Darby or MacDonald ever originated the idea of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. The late Bible scholar and theologian John Walvoord has laid that lie at the door of Dave MacPherson.
While I do not consider it all that important in the debate, the fact is John Nelson Darby held a form of the Pre-Trib view by January of 1827, three full years before Dave MacPherson claim of 1830.
Today's book writers are quick to go to press with their agenda to keep their lies before the public. The attack on the Pre-Trib Rapture is not about truth but rather about dishonesty and deception. Those with web sites attacking the Pre-Trib Rapture are not about truth, not at all, but more about money as I have noted in my posts. In a series of coming posts I will provide the reader evidence that the Pre-Trib Rapture theory/doctrine has been around centuries before Darby and MacDonald.
We can turn to Plymouth Brethren sources if we wish. While they are a small body of Christians today, around 150,000, their resources are impeccable as to its beginning and founding leaders. Plymouth Brethren writer, Roy A. Huebner has written and documented the evidence concerning the detractors of John Nelson Darby. He states that Darby was never influenced by Margaret MacDonald, or Jesuits' Lacunza or Ribera, or Edward Irving, or the followers of Irvingites.
John Nelson Darby's Pre-Tribulation and dispensational thoughts, says Roy A. Huebner, were developed from the following factors:
1. He (Darby) saw from Isaiah 32 that there was a different dispensation coming.
2. During his convalescence John Nelson Darby learned that he ought daily to expect his Lord's return.
3. In 1827 John Nelson Darby understood the fall of the church was a factor to be dealt with.
4. Darby also was beginning to see a gap of time between the rapture and the second coming by 1827.
5. Darby himself, said in 1857 that he first started understanding things relating to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture "thirty years ago" (before 1857). With that fixed point of reference, January 31, 1827, Roy A. Huebner states, "We know that Darby, "had already understood those truths upon which the Pre-Tribulation Rapture hinges"."
German author Max S. Weremchuk has produced a major biography on Darby entitled 'John Nelson Darby: A Biography' and finds it impossible to draw any conclusion that Margaret MacDonald influenced John Nelson Darby. When reading Darby's earliest statements and published essays on Biblical prophecy, it is clear that while it still has elements of historicism (one of the ways Scripture is interpreted or understood), it also reflects the fact that for Darby, the Rapture was to be the church's focus and hope. Even in Darby's earliest essays, he expounds upon the Pre-Tribulation Rapture as the church's hope. Max S. Weremchuk published his biography of Darby in the late 1990's; he is a Canadian who has lived in Germany for over two decades. His book sells for a huge hunk of change on the used book market. I read it when I was in seminary during the 1990's when doing research on the Pre-Trib position. I so wish I had bought a copy back then because a brand new copy today sells for over $230 a copy.
The fact is very few theological scholars today give much credence to Dave MacPherson's books. Dave MacPherson isn't even a theologian, he is a journalist, and thus writes books with sensational titles like the sensational article headings at another site. MacPherson is known for his books, like 'The Rapture Plot' , 'Incredible Coverup', 'The Great Rapture Hoax', and a few others. He is an established journalist and has written many books on an assortment of topics, but none so deceptive as his works on Biblical end times. Just keep in mind, there is big money to be made on such topics when you are a recognized established author. Their game is money, and not necessarily altruistic about truth! To attack a widely held Biblical position such as the Pre-Trib Rapture makes for good publicity and a nice return of publisher profits and author royalties.
Roy A. Huebner considers Dave MacPherson's charges as "Using slander that J. N. Darby took the (truth of the) pretribulation rapture from those very opposing, demon-inspired utterances." He goes on to conclude that Dave MacPherson essentially had confused the statements of a number of people in a rush to go to print without solid research confirmation. There is much the reader is not aware of and the writings of dozens of theologians would take more time than we can take here to refute the writings of journalist Dave MacPherson.
The late Dr. John Walvoord assessed it this way, "Any careful student of Darby soon discovers that he did not get his eschatological views from men, but rather from his doctrine of the church and the body of Christ, a concept no one claims was revealed supernaturally to Irving or MacDonald. Darby's views undoubtedly were gradually formed, but they were theologically and Biblically based rather than derived from Irving's pre-Pentecostal group."
To call the Pre-Tribulation Rapture position as being "Satanic", as Rosenthal has repeatedly done, does not help in a thorough and comprehensive scholarship to establish the truth of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture teaching. Web sites that persist in repeating the Rosenthal/Van Kampen/MacPherson lies make themselves complicit with perpetuating falsehoods and polarization on the issue where people simply tune out. When the likes of these folks make false charges about the history and origin of the Pre-Tribulation view they further rely on confused teachers and advocates like SDA Mark Wohlberg and now Carl Gallup. They know, and count on it, by stating that Margaret MacDonald and John Nelson Darby are responsible for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture "lie", few people would ever go and do their own research of church history to see if that it was true.
In the next post, I will continue with the case that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture began with the Apostle Paul and was the generally accepted view point for the next 250 years of the early Christian Church. Its broad acceptance went into decline when the Roman Catholic Church through Augustine began to allegorize Scripture and to spiritualize the plain sense reading of the Biblical text. The Roman Catholic Church and Augustine had the most to gain by attacking the Pre-Tribulation Rapture teaching. In the mean time, comfort one another with the Apostle Paul's words and edify one another. The "Blessed Hope" is your greatest promise on the horizon.
Blessings and keep looking up!