Wednesday, January 30, 2013

THOMAS ICE (HIRED GUN) by Dave MacPherson

     It's been hard to keep up with Thomas Ice's huge bulk. For many years, as the No. 1 defender of what Kenneth Gentry in 1992 described as "knee-jerk, 1950s era dispensationalism," Ice has been feverishly producing a heavy volume of pretrib-salvaging rewrites (of articles by himself and others) at machine gun (or better yet, Tommy Gun) speed. Although I've shared some input on some of his output (see my internet piece "Deceiving, And Being Deceived"), it's time to cover the rest of his territory.
    In 1989 in House Divided 's foreword, Gary North wrote: "We are still waiting for Professor John Hannah, a competent and talented church historian [at Dallas Seminary], to go into print and show from original source documents that MacPherson's thesis is nothing but a sham. Strangely, he has decided to remain silent." Perhaps feeling that he could answer my research better than Dr. Hannah could, Rev. Ice (then pastoring a tiny Bible church that shared a small building with a Texas saloon!) quickly pulled a 1989 paper out of his holster entitled "The Origin of the Pretrib Rapture."
    In it Ice had quotes from five eminent writers that he said "were not convinced of the Mac-theory" (his term for my findings): Sandeen (1970), Weber (1979), Reiter (1984), Bruce (1975), and Bell (1967). But Ice knew that Sandeen and Bell wrote before my printed research existed, that Reiter's quote merely summarized Ian Rennie's tentative reaction, that Bruce's undocumented statement that pretrib was "in the air in the 1820s and 1830s" was hardly a scientific conclusion, and that none of the five included quotes from Margaret Macdonald, Edward Irving, John Darby, or their contemporaries----and Ice has knowingly and repeatedly aired these misleading quotes since then! (My readers already know that Ice's 1989 reproduction of Macdonald's 1830 revelation account sloppily left out 49 words----the same 49 words that Tim LaHaye left out when he plagiarized Ice's version in 1992! If mechanics or lawyers or doctors were as careless as Ice, folks would quickly get rid of them!)
    Ice seems to love quoting aberrational and unorthodox writers as well as unscholarly ones. In his 1989 paper he quoted Ernest Sandeen's 1970 book The Roots of Fundamentalism which claimed that Darby "was convinced about the [pretrib] doctrine as early as 1827." His sources were two Darby letters dated 1863 ("Christ coming to receive us to Himself") and 1855 (containing the same thought). (Here Sandeen proved nothing; before 1830 Christians had always used such phrases while expecting a second advent that was "for" the church as well as "with" the church.)
    Sandeen also wrote that Irving and his followers never taught anything "resembling the secret rapture." Not only does my Plot book (pp. 73-80) generously disprove his assertion, but in the Winter, 1974Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society eminent evangelical J. Barton Payne, when reviewing my first book, stated: "MacPherson has once and for all overthrown Ernest Sandeen's assertions that the Irvingites never 'advocated any doctrine resembling the secret rapture'...MacPherson has definitely confirmed conclusions of George Ladd, Robert Gundry, and the present reviewer that such connections [between "Darby" and "Irving's church"] did exist...."
    And why has Ice covered up Sandeen's apostasy? The preface in the 1978 Baker Book House reprint of Sandeen's Roots describes him as "a theological liberal" denying "the historicity of the resurrection."
    Concerning Miss Macdonald, Ice well knew during the 1980's that several of my books had been emphasizing her main point: that part of the church [partial rapturism] would be raptured before the revealing of Antichrist. So in his April-June, 1990 Bibliotheca Sacra article analyzing her revelation he carefully covered up her emphasis by quoting up to line 55 in her account, deliberately skipping over lines 58-63 (her main point), and then continuing his quotation of her while starting again at line 72! (See my internet article entitled "Deceiving and Being Deceived" and observe Ice's perfidious manipulation of Pseudo-Ephraem and other equally vacuous claims.)
    One un-scholar that Ice leans on is Frank Marotta who, like R. A. Huebner, is an aging, obscurantistic, pretrib-defending member of the Darbyist Brethren. (Huebner is the person Walvoord leaned on heavily in the 1970's when opposing me even though Huebner never attended seminary, college, or even Bible school!) Like Huebner's, Marotta's writing has numerous copying errors when quoting others! Both Marotta and Ice, echoing fellow un-scholar John Bray, continue to promote an 18th century pastor, Morgan Edwards, as a pretrib.
    Both know that they have to twist or cover up Edwards' historicism (the belief that the tribulation has long been occurring during the church age) in order to pass Edwards off as a futurist pretrib. Marotta's 1995 booklet on Edwards was aware that Edwards viewed the Turkish Ottoman Empire (which was then already four centuries old) as Rev. 13's second beast while also seeing a future aspect of that empire. So what did Marotta do? He did what any unscrupulous pretrib promoter would do. He covered up thepast aspect of that empire that Edwards noted and discussed only the future aspect that Edwards also saw!
    Ice knew that Marotta's brief, one-sided discussion of that empire was potentially dangerous because researchers could easily be drawn to it and then discover Marotta's brazen twisting of facts. So when Ice reproduced Marotta's comments in his Jan.-Feb., 1996 Pre-Trib Perspectives under the title "Dave MacPherson's The Rapture Plot: Weighed and Found Wanting," Ice played it safe and deleted Marotta's entire empire section!
    Marotta and Ice have drawn support for their anti-Macdonald crusade from even Columba G. Flegg, an ecumenical Greek Orthodox priest in England whose work 'Gathered Under Apostles' (Oxford Univ. Press, 1992) dishonestly portrays pretrib development among those in the early Irvingite orbit. Although he admits (p. 423) that Irvingism taught a "translation before the great tribulation," his anti-Macdonald bias shows as early as pp. 4-5 where he mentions my 1975 book The Incredible Cover-up and adds: "The conclusions reached in this work and the rationale behind them are hardly convincing."
    On p. 45 Flegg discusses John Cardale's account in the Dec., 1830 issue of the Irvingite journal The Morning Watch of his visit to a Port Glasgow prayer meeting. A woman present that Cardale identified as Macdonald prophesied that "the coming of the Lord" would deliver the church from future earthly "judgments"----a coming interpreted as pretrib by Irvingite observers of Macdonald who returned to London and soon echoed her distinctive teaching in the same journal. Two pages later Cardale again identified Macdonald as the same prophetess. But Flegg's readers are kept in the dark concerning her because although he does include her prophecy, he describes her as merely "one of the women present"! (Similarly, Darby's 1853 book, when plagiarizing the details Cardale had published of the same meeting, at least acknowledged Macdonald as the prophetess even though he carefully omitted the escapist coming that she prophesied. Even though Darby and Flegg have covered up different aspects of that meeting, the effect has been the same!)
    In Pre-Trib Perspectives (Feb., 2002) Ice told of the "discovery" of another pretrib teacher in the early 1300's in Italy that has great (I'm sarcastic here) documentation. The culprit was a Brother Dolcino, but unfortunately his writings don't exist ! Long after his death an anonymous writer wrote a secondhandhistory of Dolcino's writings which declare no time length for Antichrist's reign which follows Dolcino and his followers being "transferred to Paradise," after which reign Dolcino will become the pope! Ice also knows that this "discovery" was edited several times between the 1300's and the 1900's! If this "doctrine" came from anything other than too much wine drinking, the anonymous history doesn't say. Obviously this "discovery" died with Dolcino.
    This is just a taste of the massive fantasy and dishonesty in pretrib circles. The whole sordid story is documented in my 300-page book The Rapture Plot (see
    As an American, Ice believes in majority rule. But when it comes to rapture views, maybe he and other pretrib desperados can explain why they don't follow the only rapture view held by the majority (easily 99 percent by even Ice's standards) of Christians before 1830!

Thomas Ice is Executive Director of The Pre-Trib Research Center. He founded The Center in 1994 with Dr. Tim LaHaye to research, teach, and defend the pretribulational rapture and related Bible prophecy doctrines. The Center is currently located on the campus of Liberty University. 

    What They Are Saying About ... THE RAPTURE PLOT! Gary DeMar (President American Vision): "A majority of prophecy writers and speakers teach that the church will be raptured before a future tribulational period. But did you know that prior to about 1830 no such doctrine existed. No one in all of church history ever taught pretribulational rapture. 
    Dave MacPherson does the work of a journalistic private investigator to uncover the truth....The Rapture Plot is the never-before-told true story of the plot - how plagiarism and subtle document changes created the 'mother of all revisionisms.' 
     A fascinating piece of detective work." Robert H. Gundry (Professor Westmont College): "As usual MacPherson out hustles his opponents in research on primary sources. C. S. Lovett (President Personal Christianity): You don't read very much of Dave MacPherson's work before you realize he is a dedicated researcher. Because his work has been so honest and open his latest work The Rapture Plot has produced many red faces among some of the most recognized rapture writers of our time. When their work is compared to his it is embarrassing for them to see how shallow their research is." 
     R. J. Rushdoony (President Chalcedon): "Dave MacPherson has been responsible for major change in the eschatology of evangelical churches by his devastating studies of some of the central aspects thereof. In The Rapture Plot MacPherson tells us of the strange tale of 'rapture' writings, revisions, cover-ups, alterations and confusions. No one has equaled MacPherson in his research on the 'pretrib rapture.' Attempts to discredit his work have failed...." 
     About the Author: Born 1932 of Scotch/English descent Dave MacPherson is a natural for British historical research. His calling was journalism. Receiving a BA in English in 1955 he spent 26 years as a newsman reporting and filming many notable events persons presidents and dignitaries.

For information about his blogs, web sites and information about Joe Ortiz' books, please click on "The End Times Passover"


Anonymous said...

What a totally shocking article! If I had to summarize its theme, I would use words like "dishonesty" and "deception" - that is, dishonesty and deception galore in the pretribulation rapture view that Dave MacPherson has thoroughly exposed for what it is. It is mind-boggling that any Christian on earth still clings to it. BTW, I am fortunate to own your two excellent prophecy books, Brother Ortiz, and gladly recommend them to all persons reading this. And this blog should be must reading also for everyone who wonders what lies ahead on the world scene. May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you and reward you double for your faithfulness to Him!

Anonymous said...

Many seem to be getting their eyes open re the pretrib rapture view, and they are giving up pretrib or swapping it for other views like midtrib, prewrath, or posttrib. If I had to guess who the last pretrib holdout would be I would guess it would be someone just like Thomas Ice. Or maybe Tim LaHaye. You, Mr. Ortiz, are a big leader in letting folks know about the dangers of the pretrib view and how recent it really is in church history. The Lord who is truly using you will certainly reward you handsomely when He comes back as Judge!
From Antonio