Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The "Left Behind" Rupture by Dave MacPherson

Would it be sensational if one of the Vatican cardinals were to widely teach something completely opposite of what the Pope was teaching?

Since 1830 many evangelicals have been just as sensational with their "pretribulation rapture" belief.

I'm talking about Matthew 24:40, 41 and the famous phrase "one shall be taken, and the other left" which has inspired the recent invasion of "Left Behind" books and movies which imagine fearful things that could happen on earth to non-Christians after a pretrib rapture to heaven of all genuine Christians which supposedly can happen at any moment without warning.

There is abundant evidence that in 1830 15-year-old Margaret Macdonald of Scotland was the first to claim to have found a pretrib rapture in the Bible. She noticed that the word "taken" is found not only in the above Matthew verses but also in II Thessalonians 2:7 and came to believe that it is talking about a pretrib rapture of only the most worthy Christians (yes, she was an early "partial rapturist pretrib" and she influenced others around her including even John Darby of the Plymouth Brethren).

Many evangelicals today, including Hal Lindsey, agree with Margaret that the ones "taken" are Christians while the ones left behind on earth experience God's judgment including death.

But there are other evangelicals who believe just the opposite, that the ones "taken" are non-Christians whom God judges and even kills while the ones left on earth are in fact true followers of Christ.
You could even call it a rapture "rupture" involving interpretation and conclude that "Left Behind" books and films are part of it.

Proof of this "rupture" can be found even in the writings of the late Dr. John Walvoord, the longtime president of Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and one who was then viewed as the No. 1 pretrib rapture authority. (Leading pretrib teachers who have studied at DTS include Thomas Ice, David Jeremiah, Hal Lindsey and Charles Ryrie.)

Walvoord's classic book "The Rapture Question," after referring to the above Matt. 24 verses, states on p. 169: "The fact that those taken away are judged and those who remain enter the kingdom is taught explicitly in the context (Matt. 25:31-46)."

So Walvoord would disagree with the forthcoming "Left Behind" movie starring Nicolas Cage as to who will be "left behind."

And several leading theologians are currently opposing the new movie's theology also. For a start on what's been written, Google "No, Christians Should Not Believe in 'Left Behind's' Rapture" by Dr. William Craig, a Talbot School of Theology prof. Also Google "Nine Reasons Why John Piper Disagrees with Nicolas Cage's 'Left Behind' Movie's View of Rapture" by Lauren Leigh Noske.

Excellent online sources including blogs which further expose the "rapture to heaven" delusion can be found by Googling "Joe Ortiz Associates."

Finally, the writers of the "Left Behind" bestsellers, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, may soon wish to accept Walvoord's view of who will be left behind because it would give them more time to write even more "Left Behind" books!
Dave MacPherson

What scholars are saying about the works of Dave MacPherson, author of The Rapture Plot:

Loraine Boettner (theologian, author): "I think that you have done a magnificent job in showing the real origin of the Pre-trib rapture theory."

F. F. Bruce (theologian, encyclopedia contributor): "It is strange that Darby should acknowledge his indebtedness to a young lady in Limerick and say nothing about the young lady in Port Glasgow [that is, not acknowledge her pre-Antichrist rapture of part of the church]....If this work of yours can do anything to counter the influence of Hal Lindsey..., you will have rendered a signal service."

Superficial----and even devious----scholarship loves to repeat Bruce's 1975 surmise that pretrib was "in the air in the 1820s and 1830s." Hired critic Thomas Ice knows that this wasn't a scientific conclusion (does reliable data rest literally "in the air"?), and Ice moreover has ignored Bruce's later statements complimenting my evidence!

Gary DeMar (theologian, author): "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 (theologian, author): "As usual, Dave MacPherson overwhelms his critics with a superior knowledge of the primary sources. His is a rare combination of historical research and investigative reporting. Those who would refute him have failed to outhustle him, especially in the tracking down of information uncatalogued in academic libraries."

Superficial scholarship is aware that the first----1973----printing of Gundry's THE CHURCH AND THE TRIBULATION stated on pp. 185, 187: "The likelihood is that Edward Irving was the first to suggest the pretribulational rapture....the outpouring on Margaret Macdonald did not include revelation of a pretribulational rapture...." But careful scholarship has long known that after Gundry saw my Macdonald findings, he deleted his Irving statement and substituted favorable comments about the Scottish lassie----changes appearing in his classic work since the 1980's!

John H. Kromminga (Calvin Sem. president emeritus): "The material appears to be well researched, and this impression is confirmed by the excellent comments you cite from well-established evangelical commentators."

Harold Lindsell (church historian, author): "...must reading for anyone who is interested in the [pretrib] origins...."

C. S. Lovett (pastor, author): "You have to be, in my opinion, the world's authority on Margaret."
Peter Marshall (pastor, author): "I am in emphatic agreement with you on your thesis."

Walter Martin (researcher, author): "[MacPherson has produced] a fascinating historical detective story...with surprising and not easily refutable conclusions."

J. Gordon Melton (editor): "According to the best scholarship available, the pretribulation, premillennial eschatology originated among members of the Catholic Apostolic Church as a result of a vision and revelation to Margaret MacDonald. See Dave MacPherson, THE UNBELIEVABLE PRE-TRIB ORIGIN." (ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN RELIGIONS, 1978)

Gary North (author, church historian): "...Dave MacPherson has inflicted a deep wound on the pre-trib camp by showing that a teenage Scottish girl named Margaret Macdonald...came up with this doctrine...." (Dispensationalism in Transition, Nov., 1988)

Harold J. Ockenga (theologian, author): "You have done your research well."

J. I. Packer (author, church historian): "From my own explorations of the origins of Darbyism. I judge that you are presenting facts fairly, and I am glad you are, for I also regard dispensationalism as an unhappy aberration."

J. Barton Payne (theologian, author): "MacPherson has once and for all overthrown Ernest Sandeen's assertions that the Irvingites never 'advocated any doctrine resembling the secret rapture' and that to connect J. N. Darby and early dispensationalism with Irving's church is 'a groundless and pernicious charge'....For serious students of the history of dispensationalism the study of MacPherson's discoveries has become a must." (Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Winter, 1974)
The Prairie Overcomer (Canada): "...MacPherson's case seems to be watertight." (July, 1974)

Reformed Review: "MacPherson has done excellent historical research." (Spring, 1985)
Ian S. Rennie (author, church historian): " is likely that [Margaret's revelation] was grist for Darby's mill." (DREAMS, VISIONS AND ORACLES, 1977)
R. J. Rushdoony (theologian, author): "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, altercations, and confusions. No one has equaled MacPherson in his research on the 'pre-trib rapture.' Attempts to discredit his research have failed...."

The Seminary Review: "[MacPherson] shows conclusively that Margaret Macdonald was the originator of the concept." (June, 1984)

Oswald J. Smith (pastor, author): "You have some excellent thoughts here that will be difficult to answer."

Merrill C. Tenney (theologian, author): "...the connection between Margaret Macdonald and Irvingites and Brethren is reasonably well established. You have done a valuable piece of research."
The Witness (oldest & largest Darbyist Brethren magazine in England): "What [MacPherson] succeeds in establishing is that the [pretrib] view outlined was first stated by a certain Margaret Macdonald...early in 1830." (April, 1974).

The critics who have tried to cover up the above scholarship are basically the ones who've tried to muddy the waters by "discovering" hints of pretrib before 1830. For more on this, MacPherson's internet article entitled "Deceiving, And Being Deceived."