Above: The ‘Reformation Wall’ in Geneva: Guillaume Farel (1489-1565), Jean Calvin (1509-1564), Théodore de Bèze (1513-1605), and John Knox (1513-1572)
PRETRIBULATION RAPTURE THEORY PART II
We would not have such religious freedoms that we exercise, without the labors of reformers such as: John Wycliffe (books & corpse burned), Hugh Latimer (burned alive) and Thomas Cranmer (burned alive / family exiled) of England; John Huss of Bohemia (burned alive); the Moravians; Jacobus Lefevre Faber of France (protected); Girolamo Savonarola of Italy (executed); Martin Luther of Germany (protected); and the Lutherans; Ulrich Zwingli of Switzerland (books burned & banned), and the Anabaptist; William Farel of Switzerland (banished); John Calvin of France (banished), and the Huguenots and Puritans; John Knox of Scotland (exiled); and the numerous men who fought with these for religious freedom, such as Philip Melanchthon (denounced by friends and foes, died suffering) with Luther, and Heinrich Bullinger (banished) and Martin Bucer with Zwingli (exiled), and Theodore Beza (successor of Calvin); as well as the tens of thousands of known and unknown faithful laborers for the gospel of Jesus Christ. ‘I suppose that even’ hundreds of volumes ‘could not contain the’ works that could ‘be written (John 21:25)’ of these men. And with inspired sincerity i say in none of their works would you find them teaching of a Pretribulation Rapture.
From: The End of the World and the Return of the Lord Jesus Christ (c. 2009; 2016; by a servant)
Addressing the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Theory (1878 to 2008)
In 1868, a Theological Index, References to the Principal Works in Every Department of Religious Literature, by Dr. Howard Malcom, noted over 100 writings on the topic, ‘Antichrist,’ and stated, ‘The writers on this subject are a great multitude.’ The Reference listed over 2,000 works under ‘Commentators;’ including Bibles, annotations, and commentaries, about 70 of which were on ‘Daniel.’ Listed under ‘Apocalypse’ were nearly 200 works; and of the ‘Second Advent of Christ,’ about 80 works. In America, as in England, there was great interest in the ‘End of the World’ and the coming of the Lord; and this interest was maintained by both writers and preachers. Christian writer Daniel Taylor stated, ‘interest appeared to be very deep and extensive’ concerning the return of the Lord. And had Taylor’s book been written three decades later, rather than 1882, he would had seen just how influential certain ‘conferences’ and the speakers thereof would be on stimulating new doctrines and denominations.
The shape of America’s religious adherence was already changing; at our independence in 1776, the top five denominations in America were: Congregationalists, 20 %; Presbyterians, 19 %; Baptists, 17 %; Episcopalians, 16%; and Methodists, 2.5 %. By 1850, the top five denominations in America were: Methodists, 34%; Baptists, 21%; Roman Catholics, 14 %; Presbyterians, 12 %; and Congregationalists, 4 %. Due to immigration, not only would the culture and population of the United States significantly change by the turn of the century, but so would its religious structure. In 1860, about 70 % of U. S. Church attendance was by white Protestants with British heritage. By 1900, they declined to a little below 50 %, while Roman Catholics increased from 21 % in 1860 to about 30 % of all church attendance in America.
In 1776, Catholics constituted less than 2 % of all Americans. According to Gaustad and Schmidt in The Religious History of America (2002), “…By 1850 the Roman Catholic Church had become the largest denomination in the country, a status never thereafter surrendered to any other church. Its magnitude came chiefly as the result of massive emigration from Ireland, the potato famine encouraging hundreds of thousands to leave their poor and inhospitable land. Of the 5 million immigrants who settled in America from 1815 to 1860, 2 million came from Ireland. …In 1835 Samuel F. B. Morse …published a tract …entitled Imminent Dangers to the Free Institutions of the United States through Foreign Immigration. The imminent danger uppermost in his mind was that of a rapidly increasing Irish Catholic presence. ‘It is a fact,’ he patiently explained, ‘that Popery is opposed in its very nature to Democratic Republicanism; and it is, therefore, as a political system, as well as a religious system, opposed to civil and religious liberty, and to our form of government.”
Yet over time, immigration would not change the force of dominant and influential men; for example, by 1850, Congregationalist and others had lost many members to the Unitarian teachings of William E. Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson. And as immigrants and others moved west, they lost members to the Mormon teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Furthermore, in the 1870’s Christian Science was infecting society through Mary Baker Eddy; and by 1879, Charles Taze Russell and his Witnesses were publishing their Watch Tower tracts. They would have an impact on Protestantism; even by then, William Miller’s Adventist churches were already producing second generation offspring.
Now, near the end of the Civil War (1861 – 1865), John N. Darby was touring parts of the United States and on two occasions spoke at a Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri which was pastored by Dr. James H. Brooks. Not long after this, according to C. H. Fisher’s The Pretribulation Rapture (2001), ‘…Dr. Brooks conducted many Bible studies with the young men in his church, C. I. Scofield being his most famous student. Yet it was his involvement in the Niagara Bible Conference that would prove important to the diffusion of Dispensationalism in America. C. I. Scofield later served as head of the conference, and there birthed the idea of a Study Bible that would help spread Darbyite Dispensationalism. …Non-millenarians were permitted to attend the conferences, but from 1878 onward they were not permitted to speak. Most of the leading millenarians in America, and many Brethren ministers, attended… D. L. Moody… attended…’ In 1866, Trans-Atlantic telegraph cables connected England and America. Over the next 30 years, over 25 million emigrants came to the United States from Europe. So much was the flood of people that, in 1882, Congress began to pass legislation limiting immigration.
Daniel Taylor, in his book, Reign of Christ on Earth (1882), noted, “The first prophetic conference ever held in America, convened at Chardon street Chapel, Boston, October 14, 1840, and continued two days. The sessions were crowded …and there were present 20 to 30 interested ministers, with many able laymen, representing most of the orthodox denominations (Report of the General Conference of Christians Expecting the Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ; 1842). …So great was the interest… 10,000 copies of this were issued and scattered. …In this address Chairman, Henry D. Ward …well-known writer and clergyman of the Protestant Episcopal Church …and the secretaries (of the Conference) said, ‘…We are agreed, that at the very commencement of the Millennium, the Lord will come in the glory of His Father, and all the saints with Him. Again, we are agreed and harmonize with the published creed of the Episcopal, Dutch Reformed, Presbyterian, and Methodist Churches, together with the Cambridge Platform of the Congregational Church, the Lutheran and Roman Catholic Churches, in maintaining that Christ’ second and only coming now will be to judge the world at the last day.’
‘The influence of this united action was marked and wide; hundreds of ministers were brought to the faith of the pre-millennial and near coming, several weekly journals were established in different cities, advocating the doctrine, and in a few years there were not less than 1,500 preachers and lecturers in the United States and Canada, who were giving publicity to the theme…’
‘The believers as in England, were divided; some under William Miller and others, fixing the date of the advent ‘about the year 1843-44;’ others, represented by Henry Ward, Rev. G. F. Cox, etc., saying to Miller, ‘We think you are wrong in urging the matter of the date.’ …The awakened interest in prophecy, the general influence of the movement, the aroused love of our Lord’s coming, did not die …among the various …Adventists, as well as in all the churches… A general conference of believers …was held May 5 – 10, 1873, in St. George’s hall, London. There were no denominational lines recognized: Christians came together …clergymen …noblemen, and others freely addressed full audiences on the great theme. The Church of England was largely represented by many of her most able and pious divines. Earl of Shaftsbury …occupied the chair. …a conference of the same character was held at Mildmay Park, London, 1873, when more than a thousand persons were present. …One of the most notable of these was held at Mildmay Park, London, February …1878’.”
THE NEW YORK PROPHETIC CONFERENCE
Daniel Taylor, in Reign of Christ on Earth (1882) wrote: “…In November 1878, several ministers of Jesus were moved to call a conference of Christians of all denominations, ‘similar,’ they said, ‘to the London Conference of February last;’ to meet, and listen to carefully prepared addresses, and to consider the subject of the pre-millennial advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. Rev. A. J. Gordon, of Boston; Rev. S. H. Tyng, Jr., of New York; Rev. Rufus Clark, of Albany; Prof. W. G. Morehead, of Xenia, Ohio; Rev. H. M. Parsons, of Buffalo; Bishop Nicholson, of the Reformed Episcopal Church, Philadelphia; and Rev. J. H. Brooks, of St. Louis were appointed a committee to arrange for topics, speakers, time and place. A preliminary circular was sent out on June 17; a multitude of responses were returned, approving the proposed meeting and the interest appeared to be very deep and extensive.’
‘The committee said, ‘…It has seemed desirable that those who hold to the personal, pre-millennial advent of Jesus Christ, and who are looking for that blessed hope, should meet together in conference, as our honored brethren in England have recently done, to set forth in clear terms the grounds of their hope… In reply to the invitation, no less than 122 responses were sent in from bishops, doctors of divinity, theological professors, pastors of churches, editors of religious journals, and prominent clergymen, who endorsed the call, and expressed sympathy for the movement. When this conference convened, in the Church of the Holy Trinity, at New York City, Oct. 30, 31 and Nov. 1, 1878, the spacious edifice was, notwithstanding unfavorable weather, filled, and sometimes crowded, with audiences averaging from one to two thousand interest hearers. Dr. W. P. MacKay, from Hull, England… said… ‘one Lutheran, one Dutch Reformed, one Reformed, 6 Methodists, 10 Congregationalists, 15 Episcopalians, 10 undenominational, 27 Baptists and 43 Presbyterians’ were there representing the churches. Besides these bishops, professors, ministers and brethren, there were often several hundred other ministers of the various churches in the land… among the audience. This Christian body was admitted by all to have learned, scholarly, earnest and pious; and to have made, in their associated action, a deep impression on the entire American community. Daily reports were given by the great press.’
‘The Daily Tribune published first a newspaper, then a pamphlet edition of the proceedings and speeches of the conference, the two editions reaching the number of 50,000 copies, which were sent to all parts of the globe. A full dozen of the religious papers, with a few of the secular ones, were decided and outspoken in their approval of the grand doctrines announced. The opening address was made by the venerable and Rev. Dr. Stephen H. Tyng, who said:
‘Union with Christ, living in Christ, following Christ, looking forward to the promised coming of Christ, and to an everlasting dwelling with Christ, have made up the character, the joy, and the hope of true believers in every age. …In the thanking anticipation of the new manifestation of this glorious Saviour, His church on earth has always been in union, believing in His future advent, looking for His appearing, striving to seek the things which are above, that when Christ …shall appear, we may also appear with Him in glory. In this sure confidence in the reality of this personal advent of the Saviour to the earth, on which He died, in the certainty of the confidence that the time of His glorious advent draws near, we stand and wait. In this solemn conviction we have assembled here, bringing together our several impressions, convictions, and studies, that we may individually contribute to the general fund of the knowledge, of observation, and of conviction, in reference to this great event in the history of the earth – the coming of man’s Redeemer to assume the government which He hath purchased with His death, to restore the earth to His own dominion, and to gather into one redeemed fold the flock which has strayed upon all mountains, and has been scattered, wandering through all the moves of human ignorance, waywardness, and moral and intellectual degradation. …The Spirit of God has been ready to teach, and the faithfulness of God has covenanted, a future restoration, and opened the hope of everlasting glory.’
‘…The following is the list of the topics discussed: Opening Address …Rev. S. H. Tyng, Sr.; Christ’ Coming – Personal and Visible, Rev. Stephen H. Tyng, Jr., D.D., the Church of the Holy Trinity, New York; Christ’s Coming – Is it Pre-millennial?, by Rev. S. H. Kellogg, D.D. Presbyterian Seminary, Allegheny, Pa.; The First Resurrection, by Rev. A. J. Gordon, Clarendon Street Baptist Church, Boston, Mass.; The Regeneration, by Rev. C. K. Imbrie, D.D., Jersey City; The Kingdom and the Church, by Professor H. Lummis, Methodist, Monson, Mass.; The Present Age and Development of Antichrist, Rev. Henry M. Parsons, …Presbyterian Church, Buffalo, N.Y.; The Gathering of Israel, by Bishop W. R. Nicholson, Reformed Episcopal Church, Philadelphia; The Judgments… Rev. J. T. Cooper, D.D., United Presbyterian Seminary, Allegheny, Pa.; The Coming of the Lord in Relation to Christian Doctrine, Rev. James H. Brookes, D.D., pastor Walnut Street Presbyterian Church, St. Louis, Mo.; History of the Pre-millennial Doctrine, by the Rev. Nathaniel West, D.D., Presbyterian, Cincinnati, Ohio; A Summary of the Argument in Defense of Pre-millenarianism, by the Rev. John T. Duffield, D.D., professor of mathematics in Princeton College; Hope of Christ’s Coming as a Motive to Holy Living and Active Labor, by the Rev. Rufus W. Clark, D.D., Reformed Dutch church, Albany, N. Y.; The Return of Christ, and Foreign Missions, by Dr. W. P. MacKay, of Hull, England.’
‘…At the closing session of the conference the following summary of faith was adopted by the large body of ministers who participated in or were present to …its proceedings:
- We affirm our belief in the supreme and absolute authority of the written word of God on all questions of doctrine and duty.
- The prophetic words of the Old Testament Scriptures, concerning the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, were literally fulfilled in His birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension; and so the prophetic words of both the Old and the New Testaments concerning His second coming will be literally fulfilled in His visible bodily return to this earth in like manner as He went up into heaven; and this glorious Epiphany of the great God, our Savior Jesus Christ, is the blessed hope of the believer and of the Church during this entire dispensation.
III. This second coming of the Lord Jesus is everywhere in the Scriptures represented as imminent, and may occur at any moment; yet the precise day and hour thereof is unknown to man; known only to God.
- The Scriptures nowhere teach that the whole world will be converted to God, and that there will be a reign of universal righteousness and peace before the return of our blessed Lord, but that only at and by His coming the progress of evil and the development of Antichrist, the times of the Gentiles and the ingathering of Israel, the resurrection of the dead in Christ and the transfiguration of His living saints, receive their fulfillment, and the period millennial blessedness in its inauguration.
- The duty of the Church during the absence of the Bridegroom is to watch and pray, to work and wait, to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature and thus hasten the coming of the day of God; and to His last promise, ‘Surely I come quickly,’ to respond, in joyous hope, ‘Even so; come, Lord Jesus.’
‘This resolution was passed …unanimously by the conference… ‘Resolved, that the doctrine of our Lord’s pre-millennial advent, instead of paralyzing evangelistic and missionary effort, is one of the mightiest incentives to earnestness in preaching the Gospel to every creature, until He comes’.”
Concerning this Prophetic Conference of 1878, Gerald Staton, Thomas Ice, and Timothy Demy, wrote in The Return: Understanding Christ’s Second Coming and the End Times (1999): “…It is generally agreed that the church of the first three centuries was Premillennial, although the common term used was ‘chiliasm,’ from the Greek word chilas, meaning ‘thousand.’ It is less clear when the concept of Christ’s soon return was first explicitly stated as imminent, which is a theological word rather than a biblical one. Richard Reiter has traced it to the Niagara Bible Conference of 1878, and more specifically to the five resolutions of the first general American Bible and Prophetic Conference held in New York City the same year. Article 3 stated, ‘This second coming …imminent and may occur at any moment…’ However, among the Niagara delegates arose three different definitions of ‘imminent:’ 1) Christ may appear at any moment, but this will be understood only by the final generation of the church (A. J. Gordon); 2) Christ could return within the lifetime of any individual generation of believers (Samuel H. Kellogg); 3) ‘Imminent’ requires ‘the coming of Christ for His saints as possible any hour (Arthur T. Pierson).’ While this third ‘any moment’ view was evidently dominant at Niagara, the years that followed brought some harsh disputes, especially by Canadian pastor Robert Cameron and Presbyterian theologian Nathaniel West, both of whom defended the Posttribulational view. Their position was opposed by men like …Scofield …Pierson, and Arno Gaebelein, editor of Our Hope; all of whom became strong champions of the pretribulational position…”
|Perhaps, if one of the ten Doctors from the Pre-Trib Research Center, who worked on The Return: Understanding Christ’s Second Coming would have earnestly researched for a few hours more, they would have not said, ‘It is less clear when the concept of Christ’s soon return was first explicitly stated as imminent;’ they would not had to look back far to find John N. Darby.|
In Darby’s, The Rapture of the Saints and the Character of the Jewish Remnant, he stated, “…The moment was not revealed, as we know: the constant expectation was right. It produced a liveliness of expectation, a courage in persecution… of which Paul will reap the blessed fruits when the moment does come – of which the Thessalonians did reap the fruits every day, in the liveliness of their faith, and the brightness of their hope… Do the saints not await His coming to earth and His appearing? …The moment of the rapture none can know…”
In Darby’s, The Coming of the Lord and the Translation of the Church, he wrote: “…Does the rapture of the saints take place before the execution? All Scripture answers, yes. They come with Christ to judgment… The term ‘coming’ or presence, embraces all that passes in connection with His return from the moment of His entrance into the created universe, be it heaven or earth. As regards the world, His coming may be called His appearing, manifestation… or His revelation. …The saints joining Christ is never referred to anything but His coming… The Thessalonians …expected Christ to come in their lifetime. …The expectation of Christ was constant then. The word of God gives us …ground for constant expectation now… At first, the expectation was constant; next, as time went on …particular events were noticed as immediately imminent.”
(Note: Paul corrected their soon expectation in 2 Thes. chapters 1 and 2)
In Darby’s, Is the Coming of Christ for His Saints the proper Hope of the Church? He stated: “…The parable of the ten virgins teaches us the Bridegroom tarried …there must be patient watching for an unknown moment… The conclusion is ‘watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour.’ …As to John 16:2, 4, they are told they would be persecuted; but how that should hinder them in the persecutions waiting for Christ to take them out, I cannot see. Nobody speaks of a fixed near time… men should be always expecting it, never to arrest their service, but to sustain them in it. …I believe the Church …knows they precede the judgments of the world; and her own heavenly and peaceful character is maintained… by the rapture, which takes her out of the scene in which she has to keep the word of Christ’ patience…”
Darby’s message continued until his end, thus in Toronto, Canada, in the 1860’s, in his Lectures on the Second Coming of Christ, he stated, “…The time of the second coming of Christ is declared not to be revealed. …Paul says, ‘We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,’ Christ having overcome death. We may all die before Christ’s coming – no one knows the moment of it; ‘…we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord.’ …And it is said, that while the Bridegroom tarried they all slumbered and slept, the wise virgins and as well as the foolish; that is, the church lost a sense of the present expectation of Christ. Even the wise servants had to be waked up again… But it is the characteristic of the faithful servant that he is expecting. The church of Philadelphia was expecting the coming of Christ…”
NIAGARA BIBLE CONFERNCES
Larry D. Pettegrew, in the July 2000 issue of Bibliotheca Sacra [oldest existing theological journal in the Western Hemisphere (1843); published by Dallas Theological Seminary since 1934], wrote, ‘The Rapture Debate at the Niagara Bible Conference.’ Pettegrew, professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, stated:
“…The roots of the conference go back to 1868 through 1871 when George C. Needham (1840 – 1902), James Inglis (1813 – 1872), and a few others met together privately for Bible study. After Inglis died, Needham, James H. Brooks (1830 – 1897), and a few other Christian workers came together again in 1875 for a private meeting near Chicago. But the first official ‘Believers’ Meeting for Bible Study,’ as it was originally called, was held in Swampscott, Massachusetts, in 1876, and for the first time the meeting was opened to the public. In 1877 the brethren met at Watkins Glen, New York, and then for three years at Clifton Springs, New York. In 1881, the meeting was held at Old Orchard, Maine, and in 1882 at Mackinac Island, Michigan. By this time over 500 people were attending the gatherings annually. Then from 1883 through 1897 the conference met at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, and became known officially as the Niagara Bible Conference.’
‘In 1898 and 1899, the conference met at Point Chautauqua, New York, and the last meeting was held at Asbury Park, New Jersey, in 1900. The next year some of the pretribulational participants at Niagara continued the tradition with a summer Bible conference at Sea Cliff, New York. The Sea Cliff Bible Conference, led by A. C. Gaebelein, met annually until 1911.’
‘…From 1895 through 1900 the Niagara Bible Conference was in decline for at least four reasons. First, some …key leaders of the conference died. The greatest blow …was no doubt the death in 1897 of James H. Brookes, the president. Second, the number of other bible conferences had increased… Third, the decision to change the location of the conference was a mistake. Fourth, there was internal dissension over pretribulation and Posttribulationism. A. C. Gaebelein, citing C. I. Scofield’s testimony, said this conflict was ‘the chief reason’ the Niagara Conference broke up…”
CERTAIN SIGNIFICANT PEOPLE OF THIS CONFERENCE:
Stephen H. Tyng (1800 – 1885) gave the ‘Opening Address’ for the 1878 Conference. According to the New York Times, May 6, 1878 article ‘Patriarchs of the Pulpit:’ “The oldest clergymen in the Protestant Episcopal Church …Rev. Dr. Stephen H. Tyng, Sr., retired last week… He rode about on horseback, preaching in school-houses and log cabins… In 1829 …he was called to St. Paul’s Church in Philadelphia… In 1845 …was called to the Rector ship of St. George’s Church… He has been an indefatigable Sunday-school worker. At one time he had over 2,500 children in Sunday-schools…” April 25, 1865, when President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train was at Union Square, New York, Tyng was one of the ministers who offered up public prayer.
Stephen Higginson Tyng, Jr. (1839 – 1898) received the following obituary in the New York Times: “Dr. Tyng …was once a celebrated divine, and afterward achieved success as a business man. Paris, Nov. 17 – Dr. Tyng, President of the American Chamber of Commerce, is dead. …Son of a distinguished clergyman… he became …the noted rector of a fashionable church in New York …and an energetic and prosperous man of business in Paris. …He graduated from Williams College in 1858, studied theology, and was ordained a Deacon in 1861. …In 1865, he organized the Church of the Holy Trinity… Its parishioners included some of the richest families in New York. …During the year 1867 he was tried by an ecclesiastical tribunal for preaching in a Methodist church in New Jersey, which was a violation of one of the canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church. He was found guilty… From 1864 to 1870 Dr. Tyng edited The Working Church and The Christian at Work, and in 1875 he took an active part in the revival movement directed by Moody and Sankey… At the height of his popularity he suddenly resigned in 1881 and …retired from the ministry. …He went to Paris as the agent of the Mutual Reserve Fund Life Association. …In 1887 he became the Mutual Reserve Association Director General for Continental Europe. …Dr. Tyng was an …entertaining writer. He published …He will Come, and …volumes of sermons…”
Tyng’s Christ’s Coming: Personal and Visible: “We open our defense of the doctrine of the personal and visible return of our Lord… there will be no dispute that the earliest writings of the Christian Fathers recognized it as the current opinion of the post-Apostolic Church …ancient creeds have crystallized it in confession. …In the Middle Ages there was not lacking earnest souls who maintained and voiced this truth, which traced its paternity to Apostolic teachers. …The formulae of faith …of the fathers of the Protestant Reformation give this doctrine a foremost rank. It was primitive in the English, the Scotch, the Lutheran, the Congregational, the Baptist, the Moravian, and all other Christian bodies, which have passed through the fires of persecution…’
‘…These three propositions we affirm …the authority of the Holy Scripture is the basis of all knowledge…; the language of Holy Scripture is the source of all information concerning …the return of our Lord; …A careful computation has shown that one verse in 25, or about 300 verses of the New Testament speak of this future event… Of antagonists …we group them in five classes…
- The coming of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost is the sufficient fulfillment of our Lord’s promise of His return…
- …There are expositors, who hold that the catastrophe of the fall of Jerusalem, A.D. 70, and the entrance of Titus the Roman, are the facts to which certain predictions of the coming of the Lord referred …24th chapter of St. Matthew and the parallel passages in St. Luke’s… 21st …The disciples privately asked Him three questions… ‘Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Thy coming and of the end of the age (Matt. 24:3)?’ Each of these queries was answered by Him in its logical order. A few sentences sufficed to sketch the outline of all events between His ascension and His coming again. And then He added the words found in Matt. 24:30: ‘And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven and then all the tribes of the earth mourn and they shall see the Son of man coming in the cloulds… He shall send His angels …to gather His elect…’
- A third theory …resolves many passages of the Epistles into what is styled a spiritual coming and presence. The supporters of this most mystical interpretation make much of His title, as ‘the Coming One,’ and speak of His as ever holding this relation to the church. But they forget that the Coming One ‘came unto His own and His own received Him not (John 1:11).’
- It is held by some that the progress of the gospel and the church is the concrete fact, in which the promises of our Lord’s coming combine.
- …interpretation of our Lord’s coming …identifies it with the death of believers.
…These five theories neither satisfy nor exhaust the teaching of the Scriptures in reference to the second coming. We …show there is a personal …coming of the Lord… The contrast between Christ and Antichrist involves the personal coming of the Lord. But all agreed that the judgment of the saints and the world will be a chief feature in the Advent… If the resurrection of Christ was visibly demonstrated, equally so will be His coming again. ‘…Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him… (Rev. 1:7)’.”
Samuel Henry Kellogg (1839 – 1899) graduated from Princeton College in 1861 and their Seminary in 1864, and appointed by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church to serve in India. June of 1865, Kellogg arrived in Calcutta and served seven years. In 1872, he moved to Allahabad, where he taught at the theological school until his wife’s death in 1876. Before leaving India, that year he had translated the catechism of the Presbyterian Church into Hindi. He returned to America and became pastor of the Third Presbyterian Church in Pittsburg. In 1879 he became a professor of theology at the Western Theological Seminary (Alleghany Presbyterian Seminary). Kellogg wrote the commentary on Leviticus in the Expositor’s Bible (1901). In 1881, he gave the welcoming address for the Second Annual Convention of the Inter-Seminary Missionary Alliance at Allegheny, PA., where 15 Denominations and 46 Theological Seminaries were represented by about 250 delegates.
At the 1878 Prophecy Conference, Kellogg spoke on Christ’s Coming – Is it Pre-millennial? Yet, a better known article of his was published in the October 1881 issue of The British and Foreign Evangelical Review, titled The Jewish Question in Europe:
“…The anti-Jewish agitation in its present form may perhaps be well dated from the time that in 1878 the Congress of Berlin lifted Jewish affairs into a new and special prominence… From that time on, an anti-Jewish feeling has steadily increased. …Under Pagan Rome their lot was hard; under so-called Christian Rome it became harder still …Justinian, whose code became the basis of the civil law of Europe, excluded Jews from the provisions of that code. From that time on, they were the objects of the most unreasoning and pitiless hatred and persecution that was ever visited upon any people. …nothing was too bad to be believed of a Jew… black art …stealing the sacramental wafer …poisoning wells… celebrating Passover with the blood of Christian children…’
‘(Thus) confiscation, violence, torture, massacre, banishment and every kind of ingenious and systematic insult, were the common lot of the Jews throughout Europe. The beginning of the Crusades …began for them a …watch of terror. …Everywhere the Jew existed but to be plundered… by brutal mobs, hounded on by fanatic priests; now in a more formal way and on a more extensive scale by the ‘most Christian’ monarchs of Europe, who did …plunder, banish, torture, and murder Jews as it pleased them, under the high name of Christ and law. While the bloody severity of these persecutions was somewhat mitigated by the Reformation, through the weakening of the Papal power… the Protestant princes of Europe showed no more willingness that their Catholic predecessors to accord to the Jew the common rights of man. In many countries, as in Sweden, Norway, Russia, Spain, and even in England, down to the close of the 17th century, they were not allowed to live at all. Where they were tolerated, it was only on the condition of submitting to every kind of systematic indignity, insult, and oppression, from both rulers and people. In many places they were compelled to wear a …distinguishing dress. Their residences were confined by law to certain …unwholesome districts… They were forbidden to be out of their houses after a certain early hour of the evening… The number permitted to live in any place …was rigidly limited. They were excluded from all universities and schools, and …almost every honorable and useful occupation… plundered …by various special taxes, under the forms of law.’
‘Such was the miserable state of the Jewish race throughout Europe till about the close of last century, when… a tide of Jewish emancipation swept through Europe and Jews began to be recognized by law, and treated by men as men. …The new doctrine of the equal rights of men, as promulgated by Voltaire and others, had been silently preparing the way… The first movement …1782, when Joseph II of Austria sounded the signal of the on-coming revolution by his Edict of Liberation; by this imperial decree …oppressive restrictions were removed; the schools and universities of the empire were thrown open for the first time, and equal rights proclaimed, to Jew and Gentile. …In 1784, Louis XVI of France abolished the detested Jewish capitation (poll) tax; in 1787 Fredrick William of Prussia repealed many …oppressive laws against the Jews… In 1788, Louis XVI appointed a royal commission ‘…to remodel on principles of justice all law concerning the Jews…’
‘Shortly after, the great Revolution broke out, and in 1790, the Jews petitioned …for privileges of free citizens of France. …The petition was granted in 1791. In one land after another their chains fell off. In 1799, Napoleon, then on his Syrian campaign, issued a proclamation summoning the Asiatic Jews to rally around his standard in Palestine, to restore and rebuild Jerusalem… but with the failure of his Oriental campaign, his startling project fell through.’
‘Nevertheless, at the close of the Napoleonic wars …the Congress of Vienna, when peace was concluded, signalized the introduction of a new order of things… to the improvement of the condition of the Jewish people throughout Europe. …The Revolution of 1848 accomplished much that had till then remained undone. From that time on, in Prussia, the Jews have enjoyed absolute equality. In England, the last vestige of the old regime only disappeared in 1858. …In 1867 …the Sultan gave the Jews, in common with all foreigners, the right to buy and own land in Palestine and other parts of Asiatic Turkey.’
‘…Out of about 7,000,000 Jews in the whole world …512,000 are found in Germany and 1,375,000 in Austria and Hungary… First, we find everywhere noted the extraordinary tendency of capital in Europe, more and more to concentrate in Jewish hands. The position …held by the Rothschilds as one of the foremost banking firms of Europe, is well known to every intelligent person. …In Germany and Austria the Jews almost monopolize the business of banking. One of the religious papers of Berlin asserts that ‘the Bourse of Vienna actually lies wholly in Jewish hands.’ (Vienna Bourse, bank & financial exchange; bankrupt 1884) …the Jews have become …the money-lenders of Europe… One of the Liberal papers of Germany is quoted by the New York Tribune as saying, ‘the rapid rise of the Jewish nation to leadership is the great problem of the future of East Germany. …All the lower forms of labor, in workshops, the fields, the ditches, and the swamps fall to the lot of the German element, while the constantly increasing Jewish element obtains enormous possessions in capital and land, and raises itself to power and influence in every department…’
‘A Berlin paper says, ‘…1/6th part of Jews in Russia live by means of the liquor trade… The same is true of Jews in Romania, and all the Slavic lands… with the liquor trade usury goes hand and hand …Remote districts of Russia, Austria, Hungary and Romania …have mortgaged their lands for their liquor debts. …In Prussia …1861, according to the official returns, out of 71,000 Jews capable of work, 38,000 were engaged in commerce, while there was …only 1 Jew among 586 day-labourers. In 1871 …out of 642 bankers, all but 92 were Jews… Yet the Jews were less than 2 % of the population… In Lower Austria, of 59,122 merchants, 30,012 …Jews. Of the private mortgages… in Bukowina (Austria-Hungary) in 1877, 82 % were …owned by Jews. In Galicia …sheriff sales of peasant landholding rose from 164 in 1867, to 3,164 in 1879; almost exclusively the Jews brought these foreclosures… (Neue Evangelische Kirchenzeitung, Jan. 1880).’
‘…The second element… education; …it is not yet a century since the Emperor Joseph II of Austria first threw open the doors of the universities and schools …to the Jews …men of Jewish blood, and in most cases Jewish faith, are found holding positions of the highest prominence and influence as scholars and educators. …A remarkable example is afforded even in Islam. In Cairo, Egypt, is the largest theological college in the world. It has 300 professors and 10,000 students… from all parts of the Mohammedan world, from West Africa to China… It is not east to over-estimate the influence of this great Arabic university, perhaps the most effective religious propaganda in the world. But at the head of this ancient institution of learning stands one of the Jewish race. It is a Jewish pervert to Islam, by name Abbasi, who holds authority over …300 professors and 10,000 students, and so occupies the highest position of theological instruction in the Mohammedan world.’
‘If we turn to Europe, we find …in the German Empire …where Jews are not 2% of the population, the Jews, it is said, hold 70 professor’s chairs in the universities. …Herr Stocker, one of the court preachers to the Emperor of Germany, stated lately in a public address in Berlin, that in the gymnasia (University preparatory Schools) of that city, where the Jews are 5% …they form 30% of the students. In the …University of Berlin, of 3,609 students …1,302 are Jews. In the high schools of Vienna, out of 2,488 students, 1,039 were last year reported as Jews; and in Lower Austria, out of 2,140 Advocates of Law 1,024 return themselves as Jews. …In the whole German Empire the proportions of Jews …is 1 in 75; yet in all the higher institutions of learning, the proportion of Jews is 1 in 10.’
‘…Yet another element in the situation… politics… In Italy, the Jews number scarcely 40,000, but they hold 8 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, including the Vice-Presidency. In England, where there is only 1 Jew in 800 of the population, they held last year 9 out of the 658 seats in the House of Commons, while …one of their race was at the same time Prime Minister. …In France …where they number not more than 50,000 …Jews …hold many of the highest positions in the government …late Minister of Finance …late Minister of Justice… The feeling of the Russian Government …by Rev. S. Wilson, a missionary… ‘The municipal of the government of the city (Odessa) is controlled by the Jews, who number about 30,000. They are, however, held in check by the general government…’
‘Another element in the case… is the fact that according to vital statistics, it appears that the Jews everywhere tend to increase in a more rapid ratio than the non-Jewish populations… The Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology (Vol. 4, Part 2; 1876), ‘…Between 1816 and 1867 …the population of Prussia increased 91 % …the Jewish population 112 %. …In Austrian Galicia, 1820 – 1870, the ordinary population increased 25 % and the Jewish population 150 %…’
‘…Last March …a formal protest of Jews against the work of the London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews was handed in to the Bishop of Liverpool insisting on ‘the abolition of these disreputable societies.’ The Jewish Chronicle (London; 1841; oldest continuously published Jewish newspaper) …expressed regret that the petition …contained ‘intemperate expressions…’ Where do we stand? To the man who will attentively consider the signs of the times, it will appear as if our time might be compared to the last year of the ministry of Christ, when the great mass of the people of Israel, who before …followed Him with a half-blind enthusiasm, turned away from Him and left Him alone with His disciples…’
‘…Jewish influence in Central Europe will reach a yet greater height in the near future. …The increasing number of wealthy Jews who are now receiving a liberal education in the gymnasia and universities of Germany and Austria make this apparently certain. Whether the popular jealousy of the Jews will increase in proportion to the growth of their influence is a question …of no little moment, especially to the Jews. …In any event, it seems clear from the facts before us, that the Jews, through their control of the capital of Europe and their intellectual and political influence, are likely …soon to become a more important factor in the political influence, and likely …soon to become a more important factor in political history of the world than at any time before since their dispersion, or indeed in their whole history hitherto…’ S. H. Kellogg.”
|Germany invaded Poland in 1939 and began killing Jews in a manner never seen ‘since their dispersion or their whole history hitherto.’ What does it have to do with the end of the world or with the Conferences? It shows that in deception, greed and hate, men can and will bow to the evil one. Second, it displays the state of the Jewish nation was very important to these Christian conferences; most believed that the Lord would not return, until Israel gathered as a nation in the Holy Land. Third, considering the persecution of the Jews over the last 20 centuries, and their new nation of Israel, and now with a newly revived Sanhedrin (2004); we can now look for the rebuilding of the Temple.|
Adoniram Judson Gordon (1836 – 1895) of New Hampshire was named after the first American foreign missionary, a Baptist missionary to Burma. Gordon was influenced by John N. Darby, who had spoken in Boston during the 1860’s and 1870’s. Gordon graduated from Brown University in 1856; and then from Newton Theological Seminary in 1863. About 1869, he became the pastor of Clarendon Street Baptist Church; in 1889 he founded Gordon College (Boston Missionary Training School). Gordon was aided by James M. Gray, an associate of D. L. Moody, who became a professor at the Bible and Missionary Training School. In 1969, through the efforts of J. Pew, Dr. Ockenga and Dr. Billy Graham, Gordon merged with Conwell to become the Gordon – Conwell Theological Seminary.
In 1877, Gordon met D. L. Moody in Boston, where he offered his church for the overflow crowds. Gordon served on the American Baptist Missionary Union for 23 years. In 1888 he toured Scotland with A. T. Pierson to promote foreign missions. Gordon was a prayer partner of George Muller. In 1890, Gordon became the President of the Baptist Pastor’s Conference for Bible Study. He spoke at Moody’s Northfield Conferences, where in 1892, according to William Moody, in Life of Dwight L. Moody (1900), Gordon ‘had charge of the meetings’ when Moody was in Europe. In his address at the 1878 Conference, entitled The First Resurrection, Gordon taught of a ‘personal and imminent appearing of the Lord.’
Adoniram J. Gordon
|In 1876, he wrote My Jesus, I Love Thee; in 1881, he began editing the Watchword; and in 1882, he wrote Ministry of Healing, which influenced many Pentecostals. In 1894, he wrote Ministry of Spirit, in which he briefly quoted Edward Irving, and also spoke on the ‘rapture.’ It was in Ecce Venit (Behold, He Cometh; 1896), that Gordon spoke much on prophecy: stating the Antichrist was of the ‘papacy;’ that the rebuilding of ‘the material temple …in Jerusalem is lacking;’ and taught of ‘the translation of the Church’ and the ‘hope of Christ’s imminent return.’ He believe at ‘His advent …coming …no eye can see…’ Gordon taught of the ‘restoration of Israel’ before the ‘millennial kingdom.’|
Henry Martyn Parsons (1828 – 1913) graduated from Yale in 1848. After serving two churches in Massachusetts, he pastored Lafayette Street Presbyterian Church, Buffalo, N.Y. In 1876, he was a founder of the ‘Believers’ Meetings, and in 1878 he helped organize the International Prophetic Conference at the Church of the Holy Trinity in New York City.
The Niagara Conferences, held on the Canadian side of the mesmerizing Niagara Falls, had a trilling effect on many Canadians. As a Board member of the Willard Tract Depository in Toronto, Parsons was assured that ‘dispensational premillennialism’ would be injected into Canada’s Christendom. Also, he was a professor at the Toronto Bible Training School (est. 1894; Toronto Bible College; now Tyndale Uni. College and Seminary; the largest and ‘oldest standing institution of its kind in Canada…’). Toronto Bible College was modeled after the Moody Bible Institute. Oswald J. Smith, evangelist, missionary, author, and hymn writer; who helped raise millions of dollars for missions, graduated from Toronto Bible College in 1912 and later became a founder of The Peoples Church.
Parsons knew of Darby’s Pretribulation Rapture doctrine. His address to his associates and the hundreds of others pastors which attended the 1878 conference was given in his speech on ‘The Present Age and Development of Antichrist,’ in which he said: “…The general subject before us, the personal and Premillennial coming of our Lord …if this dispensation is for the conversion of the whole world to Christ, then, for more than 1,800 years, anyone can see, it has been a stupendous failure. …A prophetic statement in 2 Thes. 2:4, describes Antichrist… and this has currently been applied to the apostate Roman Church… and exercised by the Pope. Without doubt there is here a …continued representation of the spirit of Antichrist manifesting itself through the age… Yet, Daniel said, ‘he shall plant the tabernacle …between the seas in the glorious Holy Mountain (Dan.11:45),’ and in 2 Thes. 2:4, he is represented as ‘sitting in the temple of God…’ While …the reign of Antichrist finds its shadow in the pretensions of the Papacy, we still believe that a more concrete future fulfillment, springing out of present and patent channels of blasphemy and corruption, will be seen in the literal temple yet to be built in Jerusalem.’
‘…Antichrist …shall be utterly destroyed …empire and in the very person …boastful and blasphemous king, in that day when the Faithful and True shall ride forth from the opened heaven with His armies to ‘judge and make war (Rev. 19:11-14).’ …In Rev. 16:13, 14 we have a description of ‘three unclean spirits, like frogs, coming out of the mouth of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet.’ These are spirits of demons working miracles, going forth to the kings of the earth and of the world to gather them to the great battle… We must remember …Noah warned his age 120 years before the deluge… Brethren and friends, we are called to preach the Gospel to every creature during this age, that from every nation and tongue and people, the Lord Jesus may gather His dear Bride! ‘…It is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we (first) believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand (near; Rom.13:11,12).’ Soon will be ‘heard as it were the voice of a great multitude and as the voice of many waters… Let us be glad and …give honor to Him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper… (Rev. 19:7-9)”
Parsons believed in the soon premillennial coming of the Lord and in dispensationalism; he did not believe in a pretribulational secret rapture. He believed as Oswald Smith taught, and as his son pastor Paul Smith and as The Peoples Church of Toronto teaches today, ‘in the personal bodily return of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 1:9-11) to set up His kingdom (Titus 2:13); And …in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust (John 5:28, 29; Dan. 12:2).’
William Rufus Nicholson (1822 – 1901) was born in Mississippi, and graduated from Lagrange College, Alabama in 1840. In 1842, he received his first rectorship at Poydras Street Methodist Episcopal Church in New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1849 he was transferred to Cincinnati; again in 1859 to Boston; and in 1872 to Newark. In 1874 Nicholson became a member of the Reformed Episcopal Church (established in 1873). In 1876, he was consecrated bishop by 3 bishops and 9 presbyters. He chaired the Bible Inspiration Conference in Philadelphia. When the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Episcopal Church was established in Philadelphia, he became the Dean. He was 1 of about 400 who signed the 1891 Blackstone Memorial petition for the restoration of Israel.
At the 1878 conference, Nicholson delivered a speech called ‘The Gathering of Israel,’ in which he stated, “…By the gathering of Israel is meant the gathering back of all the twelve tribes of Jacob from their dispersion, continued through so many ages, to their own covenanted land, Palestine, and the resettlement of them there as one nation. Is this restoration of Israel a foreshown fact in prophecy? …This is our subject. …We turn to Ezekiel 36:22-28: ‘Say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God …I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own.’ …The object of their gathering is ultimately their conversion, but primarily, their chastisement and suffering. In connection with the setting up of the abomination of desolation in the temple, Jesus said (Matt. 24)… Their terrible sufferings will reduce them to a remnant. ‘Except those days should be shortened there should no flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake…’ a remnant. …The spiritual blessings of millennial Israel will be the same as are ours now. They will be sons of God… Great …will be millennial Israel’s position ‘…thou shalt be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord… (Isa. 62:3);’ ‘all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem (Jer. 3:17).’ …This restoration of Israel is the very centre of God’s gracious purposes concerning the world. ‘For Zion’s sake will He not hold His peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake He will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation as a lamp (Isa. 62).”
|Nicholson supported Israel and did not teach a pretribulation rapture, but did teach many errors as Darby; for example that Israel is the ‘elect’ in Matthew 24.|
Nathaniel West (1826 – 1906) was born in England. His family immigrated to America. In 1855, West became pastor of a Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati; from 1869 to 1875, West was a professor at Danville Theological Seminary in Kentucky. He also taught briefly at Moody Bible Institute. West was a cofounder of the Niagara Conferences. He recorded the 1878 keynote speeches in his book, Second Coming of Christ; Premillennial Essays of the Prophetic Conference held in the Church of the Holy Trinity, New York City (1879). West did believe in the premillennial ‘second coming of Christ,’ but the Dictionary of Christianity in America (1990), states that ‘in the 1890’s West charged that the secret rapture of the church lacked biblical support…’
At the 1878 Conference, West spoke on the ‘History of the Pre-millennial Doctrine,’ of which he wrote at length on in his book ‘…Premillennial Essays…,’ saying: “…Christian Chiliasm, or Pre-Millenarianism, is the doctrine of the personal reign of Christ on earth, 1,000 years after the Beast, False Prophet and Apostate Christendom have been judged and perished in a common doom (Rev. 5:10; 11:15; 19:20; 20:1-6). It is the doctrine of the visible and external sovereignty of Christ upon earth… As Dorner has beautifully said, ‘Complete victor Christianity never can be, until Nature has become an organ of its service, a willing instrument of the perfect man, that is of the righteous who are raised from the dead (Isaak Dorner; Person of Christ; 1835).’ ‘Man and the creature,’ says Ellicott, ‘bound together in one common feeling of longing and expectancy, are awaiting that redemption of the body which shall be the immediate precursor of the restitution of the world, and the consummation of all things in Christ (Charles Ellicott; Destiny of the Earth; 1858).’ So Lange says, ‘The expectation of the future transformation of the earth into a heavenly establishment, of the conjunction of the spiritual kingdom in the other world with that in this, nay, of the reuniting of that world itself and this, is to many a mere fancy, but to every earnest Christian a great hope, an assurance of faith and certain prediction (Johann Peter Lange; Uni. of Bonn; Bremen Lectures).’
‘…The doctrine …does not rest upon an isolated passage in the Apocalypse, as many suppose, but upon the whole covenant of God in Christ for the redemption of man and earth from sin and its curse, and is the central point of eschatology. …John emphasizes the Kingdom as the reign of 1,000 years, to make it sure to our understanding…’
‘The history of the Pre-Millennial Doctrine grounds itself eminently in the visions of Daniel and …completes itself in the visions of John. …It is given to Daniel to interpret the vain splendor, the time of its duration, the catastrophe that shall signalize its fall, and the new kingdom that shall rise on its ruins (Dan. 2:31-46; 7:1-27). By the same Spirit it is given to …John, 600 years after, to portray the steps by which that catastrophe is reached, and that new kingdom established… (Rev. 5:9; 11:15-18; 12:10; 15:4; 19:11-21; 20:1-6).’
‘On such foundations, supported by instruction from our Lord and His Apostles, did the Church of the Apostolic Age rear its doctrine of the Millennial Kingdom, and the Pre-Millennial Advent of Christ to inaugurate the same. The prophetic page of Daniel was regarded as a sacred calendar of the future, measuring the range of successive Gentile empires from the captivity date to the finishing of the mystery of God under the seventh trumpet, embracing the conversion of the Jews or recall of Israel to the covenant, overthrow of Antichrist, the first Resurrection, and the Millennial Reign and Final Judgment – a course of history spanning 490 years of the later Jewish dispensation, all the Christian dispensation closing with the overthrow of the Beast and little horn…’
‘…The early Church saw a complete identification between the vision of Daniel (7:7-27) and the Apocalypse of John (chapters 6 – 21). It was impossible to avoid the conclusion that Daniel 7:9-27 described… as parallel with Apoc. (Rev.) 19:11-21; 20:1-7… Nothing is clearer than that the announcement of one like the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven relates to His ‘Second Advent.’ …It was the view of Justin, saying: ‘He shall come as the Son of Man, on the clouds of heaven;’ Of Tertullian… Chrysostom, Cyril, and all the fathers before Constantine’s day. …Daniel 7:13 and …Matt. 24:30, and Luke 21:27 …describe the same events…’
‘…Paul …corrected the Thessalonian error, by expounding the ‘little horn’ as the ‘man of sin,’ the persecutor of God’s saints, sitting in the ‘Temple of God.’ Here it was he saw that the ‘Day of the Lord’ began with the Judgment on Antichrist, whom the Lord would destroy at His Second Advent, by the ‘breath of His mouth… brightness of His coming… (2Thes.2).’
‘Nor was the early church in error when regarding the 1,000 years of John, though symbolical, as a measure of time, dividing the great events of a vast transition period – a Future Age or World to come, between the close of the present dispensation and the Age that is endless… Time and space forbid to quote the …Fathers of the Anti-Nicene and Nicene Ages. …Lactantius …Tertullian, ‘the Master,’ as Cyprian… called him …Irenaeus, Justin and Polycarp …Hippolytus …Victorinus …Gregory of Nyssa …held the Chiliastic faith …Pre-Millenarians. …Save Origen and his school… all the Apostolic Fathers, and all the Apologists in the age succeeding… were Pre-Millenarians…’
‘…As to Augustine, he held the martyr doctrine until swerved from it by adopting the ‘Recapitulation and Repetition’ theory of interpreting the Apocalypse in connection with a spiritualizing and idealizing exegesis, borrowed from Origen, and the Donatist Tichonius… And yet …we learn from the testimony of Gelasius of Cyzicus, a Greek historian of the fifth century, A. D. 476, who collecting the records of the Council of Nice, scattered in the Arian War, until scare an authentic copy …could be found, gives us the explanation of the Nicene faith concerning the resurrection state… ‘We expect a new heaven and earth, according to the Scriptures, when the Appearing and Kingdom of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ, shall have shone forth. Then, as Daniel says, the saints of the Most High shall receive the Kingdom (Dan. 7:22). And the earth shall be pure and holy, a land of the living… (Gelasius of Cyzicus; History of the Council at Nicae).’
‘…I come now to …the politico-religious triumph of Constantine; the period of the temporal supremacy of Christianity in the Roman Empire. The martyr age had passed away. No more councils like that of Nice, in which martyrs …answered to their names… ‘A new generation has appeared, intoxicated with the Christian conquest of heathenism, the careering splendor of a church and state establishment… The church now prepared for a long-continued period of temporal prosperity, and the State-Church of that time forget the millennial glory of the future (Johann Kurtz, Church History, Vol. 1; 1889).’ ‘…Under Constantine, Christianity being established, Christians began looking at its existing temporal prosperity as fulfilling the prophecies, and ceased to look for Christ’s promised reign of earth (Jamieson, Faussett & Brown; Commentary… Introduction to Apocalypse; approximately 1870’s)’
|Jamieson, Faussett & Brown; A Commentary…; Vol. III; republished by Eerdmans: under The Revelation, chapter 1, ‘Revelation is to teach us to understand the times, not the times to interpret the Apocalypse… Jesus Christ, not John, is the Author…’|
West continues: ‘…Chiliasm disappeared in proportion as Roman Papal Catholicism advanced. …When the Church became the harlot, she ceased to be a bride who goes to meet her Bridegroom, and thus Chiliasm disappeared. …The 1,000 year’s reign is partly ecclesiastical so far as relates to the church establishment; partly temporal, so far as relates to the empire; partly spiritual, so far as relates to regeneration; partly ceremonial, so far as relates to baptism; partly celestial, so for as relates to the blessedness of the righteous in heaven… Such was the theory of the great Augustine, by which the future Millennium, the hope of the martyrs, to be realized at the Second Coming of Christ, ‘spiritualized’ into a present politico-religious fact…’
‘…The Church and State theory continued to prevail from the period immediately following Constantine throughout the whole time of the apostatizing Christian empire wounded by the Gothic sword, healed by the rise, progress, and alliance of the emerging Papacy, and the erection of the ‘Holy Roman Empire’ under Charlemagne, onward to the time of Hildebrand at the close of the 10th century… From Hildebrand to the Reformation, the same Antichiliastic theory held on its way. The commencing date, however, for the millennium, was changed to begin with the victory of Constantine, A.D. 312, a supposition previously hinted. The new lease of three centuries caused the Ottoman Turk invading Christendom to be regarded as the Gog and Magog of Revelation, and reserved for the 14th century… and error that confined the 1,260 days to the Pagan persecution, Babylon to the Secular City of Rome, and Antichrist to Nero… Even Jerome had intimated long ago that ‘Babylon’ was the ‘Church…’ apostate. ‘…O wretched Rome!’ exclaimed the Bishop of Orleans at the Council of Rheims… ‘That Pontiff seated on a throne and clad in purple and gold! He is Antichrist sitting in the Temple… (Villemain, Life of Gregory).’ …Berenger points to the Great City as ‘Satan’s seat.’ …The Waldenses do the same. …Dante calls (the pope) the ‘Modern Pilate (The Divine Comedy; ca. 1315).’ …Huss protests against ‘the Vicar of Judas Iscariot!’ …Jerome of Prague …yields up his spirit to God at the stake, saying, ‘Into Thy hands I commit my spirit, Lord God of truth!’ …The Reformation begins to be felt, an earthquake of nations, the time to ‘rise and measure the Temple… (Rev. 11:1).’
‘The Apocalyptic Beast is now seen to be a symbol figuring the whole history of the God-opposed and Antichristian World-Power as it passes through its Roman form, first Pagan, then Christian, then Papal, incorporate in an apostate Church, centralizing itself in the Ruling Head of the Seven-headed City. …The labors of Schroeckh, Neander, Kohler, Ullmann, Dollinger, and Villemain, have shown that, centuries before the Reformation, there was an irrepressible conflict… a living ‘Protest’ in the very bosom of the Apostasy itself, until …Luther. The universal interpretation of the Reformers was only that of the purest Roman Catholics for ages previous, and that of Christ’s martyrs, that the Church of Rome is ‘Babylon’ of the Apocalypse, the ‘Mother’ …the Papacy, the ‘Antichrist’ in the person of its Popes. It is the sole doctrine on the subject, consecrated …in the Articles of Smalcald, the Formulae of the Geneva Catechism, the Second Helvetic Confession, the Homilies of the Church of England, the Irish Articles, and the Westminster Confession.’
‘…And what is the value of this for Chiliasm? …Even the Reformers were aware; the back-bone of the Lateran theory of the millennium was broken. The 1,000 years were thrown into the future. The mediaeval position was flanked and turned by an act of Providence – the Reformation – and …the movement that restored the Apostolic doctrine of the Church, opened the door for the restoration of the doctrine of the pre-millennial advent of Christ.’
‘…The Protestant interpretation did three things. (1) It fixed the final Judgment on the Papal Antichrist at the Second Advent. (2) It made impossible the interjection of the 1,000 years between that Judgment and the Parousia… (3) It threw the 1,000 years into the future, out of medievalism and beyond the Advent.
‘…So Mede said, ‘I have demonstrated that the 1,000 years follow the times of the Beast and False Prophet, and consequently the times of the Antichrist, which those who oppose the Chiliasts have found to be so necessary as to force them to deny the Apocalypse… (The Works of Joseph Mede; 1672).’ …The Protestant interpretation being true, the Pre-Millennial Advent of Christ is a necessity, logical, historical, exegetical, which no ‘…New Hypothesis,’ …and no exegesis of ‘Parousia,’ as a coming at death, or a spiritual presence, or …church establishment or spiritual revival …can explain away. And this Protestant interpretation, so thoroughly grounded in the massive demonstrations of the Reformed Theology, must ever he held fast, whatever the capacity of Christendom to repent the Infidelity of the French Revolution, the English Deism, the German Rationalism, or however gigantic the strides of anti-Christian science, or political internationalism, or the secularism of our churches, or the lawlessness of the age, or the godless legislation of society.’
‘Evermore the apostate ‘Antichrist’ of the Scriptures is not only the Denier, but the Confessor of the truth in mask, ‘deceiving,’ and in whom the ‘Deceiver’ is incorporate …seated high in His chair with the Wafer worshipped… He is no Antiochus Epiphanes, nor Mahomet, nor Napoleon, …nor openly avowed Infidel, as the Papists… the Rationalists… but the Pope himself, who may yet, indeed, ally himself, in coming days, with Internationalism and a false Messiah and bloom into something more unmasked… The Reformers …deemed the end of the world near, and looked for the speedy Advent of Christ to destroy the Papal Antichrist and introduce the state of Eternal Glory. They thought the 1,000 years were over, and Satan ‘loosed a little season.’
‘What misled them was due to the lingering ‘Recapitulation’ theory, which identified Revelation chapters 20 and 12, confounding also Armageddon at the beginning of the 1,000 years with the expedition of God and Magog to be the Ottoman Turk… Such was the wild raving of Thomas Munzer and the Anabaptists… the French Prophets of Dauphiny, and afterwards the Fifth Monarchy men in the time of Cromwell. …Calvin, like other Reformers, attacked at its Jewish root the vain pretension of the false ‘Millennari,’ both ancient and modern, and only so-called because of the 1,000 years …exploding the error that the whole glorious royalty of Christ, and everlasting blessedness of the Church, are limited to the 1,000 years; still hampered, however, in his reply by the thought that the 1,000 years dated from Constantine (John Calvin; Institutes of Christian Religion, book III).’
‘…In the bloom time of the Reformation in England, the time of Cranmer, Hooper, Latimer, Ridley …when Bucer taught at Cambridge and Peter Martyr at Oxford, the martyr faith once more lifted its head. …Splendid was the advance of Chiliasm in the 17th century. Men …proclaimed the Pre-Millennial return of Christ: Alsted, Launaeus, Lange, Hebart …Poiet, Spener, Petersen, Francke …and the Pietists of Germany… and Scotland …produced many who followed …John Knox. England became vocal with pre-millennial melodies. Burton …Archer… Mede, ‘who saw while others were getting their eyes open,’ Worthington, Homes, Carlyle… Milton… proclaimed ‘the …shortly-expected King.’
‘…Differing in several respects, but united on the two main points: the pre-millennial advent and literal ‘First Resurrection,’ a large number of the Westminster divines (doctors), among whom was the majority of the …preached the Chiliastic doctrine. …Rome Papal, sprung from the Apostasy, and whose final destruction occurs at the Parousia (arrival). …The Parousia is represented as the visible personal coming of Christ to Judgment, at the ‘Last Day’ or ‘Judgment Day…’
‘…The classic passage in Acts 3:19-21, pre-intimating the conversion of the Jews …they referred to the time of the Second Advent… the ‘times of refreshing…’ and paralleled it with the ‘Rest’ that comes to the troubled Church, ‘when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven (2 Thes. 1:7).’ …In view of the fact that the hour of Christ’s coming is unknown to men, they declared it to be the duty of all men, now to ‘shake off all carnal security,’ and be always watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come…’ (Confession of Faith, 23)
‘In the Westminster Standard, Rome is papal, not pagan; Antichrist is the Pope, not Nero; the Parousia is personal and visible. ‘This generation (Luke 21:32),’ that passes not away, is not merely the Jews contemporaneous with the Apostles, but the continuous Jewish race; ‘all these things’ relate not merely to the overthrow of Jerusalem, A.D. 70, but to the whole tribulation, extending through the present age; and ‘shall be fulfilled (Luke 21:32)’ does not merely mean ‘completed,’ but also ‘shall being to be accomplished,’ – the tribulation culminating at the Second Advent.
West continues, ‘…The 18th century opened in England with the publication of an elaborate effort on the part of Daniel Whitby to set aside the Chiliastic View, by what he claimed to be a ‘New Hypothesis’ …that ‘the true millennium is not a reign of persons raised from the dead, but of the church, flourishing gloriously for a thousand years, after the conversion of the Jews, and the flowing in of all nations to them thus converted to the Christian faith (Whitby Treatise on the True Millennium; 1703).’
‘…The first article of Canon in Ryle’s Prophetic Creed (1879), ‘…the world will never be completely converted to Christianity by any existing agency before the end comes’ – a position Chalmers had emphasized abundantly… and John Knox had asserted… ‘To reform the face of the whole earth is a thing that will never be done until that King and Judge appear for the restitution of all things (Knox, Treatise on Fasting; mid-1550’s).’ It is what John Calvin said, ‘There is no reason why any person should expect the conversion of the world… when it is too late …they shall look on Him whom they have pierced (Johannes Calvinus, Commentary on Matthew; 1555).’ Luther was no less emphatic. ‘Some say that before the last day the whole world will become Christian. This is a falsehood, forged by Satan, that he might darken sound doctrine, that we might not rightly understand it. Beware, therefore, of this delusion (Luther; Commentary of John; ca. 1535-1540).’
‘…While Chiliasm was, as Hase calls it, ‘a great Faith Article of the Apostolic Church (Karl von Hase; A History of the Christian Church; 1855),’ Whitbyism …is not the ‘common doctrine’ of the Church, and never was ‘doctrine’ at any time… not in any creed of the Church… It denies …that the Parousia in 2 Thes. 2:8 is a personal advent of Christ. The Whitby ‘theory’ puts the Parousia at the end of the 1,000 years, instead at the beginning… has no exegetical foundation (Dr. Patrick Fairbairn; Prophecy; 1855).’ …Sir Isaac Newton took the ground that the prophecies concerning the latter day glory are ‘clear prophecies concerning the Second Coming, given not only for predicting, but for effecting the recovery and establishment of long-lost truth… (Journal of Prophecy, IV, ca. 1690’s; a hand written letter of Newton’s currently at the Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem, Newton estimated that the world would end no earlier than 2060). …Wesley, author of… ‘Jesus, Lover of my Soul’ was a Pre-Millenarian.’
‘…As we look back upon three quarters of the 19th century… and mark the progress of the Pre-Millennial doctrine, by what a galaxy of illustrious names it is adorned… No doctrine has come to the front of Christian thought more prominently than that of the Pre-Millennial return of Christ. …It is simply impossible to catalogue all the names in the present century that cluster around the doctrine for support… Among Presbyterians abroad, we find …Chalmers, Irving, Candlish, Hewitson, Anderson, Begg, Bonars, McCheyne, Burns …McDonald, Stewart, Cummings, MacKay, Frazer, Jamieson, Faussett…’
‘…In the United States …Duffield, Thomas, Breckenridge, Parker, Krebs, Lillie …Brookes …Morris, Kellogg, Wilson, Laird, Parsons, Wyckoff, Congden, Lee …Cooper, Morehead, Flint, Adams …Brown, …Sankey, Stewart, …Baker, Gillespie, Lichtenstein, Spence, French, Patterson, Erdman, Matthews, Galloway …Bacon, Mack, Eddy, Paxon… Dinwiddie, Marquis …Allen, Riley… Davis, Marvin, Reynolds, Wanamaker, Wallace – ministers, pastors, presidents and professors in colleges and theological seminaries.’
‘The Church of England… Elliott and the two Maitlands …Melville …Ryle, Hoare, Wood …Cox, Kelley, Wilson, Noel, Brock, Smith, Woodward, McNeile, Dallas …Raikes, Ould, Trotter, Stevenson, Shephard, Newton, Ellicott, Alford, Tregelles… a multitude more among the Anglican Bishops, Deans, Presbyters, Canons and Rectors, who hold the pre-millennial advent of Christ and literal ‘First Resurrection.’ ‘Noble names, in the Episcopal Church of the United States… McIllvaine, Henshhaw, Niles, the two Tyngs, Winthrop, Morgan, Johnson, Nicholson, Vail, Bancroft, Perkins, Hastings, Farrer, Booth, Ward …Dobbs, Smith… Among the Congregationalists …Bancroft, Litch, Adams, Morton, Milton, Goodwin, …Burton, Andrews, Clarke, Russell, Cunningham… Thayer. Among the Baptists, Gordon, Herr, Saunders, Harris, Evans, Stifler …Jones, Brown …Miller, White, Jacobs… Stone. Among the Methodists, Durbin, Parker, Gilbert, Hall …Blackstone …Nast. In the Reformed Dutch Church, Thompson, Demarest, Gordon, Clarke, Merritt …Bishop, Brown. Among the Lutherans, Seiss and others. All these are unanimous on the two main positions of the pre-millennial doctrine: the pre-millennial advent and the liberal ‘First Resurrection.’
‘Gaussen and Godet, …Holland gives us DaCosta, Capadose …and Van Oasterzee. Germany’s rank are majestic with men who defend the martyr doctrine. Schlegel, Auberlen …Krmmacher …Delitzsch …Ebrand, Hofmann …Hebart, Stockmayer, Koch, Lechler …Lange… Steffann – where shall we end?’
‘…The same Chiliastic path treads the valuable critical labors of Jamieson and Faussett, in the Commentary which, in company with Dr. David Brown, they have given to the world. …The edition of Van Oosterzee’s Dogmatics by Drs. Smith and Schaff, Union Theological Seminary, New York, the most pronounced Chiliastic system of Dogmatics extant, have done more to indoctrinate the American ministry with pre-millenarianism, than all the works published on the subject in the United States for the last 50 years… Chiliasm is defended in the various nations of Christendom; public lectures, critical works, the mere titles of which would fill a volume, magazines, …discourses, tracts, pamphlets and newspapers, dissertations… expositions and commentaries, all on the absorbing theme. Never since the martyr-age has Chiliasm attained such distinction…’
‘…Thus have I sketched, in an imperfect way, an outline of the history of the doctrine of the Pre-Millennial Advent of our Lord… to the present day. …Difficulties there are in articulating the various portions of Scripture. But the Pre-Millennial Advent grounded as it is an unshakable exegetical foundation, these difficulties are only motives to …prayer, and incentives to seek and gather the …scattered members …to Divine Truth. In the words of Milton to the Parliament, ‘We have not yet found them all… nor ever shall do, till her Master’s Second Coming. Then shall He bring together every joint and member and shall mold them into an immortal feature of loveliness and perfection’.”
|West and nearly all he mentioned supported the Pre-Millennial return of the Lord, that it was after ‘that man of sin be revealed (2 Thes. 2:30);’ the Antichrist. Only a handful he mentioned believed in a Pretribulational Rapture. West stated the Pretribulation Rapture doctrine was “built on a postulate, vicious in logic, violent in exegesis, contrary to experience, repudiated by the early Church, contradicted by the testimony of 1,800 years, rejected by all the three schools of interpretation, and condemned by all the standard scholars of every age. …Kelly himself calls it an ‘assumption.’ It …is refuted by every page of the Word of God. Yet, it offers itself as a matter of fact to thousands …of Christian men and women… who, without a thorough examination, have received it as true!”|
James Hall Brookes (1830 – 1897) is sometimes called the ‘father of American Dispensationalism.’ Born in Tennessee; he attended Miami Uni. of Ohio, and then Princeton Seminary. He pastored in Dayton, Ohio and then at the Second Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, Missouri. According to the Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, Vol. 1 (1901), Brookes in ‘1864 …became pastor of Walnut Street Presbyterian Church …remaining with it until the day of his death, on Easter morning, 1897. …He was eminent as a Bible scholar and expositor… and he was eminent also as a premillennialist, earnestly preaching the speedy coming of Christ, and contending that the signs of the times portend (warned of) the imminency of that coming. His earnestness, eloquence and learning made him one of the most powerful preachers of his time, and he was …favorably known as a writer. For 23 years he was editor of ‘The Truth,’ a religious monthly publication… and author of a number of books (about 16 books and more than 200 tracts), the most important of which are ‘The Christ,’ ‘Mystery of Suffering,’ ‘Is the Bible True?,’ ‘Did Jesus Rise?’ and ‘Maranatha…’.
|James Hall Brookes
|Brookes’ reception of Darby’s teachings on dispensationalism and the pretribulation rapture doctrine, followed by his discipling of Scofield and popular preaching welcomed by prophetic conferences and ministers, made him a major influence on today’s teaching of eschatology. His role was key in the Niagara and Northfield or Moody Conferences, and the boost of theories that were rarely received during his entire lifetime, and that were never, as Darby taught, received before his birth. Brookes most famous book that supported this theories was Maranatha, subtitled ‘The Lord Cometh.’|
During John Darby’s trips to the United States and Canada in 1860’s and 1870’s, on at least two occasions, he preached in St. Louis at Brookes’ church. Brookes was greatly influenced by D. L. Moody. Concerning Brookes, Mal Couch says in his Dictionary of Premillennial Theology (1996), ‘from …his participation in the annual Niagara Bible Conference, and his prolific pen which produced religious best-sellers, he became an early and nationally recognized proponent of dispensational premillennialism in the United States. …It was largely through his writings and conference ministry that Brookes gained national recognition. In the early 1870’s he published Maranatha, a massive volume on eschatology… He was a regular speaker at Bible conferences, YMCA meetings, and prophecy conferences, and in 1875 was one of the founders and president of …the Niagara Bible Conference. …His most visible disciple was C. I. Scofield, later editor of the Scofield Reference Bible, to whom Brookes introduced dispensationalism… Brookes was one of the first prominent ministers in the United States to teach the pretribulational rapture.’ Couch, through fellow Pre-Trib Research Center member, Timothy Demy, tells how Brookes says he was influenced by ‘Plymouth Brethren eschatology,’ and that by ‘1874 his system was well developed.’
Brookes’ Maranatha (ca. 1874; 10th edition 1889) or ‘The Lord Cometh,’ was about 550 pages of dispensational teachings on the coming of the Lord, as well as on ‘the role of the Jewish people in the events of the End Times and in the Millennial kingdom.’ At the 1878 Niagara Bible Conference, he gave a speech which West records in his Premillennial Essays of the Prophetic Conference… as ‘The Coming of the Lord in its Relation to Christian Doctrine.’ In this speech Brookes stated:
“…It is impossible, within a brief hour, even to notice the important connections in which the Second Advent of our Lord is presented in the Old Testament, and only a glance can be given at its relation to the general teachings of the New Testament. …4. ‘The Son of Man shall come… with His angels, and then He shall reward every man according to his works (Matt. 16:26, 27).’ …92. ‘Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him… (Rev. 1:7).’ 100. ‘…Surely I come quickly, Amen (Rev. 22:20).’
‘…His coming looks in upon the whole life of His Church… every generation lies under the shadow of it… In the words of Professor Hackett …referring to the return of Christ at the end of the age ‘that event was always near to the feelings and consciousness of the first believers… They lived in expectation of it; they labored to be prepared for it… in the language of Peter, ‘looking for and hastening unto it (Horatio Hackett; A Commentary… on Acts; 1851).’ …That it was indeed ‘always near to the feelings …of the first believers’ is admitted …by post-millennial expositors; Drs. Hodge, Barnes, Brown… It is a profound remark of Trench, ‘…if the Lord had said plainly that He would not come for come centuries, then the first ages of the Church would have been placed in a disadvantageous position, being deprived of that powerful motive to holiness and diligence supplied to each generation of the faithful by the possibility of the Lord’s return in their time… (Richard Trench; Notes on the Parables; 1841).’
|i pause to correct this idiotic logic. The fact that the apostles and their faithful converts loved the Lord and His commands to go forth and convert the entire world as witness for Him and as wise ones winning the souls of their perishing communities and countrymen, as well as His and His apostles warnings to the ungodly of the coming Judgment Day, was strength enough to keep them from any ‘disadvantage position,’ of which the Holy Spirit is well able to overcome. Was Job or Abraham at a ‘disadvantage’ to wait for both comings of our Lord, as Moses, David or Daniel ‘to go thou thy way till the end be; (when after they) shalt rest, (they) shall stand in thy lot at the end of the days (Dan. 12:13)?’ Moreover, as to generations being placed under ‘disadvantageous positions,’ was it an unjust disadvantage to the children mercilessly killed by Pharaoh or Herod, or to any abused; or to the Jews who were in many generations captives and in several generations killed and slaughtered in mass proportions? Is it unfair to any human when the devil and his demons move undiscerning, weak and foolish souls into a spiritual frenzy to commit wicked and sad acts upon themselves or others? Free will has been given to tempted man; Judgment and Salvation is from God.|
Brookes continued, ‘…If one verse of the Scripture from the first of Genesis to the last of Revelation can be found to assert the conversion of the world previous to Christ’ return, pre-millennialist will agree to hold their peace forever after. …Where are the churches planted by apostolic hands and watered with the blood of martyrs? They have long since perished. Where are the countries over which the disciples of Jesus, in the first and second centuries, swept as an army with banners? …According to Professor Hitchcock’s statistics …of the earth’s population there are 195 million Roman Catholics, 160 million Mohammedans (Muslims), 340 million Buddhist, 460 million pagans and other heathen religionists, and 97,139,000 Protestants in name. …Wars and rumors of wars, famines and pestilences …unrest everywhere, scientific men burning incense to their own vanity, the masses up heaving with mad efforts to destroy the foundations of all governments… infidelity within the Church, the world blaspheming… the virgins asleep – such is the picture …of the present age… (Roswell Hitchcock; Complete Analysis of the Bible; 1869)”
The Niagara Bible Conference developed and produced the following fourteen point ‘declaration of our doctrinal belief,’ which is called the Niagara Creed. (In 1879, Nathaniel West listed a 5 point creed from the Conference. This 14 point creed was drafted by James Brookes, but not approved until about 1890.)
- We believe ‘that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God’ …the book called the Bible …the Holy Ghost gave the very words of the sacred writings to holy men… His Divine inspiration is not in different degrees, but extends …to all parts of these writings… to the smallest word…
- We believe that the Godhead eternally exists in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and that these three are one God, having precisely the same nature… and worthy of precisely the same homage… and obedience…
- We believe that man, originally created in the image and after the likeness of God, fell from his high and holy estate by eating the forbidden fruit, and as the consequence of his disobedience the threatened penalty of death was then and there inflicted, so that his moral nature was not only grievously injured… but he totally lost all spiritual life, becoming dead in trespasses and sins, and subject to the power of the devil.
- We believe that his spiritual death, or total corruption of human nature, has been transmitted to the entire race of man, the man Christ Jesus alone excepted; and hence that every child of Adam is born into the world with a nature which not only possesses no spark of Divine life, but is essentially and unchangeably bad, being enmity against God, and incapable by any educational process whatever of subjection to His law.
- We believe that owing to this universal depravity and death in sin, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless born again; and that no degree of reformation however great, no attainment in morality however high, no culture however attractive… and philanthropic …no baptism or other ordinance however administered, can help the sinner to take even one step toward heaven; but a new nature imparted from above, a new life implanted by the Holy Ghost through the Word, is absolutely essential to salvation…
- We believe that our redemption has been accomplished solely by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was made to be sin, and made a curse, for us, dying in our room and stead; and that no repentance, no feeling, no faith, no good resolutions, no sincere efforts …and regulations of any church… can add in the very least to the value of that precious blood, or to the merit of that finished work… for us by Him who united in His person true and proper divinity with perfect and sinless humanity.
- We believe that Christ, in the fullness of the blessings He has secured by His obedience unto death, is received by faith alone, and that the moment we trust in Him as our Savior we pass our death into everlasting life, being justified from all things…
- We believe …all who are born again by the Spirit through faith in Christ as revealed in the Scriptures, to be assured of their salvation from the very day they take Him to be their Savior; …this assurance is not founded upon …their own worthiness, but wholly upon the testimony of God… exciting within His children filial love, gratitude and obedience.
- We believe that all the Scriptures from first to last center about our Lord Jesus Christ, in His person and work, in His first and second coming; and hence that no chapter even of the Old Testament is properly read or understood until it leads to Him…
- We believe that the Church is composed of all who are united by the Holy Spirit to the risen and ascended Son of God, that by the same Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, and thus …we are responsible to keep the unity of the Spirit …rising above all sectarian prejudices and denominational bigotry…
- We believe that the Holy Spirit, not as an influence, but as a Divine Person, the source and power of all acceptable worship and service, is our abiding Comforter and Helper, that He never takes His departure from the Church, nor from the feeblest of the saints, but is ever present to testify of Christ, seeking to occupy us with Him…
- We believe that we are called with a holy calling to walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, and so to live in the Spirit that we should not fulfill the lusts of the flesh; but the flesh being still in us to the end of our earthly pilgrimage needs to be kept constantly in subjection to Christ, or it will surely manifest its presence to the dishonor of His name.
- We believe that the souls of those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation do at death immediately pass into His presence, and there remain in conscious blessed until the resurrection of the body at His coming, when soul and body reunited… but the souls of unbelievers remain after death in conscious misery until the final judgment of the great white throne at the close of the millennium, when soul and body reunited shall be cast into the lake of fire, not to be annihilated, but to be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord…
- We believe that the world will not be converted during the present dispensation, but is fast ripening for judgment, while there will be a fearful apostasy in the professing Christian body; and hence that the Lord Jesus will come in person to introduce the millennial age, when Israel shall be restored to their own land…”
|The creed is more similar to the 18 points of the 1833 New Hampshire Baptist Confession (a shorter / modified confession of the 34 points of the 1742 Philadelphia Baptist Confession of Faith) than it is to the 33 points of the Westminster Creed of 1647; or the 25 Articles of the Methodist.|
It is interesting that though there were more Presbyterians at the Niagara Convention than Baptists, the Baptist position held somewhat stronger; this is perhaps because Darby, Moody, and Gordon held to these beliefs and that the Presbyterian Brookes and many others converted to their doctrines. Nevertheless, during the Niagara conferences, Tyng, Kellogg, West and others would preserve the teaching of the post-tribulation return of the Lord to earth over Darby’s Pretribulation Rapture doctrine.
The Declaration of Faith of the Church of God (TN, 1907), which came after the Niagara Creed also has 14 points, 10 of which are the same. Yet, three are distinctly different: ‘We believe in speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance and that it is the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost;’ ‘We believe in the premillennial second coming of Jesus; first, to resurrect the righteous dead and to catch away the living saints to Him in the air;’ and ‘We believe in divine healing…’. The 16 Statements of Fundamental Truths of the Assembly of God (1914), after these prophetic conferences and the Church of God, have 10 points alike the Niagara Conferences’ and 6 like that of the Church of God, especially the gift of tongues and divine healings. The Assembly of God’s position says: ‘All Christians who have died will one day rise from their graves and will meet the Lord in the air. Christians who have not yet died will be raptured of caught up with them, to be with the Lord. …For the sinner, however, the Rapture is anything but a blessed hope. To be left behind will involve indescribable suffering as God judges a rebellious and disobedient world…’
Brookes died in 1897 before the Sea Cliff Conferences. Yet, as according to Couch’s Dictionary of Premillennial Theology (1996), ‘Brookes argued against both a partial rapture theory and posttribulation. He refused to set dates for the Rapture and held to a strong doctrine of the Lord’s return and imminence…’ Brookes’ Bible Reading on The Second Coming of Christ (1877), speaks of the ‘Church age’ ending with the ‘translation of the risen and changed saints’ followed by ‘the short period of terrible judgments… when the Antichrist shall reign and Israel shall be taken up again…’
NORTHFIELD BIBLE CONFERENCES
The Northfield Bible Conferences, also called Moody’s Bible Conferences or Northfield Summer Conferences, overlapped most the years of the Niagara Bible Conferences. Rev. John Wilbur Chapman, famous world evangelist and author of The Life and Work of Dwight Lyman Moody (1900), wrote:
“…The Northfield Conferences began in 1880… with 300 visitors. Among those who came was a delegation from Great Britain. The first Conference continued for ten days. The spirit of the meeting was largely devotional; the doctrine of the Holy Spirit being largely dwelt upon… There was at that time no large auditorium …so a large tent was pitched. The culmination of the Conference was Pentecostal in its power. …In October, 1881, the second convocation began… Rev. Dr. Andrew Bonar, of Glasgow, Scotland, was the principal speaker, and among the others …were Dr. George F. Pentecost, Dr. A. J. Gordon, Dr. James H. Brookes, Dr. E. P. Goodwin, George C. Needham, and Major Whittle… The spirit of the second conference …was given more to doctrinal and practical study …in the afternoons the conference met in the Congregational Church of the village and occasionally in the open air. …After this (conference) Mr. Moody went to England…’
‘…August 1885, the third convocation was held. Mr. J. E. K. Studd of Cambridge University, England… John B. Gough… Dr. A. T. Pierson and Dr. A. J. Gordon… helped… Year after year, the Northfield Conferences have grown in interest and attendance. …The speakers have been drawn from the best… Sometime in the spring of 1886, with his customary foresight and intuition in regard to what might advance the Kingdom of Christ, Mr. Moody called to his side Mr. L. D. Wishard, then college secretary of the International Committee of the Young Men’s Christian Associations (YMCA) of the United States and Canada. As a result… Mr. Moody invited each of the College Young Men’s Christian Associations of the country to send a delegate to spend a month at Mt. Hermon in July… to study the Bible and methods of Christian work adapted to college students. This invitation was accepted by 250 students from about 90 different college associations.’
‘(Conference) …From 8 AM …informally for an hour for some phase of College Association work. At ten… listened to addresses… some time was given …to questions, and these were answered by Mr. Moody… A large number of students present… devoted their lives to the work of foreign missions…”
Concerning these Moody Bible Conferences, the New York Times wrote: “D. L. Moody’s Summer Bible Conferences will be held at Northfield, Mass., from Aug. 1 to 13, and will be of unusual interest. It will occupy the new auditorium …where 3,000 hearers can be accommodated… The lists of speakers and subjects have never been surpassed at Northfield. For the first time a program has been announced. One day of the following subjects: ‘The Bible,’ ‘Atonement,’ ‘Justification,’ ‘Repentance,’ ‘Faith,’ ‘Separation,’ and ‘Resurrection.’ Mr. Moody will …speak on ‘The Atonement,’ …Dr. James M. Gray ‘…Justification’ and ‘Repentance,’ Dr. A. J. Gordon ‘…Holy Spirit,’ and Dr. A. T. Pierson on ‘Prayer.’ Other subjects …by Dr. F. B. Meyer of London. Dr. David Gregg and Dr. A. C. Dixon of Brooklyn. Major D. W. Whittle and Rev. George C. Needham of Northfield and Professor W. W. White and the Rev. R. A. Torrey of Chicago Bible Institute… (New York Times; July 22, 1894).”
(missing picture of D. L. Moody preaching to thousands August 1895)
On August 12, 1895, the New York Times wrote: “Dwight L. Moody, the famous evangelist, has made a little town situated among the hills of Northwestern Massachusetts famous as a seat of religious learning. …Mr. Moody has planted a system of Christian education which stands unrivaled in any part of the world. …Here thousands of young men and women are given a thorough education… and here in the summer the conferences bring together a large number of devout Christian workers, young and old, eager to study at the feet of their magnet and consecrated leader…’
‘…It is not possible that Mr. Moody realized the proportions which his work would assume when he made his first venture. …Today (there are) …a dozen handsome and costly structures in Northfield. The Northfield Seminary of young women has a collegiate course of four years… The Mt. Hermon School prepares young men for college… The Northfield Training School, in a two years’ course, fits young women to go to home or foreign mission work… or Sunday School work …(there are) also courses in sewing, cooking, music… These schools are supported by an endowment society of sustaining members, in part by tuition fees, and in part by general contributions. …Hustling Chicago has been touched. Here has been established Moody’s Bible Institute. There are also… the Young Women’s College Conference, the World’s Student Christian Worker’s Conference, the Northfield Young Men’s Christian Association… and the General Christian Worker’s Conference… The 13th annual Bible Conference (1895) which is being conducted… has brought together upward of 1,500 people, representing all parts of the country. …All carry their Bibles…’
‘In the Auditorium …next to Mr. Moody, Mr. Sankey is the best –known person in attendance …due to his success of the singing. The speakers… Rev. Dr. R. A. Torrey, Superintendent of the Chicago Bible Institute… Rev. H. W. Weeb-Peploe …London …spoke on Rom. 12:1,2 …A voice from South Africa… the speaker Rev. Andrew Murray, a minister in the Reformed Church …for 49 years. Many other effective speakers (were) at the Conference. …For a place where the plain, unvarnished Gospel truth may be heard from the mouths of those who are the leaders in evangelical Christian work, Northfield ranks first… and thousands …visit Northfield every summer.”
What endorsements these were before tens of thousands of people, and upon these endorsements were those of the bible college students, pastors and professors throughout the Christian world who were influenced by this atmosphere, including the famous speakers, and their works and doctrines. And after a generation, the positions of many of the Northfield speakers were being adopted in much of Christendom. Thus their doctrines were soon being taught in bible colleges and most of evangelical Christianity.
CERTAIN SIGNIFICANT PEOPLE OF THIS CONFERENCE
Dwight Lyman Moody (1837 – 1899) was born in Northfield, Massachusetts. His father died when he was four. According to M. D. Landon’s Kings of the Platform and Pulpit (1893), “Through poverty and self-denial Dwight grew up… a sturdy, healthy, self-reliant boy. …At the age of 17, he left …for Boston …for employment (with) his uncle, Samuel Holton, a shoe merchant. …He soon became an attendant at the Congregational church. Through the direct personal effort of his teacher in the Sunday school, he was converted, and gave himself to the service of God. At the age of 20, Mr. Moody left Boston for Chicago… (to work) as a teacher in Sunday-school, as street solicitor for scholars, as mission worker among sailors, and visitor to prisons and hospitals… A little later he hired a vacant room… gathering around him crowds of abandoned men and women and unfortunate children, he preached the gospel to them and saved many souls. A much large room became necessary, and within a year the average attendance at his Sunday-school was 650. In 1860 he was made city missionary of the Young Men’s Christian Association. In 1861, he became active in …visitation and prayer meetings among the troops …near Chicago. …In 1862 he married Miss Emma C. Revell… In 1863 a large building was erected …for his congregation.”
James Bell, Jr. wrote in his book, The D. L. Moody Collection (1997), “…For years, he never expected to do more in the way of preaching than to give 5 or 10 minute addresses to his Sabbath-school children. …He received an invitation from Dr. Goodwin, pastor of the First Congregational Church of Chicago; to repeat one of these Bible readings …He next received an invitation …in the Third Presbyterian Church… Having decided to prepare an address on any topic… he took …large envelopes …and crowded extracts copied from sermons and commentaries …newspapers, original thoughts… (by topic).’
‘There are 3 books which he advised every Christian to procure: …Bible, Concordance; and a topical text-book. In 1867, (through $ 10,000 from) …Cyrus McCormick, a Y. M. C. A. building was dedicated. …Also in 1867, the doctor suggested a sea voyage for Mr. Moody who had a harassing cough. He has an earnest desire to hear and meet Spurgeon and Muller… At that time Moody was unknown in England, except to such friends …as F. J. Hartley, secretary of the London Sabbath-school Union, who invited him to speak at an anniversary meeting… He had an interview with Mr. Spurgeon, but failed to induce him to make a trip to America… He also went to Bristol … to George Muller’s great orphan schools… 1,150 children… He also visited Dublin, Ireland and met Harry Moorehouse…” who later came to America to speak with Moody on many occasions, and who greatly influenced Moody’s preaching.
According to Rev. J. Wilbur Chapman’s The Life and Work of Dwight Lyman Moody (1900), “…An International convention of the Young Men’s Christian Association was held …June, 1870. …Ira D. Sankey, who at that time was Assistant Collector of Revenue in …PA …had heard of Mr. Moody, but had never seen him… When Mr. Sankey entered, the singing was being led by a man who was dragging through a long metre hymn in the slow old-fashioned way. …The Rev. Robert McMillen, with whom he happened to be well acquainted, whispered to Mr. Sankey that nobody present seemed able to put any life into the singing, adding, ‘When that man who is praying gets through, I wish you would start up something.’ Without waiting for any further invitation, Mr. Sankey arose and sang with wonderful feeling: ‘There is a fountain filled with blood, Drawn from Immanuel’s veins, And sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains…’ The power and fervor of the singer’s voice was such that the congregation forgot to join in the chorus, and Mr. Sankey finished the hymn by himself. The effect of this song was not missed by Mr. Moody…” (From then on Sankey was with Moody, as Cliff Barrows was with Rev. Billy Graham.)
In 1870, Moody began a training school. In 1871, the great Chicago fire burned down most of their buildings and devastated much of Chicago. In June 1873, Moody and Sankey began evangelist tours in England, then Scotland and Ireland. Before arriving home October 1875, Chapman states, ‘…the evangelists …conducted 285 meetings …having addressed fully 2,500,000 persons.’ Upon visiting his mother in Northfield, he purchased land near his birthplace. In 1879, the Northfield Seminary for young women formally opened. In 1890, the Northfield Training School for women was opened. The first Women’s Conference was held in 1893. About that time Moody preached at Chicago World’s Fair. In 1895, The Bible Institute Colportage Association of Chicago opened. Camp Northfield for men opened in 1896. His last public appearance was in Kansas City, Missouri, in November 1899. December 22, 1899, Moody’s last words were “…God is very good… Life is very sweet to me… Earth recedes; heaven opens before me… It is beautiful… There is no valley here! God is calling me, and I must go! (After some words, he turned to his wife) Mamma, you have been a good wife to me! (some words and in and out of consciousness) This is terrible on you, Mamma… I’m sorry to distress you in this way. Brace yourself…” (Last recorded words; James Bell’s, D. L. Moody Collection)
Time-Life Books (1974), The Life History of the United States, Vol. 8: 1890 – 1901, records: “…Moody was a fervent believer in the literal truth of the Biblical message. …He became, beginning about 1875, the most successful evangelist seen up to that date. To thousands, packed into huge, gaslight arenas in New York, Brooklyn, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Richmond, St. Louis – all the rising new cities and many of the old ones – he preached short, pungent sermons, in a quick, crisp, New England accent… one reporter observed. In businesslike fashion, Moody told stories of wandering sheep… of gray-haired mothers and weather-beaten fathers …and always, at the end, of the return of the prodigal and parental forgiveness. And he illustrated his single point – that God, too, was a loving and forgiving Father… Along with Moody’s sermons went melting little songs, ‘Come Home, O Prodigal Child,’ etc, played on a small organ and tenderly sung by Ira D. Sankey… By such tactics, Moody did win multitudes for Christ. …Moody’s power of setting things in motion were also employed in the creation of schools and leadership conferences, and for them he could always raise funds from the business giants of his generation, because, as one donor put it, ‘he is one of us’.”
James H. Brookes may not have been able to make his opinions heard in the Niagara Creed, but by the time that the Northfield Conferences and Sea Cliff Conferences were in full swing, his pretribulation rapture theory, as he was taught by Darby, was not only growing in the hearts and minds of many about him, but was being heard and read by thousands beyond him. In 1877, Brookes made the theory well known in his Bible Reading on the Second Coming of Christ, stating:
“…Sixth, we must distinguish between the coming of the Lord for His people, and His coming with them. …Between the coming of the Lord and the appearing of the Lord, the later introducing the period so often mentioned in the Scripture as ‘the day of the Lord.’ The coming of the Lord is that aspect of the Second Advent which relates to the resurrection and rapture of the saints, …His appearing, followed by the day of the Lord, is that aspect of the second advent which relates to Israel and the unbelieving world. He comes for the saints, and after a brief interval of culminating wickedness, He appears with them, when He inflicts judgment upon the nations, and associates the Church with Himself in administering His kingdom and His reign over the earth.’
‘…Seventh, at His coming all who are united to Him by the Holy Ghost through faith having been caught up with risen believers to meet Him in the air, there immediately follows the judgment of the saints… Ninth, as the Antichrist will have special relations to God’s ancient people, the Jews… they will be restored to their own land… Tenth… (1) Christ is coming personally to awake the bodies of the saints …and to change …His people… He may be here before the passing hour ends… (2) In this coming the unbelieving world feels no interest and hence the shout of our descending Lord may not be heard by uncircumcised ears… (3) The Church of real believers having been caught away from the earth… Israel again comes upon the scene… (4) At the beginning of this closing period of seven years there will be a partial restoration of the Jews to their own land… when they will rebuild the Temple, and enter into covenant with Antichrist, the head of the restored Roman empire… (5) In the midst of the week… 3 ½ years, or 1,260 days, or 42 months… Antichrist will break his covenant with the Jews …and set up his own image in the Holy Place, slay the two witnesses… the devil will be cast …unto the earth and ‘then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world… (6) A remnant of the Jews… will turn to the Lord God… (7) …nations shall be gathered against Jerusalem …the Lord Jesus shall suddenly appear with His saints… raised from the dead and changed, and after the overthrow of Antichrist… He will establish His millennial kingdom on the earth…”
Rueben Archer Torrey (1856 – 1928) was born in New Jersey. He graduated from Yale University in 1875 and Yale Divinity School in 1878. In 1879 he married; and in 1882 Torrey went to Germany to study theology at Leipzig University and Erlangen University under Lutheran professors Franz Delitzsch (Keil & Delitzsch; Commentary on the O.T.) and Theodor Zahn (Zahn’s N. T. Commentary). Returned home in 1883, he declined a pastor position at a Brooklyn church in order to begin a church for the Congregationalists in Minneapolis. About 1889, after starting several churches, performing events and building up Sunday school classes in the hundreds, he attended the International Association of Christian Workers in Chicago, and was elected its president. Moody saw Torrey’s dedication and desire for evangelism and asked him to lead his Bible Institute of the Chicago Evangelistic Society; later called Moody Bible Institute.
Torrey, and his family, moved to Chicago, and by 1894, he became pastor of the Chicago Avenue Church (The Moody Church). In 1871, the church was destroyed in the great Chicago Fire, and was rebuilt to hold about 10,000 people (1876). Torrey served as the church’s pastor until 1906, when Baptist pastor Amzi C. Dixon took over and in 1908 renamed it The Moody Church. Currently Moody Church’s ‘Doctrinal Statement’ ‘Article 5’ states: ‘…Christ will return in the air preceding the seven-year Tribulation at which time He will receive into heaven all believers who constitute His church. During that tribulation period God will bring salvation to Israel and the nations while exercising judgment on unbelievers…’.
In 1898, Torrey served as a chaplain with the YMCA. After Moody’s death (1899), he became the president of the Bible Institute. In 1907, he received a Doctorate degree at Wheaton College. He left Moody Bible Institute to found Montrose Bible Conference (PA). In 1908, during the Azusa Street revival at Los Angeles, Lyman Stewart, co-founder of UNOCAL (merged into Chevron Oil – 2005), along with Rev. T. C. Horton, began the Bible Institute of Los Angles or BIOLA. William Blackstone served as the school’s first president; he wrote the widely published Jesus is Coming (1881) and the Blackstone Memorial (1891): a petition to President Benjamin Harrison; Alexander III, Czar of Russia; William II, emperor of Germany and other leaders, to restore Palestine (Nation of Israel) to the Jews. It was signed by 413 prominent leaders: William McKinley, Chief Justice Melville Fuller, John Rockefeller, J. P. Morgan, A.J. Gordon, A. T. Pierson, and numerous pastors, professors, and newspaper editors.
Just before Torrey’s acceptance to Biola, Mr. Stewart gave a grant of about $ 250,000 to the publication of The Fundamentals, a 10 volume set of sermons published from 1910 – 1917; edited by Torrey and A. C. Dixon. Over sixty ministers contributed to the interdenominational work, including Professor Charles R. Erdman of Princeton Theological Seminary; Rev. Henry Frost, Director in N. America for the China Inland Mission (founded by Hudson Taylor; OMF International); James M. Gray; Professor William G. Moorehead, Pres. of United Presbyterian Theological Seminary or Xenia Theo. Sem.; G. Campbell Morgan; Bishop John C. Ryle; A. T. Pierson; C. I. Scofield; Charles T. Studd; Charles Trumbull, Editor of the Sunday School Times; and of course Torrey and Dixon. Note that The Fundamentals did not teach a pretribulation rapture, but defended Protestant Christianity. They taught against Darwinism or Evolution; against sin and of the coming Judgment; and on evangelism. Of about 90 sermons, not one mentioned the word ‘rapture.’ Of Charles Erdman’s sermon on ‘The Coming of Christ,’ he did say that it shall be ‘…personal, glorious and imminent …visible, bodily, and manifested.’ And Erdman explained ‘imminent does not mean immediate,’ but soon or as Christ said, ‘quickly;’ after those things which must come first; the falling away and the Antichrist. In 1915, Torrey founded the evangelical interdenominational Church of the Open Door in downtown Los Angeles. From 1932 to 1948, Louis Talbot served as the pastor. From 1949 to 1970, J. Vernon McGee of Dallas Theological Seminary was pastor. He also chaired Biola’s Bible Department.
BIOLA grew and in 1911, Mr. Stewart asked Torrey to take over as dean; which he did until 1925. Within a decade, the school was graduating ministers, such as Donald Grey Barnhouse and Charles Fuller, who in 1947 with Harold Ockenga founded Fuller Theological Seminary. In 1981, Biola’s School of Theology changed its name to Talbot School of Theology.
Open Door’s statement of faith: ‘…We believe that prior to His second coming to earth; Christ will have raptured the Church. Between the Rapture and the Second Coming, there will be at least seven years during which God’s program will again center around Israel…’ Among his works, Torrey wrote Practical and Perplexing Questions Answered (1910; also called The Bible Answer Book), in which concerning the Antichrist he says, “…The Antichrist …will be a man …whom Satan will fill to such an extent that he will be Satan incarnate… The Antichrist will appear just prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ, and our Lord will consume him with the breath of His mouth…” Torrey writes concerning the “Second Coming of Jesus Christ… There is nothing more clearly taught in the Bible than that Jesus Christ is coming back to this earth personally, bodily, and visibly. …As far as I know, our Lord may return any day. There is no event predicted in Scripture that must occur before Jesus comes to receive His own to Himself, although it seems as if there are some events that must occur before He comes to the earth with His saints. As far as we know, He may come for us believers at any moment…”
|When quoting the Holy Scriptures, Torrey stayed on course; then, as he was taught or influenced by Darby, Brookes, Gray, Pierson, Dixon and Scofield; he strays into the land of ‘as far as we know.’ When Torrey says ‘we,’ he means ‘we’ at the Moody Institute, or Moody Church, or we at BIOLA, or the Sea Cliff conferences. Torrey admits that ‘it seems as if there are some events that must occur before He comes,’ but to save their pretribulation rapture doctrine, he says ‘no event predicted in Scripture must occur before Jesus come to receive His own…’ And though the Scriptures never speak of but one second coming of Christ, of which He spoke of many times specifically, and never even once in a thousand verses foretold of a pretribulation rapture, but did often speak of it as immediately after tribulation, many professors and a great multitude of preachers continue to say the Lord could return ‘any moment.’ Is it because ‘Paul …has written …some things hard to be understood (2Pet. 3:16);’ or is it because they do not care to ‘search the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things’ are so (Acts 17:11)? Torrey did write many good works, and did many great things for Christ’ name sake, however, he was instrumental in influencing institutions towards Darby’s ‘any moment rapture.’|
- C. Dixon lectured at many Moody Bible Conferences, where he became a friend and associate of Torrey and influenced by Scofield. In 1906 Dixon took over Torrey’s position as pastor of Moody’s Chicago Avenue Church. In 1909, George B. Foster, of Chicago University Divinity School gave lectures and wrote The Function of Religion in Man’s Struggle for Existence in which the Baptist minister and professor stated that ‘the word of God was a symbol… and a personal God has symbolic validity only.’ After this, Foster was dismissed from the Baptist Minister’s Conference. In a lecture in Chicago, Dixon, who often opposed Unitarianism, Christian Science, evolution, and agonistic philosophies, spoke against Foster and apostasy, and he was heard by Lyman Stewart, the oilman and co-founder of BIOLA. After the speech, Stewart funded Dixon (and Torrey) to edit the 10 volumes of The Fundamentals. Stewart and his brother provided enough finances for ‘free distribution to every pastor, missionary, theological professor and student …YMCA secretary, college professor, Sunday School superintendent and religious editor in the English-speaking world…’
Dixon became even more well-known after receiving the pastor position at Charles Spurgeon’s Metropolitan Tabernacle in 1911 after the death of A. T. Pierson. Dixon, the only American full-time pastor of that London Tabernacle, also became editor of Spurgeon’s Sword and the Trowel monthly magazine. In 1920, a year after leaving that post, Dixon, along with John Straton, formed the National Federation of Fundamentalist which was not well received by many liberal Baptist ministers in the North. Though at first, most Baptist fundamentalists did not believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, though the movements of those like Scofield, Torrey and Dixon, and all of their students – who became pastors and professors – and followers, soon the doctrine became a mainstay in their colleges.
Amzi Clarence Dixon (1854 – 1925) was born to a Baptist minister from North Carolina. Dixon graduated from Wake Forest in 1875 and was ordained 1876. After being pastor at two churches, he entered Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where one of his professors was John Broadus (one of the Seminary’s founders). After these studies, he pastored for 23 years at 3 churches before becoming pastor of The Moody Church (1906 – 1911), and then Spurgeon’s Metropolitan Tabernacle in London (1911 – 1919).
George Carter Needham (1845 – 1902) was an Irish evangelist who came to America in 1868, and became a co-worker with D. L. Moody. A November 16, 1865 New York Times article reported that “…Needham …assisted by E. Avis, Gospel singer …opened a week’s revival at Masonic Temple. …The point of his remarks was that God is a God of love and not of fear; that we are not to give to Him, but that He will give to us. All we have to do is to accept the salvation which He offers us. Mr. Sankey entertained the congregation…”
Needham, who attended many Niagara Conferences, said, “…By no means advertise me as being sensational, or magnetic, or eloquent, or scholarly, or smart, or any such thing, but only a plain man, telling a plain story, in a plain manner.” Upon his death, the New York Times (February 17, 1902) wrote:
“…Well-known evangelist and writer died suddenly of neuralgia of the heart… Needham was born in the south of Ireland 56 years ago. At ten years of age he was sent to sea on board an English ship bound for South America. …They beat him, tied him to the mast, and tattooed his body… He was found by a band of cannibal Indians, who… prepared to make a feast… but he was saved at the last moment by the superstition of the Indians who discovered the …tattoo marks. He returned to civilization and …at 20 years of age became an evangelist. He preached throughout England and Ireland until 1868, when he came to Boston, bearing letters of introduction from Mr. Spurgeon. …He formed a close friendship for D. L. Moody and much of his work here was done in co-operation with Moody and Sankey. …When Mr. Moody died Mr. Needham was looked upon as the available man to carry on his work…”
Northfield’s Record of Christian Work (1902) states, “Needham was a native of Ireland, coming to America in 1868, when he was only 22… His gifts as a speaker, and his knowledge of the Bible, at once placed him among the prominent evangelists of the day and made him a most acceptable speaker at Bible conferences… The ‘Believers’ Meeting’ …that developed into the Niagara Conference, was instituted largely through Mr. Needham’s efforts, and for more than 20 years was the occasion of the gathering of many Bible scholars like …C. Erdman, N. West, C. I. Scofield, J. Brookes and Major D. Whittle.”
In 1896, G. Campbell Morgan (1863 – 1945) of England came to lecture to the students at the Institute following a personal invitation from Moody. He made over 50 trips. After Moody’s death in 1899, Morgan became the Director of the Northfield Bible Conference. In 1904, he returned to London to pastor the Westminster Chapel. He would remind the students that ‘to be filled with the Spirit is to be an instrument for the manifestation of God to the sons of men… to live the life of love and service, in word and in work… to share the suffering that saves…’ Morgan spoke on the ‘Great Commandments;’ on ‘Grace and Law;’ on ‘Righteousness or Revenue;’ of ‘The Perils of Procrastination;’ on ‘Winning Souls;’ on ‘Sanctification;’ on ‘The Responsibilities of Salvation’ in which he taught on ‘right relationship with God;’ and on ‘Christian Citizenship’ in which he reminds us Christ said, ‘If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself …and follow Me;’ upon which Morgan says, ‘that is the central fact of Christian experience, denial of self.’
In ‘The Training of Our Children (about 100 years ago),’ Morgan said, “…You who have charge of children in the Sabbath school, or Day school; to all such as are privileged to touch child life, and to be in any way responsible for it… training involves an ideal. There can be no training save to some goal. A result must be desired… We are living in an age, brethren, when I am afraid in the Christian Church …that the ideals for our boys is that they shall be educated, gain a position for themselves, and to use the phrase …upon the lips, even of Christian people, ‘get on in the world.’ Too often for our girls we have the ideal that they shall be also educated, and refined, and accomplished, and presently, again to use a phrase… ‘get settled.’ Well, brethren, these as ideals are anti-Christian and pagan. I am not undervaluing education. It is the duty of every man to give to every child he has the best education that he possibly can. …Let every lad be ambitious to be the best carpenter, the best doctor, the best lawyer… Let our girls …be educated and cultured and refined, but if these are the ultimate, then in what are we removed from pagans? This is not the ideal with which we must start in the training of the child. What then? …Let me take one of a hundred. That the child shall realize Jesus Christ’s estimate of greatness… that a man is great in proportion as his character is what it ought to be. That the boy may be a Godly man, that the girl man be one of the King’s daughters all glorious within, that first. Simply to take your boy, my Christian brother, and desire that he shall be a successful merchant and businessman and make money, I am not sure that it would not be kinder for you to shut your from door upon him… To take your daughter, Christian father and mother, and simply desire that she shall shine in human society, with never a thought in your mind of how she appears in the palaces of the King, is cruel… The training of a child involves personal discipline… If you neglect prayer, and if the family altar is a thing you can lightly lay aside, your boy will never erect it in his home… Dear teachers, remember it. God bless you…”
In Morgan’s ‘The Grace of Giving’ sermon, he said, “…Some five or six years ago, in a Northfield Conference, Mr. John Willis Baer …Secretary for Christian Endeavour for the World, was conducting a question box. ‘…How shall we raise money for Foreign Missions?’ His answer was as quick as the crack of a pistol, and as forceful: ‘Don’t raise it, give it…’.”
In his Westminster Pulpit’s sermon, ‘Tribulation, Kingdom and Patience,’ Morgan preached, “…‘We are pressed on every side…’ and that is the same word, tribulation – ‘yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not unto despair; pursued, yet not forsaken; smitten down, yet not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body (2 Cor. 4:8-10).’ And again, ‘…in everything… as ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions …in stripes, in imprisonments… labors… fastings… longsuffering… in the Holy Ghost… (2 Cor. 6:5, 6).’ The Church always overcomes the world. In the case of every individual martyr, the victory is with the man slain and not with the men who slay him. In every hour of persecution it is the church that is victorious… following in the pathway of her Lord and Master… Paul writes: ‘Let us also rejoice in our tribulations…’ These are the dark days for the church of God. …World conflict …opposition of the world to the church… Are we in tribulation? …It may be we shall hear behind us the voice of a trumpet, and being turned to look, we also shall see the Son of Man… The thing He will say to us amid the carnage and the darkness is this: ‘…I was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore’.”
Perhaps it was for this reason Morgan left the Northfield campus after Moody’s death; he would not join Torrey and Scofield in their pretribulation rapture doctrine. In his sermon ‘The Purpose of the Advent:’ “…He was manifested …that He might be able to come again. ‘…Christ shall appear a second time… (Heb. 9:28).’ I find a great many Christian people who yet seem not to be perfectly sure of a second personal Advent of the same Jesus. …I repeat …with no desire to offend or hurt the convictions of any, that you cannot take your New Testament and read it simply and honestly without coming to the conclusion that the Christ who came is still to come. There may be diversities of interpretations as to how He will come and when He will come. …We may part company as to whether He will come to usher in a millennium or to crown it. I think it is important, but I am not careful now to argue it…”
Arthur Tappan Pierson (1837 – 1911) graduated at Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1869. He was a Presbyterian pastor and leader of the fundamentalist movement with Torrey, Dixon and others; who if alive today would be crying and fighting against the 2008 appointment of Union’s ‘gay-rights in the pulpit’ president Serene Jones. Pierson preached over 13,000 sermons and wrote more than 50 books, including Our Lord’s Second Coming (1896), in which he taught Darby’s ‘any moment’ rapture doctrine. Moreover, he was an editor for the Scofield Reference Bible (1909).
His friendships with George Muller (Brethren), C. H. Spurgeon (Baptist), and Hudson Taylor (who Pierson spoke with at certain Keswick ‘Higher Life’ Conferences; in England, beginning 1875), lead him often to England and kept him Mission’s minded. He was greatly involved in the student missionary movement. He was editor of The Missionary Review of the World. In 1881, based on Matthew 24:14 and 2 Peter 3:12, he began to teach that the coming of the Kingdom could be hastened by aggressive evangelism. In 1886 Pierson was a key speaker at the Mount Hermon Conference, where 100 young men answered the call to serve on the mission field.
He co-founded the Student Volunteer Movement, which by 1911 sent out 5,000 volunteers as foreign missionaries. He influenced many, such as Samuel Zwemer, founder of the American Arabian Mission, and John R. Mott, Chairman of the Student Volunteer Movement (1915 – 1928) and President of the World’s Alliance of YMCA’s (1926-1947).’
Pierson lectured at many colleges, including the Moody Bible Institute, Rutgers and Union. After Spurgeon’s death in 1891, Pierson took his place at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. In 1896, he became a Baptist. He wrote articles for The Fundamentals; including ‘The Proof of the Living God, as Found in the Prayer Life of George Muller;’ and ‘Our Lord’s Teachings about Money,’ in which he said, “…The basis of Christ’s teaching about money is the fundamental conception of stewardship. (Luke 12:42; 16:1-8) Not only money, but every gift of God, is received in trust for His use. Man is not an owner, but a trustee, managing another’s goods and estates, God being the one original and inalienable Owner of all. The two things required of stewards are that they be ‘faithful and wise…’.”
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SEA CLIFF BIBLE CONFERENCES
In the book Three Views on the Rapture: Pre-, Mid-, or Post-Tribulation, by Archer, Feinberg, Gundry, Moo, and Reiter (1984), it records: “…Some wealthy Plymouth Brethren enabled Gaebelein, Scofield and other Pretribulationists to start the Sea Cliff Bible Conference in Long Island in 1901. They reported, ‘We know that many of our readers who used to attend the Bible Conferences years ago at Niagara on the Lake will be very much interested in this move.’ Gaebelein turned all his efforts ‘to the most important and vital doctrine …in the New Testament, the imminency of the coming of the Lord…’ Of course Posttribulationalists were not invited to address the Sea Cliff meetings… Although Gaebelein alleged he was carrying on the original legacy of Niagara, I (Reiter) hesitate to accept his claim for two reasons. First, Sea Cliff was exclusively pretribulational and dispensationalist whereas Niagara was more broadly premillennial. Second, due to Gaebelein’s conviction on apostate churches, Sea Cliff emphasized nondenominational connections in contrast to the interdenominational fellowship promoted by Niagara.’
‘The other major pretribulationist leader, Scofield, maintained ministry ties with most of Niagara premillenarians… Three of the seven original consulting editors of the Scofield Reference Bible (1909) held to Posttribulationism: William J. Erdman, W. G. Moorehead, and Henry G. Weston. …Of course only the pretribulation view appeared in the notes, for Scofield, and the other editors (including Gaebelein) held it…’
‘Pretribulational dispensationalism advanced during this era because Gaebelein, Scofield, James M. Gray at Moody Bible Institute, Ruben A. Torrey at Bible Institute of Los Angeles, Harry A. Ironside at Moody Memorial Church, and Lewis Sperry Chafer at Evangelical Theological College (Dallas Theological Seminary) popularized its doctrines widely. The pretribulation rapture became the standard position of most Bible conferences and Bible Institutes. Of greater influence the eschatology of dispensationalism even while making its primary contribution as a popular defense of evangelicalism, when all else seemed to be falling before the flood of twentieth-century modernism. As a result, soon the badge of North American evangelicalism was the Scofield Bible.”
CERTAIN SIGNIFICANT PEOPLE OF THIS CONFERENCE
New York Times, July 9, 1911, reported, ‘the twelfth annual Bible Conference, which brings many visitors to this place, opened last Saturday in the tent …and will conclude on Sunday. Three meetings have been held daily, and among the speakers were F. C. Ottman… S. W. Farr… G. L. Aldrich… F. C. Jennings… J. H. Burrige of England, and A. C. Gaebelein of New York.’
Cyrus Ingersoll Scofield (1843 – 1921) was about 17 when he enlisted in the 7th Tennessee Infantry of the Confederate States Army. A year after the Civil War he went to Missouri to work at his brother-in-law’s law office. By 1869, Scofield was admitted to the Kansas bar and by 1871 he was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives. In 1873 he was appointed as a Kansas District Attorney. Shortly afterwards he was forced to resign for extortion and was jailed on forgery charges.
In 1879 Scofield was converted by Thomas McPhettes, a member of James Brookes’ Walnut St. Presbyterian Church; soon after he volunteered as an assistant at a D. L. Moody campaign in St. Louis. About a year later, in 1880, Scofield became licensed to preach. About that time he was secretary of the St. Louis YMCA. In 1881 he was pastor at Hyde Park Congregational Church in St. Louis, Missouri. Reports very, but between 1877 and 1881, his wife, Leotine C. Scofield filed to divorce him allegedly for alcoholism and abandonment of her and their two daughters. In 1882 Scofield accepted the pastorate at a mission church in Dallas, Texas – now called Scofield Memorial Church. In 1883, three months after the divorce, Scofield married Hettie van Wark.
Scofield Memorial Church (Scofield.org from 2010): “In 1882, the struggling church had an attendance of less than 20 people, and they called to the ministry a lawyer who was in his early 40’s and had never been a pastor before. Cyrus Ingersoll Scofield came to the church on probation, for he had no experience and no formal training in theology. He was not ordained, but he was an intense student of the Bible, devouring everything his pastor, James Brookes, had taught him. …All of his ministry experience came from working in the YMCA as a volunteer, and his pre-conversion life was rather scandalous. No one could have anticipated the impact he was going to have on this small church and also on evangelicalism around the world. The church …was not a dispensational church. In fact, very few churches or schools were – none of the seminaries or Bible colleges that are now dispensational had been started. …Bible teachers and pastors began to rethink their assumptions about the Bible’s prophetic teachings as they were influenced by a system of theology that had come from England through the Brethren movement and the teachings of John Darby. C. I. Scofield had been strongly influenced by the teachings of Darby through his mentor, James Brookes, a Presbyterian pastor from St. Louis. Most of the new dispensational Bible teachers like Brookes and Scofield did not consider dispensationalism to be a doctrinal departure from what the church had already believed… During the late 1880’s Pastor Scofield began attending the Niagara Bible Conferences, where he was well received by such giants as D. L. Moody, Dr. Nathaniel West, Dr. W. J. Erdmans, Arno C. Gaebelein, R. A. Torrey, and James Gray. Soon he was one of the featured speakers at this conference, and began a national ministry of preaching, teaching, and writing. …By the time C. I. Scofield left in 1895, 814 people had been accepted into the church… the church attendance at that time was over 400 (1890), and two satellite mission churches were in operation. C. I. Scofield served on the missions program for the Congregational denomination, and the territory he served covered Louisiana and Texas. He considered becoming the mission coordinator… but turned down that offer to pastor at D. L. Moody’s home church in Northfield, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston…”
In Patricia Wilhite-McCartney’s book Lawyers with Legacies (2007), which was endorsed by Rev. Jerry Falwell, she writes, ‘…By 1887, Scofield was in demand as a speaker, first nationally, then internationally. The following year he published Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, which became a phenomenal success as a thesis about a doctrinal approach of biblical interpretation…’ According to Mal Couch’s Premillennial Theology (1996), “…In 1890, (Scofield) founded the Central American Mission, having been inspired by J. Hudson Taylor the previous year at the Niagara Bible Conference. …In 1895, Scofield accepted an invitation from D. L. Moody, who had a second campaign in Dallas that year, to the Trinitarian Congregational Church of Northfield, Massachusetts… In addition to pastoral duties, Scofield presided over the Northfield Bible Training School, where he served as president from 1900 – 1903, which Moody had established in 1890 and regularly attended the major Bible conferences. He witnessed the growing rift in the grand Niagara Bible Conference as the premillenarian assembly became divided over pre- and Posttribulationalism. …As a result, A. C. Gaebelein, Scofield, John T. Pirie and Aiwyn Ball established the Sea Cliff Bible Conference on Long Island. At the conference in 1902, the idea of editing a reference Bible was first discussed, according to Gaebelein… with Pirie’s financial support. …He apparently finished the initial draft …in Switzerland, in 1907, and edited them at his summer house in New Hampshire and in New York City in 1908. The Bible was published by Oxford University Press in 1909 and …revised in 1917. …In 1923, the church (in Dallas) was named …the Scofield Memorial Church during Chafer’s pastorate. After the publication of the Reference Bible …Scofield became evermore popular in the evangelical world. From his residence near New York City, he established the New York School of the Bible. …In 1914, Scofield, with William Pettingill and Chafer, established the Philadelphia School of the Bible; Scofield served as its president… (while) writing extensively for Charles Trumbull’s Sunday School Times…”
Compared to most study bibles, the Scofield Reference Bible offers less commentary. In the commentary of his Reference Bible, on Daniel, Scofield states, ‘…Daniel sees a ‘little horn’ rise up and subdue three of the ten kings (7:24-26). His distinguishing mark is hatred of God and of the saints. He is not to be confounded with the ‘little horn’ of Daniel 8 – a prophecy fulfilled in Antiochus Epiphanes… this passage is confessedly the most difficult in prophecy…’ Scofield twists Daniel’s visions to fit his dispensationalism and makes himself both a preterist and futurist. Scofield admits that the ‘little horn’ Antichrist shall ‘rise up’ hate and persecute ‘the saints.’ In Matthew 24, he assigns the ‘great tribulation …which runs its awful course of three and a half years, culminating in the battle of Rev. 19:19-21 …to believing Jews who will then be in Jerusalem…’ He states ‘Luke 21:20-24; the passage refers in express terms to a destruction of Jerusalem which was fulfilled by Titus, A. D. 70…’ In Matthew 25:32, he says, ‘This judgment is to be distinguished from the judgment of the great white throne…’ And in 1 Thes. 4:17, though he does not use Darby’s word ‘rapture,’ yet he writes, ‘Not church saints only, but all bodies of the saved, of whatever dispensation, are included in the first resurrection… the ‘blessed hope’ of the Church…’ And again in Rev. 7:14, he says, ‘great tribulation will be, a period of salvation …out of Israel is seen…”
James Martin Gray (1851 – 1935) was the third president of Moody Bible Institute. He was raised in the Episcopal Church. In 1875, Gray’s wife died while giving birth to their fifth child; the child also did not survive. In 1877, he was ordained and soon became pastor of the Church of Redemption in Brooklyn, New York. Two years later (1879), he was called to be rector of the First Reformed Episcopal Church in Boston.
In 1889 A. J. Gordon had founded the Boston Missionary Training School in the basement of his Clarendon Street Church. It later became Gordon College, which did merge to become Gordon-Conwell. Gray remarried and in 1892, moved to Philadelphia where he taught at the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Episcopal Church (founded 1887). He became acquainted with D. L. Moody through A. J. Gordon. About 1893, Gray attended a Northfield Bible Conference; then was invited to lecture at Moody’s Bible Institute. In 1904, Gray was chosen to be the ‘dean’ of the Institute. He continued as the dean (‘president’– 1925) until his death in 1935. Gray co-edited the Scofield Reference Bible.
Gray wrote ‘A Textbook on Prophecy;’ and ‘Prophecy and the Lord’s Return (1917),’ saying, “There is a coming of Christ for His saints, and a coming with His saints. It is the coming of Christ for His saints that is the hope of the Church, and for which the faithful are always looking. There is nothing to intervene before He comes. He may come today, or within our generation, when the Church will be caught up to meet Him in the air…” In Gray’s Christian Worker’s Commentary (1915) he, as Scofield, applies Luke 21 to the time of Titus, stating ‘…The references in Matthew and Mark unlike this in Luke, are to this last siege (Rev. 19) and not to the earlier one…’ And, Gray assigns only the Jews and unbelievers to the great tribulation, saying ‘…the true Church is not upon the earth at …Rev. 4:1, but the translation of 1 Thes. 4:17 has taken place…’
Arno C. Gaebelein (1861 – 1945), according to Timothy Demy’s article on ‘Arno Gaebelein’ at Pre-Trib.org: “Gaebelein immigrated to the United States (from Germany) in 1879 to avoid compulsory military service and to experience the adventure of travel. …In 1881 became an assistant to the pastor… in New York City. In 1881 he became a supply preacher in …Connecticut, and in 1882 he was assigned to a congregation in Baltimore. Although he had no college or seminary training, Gaebelein was a devout student …and mastered Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac and Arabic. …(He came to) New Jersey in 1887, where Samuel Goldstein …encouraged him to look to evangelistic opportunities among local Jewish immigrants. …In 1893 he began publication …The Hope of Israel Monthly (Hebrew). …In 1894 …(co-published) Our Hope …in English and German. …It provided conservative Christians world-wide information sympathetic to Zionism, Jewish affairs, and prophetic studies. …Through contacts …Brookes …Gray …Scofield, Gaebelein began to write and speak extensively on prophecy…”
In 1914, after World War I began (for America – 1917), Gaebelein published Current Events in the Light of the Bible. He said the Russians would ‘finish the Ottoman Empire.’ The Ottoman Empire fell, but Turkey did not suffer the predictions of Gaebelein. He spoke of Japan’s growing strength, even of a ‘gigantic steel plant at Tokyo …equipped to manufacture guns of all sizes and …armor plate.’ He spoke of how ‘Germany’s national debt …in 33 years swelled …from 20 million to 1 billion …and its inhabitants …from 41 million in 1871 to …64 million in 1910.’
Gaebelein told of ‘the trend toward a single World Government… (and that) propositions have been made to establish somewhere a great world-center and to have the nations governed through a central government…’ He spoke of ‘aero planes for the coming wars…’ and reported on the numbers in various countries. He spoke of ‘religious apostasy’ and even how a pastor and professor of Victoria College in Toronto ‘denied …the accounts given in Genesis concerning the Creation, the Fall, and the Deluge… (and taught them) as legends…’ [i also interviewed a rabbi who because he drank so from a Book of Legends or ‘Sefer Ha-Aggadah: Legends from the Talmud and Midrash’ that he came to believe all biblical records before Abraham were legend.]
Gaebelein spoke against the ‘downward drifting’ of YMCA’s; against Mormonism and the Christian Science Church; he told of a Mosque built in London and of Buddhism spreading in England and Italy. He spoke of America’s ‘great wealth and luxuries’ equaling ‘the influence of wealth in Imperial Rome’ which led to its destruction and was a ‘forerunner of judgment.’ He also spoke of ‘the limit of Earth’s Resources,’ saying according to ‘English Scientist …at the British Assoc. for the Advancement of Science …estimate within a century, the resources of the world will be taxed to their full capacity.’ [Note: These same estimates and theories lead to the 1972 book, Limits to Growth which was put forth by the Club of Rome – and welcomed by some at Bilderberg Conferences] In 1922, he published The Annotated Bible, a nine-volume commentary. In 1937, he sailed to Germany to witness Nazi persecution against Jews. Before his death in 1945, he documented accounts of Nazi slaughtering of the Jews.
Gaebelein wrote in Gospel of Matthew: An Exposition, Vol. II (1907), “…Revelation vii we read of a countless multitude out of all nations, who have come out of the great tribulation and who stand before the throne of God. This multitude is not the church, because the church does not come ‘out of the great tribulation,’ nor do the church saints stand before the throne, but they are seated upon thrones in the presence of the throne of God… (Matt. 24) …We have learned that the events predicted by our Lord up to the 14th verse fall into the beginning of the ending of the Jewish age, the 7 prophetic years; with the 15th verse we reach the middle of this period, 3 ½ years are passed…”
Gaebelein edited for Scofield and worked with Ironside on certain books; and supported Chafer, Torrey and Scofield’s dispensationalism. In Professor Larry Pettegrew’s article, ‘Dispensationalists and Spirit Baptism’ (The Master’s Seminary Journal, Spring 1997) he states: “…The classic period of dispensationalism extended from about 1830 to about 1955. Most credit John Nelson Darby and the British Brethren for initiating dispensationalism in Britain, but in America, James Brookes and the Niagara Bible Conference (1875 – 1900), C. I. Scofield and his Reference Bible (1909, 1917), and Lewis Sperry Chafer’s Systematic Theology (1948) are key representatives of this era…”
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POST WORLD WAR I
World War I unsurprisingly served as another pivot point not only in world history, but in American religious history. First, it brought about greater industrialization in every sector: military, agriculture, construction, banks, railroads, highways and in goods and services. Better weapons, farm and construction equipment, railways and roads, as well as skyscrapers all helped build up America, as well as allow businesses or ‘the merchants of the earth’ to satisfied the needs and lusts of society; at the same time industrialization built up the coffers of a few elite millionaires, some of whose children became billionaires. Second, the War caused every major nation to pursue better defenses, of which, now, they can destroy not only the estimated 19,240 people that died during the worst day of War World I, but in a day they can kill the entire population that was in the world during WWI. Third, the War amplified prophecies and the message of our soon returning Lord.
Along with these great changes came a new international League of Nations which was established at the end of the War by the Treaty of Versailles (58 member nations by 1935). These factors, in conjunction with new evangelical bible colleges and the growing status of Moody’s associates, would prepare the way for the formation of new denominations, as well as for the relatively new pre-tribulation rapture theory.
Now Moody did receive many of Darby and Brookes’ teaching, but the message of salvation through Christ was his main focus. After the death of D. L. Moody in 1899, men such as Torrey, Scofield and Gray gained recognition and were able to advance their ideas. After the deaths of Torrey (1928), Scofield (1921), and Gray (1935), Lewis Chafer, Harry Ironside and John Walvoord would takes the reigns and strive to make Darby and Scofield’s ‘classical dispensationalism’ the mainstay of modern eschatology. Additionally, by this time, the goal to restore Israel to its nation status was in full force. Through the efforts of all those that worked from the time of the London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews (1809) in the beginning of the nineteenth century up to the time of Blackstone’s Memorial or petition in 1891, their push for a Jewish nation in Palestine would soon be realized. By the time World War I was concluded, Jews would begin to have land they could call their own.
One of the most significant means of ensuring the existence of doctrines and goals of men is for them to form new organizations. By this approach, not only do ministers preserved their local mission, but through missionaries, seminaries, new church locations and various sources of media, their doctrines are spread and their goals can be met.
Denominations and movements that formed since the Niagara Bible Conferences included: The Church of God in Christ, 1897 (C. P. Jones and C. H. Mason of Mississippi); the Pentecostal Holiness Church, 1898 (A. B. Crumpler of North Carolina); The Church of God (N.C.), 1902; The Church of God (Tenn.), 1906; Azusa St. Revival, 1906 (William Seymour in California); Fire-Baptized Holiness Church, 1908; Pentecostal movements in Europe and South America, 1909; The Assemblies of God, 1914 (E. N. Bell of Arkansas); Foursquare Gospel Church, 1927 (Aimee Semple McPherson); and a myriad of ministries that followed these, such as the ministries of Charles Fox Parham (influenced William Seymour), Kathryn Kuhlman (brother-in-law was a graduate of Moody Bible Institute; Kuhlman influenced many like Benny Hinn), and William Branham (influenced Oral Roberts and F. F. Bosworth) were launched from these movements.
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Several denominations were affected by the Azusa St. Revival. In 1906 G. B. Cashwell of North Carolina went to the Revival in Los Angeles and influenced H. G. Rodgers and M. M. Pinson of Alabama. In 1907, after the former Methodists Rodgers and Pinson were converted, in turn they taught A. J. Tomlinson of the Church of God in Cleveland who likewise became ‘Pentecostal.’ Rodgers and Pinson afterwards formed a Pentecostal Association in Mississippi. In December of 1913, Pinson who was editor of the Word and Witness, issued a call for Holiness and Pentecostal leaders to come together; the heading read: ‘GENERAL CONVENTION OF PENTECOSTAL SAINTS AND CHURCHES OF GOD IN CHRIST – HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS – APRIL 2 to 12, 1914.’
According to the Encyclopedia of Religion in the South (Hill, Lippy & Wilson; 2005), “…In the summer of 1913 leaders from Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama met at an Interstate Camp Meeting in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Little is known of their activities, but in December, Word and Witness, an influential newspaper published in Malvern, AK, issued a call for a ‘General Convention of Pentecostal Saints’ to meet at the Grand Opera House nearby Hot Springs, April 2 – 12, 1914, in order to form a more orderly basis for fellowship. Hot Springs was chosen for several reasons. Railroads offered off-season fares… the old Opera House, leased by Pentecostals …(provided room for the) convention. Most important, the pastor of the Pentecostal following in Hot Springs was Howard A. Goss, who more than anyone, had tirelessly campaigned for a union of like-minded believers. The convention attracted 320 delegates and partisans from 20 states, but Hot Springs seems hardly to have noticed: the local newspaper’s only comment was the ‘Saints’ had gathered in the city. The infant denomination (the Assemblies of God) did not linger. Its headquarters were soon moved to Findlay, OH, then to St. Louis, MO, and then permanently established in Springfield, MO in 1918…”
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THE MOODY CHURCH
The Chicago Avenue Church was rebuilt in 1876 after the great Chicago fire; its new capacity was 10,000 people. Among the pastors that followed H. J. Harwood were: William J. Erdman, George Needham, Thomas Hyde, Reuben Torrey, and James Gray. In 1908, the name was changed to The Moody Church. Dixon pastored until 1911. Pastor John Harper who had been offered the position, died when the Titanic sunk in 1912. In 1930 Harry Ironside became pastor and served until 1948.
Harry Allen Ironside (1876–1951) was a chief dispensationalist of that time. Next to Billy Sunday (whose funeral he preached in 1935) Ironside was likely the most known preacher between World War I and World War II. He has been called ‘the archbishop of Fundamentalism.’ In his work Eternal Security of the Believer (1934), he taught: “…When we speak of eternal security of the believer, what do we mean? We mean once a poor sinner has been regenerated by the Word and the Spirit of God, once he has received a new life and a new nature and has been made partaker of the divine nature, once he has been justified from every charge before the throne of God, it is absolutely impossible that than man should ever again be a lost soul.” These teachings would influence many Baptist ministers at Dallas Theological Seminary, as well as others such as Charles Stanley, who taught in the same manner in his sermons and wrote likewise in his book ‘Eternal Security (1990).’ This erroneous doctrine offers atonement for all future sins and ignores many Scriptures such as: Heb. 3:12; 10:26; John 15:10; 1 Cor. 6:9; Gal. 5:17-21; Eph. 5:1-7; Rev. 3:5; etc.
As a teen, Ironside had seen Moody campaigns. In 1896, he became involved with the Plymouth Brethren. In 1914, he founded the Western Book and Tract Company. From World War I to the time Ironside became pastor at The Moody Church, he had preached over 7,000 sermons to an estimated 1.2 million people. In 1924, he became associated with the Moody Bible Institute; and in 1926 he was offered a full-time faculty position at Dallas Theological Seminary. He declined to remain pastor of The Moody Church, but did often lecture at the Seminary from 1925 until the middle of World War II. Among his other works were: Lectures on Daniel the Prophet (1920) and Not Wrath but Rapture, in which he continued Torrey and Scofield’s pretribulation rapture teaching.
DALLAS THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
In 1924 the Evangelical Theological College was established. Lewis Sperry Chafer was chosen as its first president. According to DTS.edu: “In a letter written to A. C. Gaebelein on September 30, 1924, Chafer described this first class as having ‘been selected from more than a hundred with whom we have had correspondence. But we have not cared to take everyone who thought he would like to attend. This is a fine group of well-selected men…’ ‘From its founding, the Seminary was influenced by Gaebelein and Ironside, and thus likewise directly from Torrey and Scofield, and indirectly from Darby. In 1931 the College had ‘14 international students from 8 countries’.” In 1936, due to the word ‘College’ being associated with an undergraduate institution, the name was changed to Dallas Theological Seminary and Graduate School of Theology. In 1969 the name was shortened to Dallas Theological Seminary.
Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871–1952) was president of Dallas Theological Seminary until his death. His father was a Congregational pastor. In 1889, he was an interim pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Lewiston, NY; and then an assistant pastor at the First Congregational Church of Buffalo. In 1901, his family moved to Northfield, MA, home of the Moody Bible Institute. During certain Northfield Conferences his wife played the organ while Chafer worked their farm and served in various evangelist roles. He occasionally worked with Gaebelein and Gray, as well as G. Campbell Morgan, F. B. Meyer, William H. Thomas and Alexander B. Winchester, who encouraged him to start a Bible College. In 1909, he served as president of the Southland Bible Conference in Florida.
After moving to Northfield, Chafer began to work with Scofield, who became his mentor. From 1906 to 1910, Chafer taught Bible and Music at Moody’s Northfield Mount Hermon School, where high school boys and girls were being prepared for college. In 1906 he left the Congregational denomination. In 1909 he authored Satan, in which Scofield wrote the foreword. In 1922, after Scofield’s death, Chafer moved to Dallas and became pastor of Scofield’s First Congregational Church (1882), now called Scofield Memorial Church. His most influential work, still used today, was his 8 volume set – Systematic Theology, in which he states: “The dispensational study of the Bible consists in the identification of certain well-defined time-periods which are divinely indicated… (Preface Vol. 1).” In Vol. 7 he says: “Matthew 24:3 is not made to this present age, but to the Jewish age which has yet seven years to run after this one has been completed. The disciples knew little of this …unforeseen age.”
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Professor Loraine Boettner, graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary in 1929, wrote “Outstanding dispensational writers include: John N. Darby, Synopsis of the Books of the Bible (5 vols.) …Dr. C. I. Scofield …Dr. William E. Blackstone, Jesus is Coming (1878)… Rev. James M. Brookes, Maranatha (1870); Dr. James M. Gray, Prophecy and the Lord’s Return (1917); Dr. Arno C. Gaebelein, The Return of the Lord (1925); Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology (1948); Dr. Charles Feinberg, Premillennialism… (1936); Dr. John F. Walvoord, The Rapture Question (1957); and Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come (1958)…”
The pretribulation rapture doctrine is one of the most popular teachings today of not only evangelical ministers, but also of most Protestant and non-denominational ministers. Due to the overwhelming influence of Christian media, as well as the teaching at Seminaries – the doctrine spread rapidly in the 20th century. The approaches of modern ministers and professors towards reaching the world with their messages have not changed from the basic tools used by those such as Torrey, Scofield and Chafer: advertisements; conferences; lecture tours or crusades; books; and of course colleges.
Although, in 1900, as the population grew, it became more difficult for a small organization to reach the masses; today the only constraint for organizations is money. At that time, the new denominations and bible colleges being established represented a very small portion of Christendom. Through the use of radio programs; tent meetings; and healing, miracle and salvation crusades, certain evangelist became very popular and as a result brought many converts into their denominations. Many of the converts were Christians from ‘mainline’ denominations; from World War II to today, millions of Christians around the world, left the Catholic Church and traditional Protestant denominations and joined various Evangelical and Pentecostal Churches. In this way many people and their children grew into accepting the new doctrines they were taught. As the names of ministers gain creditability, they become more accepted in households, and more significantly their doctrines were received with little question. Understand, i am not addressing anyone’s integrity, nor their love or profession of Jesus Christ; i am simply explaining how this doctrine has been spread and accepted throughout America and into many parts of the world.
In 1979, Jerry Falwell, joined with other notable men such as Tim LaHaye, Greg Dixon, Charles Stanley and D. James Kennedy in forming the Moral Majority. Through these organizations and the like, they gain more media time and through broadcast media and Christian bookstores and corporate publishers, these men and others became household names; and in that all of these taught a pretribulation rapture, they have greatly influenced many people. In 1965, Oral Roberts University was chartered, a generation later some of its graduates were being listened to in several different countries. In 1973, Paul Crouch and Jim Bakker began the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and again these institutions have been significant in spreading the pretribulation rapture doctrine.
It should however be noted that after Jim Bakker’s fall, he did repent, and in his book, Prosperity and the Coming Apocalypse (1998), he greatly opposes the pretribulation rapture doctrine in one part saying: “…belief in the Rapture played right into my prosperity theology. It made for a perfect package: people could get saved by saying a few words, they could live in luxury and excess throughout this lifetime, and then Jesus would return to take them out of the tough times that others were to experience during the end-time tribulation. It was pure escapism. My favorite prophetic passage was, ‘Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man (Luke 21:36).’ I liked that verse because it gave me an out. Christians did not really have to suffer. …I felt it was against God’s very nature to all His family to go through the horrors of the Tribulation. …Not only that, but it was easier to raise money if one believed in a pretribulational Rapture. Many sincere Christians who want their lives to count for Christ are easily stimulated to give to ministries when they believe that Jesus Christ could come back at any moment. After all, who wants to send money to a ministry that tells them tough times are coming and you will have to go through them?’
‘In …The Rapture Plot, author David MacPherson …describes belief in the Rapture as ‘Protestant evangelicalism’s most popular and most lucrative view of the future.’ Not surprisingly, most popular prosperity teachers – with a few rare exceptions – hold strongly to a pretribulational view… My own thinking on the matter began to change when, in prison, I began a daily …study of the Scriptures, especially those relating to Jesus Christ. Naturally, I wanted to learn about Christ’s return, so I began searching for those passages that described a rapture that precedes the Tribulation. To my amazement, I couldn’t find any. Oh, sure, I found Scriptures that I and other preachers had twisted or had imbued with our own interpretations, but when I allowed the Bible to speak for itself, I came face to face with the fact that my preconceived notions of a pretribulational Rapture were baseless. …God began to impress upon me that I must warn people concerning the dark days to come…”
Oh, that for the sake of souls, many ministers would hear the Spirit of the Lord and warn of the coming tribulation, but more so of their coming eternal judgment. Oh, for the sake of their own souls, that they would sound an alarm; for ‘if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his sin, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand (Ezek. 33:6).’
Tell me my Pre-Trib brothers in Christ, how does your words of raptured comfort strengthen Christians persecuted in Muslim regions of Asia and Africa? But more directly and biblical, let me ask all you preachers of righteousness this: How are you preparing for our children, or the generation from which shall come ‘a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes and peoples… who come out of the great tribulation and wash their robes …in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:9, 14)?’ How do you teach them to ‘not love their lives to the death (Rev. 12:11)’ and thus ‘endure to the end (Matt. 24:13)?’ Do you tell them, ‘blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake… for Christ sake (Matt. 5:10, 11);’ do you tell them, Christ said, ‘I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matt. 28:20)?’ Do you tell them, ‘Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather fear God who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt. 10:28)?’ Or do you tell them ‘we are not appointed to such persecution.’ Yet, the Lord did not spare Israel, nor His prophets and disciples such tortures, pains and death to their bodies.
Copy only for non-profit bible studies or private use please.
(The next couple of chapters display the opening of Bible Colleges and how in such colleges as New Orleans Sem. and Oral Roberts and Liberty, etc. – these teachings spread and soon after came the Left Behind Series – of which Jenkins wrote fiction before hand and LaHaye did have a D.of Ministry (not Theology) at Western Sem. (Baptist) and connections including a serious roll in moving Falwell to start and head the Moral Majority; and his wife, Beverly LaHaye (of Bob Jones Uni.) was a well-known author speaker and founded Concerned Women for America.
The Lord bless you and keep you…
a servant (Resipsa)