Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 05:1 (Summer 1996)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Kenneth Alan Daughters

The Rapture Plot. By Dave MacPherson. Simpsonville, SC: Millennium III Publishers, 1994. 290 pages. $14.95, paperback.

Dave MacPherson is a journalist whose hobby for the past quarter of a century has been researching the origins of pretribulationalism, i.e., the teaching that the church will be raptured prior to the tribulation. The Rapture Plot is the fourth book from his pen dealing with this theme.1 The following is MacPherson’s thesis: The pretribulational view originated in a vision of a young Scottish woman from Port Glasgow, Margaret Macdonald. The view was picked up by the noted minister, Edward Irving, and then published by John Tudor in a magazine associated with Irving. From thence the theory made its way to John Nelson Darby and the Brethren, and it was then adopted by Scofield and modern American evangelicalism. The Brethren and later evangelicals have been embarrassed by these Irvingite roots and have sought to claim the title of first pretribulationalist for Darby. In fact, a number of people, chief among them Darby’s editor, William Kelly, have deliberately sought to cover up the Irvingite origins. The efforts of Kelly and others are not the innocent oversight of the uninformed. Rather they are the deliberate deceptions and lies of unscrupulous men.

MacPherson believes that the “pretrib” view is a dangerous heresy. It has

indirectly caused the deaths of thousands (“perhaps millions”) of Christians in China who, because of the pretrib promise of deliverance from tribulation, did not flee like the wiser “posttribs” when the Communists took over.2 Furthermore the greed of pretribs who divert millions of dollars to their own pockets and do not seek to reach the lost is likely going to bring about an international money collapse as a judgment of God.3 The back cover, probably written by the author, repeats the party line of modern postmillennialists that pretribulationalism is a pessimistic, disruptive view which has weakened Christian unity.4 He acknowledges that attacking pretribulationalism is a “family tradition” that has brought sorrow to his family. His father was dismissed from a pastorate because of his posttribulational views, and MacPherson himself was dismissed from Biola for (aggressively?) sharing his father’s views with other students (pp. 221-22).5 Nevertheless, he assures his readers, he writes “with no bias” (p. ix).

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