For Zion’s Sake: Darby And Christian Zionism -- By: Paul Wilkinson
CTSJ 13:2 (Fall 2008) p. 52
For Zion’s Sake: Darby And Christian Zionism
Paul Wilkinson earned a BSc in Mathematics and Statistics (University of York), a BA and MA in Theology (University of Manchester), and a PhD in Religions and Theology (University of Manchester). Wilkinson is the author of For Zion's Sake: Christian Zionism and the Role of John Nelson Darby (2007). He was a research consultant for the documentary film The Destiny of Britain (Hatikvah Film Trust, 2007), released in the USA as The Cyrus Call (2008), which tells the history of British Evangelical belief in the restoration of the Jews, prior to the issuing of the Balfour Declaration. He has studied and taught at the International School of Holocaust Studies, Yad Vashem, and contributed to several Christian publications and journals such as Bibliotheca Sacra. Paul lives in Oldham, Lancashire (in the north of England) and is associate minister of Hazel Grove Full Gospel Church, Stockport, Cheshire. You may contact Paul at [email protected]
The Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is at hand. The Heavenly Bridegroom is returning for His Bride. The Father’s house is ready. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb is prepared. Perhaps today? Even so, come Lord Jesus.
The Powerscourt Conference
On Oct. 4, 1831, thirty-five clergymen and fifteen laypeople gathered at the country estate of Lady Theodosia Powerscourt, in the small, Irish village of Enniskerry outside Dublin. All who assembled for the first Powerscourt Conference on Biblical prophecy were “distressed at the condition of the Church,” and “convinced that the hope of Christ’s return should figure more prominently in the thinking of Christians.”2 Few could have imagined then how great an impact this and subsequent Powerscourt Conferences would have on the wider Church.
The inspiration behind these conferences, which enabled the pioneers of the Plymouth Brethren movement to develop a more coherent understanding of prophecy, may have been Lady Theodosia’s attendance at the first Albury Park Conference in Surrey, England, in 1826. There, thirty of the most eminent premillennialist scholars and clergymen of the day had gathered for the inaugural conference at the home of Henry Drummond to discuss “the great prophetic questions which ... most instantly concern Christendom.” These included “the times of the Gentiles,” “the present and future condition of the Jews,” and “the future advent of the Lord.”3 Five annual conferences were held in total, concluding in 1830. According to Drummond’s account:
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