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Weigh My Research
By Dave MacPherson
(For more than 30 years my pretrib critics have falsely
claimed that leading scholars condemn my research. Since those critics are in
effect slamming poor, helpless, long-departed Margaret Macdonald, I hereby come
to her defense with a few of the many reactions from scholars who
generally haven't had a huge axe to grind either for or against the pretrib
rapture view. My usual practice, by the way, has been to obtain permission when
quoting personal letters.)
Loraine Boettner (theologian, author): "I think that you have done a
magnificent job in showing the real origin of the Pre-trib rapture theory."
F. F. Bruce (theologian, encyclopedia contributor): "It is strange
that Darby should acknowledge his indebtedness to a young lady in Limerick and
say nothing about the young lady in Port Glasgow [that is, not acknowledge her
pre-Antichrist rapture of part of the church]....If this work of yours can do
anything to counter the influence of Hal Lindsey..., you will have rendered a
signal service." Superficial----and even devious----scholarship loves to
repeat Bruce's 1975 surmise that pretrib was "in the air in the 1820s and
1830s." Hired critic Thomas Ice knows that this wasn't a scientific
conclusion (does reliable data rest literally "in the air"?), and Ice
moreover has ignored Bruce's later statements complimenting my evidence!
Gary DeMar (theologian, author): "THE RAPTURE PLOT is the
never-before-told, true story of the plot----how plagiarism and subtle document
changes created the 'mother of all revisionisms.' A fascinating piece of
Robert H. Gundry (theologian, author): "As usual, Dave MacPherson
overwhelms his critics with a superior knowledge of the primary sources. His is
a rare combination of historical research and investigative reporting. Those who
would refute him have failed to outhustle him, especially in the tracking down
of information uncatalogued in academic libraries."
Superficial scholarship is aware that the
first----1973----printing of Gundry's THE CHURCH AND THE TRIBULATION stated on
pp. 185, 187: "The likelihood is that Edward Irving was the first to
suggest the pretribulational rapture....the outpouring on Margaret Macdonald did
not include revelation of a pretribulational rapture...."
But careful scholarship has long known that after Gundry
saw my Macdonald findings, he deleted his Irving statement and substituted
favorable comments about the Scottish lassie----changes appearing in his classic
work since the 1980's!
John H. Kromminga (Calvin Sem. president emeritus): "The material
appears to be well researched, and this impression is confirmed by the excellent
comments you cite from well-stablished evangelical commentators."
Harold Lindsell (church historian, author): "...must reading for
anyone who is interested in the [pretrib] origins...."
C. S. Lovett (pastor, author): "You have to be, in my opinion, the
world's authority on Margaret."
Peter Marshall (pastor, author): "I am in emphatic agreement with
you on your thesis."
Walter Martin (researcher, author):
"[MacPherson has produced] a fascinating historical detective story...with
surprising and not easily refutable conclusions."
J. Gordon Melton (editor): "According to the best
scholarshipavailable, the pretribulation, premillennial eschatology originated
among members of the Catholic Apostolic Church as a result of a vision and
revelation to Margaret MacDonald. See Dave MacPherson, THE UNBELIEVABLE PRE-TRIB
ORIGIN." (ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN RELIGIONS, 1978)
Gary North (author, church historian): "...Dave MacPherson has
inflicted a deep wound on the pre-trib camp by showing that a teenage Scottish
girl named Margaret Macdonald...came up with this doctrine...." (Dispensationalism
in Transition, Nov., 1988)
Harold J. Ockenga (theologian, author): "You have done your research
J. I. Packer (author, church historian):
"From my own explorations of the origins of Darbyism I judge that you are
presenting facts fairly, and I am glad you are, for I also regard
dispensationalism as an unhappy aberration."
J. Barton Payne (theologian, author): "MacPherson has once and for
all overthrown Ernest Sandeen's assertions that the Irvingites never 'advocated
any doctrine resembling the secret rapture' and that to connect J. N. Darby and
early dispensationalism with Irving's church is
'a groundless and pernicious charge'....For serious students of the history of
dispensationalism the study of MacPherson's discoveries has become a must."
(Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Winter, 1974)
The Prairie Overcomer (Canada): "...MacPherson's case seems to be
watertight." (July, 1974)
Reformed Review: "MacPherson
has done excellent historical
research." (Spring, 1985)
Ian S. Rennie (author, church historian): "...it is likely that
[Margaret's revelation] was grist for Darby's mill." (DREAMS, VISIONS AND
R. J. Rushdoony (theologian, author): "Dave MacPherson has been
responsible for major change in the eschatology of evangelical churches by his
devastating studies of some of the central aspects thereof. In THE RAPTURE PLOT
MacPherson tells us of the strange tale of 'rapture'
writings, revisions, cover-ups, altercations, and confusions. No one has
equalled MacPherson in his research on the 'pre-trib rapture.' Attempts to
discredit his research have failed...."
The Seminary Review: "[MacPherson] shows conclusively that Margaret
Macdonald was the originator of the concept." (June, 1984)
Oswald J. Smith (pastor, author): "You have some excellent thoughts
here that will be difficult to answer."
Merrill C. Tenney (theologian, author): "...the connection between
Margaret Macdonald and Irvingites and Brethren is reasonably well established.
You have done a valuable piece of research."
The Witness (oldest & largest Darbyist Brethren magazine in England):
"What [MacPherson] succeeds in establishing is that the [pretrib] view
outlined was first stated by a certain Margaret Macdonald...early in 1830."
(The critics who have tried to cover up the above scholarship are basically the
ones who've tried to muddy the waters by "discovering" hints of
pretrib before 1830. For more on this, see my internet article entitled "Deceiving,
And Being Deceived.")
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