Futurism an invention of the Jesuits?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by J.D., Sep 16, 2010.

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  1. J.D.

    J.D.
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    I read something somewhere (sorry, I lost the link) that alleged that Futurism was an invention of the Jesuits as a counter to the historicist and/or amil view of the reformers. It further alleged that dispensationalism is a continuation of this Jesuit deception. The Jesuit's primary motivation was to cast the "antichrist" into the future so that the Pope would not carry that label as the reformers had placed on him.

    Has anyone else ever heard of this?
     
  2. Truth Files

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    Yes

    This idea is a total ruse and one of its main proponents of today is David MacPherson .... another is John Bray

    It is based upon the concoction of a young Scottish girl named Margaret McDonald whose purported "vision" was used by a Jesuit priest and John Darby who then in turn fabricated the pre-tribulation rapture of the church based upon a "dispensational" rendering of the prophetic scriptures

    These false teachers call the biblical pre-tribulation "rapture" a lie .... the "rapture plot"

    This aberrant teaching of MacPerson's is dead in the water by the fact that McDonal's "vision" actually has the church going through the tribulation period and not "raptured" before

    People like MacPherson rely upon those who are ignorant of the facts and he picked a totally off the wall arbitrary idea that is nothing but hobgoblin

    He then claims that a dispensational/pre-tribulational view never existed until Darby came up with it in the 1800s

    This is total nonsense ..... it is the very scriptures of the Bible that gives this rendering

    MacPherson and his cohorts have never been able to explain or prove their phoney idea

    You can access McDonald's "vision" on the Internet and also MacPherson's ruse and rebuttals by those who have uncovered his lies

    The credibility of men like MacPherson who behave in this fashion is unreliable and should never be engaged by anyone who might be enticed to follow such folly
     
    #2 Truth Files, Sep 16, 2010
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  3. asterisktom

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    This is actually a good question to look into. I had also read that the Jesuits had started the futurist application of prophecies, especially people like Lacunza:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manuel_Lacunza

    The problem with even discussing this topic, however, would be in defining just what "futurism" means. All prophecy - when given - awaited future fulfillment.

    To me, futurism begins when applications begin to be applied in the future that ought to have been applied to (what is now) past events of Christ and His work. As far as I am concerned (and keeping that definition in mind) the first futurist would be, perhaps, Ignatius, who wrote in the first decade of the second century.

    By contrast, the eschatology of Clement and the Didache seems not to be futurism, because their writing was before AD 70. I realize that this goes against what many assume about those two writers, but I have been studying those two works in more detail and am willing to go into substantive particulars to prove those dates, that Clement looked forward to the events of AD 70, and (with a shade less of certainty) the writer of the Didache did too.

    This actually has great implication in the realm of proofs in the futurism/Preterist debate, which is why I have been pursuing it. The closer study of Clement (in the Greek, especially) has been quite interesting.

    Unfortunately, I have still been having major ISP problems with connectivity. I can only stay online for a few minutes in the day - expect for really earlier (when I really don't have the time!). They promised to fix it this weekend. We'll see.

    This is a good topic, I believe, and deserves some good discussion.
     
  4. HankD

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    This is partially true. The interest in eschatolgy and especially the element of "the Rapture" was purportedly revived semi-modernly by this man named Manuel Lacunza (1731-1801) AKA Rabbi Juan Josafat Ben-Ezra (pen-name), who in reality was a Jesuit priest.

    It is claimed that he was influenced by the writings of the early Church Fathers, many of whom taught elements of "futurism".

    Lacunza was one of the first to begin to organize eschatology into a Systematic Theology.

    Some have tried to discredit him and even his existence as a writer of any importance.

    Here is a beginning FWIW if anyone is interested.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manuel_Lacunza Which Tom has already referenced.

    Later his largely unorganized body of doctrines of what is now called "dispensationism" (a misnomer IMO) came into the hands of the millerites, also the more heterodox Plymouth Brethren John Darby (via visions of Margaret Macdonald) in 1827 and modernly popularized with the publication of the Scofield Bible (1909,1917,1967).

    "Rature" - Lacunza obviously was influenced by the Vulgate. Rapto, Rapturo, and like rap Latin stems are receptors of the Greek harpazo
    "caught up" or to snatch away (almost like purse snatching), sudden, without warning.

    1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.​

    2 Corinthians 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth, such an one caught up to the third heaven.​

    Among the early Church Fathers (from whence Lacunza drew his doctrine) can be found all the elements of so-called "futurism" (minus the "rapture-harpazo" as a secret event).​

    I have posted many "futuristic" patristic quotes but it is a weariness to the flesh to have to scan through 20,000 pages of church fathers to resurrect them (yes its a pun). ​

    I suppose a BB scan would also work. At the time I didn't think it worthwhile to save these quotes to my hard disk on which I can no longer easily find things anyway.​

    BTW, and FWIW, I personally balk at the wholesale use of the word "deception" in relationship to views such as "dispensationalism", "preterism", "futurism" etc because modernly, eschatolgy is a moving target with a myriad of views and many folks sincerely seeking the truth concerning these "lasttimes" (or "pasttimes" per preterists).

    If it involved questions concerning the deity of Christ, or the Trinity that would be different.

    HankD​
     
    #4 HankD, Sep 17, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010
  5. HankD

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    Well, Tom you will have to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Clement wrote his only recognized epistle before AD70.

    A formidable task as even most historians of the Church of Rome will not go that far. Also, his writings survived and were considered by some as canonical long after his death c. AD96 with no mention of fulfillment of his futuristic statements (1 Clement 34-35, 1 Clement 50:2).

    The Didache also, though some would date it earlier than AD70 (Sabatier, Minasi, Jacquier), most do not. Also for the same reason above that even if they pre-dated AD70, AD70 came and went while apparently these documents still popular were not referred to, neither commented by others who studied these writings (e.g. Tertullian) and lauded them as being completely fulfilled but only in the relation of the destruction of Jerusalem but they still awaited His promise of a bodily return accompanied by our bodily resurrection.

    I have to date not found one early church father post AD70 who was a full preterist.

    I for one await the results of your research.

    post script: As Baptist we we hold to the scripture as the final word of authority.

    But since you have appealed to the Early Church writings, I will rise (actually descend) to the occassion.

    HankD
     
  6. Zenas

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    There is probably some merit to this. What we know for sure is there were a couple of Jesuit theologians in the last half of the 16th Century who wrote commentaries on Revelation and who adopted a futurist approach to this book, which was an entirely new approach to eschatology. Their names were Francisco Ribera and Robert Bellarmine.
     
  7. HankD

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    Please define/document the "new approach".

    Apart from the secret "rapture-harpazo" for the saints there was nothing new about the Second Coming as a future event yet to be fulfilled.

    Unless of course that is what you mean.

    Christian writers from the apostles, the apostolic Fathers and the 2nd century onward wrote of the "future" Second Coming of Christ. Including Clement of Rome whom Tom has conveniently assumed a date of pre-AD70.


    Thanks
    HankD
     
  8. asterisktom

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    Actually, the convenience was all in my old position of believing Clement wrote his letter around the turn of the first century since that is where, as you pointed out, the consensus is. But, then again, if consensus would have been an overriding factor I would never have become a Preterist.

    I just got off work right and am too tired to tackle this right now, but let me just say that my reason for seeing an earlier date is from the language of Clement himself. BTW & FWIW, I only see his Corinthian letter as genuinely his.

    So much for now.
     
  9. HankD

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    Yes, his "first" epistle appears to be the only one comsidered genuine by most.

    Relax and enjoy the weekend brother.
    That is of course if you are off on the weekends.

    HankD
     
  10. J.D.

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    I think the key is what "futurism" meant about the time of the reformation.

    And your connectivity problem - please don't tell me you're using dial-up. You got to get on cable if you can.
     
  11. J.D.

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    While futurism might have provided the seed bed for dispensationalism, they are not the same thing. But that is not my concern at this time.

    Although I do have a low opinion of both futurism and dispensationalism, by using the word "deception" I was trying to convey the ideas of the authors of the article, not my own. No offense intended.
     
  12. asterisktom

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    No, I have DSL, wired ethernet. I'm not as savvy on terms as I used to be. It's an antenna on the roof and a wire running down to my computer. I used the word "connectivity" in a less literal sense than was understood. But what else would you expect from a Preterist? : )

    Although I am sure there were some real interesting historical developments in futurism in the Reformation period, I believe it was already well under way much earlier.
     
  13. asterisktom

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    Thank you, Hank. I do have the weekend off - except that I am behind on my grading for school.

    You also wrote:
    "Christian writers from the apostles, the apostolic Fathers and the 2nd century onward wrote of the "future" Second Coming of Christ. Including Clement of Rome whom Tom has conveniently assumed a date of pre-AD70."

    The reason for dating Clement earlier is severalfold:
    1. The main reason is comments in the letter itself.
    2. Various writers have considered an earlier date for Clement (see Schaff on this fact. Although that writer is not specific as to who these who believed in an earlier date were. ) The consensus in a couple centuries was formed against this earlier date by the authoritative weight of Eusebius.

    The biggest proof, IMO, is in the text itself. Clement writes of the martyrdom of Peter and Paul as being that of "contemporaries of ours". Now if C. had said "contemporaries of mine" (Clement speaking of himself) then conceivably we could have an aged Clement writing to a younger generation of Corinthians. In that case AD 90 to 100 would certainly fit.

    But he didn't. He said that those apostles were from "our generation".

    Also, in his going through examples of humility he finally writes (I am quoting this from memory for now) "Let us come to events nearest to our times". The word "nearest" - I believe it was ENGISTA. I will double check tomorrow - argues for a very current event C. is writing of. Now, if he were indeed writing in the 90's he should certainly have mentioned the persecutions under Domitian. They were very severe.

    But so were those of Nero. And I believe that is what he refers to.

    There is also the fact that Clement is referring to the ministrations of the Jewish priesthood going on in his time. He uses present tense - several times.

    There were two more factors concerning Clement that bear mentioning, but this should do for now.
     
  14. asterisktom

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    Preterism and early church fathers

    I just wanted to add a few general comments here:

    As far as Clement is concerned, see the previous post.

    Ignatius, who clearly wrote well after the turn of the century, did have a few references that seem to be futurist. But I was not surprised to see them. neither do their presence cause me concern as far as Preterism is concerned because he is not really a creditable authority: He also said "Do nothing without your bishop" (leading the church, even in this early stage, to a very humanly-oriented authority structure). Also, he spoke very highly - much higher than Paul did - of the desirability of virginity for those who want to really be close to God.

    So, in my mind, the fact that he additionally has an eschatology that is IMO wrong fits in well with his imbalance in other areas. Also, he over-emphasized martyrdom as a means of glorifying God. I mean as in actually seeking it.

    All of these posts are typed hurriedly because I am expecting another storm that will take me off line again.

    Hopefully tomorrow I will get out my books, going into more detail.

    True, this is not Scripture. But the fact that Ignatius and Clement (and others) are invoked as evidence A against Preterism I believe this discussion can help to, if not make them proofs of Preterism - something impossible in the very nature of history - at least demonstrate that their writings are not evidence for futurism either.

    Oh no - storms. Posting this with fingers crossed.
     
  15. Zenas

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    That's what I meant, more or less. However, it covers a lot more than the "Left Behind" type of rapture. Traditionally, Revelation was regarded as a book that described events occurring in the First Century. However, Ribera and Bellarmine viewed Revelation as describing events that are to occur in the future. That was a novel idea in the late 1500's.
     
  16. HankD

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    In my own personal study, I have done some reseach in the Church Fathers RE:eschatology and have seen treatises of debate as to the literal 1000 year reign of Christ in the first 4 centuries of the church (sometimes referred to as Early Church Fathers or Ante Nicene Fathers) and beyond into the advent of the Dark-Middle Age.

    Not that what they wrote has the authority of scripture (although they quote scripture) but that some have challenged "futurism" on the basis of Church History and they therefore will be shown to be mistaken on that basis.

    e.g.

    Eusebius (Quoting from Polycarp and Papias),
    Justin Martyr (Dialogue with Trypho),
    Epistle of Barnabas,
    Tertullian (Marcion Debate) and others.

    Example of Tertullian:
    During the Dark Age, of course, eschatology was not popular but was extant.
    The RCC has almost always taken a strictly non-comittal view of the Book of Revelation (Apocalypse). ​

    "Futurism" organised into a component of a Systematic Theology was perhaps novel to the average person in the 1500's. But the core of "futurism" - the Second Coming - and other elements of so-called "dispenationalism" have always been important doctrines in Christianity.​

    HankD​
     
  17. HankD

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    Well, of course, if one pushes the author dates pre-AD70 then these "futurists" can be removed from the evidences list of futurism but if it is undoubedtly post AD70 then these futurist authors integrity, credibilty and motivation can be called into question and they therefore can be blotted out of the book of historical futurism evidences.

    That is IMO a contrived no-win situation for "futurists".

    To repeat, obviously these do not hold the weight of Scripture (apart from when scripture is quoted) however they are docuemnts in the archives of church history and in that light have a bearing upon the views of eschatology.

    As Baptists one need look only look a few sentences into any of these historical works to find what we would consider an unusual statement concerning the Faith.

    The question is concerning the undeniable historical fact of futurism teachings back to the apostolic fathers and including every subsequent age of the church.

    Clement of Rome: (died AD101)

    The historical creeds also witnesses against preterism:

    Nicene Creed:AD325
    Heretic as well as heterodox authors in every church age looked forward to a future return of Christ until the Dark Age and even then there were many who kept the apostolic light of the Return of Christ kindled.

    As of yet, I have found no early church father around the time of AD70 and a little later who definitively states that the Roman destruction of Jerusalem was a fulfillment of the return of Christ.

    Please let me know if you find such a statement so that I might (perhaps) discredit the author in like manner as has been done to futurist writers or perhaps in a kinder fashion state "that doesn't surprise me".

    May I point out Tom that you my brother are in the same apologetic mode as "futurists" defending the apparent disparity of the "soon" coming.

    On a related note it appears that Hippolytus (had you lived then) would have had a problem baptising you RE: the question "and will come to judge the living and the dead?"

    I don't know, would he consider you to be a 2/3rd Christian? :tongue3:
    Talk about unusual subjects - it appears that they were triple dunk Baptists.

    Anyway have a nice rest of the weekend.

    HankD
     
    #17 HankD, Sep 18, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010
  18. asterisktom

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    Creeds are not Scripture

    The historical creeds also witnessed against Luther's "heretical" justification by faith. This very point you are making against my Preterism the recalcitrant Roman Catholic hierarchy made against Luther and his "innovative" Lutheranism.

    It was a real eye-opener for me to read John Owen's disapprobation (in Christologia, I believe it was) of creeds and councils, as being contrary to the work of God's Word being proclaimed in the world. I somewhat doubted his judgment at the time, but have come now to be convinced of his wisdom on this point. It no longer matters to me that every jot and tittle of my beliefs are not represented in the creeds. Truly, if those creeds had been so accurate and doctrine-inclusive as creedists maintain there would have been neither opportunity nor need for a Reformation.

    ...

    The rest snipped for now. Thanks.
     
  19. HankD

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    Yes, it is remarkable how rapidly those personages, documents and doctrines which once received our stamp of approval suddenly become heretics, scoundrels and spurious when it enhances our own position.

    But that doesn't surprise me. Been there, done that.

    BTW, the Reformation was in the eyes of many Baptists, a failure, too little too late.

    Hmm, I keep spouting cliches.

    HankD
     
    #19 HankD, Sep 18, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010
  20. HankD

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    OK thanks.

    But there was no offense on my part personally as "discrediting by pejorative labeling" is a a valid and common tactic in the art of debating.

    I have used it myself quite often but not in every situation.

    HankD
     
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