Pre-millenial dispensationalism - Baptist?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Matt Black, Jun 12, 2003.

  1. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    A question about which I have become intrigued since beginning to tread these boards: my understanding is that pre-millenial, pre-trib-rapture dispensationalism was pretty much unknown to the church prior to the 1830s when it seems have been 'invented' by Edward Irving and John Nelson Darby, the founder of the Plymouth Brethren, and has subsequently become an article of faith for the PBs - so why/ how do there seem to be so many Baptists on these boards espousing it? It does not seem to have been a matter of faith for us prior to last century, so I am curious as to why it is now for a lot of Baptists. Is it an American-cultural thing (I haven't come across UK Baptists who hold to it)?

    Jus' wonderin'.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt

    [ June 12, 2003, 07:45 AM: Message edited by: Matt Black ]
     
  2. KenH

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    1) That is historically accurate.

    2) Christians are also driven by fads in America, in this case theological/doctrinal fads, just like other Americans. In the 1800s, the major eschatology in America was postmillennialism due to the optimism of the century. I think that the invention of nuclear weapons with the threat of annihilation and the collapse of moral values in America has caused many conservative Christians to be swallowed up by pessimism so that they no longer hope that society will improve. Therefore, they look forward to a "Great Escape". Also, maybe they consider it a hoot to try to match the daily newspaper with a Bible prophecy. [​IMG]

    3) That is also accurate. And it really didn't become a movement within America until Hal Lindsey wrote The Late Great Planet Earth in the late 1960s. We Americans tend to be driven by fads. I doubt that in 20 years the dispensational premillennialist movement will be as vibrant as it is today.
     
  3. BrianT

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    To add to the answer of #2, sometimes people espouse it simply because that's what they were raised with. I was raised in a strong pre-trib environment, and had it grilled into me that it is the gospel truth. I didn't even know there were other views until my early 20s, when I was first challenged about it. I then defended pretrib quite enthusiastically for several years, largely out of loyalty to my heritage. But slowly, my biases wore off and I ended up rejecting the pretrib view (much to the shock and surprise of some of my family members).

    Edit: but I suppose this could go both directions. [​IMG]

    [ June 12, 2003, 10:18 AM: Message edited by: BrianT ]
     
  4. Pastor Larry

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    Us premills will differ obviously.

    1. There is some evidence of pretrib/premill in the post apostolic era. The apostolic era evidence is entirely pretrib/premill.

    2. Its resurgence in the 1800s came because eschatology became a focus of study. Every doctrine has received a focus at different times in church history when it was systematized and developed.

    3. Most people are pretrib/premill becuase they have been taught that. When someone teaches them something else, they may change, depending on how well they were taught. The unfortunate thing is that many pastors who were doing the teaching were pretrib/premill only because they had been taught on the surface, rather than being taught from Scripture. Therefore, their teaching was weak and those who learned had a weak foundation and thus easily gave it up. I grew up that way and had it hammered to me but I never knew why. I could have very easily given it up. Fortunately, my seminary experience was so rigidly tied to the exegetical method that I was rescued. I am committed to teaching my people the basis for it unlike I was taught.

    4. Pretrib/premill is solidly exegetical and, IMO, is the only view that can take into account all of Scripture. All other positions require what seems to be distortion and conflation.

    Having said all that, we have beat this up pretty good. I consider non pretrib/premills my friends and brothers and I consider them sincere in their pursuit of truth and leave it at that. I simply would not be so hasty to reject pretrib/premill because of some teachers who did not know what they were talking about.
     
  5. Matt Black

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    Interesting, Pastor Larry. I'd be interested to see docs/ links re #1. The only one I've anaged to lay my hands on was called the pseuo-someone -o-other (can't remember his name - 5th century?)Do we also know of any early (pre-Irving/ Darby) Baptists who were pre-mill?

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  6. KenH

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    I would totally disagree on your reading of the apostolic era. My reading has shown it to be posttrib entirely.

    Also, I find scant evidence of pretrib teaching in the post-apostlolic era, except for perhaps an oddball like Montanus.

    [ June 12, 2003, 11:19 AM: Message edited by: KenH ]
     
  7. BrianT

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    I also would like to see some documentation about pretrib before the 1800s. I know there's premill, but I've never seen any pretrib. DocCas once made a similar claim on these boards, and I repeatedly asked him (even in email) for info, and I never got a response. Perhaps Pastor Larry can provide some info.

    I've seen the pseudo-Ephraem document, in entirety, and contextually it doesn't fit the bill.
     
  8. KenH

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    Matt,

    A great resource for evidence that the early church was posttrib is www.lasttrumpet.com.
     
  9. Matt Black

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    Pseudo-Ephraim, that's the chap! And he's pretty dubious too IIRC. As was Montanus.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  10. Ulsterman

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    Matt,

    For the record I am a pre-mill dispensationalist pastoring a church of the same persuasion in the UK. A third of all Baptist churches in N. Ireland are pre-mill, dispensationalist, and I could refer you to a number in England, Scotland and Wales which are likewise. It used to be the majority view here until recent times.

    If you want to research the history of this doctrine might I suggest as a starter "The Basis of the Premillennial Faith" by Charles C. Ryrie.
     
  11. Matt Black

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    Thanks, David, but how did effectively a PB doctrine infiltrate these Baptist churches? Cross-fertilisation?

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  12. Pastor Larry

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    I would question your reading ability then :D ... Just kidding. Of course I refer to the NT which is all the evidence we need for doctrine and it is exegetically pretribulational. IMO, it takes a great amount of creativity and reading in of precommitments to avoid that. But I understand that others differ on that, and while I will not have them in my church to preach and while I will preach against their "exegesis" as the text warrants, I will not run them out of Christianity over it.

    As for pretrib in the post apostolic era, this has been a subject of recent study. There was an article not long ago in BibSac about it. I can't remember the issue now. It is at my office and I am working from home this morning. It is largely a matter of interpretation to be sure, but it seems valid. The early church expectation was the soon return of Christ in their lifetimes. There was not a great focus on this topic until the 1800s really. POst and amill was a result of those in the 300s failing to have their premill expectations answered. Their solution was to change their theological position, not because the text changed, but because their own expectations were not met. I suggest that was bad theological method. But unfortunately post and amill has been taught in spite of the bad origins it shares.

    But regardless of all that, Christian brothers have differed on this. The abuse that dispensationalists have taken is uncalled for and is promoted largely by those who blinders fail to allow them to see the realities. Whether one agrees or not, it seems hard to argue that the exegesis is a solid possibility. Those who differ see some things in a different way. Ultimately, we will know when it happens. Until then, we preach the sure and blessed hope of the appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
     
  13. Primitive Baptist

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    I do not make eschatology a test of fellowship because I will be the first to admit that I could use further enlightenment on the subject. Preterism, however, is another issue.

    Some of the problems I see with the Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine are the very texts that its advocates use to defend it.

    "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 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." (1 Thess. 4:16)

    The event described here by Paul is anything but secret, yet the Pre-Tribulation Rapture brethren claim that the Rapture will be secret.

    From what I have read of the church fathers, the more prominent voices seemed to believe in something that we know as the Post-Tribulation Rapture. I definitely would not be considered a Dispensational Premillennialist, but I would probably fit in with the Historic Premillennialism of C. H. Spurgeon and John Gill, although I may differ on certain points.
     
  14. Frogman

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    Here is one source which extends further than the 1800's; taken from a discussion I was involved in on another board:

    The link is: http://www.petreley.com/forum/index.php?t=msg&th=23&prevloaded=1&rid=30&S=d0cd862c301b54303a6e1a8b11b9f644&rev=&reveal=&start=0&count=40

    [​IMG]
     
  15. BrianT

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    Hey Frogman,

    That reference deals with premill, not pretrib. There are some early premill quotes and references (but they are scarce during the time you mention, so your info is still worth noting), but nothing pretrib that I am aware of.

    Pastor Larry, perhaps you could post some of that BibSac info later?
     
  16. Pastor Larry

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    I don't ... I hardly think that it will be secret. While I do not know who you are referring to, I think the rapture will be obvious. I would understand "secret" to refer to the timing of it, not the event of it. I have often heard this "secrecy" charge but no one ever seems to give a reference for where we might read about. I will admit I have not read a whole lot of the common dispensational writings on this. Most of my reading has been the posttribs, the post mills, and the amills. I have read much more of them than I have of pretribs. Reading them is what has solidified my viewpoint as a pretrib. I find their arguments bordering on inane but that is only my reflection on it.

    If you know of someone who argues for this "secret rapture" as you seem to define it, please let me know. I am curious.
     
  17. LadyEagle

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    Just to toss my 2 coins in...

    I am wondering where the post-tribs get the data or impression that pre-tribs are in the minority. I hear that expressed around here quite frequently & to tell you the truth, I NEVER heard a Baptist say they were anything but pre-trib until I came on this Board.

    So where is the rumor that pre-tribs are in the minority floating around from - Snopes?

    Is there any data anywhere to prove this assertion? [​IMG]
     
  18. BrianT

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    Not Snopes, but "scopes". If, like you said, you stick in your clique of 20th century western pretrib Baptist's, your scope is limited and you're not going to hear much of other views. This can easily give you the impression that your view is the majority (or in my case, I didn't even know other views *even existed* for many years). Widen your scope in geography, history, and denomination, and you'll see that "majority" dwindle pretty quickly.
     
  19. LadyEagle

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    But I'm not interested in the pre-trib or post-trib views of other denominations.

    It seems to me you are including all other denominations when you make these blanket assertions (which would include Catholics as well) that the pre-trib view is in the minority.

    If we narrow the scope to that of Baptists, then that's a horse of a different feather. :D
     
  20. BrianT

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    Oh. Personally, I am. [​IMG]

    Again, only if your scope is limited to 20th century, western nations. [​IMG]
     

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