Greetings! Today we will start with John Nelson Darby (1800-1882).
John Darby, whose middle name was a namesake of Admiral Nelson because of an uncle who served under Nelson, was born in London to an Anglo-Irish family. He attended school in London until his parents moved to an ancestral castle in Ireland. He graduated from Trinity College in Dublin as a Classical Gold Medalist. He went on to complete studies in the law and was admitted to the Irish Chancery Bar in 1822.
He lasted less than 4 years in the law due to his increasing desire to help the poor Irish Catholics. He became an Anglican priest and took an assignment in the mountainous area south of Dublin. He was reputed to be an excellent pastor, but after about 2 years he realized that the Anglican Church was “in ruins”, too “established” and “lifeless” beyond help. I’ve also read that he was converting many to the Church of England, but had to stop when it became a requirement of membership in the Irish church to swear allegiance to George IV as rightful king of Ireland.
“It is positively stated that the church would fail and become as bad as heathenism. The Christian is directed to turn away from evil and turn to the Scriptures, and Christ is revealed as judging the state of the churches.”
Good morning all! I was going to do the Part 2 of the 19th century introductions for today, but when I moved from John Darby into explaining about the views of the Millennium and Dispensationism I realized that I couldn’t do a half-way job of it, and it was going to be long enough for a post of it’s own. So, I’ve moved everything I wrote about John Darby to a new Part 2 post that will come out shortly, and I’m giving this current topic it’s own, long post.
The two main systems that Darby formalized were Premillennialism and Dispensationalism. Unfortunately, those who disagree with these systems have spent years claiming that Darby made them up, as well as the so-called “secret rapture”.
First, a few words about the Rapture. Those opposed to a Pre-tribulation Rapture claim that Darby got the idea from a 15 year old Scottish girl who had “visions”. I’ve read part of one of her visions…it pretty much follows the Bible. Others have reported variances from the Bible in her visions, making it sound rather like it came from demons…I can’t comment on that as I don’t want to waste time reading all of her visions. As to Darby, there is no direct evidence that he had any contact with Margaret MacDonald, and, he was talking about the Rapture in 1827, when he says he realized the distinction between Israel and the church; while MacDonald revealed her “visions” in 1830.
Here’s quote from an 1861 account of Margaret MacDonald’s visions: