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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Fall Edition 1999

Understanding Darbyism

The late Wesleyan Methodist educator, Leslie Wilcox, in his Profiles in Wesleyan Theology (3:310), states that Darbyism "has been the most popular theory among holiness people and many other evangelicals during the last three-quarters of a century." It is probably fair to say, however, that most laymen in the modern Wesleyan Holiness movement, and many of our preachers, too, are thoroughly confused over Darbyism.

One elderly saint who had spent nearly all her life ministering in a holiness Bible college told me she had never heard of it, and that in spite of the fact that Darbyism is what the institution where she taught had espoused as gospel truth for many years!

Now what is this animal called Darbyism anyway? Darbyism is a belief system, mainly about the end-time, that hangs on the following structural pegs:

1. There will be a future seven year countdown to the Battle of Armageddon, popularly called "the great tribulation period," which is presumably the 70th week of Daniel's prophecy of the Seventy Weeks. This future seven year tribulation period begins when the Antichrist orchestrates a peace treaty between the nation of Israel and her hostile neighbors in the Middle East (based on the assumption that Antichrist is the person who confirms the covenant with many for one week in Daniel 9:27).

2. The Holy Spirit is now restraining the appearing of the Antichrist, but he will be removed from the world in the secret rapture of the church just before the tribulation period begins (presumably based on II Thessalonians 2:6-7).

3. After the seven year tribulation period is over Christ will come with His church from the marriage supper of the Lamb to destroy Antichrist and set up his Jewish millennial kingdom (presumably based on Revelation 20).

That is not all there is to Darbyism, of course, but it is the essential points. Knowing this, most of us should agree that most of us were raised in the tradition of Darbyism, and may properly be called "Darbyites."

Enough for now of self-discovery.

Related Article Links

What Is Darbyism?
The Biblical Alternative To Dispensationalism