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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Summer Edition 2000

A Scheme Imposed Upon The New Testament

    The popular evangelical fundamentalist approach to end-time Bible prophecy studies has, for the past twentieth century, been dominated by the influence of a theory called "Darbyism."

    By Darbyism we mean the dispensational premillennial school of Bible prophecy/salvation history interpretation that originated in England in the mid-nineteenth century, but never took root in the American Wesleyan Holiness Movement until it became equated with fundamentalism in the modernist theological controversies of the 1920's.

    Darbyism is most centrally a "scheme" of Daniel's prophecy of the Seventy Weeks that is sought to be superimposed upon the New Testament. In other words, Darbyism is a preconceived "grid" of ideological understanding that, in its practical outworking, has become a magnet for the attraction and measurement of the entire theology of the New Testament. Hence dispensational premillennialism is, in essence, a definition of what constitutes biblical Christianity.

    What, then, is the Darbyite construction of Christianity?

    Among other things, it consists of the assertion that Christ came to offer the Jews the promised Old Testament messianic kingdom, but, because of their rejection of him as the Messiah, the kingdom was "postponed."

    Friends, the postponement of the kingdom theology of popular dispensational premillennialism derives solely from the attempt to superimpose Sir Robert Anderson's false theory of Daniel's prophecy of the Seventy Weeks upon the New Testament. The fact is, however, that the New Testament itself gives no hint that Jesus ever offered—or even intended to offer--a political kingdom to the Jews that was postponed to them in the first century, or that in this present age is now on hold.

    The Darbyite construction of Christianity entails a "Church age" having no "Messiah." It offers modern man a liberally-tainted "existential" religion devoid of the Christ and the redemptive, socially-transforming power of His kingdom.

    Darbyism's effect on the church has been to produce a harvest of antinomianism; its prospect for the world--in self-fulfilling prophecy style--the bleak picture of coming Armageddon.

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