Marvelous literalism and early Mormon exegesis

I am increasingly attending to how the early Latter-day Saints understood and used the Bible as part of a project on what I call the assault on Common Sense.[1] The best treatment of this topic remains Phil Barlow’s thoughtful and thought-provoking Mormons and the Bible. Phil draws attention to the extent of earliest Mormon Biblical literalism, emphasizing the ways that Smith and others created meaning in their exegesis, providing a space for the Restoration truths to fit within Christianity, broadly conceived.[2] I have been long striving for a phrase to use to describe this idiosyncratic, potent, and often supernaturalizing literalism in Biblical exegesis. This week I think I settled on a name for it.

Marvelous literalism. The capacity to see, e.g. the Mother in Heaven in Jeremiah’s denunciation of competing goddesses, or the divine anthropology in stray phrases from Psalms and Paul’s denunciation of polytheism. The capacity to see the Book of Mormon in Isaiah or American Zionism in references to arrows over walls. I’m trying to decide whether it’s untenable to use the pun in marvelous to capture both the belief in the supernatural that permeates Mormon exegesis and the fact that I think what they do is, colloquially but sincerely, marvelous.[3]

What do people think? Will the phrase work? And are there any other examples of marvelously literal exegesis that you personally treasure?
————————————–
[1] I’m describing the Mormon assault on Protestantism, particularly through the lens of Common Sense, which represented a philosophical school, a Protestant theology, and something like an American intellectual Zeitgeist for the period.
[2] Phil also does a wonderful job of situating the New Translation within the broader arc of creative, or dare I say, marvelous exegesis.
[3] There is also the sense of hunting out the lost fragments of Christianity in these odd and oddly interpreted proof texts that must not be discounted. That’s part of why I like marvelous here as well, since they are engaging in a sort of textual treasure-digging in their hunt for the lost truths of the Gospel in the degraded modern Biblical text.

Comments

  1. I have been arguing this for years, although never gave it a name. Mormons are literalists in the supernatural and historical narratives of the Scriptures. They mostly aren’t believers in Scriptural Inerrancy, or theologically shouldn’t be even though that has changed over the years. That is why, via another blog that discusses the issue, Bart Ehrman seems to be mildly popular. It is true that Mormons don’t take his argument all the way to his conclusions, but there is no reason why they should.

    I love reading about Biblical Higher Criticism and have learned much from the subject. I virtually ignore a lot of the atheistic conclusions that I think taints the work with assumption overload built on an agenda. If it wasn’t for the inerrant and atheist minimalist battles that have shaped the discussions, I think Mormons would be comfortable with the subject.

  2. “Marvelous Literalism.” I like it. I’ll need to chew on it to have more reflective thoughts.

  3. Sam – I think I want to hear more about why you call this ‘literalism;’ in some ways, surely, it is, but in other ways it’s a type of creative reading that’s not dissimilar from the ways a lot of conservative evangelicals find fighter planes in the 104th psalm or nuclear weapons in Ezekiel 38. That is, it’s simply a conviction that the esoterica of the Bible is relevant to contemporary times, and it’s our job to deduce how.

  4. Hmm, I like your thoughts, but I’m with Matt here. What qualifies this as “literalism”?

  5. Sorry, rushing about at work and home. There is some strong literalism at work here.
    This is not just typological prophecy, making the Bible predict the present, it’s the use of Biblical phrases, strongly literally interpreted (generally out of context) to make a theological point. A passing reference to the queens of heaven means there are actual queens in heaven. it is not a reference to Madonna and her backup singers. Isaiah predicts a scholar must say he cannot read a book that is sealed, so that’s what Anthon does.
    There are a lot of JSJ in 1844 where he expounds this exegetical technique, and it would strike outsiders as strained to absurdity, but a sharply and idiosyncratically literal reading makes the Bible speak lost theological truths.
    If I get a chance i’ll track down some other examples of this controverting permutation of Common Sense hermeneutics.

    My Pratt American Zionism reference was distracting, though. That is much more the thunderheads typological prophecy stuff.

  6. Idiosyncratic biblical realism?

  7. #6–i toyed with idiosyncratic but felt that it sounded pejorative. that’s why i like marvelous. realism vs. literalism is tricky, but it’s sometimes so incredibly sensitive to a given word in KJV that literalism seemed better.

  8. Yeah, I could see how it could be viewed as perjorative. Marvelous, I think, while technically feasible, won’t communicate what I think you want it to. How about “exceptional” or “particular”?

  9. Sam – typology is much more than simple prediction; it’s the conviction that the metaphors and narrative of Scripture, at a deep level, reflect the ways and means of Creation, the regular patterns by which God has organized the universe. For instance, I’m writing a diss chapter right now about evangelical church building in turn of the century New York, and over and over again these people compare themselves to the Children of Israel conquering Canaan. That’s not a facile comparison; rather, it’s indicative of they way they understand history: the constant ebb and flow between God’s people and Babylon, a cycle directed by God’s own providence. That’s something deeper than mere prophecy.

    (And I just gave away my Montreal paper, Chris.)

    This is a version of larger efforts to use scripture – even tossed off phrases, like queens of heaven – to locate oneself in relation to God, to elaborate a particular cosmology, and it’s not terribly uncommon. We have snake handlers because of a particular verse in Mark; early Methodist camp meetings used Ezekiel 21 to understand how exactly the bodies of the saved should respond.

    The Anthon thing, however, does not strike me as much different from Tim LaHaye’s reading of Revelation; it’s a similar effort to fit current events into the decreed patterns of sacred – particularly eschatological – history.

    Finally, while I think common sense makes this sort of reading popular among the unschooled, it’s much much deeper in Christian theology than that. Origen’s doing it; Aquinas as well (in his famous quadrilateral).

  10. I’m way out of my competency, but does what you describe, matt, differ from the idea of “pesher” in ancient scripture studies?

  11. I know you asked matt, but one difference of which I am aware is that pesharim tend to be less democratized than the stuff matt is describing. They seem to have required a special kind of exegete to unlock the hidden meanings.

  12. Doesn’t Barlow also use the term “selective literalism”?

  13. A few relevant JS quotes, since I currently have my research open:

    “—what is the rule of interpretation? Just no interpretation at all. understand precisely as it read.—I have Key by which I understand the scripture—I enquire what was the question which drew out the answer.—“ (WJS 161)

    “Everything that we have not a key word to, we will take it as it reads. The beasts which John saw and speaks of as being in heaven were actually living in heaven, and were actually to have power given to them over the inhabitants of the earth precisely according to the plain reading of the revelations. I give this as a key to the Elders of Israel.” (WJS 187)

    “The Scriptures should be taught, understood, and practiced in their most plain, simple, easy, and literal sense, according tot he common laws and usage of the language in which they stand according tot he legitimate meaning of words and sentences precisely the same as if found in any other book.” (P Pratt & Judge Higbee, “An Address…”)

    I offer these quotes not to push an argument, but just to add some on topic examples for the discussion.

  14. Eveningsun says:

    Maybe the “marvelous” mindset or imagination by which “Smith and others created meaning in their exegesis” is the same imagination that enabled Smith to see/create meanings elsewhere as well. Maybe the “capacity to see the Book of Mormon in Isaiah” is the same capacity that allowed Smith to see the Book of Mormon in Indian burial mounds (or, even more “marvel”-ously, to see Zelph in a stray skull).

    When this capacity encounters Isaiah it seems a kind of literalism, but when it encounters a burial mound it is not at all literalist. Maybe what you’re proposing as “marvelous literalism” is just a subset of a larger religiously-infused imagination that is certainly “marvel”-ous but not always, in its general workings, literalist.

    If you haven’t done so already, you might want to read William Cullen Bryant’s poem “The Prairies” (1832) to see a somewhat different imagination–deistic rather than Protestant–performing a sort of exegesis of Indian burial mounds. (See http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/13694/)

  15. Sam:

    If you haven’t already, go dig up a copy of LeGrand Richards’ A Marvelous Work and a Wonder. It’s been years since I read it, but just based on my memories, it’s probably as classic an example of ‘marvelous literalism’ as you would want. ..bruce..

  16. early Methodist camp meetings used Ezekiel 21 to understand how exactly the bodies of the saved should respond.

    And now you gave away part of my Montreal paper, Matt. Thanks . :)

  17. I remember a college test where my classmates were asking questions about the test questions– the instructor expanded in a few places, interpreting some things more, and, when not wanting to provide more information, simply read the question back to us. Does this sound familiar?

    An observation: The questions on the test were specific to the group, the interpretation was specific to the lessons being taught to the particular group, and when no additional information was given, it was really an exercise of the judgment of the individual’s interpretation of the question.

    I would argue that insistence on particular interpretations or literal tendencies is ignoring the larger context.

  18. Thanks, taysom. J – from what little I know of pesher (which is not that much), it seems to me to have an impulse similar to the evangelical typology I describe – the desire to gain insights into God’s working in the present to study the past, but perhaps opposite methods. Typology tends to generalize, to reduce details in favor of broad themes, while from what I understand, pesher tend instead toward fantastic specificity and elaborate, almost esoteric correlation. That has more in common, I think, with fundamentalist prophecy writing like LaHaye.

  19. Whoops – ‘by studying the past.’

  20. I didn’t mean to trivialize typology. In some respects it’s the more mainstream Christian version of the rule of correspondence. I appreciate that it can be a way for narratives to be reactualized, to allow people to participate in the cosmic drama, and I admire its robustness and complexity.

    As for snake handlers, they’re a great example. My point is that describing Mormon marvelous literalism brings them into conversation with other groups who engage in similar behaviors. I don’t mean to offend either snake handlers or my coreligionists, but there are important similarities in radical charismatic exegesis and the early Mormon exegesis I’m describing.

    My problem with selective literalism is that it misses the spark of the miraculous and apparently absurd in early Mormon exegesis. They were certainly selective in their literalism, but when they were literal, they were rather marvelously literal.

    Ben, thanks for those sources. those are some I am thinking of. Reading JSJ on the beasts and image vs. entity is part of what got me thinking in terms of marvelous literalism.

  21. I wonder if reading the Noah cycle as a necessary literal baptism of the Earth (since Mormons see the Earth as ensouled and sentient) would fit under your creative literalism?

  22. I like the term “marvelous literalism.” I think it conveys exactly what you want it to say.

    This isn’t Joseph Smith, but in his best tradition, I’ve heard an interesting interpretation by Latter-day Saints of Isaiah 30:25

    And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill, rivers and streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.

    This, they say, is a prophecy of the living waters of the gospel being found upon the earth on that fateful day of 9/11.

  23. So the real question is does this bother you?

    When people liken the scriptures to themselves, they are not necessarily saying, “this is exactly what the writer was suggesting.” but rather, this is how the scripture applies to me.

    Sometime the Spirit really does impress people to read and see things in the Bible or BoM, etc in a different light with a new understanding.

    So if anyone would suggestion the arrows over the wall analogy was the -only- mean or even the fully intended meaning they might be wrong (who knows they could be write, I didn’t write it!). But it doesn’t mean they can’t use the writings in the scripture and apply them to our day.

    Otherwise all you’ve got is a book filled with 95% dead historical weight.

  24. Hi Sam,

    On the “the assault on Common Sense,” see my Sunstone presentation from last summer titled “Joseph Smith in Hermeneutical Crisis.” Also helpful is Craig J. Hazen’s essay in the New Mormon Challenge on the apologetic impulse in early Mormonism. There are also a number of excellent pieces out there about Mormon scripture as biblical midrash.

    One of my favorite examples of what you call “marvelous literalism” is the JST Genesis 17:3-7 interpretation of Hebrews 12:24. Here a somewhat metaphorical statement about the blood of Abel is turned into a reference to a literal cult of Abel.

  25. PRETRIB RAPTURE DISHONESTY

    by Dave MacPherson

    When I began my research in 1970 into the exact beginnings of the pretribulation rapture belief still held by many evangelicals, I assumed that the rapture debate involved only “godly scholars with honest differences.” The paper you are now reading reveals why I gave up that assumption many years ago. With this introduction-of-sorts in mind, let’s take a long look at the pervasive dishonesty throughout the history of the 179-year-old pretrib rapture theory:

    Mid-1820′s – German scholar Max Weremchuk’s work “John Nelson Darby” (1992) included what Benjamin Newton revealed about John Darby in the mid-1820′s during his pre-Brethren days as an Anglican clergyman:
    “J. N. Darby was a very subtle man. He had been a lawyer, or at least educated for the law. Once he wanted his Archbishop to pursue a certain course, when he (J.N.D.) was a curate in his diocese. He wrote a letter, therefore, saying he had been educated for the law, knew what the legal course would properly be; and then having written that clearly, he mystified the remainder of the letter both in word and in handwriting, and ended up by saying: You see, my Lord, such being the legal aspect of the case it would unquestionably be the best course for you to pursue, etc. And the Archbishop couldn’t make out the legal part, but rested on Darby’s word and did as he advised. Darby afterwards laughed over it, and indeed he showed a copy of the letter to Tregelles. This is not mentioned in the Archbishop’s biography, but in it is the fact that he spoke of Darby as ‘the most subtle man in my diocese.’”
    This reminds me of an 1834 letter by Darby which spoke of the “Lord’s coming.” Darby added, concerning this coming, that “the thoughts are new” and that during any teaching of it “it would not be well to have it so clear.” Darby’s deviousness here was his usage of a centuries-old term – “Lord’s coming” – to cover up his desire to sneak the new pretrib idea into existing posttrib groups in very low-profile ways!
    1830 – In the spring of 1830 a young Scottish lassie, Margaret Macdonald, came up with the novel notion of a catching up [rapture] of Spirit-filled “church” members before Antichrist’s “trial” [tribulation] of non-Spirit-filled “church” members – the first instance I’ve found of clear “pretrib” teaching (which was part of a partial rapture scheme). In Sep. 1830 “The Morning Watch” (a journal produced by London preacher Edward Irving and his “Irvingite” followers, some of whom had visited Margaret a few weeks earlier) began repeating her original thoughts and even her wording but gave her no credit – the first plagiarism I’ve found in pretrib history. Darby was still defending posttrib in Dec. 1830.
    Pretrib promoters have long known the significance of her main point: a rapture of “church” members BEFORE the revealing of Antichrist. Which is why John Walvoord quoted nothing in her revelation, why Thomas Ice habitually skips over her main point but quotes lines BEFORE and AFTER it, and why Hal Lindsey muddies up her main point so he can (falsely) assert that she was NOT a pretribber! (Google “X-Raying Margaret” for info about her.)
    NOTE: The development of the 1800′s is thoroughly documented in my book “The Rapture Plot.” You’ll learn that Darby wasn’t original on any chief aspect of dispensationalism (but plagiarized the Irvingites); that pretrib was initially based on only OT and NT symbols and not clear Scripture; that the symbols included the Jewish feasts, the two witnesses, and the man child – symbols adopted by Darby during most of his career; that Darby’s later reminiscences exaggerated his earliest pretrib development, and that today’s defenders such as Thomas Ice have further overstated what Darby overstated; that Irvingism didn’t need later reminiscences to “clarify” its own early pretrib development; that ancient hymns and even the writings of the Reformers were subtly revised to make it appear they had taught pretrib; and that after Darby’s death a clever revisionist quietly made many changes in early Irvingite and Brethren documents in order to steal credit for pretrib away from the Irvingites (and their female inspiration!) and give it dishonestly to Darby! (Before continuing, Google the “Powered by Christ Ministries” site and read “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers” – a sample of the current exciting internetism!)
    1920 – Charles Trumbull’s book “The Life Story of C. I. Scofield” told only the dispensationally-correct side of his life. Two recent books, Joseph Canfield’s “The Incredible Scofield and His Book” (1988) and David Lutzweiler’s “DispenSinsationalism: C. I. Scofield’s Life and Errors” (2006), reveal the other side including his being jailed as a forger, dishonestly giving himself a non-conferred “D.D.” etc. etc.!
    1967 – Brethren scholar Harold Rowdon’s “The Origins of the Brethren” quoted Darby associate Lord Congleton who was “disgusted with…the falseness” of Darby’s accounts of things. Rowdon also quoted historian William Neatby who said that others felt that “the time-honoured method of single combat” was as good as anything “to elicit the truth” from Darby. (In other words, knock it out of him!)
    1972 – Tim LaHaye’s “The Beginning of the End” (1972) plagiarized Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” (1970).
    1976 – Charles Ryrie”s “The Living End” (1976) plagiarized Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” (1970) and “There’s A New World Coming” (1973).
    1976 – After John Walvoord’s “The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation” (1976) brutally twisted Robert Gundry’s “The Church and the Tribulation” (1973), Gundry composed and circulated a 35-page open letter to Walvoord which repeatedly charged the Dallas Seminary president with “misrepresentation,” “misrepresentations” (and variations)!
    1981 – “The Fundamentalist Phenomenon” (1981) by Jerry Falwell, Ed Dobson, and Ed Hindson heavily plagiarized George Dollar’s 1973 book “A History of Fundamentalism in America.”
    1984 – After a prof at Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God in Florida told me that the No. 2 man at the AG world headquarters in Missouri – Joseph Flower – had the label of posttrib, my wife and I had two hour-long chats with him. He verified what I had been told. But we were dumbstruck when he told us that although AG ministers are required to promote pretrib, privately they can believe any other rapture view! Flower said that his father, an AG co-founder, was also posttrib. We also learned while in Springfield that when the AG’s were organized in 1914, the initial group was divided between posttribs and pretribs – but that the pretribs shouted louder which resulted in that denomination officially adopting pretrib! (For details on this and other pretrib double-mindedness, Google “Pretrib Hypocrisy.”)
    1989 – Since 1989 Thomas Ice has referred to the “Mac-theory” (his reference to my research), giving the impression there’s no solid evidence that Macdonald was the real pretrib originator. But Ice carefully conceals the fact that no eminent church historian of the 1800′s – whether Plymouth Brethren or Irvingite – credited Darby with pretrib. Instead, they uniformly credited leading Irvingite sources, all of which upheld the Scottish lassie’s contribution! Moreover, I’m hardly the only modern scholar seeing significance in Irvingism’s territory. Others in recent years who have noted it, but who haven’t mined it as deeply as I have, include Fuller, Ladd, Bass, Rowdon, Sandeen, and Gundry.
    1989 – Greg Bahnsen and Kenneth Gentry produced evidence in 1989 that Lindsey’s book “The Road to Holocaust” (1989) plagiarized “Dominion Theology” (1988) by H. Wayne House and Thomas Ice.
    1990 – David Jeremiah’s and C. C. Carlson’s “Escape the Coming Night” (1990) massively plagiarized Lindsey’s 1973 book “There’s A New World Coming.” (For more info, type in “Thieves’ Marketing” on MSN or Google.)
    1991 – Paul Lee Tan’s “A Pictorial Guide to Bible Prophecy” (1991) plagiarized large amounts of Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” (1970).
    1991 – Militant Darby defender R. A. Huebner claimed in 1991 to have found new evidence that Darby was pretrib as early as 1827 – three years before Macdonald. Halfway through his book Huebner suddenly admitted that his evidence could refer to something completely un-rapturesque. Even though Thomas Ice admitted to me that he knew that Huebner had “blown” his so-called evidence, prevaricator Ice continues to tell the world that Huebner has “positive evidence” that Darby was pretrib in 1827! Ice also conceals the fact that Darby, in his own 1827 paper, was looking for only “the restitution of all things” and “the times of refreshing” (Acts 3:19,21) – which Scofield doesn’t see fulfilled until AFTER a future tribulation!
    1992 – Tim LaHaye’s “No Fear of the Storm” (1992) plagiarized Walvoord’s “The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation” (1976).
    1992 – This was when the Los Angeles Times revealed that “The Magog Factor” (1992) by Hal Lindsey and Chuck Missler was a monstrous plagiarism of Prof. Edwin Yamauchi’s scholarly 1982 work “Foes from the Northern Frontier.” Four months after this exposure, Lindsey and Missler stated they had stopped publishing and promoting their book. But in 1996 Dr. Yamauchi learned that the dishonest duo had issued a 1995 book called “The Magog Invasion” which still had a substantial amount of the same plagiarism! (If Lindsey and Missler ever need hernia operations, I predict that the doctors will tell them not to lift anything for a long time!)
    1994 – In 1996 it was revealed that Lindsey’s “Planet Earth – 2000 A.D. (1994) had an embarrassing amount of plagiarism of a Texe Marrs book titled “Mystery Mark of the New Age” (1988).
    1995 – My book “The Rapture Plot” reveals the dishonesty in Darby’s reprinted works. It’s often hard to tell who wrote the footnotes and when. It’s easy to believe that the notes, and also unsigned phrases inside brackets within the text, were a devious attempt by someone (Darby? his editor?) to portray a Darby far more developed in pretrib thinking than he actually had been at the time. I found that some of the “additives” had been taken from Darby’s much later works, when he was more developed, and placed next to or inside his earliest works! One footnote by Darby’s editor, attached to Darby’s 1830 paper, actually stated that “it was not worth while either suppressing or changing” anything in this work! If his editor wasn’t open to such dishonesty, how can we explain such a statement?
    Post-1995 – Thomas Ice’s article “Inventor of False Pre-Trib Rapture History” states that my book “The Rapture Plot” is “only one of the latest in a series of revisions of his original discourse….” And David Reagan in his article “The Origin of the Concept of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture” repeats Ice’s falsehood by claiming that I have republished my first book “over the years under several different titles.”
    Although my book repeats a bit of the Macdonald origin of pretrib (for new readers), all of my books are packed with new material not found in my other works. For some clarification, “The Incredible Cover-Up” has photos of pertinent places in Ireland, Scotland, and England not found in my later books plus several chapters dealing with theological arguments; “The Great Rapture Hoax” quotes scholars throughout the Church Age, covers Scofield’s hidden side, a section on Powerscourt, the 1980 election, the Jupiter Effect, Gundry’s change, and more theological arguments; “The Rapture Plot” reveals for the first time the Great Evangelical Revisionism/Robbery and includes appendices on miscopying, plagiarism, etc.; and “The Three R’s” shows hypocritical evangelicals employing occultic beliefs they say they have long opposed!
    So Thomas Ice etc. are twisting truth when they claim I am only a revisionist. Do they really think that my publishers DON’T know what I’ve previously written?
    Re arguments, Google “Pretrib Rapture – Hidden Facts” and also obtain “The End Times Passover” and “Why Christians Will Suffer ‘Great Tribulation’ ” (AuthorHouse, 2006) by media personality Joe Ortiz.
    1997 – For years Harvest House Publishers has owned and been republishing Lindsey’s book “There’s A New World Coming.” During the same time Lindsey has been peddling his reportedly “new” book “Apocalyse Code” (1997), much of which is word-for-word the same as the Harvest House book – and there’s no notice of “simultaneous publishing” in either book! Talk about pretrib greed!
    1997 – This is the year I discovered that more than 50 pages of Dallas Seminary professor Merrill Unger’s book “Beyond the Crystal Ball” (Moody Press, 1973) constituted a colossal plagiarism of Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” (1970). After Lindsey’s book came out, Unger had complained that Lindsey’s book had plagiarized his classroom lecture notes. It was evident that Unger felt that he too should cash in on his own lectures! (The detailed account of this Dallas Seminary dishonesty is revealed in my 1998 book “The Three R’s.”)
    1998 – Tim LaHaye’s “Understanding the Last Days” (1998) plagiarized Lindsey’s “There’s A New World Coming” (1973).
    1999 – More than 200 pages (out of 396 pages) in Lindsey’s 1999 book “Vanished Into Thin Air” are virtually carbon copies of pages in his 1983 book “The Rapture” – with no “updated” or “revised” notice included! Lindsey has done the same nervy thing with several of his books, something that has allowed him to live in million-dollar-plus homes and drive cars like Ferraris! (See my Google articles “Deceiving and Being Deceived” and “Thieves’ Marketing” for further evidence of this notably pretrib vice.)
    2000 – A Jack Van Impe article “The Moment After” (2000) plagiarized Grant Jeffrey’s book “Final Warning” (1995).
    2001 – Since 2001 my web article “Walvoord’s Posttrib ‘Varieties’ – Plus” has been exposing his devious muddying up of posttrib waters. In some of his books he invented four “distinct” and “contradictory” posttrib divisions, claiming that they are either “classic” or “semiclassic” or “futurist” or “dispensational” – distinctions that disappear when analyzed! His “futurist” group holds to a literal future tribulation and a literal millennium but doesn’t embrace “any day” imminency. But his “dispensational” group has the same non-imminency! Moreover, tribulational futurism is found in every group except the first one, and he somehow admitted that a literal millennium is in all four groups! On the other hand, it’s the pretribs who consistently disagree with each other over their chief points and subpoints – but somehow end up agreeing that there will be a pretrib rapture! (See my chapter “A House Divided” in my book “The Incredible Cover-Up.”)
    2001 – Since my “Deceiving and Being Deceived” web item which exposed the claims for Pseudo-Ephraem” and “Morgan Edwards” as teachers of pretrib, there has been a piranha-like frenzy on the part of pretrib bodyguards and their duped groupies to “discover” almost anything before 1830 walking upright on two legs that seemed to have at least a remote hint of pretrib! (An exemplary poster boy for such pretrib practice is Grant Jeffrey. To get your money’s worth, Google “Wily Jeffrey.”)

    FINALLY: Don’t take my word for any of the above. Read my 300-page book “The Rapture Plot” which has a jillion more documented details on the long-hidden but now-revealed history of the dishonest, 179-year-old, fringe-British-invented, American-merchandised-until-the-real-bad-stuff-happens pretribulation rapture fad. If this book of mine doesn’t “move” you, I will personally refund what you paid for it!

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