References and Citations
The following references, by Christian authors Tim LaHaye, Hal Lindsey, David Wilkerson, and C. Norman Kraus — and by Jewish author David Brog, provide some contemporary insight into the history and influence of the so-called Plymouth Brethren movement.
In Rapture under Attack (published by Multnomah Press), Tim LaHaye writes, "John Darby figures to be a central figure in any study of the pre-Trib Rapture. There is little question that he did more than any other man to organize and popularize the view both in the United States and Great Britain. Born in 1800 and single all his life, he dedicated his boundless energies to advancing the cause of Christ through soul-winning, preaching, Bible teaching, church building, conference teaching, and publishing."
In Planet Earth The Final Chapter (published by Western Front), Hal Lindsey writes, "During World War I, a British scientist, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, developed a synthetic acetone that helped the British to develop new, smokeless gunpowder, which significantly shortened the war. In gratitude, the British government offered to grant Weizmann a 'boon'. Weizmann, a Zionist leader, asked for a homeland for his people. His request resulted in the issuance of the Balfour declaration, which stated in part: 'His Majesty's government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object'. Lord Balfour had become an avid believer in the literal interpretation of Bible prophecy, through the influence of John Darby's extensive ministry. As a result, he believed that God could not lie to the Jewish people when He promised to return them to their own land and reestablish the State of Israel. Lord Balfour, with the assistance of another Member of Parliament named Lord Lindsay, who also believed in the literal promises of Bible prophecy, had exerted considerable influence on their colleagues for the sake of seeking to help establish a Jewish homeland."
In the preface to Hungry for More of Jesus (published by Chosen Books), David Wilkerson writes, "I have in my library twelve volumes by J. B. Stoney, a devout writer among Plymouth Brethren. Every volume centers on Christ thousands of pages extolling the beauty of our Lord and His ministry as A Man in Glory. In devouring these precious books, I find myself continually humbled and challenged by this brother who has written so much on the single subject of the glory of Christ."
In Christianity in America (published by Lion Publishing), C. Norman Kraus writes, "Dispensationalism is a system of scriptural interpretation which was first developed in Plymouth Brethren circles in England and Ireland in the 1830s and spread to North America beginning in the 1850s. John Nelson Darby seems to have been the most seminal thinker in formulating the system. Almost all the distinctive doctrines of present-day Dispensationalism can be traced to his writings. In America the system appeared in its classic form in the notes of the Scofield Reference Bible (1909) which has had wide influence, especially among fundamentalists."
In Standing With Israel (published by FrontLine), David Brog writes, "What made the Plymouth Brethren unique was not their views on the church but their views on the Jews. The Brethren rejected replacement theology and instead embraced a theology that held that the Jews were still the "Israel" to which so much is promised in the Bible. More importantly, the Brethren succeeded in transmitting their minority view of the Jews to Christian groups far larger and more influential than their own. The Christian Zionist movement was built on a foundation of Plymouth Brethren theology."
In "The History of End Times Belief", published by New York University, the author states, "The contemporary American version of apocalypticism is based on the writings of the Englishman John Nelson Darby. ... According to Darby, the current dispensation began with the Crucifixion; the next will begin with the Rapture of the Saved, leading to a seven-year period during which the Antichrist will rule the earth; and then will come Armageddon and the Last Judgment. Darby wrote that this was the literal truth of Revelation. Darby's dispensationalism was adopted by the fundamentalist C. I. Scofield's First Reference Bible, and is the standard reading of Revelation among those Christians who believe in biblical inerrancy, including Billy Graham and Hal Lindsey." For another perspective on this topic, read this article entitled Dispensational Theology From Darby to LaHaye.
References to Plymouth Brethren