For years, critics of premillennialism have argued that John Nelson Darby was the source for the doctrine of the rapture and dispensationalism. Building upon years of research in seventeenth century and eighteenth-century English theological writings, William Watson argues that dispensationalism and the ideas associated with it were long part of British theological discourse. Drawing upon hundreds of early printed English books and years of archival study in primary sources and British libraries, Watson demonstrates that Darby’s thought was neither aberrant nor original. To the contrary, he was following a long line of British clergy who anticipated the restoration of Jews to a national homeland and the imminent return of Jesus Christ.
William C. Watson is Professor of History at Colorado Christian University and specializes in seventeenth and eighteenth-century English history. He received a B.A. in History from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, an M.Div. from Talbot School of Theology, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in British history from the University of California, Riverside. He was a 2004 Fulbright Scholar in Moldova and is a frequent conference speaker on British theology and history.
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