Updated comment on the Exclusive Brethren web site in July 2006
One wonders why they need to respond to “The Rapture - a biblical fact, or just a figment of the imagination ?” The article, so far as my search engine is concerned, does not appear on the world wide web and I cannot trace that it has been published in any other way. Perhaps they think they have got an easy target.
It may be said that all those who can be brought under the heading of Plymouth Brethren as well as many others believe in “The Rapture” although they may disagree about details.
“Come with Him from heaven” is based on the assumption that when the saints are caught up to meet Christ in the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:17) they are taken to heaven and come back later. This is I doubt a universally agreed interpretation of the passage. It involves adding to what Scripture actually says. See my web site www.gsimmonds.com, indexed under “Second Coming, The”. I doubt the saints will exercise judgement on the wicked. This will be carried out by angels (see the Lord’s parables and Revelation). The quote from Jude 14 may be taken to imply that the saints are involved in executing judgement though perhaps this inference is not intended. (Mr. Darby has some interesting comments regarding the Rapture (not dogmatic) in his letters Vol. 3 page 282). There is also a good deal about the Rapture on the My Brethren web site.
It appears that the mistake in the attribution of the article “Coming to Jesus” has been corrected and the title changed to “Appealing to the right Man”. One cannot trace any amendments to the other articles. Are the articles now on sale to the general public ? It would seem sensible to do this now that some ministry has been publicised on the world wide web, unless one is going to argue that they are all Gospel tracts, which they clearly are not.
One notices that the bit about home ownership has been removed. I wonder whether my criticisms of this piece had an effect.
The only other amendment I have noticed (there may be others) is the capital letter D for disciples has been changed to a lower case d on the page about meeting rooms.
One suspects that recent articles have not been edited for fear of editors suffering the fate of the late Horace Stanley ! (see my comment made last year regarding the ministry of Mr. B. D. Hales).
One also suspects that Mr. Raven’s address: “Landmarks of grace in Luke’s Gospel is included because it is regarded as acceptable by Mr. B. D. Hales who referred to it in his address: “Have you had a transaction with Christ”.
One wonders why the sections on education and employment have not yet appeared, though the words “Coming Soon” are still in place and the web site has been in existence for over a year.
The Sociology piece about marriage in Australia has a certain interest, but we must remember that people’s behaviour is often affected by sanctions - in the case of Exclusives: exclusion from fellowship. However, in countries where adultery is a capital offence it is not likely to be so prevalent as in countries where it is not. Similarly, polygamy is not likely to be prevalent where there are legal sanctions against it. Today, we have in the Western World what a neighbour of mine called serial polygamy, rather than a multiplicity of wives at the same time.
I fear that what the Exclusives are now putting on their web site are things to divert attention from the serious state in which they are as detailed on the Trevor Hill web site. The Exclusives clearly want to make out that they are maintaining the doctrines put forth by Mr. Darby and others in the 19th century.
One wonders if the Exclusives noticed that the next verse in James to the one that I quoted , that is James 2:6, refers to the rich dragging Christians before tribunals. I would not want to find myself doing that sort of thing. There might be times one would have to go to law, but one would have to be very sure that it would be right to do so. I have Enduring Powers of Attorney to look after the affairs of people who for various reasons feel they cannot deal with their financial affairs themselves. It is my duty to protect their assets and this might involve legal action, though I am thankful to say that it has not done so to date.