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John Nelson Darby.
John Nelson Darby (18 November 1800 – 29 April 1882) was an Anglo-Irish evangelist, and an influential figure among the original Plymouth Brethren. He is considered to be the father of modern Dispensationalism. He produced a translation of the Bible based on the Hebrew and Greek texts called The Holy Scriptures: A New Translation from the Original Languages by J. N. Darby.

Biography

Early years

John Nelson Darby was born in Westminstermarker, Londonmarker, and christened at St. Margaret'smarker on 3 March 1801. He came from an Anglo-Irish landowning family seated at Leap Castle, King's County, Irelandmarker. He was the nephew of Admiral Henry D'Esterre Darby and his middle name was given in recognition of his godfather and family friend, Lord Nelson.

Darby was educated at Westminster Schoolmarker and Trinity College, Dublinmarker where he graduated Classical Gold Medallist in 1819. Darby embraced Christianity during his studies, although there is no evidence that he formally studied theology. He joined an inn of court, but felt that being a lawyer was inconsistent with his religious belief. He therefore chose ordination as an Anglican clergyman in Irelandmarker, "lest he should sell his talents to defeat justice." In 1825, Darby was ordained deacon of the established Church of Ireland and the following year as priest.

Middle years

Darby became a curate and distinguished himself for his successful ministry among the Roman Catholic peasants of his parish in Calary, near Enniskerrymarker, County Wicklowmarker. The well-known gospel tract 'How the Lost Sheep was Saved' [11210] gives us his personal account of a visit he paid to a dying shepherd boy in this area, painting a vivid picture of what his work among the poor people involved. He later claimed to have won hundreds of converts to the Church of Ireland. However, the conversions ended when William Magee, the Archbishop of Dublin, ruled that converts were obliged to swear allegiance to George IV as rightful king of Irelandmarker. A copy of the charge can be obtained from one of two nationally significant Brethren Archives: either the Christian Brethren Archive, JRULM, Manchester University or the private archive of Edwin Cross, Fountain House, London.

Darby resigned his curacy in protest. Soon after, in October 1827, he fell from a horse and was seriously injured. He later stated that it was during this time that he began to believe that the "kingdom" described in the Book of Isaiah and elsewhere in the Old Testament was entirely different from the Christian church.

Over the next five years, he developed the principles of his mature theology—most notably his conviction that the very notion of a clergyman was a sin against the Holy Spirit, because it limited the recognition that the Holy Spirit could speak through any member of the Church. During this time he joined an interdenominational meeting of believers (including Anthony Norris Groves, Edward Cronin, J. G. Bellett, and Francis Hutchinson) who met to "break bread" together in Dublin as a symbol of their unity in Christ. By 1832, this group had grown and began to identify themselves as a distinct Christian assembly. As they traveled and began new assemblies in Ireland and England, they formed the movement now known as the Plymouth Brethren.

It is believed that John Nelson Darby left the Church of Ireland around 1831 The year in which Darby left the Church of Ireland, a branch of the Anglican Church, is not certain but a concensus of opinion is that it was possibly around 1831. Searches for formal documentation of his resignation have been made in the Church of Ireland archives, but nothing has been found. .He participated in the 1831-33 Powerscourt Conferencemarker, an annual meeting of Bible students organized by his friendIt is widely believed that Darby and Lady Powerscourt were romantically attached but friends persuaded him that any marriage may prove a distraction., the wealthy widow Lady Powerscourt (Theodosia Wingfield Powerscourt). At the conference Darby publicly described his ecclesiological and eschatological views, including the pretribulation rapture. For about 40 years William Kelly (1821-1906) was his chief interpreter and continued to be a staunch supporter until his own death. Kelly in his work "John Nelson Darby as I knew him" stated that "a saint more true to Christ's name and word I never knew or heard of".

Darby defended Calvinist doctrines when they came under attack from within the Church in which he once served. His biographer Goddard states, "Darby indicates his approval of the doctrine of the Anglican Church as expressed in Article XVII of the Thirty-Nine Articles" on the subject of election and predestination. Darby said:

Later years

Darby traveled widely in Europe and Britain in the 1830s and 1840s, and established many Brethren assemblies. He gave 11 significant lectures in Genevamarker in 1840 on the hope of the church (L’attente actuelle de l'église.) [see references] These established his reputation as a leading interpreter of biblical prophecy. The beliefs he disseminated then are still being propagated (in various forms) at such places as Dallas Theological Seminary and Bob Jones Universitymarker and by authors and preachers such as Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye. In 1848, Darby became involved in a complex dispute over the proper method for maintaining shared standards of discipline in different assembles that resulted in a split between Open Brethren and Exclusive Brethren. After that time, he was recognized as the dominant figure among the Exclusives, who also came to be known as "Darbyite" Brethren. He made at least 5 missionary journeys to North America between 1862 and 1877. He worked mostly in New Englandmarker, Ontariomarker, and the Great Lakes Region, but took one extended journey from Toronto to Sydney by way of San Franciscomarker, Hawaiimarker, and New Zealandmarker. A Geographical Index of his letters (available from Chapter Two, London) is currently available and lists where he traveled. He used his classical skills to translate the Bible from Hebrew and Greek texts. In English he wrote a Synopsis of the Bible and many other scholarly religious articles. He wrote hymns and poems, the most famous being, "Man of Sorrows". He was also a Bible Commentator. He declined however to contribute to the compilation of the Revised Version of the King James Bible.



He died 1882 in Sundridge House, Bournemouth and is buried in Bournemouth, Dorset, England.

Later influence

Darby is noted in the theological world as the father of "dispensationalism," later made popular in the United States by Cyrus Scofield's Scofield Reference Bible. Charles Henry Mackintosh, 1820-1896, with his popular style spread Darby's teachings to humbler elements in society and may be regarded as the journalist of the Brethren Movement. CHM popularised Darby more than any other Brethren author.Darby is sometimes credited with originating, the "secret rapture" theory wherein Christ will suddenly remove His bride, the Church, from this world before the judgments of the tribulation. Dispensationalist beliefs about the fate of the Jews and the re-establishment of the Kingdom of Israel put dispensationalists at the forefront of Christian Zionism, because "God is able to graft them in again," and they believe that in His grace he will do so according to their understanding of Old Testament prophecy. They believe that, while the ways of God may change, His purposes to bless Israel will never be forgotten, just as He has shown unmerited favour to the Church, He will do so to a remnant of Israel to fulfill all the promises made to the genetic seed of Abraham.

Works



References

  1. page 82
  2. page 46
  3. Goddard, "The Contribution of Darby," p. 86
  4. The Man of Sorrows
  5. The Confessions by Aleister Crowley


  • The Watching Servant, Words of Truth: Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • John Nelson Darby - as I knew him, William Kelly, Words of Truth: Belfast, Northern Ireland


See also



External links




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