By now most everyone knows that the famous pretribulation rapture can be traced back to1830 and to a young woman in Scotland named Margaret Macdonald. But how many are aware that this end time belief has been dominated by males during the 184 years of its existence?
My book "The Rapture Plot" lists several reasons why the male-dominated theological world of 1830 gave her no public credit for her novel prophetic invention:
She was a female.
She was young.
She was uneducated.
And she had been a Christian only a year.
A few months after her history making revelation, a journal published by Rev. Edward Irving known as "The Morning Watch" (which had sent writers to interview Margaret in mid-1830) repeated the essence of her new view in its September 1830 issue but gave her no credit - the first instance I've found of plagiarism in pretribulationism's history which has long been riddled with dishonesty!
Credit for Margaret was still lacking two years later when the same journal talked about recent advancements in theology. It didn't mention her but undoubtedly had her in mind when it stated:
"The Spirit of God has caused several young women, in different parts of Great Britain, to condense into a few broken sentences more and deeper theology than even Vaughan, Chalmers, or Irving uttered in their longest sermons; and therefore more than all the rest of the Evangelical pulpits ever put forth in the whole course of their existence."
In 1833, after he had joined Irving's church in London and then had become disillusioned over the new pretrib rapture that Irving had accepted, British lawyer Robert Baxter left that assembly and wrote a book exposing the same rapture notion, referring to it as "the delusion" that had "first appeared in Scotland" - but again Margaret's name was missing.
Margaret's pretrib revelation was included in a book in 1840 by Robert Norton M.D. who, by the way, had married her in 1835 and who later became a leading historian in the Irvingite church founded by Irving. Although he didn't reveal Margaret as the pretrib rapture originator in 1840 (since it wasn't customary then to identify the authors of personal revelations while they were living), after Margaret died in 1841 he finally named her as the theory's originator in an 1861 book of his.
Meanwhile John Darby of the Plymouth Brethren knew that the Irvingites had been teaching the new pretrib doctrine while he had still been clinging to the historical posttribulation view. He also knew that the secretive and non-missionary-minded Irvingites had never wanted to share the new escapist doctrine with outsiders in a big way.
In an 1834 letter while talking about the new pretrib view that Irving's journal had been teaching, Darby told fellow Brethren that "the thoughts are new," adding that during any teaching of it "it would not be well to have it so clear." In fact he gloated about this in an 1843 letter while telling about hearers who had been accepting the new fly-away belief "without knowing whence it came or how it sprung up all of a sudden"!
Not one to let a good thing go to waste, Darby decided that he could capitalize on it if the Irvingites weren't going to. So between 1862 and 1877 opportunist Darby spread the "borrowed" pretrib escapism while planting new Brethren assemblies in countries around the world including the US.
The highlight of my "Rapture Plot" book was my accidental discovery of a well engineered plot in the late 1800s to wrongfully credit John Darby of the Plymouth Brethren as the pretrib rapture originator. This was accomplished after his death by one of his followers who secretly and maliciously made many quiet revisions in early Irvingite and Brethren documents and skillfully covered everything up - a plot that has long been unknown by church historians everywhere!
We now fast forward to Kansas and a simple gravestone in Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Atchison which is etched with "Leontine Cerre Scofield (1848 1936)." Leontine should have been one of the most famous women of all time. But she's still unknown because her husband never referred to her publicly after he became famous.
He was obsessed with making money, legally and illegally. He stole thousands of dollars from friends and deserted Leontine and his children for several years. His desertion forced her to work for the family's support.
He claimed he was converted to Christ in 1879. But a year later he was in a St. Louis jail for six months on a forgery conviction. He had stolen his mother-in-law's last $1300 in a real estate scam. On Dec. 8, 1883 Leontine divorced him - and he remarried three months later!
As late as 1899, when he preached D. L. Moody's funeral sermon, he was still issuing IOU's to keep from paying back the thousands of dollars he'd stolen!
In 1909 he pulled off the biggest coup of his money-obsessed career. He became the biggest trafficker of the pretrib rapture which he featured in a book he put together which brought him a fortune. The Christian Zionism-flavored book that made him wealthy is still a big seller today and is known as the Scofield Reference Bible which states on the title page "Edited by Rev. C. I. Scofield, D.D." (but it doesn't reveal that he added the D.D. himself instead of letting some institution confer it!).
Although many have lately been abandoning the same 184-year-old British import after finding out the facts about its dishonesty-riddled history (as outlined in web articles like "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" and "Pretrib Rapture Stealth," males still seem to be dominating as writers, publishers, and promoters of it, and there seems to be no end of end time rapture books, videos, and movies.
If women had had the same opportunities as men after 1830 (when a young lassie came up with the now-famous pretrib interpretation), their basically discerning and honest nature would have exploded this male-dominated theological hoax long before now!