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 Thomas Ice (Hired Gun)

By Dave MacPherson

Dave MacPherson Study Archive | The Real Manuel Lacunza | Deceiving and Being Deceived | Thomas Ice - Hired Gun | Scholars Weigh My Research | Margaret MacDonald's Originial Pretribulational Vision | Pre-Trib Rapture Die-hards | Revisers of Pre-Trib Rapture History

     It's been hard to keep up with Thomas Ice's huge bulk. For many years, as the No. 1 defender of what Kenneth Gentry in 1992 described as "knee-jerk, 1950s era dispensationalism," Ice has been feverishly producing a heavy volume of pretrib-salvaging rewrites (of articles by himself and others) at machine gun (or better yet, Tommy Gun) speed. Although I've shared some input on some of his output (see my internet piece "Deceiving, And Being Deceived"), it's time to cover the rest of his territory.

     In 1989 in House Divided's foreword, Gary North wrote: "We are still waiting for Professor John Hannah, a competent and talented church historian [at Dallas Seminary], to go into print and show from original source documents that MacPherson's thesis is nothing but a sham. Strangely, he has decided to remain silent." Perhaps feeling that he could answer my research better than Dr. Hannah could, Rev. Ice (then pastoring a tiny Bible church that shared a small building with a Texas saloon!) quickly pulled a 1989 paper out of his holster entitled "The Origin of the Pretrib Rapture."

     In it Ice had quotes from five eminent writers that he said "were not convinced of the Mac-theory" (his term for my findings): Sandeen (1970), Weber (1979), Reiter (1984), Bruce (1975), and Bell (1967). But Ice knew that Sandeen and Bell wrote before my printed research existed, that Reiter's quote merely summarized Ian Rennie's tentative reaction, that Bruce's undocumented statement that pretrib was "in the air in the 1820s and 1830s" was hardly a scientific conclusion, and that none of the five included quotes from Margaret Macdonald, Edward Irving, John Darby, or their contemporaries----and Ice has knowingly and repeatedly aired these misleading quotes since then! (My readers already know that Ice's 1989 reproduction of Macdonald's 1830 revelation account sloppily left out 48 words----the same 48 words that Tim LaHaye left out when he plagiarized Ice's version in 1992! If mechanics or lawyers or doctors were as careless as Ice, folks! would quickly get rid of them!)

     Ice seems to love quoting aberrational and unorthodox writers as well as unscholarly ones. In his 1989 paper he quoted Ernest Sandeen's 1970 book The Roots of Fundamentalism which claimed that Darby "was convinced about the [pretrib] doctrine as early as 1827." His sources were two Darby letters dated 1863 ("Christ coming to receive us to Himself") and 1855 (containing the same thought). (Here Sandeen proved nothing; before 1830 Christians had always used such phrases while expecting a second advent  that was "for" the church as well as "with" the church.)

     Sandeen also wrote that Irving and his followers never taught anything "resembling the secret rapture." Not only does my Plot book (pp. 73-80) generously disprove his assertion, but in the Winter, 1974 Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society eminent evangelical J. Barton Payne, when reviewing my first book, stated: "MacPherson has once and for all overthrown Ernest Sandeen's assertions that the Irvingites never 'advocated any doctrine resembling the secret rapture'...MacPherson has definitely confirmed conclusions of George Ladd, Robert Gundry, and the present reviewer that such connections [between "Darby" and "Irving's church"] did exist...."

     And why has Ice covered up Sandeen's apostasy? The preface in the 1978 Baker Book House reprint of Sandeen's Roots describes him as "a theological liberal" denying "the historicity of the resurrection."

     Concerning Miss Macdonald, Ice well knew during the 1980's that several of my books had been emphasizing her main point: that part of the church [partial rapturism] would be raptured before the revealing of Antichrist. So in his April-June, 1990 Bibliotheca Sacra article analyzing her revelation he carefully covered up her emphasis by quoting up to line 55 in her account, deliberately skipping over lines 58-63 (her main point), and then continuing his quotation of her while starting again at line 72! (See my internet article entitled "Deceiving, And Being Deceived" and observe Ice's perfidious manipulation of Pseudo-Ephraem and other equally vacuous claims.)

     One un-scholar that Ice leans on is Frank Marotta who, like R. A. Huebner, is an aging, obscurantistic, pretrib-defending member of the Darbyist Brethren. (Huebner is the person Walvoord leaned on heavily in the 1970's when opposing me even though Huebner never attended seminary, college, or even Bible school!) Like Huebner's, Marotta's writing has numerous copying errors when quoting others! Both Marotta and Ice, echoing fellow un-scholar John Bray, continue to promote an 18th century pastor, Morgan Edwards, as a pretrib.

     Both know that they have to twist or cover up Edwards' historicism (the belief that the tribulation has long been occurring during the church age) in order to pass Edwards off as a futurist pretrib. Marotta's 1995 booklet on Edwards was aware that Edwards viewed the Turkish Ottoman Empire (which was then already four centuries old) as Rev. 13's second beast while also seeing a future aspect of that empire. So what did Marotta do? He did what any unscrupulous pretrib promoter would do. He covered up the past aspect of that empire that Edwards noted and discussed only the future aspect that Edwards also saw!

     Ice knew that Marotta's brief, one-sided discussion of that empire was potentially dangerous because researchers could easily be drawn to it and then discover Marotta's brazen twisting of facts. So when Ice reproduced Marotta's comments in his Jan.-Feb., 1996 Pre-Trib Perspectives under the title "Dave MacPherson's The Rapture Plot: Weighed and Found Wanting," Ice played it safe and deleted Marotta's entire empire section!

     Marotta and Ice have drawn support for their anti-Macdonald crusade from even Columba G. Flegg, an ecumenical Greek Orthodox priest in England whose work 'Gathered Under Apostles' (Oxford Univ. Press, 1992) dishonestly portrays pretrib development among those in the early Irvingite orbit. Although he admits (p. 423) that Irvingism taught a "translation before the great tribulation," his anti-Macdonald bias shows as early as pp. 4-5 where he mentions my 1975 book The Incredible Cover-up and adds: "The conclusions reached in this work and the rationale behind them are hardly convincing."

     On p. 45 Flegg discusses John Cardale's account in the Dec., 1830 issue of the Irvingite journal The Morning Watch of his visit to a Port Glasgow prayer meeting. A woman present that Cardale identified as Macdonald prophesied that "the coming of the Lord" would deliver the church from future earthly "judgments"----a coming interpreted as pretrib by Irvingite observers of Macdonald who returned to London and soon echoed her distinctive teaching in the same journal. Two pages later Cardale again identified Macdonald as the same prophetess. But Flegg's readers are kept in the dark concerning her because although he does include her prophecy, he describes her as merely "one of the women present"! (Similarly, Darby's 1853 book, when plagiarizing the details Cardale had published of the same meeting, at least acknowledged Macdonald as the prophetess even though he carefully omitted the escapist coming that she prophesied. Even though Dar! by and Flegg have covered up different aspects of that meeting, the effect has been the same!)

     In Pre-Trib Perspectives (Feb., 2002) Ice told of the "discovery" of another pretrib teacher in the early 1300's in Italy that has great (I'm sarcastic here) documentation. The culprit was a Brother Dolcino, but unfortunately his writings don't exist! Long after his death an anonymous writer wrote a secondhand history of Dolcino's writings which declare no time length for Antichrist's reign which follows Dolcino and his followers being "transferred to Paradise," after which reign Dolcino will become the pope! Ice also knows that this "discovery" was edited several times between the 1300's and the 1900's! If this "doctrine" came from anything other than too much wine drinking, the anonymous history doesn't say. Obviously this "discovery" died with Dolcino.

     This is just a taste of the massive fantasy and dishonesty in pretrib circles. The whole sordid story is documented in my 300-page book The Rapture Plot (see or call 800-967-7345).

     As an American, Ice believes in majority rule. But when it comes to rapture views, maybe he and other pretrib desperados can explain why they don't follow the only rapture view held by the majority (easily 99 percent by even Ice's standards) of Christians before 1830!

What do YOU think ?

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11 Dec 2003




Personally, I feel that the arguments made in this essay are fallacious. They are arguments Ad hominem. The truth of the matter is that the Pre-trib doctrine is first mentioned in the BIBLE. As a fellow member of the Pre-trib Study Group, I find Dr. Ice as a wealth of knowledge. I strongly suggest that discussions pertaining to Biblical Prophecy be made theological, and not against any proponent of a certain theological perspective. I along with others in the Pre-trib camp, am well able to answer any arguments made against the Pre-trib doctrine, theologically as well as logically. To the well intentioned, yet misguided originator of this essay, if you have theological arguments to make against the Pre-trib doctrine, please direct them to me for rebuttal. I am a strong and ardent apologist of the Pre-trib doctrine, and am fully capable to defending said truth. Dr. Himie M. Pickett Institute of Theological Studies Washington, D.c.


25 Jan 2004




I would be more inclined to take you seriously if you didnt make fun of Dr Ice. Your little slams about him make you look like your not concerned for or love Dr Ice. I love Dr Ice, but if I disagreed with him I would not try to belittle him. I you disagree with tell him with dignity and compassion. Zeke Steingraber


28 Mar 2004




Just read your article, you come across as arrogant and unprofessional. Due to the the tone of your message I would find it very hard to trust anything that you have written. I believe in being bold in the truth but when you resort to childish name calling I get the feeling that you are not to confident in your facts. T.J.


29 Mar 2004




Hi, I am troubled by the problem of the loss of life that will occur at the time of the Rapture. With all of the Chosen leaving suddenly, the critical activities that they would be doing would be left without someone in control. Airline pilots, surgeons, and automobile drivers for example. Isn't it a moral responsibility for a righteous Christian to perform less critical professions so that there would be no loss of life due to their fault when the event comes? Thanks, Joe


12 Jun 2004




Hi Dave, I came here looking for information - what I found is what appears to be a personal vendetta, or some type of sounding board to satisfy your own conscience. The problem with that is, that others also stumbling across your site, while searching for answers, find another example of why they don't like Christianity. Thanks for confirming, and reminding, me why I can't stand Christians in general. They preach at me about this loving Jesus, and how he's changed their lives, and can do the same for me - but... I rarely see it. This is another prime example.


07 Oct 2004




Tell any Jew that the nation ceased to exist in AD 70 and they will laugh in your face. This is another reason why the preterists and covenant theology/replacement theology people have it all so very wrong, Greetings to all who love the Lord Jesus and look for His appearing RJM


07 Oct 2004




No temple - no nation. The world ended for them with churban habayit on Tisha B'Av AD70

  Date: 26 Mar 2005
Time: 20:19:46

Comments :

I do not know Mr. Ice from hill beans but I do not seen the Word of Christ in your appeal (Thomas Ice (Hired Gun)), therefore what you say is null and void - I will not linger any futher in web page.  M. Erickson

Date: 28 Nov 2005
Time: 18:14:29


Dear all, and especially M. Erickson:
When a polemic is written to expose misquotes and contextually inaccurate statements, particularly when respectable Christian theologians use these misquotes, an appeal to the original sources must be the emphasis. It is obvious that MacPherson is not making a direct rebuttal of pretribulationism in this article. He is exposing the questionable sources used to support the alleged “credible historicity” of the pretribulation doctrine. He is, therefore, not wrong to support his article with generous recourses to the original sources. Even respectable, well-qualified, scholarly, dispensational theologians must observe the ninth commandment. Kind regards.
Vincent C.

Date: 04 Jan 2006
Time: 20:05:16


Mr. MacPherson, you state "As an American, Ice believes in majority rule. But when it comes to rapture views, maybe he and other pretrib desperados can explain why they don't follow the only rapture view held by the majority..." (WOW, that was written for non-thinkers!)

Yes, in our democracy, majority rules. But the right to freely believe is not dominated or dictated to by the beliefs of the majority (yet). Thank God, we have the right to seek out the truth of Scripture and have been given the works of those who dedicated their lives to researching and teaching ALL of the Bible. Their works have the standards of the Bereans, and they have taught me to settle for nothing less.

I have been taught by THE BEST for 35 years, and one of the first and greatest was the late Dr. John F. Walvoord. I'm sure you remember him, though, as I recall, you referred to him as Dr. WallBoard, with a great deal of distain and disrespect.

The day that all of the (apostate) church shares a faith that is based on the RULE of majority - - as you seem to desire - - will also be prophecy fulfilled, which is happening rather quickly of late, wouldn't you agree? In the meantime, I'll continue to study the Bible for its intended and correctly translated meaning, rather than to spiritualize and manipulate it to suit personal agendas, and I'll study under the many great pre-trib teachers of the day, including Dr. Thomas Ice. I believe JESUS was pretty much in the MINORITY in what He believed and taught, too.

Could you be suffering from the white-washed-tomb syndrome, sir? I have to wonder what has made you so full of anger and sarcasm; you're bearing such bitter fruit. As for being a "pre-trib desperado," that was another of your no-brainer terms. We're the ones who aren't desperate. We are quite secure, because we personally know the Author, and believe in and trust His last book!


Date: 12 Feb 2006
Time: 10:53:41


I noticed one pro-pretibber referring to Mr Ice as
"DR" Ice. Could you please disclose what seminary,community college, or even online study he has degree from? I will be looking foward to your reply, as I use this website often. As far as Rapture, don't you think it would be equivilent to a football coach benching his star players, & putting in the "second string" to face the antichrist?

                                Rodney Long

Date: 12 Sep 2006
Time: 14:30:04


Dr. Ice has a B.A. from Howard Payne University, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Tyndale Theological Seminary.

Date: 13 Oct 2006
Time: 08:26:11


According to your conclusion the "majority should rule"? Wow, I wonder if there were any social or political problems that were present in the early 1800's in America that existed because of majority rule? Hmmm, maybe SLAVERY!? Instead of being rulled by a majority of public opinion....let's be ruled by the Word of God!

Date: 11 Feb 2007
Time: 12:10:38


This could also said of " The just shall live by his faith" which up to Luther was not believed from the second century, yet you would not say that the 99% were correct. When you study Mr J N Darby's life I know of no other saint of God in the last 200 years that come close to his understanding and love for his Savior, evangelical christianity will owe an eternal dept of gratitude to this most beloved and at the same time maligned saint.

Date: 15 Apr 2007
Time: 17:14:46


(then pastoring a tiny Bible church that shared a small building with a Texas saloon!) What is you point! Slam Character first? Please, I would be upset if it was said of a muslim, JV, Morom, etc.,
Get with the facts! Not un Christ-like comments!

Date: 22 Jul 2007
Time: 19:15:10


Having read all of your books plus perusing your internet site it is painfully obvious that you have long held a vendetta against those whom you percieve to have wronged your father because he taught something other than dispensationalism.

Your personal attacks against those who teach a different eschtalogical perspective is not God-honoring. I would suggest that perhaps you should get on your knees before God and repent of your hostile attitude and ask Him to give you a heart of true humility and forgiveness (you might suggest to DeMar, Gentry and others that they do likewise).

Attack dispensationalism if you must but do so in a scholarly fashion and leave all of the name-calling and invectives behind. I will be praying for you.

Rev. Ray Barnes

Date: 12 Jun 2009
Time: 01:05:49

Your Comments:

Preterists vs. Futurists: both playing into Satan's hands. It is not wise to play fast and loose with God's prophetic time-line. The futurist view is in the majority right now and will probably remain there until the return of our LORD to clear up this whole mess. Francisco Ribera, S.J. (1537-1591) "Father of Futurism": to counter-reform the reformers who all fingered the papacy as "the man of sin", "the beast", "anti-christ". (Robert Bellermine, "canonized saint" continued Ribera's work). Luiz de Alcazar, S.J. (c.1569) Inventor of Preterism: to counter-reform the reformers who all fingered the papacy as anti-christ. See a pattern here? Ask an educated futurist why they interpret Dan.8's "little horn" as Antiochus Epiphanes IV (preterism), but interpret Dan.7's "little horn" as a future "Mr. Sin" (futurism). Preterism vs. Futurism: both playing into Satan's deception. Mark of the beast: here now and awaiting enforcement.

Date: 01 Jul 2012
Time: 21:30:23

Your Comments:

hes just attacking the rather questionable sources that these so-called historians have made....i dont think they are really personal attacks

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