The Link: John Nelson Darby and Winston Churchill

I researched whether John Darby ever met Winston Churchill. Apparently not. It seems though that at least one student of Darby ministered to Churchill. John Nelson Darby died about 1880. Winston Churchill was born in 1874, which meant he was too young to have learned from Darby directly. Here's the evidence tying Churchill to Darby's associate- Robert Chapman (1803-1902 Churchill was 28 in 1902). Consider the following two points:

  • John Nelson Darby said of Robert Chapman: "He lives what I teach."1
  • As a young man, Winston Churchill was taken to visit him1
  1. Robert Chapman's Biography
  2. Google search for further research ("winston churchill" "Nelson darby")

Winston Chuchill's Armageddonism

I always thought of Winston Churchill as a man of peace. When I read his visions of war in the middle east, I found myself having to read and re-read his words to make sure I didn't misread it. It leaves no doubt in my mind of the influence of Armageddonism on Churchill's mindset. What did Winston Churchill say that raises this irksome cloud over his head? Robert Fisk, a british journalist, delved into history and here's what he found reading Winston Churchill:

I’m going to read you a very brief paragraph by Winston Churchill, not about the Battle of Britain. It is Churchill prophesying the future from 1937, eleven years before the Nakba. This is Winston Churchill writing in a totally forgotten essay.

He reflected upon the future and wrote of the impossibility of a partitioned Palestine. And he talked of how, I quote -- this is Winston Churchill in 1937 --“The wealthy, crowded, progressive Jewish state” -- see, it doesn’t exist yet, but he’s already getting it right --“lies in the plains and on the sea coast of Palestine. Around it, in the hills and the uplands, stretching far and wide into the illimitable deserts, the warlike Arabs of Syria of Transjordania, of Arabia, backed by the armed forces of Iraq, offer the ceaseless menace of war. To maintain itself,” -- 1937, remember, -- “To maintain itself, the Jewish state will have to be armed to the teeth and must bring in every able-bodied man to strengthen its army. But how long will this process be allowed to continue by the great Arab populations in Iraq and Palestine? Can it be expected that the Arabs would stand by impassively and watch the building up, with Jewish world capital and resources, of a Jewish army, equipped with the most deadly weapons of war until it was strong enough not to be afraid of them? And if ever the Jewish army reached that point, who can be sure,” Churchill asked, “that, cramped within their narrow limits, they would not plunge out into the new undeveloped lands that lay around them?”

“Ouch,” I said when I read that. 1937.

-Robert Fisk [Sources: Pacific Views, Democracy Now]

The question that must be answered now is: what ideology did Churchill subscribe to which made him such a supporter of conflict? The bitter answer is that he was most likely influenced by the teachings of John Nelson Darby - the father of modern day premillenial dispensationalism (AKA Armageddonism).

Armageddonism, Big Money, and Policy Formulation

When analyzing middle east events and ideas, some notable scholars such as Noam Chomsky place a great emphasis on Oil as the driving engine. Their theme follows the logic of:

  • We are interested in the middle-east because of energy concerns.
  • Politicians are corrupted by oil money.
This however is only a partial answer since it does not address the question of why it is that Armageddonist preachers who don't see a penny from oil still support the policies pushed by those who stand to profit from oil. This is where it helps to look at the links between Armageddonism, Money, and Policy Formulation. The Tom Delay scandal as an example of how things work: If you've followed the delay scandal... the politicians were using the religious leadership to influence the public into supporting a position which the politicians were getting big bucks for in return.

In the Delay scandal, the entities behind the big bucks were Indian Casinos. In the Middle East, those entities are big oil companies with the largest profit margin in the history of the world.

In the Delay scandal, religious leaders told their congregants to oppose casinos from being built as a moral obligation. While in the middle east, religious leaders beat the war drums claiming Armageddon is a birth-pang which will result in peace for the world through the second coming of Jesus Christ.

GodAssault: Armageddonism's Ultimate Aim

An up and coming journalist to watch out for is Lisa Lambert, who wrote a piece entitled GodAssault: Morality as the Ultimate Game which appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle's Insight section. In it, she mentions the following about that the Armageddonists' end-game being a blood-bath:

If you read the Book of Revelation as the physical, material truth, then you come to see God's game as one played in a swirling, planet-devouring vortex of blood and violence.
and before this she writes that the same people who believed in such things were also responsible for electing the delivering the presidency to Bush:
As it happened, those "nuts" won the election for the president. Ill-prepared newscasters promptly relabeled them "moral voters," showing how little they understood about the new religion practiced in Calvary Chapel.
And she argues that these people are only interested in Bush because he was a candidates "who laced his speeches with secret signals to fellow worshipers and considered praying his most important action before starting an unjust war." As a group, the one word which accurately describes their belief system is Armageddonism. Their ultimate hope is for Armageddon to happen within their life-time.

NY Times Reporter Equates Armageddonism w/Anti-semitism

New York Times reporter Chris Hedges equates the arguments of Armageddonists with Hitler's anti-semitism:

"They don't commit crimes; they have things inherently built into their character. I mean, it's very much like anti-Semitism. And the only way to get rid of it is to eradicate it, because to be a Jew, to be a Serb, to be a Muslim is to have these qualities that destroy our civilization, and we must, therefore, destroy them." [continue reading this article...]
Take this analysis, and listen to John Hagee, pastor of a San Antonio Mega-church, as he tells his audience "either we kill them (Muslims) or they kill us." The violence he beckons his followers to is chilling. The fact that other leaders don't denounce his statements is the real danger.

Chris Hedges on Armageddonism

On the Colbert Report, Chris Hedges talks about his book, "American Fascists, The Christian Right & the War on America."

So how does this topic fit into the United States of Israel-Palestine theme of this site?

If peace is a building; Armageddonism is a wrecking ball.

Muslim Response to Armageddonism

Dr. Safar Al-Hawali, a muslim scholar, responds to Armageddonism in an article titled, "False Massiahs." It begins with the following words:

America, as Edward Said says, is more occupied with religion than any other nation, and in America there is a totally mad fundamentalist current that seeks to hasten the second-coming of Christ, and who are prepared to do the stupidest thing in the world in order to achieve it. (read on...)
You can't fix the problem unless you study it. So long as the next round of presidential candidates abstain from addressing the tide of Armageddonist activism within the power structure, the war drums will continue to be sounded louder and louder.