For Darby, Rome was the cause of it: The Church of England shared in Rome's apostasy by retaining too much from the Catholic past — particularly its privileged status in affairs of state.True Christianity, as envisaged by Darby, would be practiced by small fellowships, who worshiped in simplicity, with no ordained clergy and no fine church buildings.Some have left the Catholic Church permanently, it appears, while others—as Catholic journals of apologetics show — have returned, chastened by their experience.

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Dispensationalists like Hunt deny the Catholic and Reformed belief that the Church is the Kingdom already mysteriously present in the world.

They define authentic Christianity as radically otherworldly and discarnate — to a degree that far exceeds the attitude of the original Protestant Reformers themselves.

Since the Devil is the prince and god of this world, said Darby, the large and powerful churches were not only apostate but were positively in the service of the Antichrist who was to come.

The exegetical system worked out by Darby is known as dispensationalism.

Intent on converting Irish Catholics to his understanding of true Christianity, Darby came to see the established Anglican church as fatally compromised by the world.

But disillusion with the established church was having quite other effects, notably in the Oxford Movement.

Catholic hearts left unmoved by a stripped-down American Catholicism are reportedly being moved by lively evangelical congregations, and Catholic minds left uninstructed by woolly or dissenting catechizers are offered sharp lessons by such as Dave Hunt in his speeches and widely selling books. Hunt's explicit anti-Catholicism speaks forthrightly the tacit anti-Catholicism so often encountered in the American Catholic Church today.

This article, I hope, will suggest that the clarity of vision offered by Hunt is specious, and that if Hunt could but see more clearly he might realize that his soundest spiritual instincts and best ecclesiological insights put him, too, on the road to Rome.

If we are to witness effectively to fundamentalists like Hunt, we must point out the incongruity of their position.

And in order to do that, we must take a look at the historical and personal origins of Hunt's opinions.

American Catholics seem particularly vulnerable now to people such as Hunt, as more and more we blur the teachings and surrender the rituals that might help us to distinguish ourselves from the times in which we find ourselves.