The Branch Davidians of Waco: The History and Beliefs of an Apocalyptic Sect

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What were the beliefs of the Branch Davidians? This is the first full scholarly account of their history. Kenneth G. C. Newport argues that, far from being an act of unfathomable religious insanity, the calamitous fire at Waco in 1993 was the culmination of a long theological and historical tradition that goes back many decades. The Branch Davidians under David Koresh were an eschatologically confident community that had long expected that the American government, whom they identified as the Lamb-like Beast of the book of Revelation, would one day arrive to seek to destroy God's remnant people. The end result, the fire, must be seen in this context.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199245741
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 6/22/2006
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth G. C. Newport is Professor of Christian Thought, Liverpool Hope University College.

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Table of Contents

1 'A mad man in Waco' : David Koresh in popular perspective 1
2 'A sure word of prophecy' : the Bible, prophecy belief, and the seventh-day adventist church 25
3 'Hear Ye the Rod' : Victor T. Houteff, the Shepherd's Rod, and the Davidian seventh-day adventists 47
4 'Thy kingdom come' : the theology of Victor Houteff and the Davidian seventh-day adventists 76
5 'But the end is not yet' : Florence Houteff and the end of the world 95
6 'Behold the man whose name is "The Branch"' : Ben Roden and the emergence of Branch Davidianism 115
7 'The Branch he' : Ben Roden and the theology of Branch Davidianism 136
8 'The Branch she' : Lois Roden, Shekinah, and the struggle for leadership 155
9 'A pale rider' : Vernon Howell and the Branch Davidians, 1959-1985 171
10 'And death shall follow in his wake' : Vernon Howell, David Koresh, and the Branch Davidians, 1986-1993 191
11 'The seventh angel' : David Koresh and the mystery of God 213
12 'A lamb-like beast' : the Branch Davidians and the ATF 234
13 'A call for the endurance of the saints' : Mt. Carmel, 28 February-19 April 1993 261
14 'An ultimate act of faith'? : the cause of the Waco fire 278
15 'For behold the Lord will come with fire' : theology and the Waco inferno 307
16 'Prophecies shall fail' : post-1993 Branch Davidianism 325
17 Concluding observations 341
App. A A personal view : Derek Lovelock 344
App. B Davidian seventh-day adventists, 1961-2003 354
App. C Deaths at Waco 359
App. D Waco survivors 363
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