R. H. Boll And "Premillennialism"
Not because of its merit or honesty of statement is the insertion below given to the readers of the BIBLE BANNER. It is inserted because faithful brethren in Chattanooga where it was printed and circulated by E. H. Hoover (a Boll Satellite) over R. H. Boll's own initials, think it should be reviewed for the information of members of the church who are deceived by "smooth words and fair speech." Oftentimes it requires considerable space to disprove a few assertions and a long article to expose the fallacies contained in a short one. The Bollistic document inserted below abounds in as many such statements as an article of its length could easily contain. Obviously, as the exponents of most modernisms do, an effort is made to avoid the odium of certain consequences of the theory by concealing its real character. The article below is a masterpiece in that type of propaganda. We shall take it apart on the installment plan.
It is significant that Brother Boll admits being a premillennialist on the principle that one who believes in immersion is an immersionist. That is about the most candid admission I have ever seen from his pen, though unintended and he is as much premillennialized as an immersed person is immersioned. He is, in fact, immersed in it.
In proof that the document below withholds the actual elements of the Boll variety of Premillennialism and is therefore sheer propaganda, I submit in this issue a review of a more extensive and belligerent effort of the same character in Word and Work; under title of "What Difference Does It Make-and What Is It All About?" The BIBLE BANNER now has thousands of readers where it then had hundreds, and this review will be enlightening to them, as well as serve the present need in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The editorial in the next issue of the BIBLE BANNER will be "The Essential Point in Premillennial Teaching" in answer to that section of this deceptive document, and will be followed by "Some of the Utterances of A. Campbell" from Millennial Harbinger, a set of which I have right on my shelves. They have asked for it and they will get it.
The following is an outline of a sermon on the Radio by R: H. Boil in Chattanooga, Tenn., November 3rd, 1942.
"Pre-Millennialism" is not an "ism" in the sense of being a defined and particular creed or system. It is a general term of wide use and application. Like the term "Protestantism" it includes a great variety of religious beliefs. As for example, one who believes that baptism is immersion may be called an "immersionist," and that belief in general may be referred to as "immersionism," so every one who believes that Christ will return before that period which is called the "Millennium" is a "premillennialist," and this doctrine in general is called "premillennialism." And just as a simple Christian, though he might be reckoned as a Protestant, could not be held responsible for all the creeds and shades of doctrine comprised under the head of Protestantism and just as one who practices immersion would not sponsor all the views and doctrines of all the different kinds of immersionists, so one who believes that Christ will return before the Millennium could not, of course, be held chargeable with all the views and teachings held by premillennialists in general.
As for "Pre-Millennialism" as a system or theory—I would like to have it understood that no simple Christian would connect himself to any sectarian creed or theory as such. A simple Christian connects himself to nothing but the word of God. He may be convinced from the teaching of that word that Christ returns before the Millennium: but he is not therefore to be classed as an adherent of Pre-Millennialism, or any kind of "ism". The Lord Jesus held the doctrine of the resurrection which was the distinctive tenet of the Pharisees but He was not a Pharisee—nor could a Christian sponsor all that may be summed up under the head of Pre-Millennialism, for some premillennialists are far afield from the truth of God's word. Most especially, he would not sponsor the vagaries and speculations sometimes charged upon Premillenialism—as, for example—A carnal reign of Christ in dirty Jerusalem, a demotion and debasement of Christ, in His coming to the earth to reign: That the Church is an accident; That Christ came for the purpose of establishing an earthly kingdom in Jerusalem, but the Jews would not let Him, so He established the Church instead and went back to heaven; That the kingdom has not been established; That the Great Commission is voided; That there will be a "Second chance".
All such caricatures and arbitrary inferences, and any such and such-like doctrines must be repugnant to an enlightened Christian mind, and I for one repudiate them all, and would gladly join with those who oppose them. And none of these views have any necessary connection with premillennial teaching. The essential point in premillennial teaching is
1. That the Lord Jesus Christ will return from heaven.
2. That-if there is ever to be a time
-of the restoration of all things (Acts 3:19-21)
-when the old curse shall be lifted and thorns andthistles shall cease (Isa. 55:12-13)
-when the Nations shall learn war no more. (Isa.2:4)
-when the knowledge of Jehovah shall cover the earth as waters cover the sea. (Isa. 11:9)
-when the groaning of creation shall cease. (Rom.8: 18-23)
-when Satan shall be dethroned, bound and imprisoned. (Rev. 20:1-)
-when the kingdom of the world shall become the kingdom of the Lord and of His Christ. (Rev. 11:15)
if there is ever to be such a time as that (and the word of God bears that out)-then Christ must and will come before that time.
So (as all standard church-history, and the encyclopaedias, and Gibbon, the infidel historian of the fall of the Roman Empire) testify—so the primitive church in general from the days of the apostles for 300 years believed. Pioneer preachers of the Restoration Movement also freely voiced such belief. See some of the utterances of A. Campbell, Walter Scott, Dr. Barclay, H. T. Anderson, Milligan; of late preachers Dr. Brents, J. A. Harding. David Lipscomb also in his book (Queries and Answers; page 360) wrote as follows:
"Jesus had been to earth and returned to heaven. Heaven must receive him, until the times of restoration of all things. Then the times of restoration of all things must be when Jesus returns again to earth—the restoration of all things to their original relation to God. The relation which the world originally sustained to God was broken when man, the ruler, rebelled against God. That destruction of the world's relation to God was more far-reaching and destructive than we realize. The whole material creation shared in the evil. Briars, thistles, thorns grew in the material world, as in the spiritual. Sickness, death, mortality afflicted the material world. When man rebelled against his Maker, the under creation rebelled against man. The laws of the natural world were disordered. The germs of vegetation put forth; biting frosts or burning heat destroys them. Disorder in the laws of the material world came as a result of man's sin against his Maker. When Jesus comes again the will of God will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and all things in the world will be restored to harmonious relations with God, the Supreme Ruler of the universe." And it is edifying to note how brethren of the old days, as seen in the Millennial Harbinger, freely voiced their understanding on both sides of this, without even a thought of mutual excommunication.
The position of the simple Christian is simply to take God's word for his guidance and doctrine. The church of the New Testament is non-sectarian, undenominational. She is not officially Protestant nor Catholic, Calvanistic nor Armenian, Post-Millennarian nor Pre-Millennarian. She simply stands upon the word of God. As the beloved T. B. Larimore used to say "We are not right: The Bible is right." R. H. B.