"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.X No.VI Pg.6-7,10
June 1948

The Japanese Bandwagon

James W. Adams

This is a remarkable age. The whole world worships at the shrine of the superlative. In speed, we bow before the supersonic. In power, we idolize the atomic. In monetary matters, we commune with millions as once we did hundreds. The spirit of the age permeates the church. Immature preachers just out of college promote schemes involving multiplied thousands of dollars. Editors, with so little knowledge of the word of God as to be unable to write an editorial of five hundred words free from pernicious error, plead for millions to be spent as they suggest. "Big things" are the order of the day. The parade is on! The drums from the bandwagon roll! Woe to him who dares not to get in step! The sad thing is the fact that amid the noise, confusion, and enthusiasm for the superlative, considerations that are vital become obscured and lost. Such is the state of the proposed work in Japan.

The Purpose of This Article

The challenge of the millions of heathen people of the ancient East who live and die in darkness and the open door that seems to exist there has so excited some that they have mounted the bandwagon without realizing where it will ultimately take them. Some waived consideration of vital problems and have taken refuge in accusations against the integrity of brethren when objections have arisen. This article is written, not to discourage the preaching of the gospel in Japan nor to give vent to any personal feeling toward anyone, but in the interest of truth and that the brotherhood might have an opportunity to examine and appraise the issues involved. Too much has been and is being said to obscure the issues and to render invalid the widespread objections to the Japanese situation as it now exists.

The Seat of the Trouble

The objections relative to the Japanese work have arisen because of the connection of brother O. D. Bixler with it. The story is being spread at this time by enthusiasts for the Japanese work that brother Bixler is a man greatly misunderstood and misrepresented. This attempt to glamorize a false teacher is not new. It is as ancient as false doctrine itself. The medium of martyrdom has ever been used to enlist sympathy for unworthy causes. Because the writer has definite evidence bearing on the problem with reference to brother Bixler and his loyalty, this article is submitted to the brotherhood. Brother Bixler Is A Premillennialist.

He says that he is one. Then he says that he is just "sort of" one, like Brents. The fact remains that, according to his own testimony, he is a premillennialist. His good friend, Norman Davidson, says that he is one. His intimate association with and warm feeling for R. H. Boll and the other premillennialist and premillennial churches of the Louisville area declare him to be one. His missionary scheme for Japan when first launched literally advertised him as such in that it was honeycombed with premillennialists and their sympathizers. When Bixler launched his movement, it was both unscriptural in its organization and mission and disloyal in its personnel. It was unscriptural in that it had a supervisory board consisting of the "leaders" of two congregations, an administrative board consisting of members of at least four congregations, each board organized with its own treasurer, and proposing to do evangelistic and other work in a foreign field for which they were not able to pay. In fact, it was an incipient missionary society in all of its essential features. This information is gleaned from a printed appeal and prospectus of the work entitled "You Can Help" written, published, and sent to me by Bixler. The movement was also unscriptural in the work it proposed to do. It proposed to: (1) Relieve present suffering; ('2) Reestablish industries for self-support; ('3) Enlarge present hospital work; (4) Strengthen old congregations and establish new ones; (5) Reestablish a training school for native workers. Need I tell you that it is not the work of the church to own and operate hospitals, to own and operate schools for secular education, and to establish and support industries?

Brother Bixler's two boards were literally honeycombed with premillennialists and their sympathizers. His treasurer for administration funds, brother G. E. Worley, is an elder of a rank premillennial church (Camp Taylor) in Louisville, Ky. The sponsoring churches, Brookfield and Cornell in Chicago, are certainly open to question on their attitude with reference to premillennialism and "ists". Brother H. A. Rowland, treasurer for the supervisory board, is known along with others on that board to be premillennial. The point you need to observe, reader, is that: Bixler's movement to evangelize and otherwise work in Japan was in its origin essentially premillennial.

Does Bixler Teach Premillennialism

It is argued that brother Bixler only believes premillennialism, but does not teach it. I am quite in agreement with brother J. Leonard Jackson that such a premillennialist does not exist. But what are the facts in the case? Brother Bixler, not only believes the theory, but he endorses the fellowshipping of those who believe it and also the teaching of the theory on their part. Yes, he advocates fellowshipping the man and the doctrine. I have before me a manuscript prepared by Bixler and distributed by him through the medium of the radio program of the Cornell Avenue congregation in Chicago. It is entitled: "Some Findings On The Historicity Of Some Prophetic Beliefs In The Church." It is 23 pages in length and every bit as muddled as the title would suggest. In this treatise, Bixler urges the, fellowshipping of both the premillennialist and his teaching of the doctrine in the church. Hear him (page 22), "Consequently, I firmly believe that the best thing to do about this matter is to rise once more from the degraded plane of schism and strife and disrupted Christian fellowship, and allow the believer on any position on this subject (The subject of "Premillennialism" J. W. A.) to have the God-given right for full fellowship and conscientious teaching and belief so long as they, on any side of the question, conduct themselves in the spirit of Christ not demanding that all others accept their view or else be unworthy of fellowship." This is a long, involved sentence, but here is the gist of it. Brother Bixler believes ('1) That the belief and teaching of premillennialism in the church should be endorsed and fellowshipped (2) He urges that to disfellowship a premillennialist is schismatic, contrary to the spirit of Christ, and renders one unworthy of Christian fellowship (3) He advocates that the only limitation be that the premillennialist not be allowed to demand that others accept his view.

Brethren, if you can see any difference between this and what R. H. Boll has always asked for, you have a keener sense of perception than does this writer. I had just as soon fellowship Boll as Bixler. You may write that down and underline it.

It is urged all over Texas by the promoters of the Japanese work that Bixler has never taught premillennialism. How do they know? Bixler told them so. Is it true? You be the judge. May I raise this question: Has Brother Bixler ever preached on the kingdom of God, the resurrection, the second coming of Christ, or the judgment? If so, what did he say? He could not preach on these themes, be true to his conscience, and not teach the premillennial doctrine. I have proof that brother Bixler has attempted to enlist others in the ranks of premillennialism. The manuscript already mentioned in this article as prepared and distributed by Bixler purports to be an historical study of the premillennial doctrine. Actually, however, it is to all intents and purposes a subtle apology for premillennialism. My judgment is based on the following and other quotations like them that might be made from the paper:

"There are other passages that show that the disciples themselves expected the earthly kingdom of Israel to be reestablished. I believe that many of you can sympathize with them in their views because of such statements as Christ made in the 23rd verse of Matthew, 20th chapter, and also in the 28th verse of the 19th chapter and in the 7th verse of the 1st chapter of Acts. Also Paul's statement to the church at Corinth in 1 Cor. 6:1-3; 2 Tim. 2:12." (Page 21.) "I believe we can all understand that the early Christians and apostles themselves believed it" (premillennialism J. W. A.). (Page 16)

"If you are like I am after these studies that I have made and am passing on to you very briefly, you will feel that indeed premillennialism has been a common belief of Christian people from the pioneers of our modern age back to the very apostles themselves-" (Page 21) Brother Bixler says of those of the past whore he conceives to have been premillennialists: "These brethren were not only in full fellowship and warmest of Christian affection, but the positions they held were as pillars in the churches" (Page 21).

Such statements as these prove beyond question that brother Bixler's purported historical study is but a subtle manner of promoting premillennialism. This is the very manuscript mentioned in a current Gospel Advocate in brother J. Leonard Jackson's article which manuscript Bixler sent to a loyal sister in Valparaiso, Indiana. I have the manuscript and the sister's name and address in my files. To how many more such literature was sent, we have no way of knowing, but if was sent to one, we may safely assume that it was sent to others. Who said that Brother Bixler was misrepresented? Several years ago, W. L. Totty wrote Bixler concerning his premillennial views asking five direct questions. Bixler answered by quoting scriptures and giving no direct answer to any, hence evading the questions. This correspondence, I have in my files also.

The Danger That Confronts Us

Bixler has been, and is being, and probably will continue to be fellowshipped by the workers in Japan. His praise is being sung on every hand. One prominent preacher writes another, "he is undoubtedly a great Christian". The young wife of a worker recently gone to Japan writes a warm letter of rebuke to a church which refused to sponsor her and her husband. In it she sings in highest key the praise of brother Bixler while charging loyal brethren at home with willful misrepresentation concerning him. All reports from Japan laud Bixler and indicate intimate relation and close fellowship. Those questions keep insinuating themselves into my mind: Does distance from home render inconsequential doctrinal differences? Can we logically and scripturally fellowship a false teacher in a foreign land whom we will not fellowship at home? Is a premillennialist in Japan any different than one in Louisville or Dallas? I greatly fear that some of our missionary activities are fast becoming the open door through which error stealthily creeps to subvert and to destroy. Ah yes, heathen souls are precious in the sight of the Lord, but the end justifies not a means so fraught with peril. Much has been said concerning the magnanimous spirit of brother Bixler in stepping down and out in favor of loyal churches. Would it be improper to suggest that it should be noted that this was done only after his premillennial, missionary society utterly failed to enlist the support it needed.

A New Sponsor In Japan

The last word is that Bixler will soon leave Japan for a time. That solves nothing. He will return. Next, comes the announcement that brother R. C. Cannon is now "our" representative missionary and that "all is well". It is to be devoutly hoped that it is true that all is well, but before the brotherhood can be sure, in view of the doubt and suspicion which now exists, Brother Cannon needs to declare himself. He is known by but few in the brotherhood and his being a graduate from Harding College (for years notoriously soft with reference to premillennialism) in no way recommends him in this regard. Brother Brewer's and McMillan's assurances may be enough in some quarters, but not to the rank and file of the brethren. The militancy of these men against premillennialism is of too recent origin to give their assurances much weight.

One Thing Is Needful

If the Japanese work is to have the full support and endorsement of the brethren at large, Brother Cannon will have to declare himself on the following points:

(1) His personal belief with reference to premillennialism.

(2) His attitude toward fellowshipping premillennial workers in Japan or elsewhere including Bixler.

(3) Will he recommend for entrance into Japan and work with premillennial preachers whom Bixler or others may recommend.


The parade is on and the pressure to get churches on the Japanese bandwagon is great. Some loyal churches have been urged to sponsor workers for Japan though they themselves cannot give a penny toward their support. What is the idea? Give the Japanese work doctrinal respectability despite its premillennial connection. Brethren and churches would be wise to stay off the bandwagon until they know where it is taking them. May God help us to keep our eyes open and our feet on the ground that the church may continue to be "the pillar and the ground of the truth."