"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.VIII Pg.9,15b
August 1948

Brother Bixler's Plea To His Brethren

James W. Adams

An article bearing the appealing title, "To My Brethren In Christ" by O. D. Bixler, has appeared recently in at least two brotherhood papers. Surrounding it is an aura of pathos and humility that is immediately apparent and not without appeal to the emotional nature. Not being callous emotionally and earnestly desiring to recognize every particle of good in all men, this scribe would like to withdraw every objection he has made to Brother Bixler's close connection with the Japanese work, but feelings and sympathy cannot void the cold facts of the case so as to make such action possible. Between Brother Bixler and this writer, there is no personal issue, hence nothing that has been written stems from any personal aversion to the man himself. Your scribe is ready to concur in every good thing that may have been said about him, but so long as his faithfulness to the truth of God's word is questionable, this writer and the Bible Banner stand committed against any connection he may have with a program of evangelism seeking the support of loyal churches.

Qualifications Of A Leader

One who aspires to a position of leadership in any program of work of the Lord's church must necessarily have two qualifications: (1) He must be faithful; (2) He must be able. Paul wrote, "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things which thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:1, 2). Paul's statement has particular reference to teachers of God's word, but the principle stated is equally applicable to any position of leadership in the kingdom of God. Brother Bixler's ability to make a very splendid contribution to the evangelization of Japan is not questioned, but his faithfulness to the truth is questioned. Until the question mark is removed, he will continue to be opposed.

Brother Bixler's Real Beliefs

In our brother's appeal to his brethren in Christ, he makes the following statement: "Brethren who have been sufficiently interested to ask my real belief tell me that I have done myself and my work an injustice by allowing the general designation of "A premillennialist" to be applied to me. Possibly I have done so. I do not desire to attempt to explain myself out of anything; but I do consider it my duty, for the sake of the Japanese work and the cause of Christ in general, to make my beliefs clear.

That desire is the entire reason for this article."

In this statement, Brother Bixler reproves by implication those who have not "run him down" and asked him personally what he really believes about premillennialism. Why, Brother Bixler, we hardly thought that necessary since you had styled yourself a premillennialist. Are we obligated to seek out every self-styled false teacher in the brotherhood and ask him if he is really what he says he is, or just "spoofing"? Can any explanation really explain why a supposedly sensible man would style himself something that he is not? Brother Bixler says that "possibly he has done himself and his work an injustice" by such a course. What does Brother Bixler mean by "possibly"? Does he not know even yet? Surely our brother is not so naive as he would have us believe. Can any man have such an appalling lack of judgment that he does not know whether he is or is not wrong in telling people that he is something which he is not? However, one gets the feeling from his article that at this late hour, he is seeking to leave the impression that he does not know whether he is a premillennialist or not. Could such be the meaning of his "possibly"?

Our brother says that his article is for the sole purpose of setting forth his "real beliefs." Now this writer makes no claim to superior intelligence, but he does believe that he has a reasonable degree of the power of discernment, and he is obliged to say, after reading the Bixler plea, that the brother's real beliefs would never be learned by anyone from that source. The article says nothing tangible with reference to the man's real beliefs concerning premillennialism. It is really about as clear as mud in this respect.

Does Bixler Oppose And Disagree With The Premillennialists ?

In his article, Brother Bixler says that "he opposes and disagrees with all those extreme actions which premillennialists as such ordinarily practice concerning the return of Christ and a thousand years literal reign on earth." From this statement, one learns very little about Bixler's views. It is apparent to any thinking person that he says nothing about opposing or disagreeing with the premillennial theory. He represents himself as opposing and disagreeing with some "extreme actions". He fails to tell us what these "extreme actions" are. Brother Bixler needs to write another article telling us specifically, point by point, wherein he opposes and disagrees with premillennialists and premillennialism. Will you write such an article, Brother Bixler? If so, let your language be plain and unequivocal. Yes, do let us know what you really believe. We are "sufficiently interested" and we are "asking you"! On the other hand, if you oppose and disagree so with the premillennialists, why has there been such intimate fellowship between you and the Louisville crowd? Why was your "You Can Help" movement honeycombed with premillennialists and their sympathizers? Why did you write and circulate the "Historicity of Prophets Beliefs in the Church" which advocates the fellowship of the premillennialist and his teaching in the church? Why did your friends such as Norman Davidson think and tell that you were a premillennialist? Yes, in the answer to these questions, we are "sufficiently interested"!

Brother Bixler Employs The Familiar Premillennial Dodge

The escape hatch of every premillennialist under fire is employed by Brother Bixler in his plea to the brethren. He feigns ignorance with reference to premillennialism seeking to make the whole controversy but a difference of opinion over a literal or figurative interpretation of Revelation 20. Some may feel that to say Brother Bixler "feigns ignorance" is to use rather strong language. Some may wonder how one could make such a statement. If so, this is to inform you that the evidence is in the files of your scribe. Several years ago Brother Bixler wrote a treatise on premillennialism entailing considerable research. He calls the tract which resulted from this investigation "The Historicity of Prophetic Beliefs in the Church". A copy of the same is in the files of the writer. In it, Brother Bixler quotes from: Gibbon; Newton; Origen; Justin Martyr; Irenaeus; Tertullian; J. F. Silver; Commodianus; McGiffert; Taylor; Berkaeauer; Smith; Harnaek; Moses E. Lard; Tixerant; West; Duffield; Gieseler; Luther; Alexander Campbell; J. W. McGarvey; I. B. Grubbs; Brents; J. A. Harding; and the New Testament. All of these quotations were made to prove (?) according to his own testimony, that:

"the church fathers for the first three centuries believed in and taught the '1000 year reign of Christ on the earth" (Cover)

"'The early Christians and apostles themselves believed it" (Pg. 10).

"That indeed premillennialism has been the common belief of 'Christian people from the pioneers of our modern age back to the very apostles themselves" ('Pg. 21). "The positions they (premillennialists J. W. A.) held were as pillars in the churches" (Pg. 21).

(All quotations from: "Historicity of 'Prophetic Beliefs in the Church" by O. D. Bixler) No, Brother Bixler is not ignorant concerning what premillennialism is. He fully understands the theory, hence when he styled himself "a premillennialist," he knew what such involved. He knew full well the positions of premillennialists both ancient and modern, and yet, said, "I am a premillennialist". Now he says, "Possibly (emphasis mine J. W. A.) I have done myself and my work an injustice". It would take a great deal of explaining for such action to make sense to a genius much less to an ordinary individual. Gullibility would probably help one to swallow it better than anything else.

Brother Bixler now says that he has but one thing in common with premillennialists; namely, that Revelation 20 should be interpreted literally rather than figuratively. Thus does he seek to place the whole matter on the basis of a difference in human opinions with reference to unfulfilled prophecy. This is not a new course with the premillennial crowd. Such has been their course always, but let us get Brother Bixler straight on this point here and now. The premillennial controversy has resulted from the teaching of a materialistic theory utterly at variance with the plain teaching of the New Testament in all of its fundamental features and which claims as its authority Revelation 20:1-6. Such a theory cannot be classed as an opinion. It is a false doctrine. Knowing this theory in all of its parts, Brother Bixler, styled himself a premillennialist. The only way he can ever vindicate himself in the eyes of the brethren is for him to come out with a definite statement concerning his personal conviction with reference to every subject that bears upon the premillennial doctrine. What does he believe about: The kingdom of God; the reign of Christ; Christ on David's throne; the resurrection of the dead; the judgment; the second coming of Christ; the return of the Jews etc., etc., etc.? Another thing, does he yet advocate and practice the fellowshipping of the premillennial teacher and his doctrine?

Brother Bixler's Plea To Be Used In Japan

Brother Bixler's fervent plea to be used in Japan is, we take it, completely sincere. It has a touching ring to it that arouses our sympathy, yet, with the shadow under which our brother has placed himself still hovering him, he makes it impossible for many, many brethren who love the truth and desire to see it preached in Japan to endorse and support the work so long as he has connection with it. Assuming that Brother Bixler is sincere in his plea, we make this plea to him: Come out on the truth of God's word and take a firm stand against premillennialism and the way will be clear for you to be used in Japan. No one has any desire to force the brother's mind on anything nor to cause him to misrepresent it. He has done enough of that already according to his own testimony. The situation is this: Many of us do not intend to endorse or support any work that has in its personnel premillennialists or their sympathizers. If Brother Bixler is not such, he should clear himself by forthright statement and action. If he is such, the sweetness of his plea to the brethren is wasted on the desert air, and to this moment, all evidence indicates that he is a premillennialist and a sympathizer!