"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.V No.IV Pg.11,16a
November 1942

R. H. Boll's Sermon Outline

P. W. Stonestreet

On the subject of Premillennialism, R. H. Boll delivered a sermon over the radio in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Nov. 3, 1942. Several copies of his outline have been mailed out for public perusal. The outline lists a number of things that Brother Boll repudiates, stating that "none of these views have any necessary connection with premillennial teaching." One thing thus repudiated is: "That the church is an accident."

Brother Boll himself is responsible for that impression having been made, when he said: "If, after all He has so solemnly promised and sworn to this people Israel, God does not fulfill His word to them, but instead turns all into a spiritual and figurative fulfillment to a new spiritual contingent called the church'--then we cannot know any promise of God can be relied on, nor can we know what He means when He says anything." (Word and Work, March 1938.)"

Later answering a query about the church being an accident, Brother Boll says: "Certainly not. The church is not an accident or makeshift, but the supreme result of God's eternal plan and purpose, the masterwork of His wisdom and power. See Eph. 3: 9-11. The word contingent', when used substantively; as above, does not carry the idea of anything accidental, but has the sense of a body of people, as for example, a detachment of soldiers in an army, a force, a company. I could of course have used the word company', which would have expressed my meaning fully." (Word and Work, Nov., 1938.)

Evidently Brother Boll used the wrong word in both statements, for "contingent" and "company" are not synonymous. And the word "company" in the sense of contingent when applied to the church would imply that the church is a detachment or a part of something else. But of what is the church a part? His correction of one end of his statement throws the other end out of line. Hypothetical reasoning concerning God's promises to Israel, leading to his erroneous conclusion concerning the church in his statement of March 1938, is erroneous, is easily seen by collating his corrected statement concerning the church of Nov. 1938 with his hypothetical premise of March 1938, thus: "If, after all He has so solemnly promised and sworn to His people Israel, God does not fulfill His word to them, but instead turns all into . . . `the supreme result of God's eternal plan and purpose, the master-work of His wisdom and power' . . . then we cannot know any promise of God can be relied on, nor can we know what He means when He says anything." (A collated statement from the two statements in Word and Work.)

Obviously, Brother Boll's reasoning of March 1938 does not fit in with his estimate of the church of Nov. 1938. It is respectfully suggested, therefore, that his reasoning in the former statement should yield to his statement of fact in the latter, for why should it be thought a thing incredible that God's promises to Israel would not be in accord with his eternal plan and purpose respecting the church? And why does Brother Boll reason as though it would be necessary for God to turn to his "eternal plan and purpose"? Evidently because Brother Boll's reasoning respecting God's promises to Israel is at variance with God's eternal plan and purpose. Pray, tell me what else could be the reason?

So according to the collation of Brother Boll's two statements concerning God's promise to Israel and his estimate of the church, if his theory concerning God's promise to Israel is erroneous, then all is turned into "the supreme result of God's eternal plan and purpose, the master-work of His wisdom and power." Thus Brother Boll's reasoning presents either one of two alternatives for the consideration and endorsement of the readers: "God's eternal plan and purpose respecting the church, or Brother Boll's theory respecting those promises to Israel, was in the divine mind when those promises were made. May the readers properly and prayerfully ponder the question thus set forth.

Evidently the school of thought to which Brother Boll belongs on this question, like national Israel did, fails to make the mental transition from the literal meanings of terms to their divinely acquired spiritual meanings. This is the fundamental difference between Brother Boll's teaching and those who oppose his teaching. There are several manifestations of differences expressed in the outline under review, but this one principle is sufficiently fundamental to cover everything else in embryo. And with Inspiration the process of spiritualizing terms is very simple. It only amounted to using terms to spiritual ends. True, in some such applications the divine end in view is not plain from the immediate context; but, in all such cases, we may safely conclude that "the supreme result of God's eternal plan and purpose, the master-work of His wisdom and power," is in view in some of its phases. This being preeminently the Spirit-age, it is not strange that all such unfulfilled promises relating to the material and fleshly in former dispensations have been spiritualized. Otherwise we would be confronted with two instead one "supreme result of God's eternal plan and purpose." And even Brother Boll only specified one in his statement in Word and Work of Nov. 1938. And let us ever keep in mind the important fact that the spiritual realm of thought is dependent upon the natural realm of thought for its vocabulary.

One of the most general of such terms is the name "Israel," originally divinely given to an individual (Jacob), subsequently divinely given to "the twelve tribes" and even divinely given to national Israel in its entirety, with various other applications in the course of its history. Finally, in the New Testament, the term "Israel" is divinely given to Christians throughout the world, embracing all in Christ, where and when "there can be neither Jew nor Greek," as such. (Gal. 3: 28.)

The term being used in apposition to "as many as shall walk by this rule"; or, as Weymouth renders it, "all who shall regulate their lives by this principle"--the principle set forth by Paul--definitely applies the term to God's own people in this gospel-age, thus: "And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God." (Gal. 6:16.)

Inspiration having thus spiritualized one of the most general terms applying to God's elect race in that previous dispensation, all other terms of like import in the New Testament are necessarily spiritualized for the same reason, which it is unnecessary to particularly discuss now. Hence, only the significance of such terms that apply in common to God's elect race under both dispensations are practical for Christians today, except as a matter of history, from which we may glean principles of obedience, with their warnings and encouragements, according to our attitude toward such principles. So as such terms are divinely applied to God's elect race under Christ, they have lost all their former national and racial significance, including promises and warnings, except such aspects as inhere in the spiritual applications, for the simple reason that they now apply to an elect race or nation in which there are no racial and national bounds but only spiritual or religious bounds.

Brother Boll's outline suggests that certain of the pioneers and preachers of later dates taught some things in harmony with his position on Premillennialism. This writer agrees that they did but denies that what they taught that was not in harmony with the New Testament is any better criterion than what Brother Boll teaches; hence, his suggestion is not germane to any basic proof for his position. But by following teaching throughout their careers it will be seen that at least in some cases they did not have the same slant on it that Brother Boll has. And on this point, it is most significant that even two men living or in all history are, known to agree on the subject matter comprehended in Premillennialism, while there is general agreement on the things epitomized by "the faith of the gospel," which is in harmony with the fact that, while there is no definite ground for the theory, there is a definite basis for "the faith of the gospel."

Thus, there is a plain line of demarcation between those things for which Christians are divinely commanded to contend and strive on the one hand, and those things for which they are divinely forbidden to contend and strive on the other hand. So whatever the pioneers did by way of expending surplus mental energy on such vacillating flights into the unknown, their records show that their main purpose was to "stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel:' (Phil. 2:27.) And let it be observed that thus striving for the faith of the gospel logically involves striving against everything that is contrary to that principle of obedience. So as to whether or not striving and contending is divinely enjoined depends altogether on what one is striving and contending for; thus mere methods of procedure pale into insignificance as compared to the importance of far-reaching principles at stake.