"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.VI No.X Pg.4-6
May 1944

"The Glorious Millennial Morn"

(F. E. W.. Jr.)

Another editorial lamentation is heard from "Jerusalem"--Nashville, Tennessee-"the Judea of the new world," you know.

This time it is editor B. C. Goodpasture accusing us of an "effort to besmear" the name of David Lipscomb, the teaching of whom, we are told, it is "bad taste and worse grace" to even criticize. A few weeks ago we were told by H. Leo Boles just how "little" anyone is who would think of criticizing David Lipscomb or his teaching. To do so reveals the "littleness" of the man who does it and the "smallness" of his mind. Thus the editors of the Gospel Advocate answer criticisms of their teaching by belittling anybody who dares to criticize anything any of them think or say or do. It is that high and haughty superior attitude on the part of the Gospel Advocate toward others that has stirred the feeling of resentment that exists against it in so many sections and among so many brethren.

The editor says that David Lipscomb's "name and work will live long" after the "latest" of these "little" critics has been forgotten. That is likely very true--I am sure it is, if it refers to me--but what does all that belittling have to do with the issues raised concerning some of the theories taught by Lipscomb? This is not the first time, by any means, that his, theories have been called in question.

The Lipscomb Commentaries are published by the Gospel Advocate Company. Hulen L. Jackson, of Dallas, Texas, without "casting reflections and aspersions," simply called attention to some erroneous teaching in these Commentaries. The Gospel Advocate did not like that. Therefore, the man who dared to do such a thing is a little man with a small mind, whose very name and existence will soon be forgotten!

We disclaim any intention to cast "aspersions" on David Lipscomb and disavow any intention of an "effort to besmear" him or anyone else, living or dead. It is the Gospel Advocate that excels in that sort of thing. Some others have been crude and coarse in their efforts to smear, but with the editor of the Advocate smearing has become an art. Everything that the editor has said in reference to us, down to his slightest remarks in our direction, have been accompanied with slurs and sneers and smears. The editorial pages of the Advocate, since he has been its editor, bear witness to this fact. Discerning readers know this. It has been the general comment among brethren all over the nation. B. C. Goodpasture is the last man who should say anything about the "bad taste and worse grace" of "casting reflections and aspersions" on anybody.

If the Gospel Advocate Commentaries have been misrepresented, the language of the author of the section criticized is responsible for it--not the critic. To my personal knowledge, several men, good men, of reasonable intelligence, have wondered if David Lipscomb really wrote the things that have been criticized, or if some "editor" did not exercise too much freedom in filling out his meager and incomplete notes. On this point I have no information. But on the point which Hulen Jackson criticized, the passage in the commentary speaks for itself, and all the labored explanation of the editorial article in the Advocate has not helped the situation any.

The passage of scripture involved is Eph. 4:8-10, and it reads:

"Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower harts of the earth? He that descended is the same that ascended far above all heavens, that he might fill all things)."

Now take a look at the comments on this passage in the Commentary to which reference has been made. "The reference here is to the Messiah who came to earth from heaven, his original dwelling place, to destroy the power of the devil; to annihilate his kingdoms. Cast out the evil spirit inseparable from them; reassert the authority of God, reestablish his rule and kingdom; make his Spirit again the life-giving and pervading influence in this world. When this work is accomplished, death will no longer riot on perishing mortals. Those in the bondage of death will rise from their imprisoning graves. Bitterness, wrath, strife will cease among men, then shall the prophecy of Isaiah 11:6-9 be fulfilled. This is the result of the reign of the kingdom of God on earth. The fullness of that reign and the rule of that Spirit will usher in the glorious millennial morn."

Now, we do not know who actually wrote the above comment in part or in whole, but some of us think we know that the comments are not true, regardless of who wrote them, whether David Lipscomb or some editor of his notes.

The reader will note that the comments refer to the "re-establishment" of the kingdom of God. That is suspicious language within itself. What kingdom was to be "re-established"? And when? Jesus did not "re-establish" any kingdom when he came the first time, he simply established His kingdom. If some kingdom is to be "reestablished" we should like to have more information on the point. It might be enlightening on the point that has been raised.

Then notice this part of the comment: Death will no longer riot on perishing mortals. "Those in the bondage of death will rise from their imprisoning graves Then shall the prophecy of Isaiah 11:6-9 be fulfilled." According to the plain meaning of words, that comment certainly asserts that the prophecy of Isaiah 11 will not be fulfilled until the resurrection of the dead--when "death will no longer riot on perishing mortals" and when "those in the bondage of death will rise from their imprisoning graves." Then, according to this comment, there must be a period of time after the resurrection for the fulfillment of Isaiah 11. That is precisely what premillennialism proposes regardless of who the author of that comment was or is, or what Brother Lipscomb was or was not. But "a study of Isaiah 11 will show" that it referred to the establishment of the kingdom of Christ on earth, when, as the prophet plainly said, the Gentiles would "seek" the Lord and "trust" in him. Do Gentiles seek the Lord now? Do Gentiles "trust" God now? Or, is that to take place when "death shall no longer riot on perishing mortals" and "those in the bondage of death will rise from their imprisoning graves"? If so, "that is premillennialism," and the Gospel Advocate did not answer the "if not, why not" on this point, either "directly" in their initialed parenthesis or indirectly out of the parenthesis.

But the comment from the Commentary continues: "This is the result of the reign of the kingdom of God on earth. The fullness of that reign, and rule of that Spirit will usher in the glorious millennial morn." Here it is stated that the fulfillment of Isaiah 11 will be the "result" of the reign of the kingdom of God on earth. We have been taught that Isaiah 11 would be that reign. But the passage from the Commentary says it will be fulfilled after the resurrection "when those in the bondage of death will rise from their imprisoning graves"--then shall the prophecy of Isaiah 11 be fulfilled, and that will "usher in the glorious millennial morn." That is simply what the comment on Eph. 4:8-10 says, in the Gospel Advocate Lipscomb Commentary. If it misrepresents the teaching of the author, some editor of the commentary did it--not us. The comment certainly "ushers in the millennial morn" after the resurrection. So if it does not teach millennialism, it does teach millennial-morn-ism, and "premillennial-morn-ism" at that, for it puts it after "those in the bondage of death" have arisen "from their imprisoning graves."

In either case, the comments are untrue, and Brother Jackson can just let the "Not So" which he has written across that section stay there; and the readers can look up the Gospel Advocate of May 18 and write another. "Not So" across their attempted explanation. A labored effort, indeed, was their article--but "love's labor lost."

The editorial article in the Advocate ventures to suggest that these comments on Eph. 4:9 might "comprehend the eternal kingdom." In that case heaven will be "the glorious millennial morn." Does the editor of the Advocate believe that heaven will be the millennium? Do they really mean that, or are they just trying to "explain" something out of their Commentary?

In this connection the Advocate editorial article makes reference to Isa. 2:1-5 in comparison with Isaiah 11, and warns us not to "figurate" the beating of the swords into plowshares and spears into pruninghooks. So the editor thinks that the swords and spears of Isaiah 2 are literal swords and spears. Then, according to his own comparison, neither can he "figurate" Isaiah 11, and it will have to be literalized, too. If he will not allow us to "figurate" the one, we cannot allow him to "figurate" the other. So what does he have now? Just the same old millennial stock in trade, dished out by Neal in Winchester, Tingley in Birmingham, Norris in Fort Worth, and Webber in Oklahoma City. Now the Gospel Advocate in Nashville, Tennessee, takes up the refrain to tell us that "the millennial morn" will consist of the literal wolf dwelling with the literal lamb; and the literal leopard lying down with the literal kid; and the literal lion roving the fields in companionship with the literal calf; and the literal cow eating literal straw with the literal bear-and a little child leading this literal millennial menagerie!

When the editor of the Advocate "figurates" the language of Isaiah 11, on the same principle that he does so, the language of Isaiah 2 must be "figurated" also. "If not, why not?" Maybe he will answer that "directly" in an autographed parenthesis!

The editorial article in the Advocate errs in attempting to explain the inconsistencies of the comments in their commentary by showing that the kingdom of Christ was set up on Pentecost, and that Lipscomb so taught. But numerous premillennialists so teach; in fact, most of them among us concede that point. R. H. Boll says that the kingdom of Christ began on Pentecost and uses that point to deceive some of "the very elect." J. N. Armstrong believes that Dan. 2:44 began to be fulfilled on Pentecost, and so argues, but he teaches that it will not reach its culmination until the second coming of Christ when the "then" of 1 Cor. 15 will come to pass in a "millennial morn" consisting in a period of time on earth after the resurrection. That period, he says, may be one thousand years or two thousand years! So according to Brother Armstrong, we may have a dual millennium, when "those in the bondage of death will rise from their imprisoning graves."

Many brethren have made the mistake of assuming that anyone who believes that the kingdom began on Pentecost is not a premillennialist. But premillennialism is not refuted by the argument that merely sets up the kingdom and starts it going on Pentecost. The theory goes far beyond that point. Premillennialists among us will admit that the kingdom began on Pentecost, but they contend that it will culminate or merge into that "glorious millennial morn" after the coming of Christ. The Gospel Advocate is now talking in the same terms, in their labored effort to explain an erroneous passage in their Commentary. They tell us now that Dan. 2:44, along with other prophecies of the kingdom, began to be fulfilled on Pentecost. But the comments on Eph. 4:8-10 in their Commentary have the "results" of the kingdom which began on Pentecost "ushering in" that "glorious millennial morn" when those in the bondage of death" have arisen from their imprisoning graves." We agree with them that it would be a good thing for them to stop and ask: "What is premillennialism?"

Some of us who have such "small minds" and who will so soon be "forgotten" cannot be blamed too much for drawing conclusions that such comments suggest pre millennialism, especially since our attention has not hereto-fore been called to the difference between millennialism and millennial-morn-ism! The Advocate's own illustration of the doctor who operated on a sister for appendicitis, but missed his diagnosis, is a very fitting one in their case. The editor has done even worse than the doctor did. He has performed a long, tedious operation, trying to remove a premillennial appendix from the comments on Eph. 4:8-10 in their Commentary, only to find that he missed it entirely--the appendix is still there. Doctors and editors around Nashville must be a lot alike!

There is another thing that should be kept in mind. Certain consequences of a man's theory may exist when he does not himself avow them. But it is entirely right to point out the existing consequences even though he disavows them. It is entirely right to show that the consequences exist, and expose the inconsistency of the one who holds a theory, the logical consequences of which he will not accept. It is in this connection that the consequences of the Lipscomb theory of Civil Government as set forth in the book bearing that title have been shown to be definitely premillennial. Practically all premillennial groups hold the same or similar views on the question of civil governments. Some men have accepted Lipscomb's theory of civil government who are not at all in sympathy with premillennialism, and who preach and write against it, but the fact remains that the logical ends of that theory have not been accepted when that is the case. Premillennialism calls for the very things that are taught in "Civil Government" by David Lipscomb. The two theories go together; they fit each other perfectly.

But we do not need to go outside of the good state of Tennessee for a repudiation of the Lipscomb theory of Civil Government. We need not go outside the city limits of Nashville, Tennessee. We need, not go outside the Gospel Advocate's official family. The owner of the Gospel Advocate does not believe the contents of the book, and repudiates the theory in word and in deed. The brethren in Nashville do not believe it, and repudiate its contents in their practice. It is generally known that enough members of the church in Nashville vote in the affairs of municipal government to decide most any election, and some of them who claim to believe the book hold political offices depending on those elected to political offices for their appointments. Furthermore, it is generally known that the brethren over the whole state of Tennessee do not accept the Lipscomb theory of Civil Government and they repudiate it in their practice. The government of the state is influenced by the views and the votes of the thousands of brethren in Tennessee who are faithful members of the church. It was said by a candidate for office in that state a few years ago that West Tennessee would vote like N. B. Hardeman told them to vote, and if they could get rid of the "Campbellite President of that Campbellite College at Henderson" they could carry West Tennessee! Lipscomb's theory of Civil Government, indeed!

There are comparatively few brethren in Tennessee who do accept the Lipscomb theory. Yet one would get the impression by reading the Gospel Advocate that this book is accepted as an oracle by brethren in Tennessee and all parts east of the Mississippi, with only a few "small minds" west of the river dissenting. However, as the facts are known it will become more and more evident that the book holds its greatest sway over a few older preachers who "sat at his feet," and same younger ones who have been influenced by them: No matter what arguments are made pro or con, the answer is: "I sat at the feet of David Lipscomb." One brother over there can hardly carry on a conversation or preach a sermon without referring to "my fourteen years in Atlanta, Georgia." And there is another who nearly always touches it off by saying: "I sat at the feet of David Lipscomb eight years"! These are two proverbs in those parts the reference to which usually brings a smile--and I mean a smile, not a sneer, just a sympathetic, significant smile.

My personal attitude toward David Lipscomb is reflected in the article by R. L. Whiteside appearing in this issue. I commend also the article by O. C. Lambert, appearing in this issue. Brother Whiteside is the older man, Lambert the younger. Both were students of Lipscomb. Neither believes his theory of Civil Government. But they respected him. And he respected them.

I have in the past defended David Lipscomb in public debate against the charge that he was a premillennialist. But if that passage in the Commentary which bears his name had been read in the debate as proof that whoever wrote it was some kind of a premillennialist, I would certainly have had to do a better job than the editor of the Advocate has done, to prove that he was not.

I believe our attitude with reference to these matters has been made clear. The brethren over the country all very well know that it is not the Bible Banner that has conducted the campaign of calumny. They know where the smearing has been done and by whom. If the Gospel Advocate thinks that it can afford to continue that course, they may have that field to themselves. The high-toned editor of the Advocate has been practicing in that line of late and should be able by now to entertain most any of his readers who like that kind of stuff. But while he does that, we shall continue to devote our efforts to "the defense of the church against all errors and innovations."-F. E. W. Jr.