Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 31, 1952
NUMBER 38, PAGE 2-3c

History Of "A Job Well Done" -- No. 2

Judson Woodbridge. Malvane, Kansas

Brother J. N. Armstrong is gone from us now. If I ever had any inclination to misrepresent anyone, it certainly would not be this former teacher of mine. He was always frank and honest with me in his letters, and I appreciated him for it. I herewith give direct quotations from his letters to me, and the reader can decide for himself as to how much of a fight brother Armstrong was waging against premillennialism as taught by R. H. Boll.


"You will notice that E. G. Couch gathered from my first letter that maybe I thought Christ would conquer the world and bring it under divine authority simply through the preaching of the gospel. Certainly, no Bible student can believe that, I think. So to correct that impression I cited the fact that when Christ returns there will still be enemies on the earth, rebellious people, whom Christ will slay by the sword from his mouth, and this would be in the life time of Christ's present reign. Paul says that Christ must reign till all enemies are destroyed, but these wicked slain by the sword are enemies of God. Therefore in slaying them, he is consummating his reign. This is all I mean."

Upon receipt of this letter, I wrote brother Armstrong and asked him how long it would take the Lord to slay these enemies, and if this would be on the last day. In answer to my inquiry he wrote the following (dated September 21, 1938):

"To this question I would say: I have no idea as to how long. If there be an intimation in the revelation of God as to how long, I do not know it.

"I also have to say to your third question (The question: Will it be on the last day? —J.W.) that I do not know. However I do know that "the last enemy that shall be abolished is death." Hence, as he slays with this sword, death still exists on the earth and men are still dying and their fleshly bodies are being devoured by the birds. So evidently the completion of the abolishing of the last enemy will come after the smiting of the nations and the slaying of the sword—men still live on the earth at that time and are still subject to death, physical death."

In a letter to brother B. G. Hope, dated April 29, 1989, brother Armstrong wrote his explanation of 1 Corinthians 15:22-28. He wrote:

"Brother Bland no doubt heard me explain sometime (either in conversation or in answer to a question) 1 Cor. 16:22-28.

"In commenting on the fact that the "then' in the passage mean "afterward' or 'later' I often say that the space of time between the resurrection of the saints and the end could be a few hours or a thousand years, even two thousand years. This, no doubt, is what our brother Bland remembers."

In a letter to me, dated June 7, 1939, brother Armstrong asks:

"So I want to know what Boll teaches that keeps men from obeying God, and that is destructive to the gospel? In other words, wherein have the churches in which those men move freely and have for twenty years been lead astray? Wherein have their practice and worship been corrupted? Name some destruction wrought, some disobedience cause from the teaching of Boll on millennial and those kindred subjects."

From these quotations from his own letters, it is clear as to what brother Armstrong's attitude was toward Boll and Boll's teaching. He did not oppose Boll, even though he did not teach the same thing that Boll taught.

Statement From Boll

In the spring of 1943, sister Armstrong wanted to quiet some of the preacher boys in their accusations of Boll as they were charging that he (Boll) did not teach the church and the kingdom to be the same. She wrote brother Boll, asking him to send her a statement of his belief. This statement was passed out to a number, if not all, of the preachers in the school. Following is the statement:

"To Whom It May Concern:

I believe that the kingdom of God was established on the day of Pentecost—that Jesus Christ sits enthroned in heaven on God's right hand, and has all authority in heaven and on earth—that the church represents his kingdom on the earth—that all who are in the church are in the kingdom. (Col. 1:13)

R. H. Boll Louisville, Ky.

May 17, 1943 P. S. This is what I have always believed and taught."

Boll teaches that the church is "a new spiritual contingent." (Word and Work, March, 1938) He teaches that it is the "new and unexpected aspect the kingdom would assume during an anticipated age of the king's rejection and absence from the world." (Kingdom of God, page 38) He says the kingdom was "automatically deferred (ibid, page 46) He believes the kingdom of Daniel 2:44 is yet to be set up. He may call the church the kingdom, but he believes that there is to be another kingdom established on the earth. He is premillennial and proud of it. In August 22, 1950, issue of the Firm Foundation George D. Tipps reveals the advertising of a meeting that R. R. Boll held in Louisville; the meeting was advertised in the Louisville newspapers (Courier-Journal and Times), and the church was portrayed as being "undenominational, evangelistic, fundamental, premillennial."

Why The Defense?

In view of all these things, why should such a defense of Boll have been made through the years in Harding College? Brother Sears says it was to let the preachers know just what Boll believed and to avoid any misrepresentation of him. Was Boll's teaching then taken up and to be false? Was the "catch" in his statement quoted above shown? It should have been done in order to get a true picture of his teaching. Brother Sears of course could not have done it, for he says he has never studied the teaching of Boll. But others could have, and should have—but didn't.

These are facts, and are not misrepresentations of what has been in the past. In 1944 I left Arkansas, and have not been in a position since to know first-hand what their attitude has been. But in view of their past history, is it any wonder that I asked brother Sears about the kind of fight the school is now making on this heresy?

The disturbing thing to me about this whole matter is this: If these brethren really want to fight this false doctrine, why do they not admit that in the past, there have been weaknesses in their attitude toward it? I admitted my weaknesses in the matter, and do not consider myself cowardly for doing so. I am sure the Lord approves more of one who will recognize his mistakes than he does of the one who refuses to admit ever having made any, and who accuses his brethren of peddling "misleading information" when they point out such mistakes.

If the right kind of teaching has been done on the dangers of the Boll heresy at Harding College, I am wondering why it is that so many who sympathize with Boll have found such a "haven of rest" in the college. It is a well-known fact that a great number of those who have taken a compromising attitude on this question have been students at Harding College. In the December, 1950, issue of "Word and Work" you can read something about the Kentucky Bible School, which is the school conducted by the premillennial brethren at Louisville. In this article the writer boasts, "Five of the teachers of the Kentucky Bible School are graduates of Harding College." This is an example of the position of many—far too many—coming from Harding.

By no means are my two articles to be taken as an accusation against all those students who attend or graduate from Harding College. I know many of them who came out of the school severely condemning the false doctrine, and strongly preaching against it. I know also that on more than one occasion in the past strong men have been brought to the campus to lecture and to point out the dangers of premillennialism. But there can be no doubt that the compromising attitude on the campus helped to lessen the effect of these lectures.

If Harding College is fighting for the truth now, I shall rejoice; but let no man say they have been misrepresented when weaknesses have been pointed out. The facts speak for themselves.