"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.V Pg.3b-10a
December 1942

"What Is It All About?"-And "What Difference Does It Make?"

As surprisingly strange as it may sound, the above caption represents the interrogations of R. H. Boll in Word and Work. Brother Boll is bewildered—he does not know what it is all about. Thus the editor of the champion publication of millennialism pauses in pushing his premillennial pen, and with a feigned ignorance of any occasion for "the condition of things," for which condition he is himself the cause, he stages an act! There is method in his ignorance. But he fails to make his feint effective, due to the fact that his very air of injured innocence becomes his confession of conscious guilt.

It is noteworthy that Word and Work's periodical outbursts are timed. We can always look for them just before or after significant events, such as important debates with a Neal, Norris, Webber, or Tingley. But especially significant now is the N. B. Hardeman Ryman Auditorium Meeting in Nashville, backed by the majority of the fifty congregations in Nashville, but having the organized opposition of every compromiser and Boll sympathizer in Tennessee and Kentucky with enlisted help all the way from New York to Texas and California! So Word and Work's "Brother Boll" must deliver another manifesto, timed and toned to break the force of the pressure he feels bearing down upon himself who is the center of the divisive elements which form the present and impending crises in the church.

In dramatic deliverances this theorizing disturber of the peace of Zion forgets to be sweet-spirited. His temperature rises to high fever as he hurls broadsides at those who have blocked the path of his theoretical teaching. The kind (?) and gentle (?) epithets he uses in his references to them are such as, "insist fiercely," and "bitterly denounce," and "declare vociferously," and "denounce and condemn," and "oppose vehemently"—all of which they (his opposers) are doing just "to save their faces," which is, says he, the sole cause "for all the rumpus they have raised." What pious profanity! Who said that "the man from Louisville" is "like Jesus" who "never fought back"?

Let us examine minutely this Bollistic document with a view toward lifting the bewilderment of its author by telling him what it is all about and showing him what the difference is. We quote his statement section by section below.


I. "They insist fiercely that the kingdom exists now; that it was established on Pentecost, and Christ is king, and all members of the church are in his kingdom (Col. 1: 13)—as though somebody were denying it. But nobody denies that. We are agreed on this."

The foregoing represents the adroitness with which Brother Boll would set some off the scent and make those who do not know what he teaches believe that his kingdom teaching has been misrepresented. He says nobody denies that the kingdom was established on Pentecost and with a gesture, asserts "we are agreed on this." Now, let us get this straight by putting the witness on the stand for a cross-examination, and apply his own teaching to the above statement. Hear his own testimony.

(1) Concerning the kingdom on Pentecost.

"We have put much stress upon this matter because of its own weight and importance. We trust, however, that the reader would even without this discussion have perceived that the kingdom announced by John (and afterward by the Lord Jesus himself, Matt. 4: 17; Mark 1: 14, 15) could have been none other than that of Old Testament prophecy and of Jewish expectation in so far as that expectation accorded with the prophecies. And this is borne out by what we find in the following chapters of Matthew. If it be felt a difficulty that that kingdom though announced as "at hand," has never yet appeared, we shall find an explanation unforced and natural, and one that will cast no reflection on the truth and goodness of God." (Kingdom of God, by R. H. Boll, page 34.)

Here is the plain declaration of Brother Boll himself that the kingdom preached by John and Jesus before Pentecost, though announced as at hand, has never yet appeared. Now, will Brother Boll kindly tell us, in view of this his own statement, what kingdom was established on Pentecost? Mark you, the kingdom which Jesus said was "at hand"-"has never yet appeared." Did Jesus announce more than one kingdom? It looks like someone else is trying to "save his face" by manufacturing another kingdom than the one "of Old Testament prophecy" which Jesus preached and promised, and has set up a minor kingdom on Pentecost in order to be able to say that "nobody denies" that the kingdom was established on Pentecost. R. H. Boll does deny that the kingdom announced by John and Jesus was established on Pentecost, for he says in his own book that "this kingdom has never yet appeared." Since he says that the kingdom announced by John and Jesus Was "none other than" the kingdom of Old Testament prophecy, let him show where any other kingdom was ever promised" prophecy or announced by John, Jesus or any other, inspired writer. It is Brother Boll's solemn duty to do this

(2) Concerning the church and the kingdom, our witness (Brother Boll), says that "all members of the church are in his kingdom" (Col. 1: 13), and adds "—as though anybody were denying this." Well, it is a certain fact that R. H. Boll denies that all members of the church are in that kingdom announced by John and Jesus, for he says that kingdom has never yet appeared. Brother Boll is on record that the kingdom mentioned in Col. 1:13 is not the kingdom Christ announced intended to establish. Let him tell what kingdom it is. Where was it ever mentioned, and how it differs from the kingdom Christ announced and expected to establish. It is plain that Brother Boll will have two kingdoms where Jesus had only one. Anybody can see that it is a dodge, a mere quibble, and quibbling is not honesty.

The fact is, Brother Boll believes and teaches that the church is only a phase of the kingdom; or what he once called the vestibule of the kingdom; and what he later called a manifestation of the kingdom; but which he has more recently named "the new spiritual contingent, called the church," which came as a result of the postponement of the real kingdom—but none of these descriptive terms were employed by Christ or any apostle or writer in the New Testament, nor any term like them.

Lest any should think we are misrepresenting "the man from Louisville" let us call the witness back to the stand. Hear him:

"We have now traced the kingdom—teaching of Matthew, and the kingdom gospel, from beginning to end. We have seen how the Old Testament hope of the Messianic kingdom of Israel its world-wide sway was at first entirely in the foreground: and how a crisis came when the opposition of Israel culminated in plans of murder; how then the Lord Jesus began to announce an entirely new and different aspect which his kingdom was to assume; and how thenceforth, not leaving out of view the Old Testament promise of the kingdom, the present, spiritual, veiled, suffering form of the kingdom of heaven, until he should come again, occupied the foreground of his teaching." (Kingdom of God, by R. H. Boll, page 46.)

If the reader can pierce the vagueness of the above ramblings of the witness he will sift out the gist of his theory namely, that when the Jews decided to murder Jesus, the Lord in turn decided to postpone his kingdom, so he introduced a new and unexpected phase of the kingdom—the church—and deferred his kingdom "until he should come again"—yet he would have his readers believe, when he gets into a tight, that "nobody denies that" the kingdom was established on Pentecost! But R. H. Boll denies that, for he declares that Jesus changed his plans, and also his preaching, from that kingdom which had been announced to "a new and unexpected phase" which he styles "a new spiritual contingent, called the church." Hear him again:

"Whether there had been any formal offer of the kingdom made to them, and, upon their rejection the same was withdrawn and postponed is no essential matter. But if salvation was offered to the nation by Jesus, all else was implied therein as a matter of course; and if that was nationally rejected, the fulfillment of their prophetic hopes was thereby made impossible, and automatically deferred until the time when the nation would turn to acknowledge Jesus Christ and be forgiven." (Kingdom of God, by R. H. Boll, page 46.)

Do you get it—the fulfillment of these prophecies was made impossible and the kingdom was automatically deferred. Yet Brother Boll upbraids those who "insist fiercely that the kingdom exists now—as though somebody were denying it"! It looks very much like R. H. Boll is denying it, if words have any meaning at all. It was foretold by the prophets and announced by John and Jesus, but automatically deferred when the Jews rejected Christ. Yet when his opposers "insist fiercely" that the kingdom was not deferred, but was established on Pentecost, "to save his face" he will say "nobody denies that"!

To extricate himself from a similar situation on Holy Spirit baptism as a condition of pardon to all alien sinners, in the Birmingham debate, Mr. Tingley took the absurd position that there are two Holy Spirit baptisms. And now to escape the inevitable consequences of his argument on the automatic postponement of the kingdom and in order to get around Col. 1:13 Brother Boll takes a position equally absurd—namely, that there are two kingdoms, the one which was postponed and another of his own manufacture (like Tingley's Holy Spirit) which was never once foretold or mentioned in the divine plan. For ordinary sectarians to thus dodge and quibble when they get caught between a rock and a hard place is to be expected, but for any man who makes the claim of being a gospel preacher to do so must be a shock to his most ardent devotees.

Up to the present point the witness, Brother Boll, has the kingdom postponed, but, he says, nobody denies that it was established on Pentecost! The kingdom was "automatically deferred... until he should come again," but all the members of the church are in it now! Christ is king, but his kingdom has "never yet appeared"! He is king in his kingdom, but not occupying His throne! A common sectarian debater never became more involved in such a mesh of glaring inconsistencies. A man who can't beat that even when he is on the wrong side of the question ought to put up his pen. But we are not through.


II. "They bitterly denounce brethren who do not believe that Christ is now on David's throne. Yet all of us believe alike that Christ is on the throne that he now occupies (call it what you may), and that he has all authority in heaven and on earth."

(1) The witness says that we all believe that Christ is on the throne that he now occupies. Certainly. The Russellites believe that also. So, does the man we debated with in Birmingham. Christ is on the throne that he occupies—in other words, he says that Christ is on the throne that he is on! What throne is that? Brother Boll replies: It is the throne he is on. Such is the quibbling of a man who is afraid of his ground, and quails before the argument.

Brother Boll knows, as every man who knows the issue knows, that the throne of David is the heart of the whole question and that it is a pitiful begging of the question to say that it matters not what throne he is on now. If Christ is not on David's throne now, he has no throne and no kingdom, because David's throne was the only throne that was ever promised to him, and he was never promised, nor did he ever announce more than one kingdom.

On the other hand, in Brother Boll's theory, the future earthly throne of David in Jerusalem is essential to his millennium. If there be no future earthly throne of David, there is no future earthly millennium. Why, then, is all the dodging of the issue? Why say "it matters not" and "there is no difference" and "what is it all about"?

(2) David's throne in the Old Testament was God's throne. It was also his throne; and it was Solomon's throne. "And also Solomon sitteth on the throne of the kingdom. And moreover the king's servants came to bless our lord king David, saying, Thy God make the name of Solomon better than thy name, and make his throne greater than any throne: and the king bowed himself upon the bed. And also thus said the king, Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Israel, who hath given one to sit on my throne this day, mine eyes even seeing it." (1 Kings 1: 46-48.) Again, "And Solomon sat upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly." (1 Kings 2:12.) Again, "Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him." (1 Chron. 29:23.) It is clear enough that Solomon sat on God's throne, but Solomon sat on David's throne, yet Solomon sat on his own throne. It must follow therefore that God's throne, David's throne, and Solomon's throne were all one and the same throne. It should be just as clear that Christ is therefore now on God's throne, but also on His throne, yet it is David's throne—for the Father's throne, and His throne, and David's throne, are one throne in the ante-type, as they were one throne in the type.

The distinction Brother Boll makes on the present and future throne, in order to put Christ on a throne on earth in the millennium, is a distinction without a difference. Jesus Christ has acceded to the only throne that he will ever occupy, according to the scriptures.

(3) It is not amiss to carry this point further here. When God promised David that he would set his son on his throne, he said it would be done while David slept with his fathers. (2 Sam. 7:12-14; 1 Chron. 17:11, 12.) That he did not refer to Solomon is established by the fact that Heb. 1:5 quotes the "Son" part of the passage from 2 Sam. 7:14 and applies it to Christ. So inspiration settles that. Since the Son whom God would set on David's throne is Christ, it follows that Christ must occupy the throne of David while David sleeps with his fathers. But David will not be sleeping with his fathers after the second coming of Christ. All premillennialists tell us that all the righteous dead will then he raised—David will not be in the grave. But the Son must sit on David's throne during the time that David sleeps—therefore Jesus Christ cannot occupy David's throne after the second coming of Christ. With this in mind, hear Peter on Pentecost: "Brethren I may say unto you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us unto this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins he would set one upon his throne he foreseeing this spake of the resurrection of the Christ." (Acts 2: 29-31.) Peter told the Jews that David's tomb was yet with them—David was yet sleeping with his fathers—and when he said that God would raise up one to sit on his (David's) throne he spoke of the resurrection (not the second coming) of Christ. His conclusion was: "Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted.... he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear." (Verse 33.) Any man who can see through a ladder ought to be able to see that point.

But Brother Boll writes at random of someone who "bitterly denounces" him because he does not believe that Christ now sits on David's throne. In denying that fact, he denies the sworn testimony of the God of heaven to his servant David, and denies the inspired interpretation and application of the prophecies made by Simon Peter on Pentecost. Still, he charges that someone "brands the plain import of those scriptures as false teaching." My brother, thou art the man!

(4) The witness further deposes that Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth. He says we all alike believe this. But we do not believe it all alike—for Brother Boll is on record. On page sixty-one of "Kingdom of God," by R. H. Boll, the witness, is found the statement that Christ is not king "in fact and act," but his throne is now "de jure et potentia"—by right and authority only; but when Christ returns, his throne will be "de facto et actu"—that is, in fact and act! If he told the truth on page sixty-one of his kingdom book, how can he mean what he says now? To say that Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth but does not have it in fact is just the same as saying it and then taking it back. He has all authority-but not in fact! Brethren, that is Bollism, and they call it harmless! But that is not all. Hear him further.

Coming Back-Foot On Earth

III. "They declare vociferously (and denounce and condemn whoever holds otherwise) that Christ will never set his foot on the earth again. Yet they believe and teach that he is coming back. If he really comes back what difference could it make whether or not he would actually touch the earth with his foot?"

(1) Here is a sample of the misrepresentation characteristic of all errorists in an argument. Who has ever declared "vociferously," or otherwise, that Christ will never set his foot on the earth again? That is exactly the same misrepresentation that Norris and others of his stripe and strata have indulged in, and now Brother Boll stoops to do the same. Nobody that we know of ever made such a positive declaration. Here is the challenge that has stood through five debates: Let the man who teaches that Jesus Christ will reign on the earth a thousand years produce the passage that says he will ever set his foot on this earth again. All we have said is that there is no verse that says so. The challenge to produce the verse, or one by which such could be necessarily inferred, stood in two debates with Neal, one with Norris, one with Webber and one with Tingley. It is now referred to R. H. Boll. It was not met in the other instances, though each time the speakers had several days in which to produce the passage. It is now put up to Brother Boll. Give us the passage. No need to "go around by the Joneses," and look up verses in the Old Testament, centuries before the first coming of Christ—the challenge says "again"—that he will put his foot on this earth again—just one New Testament passage that says it, Brother Boll.

(2) But what difference does it make, asks Brother Boll, whether he actually touches the earth with his foot or not? Well, in the light of his theory it seems to me that it would make quite a good deal of difference. R. H. Boll and party teach that Christ will literally occupy the literal throne of David in literal Jerusalem, and literally reign on the literal earth a literal thousand years. Now, just how could he do that if he did not "actually touch the earth with his foot"? Still, Brother Boll asks, "What difference does it make?" Evidently, he does not know what it is all about. The brother is bewildered.

IMMINENCE—LOOKING—THE PRACTICAL POINT IV. "They oppose vehemently the doctrine of the imminent return of the Lord, yet acknowledge that we should be looking for him—which is the whole practical point of the matter."

(1) If looking for him" is the "whole practical point," then the question of imminence is not any part of the "whole practical point"—and Brother Boll concedes what we have been urging all the time, namely, that his theories are not practical. Now, let him come on the rest of the way and concede that they are not scriptural and "all the rumpus" will be over. Brother Boll might not be able "to save his face" by doing such a thing, but, as Brother Srygley remarked, he would "save his soul."

(2) If Brother Boll does not really know the difference between "looking for him" and teaching such theories, his confusion is confirmed. We look for Christ when we hope for him. Hope is based on his promise. We can hope for anything he has promised, but we cannot hope for what he has not promised. Christ has promised to come; hence, our hope, otherwise referred to as waiting and looking. But he has not promised to come during my lifetime, therefore I could not hope for such.

(3) On the subject of imminence, F. B. Srygley has touched "the whole practical point," and the scriptural point as well, in the Gospel Advocate, as follows:

"My idea of this matter is that if we are prepared to live, we are also prepared to die; and if we are prepared to die, we are prepared to meet the Lord. If the Bible teaches the imminency of the coming of the Lord, it taught it when it was written; if it taught it when it was written, his coming was not imminent then (for imminent means overhanging, nothing between us and the coming of Christ). If this is true, the brother does not know that it is true, for the Lord said that he did not know when he would come, neither did the angels. It was a secret held by the Father alone, and, still Brother Boll says that his coming is imminent. But they say that Christ is liable to come at any time. No, he is not liable to come until the Father decides it; but if we will obey the Lord, we will be ready for him at any time."

If Brother Boll still wants to know the difference, we may suggest further that the apostles and early disciples looked (believed in and hoped) for the coming of Christ before such theories as his were known. The fact is, where the truth stops Brother Boll's theories begin. He has admitted it by conceding that "the whole practical point" is in the thing upon which we agree—namely that the Lord will really come again. With such admissions who can say that he is not responsible for perpetuating division if he does not cease now and forever to teach his theories?


V. "They decry speculation' yet themselves speculate, even wildly, on such subjects as the millennium, and insist on their own `spiritual' interpretation of Rev. 20, and other prophecies hardly any two alike—as standard sound doctrine,' and brand the plain import of those scriptures as false teaching."

(1) Since Brother Boll chooses the literal instead of the spiritual, we are willing for him to have it. Rev. 20 says, "I saw the souls of them that were beheaded... and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." Being literal that must be a literal beheading; so no one gets into the millennium except those literally beheaded, which cuts him out. But if the beheading is spiritualized, so must the millennium be, hence no literal millennium, and that cuts his millennium out. Either end of the dilemma leaves him out of, the millennium—so what difference does it make and what is it all about—after all?

(2) He thinks some of us brand the "plain import" of Rev. 20 as false. But we have become accustomed to his dares on Rev. 20. In 1932 he made a stage play under the caption "Here's My Hand" and offered to take "what every passage actually says"—with especial reference to Rev. 20. The Gospel Advocate promptly, editorially and officially, accepted the proposition, but it turned out to be only a gesture, for Brother Boll then immediately withdrew his hand.

In 1934 Word and Work published the lamentation of R. H. Boll that he and his had been cast out "because they believed Rev. 20 as it stands" Again, we all agreed to take Rev. 20 as it stands and not cast him out. But he again backed out. Even a casual checkup reveals definitely that "as it stands" Rev. 20 is an inadequate text and falls very far short of containing Brother Boll's theory of the earthly millennium. It does not mention the second coming of Christ; it does not mention a reign on the earth; it does not mention a bodily resurrection; it does not mention us; it does not mention an earthly throne; it does not mention Christ on earth; it does not mention any single distinctive point of the theory constructed on it. The material is not there.

(3) To take Rev. 20 as it stands will cut these brethren out of their own millennium, for only "the souls of the martyrs" those actually beheaded—were said to have lived and reigned a thousand years. If literal, it excludes from the millennium all who are not literally beheaded. If figurative, then it is spiritual, and there is no earthly millennium. So Brother Boll refuses to take what the "passage actually says" and will not have Rev. 20 "as it stands," even though these are his own word for word propositions, which he has made to the public at timed intervals, but not one time has he stood by a single proposition he has made. All his talking and writing, therefore, is just so much canting and carping; it is mere propaganda, for he has no idea whatever of taking what it "actually says" nor accepting it "as it stands" without his theories.

(4) Now he comes with his latest proposition—his 1938 - down to date, streamlined proposition, to take the import of those scriptures. So that is it! The word "import" means, according to Webster, "to bring in from without; to imply"-and that is exactly what Brother Boll wants to do, bring in from without what Rev. 20 does not "actually say"; and it is he who refuses to "believe Rev. 20 as it stands." All of his talking about it therefore is pure propaganda, chiefly for the home consumption of his clientele.

(5) Of the "standardized spiritual theories" he complains because there are "hardly two alike." Perhaps so; but in that case how could they be standardized? Furthermore, the fact that there are "hardly two alike" is only another good argument against all theories, including the Boll theories—for no two of his are alike, being contradictory at almost every turn. It remains that whether his theory is literal or spiritual (and he has both) it is just another theory. But it is well to keep in mind that the harm of a theory lies in its effect or consequences.

Any theory that postpones the kingdom, and belittles the church by making it a mere accident or "a new spiritual contingent" and that makes Christ king de jure et potentia-by right only; but not de facto et actu—not in actual fact and act, is worse than merely wrong, it is destructive of the whole gospel system, and a theory which all "true-hearted brethren should rise up and discountenance."


VI. "It is surely time that this condition of things were changed. If there be some parties in the church who, in order to save their faces, should wish to perpetuate this situation, there are also enough fair-minded true-hearted brethren to rise up and discountenance it."

(1) If Brother Boll is sincere in the expressed desire to change the "condition of things" and not "perpetuate this situation," the real test of that sincerity is whether or not he is willing to abandon his divisive teaching and promote unity instead of "fomenting strife and division over prophetic teaching." His gun always kicks harder than it shoots. If he does not intend to discontinue his teaching (which he plainly does not offer to do) but only means that the opposition shall cease their objections to his teaching, leaving him free to impose his doctrines on whomsoever he will, then in one of his own pet phrases, his "specious plea for unity" can be regarded only as another challenge which will be met as all the others have been—they simply shall not pass.

(2) His statement that there are enough "fair-minded, true-hearted brethren to rise up and discountenance" the opposition to his teaching shows clearly to whom Brother Boll is now looking with new hope to fight his battles—the so-called professed neutrals among us who say they do not believe his teaching but do not think they should be opposed. He thinks they are the "fair-minded, true-hearted brethren" who will come to the rescue of his failing cause. He sees "a situation" in the church which is in his favor.

It is a situation we all see. It is in the colleges. It is now taking definite form in the plans to start a "brotherhood" paper, a paper-college combination designed to get control of things. Already the Truthseeker, published at Searcy, Arkansas, by the Harding College group, has announced that it will merge with the new paper, and in its last issue the olive branch was extended to R. H. Boll. West Coast Christian, published by James Lovell, makes the same announcement, and the purpose and policy of this new paper have been definitely set forth in circular letters and questionnaires and surveys, the results of which surveys or "straw votes" were published in a twenty-six page report, copyrighted by the author who served noticed on all other papers on his copyright page that the report was not even to be quoted in whole or in part in other papers by anyone. That alone proves that their scheme is vulnerable, and they fear exposure in advance.

These are the "fair-minded, true-hearted brethren" to whom Brother Boll is looking to "discountenance" the opposition to him and his theories—and he is looking in the right direction for his help, for that is exactly what this group will do, backed by some of the colleges and all of that element in the church which has been opposed to plain teaching and preaching. Some of them are out-and-out Bollites; others are Boll sympathizers; others think they are neutral, but in reality are not, for they are on the wrong side already; but altogether they are enemies, whether consciously or unconsciously, of the New Testament church. Faithful gospel preachers all over the land who love the defense of the truth should "rise up and discountenance" this new movement—and we believe they will."* It is a call to arms.

*They did. This refers to the Davidson Movement of 1939 which was exposed and destroyed.


VII. "When a better spirit comes in, there will be a mutual regard, tolerance, kindness, helpfulness, love, brotherly unity, and without these things religion is hardly worth while."

All of this sounds good; but James D. Murch and the digressives said all of that in the Detroit Unity Meetings, almost in the same words. To Murch and the Christian Church tolerance means to tolerate their unscriptural innovations. And to R. H. Boll and Company tolerance means to tolerate their false teaching. It is, in fact, the frantic appeal of a false teacher in the church in his "death throes" to rally support for his cause. His only hope obviously lies in the neutrals, and in the proposed new paper. It proves that if the "neutrals" among us had stood with us in the fight against this parasitic growth on the body of the church, Bollism could never have rallied from the mortal wounds received in the defeats it has suffered. The neutrals are responsible for the present situation. They have cried for tolerance, and too much tolerance was allowed. In an effort to be fair, fraternal and tolerant, the Gospel Advocate has furnished a medium for some of these neutrals, and has unintentionally enabled these men to promote a personal following out of which the most formidable opposition to the principles for which the Gospel Advocate stands is in the making. It won't be long now. The brethren will know where the preachers stand who have said they were neutral. "How long halt ye between two opinions; If the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, then, follow him." -- "He that is not with me is against me and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."

What It Is All About

What, then, is it all about? Brother Boll wants to know "what excuse there can be for fomenting strife and division in the church over prophetic teaching?" Since he is the one who is doing the teaching, and therefore the fomenting, he should know; but as he feigns innocence, we again tell him, as repeatedly before, what it is all about. Here it is—the Boll prophetic creed:

1. That the kingdom of Dan. 2:44-the kingdom of God has not yet come into existence.

2. That this kingdom, though announced by John and Jesus, "has never yet appeared." It was postponed because national Israel rejected Jesus.

3. That in consequence of his rejection by the Jews, Jesus pigeon-holed the divine plan, introduced the church age meaning the present dispensation—and went back to heaven to stay until the Jews get into a notion of letting him set up his kingdom in Palestine.

4. That in the meantime (the kingdom prophecy having defaulted) Jesus is king de jure et potentia-by right only; but not king de facto et actu—not in actual fact and act.

5. That also in the meantime old pagan Rome must come back into existence in order to fulfill Dan. 2:44 "in the days of these kings" which were in existence when the kingdom was announced but failed to arrive!

6. That the Jews must be restored as a nation, return to Palestine, and be converted, in order that Christ can be king "in fact and act" instead of being a mere crown prince on his Father's throne.

7. That the temple of Solomon will be rebuilt; the nation of Israel restored, and the Jewish system re-instituted.

8. That the Lord will then leave the throne of his majesty in heaven and reoccupy the old Davidic throne in Jerusalem—to be a king on earth.

9. That the resurrected and living saints will meet the Lord in the air, accompany him somewhere in the heavens for a time to attend to certain affairs, which Russell and Rutherford call "the rapture," but which in the Boll theory is "the first stage" of the second coming.

10. That there will be an interval between "the first stage" and the real second coming which the millennialists call the Tribulation, which the righteous (those who believe in the millennium) will escape, having ascended to meet the Lord, who will later return to vanquish the wicked nations and start the millennium.

11. That all this is imminent—liable to happen momentarily; which event would necessitate a series of miraculous interventions that completely upset the gospel order of things, such as the spontaneous regeneration of the Jewish nation and a phenomenal transportation of the Jews to Palestine. In this eventuality the conversion of the Jews would be direct and immediate, and not by gospel influence; the return of the Jews would be instant and not gradual—a more stupendous event than crossing the Red Sea or the Jordan; and the rebuilding of the old Temple in less time than it took to grow Jonah's gourd!

12. After the thousand years, Satan musters his forces once more for the great battle in the Valley of Esdraelon, his last stand, where he will be finally defeated in physical, carnal warfare by the victorious Christ, who will then take the saints to heaven to stay.

Now, that is "what it is all about"—and R. H. Boll knows it, though guileless he may appear. Do we hear someone say "Brother Boll does not teach these things"? Very well; read the evidence as we page the proof from his own statements of his "prophetic views."

The Proof By Citation

The Word and Work, October, 1935, itemized his prophetic creed in the following points:

1. The "reign of Christ with his saints on earth for a thousand years, following this dispensation and the return of Christ."

2. A literal resurrection of the righteous, "separated from the rest of the dead by a thousand years."

3. The conversion and restoration of Israel to their "own land."

4. Another kingdom of Christ "more than the church," yet future, which Christ will establish on earth at his coming.

5. Prophecies concerning the kingdom, taken at "face value," are yet unfulfilled.

6. The apocalyptic vision of Rev. 20 is literal, not figurative, and its "plain import" teaches a literal, earthly millennium. Thus far "what it is all about" was set out by Brother Boll himself in 1935. Does he mean that this is not his teaching now? If so, let him say so; if not, why does he ask what is it all about?

But let us cite the proof for the remaining items of the "prophetic creed" listed above.

1. On page thirty-four, last paragraph, of the booklet Kingdom of God, R. H. Boll himself, is found the statement more than once referred to i.e., the kingdom announced by John and Jesus "has never yet appeared." If he wants to take this back, let him do so; if not, it is hypocrisy for him to act as though somebody has caused a "rumpus" over nothing.

2. On page thirty-five, first paragraph, he says, "The kingdom promise was national" and since the Jews did not nationally repent, the kingdom promise was not fulfilled. Yet he now says nobody denies that the kingdom was established on Pentecost. Indeed! Then which time did he state what he believes—now or in his book; Which will he repudiate? Both cannot be true. Does he now wish to renounce his former teaching? Let him do so forthrightly without unmannerly remarks about those who "oppose vehemently" just "to save their faces" what he has actually taught!

3. On pages thirty-seven and thirty-eight he says that after the kingdom was postponed, Jesus introduced the new phase of his teaching—the parables; and the new and unexpected aspect of the kingdom "the church age." Does he believe this now? If so, all this talk about somebody "insisting fiercely that the kingdom exists now ... as though somebody were denying it" can be considered only as being for effect in an effort to blame others for the "condition of things" which he himself has caused.

4. On page sixty-one is his statement that Christ is not king "in fact and act" (de facto et actu) but by right only (de jure et potentia)—but when he returns he will be actual king in exercise of all authority.

Does he believe this now? If not, when and where has he recalled it? If so, why talk about somebody "bitterly denouncing" him as though he does not "believe alike" with us that Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth? We have been taking his own word for it.

Has he taken this back? If so, where? If not, why does he use such impious language about those who have in fact represented his teaching exactly as he himself has stated it in the past, and then with his usual dramatics say "we are agreed on this" and "nobody denies that"? Duplicity is a mild term for such double-dealing and maneuvering to escape the responsibility for "the condition of things."

6. On page seventy-one, he says that "so long as Satan's throne is on the earth, Christ is not exercising the government." But now he says: "Yet all of us believe alike that Christ is on the throne he now occupies (call it what you may), and that he has all authority in heaven and on earth."

Which one of these statements does Brother Boll want us to believe, or when shall we believe what?

7. In his treatise on the Second Coming, published in 1924, page twenty-one, he says: "So the first stage of the Second Coming is when the Lord Jesus comes down to receive His own up. Then, after certain affairs have been attended to, He comes with them and the whole world sees His coming." Russell calls that "the rapture"; Boll calls it "the first stage: "The difference between them is the same as the difference between tweedledee and tweedledum, except that Russell gave it an enrapturing name, and beat Brother Boll to it.

In view of all this R. H. Boll has the temerity to say that since those who "declared vociferously" against him "believe and teach that He is corning back" why should they "denounce and condemn" such teaching as the above, as though there is little or no difference! The clumsy effort to conceal his actual teaching to save his own face, until the storm subsides, falls of its own weight and "fair-minded brethren" will not fail to see the sinister designs.

The Difference It Makes

Finally—just what difference does it make? That question involves all the consequences of the ponderous millennial program. We submit a few of the many, a sufficient number to convince anybody who wants to know that it makes a real difference:

1. The theory of the postponement of the kingdom makes the promise of God fail and the preaching' of Christ false. John and Jesus said: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." If it was postponement, the prophecy failed. Later in his ministry, Jesus "went about all the cities and villages.... preaching 'the gospel of the kingdom"—but if the 'kingdom did not 'come then what Jesus preached was not the gospel of anything; he was mistaken and his message was false. Does that make any difference?

2. The theory makes the church an accident, "a new spiritual contingent; called the church" (in Boll's own words), the result of a prophetic default; a mere afterthought. Yet Paul shows clearly in Eph. 3 that the church was in the original divine plan "from the beginning of the world" and "according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ" to make known "by the church the manifold wisdom of God." Any man who teaches a theory that postpones: the kingdom, and makes the church "a new contingent"—an accident—has little regard for the church and none at all for the ancient prophecies. To those of us who believe that God's word was fulfilled at the very time God said it would be—it makes a difference!

3. Other, consequences of the theory are that (1) it denies that Christ is reigning now, and puts "the reign of the Son of God" at, the end of this dispensation in the millennium; (2) it nullifies the Great Commission in that it denies that Christ exercises all authority now; (3) it denies those scriptures which speak of this dispensation as "the last days," in that it teaches another dispensation, after this, differing in all respects from, the present dispensation; (4) it denies that Christ is on the throne of David in heaven now, and therefore, bars the Gentiles from the blessings of the gospel, for James said that the tabernacle (or throne) of David must be established in order that the Gentiles might seek after God, according to the prophecies. If there is no throne or tabernacle of David now, the Gentiles are without hope—(does that make any difference?); (5) it alternates Judaism and Christianity—type and ante-type—and revives the ceremonies of the law which Jesus Christ nailed to the cross and buried in his tomb. But what difference could that make?

In short it is the same mistake the Jews made when they expected a king like Caesar, and in their disappointment rejected Christ, our king, and the present effort to dethrone him is but little short of the Jews' rejection of him:

It is a system of rank materialism. It teaches that saints now living will occupy "positions" of authority, and exercise temporal rule in the millennium. One of the brethren in this party has elected himself in advance to be Mayor of Chicago! Another bids for the mayoralty of New York. One ardent, advocate of the theory discovers that the United States will send ambassadors to Christ (who will be in Palestine) during the millennium!

We believe that when "fair-minded and true-hearted brethren" really know what this theory is—and that R. H. Boll teaches it—they will truly "rise up to discountenance" not the opposition to it, but the theory and its promoters.



In Word and Work R. H. Boll always has somewhat to say in reference to the reliability of God's "solemn promises" to "his people Israel." He seems much perturbed over the New Testament teaching that the church is God's Israel now. He thinks the Jews, old fleshly Israel must nationally be restored, and given a literal earthly kingdom, with Christ literally seated on David's literal throne in Jerusalem. If this is not in the picture for the Jews when Christ returns—then "we cannot know that any promise of God can be relied on, nor can we know what he means when he says anything!" He cannot see any figurative interpretation or spiritual fulfillment of the prophecies. If the kingdom is the church, and Christ is on David's throne in heaven now, he thinks that instead of fulfilling his word "to his people Israel," God has changed it and has turned "all into a spiritual and figurative fulfillment to a new spiritual contingent called the church"' and to him it is "as though the word of God hath come to naught."

To read these strong expressions from Brother Boll one would get the impression that he believes God always means just what he says, and that no prophecy or promise of God could ever be changed a jot or fall short of fulfillment a tittle.


Let us apply his own reasoning (?) to his own teaching on the postponement of that kingdom which was announced by John and Jesus as "at hand," when the time was fulfilled, as stated in Mark 1:14, 15. The kingdom prophecies of the Old Testament were to be fulfilled "in the days of these kings" (Dan. 2:44). In his book, Kingdom of God, page 34, Brother Boll admits that this referred to the kingdom John and Jesus announced; and he admits that "these kings" referred to Rome; and he admits that "Rome is gone." But while Rome was here, and these very kings were in existence, John the Baptist announced that the kingdom foretold by the prophets and promised by God was "at hand." He said "the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand" (Mark 1:14, 15). Brother Boll admits this is the kingdom prophesied by Daniel, and admits that it was the time for it to arrive. Hear his words again:

"We have put much stress upon this matter because of its weight and importance. We trust, however, that the reader would even without this discussion have perceived that the kingdom announced by John (and afterward by the Lord Jesus Himself, Matt. 4:17; Mark 1:14, 15) could have been none other than that of Old Testament prophecy and of Jewish expectation in so far as that expectation accorded with the prophecies. And this is borne out by what we find in the following chapter of Matthew. If, it be felt a difficulty that that kingdom, though announced as at hand', has never yet appeared, we shall find an explanation unforced and natural, and one which will cast no reflection on the truth and goodness of God." (Kingdom of God, page 34.)

Now, after admitting here that the kingdom announced by John and "the Lord Jesus Himself" was the kingdom that God had promised, and admitting also that it was the time for God to fulfill his prophetic word, Brother Boll has the boldness to say that this kingdom "has never yet appeared." If God did not fulfill his word in this instance and keep his promise this time, let Brother Boll tell us how we may "know that any promise of God can be relied on" or "know what he means when he says anything." In the face of such a theory, it comes with poor grace for R. H. Boll to talk about anybody teaching anything that reflects on the prophecies and promises of God. Thou art the man, Brother Boll!


It must be evident to all that R. H. Boll has but little regard for the church. He has called it "a new spiritual contingent" (accident, emergency, liability), a thing not in the original divine plan at all. In his theory the church is only an emergency measure, a substitute for the kingdom, a mere accident resulting from a promissory default and a prophetical fiasco. If any believe we do him an injustice in these statements hear his own words further:

"We have now briefly traced the kingdom—teaching of Matthew, and the kingdom gospel, from beginning to end. We have seen how the Old Testament hope of the Messianic kingdom of Israel and its world—wide sway was at first entirely in the foreground; how a crisis came when the opposition of Israel culminated in plans of murder; how then the Lord Jesus Christ began to announce an entirely new and different aspect which his kingdom was to assume; and how thenceforth, not leaving out of view the Old Testament promise of the kingdom, the present, spiritual, veiled, suffering form of the kingdom of Heaven, until he should come again, occupied the foreground of his teaching." (Kingdom of God, page 46.)

So the kingdom itself was in the foreground until it was relegated by the Jews to a back seat, and when all prophecies and promises of God concerning the kingdom were thus thwarted, God "postponed" and "deferred" the whole program and Jesus then announced the "new" and "unexpected" and "different" thing which he calls a "form" and an "aspect" of the actual thing, just "a spiritual contingent called the church'," which he says is "an entirely new and different aspect" which the kingdom "assumed." What "an explanation"! So "unforced and natural," to avoid casting "reflection on the truth and goodness of God"! His very language condemns him; it is not the parlance of gospel teachers nor the nomenclature of the New Testament. Even the parables of Jesus, in the Boll theory, were wholly of an emergency character, for he says "these parables are really an announcement of the new and unexpected aspect the kingdom would assume during an anticipated age of the king's rejection and absence from the world." (K. of G., page 38.) Thus he not only borrows his thoughts from Scofield, Blackstone and Russell, but he employs all the force of their language and expressions to belittle the church, and exalt these God-dishonoring and Christ-demoting theories.


But to help God out of the dilemma, which he calls "a difficulty," of unfulfilled prophecies and defaulted promises, Brother Boll says that he will find an "explanation unforced and natural," and he "finds" it in the Scofield postponement theory. Let those who have indignantly declared that "Brother Boll does not believe and teach such things" read his very words and inform themselves before they speak. Here they are: "The dispute whether or not the kingdom of Old Testament prophecy (the restoration and sovereignty of The Nation of Israel) was offered' to Israel by John the Baptist and by Christ in his earthly ministry, is but a war of words, irrelevant and unnecessary. The only thing that ever stood between Israel and her glorious promises, kingdom and all, was her sinful condition. That removed, every other promise must necessarily be fulfilled to them, and that speedily. Whether there had been any formal offer of the kingdom made to them, and upon their rejection the same was with drawn and postponed, is no essential matter. But if salvation was offered to the nation by Jesus, all else was implied therein as a matter of course; and if that was nationally rejected, the fulfillment of all their prophetic hopes was thereby made impossible, and automatically deferred until the time when the nation would turn to acknowledge Jesus Christ and be forgiven." (Kingdom of God, page 46.)

Neither Scofield nor Blackstone, Russell nor Rutherford, ever wrote any ranker statements than these from the pen of R. H. Boll. It commits him definitely to the postponement of the kingdom after the time was fulfilled and after both John and Jesus had announced it. Brother Boll here says that when salvation was "nationally rejected" by the Jews, therein "the fulfillment of all their prophetic hopes was thereby made impossible" and the prophesies were "automatically deferred." Do you get it—the fulfillment of these prophecies was made impossible. Daniel prophesied it; God promised it; John and "the Lord Jesus Himself" announced it—but the fulfillment of it was made impossible and it was automatically deferred! Now, who is R. H. Boll that he should talk of those whose teaching causes him to wonder if "any promise of God can be relied on" or if we can know what God "means when he says anything"! He it is who says that whether the kingdom "offer" was withdrawn and postponed is "no essential matter." With him, teaching against the future earthly, literal, fleshly restoration of the Jews is very serious because it means (to him) that God's promise cannot be relied on; but for him to teach that God's prophetic word and promise did fail at the very time the divine record said the time was fulfilled casts no "reflection on the truth and goodness of God." And whether the kingdom was "postponed" or "deferred" or the "offer" was "withdrawn," he says, is "irrelevant" and "is no essential matter." A man who can talk and write in such vein can believe anything his fervid imagination tells him to believe. As a matter of plain fact, if the prophecy meant the first coming of Christ when it was spoken by the Old Testament prophets, it could not mean the second coming at any time later. If the prophets meant the second coming of Christ when the prophecy was spoken, then it never did mean the first coming, and so nothing was "deferred," and either way it is taken Brother Boll is wrong. But he winces when his theories are "stigmatized" as "Bollism" and refers to what "some ignorant folk today would foolishly have called Bollism." Note his language ignorant folk; he forgets that he is supposed to be more pious than we are, and talks like the rest of us! This, however, is mild compared with many epithets he hurls. But we agree with him on that point—that he should never have been so distinguished by the label of "Bollism" on his theories, for they do not belong to him. He borrowed them from Scofield, Russell and Blackstone, and others of that die and cast. He should return his borrowed theories to their rightful owners, and himself to the plain gospel, or else join these stray groups outright and cease to trouble churches of Christ.


As further evidence that even Brother Boll knows that the kingdom prophecies referred to the first coming of Christ, and not his second coming, hear him once more:

"The only thing that ever stood in the way of Israel and her glorious promises, kingdom and all, was her sinful condition. That removed, every other promise must necessarily be fulfilled to them and that speedily." (Kingdom of God, page 46.)

That part of the issue is settled—when God through his prophets promised the Messianic Kingdom to Israel, these prophecies referred to the first coming of Christ. Then, according to Brother Boll himself, Jesus came to establish the earthly kingdom and the Jews expected the earthly kingdom. The puzzle is that Jesus wanted to establish the earthly kingdom, and the Jews wanted him to establish the earthly kingdom yet the Jews crucified Christ for wanting to establish the kind of a kingdom they wanted him to establish! Can you beat it? Again, noting his language, it is observed that the only thing that "stood in the way" of the kingdom prophecy being fulfilled to Israel when Jesus came was Israel's sinful condition. Then, so far as the prophecy itself is concerned, the kingdom was due, and its character was to have been exactly what they tell us the future kingdom will be. The conclusion is irresistible that if Israel's sinful condition had been "removed" the kingdom would have come and Christ would have been king on earth, in which event, he would not have been crucified. So one prophecy failed that another might be fulfilled, and because it was fulfilled, the other one failed! Furthermore, if Israel had received the kingdom, the millennium would have begun then, since it is this same millennial kingdom "postponed" and "deferred" that Brother Boll is writing about. That being true, we would not have had the parables, the gospels, the death of Christ, the book of Acts, the church, epistles to the church, nor the New Testament—but the earthly, temporal kingdom—and since it calls for only a literal thousand years, it would have all been over 900 years ago, and all of us left out, including Brother Boll himself! All this consummate folly because Brother Boll is determined that the kingdom is not spiritual and that God's Israel is not the church. Surely to all who are not blinded by theory it must be evident that John and "the Lord Jesus Himself" announced a fact when they said "the time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand." That Kingdom is the church, the theories of premillennialism to the contrary notwithstanding.