Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 31, 1952

"Premillennialism" Vs Principles

Orville Brittell, N. Rhodesia, Africa

In view of the fact that in recent months a number of articles have appeared in various of our religious papers regarding premillennialism, the African work and workers—some of the more recent ones accusing me of being a "premillennialist," a "premillennial sympathizer," etc., and others defending me, I am writing the following. I do so that all whose desire it is that the gospel be preached in its purity and simplicity both at home and abroad may know firsthand what I believe and teach on the question. I do so that if censure or blame is due, I—not the work or some other worker—may receive it.

In reply, the first thing that I want to state is this: I hope that all I say will be well-pleasing to God because I know that it is before God "who proveth our hearts"—not before men—that I will some day have to stand and be judged; before Him who knows every thought that I think and the motive behind every thing I do; before Him who will judge in righteousness—not as men see and judge. And I know that in that day it will be revealed whether I have been true to principle or whether I have tried to "please men." Trying to "please men" rather than trying to live true to principle is, as I see it, one of the big causes of much of the trouble over this question today.

Secondly, I hope that by stating my beliefs on the following, that if I am in the wrong, those who see my fault will write to me and study through the question with me, so that I can be put right on it. And I believe that it is only fair to state here that in all the time brother Reed, who is now accusing me of being at fault was here on the field, that not once did he approach me regarding what I believed on the question. Never once during all the time he was here did he call me on any point of teaching. Yet, I have worked with him, been in his home for meals many times and have spent as long as three weeks with him on a village trip.

Thirdly, I would like to point out that the need of Africa's 140,000,000 WHO HAVE NEVER HEARD THE GOSPEL IN ITS PURITY AND SIMPLICITY is very real to me. It is that they might hear the facts of the gospel and that our efforts to take it to them might not be hindered by factions and bitterness among us as workers that I have worked and prayed. If I have erred in judgment on the "ways and means" of trying to bring about a united front for the spreading of the gospel here in Africa, it was for a lack of wisdom and certainly not from a desire to do so.

Today, the term premillennialist to most people means someone who with no regard for the plain unfigurative teaching of the N.T. on the establishment of the kingdom has taken Rev. 20:1-6 and spun around it some theory which makes the church an accident and an "afterthought," which holds out a second chance, which teaches that the Jews will be saved by some special provision other than by believing and accepting the gospel and turning from their sins and which teaches that Jesus is not now king, that He did not set up his kingdom on the day of Pentecost but that He will only become king when he returns and sets up an earthly kingdom in literal Jerusalem over the Jews, etc. In view of this, reports such as the above are a cause of true anxiety to those who desire it is that the gospel be preached in its purity and simplicity. If such reports are true—if I have embraced any of the above mentioned false doctrines, encouraged or bid Godspeed to those who believe and teach such error and last and worse than all am trying to cover it up—it should be a matter of deep concern to every Christian. The sooner such can be brought to light the better. For if such is true, then will not only those whom I teach be lost, but I also will be lost and will receive a "heavier judgment" for having taught a perverted gospel. But is this the case?

I came to Africa when I was eighteen because there was a CRISIS IN OUR WORK—the government was threatening to close down the mission where we are now working because it had been left unstaffed when workers went home for a much needed furlough. I learned of this urgent need of workers and immediately felt that my path of duty lay in coming over and doing what I could to keep the door open till others could get here to relieve. This I did. I had but one objective in coming—it was to do what I could to proclaim the facts of the gospel—not some theory or hobby—to some of the millions who are dying each year without Christ and without hope! I have spent twelve years trying to proclaim Christ to them publicly, privately, through the daily class work in the schools, by the printed page, by visual aids, etc. And this is still my one objective. I will certainly be most grateful if anyone will point out to me any point where I have failed to proclaim the gospel in its purity and simplicity.

As I stated above, I came over in 1938. I was young and had lots to learn. I quit college to come; but I have not quit studying. Each day I have tried to read and study God's word. I have tried to pattern my life after the truths I have learned from its pages. And I have tried as faithfully as I possibly could to teach others the truths I have found revealed therein. And it is by this same principle that I plan to be guided as long as I live.

My daily Bible study has impressed upon me many truths. One of the fundamental ones being the greatness of the church. It has revealed to me the church as God's plan from dim eternity; the body for which Christ gave his life; the body which came into existence on the day of Pentecost; a body over which Jesus whom Acts tells us God raised from the dead to sit on David's throne became head. My daily Bible reading has impressed upon me the fact that those who have obeyed the conditions laid down on Pentecost have been delivered from the power of darkness and have been translated into the kingdom of Christ. I believe that in this body—kingdom—and in this body alone is there salvation from sin. And it is to deliver these superstitious, heathen people from the power of darkness and enable them to hear, believe and obey the gospel so that they can be "translated out of the power of darkness, into the kingdom of the son of His love" that I as well as every other worker that I know or have known is working.