Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 14, 1952
NUMBER 40, PAGE 12,15b

"Premillennialism" Vs Principles -- No. 3

Orville Brittell, N. Rhodesia, Africa

Had brother Reed asked me if I would fellowship anyone who differs with me on the interpretation of Rev. 20:1-6, I would have told him that I count as brethren those who have believed, repented, confessed, been baptized into Christ, and are striving to worship according to the New Testament pattern. I count all such as brethren since I believe that they have complied with the conditions which are revealed as prerequisites of God's adding them to His church. As far as I can see from my study of God's word, those who have believed, repented, confessed, and have been baptized into Christ for the remission of their sins—become subject to Christ as their king—are members of Christ's body. Yet, owing to different backgrounds, to the amount of study they have done of God's word, ability to comprehend, etc., they are at different stages of discernment in the teaching of God's word, not only as regards prophecy but on a multitude of other questions such as prayer, the eldership, the war question, the work of the Holy Spirit, etc. The one great differentiating feature between the church of the N. T. and denominations is that the denominations have crystallized the teaching of God's word and force others to accept THEIR interpretations as a prerequisite of membership in addition to the conditions revealed in God's word. In plain English they have a creed: But we have held that to be in accord with the teaching of the N. T. we should have no creed but Christ—make no requirements for membership other than those revealed in the N. T. As I see it we must either maintain this principle or become another denomination. From my study of God's word, I find that in the N. T. church there were brethren who had differences of opinion on meats, drink, feast days, new moons, and Sabbath days. They were brethren. Paul's admonition to them was, "But him that is weak in faith receive ye, yet not for decision of scruples." "Who are thou that judgest the servant of another? To his own lord he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be made to stand; for the Lord hath power to make him stand." (Yes, and these words were spoken regarding an issue as vital and important as "esteeming one day above another." An issue, which we would all most certainly agree, would affect ones soundness today). Yet such was and still is the teaching of the N. T.

But someone shouts, there are "premillennialists" among you. You have those among you who are teaching that the kingdom has not been established, that the Jews will be saved in some way other than by accepting the gospel, that there will be a second chance, etc. Friends, right here is where the issue is beclouded.

Were brother Reed against me or any other worker on the field because I have been or now am fellowshipping a person who does not believe that the kingdom was established on the day of Pentecost, who was teaching that the Jews would be saved in some way other than by accepting and obeying the gospel, etc., or teaching such "isms" then I would say he was perfectly in the right. I would shake his hand and say "more strength to him." But such is not the case. The whole issue is being fought on looseness of the definition of the word premillennialism. Even brother Phillips who in a very factious manner openly declared himself "a big bad premillennialist" at Nhowe declares that he believes that the kingdom was established on the day of Pentecost. While in the States, I was shown a letter in which he clearly states this. As I see it he has made lots of mistakes for which he will have to give account, but I cannot agree to down him on a score which he is not guilty. So what the whole fuss is over, as I see it, is this: Brother Reed and brother Phillips both believe and teach that one must hear, believe, repent, confess and be baptized into the kingdom of Christ to be saved. They both believe that the kingdom was established on the day of Pentecost. They neither believe in a second chance, that the Jews will be saved unless they accept Christ, etc. But here is where the trouble starts. Let us say for instance that they are together in a Bible class and they read Eph. 1:9-10, "making known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him unto a dispensation of the fullness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth; in him I say, in whom also we were made a heritage..." or in 1 Cor. 6:2-3. Here the trouble begins. Brother Phillips perhaps states that he believes that God has revealed how this is going to be done in Rev. 19 and 20. Immediately tempers flare. There is not the slightest bit of desire to listen or try to find out what the other ones point of view is. The meeting ends in chaos. The next day neither will speak to the other. Brother Reed begins to plaster the brotherhood with reports of unsoundness. To him there is no such thing as reason. Everyone is either going to bow to his "position" or "he is going to blow things sky-high." He insists that all make his position a test of fellowship. Brother Phillips on the other hand, goes off more determined than ever "that he is the only proclaimer of truth and leader to clean waters and green pastures." At Nhowe, when he sees those holding views different than his own, he defiantly greets them with the factious words, "Here I come the big bad premillennialist," etc. As I see it, both are extremists. Both are factious. And the Bible says, "a factious person, after a first and second admonition refuse (footnote, avoid). This I am going to try to do. Yet, I am also going to try to obey the teaching given in 2 Thes. "And yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother." And if I am guided by the teaching of Christ, all that I am going to do will be done in love, "to the end that they may be ashamed" that their spirits may "be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."

In conclusion, let me state that if the report that I am a "premillennialist" has caused any to fear lest I believe or sympathize with any of the false doctrines such as those that the kingdom has not been established, a second chance, that the Jews will be saved without accepting Christ, etc., may I assure you that such is not true. I never have believed such false teaching and have never encouraged nor bid Godspeed to anyone (to say nothing of a person posing as a member of the church) who believed such. I have and always will oppose this as well as anything else I believe to be error with all my power. Likewise, let it be known to all that I believe that all who have believed, repented, confessed and been baptized into Christ and are worshipping according to the N. T. pattern are my brethren. Again let all know that I do not endorse nor believe that the present trend to brand anyone differing with you on things which are going to take place "after this corruptions has put on incorruption"—yet who states that he believes that the kingdom was established on the day of Pentecost—is right. Neither do I for one moment condone brother Reed for being so dogmatic on his position because he "cannot afford" to do otherwise. As I see it both are brethren trying to fit the pieces of God's great jigsaw puzzle of the future (to our finite minds) together—the duty and privilege of every Christian. The fault of both as I see it is not that they are trying to fit things future in their proper place—one fearing lest a future interpretation dethrone Christ and the other fearing lest certain passages be disregarded but the fault is in the factious way so many today are doing it. If there is not righteous place for a difference of opinion on the teaching of God's word regarding things future—the sooner we form our creed the better. This is the principle for which I have tried to stand. If it is wrong I hope someone will point it out to me. Likewise I want all to know that I will at any time do all I can to "maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace" that as a loyal group of Christs' followers we may present a united front against the adversary the devil the world over. May God help us to all times so live that we may enter into the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (See also 2 Pet. 1:11.) "Seeing that those things are thus all to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy living and godliness, looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God by reason of which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat! But according to his promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore beloved, seeing that ye look for these things give diligence that ye may be found in peace, without spot and blameless in his sight." "But take heed to yourselves, lest haply your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life and that day come on you suddenly as a snare, for so shall it come upon all them that dwell on the face of all the earth. But watch ye at every season, making supplication, that ye may prevail to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of man."