Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 21, 1951
NUMBER 8, PAGE 10-11b

"Truth Advance" --- And Retreat

H. H. Dunn, Huntington, Arkansas

A few weeks ago I received a copy of a paper called "Truth Advance." The readers were notified in the first paragraph that this issue was enlarged and devoted to one line of thought. That the promulgation of premillennialism. The editor uses the great part of the first page giving a brief history of his life; closing that portion of his paper with this last paragraph above his name: "To those who love the whole counsel of God on every Bible subject for the Lord's sake is this treatise sincerely dedicated. — STANFORD CHAMBERS.'

Now, if Editor Chambers thinks that he has given the whole counsel of God on the subject of premillennialism and has not been guided in his writing rather by fantastical imaginings, then the Bible that I have is surely the wrong book. Still he uses but few passages from the Bible at all, using most of the twenty-two pages of space in quoting from the pioneer writers and insisting that they, too, were premillennialists. On page six he gives the names of some thirty-one preachers and authors whom he proudly asserts were premillennial. In closing that paragraph he states: "And it is worthy of note that NOT ONE MODERNIST (caps his) is premillennial, not one evolutionist, nor pope, nor cardinal. All such are either a-millennial or post-millennial. Not so the leaders of the Reformation of the "Restoration Movement."

Perhaps Editor Chambers thinks to impress men with the great names of men who were premillennial. Somehow I am not so heavily impressed when I stop and consider that the men whose names he used did not know enough about the Bible to be able to tell sinners how to become children of God. If they were so unlearned in the teaching of God's word that they did not understand the simple plan of salvation (and they were), why should their imaginary theorizing on the meaning of prophecies impress any Bible student?

Mr. Campbell, whom Editor Chambers quotes much had the same lack of impression from their premillennial views. Hear him in the Harbinger, 1842, p. 264: "The Samaritans had no prophets. The Roman Catholics and the Greek Catholics cannot possibly understand the prophecies. The established churches of the Protestant faith are not likely to comprehend the subject well. I have therefore little confidence that any one will be found a true interpreter of prophecy who has not had perception enough to know where the gospel began, . . . " But, was Campbell writing about premillennial interpreters? Yes, unequivocally. But does not Editor Chambers list Mr. Campbell as a premillennialist? Oh, yes. On pages two and three he defines and classifies millennialists. "If one is looking for the millennium before His coming he is "post-millennial." If he denies that there BE "the millennium" he is "a-millennial." Like the term or not you cannot avoid it.' So according to Mr. Chambers we are all one of the three. On pages three and four he classified Mr. Campbell. "He was not a-millennial for he looked forward to the millennium. Nor was he post-millennial, as the following quotations amply show." There you have it. By the authority of Editor Chambers Mr. Campbell was a premillennialist. So? Well, let us make a little further investigation.

One who has had much dealing with premillennialists has learned to take their word for practically nothing.

Mr. Chambers states, page four: "In the first year of my ministry a sister gave me a volume of the Millennial Harbinger. Later I have had the privilege of examining all of them.' I wonder how he examined them. Did he ever read them? If he did, he has surely forgotten most of Campbell's teaching on the millennium. Throughout Mr. Chambers plea for his millennium it is based on the "thousand years' of Rev. 20 Now hear Mr. Campbell on that theory: "The controversy or the difference is not about a true personal glorious appearance and coming of the Lord, for which all Christians earnestly look; but whether we shall have a millennium before that coming. Our present Millenarians say no. They deny a millennium before, and we ask for the evidence of a millennium after that event. With them there is no general conversion of the world, no triumph of Christianity before the Lord's coming; and with us, and them too, there is no conversion of the world after that coming.' Harbinger 1842, p. 58. And Editor Chambers tells us the Mr. Campbell was a premillennialist!

But hear Mr. Campbell further: "The difficulty seems to be not about a personal glorious return of the Lord—not about the creation of a new earth and heaven; but whether we shall have a verification of the 20th of the Apocalypse in this world at all, or whether it be a prophecy including an eternal rest. Either myself or the Millenarians seem essentially to have mistaken the subject of the millennium." Ibid. But hear Mr. Campbell again on the next page: "To call the resurrection of the just "the millennium'—to denominate eternity "the millennium"—to speak of it as the ultimate state of glory and bliss, appear to be introducing a new vocabulary—to be changing the sacred style, and filling the mind with confusion and darkness, rather than with light and order." How true. I have never read after a premillennialist that had not a new vocabulary. "The Rapture," the "This" and "That" that you cannot find in the vocabulary of the Bible.

But hear Mr. Campbell again on the Millennium and the 20th chapter of Rev.: "Again, John's Millennium is not to be preceded by the coming of the Lord, but by the descent of an angel." Ibid. Now isn't that just awful for Mr. Campbell to let Editor Chambers down like that? And even after we had been assured that Mr. Campbell was a premillennialist. But hear him again on the same page: "This new Millennium, or this state of things now called the Millennium, rests not at all upon the 20th chapter of the Revelation, but upon some other foundation. On what does it rest? Is it not rather an imaginative sketch, a new vision, unsanctioned by New Testament prophecy? If the personal advent of the Lord or his glorious appearing is near at hand, may we not rather conclude that the Millennium is past, and that eternity is the scene that shall next open to the world." "At present, so far as illuminated, I protest against their use of the word "Millennium" at all. It is certainly unauthorized." When Mr. Chambers examined that volume of the Harbinger, he must only have noticed how nice the leather and marble binding was.

Here is a very interesting and should be instructing item: "Our brethren on the Western Reserve have been troubled with two Smiths. The Boston Smith opened the way for the New York Smith. The one wrote on the literal return of the Jews and a literal reign of one thousand years. (Now lookout! H.H.D.) From that egg Mormonism was hatched by Rigdon and Smith of Mormon memory. And now from extrinsic influence some are converts to a new theory which they have almost identified with the hope of the gospel. But of these matters we have much to say, and hard to be uttered.' (Harbinger, 1842, p. 265) Brethren, read that paragraph again. When a man's heart becomes filled with fantastical theories, he will leave the simple glorious truths of the gospel and the hope of eternity, and take up with almost any fanciful group. Just as it was in Campbell's day, so it has been within the last few years.

We will have more to say about this in our next article.