Premillennialism and Fellowship

Leslie Diestelkamp
Cicero, Ill.

In recent issues of WORD AND WORK, a magazine published by premillennial brethren in Louisville, Kentucky, Stanford Chambers has demanded a "Manifesto," stating upon what conditions fellowship could be established. In the December issue of that paper he says: "We requested, and the situation demands, a clear, definite, affirmative statement of what specifically must be believed and taught in order that full fellowship may be exercised."

It is not my purpose to write a creed. I shall, however, be glad to state conditions that prevent me from extending fellowship.

What Must We Believe?

1. I cannot fellowship those who insist that I must believe the premillennial theories. Robert B. Boyd, in a tract entitled, "Maybe You Are Premillennial But Don't Know It" says, "To speak where the Bible speaks is to be premillennial. To be anything other than premillennial demands a retraction from that position that claims to speak where the Bible speaks." Again he said, ". . .if you are a Bible believer, you are premillennial."

I concede that every theory peculiar to premillennialism can be "proven" (?) by scripture, but only by an abuse of scripture! Exactly the same procedure would prove that animal sacrifices are necessary and that instrumental music is right. In other words, when scripture is quoted in supposed proof of premillennialism, that scripture has been abused -- taken out of context or misinterpreted. To actually "speak where the Bible speaks" does not just mean to quote a verse that sounds like our theory, but it means to "handle aright the word of truth."

Christ's Reign

2. 1 cannot fellowship those who teach that Christ will reign, after his second coming, over the earth for 1,000 years. This theory denies the completeness of the reign of Christ now. But the New Testament teaches that: (1) Christ now rules in the Kingdom with all authority -- Mt. 28:18; Ac. 2:29-36; Heb. 1:1-8. (2) He will thus rule until the end of time on earth-Heb. 10:12,13; 1 Cor. 15:23-26.

Church -- Kingdom

3. 1 cannot fellowship those who deny that the church is indeed the kingdom prophesied in Daniel 2:44 (and other places). R. H. Boll, in the book, "The Kingdom of God," page 156, says, "Jerusalem will be His glorious resting-place, and the center of His world- government in the age to come." But Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world . . . " Jn. 18:36. Peter affirms in Ae. 2:17 that the events of that day were ushering in the "last days." The gospel dispensation began with that Pentecost day and will continue until Jesus comes again. During that dispensation, which, remember is the "last days," glory and honor is to be brought to God "in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations for ever and ever" (Eph. 3:21-R.V.). There will be no dispensation on earth after the one which started on the first Pentecost after Christ's resurrection and will end at his coming. The church, which is the kingdom (Col. 1:13,18,24) is the only manifestation of that kingdom which this earth will ever see.

Did He Fail

4. 1 cannot fellowship those who teach that Jesus failed to accomplish what he came to do. Again quoting R. H. Boll in "The Kingdom Of God," page 86, he says, "The only thing that ever stood between Israel and her glorious promises, kingdom and all, was her sinful condition." (His reference here and elsewhere in the book is to an earthly kingdom such as Israel did indeed EXPECT -- but which God had not promised.) The sin of Israel did not disrupt God's plan. On the cross Jesus said, "It is finished." He was there fulfilling all that God had prophesied which included rejection, not acceptance, by the Jews!

Premillennialism Denies The Gospel

Actually, every theory that is peculiar to the premillennial beliefs is a denial of the gospel of Christ. The gospel of the resurrection is denied when it is argued that the righteous dead will be raised at Christ's coming and the unrighteous dead will be raised at the end of his reign of 1,000 years on earth. Jesus said, ". . . All that are in their tombs shall hear his voice and come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation." (Jn. 5:28,29). Again, in Mt. 25: 31,32 Jesus declares that all nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate them as sheep from goats-indicating that both the good and the bad will be there. In Rev. 1:7 we are told that when he comes "every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him." Even those who crucified Jesus will come forth on resurrection day.

In teaching that God still has a "land promise" to fulfill for the Jews, premillennialists deny the universal nature of God's covenant and promise today. Paul teaches in Rom. 2:28,29 and Gal. 3:7-29 that all have equal advantages under the gospel of Christ, and that the real seed of Abraham today is the Christian.

Let the speculations of men cease! Further, we must "Mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them" (Rom. 16:17). If brethren persist in teaching theories that deny Christ's gospel and divide his people, they must be marked.

Truth Magazine I:5, 14-15
February 1957