By Cecil Willis
Beginning in this issue is a series of articles, which I have asked Bill Reeves to write; reviewing a new book by Brother Max King entitled The Spirit of Prophecy. Some of our readers will not see the need for such a series of articles. Others already have written me wanting to know why we have not already reviewed this false doctrine.
It is amazing how different our religious environments can be, even in this one country. In the South, one must be very familiar with Baptist doctrine, particularly of the Southern Convention variety. But in Wisconsin, one needs acquaintance with the errors of continental Lutheranism. Adjacent to where I live, there are about 20 congregations of people who not only do not believe that water baptism is essential to salvation, but who also do not practice it. To my knowledge, there are only three religious bodies in the United States who do not practice something, which they call water baptism.
In Texas and California, the institutional fight occurred and was all over at least a decade ago. Some write wondering why we continue beating a “dead horse” through the pages of Truth Magazine, as we continue to try to point out the truth on this issue. These brethren are just unaware of the fact that there are sizable elements of this nation where the institutional fight is just beginning to be made. There are hundreds of congregations in the North that I think could be salvaged for truth, with proper teaching. Furthermore, at all times approximately one-third of the people who receive Truth Magazine are people who do not pay for it themselves, which usually means that the paper is being sent to them by a friend to try to enlighten them on the institutional question. So we must continue to teach on it.
Brother Max R. King of Warren, Ohio published in 1971 a new book entitled The Spirit of Prophecy. Brother Kings book is one of the most tedious, boring, and redundant books that I ever read. It certainly was not one of those books that “I could hardly lay down… It contains as much error as any book of its size I have ever read. Like neo-orthodoxy, it uses many biblical terms, but nearly all of them are being used with changed definitions.
Max King is not very well known personally, but his father-in-law, C. D. Beagle, is well known throughout the Ohio Valley region. Brother Beagle wrote the introduction to Brother Kings book. In this “Introduction,” Brother Beagle states that Kings is “the most enlightening book ever written about Bible prophecy and its fulfillment.” He also states that as you read it, “a whole new view of the scriptures will open up before you.”
The Beagles (father and two sons), along with Brother King, are avidly seeking to advance the errors taught in this book. I had a conversation a few months ago with Edgar Beagle, who preaches for the liberal church in Mansfield, Ohio. He indicated that they had gotten a very good reception to their new teaching at the Freed-Hardeman Lectures, held last spring.
It is going to be interesting to see how elastic a view of fellowship some of the Ohio Valley brethren and churches hold. They have withdrawn from those of us who oppose so strongly the church support of colleges, which they purport also to oppose, while they cannot heap enough praise upon Batsell Barrett Baxter, B. C. Goodpasture, Willard Collins, etc. who advocate the church support of colleges. They will not even let one of us lead a prayer during one of their services, but they use the above-mentioned liberal men for their gospel meetings and lecture programs. It will be very interesting to see what their disposition will be now toward the Beagles and Max King and the others who have accepted this fantastic view of prophecy, which Bill Reeves correctly labels as “Preterist” In substance, they take the position that all prophecy already has been fulfilled. Let me quote just enough from Kings book to verify this charge, and then let you read the carefully written series of articles by Bill Reeves. King takes the position that the heavens and earth that were to pass away were the Jewish system, and the new heavens and earth are the Christian system. “It is these two worlds which constitute a major portion of Bible teaching, and occupy a prominent place in prophecy. Failure to see these two worlds as they unfold in the scripture, and to make proper distinction of them, is a major source of error in the interpretation and application of scripture” (p. 33). He makes the second coming of Christ refer only to His coming to destroy the Jewish system and temple. “When the temple is destroyed, the world ends. The ending of the world is the coming of Christ. The coming of Christ is the fall of Jerusalem, or the destruction of the temple, etc…. All would come to pass before that generation passed into history, and that included the coming of Christ, as well as the passing of heaven and earth” (p. 39).
Furthermore, he makes all the spiritual blessings which we have in Christ refer to the setting up of a new order after the destruction of Jerusalem. “The adoption, the redemption of the body, the inheritance, resurrection to life, and manifestation as sons of God were all a part of the promise which was made sure unto all the seed through the faith of Christ, and was received when Ishmael was cast out. This time came at the fall of Jerusalem” (p. 60).
It gets worse the further you go into the book. But remember, Brother C. D. Beagle states that it is “the most enlightening book ever written about Bible prophecy and its fulfillment.” My appraisal of the book varies from his somewhat. It is the worst jumbled up mess on Bible prophecy that I ever read, whether written by saint or sinner.
King says, “The New Testament saints from Pentecost to the fall of Judaism, lived in an incomplete and temporary world.” (p. 65). “Prophecy found its complete fulfillment in the second coming of Christ, and now may be regarded as closed and consummated” (p. 65). The apostle Paul spoke of some false teachers in his time who also said, “that the resurrection is past already, and overthrow the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:18).
King states, “The last days, therefore, never apply to the Christian age, but always to the closing period of the Jewish age, which ran from Pentecost to the fall of Jerusalem” (p. 79). After stating again that “the end of the Jewish world was the second coming of Christ.. King then declares that “We are now in that world which is to come. We are in the eternal kingdom of Christ, and instead of being in the last days we are in eternal days, world without end (Eph. 3: 21 J.” (p. 81). He therefore declares that the resurrection and judgment are past already, and that we are living in heaven now.
You would think that such a false teacher would have a little difficulty making many converts, but apparently nearly the whole, large liberal church in Mansfield has “bought the package,” for they tolerate a man who believes and teaches this. They have even had Max King down for a series to enlighten them upon this new doctrine. The church where Brother King preaches (Warren, Ohio) is purported to believe it, and I guess the one where C. D. Beagle preaches also believes it, for they permit him to preach there and they will not permit those of us who oppose the church support of colleges and other human institutions even to lead a prayer there.
One ill-prepared young liberal preacher is reported to have debated these subjects with Brother King at Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, an Akron suburb. According to the eyewitness account, which I received, the young but unprepared liberal preacher got his pants tanned by King at Cuyahoga Falls.
If you are not bothered by any error comparable to that propagated by King in these parts, be thankful. Meanwhile, be patient while Brother Reeves exposes this false doctrine for the heresy that it is.
TRUTH MAGAZINE XVII: 9, pp. 3-5
January 4, 1973