T. PIERCE BROWN
In spite of all that has been written and spoken in the brotherhood concerning the millenium, there is still widespread ignorance concerning the Bible teaching on the subject. This article will do little to correct that, because the majority of those who are members of the Lord’s church will never see it, even if it were published in every brotherhood paper in existence. However, perhaps it will suggest at least some thing to some person that he has not considered carefully. It is not designed to give a refutation of the theory, but merely to suggest a few things which some may not have considered.
It is doubtful if the average Christian knows the difference in premillennialism, postmillennialism and amillennialism. Some who seem to know the difference seem to think it does not matter which theory, if any, one holds, for his salvation does not depend on what he believes about those theories. I deny that, and assert that any person who believes the premillenial theory has to deny fundamental truths of the gospel on which his salvation depends, unless he can logically believe two mutually exclusive and contradictory doctrines.
It is true that one may believe in what he calls a millenium without denying anything basic to his salvation. That is, one may even believe (or more strictly, have an opinion) that there will be a literal 1000 years in which there will be a widespread and glorious spread of the church, without denying anything that is fundamental. If I understand the writings of Alexander Campbell and many others in what we call the Restoration Movement, they thought that when the pure gospel was preached, and the religious world rejected the creeds and doctrines of men as they thought would happen when they understood the message, this would usher in the millenium. This is whyCampbellcalled his publication, The Millennial Harbinger.
As far as I can tell, his idea had nothing to do with the premillenial concept that Jesus was coming back and set up His kingdom and reign over it in Jerusalem for 1000 years. Those pioneer preachers generally denied almost every primary assumption of the premillenial concept, although many of them thought of the millenium as a period of rapid church growth. I have read of none that thought it would be for a literal thousand years, nor that the reign of Christ would start then.
When you read from some false teacher who is so ignorant of the premillennial doctrine that he says it is insignificant, or one who claims that the pioneers in the Restoration Movement were premillennial, you need to do a little more study for yourself and see that there is a difference in teaching that Christ did not set up his kingdom and will wait until he returns to do it, and teaching that there will be a glorious period of growth of the church for some literal or figurative one thousand years. My judgment is that the thousand years of Revelation has nothing to do with either idea. But whereas the first opinion is dangerous and destructive to the very basic structure of the church and plan of salvation, the second is not.