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Open Letter to an Amillennialist

~ By E. L. Bynum

(Editor’s Note: From time to time we get letters from people who hold amillennial views. They usually send along a few pages of material promoting their unscriptural doctrine. Much of their letters and materials are abusive and insulting to those of us who hold to the premillennial truth of the Bible. In the open letter below, we have answered one of those promoters of false doctrine. We are withholding the name of the pastor to whom it was written, because we mean no personal reflection upon him.)

Dear Pastor....:

Your two envelopes postmarked May 22nd and 28th, arrived a few days ago, containing your amillennial views along with your diatribe against the Scofield Bible. In your attached note you said the following:

"Bro. Bynum, I’ve never seen A-millennialism given a fair shake or a worthy voice in the P.B.C. You set up a straw dummy then ‘courageously’ tear it down. How about it man! Give me a round or two in the Challenger." (Signed) "Pastor....."

Although I hate to mention it, since my spelling is none too good, I honestly think you should at least learn how to spell Amillennial and Premillennial before you start to defend one and denounce the other. In over seven pages of typewritten material published over your name, I failed to notice even one time where you spelled millennial correctly. However, I would say that I much prefer your spelling to your eschatology.

You accuse me of not giving amillennialism a fair shake in the PBC, and ask for me to give you a round or two in the Challenger. If you mean by that, that I should give you equal space to present your amillennial error, then I would advise you not to hold your breath until I do. That will happen when elephants learn to fly. The Plains Baptist Challenger is published to present the truth, not the many errors of amillennialism. You accuse me of setting up a straw dummy and then tearing it down. Amillennialism is a straw dummy. It cannot trace its origin to the Bible, nor is it supported by the Bible; but it will one day be destroyed when the prophecies of the Bible are fulfilled.

Your article entitled "Millennial Madness" contains the usual rantings of the amillennialists. The "madness" can be traced directly to amillennialism and her twin sister postmillennialism. I find nothing new in what you write, it is the same old drivel that I have read dozens of times. While it may seem right and logical to you, it is utterly opposed by the Word of God. I find one statement that you made, worthy of quotation and emphasis. You stated, "A-millennialism is basically a view from a negative stance." With this I do agree. Amillennialism has nothing positive to teach. It is a negative system of eschatology, and it certainly is negative to what the Bible teaches. If there were no premillennialism around, it would have nothing to teach.

You ought to know that amillennialism and postmillennialism are twin sisters, spawned by Origen, Augustine, and Roman Catholic theologians. I am sure that you know that Origen also prepared the soil for the modern crop of perverted versions of the Bible. It would seem to me that you would find it terribly embarrassing to be so indebted to Origen for amillennialism and the perverted versions. Why would any Baptist be a follower of Augustine and his millennial madness?

It amazes me that you would carelessly drop the names of "Moody, Spurgeon, Sunday, Whitefield, Bunyan, Wesley, Carey, Livingstone, Judson, Norris, etc.," in to your article to strengthen your case. Do you not know that a number of these men were outspoken premillennialists? I sat for several years under the ministry of J. Frank Norris, and I know that he was one of the most outspoken premillennialists of his day. He not only preached premillennial truth, but he conducted a public debate on this issue. You ought to know that he also believed and preached the pre-tribulation rapture of the saints, and he did all this without the aid of the Scofield Bible, for he did not recommend it at all.

You ought also to know that Spurgeon published more than once that he was a premillennialist. I bring this up because you are a careless name dropper.

You quote what Clarence Larkin said in his "Dispensational Truth" about the Jesuit Ribera promoting futurism in the 16th Century. You even sent me a copy of that page from Larkin’s book. Since you apparently consider him to be an expert on that subject, why do you not take to heart what he said in that same paragraph. Larking, speaking of futurism (premillennialism) said, "It was held in many of its prominent features by the primitive Fathers of the Church, and is one of the early interpretations of scripture truth that sunk into oblivion with the growth of Papacy, and that has been restored to the Church in these last times." Be honest, and admit that Larkin is giving credit to the Roman Catholic Church for dimming the light of premillennial truth. Larkin said, and I agree, that "The Second and Premillennial Coming of Christ is the ‘Key’ to the Scriptures."

Dear Pastor, I respectfully request that you go back and read page 5 from Larkin’s book before you quote from or circulate it. In your articles you wrote, "the Jesuit priests, Alcazar, who is the modern progenitor of ‘futurism’ (see attached Clarence Larkin’s ‘Dispensational Truth’ p.5)." This is a perfect example of how amillennialists misread things, from Larkin as well as the Bible. If you would really read Larkin, you would find out that he said no such thing. What Larkin really said, speaking of the "Futurist School," and I quote: "In its present form it may be said to have originated at the end of the Sixteenth Century, with the Jesuit Ribera, who, actuated by the same motive as the Jesuit Alcazar, sought to rid the Papacy of the stigma of being called the ‘Antichrist,’ and so referred the prophecies of the Apocalypse to the distant future."

Larkin did not say as you tried to make him say, that "Alcazar" was the "modern progenitor of ‘futurism.’" As a matter of fact, if you would read the adjoining column of page 5 in Larkin’s book, you would find out that Alcazar was not a "futurist" at all. I shall quote exactly what Larkin wrote. "The ‘Preterist School’ originated with the Jesuit Alcazar. His view was first put forth as a complete scheme in his work on the Apocalypse, published in A.D. 1614. It limits the scope of the Apocalypse to the events of the Apostle John’s life, and affirms that the whole prophecy was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, and the subsequent fall of the persecuting Roman Empire, thus making the Emperor Nero the ‘Antichrist.’ The purpose of the scheme was transparent, it was to relieve the Papal Church from the stigma of being called the ‘Harlot Church’ and the Pope from being called the ‘Antichrist.’ It is a view that is now but little advocated."

After reading your article entitled, "I Am a Literalist," I find that you and the Jesuit Alcazar are in agreement on a number of things. You wrote, "I believe the Bible literally, that is why I hold to the following: 1. That Daniel’s Seventy Week prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) is to be interpreted in light of (a) the work of the Messiah on Calvary, (b) the destruction of the temple by the ‘people of the prince’ or in other words, Titus, the son of Vespasian, who sacked Jerusalem in fulfillment of prophecy in A.D. 70." If you will compare your statement with Larkin’s remarks about Alcazar, you will find that you and the Jesuit Alcazar are in pretty close agreement. So don’t try to saddle the premillennialists with Alcazar. We are not in agreement with him, but apparently you are.

Since you are copying and mailing out copies of page 5 from Larkin’s book (you sent me two copies), why did you not copy and distribute page 4? Allow me to quote from page 4, where he writes the following: "The Apostolic Church was Pre-millennial, and for over 200 years no other view was entertained. The writings of the ‘Church Fathers’ abound in evidence of the fact. But around A.D. 250, Origen, one of the Church Fathers, conceived the idea that the words of scripture were but the ‘husk’ in which was hid the ‘kernel’ of scripture truth. At once he began to ‘Allegorize’ and ‘Spiritualize’ the Scriptures, and thus founded the school of ‘Allegorizing’ and ‘Spiritualizing’ interpreters of Scripture, from which the Church and the Bible have suffered so much."

My friend that is the crowd you have joined in with. While the more conservative amillennialists major on spiritualizing prophecy, and trying to take other scriptures literally, they end up destroying the faith of countless multitudes of people. Amillennialism is the breeding ground for modernism, just like the swamps are the breeding ground for frogs. When you teach preachers how to spiritualize and explain away the prophecies of God’s Word, don’t be surprised when they spiritualize the virgin birth, the resurrection of Christ, and other fundamental truths of the Word of God. Amillennialism and postmillennialism should take a bow, because they are largely responsible for the horrible wave of modernism now flooding the world.

If you can’t take the thousand year reign of Christ here on this earth literally, then what part of Revelation 20 can we take literally? Is Christ literal, or is He like the thousand years? Is the devil literal, or is he also just like the thousand years? No wonder that some do not believe in the judgment and in hell, they are just following and further developing the rules of interpretation laid down by amillennialists and postmillennialist.

I further admonish you to read and take to heart the words of Larkin when he wrote, "But the claim that the ‘Papal Church’ was the Antichrist would not down. When it was found impossible to expunge the Book of Revelation from the sacred canon, it was decided to lock up the scriptures, and the Bible became a sealed book, and the gloom of night settled down upon all Christendom. The result was the ‘Dark Ages.’ But amid the gloom God was not without witnesses to the truth. The Paulicians, Albigenses, Waldenses, and other sects, bore testimony to the Premillennial return of the Lord."

In the light of this truth, your boast that your position, "is the position of the Reformers and Protestants up to the twentieth century," does not impress me at all. The Reformers simply followed much of the eschatology of Rome. They brought a lot of errors of Rome, such as infant baptism, with them when they left the Harlot Church. True Baptists are not Protestants, and never have been. They belong in the line that Larkin calls "sects" in the above paragraph. Harry Bultema in his book "Maranatha" testified on pages 305 and 306 that the Albigenses and Waldenses were considered to be Chiliasts by Rome, and were persecuted for that very thing. Incidentally Bultema was a pastor of the Christian Reformed Church, until after studying the Bible and becoming a premillennialist, he was driven out of the Reformed Church. You should read his book, published by Kregel, which lists a large number of Protestants who were premillennial.

On page 39, of "A History of Fundamentalism in America," George W. Dollar writes of "the Anabaptists, who were the premillenarians of the times." Many others could be quoted, who testify that before the reformation, during the reformation, and since the reformation, there have been multitudes who held to the premillennial position.

As for your claim of being a literalist in Biblical interpretation, that would be funny, if it were not so serious a matter. When it comes to prophecy, all an amillennialist can do is to literally explain the scriptures away. The book of Revelation is a constant and continual embarrassment to the amillennialists. As far as I can determine, he gets no personal benefits from it, but rather has to spend a great deal of time explaining what it does not mean. If it has a practical value to it for an amillennialist, that is yet to be discovered.

Now let us consider your 3 page attack on the Scofield Bible. Your title is, "The Sacred Cow of American Fundamentalism: The Scofield Reference Bible." Let me say at the very beginning that I agree with some of your criticism of the Scofield Bible. I also object to his use of the Revised Version by Wescott and Hort in his footnotes. I also object to his doctrine of the church found in the footnotes and helps. Having said all that, I am quick to say that although Scofield was dead wrong about some things, he was not wrong on every thing. While reserving the right to disagree on specific details, I find Scofield to be basically right on his premillennial teaching. I do not agree that the fundamentalists have a sacred cow, but your sacred cow is amillennialism, and the Scofield Bible is a threat to your cow.

I can well understand why an amillennialist would foam at the mouth at the sight of a Scofield Bible. Millions of them have been sold, and they are still being published and sold in numbers that frighten the amillennialists beyond belief. While I realize that the Scofield Bible has serious weaknesses, premillennialism is not one of them. I am aware of the grubby material being circulated by the amillennialists against Scofield’s life and works, but it doesn’t hold much water for me. I shall not defend nor denounce him in that area, for I know that most of the attacks are from men with ulterior motives. They are basically dishonest in their approach, because they don’t care one whit about Scofield. They are simply looking for a weapon with which to fight premillennialism. You never hear these same men using the same tactics against an amillennialist who are guilty of the same or worse sins that those alleged to have been committed by Scofield.

It must be a horror to the amillennialists when they see other Bibles with premillennial notes being published in recent years. The John R. Rice Bible, The Ryrie Bible, and the Criswell Bible, are enough to make the amillennialists have fits. While I recommend none of these, I am thankful that they are premillennial. Why does not some amillennialists produce a Bible with their amill notes plainly stated?

The kind of work that you and some other amillennialists are doing has had some destructive effect upon some gullible premillennialists. Papers, tracts, and booklets have been circulated for years denouncing the pre-tribulation rapture of the saints. With clever, but unbiblical arguments, some have been deceived into abandoning the pre-tribulation rapture. It is sad that they have been so gullible as to do so, never realizing that their deceivers were not post-tribulation rapturists either. Amillennialists are less than honest when they write and circulate material against the pre-tribulation rapture when they don’t even believe in a mid-tribulation or post-tribulation rapture either. In fact, they don’t even believe in a millennium at all.

I noticed that you wrote that you were pastor of a church with the title including the words "Bible Baptist Church." That is a real humdinger, for amillennialism is neither Bible nor Baptist. The name "Bible Baptist" is a fundamentalist title, which for all intents and purposes means premillennial. For proof of this, just study the history of "Bible Baptist" churches in America.

I am constantly amazed at the way your kind of amillennialists point your finger at premillennialists and scream about Margaret McDonald, Edward Irving, Plymouth Brethren, and C. I. Scofield. If you would only look around, you would see that you are standing with a crowd, when in comparison, make the above look like saints of the first order. In your hate of premillennialism, you stand with Origen, Augustine, Whitby, Westcott, Hort, Roman Catholicism, World Council of Churches, National Council of Churches, Church of Christ (Campbellites), modernists, and other assorted heretics. You are up to your eyeballs in a swamp full of heresy, and you dare point the finger of accusation at premillennialists. Wake up and see where you stand! The Southern Baptist Convention has been ruined by postmillennialism and amillennialism. Every one of their seminaries are infested with this doctrinal virus, and they are all modernistic. Not one of them are premillennial. All of the Southern Baptist leaders who are fundamental in doctrine are premillennial with very, very few exceptions. The liberals who are destroying the SBC are either amillennial, postmillennial, or panmillennials. How does it feel to find yourself in such company?

As for your list of Scriptures and comments, I shall not take time to answer them. I have found that discussing Scripture with amillennialists is like discussing Scripture with Campbellites. It is fruitless. How can you convince anyone of the truth when they absolutely refuse to believe what the Scripture says. Both parties would change if they simply believed the Bible.

You asked in your note, "Don’t you answer letters?" Frankly, I seldom do answer your kind of letters and material, and when I do, you won’t like the answer. Once in a while I do answer, and this time I will use my answer for copy in the Plains Baptist Challenger, minus your name, of course. Since you like to circulate portions of Larkin’s works, you may enjoy reading his sermon preached in 1890, at the Centennial Baptist Church, Brooklyn, N.Y. I doubt if he preached it from a Scofield Bible, since it did not come into existence until about 19 years later. I am publishing it in the PBC also. Larkin was a Baptist, by the way, although I do not say that he was right in every respect on the church.

I sincerely hope that you will come to the knowledge of the truth concerning the coming of Christ. If so, it will be an humbling experience, but a glorious one for you.

Oh yes, you offered free books exposing premillennialism. Be sure and send me a truck load of them postpaid, and I will properly dispose of them. Maranatha!

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