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Full text of "Will Christ come again? : an exposure of the foolishness, fallacies, and falsehoods of Shailer Mathews"


GIFT 


OF 


.... ... .. ./. 




WILL CHRIST 
COME AGAIN? 



An Exposure of the Foolishness, 

Fallacies and Falsehoods of 

Shailer Mathers 



By! R. A. TORREY 

Dean of HTxe Bible Institute of Los Angeles 



BIBLE INSTITUTE OF LOS ANGELES 

536-558 South Hope Street 
LOS ANGELES, "CALIFORNIA 



Copyright, 1918 

B>> R. A. TORRET 



"WILL CHRIST COME AGAIN?" AN EXPOSURE 

OF THE FOOLISHNESS, FALLACIES AND 

FALSEHOODS OF SHAILER MATHEWS. 

One of the most dangerous and harmful pamphlets 
or books published in the last year or two is the leaflet of 
Shailer Mathews entitled, "Will Christ Come Again?" The 
American Institute of Sacred Literature, with the large 
resources at its command, seems to have put forth its 
strongest efforts to get this pamphlet into the hands of 
every minister and prominent Christian worker in the land. 
In this attempt they have had the earnest and active co-oper- 
ation of many influential ministers and religous bodies. 
When the pamphlet first appeared it seemed to many 
thoughtful people as though the reasoning of the pamphlet 
was so weak and many of the statements so manifestly false 
that the pamphlet would do good rather than harm by 
serving to open the eyes of many to the weakness of the 
cause of the postmillenarians, who felt compelled to resort 
to such methods as those illustrated in the pamphlet to 
prop up their waning cause. In point of fact this pamphlet 
has had this expected effect upon a great many; but on the 
other hand many were so determined that they would not 
be premillenarians that they have been ready to cordially 
welcome anything that attacked premillenarianism, even 
though it was full of the poison of unbelief. Further than 
this, not a few have been blinded by the subtleties of the 
pamphlet. A striking illustration of this is found in the 
fact that the Women's Foreign Missionary Society of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the most honored and 
influential missionary societies in this country, has sent a 
copy of this pamphlet to every one of the five hundred mis- 
sionaries that they support in different parts of the world, 
earnestly commending the pamphlet, and the wife of one 
of the Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, a gifted 
and influential woman, Mrs. Clotilda L. McDowell, has 

392686 



written a letter ^9.. each, of th^se missionaries, sending it 
with til?, ^ffcplllEt.-ariq Sctyjrig' .in it: "The enclosed leaflet, 
stating as it does, with substantial accuracy, the position 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church on this important ques- 
tion." It certainly is startling when a foreign missionary 
society, led by a woman of Mrs. McDowell's influence, 
endorses officially a pamphlet which not only attacks the 
premillennial theory of our Lord's return, but denies in the 
plainest terms that He will ever come again at all personally 
and bodily, and furthermore, discredits and sneers at the 
clear teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostles, 
and constantly seeks to undermine confidence in the abso- 
lute reliability of the Scriptures of both the Old Testament 
and the New. On page 21 of this pamphlet are found these 
words : "Will Christ come again 1 We answer in all 
reverence, not in the sense in which the early Christians 
(and from the whole pamphlet it is evident that in "the 
early Christians" Shailer Mathews includes Jesus Christ 
and the Apostles) . . . expected. Never in the sense 
that the premillenarians of today assert (i.e., as the imme- 
diate context in the pamphlet makes clear, personally, vis- 
ibly, bodily)." We are informed by another Bishop of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church that Mrs. McDowell and the 
Board had no right to take this action, and we presume 
that this Bishop is correct in his statement, but neverthe- 
less the Board took it, and it is a striking illustration of 
the peril that there is in the pamphlet. 

It is not pleasant to say about any man, but especially 
about a man who has occupied so high a position in the 
educational world and in the organzed church as that occu- 
pied by Dr. Shailer Mathews, the things which we shall 
be forced to say in this review of his pamphlet, but Dr. 
Mathews has himself compelled it. He has attacked, not 
openly it is true, but none the less really because insidiously, 
the honor of God's Word, the Bible, and of God's Son, our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He has said most con- 
temptuous and slanderous things about both, as we shall 
show further on, and the man who attacks the honor and 
truthfulness of my Lord Jesus Christ, or who seeks to 
undermine faith in that Book that I know to be the Word 



of God, I feel compelled to contend against and to speak 
about in the frankest terms, no matter who he is nor what 
position he may occupy. In speaking of him as "Shailer 
Mathews," without the use of the titles which belong to 
him, no disrespect is intended, but he so signs himself. He 
uses no titles on the title page of his pamphlet. We confess 
that we respect him all the more for this. A great man 
does not need titles. But Shailer Mathews, if any man, 
has a right to use titles. He has been given the honorary 
degree of D.D. by three colleges : Colby, Oberlin and Brown 
University. He has received the honorary degree LL.D. 
from Pennsylvania State College. From 1899 to 1908 he 
occupied the position of Dean of the Divinity School, and 
from 1908 to the present time of the University of Chicago. 
Shailer Mathews is in reality a far more able man and a 
far better scholar and a far more intelligent reasoner than 
appears from this pamphlet. In this pamphlet he has ven- 
tured to write upon a subject to which he has given no 
thorough and honest study. Indeed his ignorance of the 
views and teachings of those whom he attacks the pre- 
millenarians is sometimes startling. Furthermore, he has 
allowed himself in this instance to be governed by his very 
violent and bitter prejudices rather than by his reasoning 
faculties, and thus has been betrayed into the fallacies and 
falsehoods that characterize the pamphlet from beginning 
to- end. There is reason for thinking that his deepest preju- 
dices are not so much against the premillenarian view of the 
Second Coming of Christ as against the Divine authorty and 
inerrancy of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Inspired Apos- 
tles, and that this professed attack upon premillenarianism 
is really intended to be a camouflaged attack upon the 
authority and reliability of Jesus Christ and the New Testa- 
ment writers, which he did not dare to attack directly and 
openly. 

Let me say at the outset that the great fault of the 
pamphlet and the great danger that lies in it is not that it 
attacks the premillennial view of our Lord's return, but 
that it persistently and constantly seeks to discredit the 
teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and the holy men of 
God whom God, by His Holy Spirit, inspired to write the 



New Tesatment Scriptures. If Shailer Mathews is right 
in his statements, then Jesus Christ, as we shall show later, 
was either an egregious fool or a consummate fraud. We 
shall see further on that there is no escaping this conclusion. 
To me the question of whether our Lord Jesus is coming 
before the millennium or after the millennium, or even the 
question whether He is coming again to this earth visibly 
and bodily at any time, is an entirely secondary question. 
The question of whether the inspired Apostles were infal- 
lible teachers or not, and above all the question whether 
our Lord Jesus Christ was an infallible teacher or not, is of 
the very first importance. That Jesus Chrst claimed to be 
a teacher sent from God, who spoke the very words of God, 
admits of no honest question (see John 12:48, 49 ; x 14:24; 
John 7:16). If our Lord Jesus was not a teacher sent from 
God, who spoke the very words of God, a Divinely inspired 
and absolutely infallible teacher, then He was either a sadly 
deluded fanatic or a deliberate liar. If He were either one 
or the other I must refuse to believe on Him, and become 
an infidel. There is no middle ground for any logical 
thinker to take. There is not enough of the intellectual 
trickster about me, even if there is about Shailer Mathews 
and his school, to believe that Jesus was either a sadly 
deluded fanatic or a deliberate liar and still claim to believe 
in Him as my Saviour and Lord. But our Lord Jesus was 
neither a sadly deluded fanatic nor a deliberate liar, He 
was what He claimed to be, a teacher sent from God, who 
spoke the very words of God, a Divinely inspired and abso- 
lutely infallible teacher. Yes, He was more than that; He 
was so entirely, even during His earthly life, God manifest 
in the flesh, that He could say truly : "He that hath seen 
me hath seen the Father" (John 14:9), and could say again 
concerning Himself : "All men should honor the Son, even 
as they honor the Father" (John 5:23). God Almighty has 
set His seal to these stupendous claims of our Lord Jesus 
by raising Him from the dead ; and by the resurrection of 
Jesus Christ from the dead, which can be easily shown 
to be one of the best proven facts of history, Shailer 
Mathews, in seeking, even though it be in underhanded ways 
and with much subtlety, to discredit our Lord Jesus Christ, 



is proven to be a blasphemer. So much by way of intro- 
duction. 

Now we are ready for a direct examination of some 
of the childish follies and absurd fallacies and gross false- 
hoods and insidious blasphemies of Shailer Matthews' 
pamphlet. 

Dr. Mathews begins his pamphlet with these words : 
"Will Christ come again? Some say yes, and immediately. 
Others say, when did he ever go away? He is present 
spiritually. Has he not promised to be with us even to the 
end of the age? These two answers are the outcome of 
two ways of using the Bible. Which is correct?" 

In what immediately follows and in his whole booklet 
Shailer Matthews makes it plain that he believes that the 
latter "way of using the Bible" is correct. So the primary 
question that Shailer Mathews puts in his pamphlet, and 
which he implies cannot be answered, is, "When did He 
(i.e., our Lord Jesus) ever go away?" How any student 
of the Bible, even of ordinary intelligence and honesty, 
could ask such a question it is difficult to understand. 
Shailer Mathews' question is not difficult to answer. Our 
Lord Jesus Himself answered the question ; He answered it, 
for example, in John 14:28 where He says: "Ye heard 
how I said to you, I GO AWAY, and I come unto you. 
If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced, because / go unto 
the Father: for the Father is greater than I." Now if our 
Lord Jesus Christ meant anything by these words, and He 
certainly meant something for He was not a fool, He meant 
to say that He was GOING AWAY to the Father in 
Heaven. So Jesus Christ Himself tells us when He went 
away. He went away when, after having been crucified 
and raised again, He ascended from Mount Olivet, leaving 
this world behind and going to another world, from which 
other world some day, as indicated here and more plainly 
stated elsewhere , He is coming back again. Shailer 
Mathews' question is also answered in the first chapter of 
the Acts of the Apostles in the ninth verse where we read : 
"And when He had said these things, as they zvere looking, 
He was taken up: and a cloud received Him out of their 
sight." In these words Luke, who, to say nothing of his 

5 



inspiration, was a very accurate historian, tells us distinctly 
WHEN THE LORD JESUS WENT AWAY. It was 
when the disciples were gathered on Mount Olivet and 
when He had given them His parting injunction (verses 
4-9), and then while they were looking HE WENT AWAY 
and was received up "out of their sight." The Apostle 
Peter also answers the question in Acts 3:19-21: "Repent 
ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted 
out, and that so there may come seasons of refreshing from 
the presence of the Lord; and that HE MAY SEND THE 
CHRIST who hath been appointed for you, even Jesus: 
WHOM THE HEAVEN MUST RECEIVE UNTIL 
THE TIMES OF RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS, 
whereof God spake by the mouth of His holy prophets 
that have been from of old." Peter here distinctly tells us 
just when the Lord Jesus went away and just where He 
went and how long He is to stay there. The Apostle Paul 
also answered Shailer Mathews' question in 1 Thess. 1 :9, 
10 where we read : "For they themselves report concern- 
ing us what manner of entering in we had unto you ; and 
how ye turned unto God from idols, to serve a living and 
true God, and TO WAIT FOR HIS SON FROM 
HEAVEN, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, who 
delivereth us from the wrath to come." Here Paul dis- 
tinctly tells us that Jesus, having been raised from the 
dead, left this earth and went away into Heaven, and that 
a truly converted and properly instructed man is waiting 
for Him to come back again. Of course, we all know that 
there is a sense in which Jesus is here today, that "He is 
here spiritually," that He has promised to be with us by 
His Holy Spirit to the end of the age, if \ve go forth accord- 
ing to His commandment, and make disciples of all the 
nations (Matt. 28:18-20; cf. John 14:15-23). Premillen- 
arians insist upon this as much as postmillenarians, or 
rather more than postmillenarians ; but the Bible makes it 
just as plain, that He is not here in the way that He was 
here during His bodily presence on earth before His bodily 
ascension from Olivet, and in the way that He is to be here 
again when He comes the second time. The Bible makes 
it as plain as day that Jesus went away from this world 



from Mount Olivet, that He went into Heaven, and that 
He is to stay in Heaven until the appointed time comes 
for Him to come back again. Such words as those with 
which Shailer Mathews opens his book are simply an 
attempt, and a weak and foolish attempt, to throw dust into 
the eyes of unthinking men and women. Of course, if one 
is determined not to discover and accept the plain meaning 
of God's Word, he can spiritualize away the plain gram- 
matical, "historical" intended sense of these numerous pas- 
sages which I have quoted; but he can only do it by a 
method of interpretation by which one can also make the 
Bible mean anything he likes, and can make lying to be as 
acceptable unto God as truth, and greed, covetousness and 
stealing as acceptable to God as self-sacrifice, and adultery 
as acceptable to God as holy married love. Listen to Shailer 
Mathews' own system of interpretation as described by 
himself in this same booklet. He says on page 8: "The 
other way to use the Bible, (i.e., the way that Shailer 
Mathews is himself advocating in this pamphlet), some- 
times called the historical, might be called the common sense 
way. Those evangelicals who hold to it are not beyond 
making mistakes for this method is not without difficulties 
of detail, but they believe in the inspiration of prophets and 
apostles by the spirit of God. (Let me call attention to 
the fact in passing that Shailer Mathews spells "Spirit of 
God" with a small s. We thought when the first edition 
of this pamphlet appeared that this might have been a typo- 
graphical error, but it is repeated in the later editions, and 
from this and other facts this is evidently intentional). 
They know that this inspiration was progressive, accumu- 
lative, dependent upon and fitted to successive periods of 
human intelligence. Evidence compels them to believe that 
many of the BELIEFS OF THE EARLY CHRISTIANS 
(by "beliefs of the early Christians" Shailer Mathews means 
the teachings of the inspired apostles, and even of the Lord 
Jesus Christ Himself, though he is not courageous nor 
honest enough to come right out and say so, but his whole 
pamphlet unmistakably shows that this is his meaning) can 
be understood only as they are studied in the light of the 
habits of thought prevalent in their times. Historically- 

7 



minded students of the Bible distinguish between funda- 
mental Christian truths and the method and language used 
by the early Christians in expressing these truths. (The 
italics here are Shailer Mathews'). They believe that in 
order to realize these truths THE CONCEPTIONS OF 
THESE ANCIENT MEN OF GOD HAVE TO BE 
TRANSLATED INTO MODERN CONCEPTIONS 
exactly as the Hebrew or Greek language has to be trans- 
lated into English." Shailer Mathews calls the method of 
Bible interpretation he here advocates, the "historical 
method." It is absolutely nothing of the sort. The "his- 
torical" method of Biblical interpretation has a clearly 
defined sense. The real "historical" method of interpreta- 
tion is this, that the words in the Bible should be inter- 
preted according to their grammatical construction and in 
the light of the historical usage of the day, and to that 
method of interpretation no intelligent student of the Bible 
has any objection. Shailer Mathews, however, has sub- 
stituted for this really "historical" method an entirely dif- 
ferent method of interpretation, and calls it the "historical" 
method, which it is not at all. He also calls it ff the common 
sense way," but if any one will look at it a moment he will 
see that so far from being "the common sense way" it is 
absolute nonsense. It is a method of interpretation that 
no translator outside of a lunatic asylum would dream of 
applying to Plato, Homer, Virgil, Horace, or to any book 
but the Bible. Shailer Mathews says further : "The con- 
ceptions of these ancient men of God have to be translated 
into modern conceptions exactly as the Hebrew or Greek 
language has to be translated into English." A few moments 
consideration will show that these words also of Shailer 
Mathews' are absolute nonsense. Translating Hebrew and 
Greek words, and grammatical constructions and idioms 
into their exactly corresponding English words, construc- 
tions and idioms is one thing, a reasonable and common 
sense thing, but translating THE THOUGHTS of "ancient 
men of God," or any one else, INTO OTHER 
THOUGHTS utterly alien to their own and oftentimes 
flatly contradicting their own, is not translation at all, and 
this whole sentence is simply a ridiculous attempt to defend 

8 



the substitution by Shailer Mathews and others of their 
evolutionary (and revolutionary) vagaries, for what Jesus 
Christ, and the inspired Apostles actually taught. Any one 
who will stop and think must see that this is not translation 
at all, it is distortion, perversion, substitution and prosti- 
tution. Shailer Mathews goes on to say : "Thus the issue 
is plain. It is not between those who believe the Bible and 
those who disbelieve it. It is between ways of using the 
Bible." This statement is an absolute falsehood. The issue 
is exactly between those who believe the Bible, those who 
translate Hebrew and Greek words into equivalent English 
words, and believe what is said by the various Bible writers, 
and those who throw overboard what the Bible says, sub- 
stituting something else for it, simply because they disbelieve 
what the Bible says. If a man should reason in a court 
of law as Shailer Mathews reasons in this passage, he 
would be laughed out of court. It is only "theologians" who 
resort to such preposterous logic. The "way .of using the 
Bible" that Shailer Mathews here advocates is that of 
setting the Bible and what it says altogether aside and 
substituting for its teachings what he thinks is demanded 
by the modern evolutionary method of thought. Shailer 
Mathews confesses that if we are to take the Bible at its 
face value, i.e., as we take any other book of the past or 
present, "the premillenarian propagandist" is "true to the 
Bible," but he tries to explain it away by saying of the 
premillenarian that "he is really true to an improper way 
of using the Bible. His loyalty to the Bible amounts to 
making OUTGROWN OR TEMPORARY WORDS 
AND CONCEPTIONS equally true with what they 
attempt to express." (p. 9). To this would say that 
there is no other form of loyalty to the Bible or any other 
book than that of taking the "words and conceptions" to 
mean what they say, and to call them, as Shailer Mathews 
plainly does in this sentence, "OUTGROWN OR TEM- 
PORARY WpRDS AND CONCEPTIONS," is to be dis- 
loyal to the Bible and to pour contempt on the Bible, and 
goes to show that in spite of all his twisting and turning 
that Shailer Mathews disbelieves the Bible and desires to 
substitute for what the Bible teaches, something entirely 



different that he imagines evolutionary philosophy teaches. 
Shailer Mathews ought to be man enough to come right 
out and say so, but he is not. How anybody can be so 
silly and irrational as to be blinded by such pettifogging 
words as these of Shailer Mathews is more than I can 
understand, but hundreds, and probably thousands of 
preachers in America, and many missionaries abroad have 
been blinded by them. What Shailer Mathews here calls 
"the historical method of interpretation/' in plain English 
is the infidel method, not a manly and courageous infidel 
method, but a sneaking and cowardly infidel method. By 
any such method of interpretation you can make the Koran, 
or all the morally rotten literature of India, reeking with 
the most unmentionable and indescribable vileness, as valu- 
able as the Bible. If Shailer Mathews wishes to get rid of 
the plain and crystal clear teaching of the Bible, as he 
undoubtedly does, why is he not honest enough to come 
right out and say so? Why does he not come right out 
and say that the Bible is a jumble of errors and falsehoods? 
The fundamental lack with Shailer Mathews and his whole 
school of thought is a lack of common intellectual honesty, 
and of a decent amount of courage. When he refers, as 
he unmistakably does from what he says in the connection, 
to the teachings of the inspired Apostles and of the Lord 
Jesus Christ Himself, he never speaks of them as the 
teachings of the Apostles and of the Lord Jesus, but speaks 
of them over and over again as "the beliefs of the early 
Christians." He knew perfectly well that any man or 
woman who had even a measurably decent amount of faith 
in Jesus Christ and the Bible, would resent it if he spoke 
so contemptuously of what were clearly set forth as the 
teachings of Jesus Christ Himself and of the inspired 
Apostles, so he does not call these teachings the teachings of 
the Apostles and of Jesus Christ, but "the beliefs of the 
early Christians." This he does over and over again, and 
then goes on immediately, time and time again, to refer to 
things that either the Apostles or Jesus Christ Himself 
taught, and oftentimes he refers to what they both taught, 
in ridicule and contempt. His whole method of argument 
would be unworthy of a pettifogging police court lawyer. 

10 



On page 4 Shailer Mathew says : "Let us first look at 
the Scriptual material." This sounds encouraging, but in 
what follows not for one moment does he look at the 
Scriptural material in any specific and honest way, or with 
any intention of accepting the teaching of the Scriptures. 
There is not one explicit quotation from the Scriptures in 
the entire book. The whole attempt of the booklet is to 
turn the reader's attention away from the things that the 
Bible explicitly says. There are undoubted allusions to the 
Scriptures, but Dr. Mathews scrupulously avoids quoting 
the Scriptures, and some of his allusions are gross cari- 
catures. In one of his allusions given in direct connection 
with his words : "Let us first look at the Scripture mater- 
ial," in fact the words immediately following, he says, "The 
early Christians believed that Jesus would return during 
the lifetime of their generation. This hope is on almost 
every page in the Nezv Testament." Any one who is at 
all familiar with the New Testament knows that this state- 
ment is one of the wildest and most reckless assertions 
ever written by a supposedly serious minded man. How 
any man who hoped to retain the confidence of his readers 
could have allowed himself to be betrayed into such a wild 
and reckless statement it is difficult to understand. There 
are 285 pages in the copy of the New Testament which I 
now hold in my hand. Does any one believe for a moment 
that there are 285 places that indicate, or suggest, or hint 
that "the early Christians believed that Jesus would return 
during the lifetime of their generation?" Such a hope so 
far from being found 285 times in the New Testament is 
not found one hundred times, nor ten times, nor is there 
even one single instance in which it is asserted that the 
Lord Jesus zvould return during the lifetime of the gener- 
ation then living. It is true that there are a few passages 
in the New Testament which some commentators have held 
taught that Jesus Christ would return during the lifetime of 
that generation, the most notable instances, those most 
frequently appealed to, being Matt. 24:34 and 1 Thess. 
4:16. In Matt. 24:34 we are told that our Lord said: 
"Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass 
away, till all these things be accomplished." This is taken 

11 



as showing that the Lord Jesus Christ taught that the gener- 
ation living when He spoke would not pass away until His 
coming again was accomplished. But if any one will study 
this passage in the context, the only way to study any 
passage in the Bible, he will discover that by "this genera- 
tion" our Lord did not mean the generation living upon 
the earth when He was here, but the generation living when 
the signs of which He had just spoken came to pass. The 
words are immediately after the parable of the fig tree, the 
whole thought of w^hich is the rapidity with which Summer 
draws nigh after the branch of the fig tree becomes tender 
and it "putteth forth its leaves," and He goes on to say that 
these signs, of which He has spoken in the immediately pre- 
ceding verses, are the signs of the coming Summer, like the 
fig tree's branch becoming tender and putting forth leaves, 
and that therefore when all these signs are seen, empha- 
sizing especially the great tribulation and the darkening of 
the sun that shall follow, then it would be known that the 
Summer of His coming to the earth is nigh, and that one 
can tell that before the generation then living passes, all these 
things shall be accomplished. The whole misapprehension 
of the meaning of these words of our Lord Jesus comes 
from one of the most vicious methods of interpretation, 
that of ripping a verse out of its context. It is the same 
thought to which our Lord Jesus gives voice in Luke 
21 :31-33 : "Even so ye also, zvhen ye see these things coin- 
ing to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh. 
Verily I say unto you, this generation (evidently the gen- 
eration then living when they "see these things coming to 
pass") shall not pass away till all things be accomplished." 
And it is in this immediate connection that He had said: 
"When these things begin to come to pass, look up and lift 
up your heads ; because your redemption draweth nigh." 
The other passage most appealed to by those who would 
have us think that the early Christians taught that Jesus 
would come during their lifetime, is 1 Thess. 4 :15-17 : "For 
this we say unto you by the -word of the Lord, that \ve 
that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, 
shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep. For 
the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, 

12 



with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God : 
and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we that are 
alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up 
in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air : and so shall we 
ever be with the Lord." It is held that here Paul taught 
that he would be alive when the Lord came, for he says : 
"we that are alive, that are left." To this would say, Paul 
does, of course, include himself with those who were then 
alive, for he certainly had not as yet died, and how could 
he by any possibility put himself with those who are already 
dead. But he does not for one moment assert that he 
would still be alive at the time that the Lord should descend 
from heaven. He certainly was alive when he wrote. It 
may be that at this period of his life Paul hoped to be 
alive when the Lord came, but we are not concerned with 
what Paul hoped, or even thought, but what Paul actually 
taught, and he certainly does not teach here nor anywhere 
else that Jesus would return during his lifetime. Neither 
does the Lord Jesus teach it in any place, nor does any other 
New Testament writer so teach. The whole purpose of this 
argument on Shailer Mathews' part is, of course, to discredit 
the testimony of the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul by 
attempting to show that they were mistaken on this point 
of the time of His return, and therefore might be mistaken 
on the whole question; but the attempt results in utter 
failure. The premillenarians do not base their view upon 
what "the early Christians believed," but upon what our 
Lord Jesus taught and what "the holy men of God" ivho 
were "moved by the Holy Spirit" taught. 

Following up this attempt to discredit the Scriptures 
and the teachings of our Lord, Shailer Mathews says on page 
5 : "It need hardly be emphasized that the immediateness of 
these events, the expectation of which was a part of the re- 
ligious inheritance of the first Christians, was an essential 
element in their hope." This statement is absolutely false. 
The possibility that the Lord Jesus might come soon for His 
own to take them out of this world before the great tribu- 
lation was an element in their hope in order to keep them 
watching and looking, but so far from the "immediateness" 
of that coming being an essential part of their hope, there is 

13 



not a word in the Bible, when properly interpreted with 
regard to its context, to show it. It is true our Lord Jesus 
did, for His own wise purpose, which it is easy to under- 
stand, withhold from the knowledge of His disciples all 
information as to the time of His return. There was good 
reason for this, into which it is not necessary to go at the 
present time. And as they were not "to know times or 
seasons, which the Father hath set within His own author- 
ity," (Acts 1 :7) it was natural that they should expect that 
Pie might come in their own life, or during the lifetime of 
that generation of believers. But the HOLY SPIRIT NEVER 

PERMITTED ONE SINGLE NEW TESTAMENT WRITER TO TEACH 

THAT HE WOULD so RETURN. So this attempt of Shailer 
Mathews to discredit the New Testament falls utterly flat. 

That "the immediateness of these events" \vas not 
"an essential element in their hope" is further evident from 
the fact that our Lord Jesus Himself spoke a parable for 
the express purpose of correcting the mistaken idea that 
His disciples held at that time (which was before Pentecost, 
when they were qualified to be the infallible writers of books 
of the Bible), that "the kingdom of God" should "imme- 
diately appear." We read : "And as they heard these 
things, He added and spake a parable, because He was 
nigh to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the 
kingdom of God was immediately to appear. He said 
therefore, a certain nobleman went into a far country, to 
receive for himself a kingdom, and to return." (Luke 
19:11, 12). Here our Lord Jesus, instead of urging the 
immediacy of His coming, emphasized the fact that there 
must be a considerable period intervening before He 
returned. In a similar way in Luke 20 :9 He says : "A 
man planted a vineyard, and let it out to husbandmen, and 
went into another country for a long time." In other par- 
ables of the kingdom and of His return our Lord taught 
that His coming, instead of being immediate, was to be 
at "the end of the world (the word translated "world" 
should be rendered "age")" (Matt. 13:39). And in a 
similar way in the 49th verse of the same chapter He 
teaches that the events connected with His coming should 
be, "in the end of the age" thus clearly indicating that an 

14 



age would intervene before His second coming. In Matt. 
24:4-8 our Lord Jesus tells of a long series of events, that 
would take a long time for their development, and says 
that even when this long series of events takes place, "the 
end is not yet!' In Matt. 28 :19, 20 and Acts 1 :6-8 our Lord 
distinctly tells His disciples that they were to go and make 
disciples "of all the nations/' and that they were to be 
witnesses "unto the uttermost part of the earth" which 
would certainly take a long time, and which shows con- 
clusively that Shailer Mathews' assertion that "immediate- 
ness" "was an essential element in their hope" of the 
return of the Lord, is utterly without foundation and 
exactly contrary to the facts in the case. 

To show still further the utter falsity of Shailer 
Mathews' assertion that "immediateness" "was an essential 
element in their hope (i.e., in the hope and teaching of 
Christ and the Apostles)" it is to be carefully noted that 
John tells us plainly that Jesus said to Peter, the leader of 
the apostolic company, that he (i.e., the Lord Jesus) would 
not come in the lifetime of Peter, and describes to Peter 
just how he should die, and furthermore tells him that his 
death should not come until he was old, and that conse- 
quently the Lord's coming necessarily could not occur until 
Peter had grown old and died (John 20:18, 19), and further 
still when John knew that some inferred from the words 
of the Lord Jesus to him that John at least, would live 
until the second coming of Christ, John flatly told them 
that this was a total misconception of the meaning of 
Jesus' words, and that Jesus had never said nor implied 
that His coming would be even in the lifetime of the 
Apostle John, though he outlived all the rest of the Apostles. 
This clearly shows how utterly unfounded, wild and reck- 
less Shailer Mathews' statement that "the early Christians 
believed that Jesus would return during the lifetime -of 
their generation," and that "this hope is on almost every 
page of the New Testament." 

In any event, if we are to discredit the teachings of 
Jesus and the Apostles, as Shailer Mathews so laboriously 
attempts to do in this passage and elsewhere, the question 
is not what "the early Christians" may have "believed" 

15 



or "hoped" but what did Christ and the other authors of 
the New Testament teaching actually teach. If it could be 
proven that the New Testament writers and speakers 
hoped and believed that Christ would come again during 
their lifetime, it would not in the least militate against the 
dependability and reliability of the teaching of Jesus Christ 
and the inspired Apostles, unless it could be shown that 
they taught that Jesus Christ would come again during 
their lifetime. And not only can it not be shown that they 
taught that "on almost every page in the New Testament/' 
but it can be shown that they never taught it in one single 
instance. Rash, wild and reckless statements cannot go 
further to bolster up a hopeless cause than Shailer Mathews 
has gone in the statement quoted. 

On page 4, under the same head of looking "at the 
Scriptural material," Shailer Mathews caricatures in the 
following way some of the teachings of our Lord Jesus 
Himself and the Apostles. He says : "After the end of 
that thousand years this group believed that there would be 
a mighty struggle between the Christ and Satan's forces, a 
general resurrection and a judgment, when spirits would 
be brought up from Sheol, a great cavern under the earth, 
and taken up into the sky, when they would meet living 
persons who had been 'changed/ The righteous would be 
given new bodies, and thereafter would live in eternal bliss 
while the wicked would be sent back to the abyss of fire 
prepared for the devil, his angels, and the giants, there to 
burn forever and ever/' There is no need for extended 
comment on these words. We simply quote them to show 
the spirit and temper of Shailer Mathews in this whole 
discussion. It would seem as if he had been taking lessons 
from Colonel Ingersol. 

On page 5 Shailer Mathews says: "The entire mes- 
sianic expectation in so far as it dealt with the future did 
not originate with the Christians (Thus far the italics are 
Shailer Mathews'). As Jews they inherited it from Judaism. 
To use only one example : The idea of the thousand years 
comes from the Jewish literature, such as the Book of 
Enoch, written after the close of the Old Testament canon. 
. . . A study of the entire literature of the Jews from 

16 



175 B.C. will show where the other elements of premil- 
lenarianism originated." Of course, this is an attempt to 
discredit the premillenarian, and in fact all "the messianic/' 
teaching of the New Testament by attributing to it an 
extra biblical Jewish origin. Shailer Mathews returns to 
this same attempt on page 17 where he says: "Pious Jews 
wrote a considerable number of apocalypses which appeared 
about 175 B.C. and continued to be written until approx- 
imately 100 A.D. These apocalypses constitute a symboli- 
cal and allegorical literature. Their figures of speech are 
precisely those which the early Christians of the New Testa- 
ment used. As time went on the tendency to literalize these 
figures of speech became very pronounced as they were used 
by men unaccustomed to the methods of such men as those 
who wrote the Book of Enoch, the Book of Jubilees, the 
Ascension of Isaiah, and other works of this class. At last 
men came to take much of this symbolism literally. This 
was true of some of the early Christians." Now this whole 
implication that our Lord Jesus Christ and the inspired 
Apostles (whom Shailer Mathews does not specifically 
name, but speaks of only as "some of the early Christians," 
but in his entire booklet his references to the teachings which 
he is seeking to discredit as being of extra-biblical Jewish 
origin, are suggested by the very explicit teachings of 
Christ and the Apostles) derived their teaching from Jewish 
apocryphal, apocalyptic literature is absolutey false. Whether 
it results from colossal ignorance or from an intentional 
desire to misrepresent we will not say, though we are loath 
to suspect Shailer Mathews of the latter. In any event 
the implication is absolutely false and totally contrary to 
the facts in the case, and if Shailer Mathews had a thorough 
knowledge of this apocalyptic literature to which he refers, 
and also of the Old Testament prophets, and the relation of 
the New Testament teaching to the Old Testament prophets, 
and if at the same time he were a thoroughly honest man, 
he would never have indulged in any such insinuations. 
This representation of the origin of premillennial teaching 
in the New Testament is easily proven to be untrue. Some 
things in the Book of Enoch, and possibly some things in 
some of the other apocalyptic writings (of which by the 

17 



way there was no such number as Shailer Mathews implies) 
may have some similarity to some of the things said by our 
Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostles in the New Testament 
writings, but it is very shallow reasoning that jumps at 
the conclusion that therefore Christ and the Apostles 
derived them from the "apocalypses which appeared from 
about 175 B.C. and continued to be within until approx- 
imately 100 A.D." The very evident explanation of any 
similarities that may be discovered is that the zvriters of 
these apocalypses were themselves saturated with Old 
Testament conceptions and phraseology (The International 
Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the most reliable book of 
the character that there is, on page 164, speaking of these 
apocalyptic writings to which Shailer Mathews refers, says : 
"All these take the Book of Daniel as their model"}, and 
Christ and the Apostles were also saturated with Old Testa- 
ment conceptions and phraseology, and, therefore, neces- 
sarily there w r ere some similarities of conception and 
phraseology between the teachings of Christ and the Apos- 
tles and those of these apocalyptic writings. Let any one 
take the words of our Lord Jesus and the Book of Revela- 
tion and other New Testament prophecies, and consult a 
good book of Old Testament references (for example, The 
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge), and they will soon 
discover that a very large part of what Jesus said, and 
what the Apostles wrote, and especially of what is con- 
tained in, the Revelation, is either verbal quotation from 
or clear allusion to Old Testament prophetic statements (tor 
example, cf. Ezekiel, chapter 1 with Revelation, chapters 
4 and 5; Ezekiel 3:3 with Revelation 10:10; Ezekiel 8:3 
with Revelation 13:14, 15; Ezekiel, chapter 9 with Revela- 
tion, chapter 7; Ezekiel, chapter 10 with Revelation 8:1-5). 
Jesus Christ and the Apostles were undeniably saturated 
with the conceptions and phraseology of the Old Testament 
prophets, and their teachings were in a large measure 
derived from, or at least built upon, their teachings. 
But not in one single instance were their teachings built 
upon the teaching of the extra-biblical apocalyptic writers 
to whom Shailer Mathews attributes them. Shailer 
Mathews' assertion is not only absolutely false, but betrays 

1*8 



a gross ignorance of Old Testament teaching. We cordially 
admit that much of the "messianic expectation in so far as 
it dealt with the future did not originate with the Chris- 
tians," but on the other hand it certainly did not originate, 
as Shailer Mathews slanderously affirms it did, with the 
Jewish apocalyptic literature that appeared from 175 B. C. 
to 10,0 A.D. It originated with those men who "spake 
from God, being moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Pet. 1 :21), 
the Old Testament prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, 
Daniel, and others. That is to say, it originated with God, 
the Holy Ghost. In this sense the teaching of Jesus Christ 
and the Apostles in regard to the second coming of Christ, 
is of Jewish origni, i.e., it came from the Jewish Old Testa- 
ment Scriptures, which were given by inspiration of God. 
But is that anything against it? As we have just seen 
these "Jewish ideas" were given by inspiration of God (see 
2 Pet. 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17). JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF 
WAS "OF JEWISH ORIGIN/' Shall we therefore give Him 
up and accept Shailer Mathews, who is of good old New 
England stock, and has studied in one American College 
(Colby), and one American Theological Institute (New- 
ton), and one German University (Berlin), in His place? 
Yes, in this sense the premillennial doctrine is of Jewish 
origin, and by the word of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, 
"SALVATION is OF THE JEWS" (Greek, "out of the Jews"), 
i.e., of Jewish origin (John 4:22). 

Shailer Mathews, in his determined attempt to dis- 
credit the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and the 
Inspired Apostles, says on page 6: "The premillenarian 
says that these beliefs (i.e., as appears from the next sent- 
ence, "the belief of the early Christians") are to be used as 
infallible teaching. Whatever the New Testament records 
as having been the belief of early Christians he regards as 
the teaching of the Bible." This statement also is abso- 
lutely false. We challenge Shailer Mathews to show any 
place in which a reputable premillenarian says or suggests 
that "Whatever the New Testament records as having been 
the belief of early Christians" be regarded as infallible 
teaching, or the teaching of the Bible. WHAT THE PRE- 
MILLENARIANS SAY is, not that, "whatever the New Testa- 

19 



ment records as having been the belief of early Christians'' 
but WHAT" JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF TEACHES, AND WHAT 

THE APOSTLES INSPIRED OF GOD, AS PAUL, JOHN, PETER, 
ETC., TEACH, IS TO BE REGARDED "AS INFALLIBLE TEACH- 
ING/' AND "AS THE TEACHING OF THE BlBLE." // what 

the Lord Jesus Christ teaches and what the writers 
of the New Testament were inspired to teach (not what 
they recorded "as having been the belief of early 
Christians") is not the teaching of the Bible, what is the 
teaching of the Bible? Shailer Mathews continues : "This 
logically ought to include belief in a flat earth, the perpetua- 
tion of slavery, the submission to rulers like Nero. Pre- 
millenarians are inconsistent when they do not, as Christians 
not long ago did, insist on these elements of New Testa- 
ment beliefs." May we ask where in the New Testament 
are we taught to "believe in a flat earth ?" Where does the 
Lord Jesus Christ, or Peter, or Paul, or John, or any New 
Testament writer teach that the earth is flat? We might 
ask, where do they even record that early Christians taught 
that the earth was flat? Where does Jesus Christ, or Peter, 
Paul, or John, or any New Testament writer teach "the 
perpetuation of slavery?" The Apostle Paul did teach that 
the Christian should "be in subjection to the higher powers/' 
and premillenarians teach that too, and why shouldn't they ? 
Would Shailer Mathews have Christians teach Bolshe- 
vism? Why should premillenarians, in order to be con- 
sistent, "insist" on these (as Shailer Mathews characterizes 
them) "elements of New Testament beliefs" when they are 
not "elements of New Testament beliefs?" He goes on 
to say: "They (i.e., premillenarians) have to resort to all 
sorts of ingenious and unwarranted interpretations of the 
texts to justify this misuse of scripture." This also is 
beyond a question a falsehood. If there is any one who 
"resorts to ingenious and unwarranted interpretations of 
the texts to justify their misuse of Scripture" it is not the 
premillenarians, but the postmillenariians. Of this fact 
Shailer Mathews himself is a striking illustration in this 
very pamphlet in which, as we have already seen, he is so 
convinced that his views cannot be maintained by taking 
the Scriptures at their face value and in their evident mean- 

20 



ing, that he says in so many words that 'The conception? 
of these ancient men of God have to be translated into 
modern conceptions." That is to say, that for what the 
Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostles say, something else must 
be substituted which is just the opposite of what they say. 
Can "ingenious and unwarranted interpretation of texts" 
go beyond that? Shailer Mathews concludes this para- 
graph by saying: 'Their (i.e., the premillenarians') method 
is more irresponsible than that which tries to prove that 
Bacon wrote the plays of Shakespeare." This statement 
also is a falsehood, so palpably false that about all one 
needs to do is to quote it. It is not the premillennial school 
of literary critics and interpreters who are trying to prove 
by methods "more irresponsible than that which tries to 
prove that Bacon wrote the plays of Shakespeare" that the 
books of the Bible were not written by the men whose 
names they have borne for so many centuries, but the very 
school of which Shailer Mathews is a leading advocate. 
We do not recall ever having read a book, even by the 
bitterest infidel, that was more evidently, egregiously, delib- 
erately, intentionally unfair than this booklet of Shailer 
Mathews. Of this fact we have sufficient evidence in the 
sentences just quoted. Let us add before passing on that 
the New Testament does not merely record "the concep- 
tions of early Christians," it is an entirely reliable record 
of what the Lord Jesus Christ taught and what "was con- 
firmed unto us by them that heard (i.e., the Apostles) ; God 
also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, 
and by manifold powers, arid by gifts of the Holy Ghost, 
according to His own will" (Heb. 2:3, 4). In the New 
Testament God has given us as a foundation for our faith 
and practice, the teaching of His Son, our Lord Jesus 
Christ, and of the Apostles, to whom the Lord Jesus Christ 
Himself said : "These things have I spoken unto you, 
while yet abiding with you. .But the Comforter, even the 
Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He 
shall bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you" 
(John 14:25, 26). And again: "I have yet many things 
to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit 
when He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He shall guide you 

21 



into all the truth : for He shall not speak from Himself ; 
but what things soever ye shall hear, these shall He speak : 
and He shall declare unto you the things that are to come" 
Now which shall we accept, those things which that person 
whom God accredited to be a teacher sent from God, who 
spake the very words of God, by raising Him from the 
dead, taught, and which the Apostles, who the same Lord 
Jesus said would be guided into all the truth by the Spirit 
of truth, Who should declare unto them things to come, 
taught, or what Shailer Mathews is very confident is the 
assured result of modern scientific investigation and philo- 
sophical speculation? These recorded utterances of the 
Lord Jesus Christ found in the New Testament are given 
to us by thoroughly competent witnesses, who had a right 
to claim, as one of them does claim in so many words, that 
they had "traced the course of all things accurately from 
the first," and wrote the things that they had traced in 
order that those who read the record "might know the 
certainty concerning the things wherein they were 
instructed" (Luke 1 :3, 4), and the accuracy of whose recol- 
lection Jesus Christ Himself guaranteed by saying: "The 
Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will 
send in my name, He shall teach you all things and bring 
to your remembrance all that I said unto you." 

On Page 7 Shailer Mathews throws out this challenge, 
which is another startling illustration of his ignorance of 
premillenarian literature : he says : "We challenge any pre- 
millenarian to name the day (i.e., the day of our Lord's 
return), and then shall wait until that day, confident that 
he is mistaken." Of course, no intelligent premillenarian 
will attempt "to name the day ;" for premillenarians stoutly, 
as stoutly as any postmillennarian, affirm that the Lord 
Jesus Christ has in the strictest and sternest terms forbidden 
us to even try to discover the exact date of His return, 
that the Lord Jesus Christ has said : "It is not for you to 
know times or seasons, which the Father hath set within 
His own authority" No one contends more earnestly 
against this whole folly of date setting than the leading 
premillenarians. The writer of the present tract has said, 
repeatedly in public address and on printed page that any 

22 



attempt to set a date for the return of our Lord, or any 
event connected therewith is most daring presumption and 
an act of gross disobedience to the revealed will of God. 
In his book, "What the Bible Teaches," published in 1898 
he says : "The exact time of the Coming Again of Jesus 
Christ is not revealed to us." "Calculations from the data 
given in Daniel by which some try to fix the exact date of 
Christ's return are utterly unreliable. They attempt the 
impossible. The statements were not intended to give us 
a clue to the exact date of Christ's return. It is part of 
God's purpose and method in dealing with men to keep 
them in uncertainty on this point." "Any teacher, who 
attempts to fix the date of Christ's return is at once dis- 
credited, and it is entirely unnecessary to wade through 
his calculations. God does not desire us to know just when 
His Son shall return." (What the Bible Teaches, pages 
216,217). This attempt on Shailer Mathews' part to iden- 
tify premillenarianism with date setting is another illustra- 
tion of the gross, egregious, deliberate and outrageous 
unfairness of Shailer Mathews in his discussion of the 
whole subject. 

On page 10 Shailer Mathews says: "Premillenarians 
miss the spirit in emphasizing the letter. In making a 
mistaken Judaistic belief central they distort Christianity. 
This distortion is characterized by four chief elements. 
First, the premillenarian interpretation of the gospel denies 
that God is capable of bringing about His victory by spir- 
itual means." This is one of the main points, if not the 
main point in Shailer Mathews' whole attack upon premil- 
lenarianism. At the first glance, to the superficial thinker, 
there may seem to be something in this argument of Shailer 
Mathews, but if any one of average intelligence and ability 
and historical knowledge will stop to reflect upon it he will 
see that it is arrant nonsense. We know from history and 
experience as well as from the Bible, that God has always 
used material means, "force" if you please, "to bring about 
His victory," the victory of righteousness. How is God 
teaching the Kaiser and the Germans (and through them 
all who would cultivate a spirit of damnable and murderous 
self-aggrandizement), a sorely needed lesson? Is it "by 

23 



(purely) spiritual means ?" Is it not by "force," the mili- 
tary forces of America and our allies ? And by so 
doing it is God "reverting to physical brutality ?" Shailer 
Mathews or any one else who asserts it, or implies it, is a 
blasphemer. That is plain and severe speech, but it is an 
inescapable fact. To be consistent Shailer Mathews should 
be an extreme pacifist and demand that America should 
recall her soldiers, destroy her guns and ammunition and 
bring the Germans to repentance and to a just and humane 
treatment of weaker nations and outraged women and 
children "by spiritual means/' Why has Shailer Mathews, 
if he believes what he here implies, accepted for 1917-1918 
the position of "State Secretary for War Savings for 
Illinois?" Why has he left the purely "spiritual means" 
of teaching for collecting money to arm, eqtiip and sustain 
our "brutal" forces in the field to bringfthe Kaiser and 
Germany to their senses. Fortunately Shailer Mathews 
does not himself believe a word of the nonsense which he 
writes, and makes the very central argument of his 
pamphlet in order to bolster up a bad cause. As a matter 
of historical fact is not God carrying out the purposes of 
His love, and has He not carried them out through all the 
history of mankind, by the intelligent and loving use of 
"force?" If Shailer Mathews' words were carried out to 
their logical conclusion they would mean that we must dis- 
pense with all use of force to punish offenders against right- 
eousness. He calls God's resorting to force to bring about 
His loving purposes, "physical brutality," his exact words 
are: "In order to succeed he has to revert to physical 
brutality." And he goes on to say that by reverting to 
force God "abandons morality and uses miraculous mili- 
tarism. He turns to fire and destructive forces of imper- 
sonal nature." These are not only irrational words, they 
are blasphemous words in the light of history as well as in 
the light of the teaching of God's Word. Shailer Mathews' 
argument furthermore, if there were anything in it, would 
make it a confession of defeat on God's part to even punish 
sin by physical force, by any use of the "destructive forces 
of impersonal nature" to bring man to his senses. Shailer 
Mathews' argument carried to its logical issue would under- 

24 



mine not merely the Bible doctrine of premillenarianism 
but the entire Bible doctrine of future retribution, or 
any doctrine of retribution. To use Shailer Mathews' 
own words, to use the "destructive forces of impersonal 
nature" to punish sin would be to "abandon morality and 
use miraculous militarism." To so reason at the present 
time would be very effective pro-German propaganda and 
it would be at any time sheerest tomfoolery. Without even 
reverting at all to the doctrine that the Lord Jesus Himself 
clearly teaches about how God will punish sin in the here- 
after, we all know God does use every day "destructive 
forces of impersonal nature/' physical disease and pain, 
"to punish sin/' and any one who accuses God of "abandon- 
ing morality" in doing this may be a theological professor, 
but he is also a rank blasphemer. In this very connection 
Shailer Mathews deliberately caricatures, not merely pre- 
millennialism, but explicit Bible teaching to hold it up to 
contempt. He says: "He (i.e., God) turns to fire and 
destructive forces of impersonal nature. Certain persons 
will be rescued and taken up into the sky, but the earth is 
to be set on fire, the people left on it are to be killed, and 
after this the saints are to reign. Thus force is the final 
method by which God reigns." It is hardly necessary for 
the help of any one who has any considerable knowledge 
of the Bible, to say that these sneers are evidently aimed at 
very explicit teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and the 
Apostle Paul and others which are here caricatured in a 
way they would be worthy of Colonel Ingersol, or any of 
the grosser type of infidel scoffers. 

On page 11 Shailer Mathews says: "Many premil- 
lenarians therefore thank God that the world is growing 
worse." This statement is an evident falsehood ana a 
gross slander. It is true that intelligent premillenarians, 
when they see the triumph of iniquity that has been so 
apparent in the past four years, are not thrown into the 
abyss of utter despair and pessimism that many postmil- 
lenarians were thrown into. It is true that in these things 
they saw the things predicted as preceding the return of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore, instead of being dis- 
heartened when they saw, "upon the earth distress of 

25 



nations, in perplexity for the roaring of the sea and the 
billows ; men fainting for fear, and for expectation of the 
things that are coming on the world/' they do just what the 
Lord Jesus Christ bade us do under such circumstances, 
viz., "Lift up our heads; because our redemption draweth 
nigh.'' They do not rejoice in these things; they see and 
feel the horror of them ; they do what they can to alleviate 
them, but they are not discouraged by them, because the 
Lord Jesus Christ Himself predicted these things, and their 
coming to pass is simply an additional guarantee of the 
absolute truthfulness of the Word of God. Furthermore, 
in the increasing darkness of the night they see the indica- 
tion that the glorious day is at hand. Shailer Mathews asks 
in the sentence following the one just quoted: ''What is 
this but joy in the spiritual defeat of God?" The premil- 
lenarian's joy is not u joy in the spiritual defeat of God," 
but it is joy in the absolute certainty of God's Word and in 
the confirmation of Jesus Christ's own claim made in con- 
nection with His predictions regarding His own second 
coming, that though "heaven and earth shall pass away, my 
word shall not pass away" (Matt. 24:35), and joy in the 
indication of the soon coming of the complete triumph of 
God in that glorious day when our Lord Jesus Christ Him- 
self shall return according to His own proniise, and set 
straight the things which men in their pride and sin have 
made crooked. Shailer Mathews goes on to say : "This 
sort of pessimism is unworthy of a Christian man." This 
is simply bringing forward again the oft repeated charge of 
pessimism against premillenarians, but premillenarians, so 
far from being pessimists are optimists of the optimists. 
Even when the days grow darkest, as Shailer Mathews him- 
self has just suggested, their hearts remain light, for they 
know from the promises of God's Word regarding the sec- 
ond coming of Christ, that the darker the night gets the 
nearer at hand the day is. The premillenarian is an opti- 
mist not by deliberately shutting his eyes to the undeniable 
facts of the present day confusion in politics, commercial 
life, social life, and national life and international relations, 
he is an optimist because he is open-eyed to the glorious* 
promises of God's Word, that all these things are simply 

26 



precursors of by far the brightest day in all this world's 
history. 

Shailer Mathews' second argument against premillen- 
arianism is : 

2. "Such a use of the Scripture (the premillenarians' 
use of Scripture) leads to the denial of the application of 
the gospel to social forces!' This statement is another 
false accusation. We would like to know whether Shailer 
Mathews or any other postmillenarian has done more 
in modern times to apply the gospel to social forces than 
for example, D. L. Moody, who was an avowed and con- 
sistent premillenarian, or Billy Sunday, who in all his meet- 
ings in recent years has preached at least one sermon of 
the most ultra-premillennial type. It would be easy to men- 
tion many other prominent premillenarians who have 
accomplished great things in the "application of the gospel 
to social forces." It is true that premillenarians do not 
indulge in the vain hope of gospelizing social organizations 
without regenerating the individual. It is true that the 
premillenarian as a rule seeks to reach social forces through 
reaching individuals with the saving truth of the gospel 
which our Lord Jesus Christ taught, but to assert that the 
premillenarian denies the application of the gospel to social 
forces is to shut ones eyes to what premillenarians in this 
and all other lands are doing for true and permanent social 
uplift. But premillenarians are not guilty of the folly of 
attempting to "regenerate the institutions of humanity and 
the forces that are making history" in any other way than 
by the regeneration of the individuals who "embody these 
social forces." 

On page 12 Shailer Mathews says: "The hope of the 
coming of the Christ is not for a moral renewal but for the 
triumph of physical force." Is this an illustration of Shailer 
Mathews' gross ignorance of premillennial teaching, or 
is it an illustration of his deliberate misrepresentation ? We 
confess we do not know, but anybody who is familiar with 
premillennial literature knows that in their teaching "the 
hope of the coming of the Christ" is to the end of the most 
wonderful and thorough going "moral renewal" that the 
world has ever seen. In proof of this may the writer be 

27 



pardoned for referring any reader to his own book on "The 
Return of the Lord Jesus," especially that part of the book 
that has to do with the Results of the Return of the Lord 
Jesus. 

Another charge Shailer Mathews brings against pre- 
millenarians is : 

"Fourth, premillenarians deny that Christianity is con- 
sistent with the findings of modern science particularly as 
regards evolution! 3 Shailer Mathews here reveals one of 
the great reasons why he is so extremely bitter against 
premillenarians, and so anxious, by any kind of misrepre- 
sentation, to discredit them, viz., because he is obsessed by 
the idea that that form of evolutionary hypothesis which 
he holds is the sum of all wisdom, and at the same time is 
inconsistent with premillennial teaching. It needs only 
to be said that the form of evolutionary hypothesis that 
Shailer Mathews apparently holds is not "a finding of 
modern science." The evolutionary hypothesis that evi- 
dently from this pamphlet is held by Shailer Mathews is 
not a finding of modern science, it is speculative philosophy 
and not in any proper use of the word "science." Shailer 
Mathews, in the following sentence, goes on to say : "Many 
of these denials show that the writers know nothing about 
evolution or the world of science." One wonders as he 
reads what Shailer Mathews says, whether he really has any 
knowledge of the doctrine of evolution that is held today 
by many of the leading scientists as distinguished from the 
discredited and disproven and therefore rejected doctrine 
of evolution that was quite widely held by scientists 
twenty years ago. Shailer Mathews continues: "Such an 
attack upon modern science is demanded by the central 
principle of premillenarianism." It is enough to answer 
that some premillenarians undoubtedly do attack what many 
of Shailer Mathews' school are pleased to call "modern 
science," but what is not in any right use of the word 
"science" at all, but various hypotheses that have not one 
single scientifically observed fact upon which to build as 
upon a solid foundation, and certainly no attack upon what 
is really "science" is demanded by the central principle, or 

28 



any other principle, of premillenarianism. This is simply 
unfounded assertion on Shailer Mathews' part. 

If it could be shown that it is impossible to hold any 
view that is clearly taught in the New Testament and at the 
same time hold any theory of evolution, it would not take 
the writer of the present tract long to decide whether to 
abide by the teachings of a book regarding which he has 
unanswerable proof that it is the Word of God (see writers 
book, "The Bible and Its Christ"), or to accept a scientific 
hypothesis which no careful and accurate and really scien- 
tific thinker claims is proven. All really scientific writers, 
even though they are ardent evolutionists, admit, just as 
Thomas Huxley, one of the most enthusiastic evolutionists 
that the scientific world has ever produced, admitted, that 
the evolutionary hypothesis is and "always must remain" 
at best "only hypothesis." But the Bible has been proven 
to be the Word of God, so we would stand by the Bible, 
even if we had to give up "evolution" in any and every form 
in order to do it. The trouble is that Shailer Mathews, 
like many other theologians, who as a rule actually know 
very little about modern science, is obsessed by the evolu- 
tionary hypothesis and makes that the test of every doctrine, 
scientific, philosophcial, theological, or literary. Of course, 
this is an utter desertion of the modern scientific method, 
and a reversion to the old a priori method of reasoning of 
the dark ages before Bacon. Along the same line Shailer 
Mathews says that premillenarianism "makes a cleavage 
between what the premillenarian regards as the Christian 
religion and real culture. Men must choose between that 
Christianity and science." But premillenarianism makes 
no cleavage between the "Christian religion and real cul- 
ture." What Shailer Mathews calls "real culture" is not 
real culture at all, it is a very false and ignorant and only 
so-called "culture," very like the Kultur that Shailer 
Mathews imbibed when he was a student at the University 
of Berlin. Men do not have to choose between the 
form of Christianity represented by those who maintain 
that the Bible, like any other book, should be taken at its 
face value, "and science." The choice is between an honest, 
frank, open Christianity and what pretends to be "science/ 1 

29 



but in reality is utterly out of harmony with modern scien- 
tific methods. It is amusing to see the way in which the 
postmillenarians, like the destructive critics, quietly assume 
. that all the scholarship is with themselves. Of course, the 
claim is utterly false and results either from gross ignorance 
or deliberate lying, sometimes from one, sometimes from 
the other. 

On page 18 Shailer Mathews says : "A comparison of 
the gospels shows that they even read back some of these 
forms of expression (i.e., the forms of expression drawn 
from the Jewish apocalyptic literature from 175 B.C. on) 
into the sayings of Jesus Himself." This statement is an 
absolute falsehood. "A comparison of the gospels" shows 
nothing of the kind. Any one who will take the four 
gospels and study them and compare them with an unbiased 
mind, without prejudice for or against their truthfulness, 
will be forced to acknowledge that the life here recorded 
was a life actually lived here upon earth, and not a mere 
romance, and will also be forced to admit that the utter- 
ances here attributed to Jesus could not have been devised 
by others and put into His mouth. The attempt which 
has been carried on so persistently from the time that David 
Strauss published his Leben Jesu in 1833 to the present 
time, to reconstruct the life of Jesus and leave out the 
miraculous element and to eliminate that part of His teach- 
ings which the writers did not wish to accept and keep that 
part which they did wish to accept, has resulted in total 
collapse and failure. And any theory such as Shailer 
Mathews gives voice to here, that the many sayings of our 
Lord Jesus which clearly teach a personal, visible return 
of the Lord and His premillennial return, were a reading 
back of ideas and forms of expression learned from other 
sources into the sayings of Jesus Himself, if accepted would 
discredit every saying of His that is recorded in the New 
Testament. If these things that the New Testament says 
that Jesus Christ taught were not taught by Him, but simply 
attributed to Him, then the other sayings attributed to Him 
may not have been uttered by Him, but merely attributed to 
Him, and we are left without the slightest idea of what 
Jesus Christ really said. We have no Lord Jesus left. 

30 



There is no Christ but the Christ of the Scriptures ; any 
other Christ is a mere figment of the individual imagina- 
tion. If we accept this theory of Shailer Mathews then 
he and his school of thought have taken away our Lord, 
and we know not where they have laid Him. If Shailer 
Mathews is right in this statement, he has cut out the very 
foundations from under his own theological seminary, or 
any other theological seminary, and he ought in all honesty 
and self-respect to resign his position and salary and find 
some honest way of making a living. One hardly needs 
to say that he is not right in this position, his position is 
absolutely absurd and untenable. In the immediately fol- 
lowing sentences to that just quoted Shailer Mathews says: 
"They thought as Jews, just as they talked as Jews." This 
statement is another falsehood. They thought as men 
inspired of God, as men to whom the Lord Jesus Christ 
Himself had said : "But the Comforter, even the Holy 
Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will 
teach you all things, and bring your remembrance all that 
I said unto you!' A thorough study of their words, and a 
comparison with the words of all others ever uttered, and 
a thorough study of the words which they attributed to 
Jesus will prove to any man who really wants to know and 
obey the truth, that they spoke the truth and spoke as men 
inspired of God and not merely "as Jews." In the next 
sentence Shailer Mathews says: "The important matter 
is not what they said but what they meant by what they 
said." This utterance may seem wise, but in reality it is 
consummate foolishness. The only possible way of telling 
what a man meant by what he said is by what he said. 
Thought is conveyed by words, and especially is it true of 
men who had a right to claim that what they spoke they 
spoke (f not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but 
zvhich the Spirit teacheth" (1 Cor. 2:13). "They meant 
by what they said" just "what they said." The former 
promulgators of the position that Shailer Mathews holds 
contended that the "concept was inspired," but the "words 
were not inspired," but Shailer Mathews goes beyond this 
and tells us that their conceptions were wrong as well as 
their words, and that "the conceptions (not merely the 

31 



words) of these ancient men of God have to be translated 
into modern conceptions exactly as the Hebrew or Greek 
language has to be translated into English." (P. 9). Here 
we find a comparatively mild form of literary lunacy grown 
into stark literary madness. 

There is no need to pursue this criticism of Shailer 
Mathews' widely circulated pamphlet any further. We see 
it is a continuous mass of illogical arguments, gross mis- 
representations, demonstrable falsehoods, and rank blas- 
phemies. The pamphlet itself is a fulfillment of the very 
Scriptures which it seeks to discredit. The Apostle Peter, 
inspired of God, foresaw the work of Shailer Mathews and 
his class, and has plainly described him when he says : 
"This is now, beloved, the second epistle that I write unto 
you; and in both of them I stir up your sincere minds by 
putting you in remembrance ; that ye should remember the 
words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and 
the commandment of the Lord and Saviour through your 
Apostles: knowing this first, that in the last days mockers 
shall come with mockery, walking after their own lust, and 
saying, Where is the promise of His coming ? for from the 
day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they 
were from the beginning of the creation." (2 Pet. 3:1-4). 



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