Eminent Exponents of Premillennialism
Found in the January 1914 issue of "The Christian Workers Magazine" of the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago
Click here for a list of resources to explain this important doctrine found in Scripture
By "Premillennialism" is meant the teaching that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will come again to this earth personally and visibly, and that this coming will take place prior to that period of a thousand years of which the Scriptures speak, when peace and righteousness shall prevail upon the earth. In other words, it is the coming of our Lord that shall introduce this period and make it a possibility. As to the details of the event opinions differ among Godly students of the Bible, but in broad outline the foregoing is a sufficient definition for our present purpose.
In the language of Dr. James H. Brookes, one of the most distinguished Bible teachers our country has known, "The premillennial advent was the common heritage of both Jewish and Gentile Christians, and passed from the Jewish Christian to the Gentile Christian church precisely in the way the gospel passed. It was as fragrant at Antioch as at Jerusalem, at Rome as at Ephesus. History has no consensus more unanimous for any doctrine than is the consensus of the apostolic Fathers for the premillennial advent of Christ."
Passing from the apostolic period to that of the early Christian fathers, we have a witness, equally eminent, in Dr. H. Grattan Guinness, of England, who says: "It cannot be denied that for three centuries the church held the doctrine of the premillennial coming of Christ. I think I have gone through all the writings of the Fathers for three centuries pretty carefully, and I do not know of an exception unless it be Origin. It was the faith of Barnabas, Polycarp, Clement, Ignatius, Papius, Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Nepos, Irenaeus, Victorinus, Methodius, Lactantius, Hermas and many others-all were at one."
To the above might be added the name of Dr. Bengel, author of Gnomon Novi Testamenti, who says, "The Early Church fully believed that it (i. e., the Second Coming) would precede, or usher in, the thousand years of His reign with His saints. A general change of view came in after the establishment of Christianity under Constantine, and when corruption in doctrine and practice had begun."
To come to modern times, it is to be noted that many divines of the Westminster Assembly were premillennialists, and that according to Charles A. Briggs, D. D., in the new Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, "In America premillennialism has appeared in three different camps: Christian scholars, the Adventists, and Evangelists."
We have been asked by several to publish a list of eminent exponents of premillennialism, living or dead, of different nations, with their denomination and professional connections. We undertook the task with pleasure, feeling that it would redound to the glory of God in the strengthening of the faith of some and the quickening of their hope in the Second Coming. On going into the matter, however, we found a much greater task than we had expected, the difficulty being not to discover the exponents but to reduce their number to a workable list. We began by eliminating the early Christian fathers, of whom there were many. Then we were obliged to reduce the number in the Reformation Period. Coming to the Missionary Era of the last century, so many witnesses were found that it was difficult to make a selection. The same may be said of the modern era of Evangelism, for practically all the evangelists of the United States and Great Britain are premillennialists. In taking a census of pastors at present in the active ministry, we were again embarrassed by the number of whom we heard. Finally it became necessary to entirely eliminate the long list of distinguished Christian laymen who have borne more or less notable witness to the premillennial coming of Christ. The result is the following names, with few exceptions comparatively modern, and limited almost entirely to theologians, commentators, authors, educators and pastors, but sufficiently representative for the purpose.
Click here for a list of names (1 MB pdf file) from church history who believed in Premillennialism