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A “View of the Millennium”

A letter from

John Albert Broadus to E.Y. Mullins [1]

“View on Millenarianism”

From Louisville, KY

January 27, 1894




I cannot complain of inquiries about my opinions as given in books and lectures, of course I am glad to hear from you on any subject.


I am neither a Pre-millenarian nor a Post-millenarian, in the usual sense of those terms. I think that the popular view, which I was accustomed in youth to hold in a vague way, that, before the coming of the Lord, there will be a thousand years of universal and perfect Christian piety, is simply impossible in presence of the numerous strong statements made by the Saviour [sic] and the apostles that we must be always looking for his coming, and that it will be, as to many persons wholly unexpected. If there were a period in which all of mankind were perfect Christians, surely the world would know just when that period begins, and just when a thousand years of it are about to end, and to all the world would be looking for the Saviour’s [sic] coming, prepared for it; and this is just the opposite of what the Saviour [sic] himself and his apostles have declared.


I believe, therefore, that we ought to be all the time looking for our Lord’s coming, and trying to be ready for it. I should not be amazed to see it tomorrow. I have no absolute assurance that it will be this side of a hundred thousand years. I only know that we ought to be trying so to live as to be read when he comes. I do not know what the thousand years in the [B]ook of Revelation mean. The programmes [sic] which some writers have drawn up, to be carried out at his coming by our Lord, seem to me quite unwarranted. They rest upon very doubtful interpretations of very obscure expressions. The calculations that he is going to come at a certain time, seem to me forbidden by his own statement that the day and hour is unknown to the angels in heaven and was unknown even to his own human mind, So, then, I cannot declare myself in sympathy with the calculations and the programmes [sic] of Pre-millenarians. I confine myself to what is clearly taught by the Saviour [sic] and his apostles, and we ought to be looking for his second coming and trying to be ready for it. [2]

[1]John Albert Broadus personal letter to E. Y. Mullins in A. T. Robertson, Life and Letters of John A. Broadus (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1901); reprint, Harrisonburg, Virginia: Gano Books-Sprinkle Publications, 2003), 417-418 (page numbers are to the reprint edition).

[2] This is a footnote in Robertson’s volume: “Doctor Mullins had been investigating the subject of Christ’s second coming and had written something on the subject. There was some change of view in the course of these investigations. He has for several years past held substantially the same view as that indicated in the letter of Doctor Broadus. Doctor Mullins is now [when the letter was sent] President of the Seminary and Professor of Systematic Theology.”

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