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J. Excursus XI: An Analysis and Critique of Keswick Theology as Set Forth Particularly In So Great Salvation: The History and Message of the Keswick Convention, by Steven Barabas[1]

1.) The Background and History of the Keswick Convention and Keswick Theology

Stephen Barabas’s So Great Salvation is widely considered the standard interpretation of Keswick theology. In a preface to the book by Fred Mitchell, “Chairman of the Keswick Convention Council, 1948-1951,” Mitchell states that Barabas’s book is “faithful and accurate; it is well annotated with sources of his information; it is saturated with an appreciative spirit, for he himself has been so much helped by Keswick. The book will form a text-book and a reference book on this unique movement.”[2] Thus, its contents accurately represent the theology of the original Keswick movement. Indeed, “Steven Barabas[’s] . . . book So Great Salvation is perhaps the single best interpretation of the message of Keswick.”[3] “The most objective account and appraisement of the . . . Keswick . . . movement is So Great Salvation: The History and Message of The Keswick Convention—an extraordinarily exact account . . . [written] after exhaustive research.”[4] Keswick’s “standard interpretation is Steven Barabas, So Great Salvation.”[5] Consequently, the analysis of the Keswick system below will engage Barabas’s book in detail while also evaluating other Keswick classics.

Barabas notes that in “the early 1870s . . . the Keswick movement had its rise in England.”[6] The “friends [Quakers] introduced the subject”[7] of the Higher Life, although there were also very significant background influences of Roman Catholic mystics and heretics such as the monks “Thomas á Kempis[8] [and] Brother Lawrence,”[9] and especially the Catholic mystical quietist “Madame Guyon.”[10] Catholics and Quakers were essential theological background for the rise for the rise of the Keswick movement.

The “Higher Life teaching . . . [in] the books of the American religious leaders, T. C. Upham and Asa Mahan. . . [and] W. E. Boardman’s The Higher Christian Life”[11] are also undisputed theological background for the development of the Keswick theology; Barabas thus recognizes Thomas C. Upham as a Keswick antecedent.[12] He notes without a hint of criticism that Upham wrote Life and Religious Experience of Madame Guyon, a book which Barabas affirms contributed to “the interest of the Church in the subject of sanctification and the Spirit-filled life,” as did other works of Upham.[13] What, then, was Upham’s theology? Upham “experienced [entire] sanctification under Phoebe Palmer’s influence and gave popular expression to the doctrine in a series of books drawing . . . explicitly on Catholic mysticism and Quietism.”[14] Upham taught, in addition to his Quietistic and Romanist Higher Life doctrine of sanctification associated with Wesleyan perfectionism and Pelagianism, that God was a duality of Father and Mother instead of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. However, this Duality became a Trinity through the appearance of a Son, who is identified with the created order itself. Upham saught to prove this gross idolatry from sources ranging from ancient Gnostics such as Valentinus and Heracleon, to the Jewish Cabala, to assorted other later heretics and perfectionists. He blasphemously wrote:

God is both Fatherhood and Motherhood . . . from the eternal Fatherhood and Motherhood . . . all things proceed. [A] Maternal Principle . . . Sophia . . . [exists] in the Divine nature[.] . . . [T]he Jewish Cabala . . . [speaks of] a feminine deity . . . called Sophia. . . . John’s Gospel . . . identif[ies] the Logos and the Sophia. . . . Sophia . . . was God; not only with God, but was God. . . . [T]he somewhat mystic words of the Apostle John . . . [are] the announcement of the infinite Paternity and the infinite Motherhood. . . . Valentinus . . . speaks of the Aeon Sophia . . . [T]he mystics and Quietists . . . recognized . . . the divine Sophia[.] . . . [T]he Sophia . . . or Maternal Essentia or Personality of the Godhead . . . incarnated itself in Christ . . . caused him, in a mother’s Spirit though in a male form, to endure his great sufferings[.] . . . [T]he Familists . . . recognize the Maternal Principle as a true and distinct Personality in the Godhead. . . . [The] Shakers . . . [and] Bible Communists . . . [recognize] that the Divine Nature is dual in its personalities . . . and includes the fact of a divine maternity[.] . . . [T]he Catholic Church is often regarded . . . as embodying the idea of the Motherhood element which exists in the Infinite, in its recognition of the holy or deific nature of Mary . . . and in the high honors, and even worship, which it is understood to render to her. . . . [U]nder the influence of inward suggestions, which I will not stop to explain and define . . . [and to] the thoughtful mind . . . the duality of the Divine Existence, written everywhere in the book of nature, necessitates a Trinity. . . . we must supplement the eternal Fatherhood and Motherhood by the eternal Son . . . the great and unceasing out-birth of the Divine Duality. . . . Generically, or considered in the whole of its extent, the trinal out-birth, otherwise called the Son of God, without which the eternal Fatherhood and Motherhood could have neither name nor power nor meaning, is the whole of creation from its lowest to its highest form. . . . [N]ot an insect that floats in the air, nor a fish that swims in the sea, nor a bird that sings in the forests, nor a wild beast that roams on the mountains; not one is or by any possibility can be shut out and excluded from the meaning and the fact of the divine Sonship[.] . . . All living nature then . . . constitutes the Son of God.[15]

Upham continues to develop his stomach-turning idolatry in the subsequent pages of his book, but the quotation above is enough, if not far more than enough, of a sampling of his vile and devilish nonsense to give the sense of his doctrine. Despite being an unconverted idolator, he was very influential:

Upham . . . became a Methodist holiness leader after contact with Phoebe Palmer. He studied Fenelon and Guyon, writing a biography of the latter entitled Life, Religious Opinions, and Experience of Madame Guyon. His [works] . . . influenced much of nineteenth and early twentieth century thinking on faith, including A. B. Simpson . . . leade[r] of [the] CMA [Christian & Missionary Alliance].[16]

Like many other Higher Life writers, Upham also emphasized ecumenicalism and sought to prepare for the one-world religious system of Revelation 17. “On the basis of his experience of the baptism of the Spirit, T. C. Upham proposed the foundation of a League of Nations.”[17] Such a man was Keswick antecedent Thomas Upham.

Barabas also recognizes Asa Mahan, leader of the Oberlin perfectionism, as a Keswick antecedent.[18] The Oberlin perfectionism of Asa Mahan and his mentor Charles Finney were indeed important to the rise of the Keswick system,[19] and were recognized by Keswick as essential historical background for the genesis of their doctrine. “In 1872, [Mahan] moved to England and directly influenced the Keswick movement by his leadership in the Oxford and Brighton Conferences that immediately preceded the first Keswick Convention.”[20] Mahan’s books were widely propogated in Higher Life circles, so that “Keswick writers . . . often mention or quote Asa Mahan . . . and Charles G. Finney.”[21] Indeed, “none . . . of . . . the ‘conversational meetings’ at Oxford . . . . was of more interest than that . . . under the guidance of Asa Mahan,” who strongly taught orally the necessity of Christians receiving Spirit baptism, as he had already proclaimed in his book The Baptism of the Holy Ghost.[22] As a consequence of Mahan’s “pressing upon” people, “[d]ay after day,” the necessity of Christians receiving Spirit baptism, “a[n] . . . experience we should not and must not be without,” “many . . . realised in his conversational meetings the baptism” and entered into Mahan’s experience.[23] Likewise, at “the Brighton Convention (of which he was one of the conveners) Mahan directed a series of sectional meetings . . . crowded to overflowing . . . [e]ach afternoon,”[24] proclaiming post-conversion Spirit baptism. “Mahan carried the message” of the necessity of a post-conversion “Baptism of the Holy Ghost . . . to the Oxford (1874) and Brighton (1875) meetings from which the Keswick movements emerged . . . he spoke and led very popular seminars on the subject,”[25] leading many into his second blessing Baptism experience,[26] as Robert P. Smith and others led many to adopt the doctrine of the “physical thrills” of a post-conversion erotic Spirit baptism through the propogation of this doctrine at Oxford and elsewhere. Indeed, as Mahan and Robert P. Smith explained, the “object of the . . . Meeting at Oxford . . . was to lead Christians to . . . [be] baptised with the Holy Ghost.”[27] William “Boardman . . . link[ed] up with Mahan to conduct revivals in both America and Britain, and both were to have a direct influence on the spiritual and theological direction of the Keswick Conferences.”[28]

Mahan, as “the major architect . . . of the controversial ‘Oberlin Perfectionism,’”[29] in addition to teaching “the immediate attainment of entire sanctification by a special act of faith directed to this end,”[30] denied the doctrine of original sin[31] and promulgated other heresies along with the perfectionism of his mentor and colleague Charles Finney at Oberlin College.[32] Mahan’s development of the post-conversion crisis of sanctification and Spirit baptism contributed greatly to the “rise of modern Pentecostalism . . . [i]t is not surprising that modern Pentecostalism should sprout in th[e] well prepared ground” of the heterodox Oberlin holiness and pneumatological doctrines powerfully promulgated by Mahan, and, through his influence, “there seem to be several instances of this experience [of tongues] in holiness circles between 1870 and the outbreak of Pentecostalism in 1900.”[33]

Finney, whose theology helped to destroy the Second Great Awakening and hinder subsequent revival,[34] likewise taught at Oberlin a Pelagian view of sin while denying substitutionary atonement in favor of the governmental atonement heresy,[35] among other damnable heresies. For Finney, the “atonement . . . was not a commercial transaction . . . [not] the payment of a debt . . . [but] was intended as a satisfaction of public justice.”[36] He also wrote:

Moral depravity . . . cannot consist . . . in a sinful constitution . . . [or] an attribute of human nature . . . [m]oral depravity is not then to be accounted for by ascribing it to a nature or constitution sinful in itself. To talk of a sinful nature, or sinful constitution, in the sense of physical sinfulness, is to ascribe sinfulness to the Creator, who is the author of nature. . . . What ground is there for the assertion that Adam’s nature became in itself sinful by the fall? This is a groundless, not to say ridiculous, assumption, and an absurdity. . . . This doctrine is . . . an abomination alike to God and the human intellect.[37]

Furthermore, Finney’s denial of substitutionary atonement led him to reject justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ to teach salvation by personal obedience: “If [Christ] obeyed the law as our substitute, then why should our own return to personal obedience be insisted upon as a sine qua non of our salvation?”[38] Finney plainly stated that the truth of justification by faith alone based on the imputed righteousness of Christ (Romans 3:19-28) was a different gospel from the one he believed and taught. By rejecting the true gospel, Finney indicated that he was an accursed false teacher who suffered eternal damnation (Galatians 1:8-9). In his Systematic Theology, Finney accurately summarized the true gospel and then plainly rejected it:

Those who hold that justification by imputed righteousness is a forensic proceeding, take a view of final or ultimate justification, according with their view of the transaction. With them, faith receives an imputed righteousness, and a judicial justification. The first act of faith, according to them, introduces the sinner into this relation, and obtains for him a perpetual justification. They maintain that after this first act of faith it is impossible for the sinner to come into condemnation; that, being once justified, he is always thereafter justified, whatever he may do; indeed that he is never justified by grace, as to sins that are past, upon condition that he ceases to sin; that Christ’s righteousness is the ground, and that his own present obedience is not even a condition of his justification, so that, in fact, his own present or future obedience to the law of God is, in no case, and in no sense, a sine qua non[39] of his justification, present or ultimate. Now this is certainly another gospel from the one I am inculcating. It is not a difference merely upon some speculative or theoretic point. It is a point fundamental to the gospel and to salvation, if any one can be. Let us therefore see which of these is the true gospel. I object to this view of justification[.] . . . The doctrine of a literal imputation of Adam’s sin to all his posterity . . . [and] of the literal imputation of Christ’s righteousness or obedience to the elect, and the consequent perpetual justification of all that are converted from the first exercise of faith, whatever their subsequent life may be—I say I regard these dogmas as fabulous, and better befitting a romance than a system of theology.[40]

Finney called men to surrender to Christ because, as befit his doctrine of salvation by personal obedience and rejection of the eternal security of the believer, perfect consecration of life and his version of sinless perfection were an essential condition for entrance into heaven:

We shall see that perseverance in obedience to the end of life is also a condition of justification . . . present, full, and entire consecration of heart and life to God and His service, is an unalterable condition of present pardon of past sin, and of present acceptance with God. . . . [T]he penitent soul remains justified no longer than this full-hearted consecration continues.[41]

Mahan and Finney’s false gospel were intimately bound up with their perfectionism. The perfectionist doctrine of sanctification promulgated by Finney and Mahan was very influential in the development of the Keswick theology, both through Mahan’s personal preaching and through the books of both men:

The links between Keswick and New School revivalism [Oberlin perfectionism] were many. Both Mahan and Boardman’s involvement in the Oxford and Brighton conferences helped unify the higher life aspirations arising from the “Oberlizing of England.” Furthermore, the Reverend John Moore was close friends with Charles Finney, a relationship which no doubt had influence on his son, C. G. Moore, one of the early Keswick speakers.[42]

The rationale of Old School opposition to Finney and Mahan is noteworthy:

Old School advocates . . . opposed the “second blessing” heresy [of Finney and Mahan] because [they] believed it not only violated the . . . doctrine of depravity, but that it adopted the modernist reliance of human ability. The concern of Old School advocates was that New School proponents were being unduly influenced by German liberal theology, particularly in the elevation of humanist philosophy. . . . New School theology was not only influenced by the rational pragmatism of the nineteenth century, particularly in the new measure procedures, but . . . the emphasis upon human responsibility in [the] New School . . .was the direct result of modernist thought.[43]

Indeed, “[f]rom . . . the person and work of Charles Finney . . . the line is a straight one that leads through the holiness movement directly into Pentecostalism.”[44] Such were Asa Mahan and Charles Finney, architects of the Oberlin perfectionism and antecedents to the Keswick theology. Sadly, Stephen Barabas, with criminal neglect, suppresses, fails to warn of, and breaths not a whisper about the heresies of Keswick antecedents such as Thomas Upham and Asa Mahan, just as he entirely ignores the heresies, false gospel, and demonism associated with Hannah and Robert P. Smith.

While earlier perfectionist heretics were important, Barabas recognizes that “the Keswick movement had its [actual] genesis . . . [through] Mr. and Mrs. Robert Pearsall Smith [and the influence of three of their books, including Mrs. Smith’s] The Record of a Happy Life,”[45] after “Conferences . . . at Broadlands . . . Oxford . . . [and] Brighton. Robert and Hannah [Smith] were at the very center of it all.”[46] Barabas provides not a whisper of warning about Mrs. Smith’s universalism and other poisonous false doctrines, despite repeatedly citing her book My Spiritual Autobiography: How I Discovered The Unselfishness of God, which she wrote specifically to turn people from Christian orthodoxy to heresy, and where her universalist heresy is blatently and grossly set forth.[47] In any case, it is clear that “the first steps . . . [towards] [t]he Keswick Convention . . . owe . . . everything to a Quaker glass manufacturer from Philadelphia, Robert Pearsall Smith[.]”[48] Mr. Smith “was instrumental, not only in establishing Keswick as a perennial convention, but also in introducing the Keswick emphases back into the United States.”[49] Barabas indicates that “[b]oth [the Smiths] were born and bred Quakers,”[50] having “always held the Quaker teaching concerning the Inner Light and passivity.”[51] They brought their Quaker theology and other distinctive heresies into the Keswick movement which they founded.

The “new revelation [of the Keswick theology of sanctification] came to Mrs. Pearsall Smith about 1867. . . . At first her husband . . . was somewhat frightened . . . thinking she had gone off into heresy . . . [but then he] came into her experience when she called his attention to Romans vi. 6.”[52] Unfortunately, Mrs. Smith did not interpret Romans 6:6 correctly, and she led her husband into an erroneous view of the verse as well. The erroneous interpretation of Romans six adopted by Hannah and Robert P. Smith continued to dominate the Keswick convention for many decades:

In the history of the Keswick Convention, if one passage of Scripture is to be identified as playing a larger role than any other, it would have to be Romans chapter 6. Evan Hopkins said at the thirty-first Convention that no passage of Scripture was more frequently to the fore at Keswick than this one. Steven Barabas finds himself not only agreeing with this statement but adding: “it is doubtful whether a Keswick Convention has ever been held in which one or more speakers did not deal with Romans 6. . . . There is no understanding of Keswick without an appreciation of the place accorded by it to this chapter in its whole scheme of sanctification.” The key to this chapter, in the early Keswick teaching . . . [of] Robert Pearsall Smith and his wife Hannah . . . is verse 6.[53]

The misinterpretation of Mr. and Mrs. Pearsall Smith “was largely unchallenged from the Keswick platform until 1965 when John Stott gave Bible Readings on Romans 5-8.”[54] It was very easy for the Smiths to misinterpret Scripture because “[n]either of [the Smiths] had any training in theology,”[55] in keeping with their Quaker backgrounds; for example, Hannah Smith testified: “[A]s a Quaker, I had no doctrinal teaching . . . I knew literally nothing of theology, and had never heard any theological terms” since in her youth “no doctrines or dogmas were ever taught us . . . a creature more utterly ignorant of all so-called religious truth . . . could hardly be conceived of in these modern times [that is, in 1902]. The whole religious question for me was simply whether I was good enough to go to heaven, or so naughty as to deserve hell.”[56] Despite woeful ignorance of theology and an inability to accurately exegete Scripture, following Hannah’s lead, both Mr. and Mrs. Smith embraced and began to zealously propogate the doctrines of the Higher Life that were enshrined in the Keswick movement.

From its “beginning . . . some of the foremost leaders of the Church attacked [the Keswick doctrine] as being dangerously heretical.”[57] Indeed, “the opposition the work was subjected to at the beginning, even from Evangelical clergy,”[58] was extreme, so that, indeed, the Keswick theology was “looked upon with the gravest suspicion by those who were considered as the leaders of the Evangelical section of the Church.”[59] Consequently, “very few Evangelical leaders ever attended . . . the Keswick Convention . . . which was quite an independent movement,” since “the leading Evangelicals held aloof and viewed it with undisguised suspicion,” and evangelicals “openly denounced it as dangerous heresy.”[60] Evangelical opposition to Keswick was intense because the founders of Keswick seriously compromised and corrupted or even outright denied the evangel,[61] the gospel. For example, Hannah believed, among other damnable heresies, that every single person would be saved, denied justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ, the sole authority of Scripture, and the new birth. Robert, while formally adopting a weak and wobbly concept of justification by faith for a time, instead of simply rejecting that core gospel doctrine as he had before, continued to reject eternal security and tied his Higher Life theology into his opposition to the preservation of the saints. Warfield describes Robert Smith’s argument against progressive sanctification being incomplete until death, and its connection to Arminianism, as propounded by Smith at the Oxford Union Meeting of 1874, as follows:

Smith, in the very same spirit, exhorted his hearers not to put an arbitrary limitation on the power of God by postponing the completion of their salvation to the end of their “pilgrimage,” and so virtually attributing to death the sanctifying work which they ought to find rather in Christ. “Shall not Christ do more for you than death?” he demands, and then he develops a reductio ad absurdum. We expect a dying grace by which we shall be really made perfect. How long before death is the reception of such a grace possible? “An hour? A day? Peradventure a week? Possibly two or three weeks, if you are very ill? One good man granted this position until the period of six weeks was reached, but then said that more than six weeks of such living” — that is, of course, living in entire consecration and full trust, with its accompanying “victory”—“was utterly impossible!” “Are your views as to the limitations of dying grace,” he inquires, “only less absurd because less definite?” The absurdity lies, however, only in the assumption of this “dying grace” . . . Smith describes it as “a state of complete trust to be arrived at, but not until death.” The Scriptures know of no such thing; they demand complete trust from all alike, as the very first step of the conscious Christian life. It finds its real source in the Arminian notion that our salvation depends on our momentary state of mind and will at that particular moment. Whether we are ultimately saved or not will depend, then, on whether death catches us in a state of grace or fallen from grace. Our eternal future, thus, hangs quite absolutely on the state of mind we happen (happen is the right word here) to be in at the moment of death: nothing behind this momentary state of mind can come into direct consideration. This absurd over-estimate of the importance of the moment of dying is the direct consequence of the rejection of the Bible doctrine of Perseverance and the substitution for it of a doctrine of Perfection as the meaning of Christ being our Saviour to the uttermost. The real meaning of this great declaration is just that to trust in Jesus is to trust in One who is able and willing and sure to save to the uttermost — to the uttermost limit of the progress of salvation. Death in this conception of the saving Christ loses the factitious significance which has been given to it. Our momentary state of mind at the moment of death is of no more importance than our momentary state of mind at any other instant. We do not rest on our state of mind, but on Christ, and all that is important is that we are “in Christ Jesus.” He is able to save to the uttermost, and faithful is He that calls us, who also will do it. He does it in His own way, of course; and that way is by process—whom He calls He justifies, and whom He justifies He glorifies. He does it; and therefore we know that our glorification is as safe in His hands as is any other step of our salvation. To be progressively saved is, of course, to postpone the completion of our salvation to the end of the process. Expecting the end of the process only at the time appointed for it is no limitation upon the power of the Saviour; and looking upon death as the close of the process is a very different thing from looking upon death as a Saviour.[62]

Hannah W. Smith also believed, at least for a while, that Christ was the “redeemer . . . from past sins” who will only “redeem . . . from all future sins . . . if [one] will . . . submit . . . wholly to Him,”[63] a clear anti-eternal security position; however, since she had become a universalist before becoming a Keswick preacher, denying eternal security had became largely a moot point for her. Since Robert and Hannah Smith held extremely compromised views of the gospel, and Hannah even avowed, “I cannot enjoy close contact with [those who] . . . preac[h] . . . a pure gospel,”[64] it was not surprising that those who loved the true and pure gospel violently opposed the Keswick movement.

Furthermore, “Robert . . . did not try to convert unbelievers; his call was to [preach] a state of Holiness in those who already believed, whatever their creed.”[65] What is more, both Robert and Hannah Smith “belie[ved] in the inner light [doctrine of Quakerism,] to which they [were] . . . united in sentiment. . . . Mr. P. Smith [and his wife’s writings] embod[y] the mysticism of Madame Guyon and the medieval mystics, as well as the semi-Pelagianism of Professor Upham.”[66] Consequently, both Mr. and Mrs. Smith rejected sola Scriptura—Robert, for example, proclaimed: “I get one half of my theology from the Bible, and the other half by watching my children,” citing “Coleridge” as support for this astonishing affirmation.[67] Both the Smiths also anticipated Word of Faith heresies.[68] The demonism and spiritualism of the Mount-Temples and their influence on the Smiths and Keswick through the Broadlands Conferences also constituted a matter of grave concern. Evangelical rejection of Keswick theology was entirely natural. Nevertheless, despite vociferous and continuing evangelical opposition, both Mr. and Mrs. Smith began to preach to large audiences a “doctrine of sanctification by faith [alone that had been] allowed to lie dormant for centuries, unknown and unappreciated . . . it remained for Keswick to call the attention of the Church to it.”[69]

Specifically, the Keswick form of the Higher Life theology was formulated through the central influence of Hannah W. and Robert P. Smith at the Broadlands, Oxford, and Brighton Conventions that immediately preceded the first Keswick Convention. The first and following Broadlands Conferences was held at the invitation of the dedicated spiritualists Mr. and Mrs. Mount-Temple, and all sorts of infernal spirits, doctrinal differences, and heresies were always present. Speakers included the universalist George MacDonald, who received his prominent speaking position at the direction of his good spiritualist[70] friends[71] the Mount-Temples.[72] He became good friends with fellow universalist Hannah W. Smith.[73] Nonetheless, while Christian orthodoxy was by no means held in common by the Broadlands speakers, “[t]he ‘Seed,’ of which George Fox spoke, was rooted in them all,”[74] and those in “the Society of Friends”[75] rejoiced at the messages brought, as did the spiritualist Mount-Temples, who continued their very influential patronage of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. At the first and flagship 1874 Broadlands Convention Robert “Pearsall Smith was chairman and principal speaker, though, before the week was done, it became evident that his wife, Hannah Whitall Smith, was a herald of the evangel they carried yet more effective than himself.”[76] She was the chief of the Broadlands preachers.[77] Further Conventions, along the same lines and led by Mr. and Mrs. Pearsall Smith, were held at Oxford and Brighton[78] with ever-larger attendance.[79] Mrs. Smith was an overwhelmingly captivating preacher, for at those “Conferences at Oxford and Brighton . . . no hall was large enough to accommodate the crowds that flocked to hear her.”[80] The meetings reminded Hannah W. Smith and others “of the days when George Fox,” the founder of the Quakers, saw countless numbers “convinced . . . during . . . his meetings,” or of the “wonderful Yearly Meetings” that took place in the days of the prominent Quakers “Elisabeth Fry and Joseph John Gurney.”[81] Following these Conventions, meetings specifically in the English town of Keswick, from which the new doctrine preached by the Smiths came to obtain its name, were proposed in 1875. An Anglican minister,[82] “Canon T. D. Harford Battersby . . . [who] . . . was part of an old and well-to-do west-country Quaker family that had moved into evangelical Anglicanism in the early 19th century,”[83] and “a friend of his, Mr. Robert Wilson, a Quaker who also was specially blessed [at the earlier Higher Life meetings led by the Smiths] . . . decided to hold a Convention at Keswick, where similar teaching should be given.” The “chief Brighton speakers,” of whom the most important were certainly “Mr. and Mrs. Pearsall Smith, [were] to take part in it.”[84]

Thus, Quakers were so far from being convicted of sin and of their need to turn from their false religion and false gospel to Christ for the new birth, and instead so happy with the Higher Life theology of Keswick, that one of them could become co-founder[85] of the meetings at Keswick, be the “the heart and soul” of the Keswick mission fund,[86] be lauded by many Keswick writers and speakers,[87] and even be termed “the father of the Convention.”[88] Since the Quakers Hannah and Robert Smith formulated and spread the Keswick theology at the preparatory Broadlands, Oxford, and Brighton Conventions,[89] such acceptance of Quakerism was entirely expected. As one Quaker periodical noted, extolling the teaching of the Brington Convention:

[T]his wonderful gathering . . . [taught the] truth [of the Higher Life and] the renewed [post-conversion] baptism of the Holy Spirit . . . [which had been] revived in a time of darkness by the early Friends[.] . . . It has been often said that the Friends have always upheld this cardinal truth[.] . . . This is undoubtedly true, and many of the early Friends walked in the light of it, as testified by the writings of Fox, Penn, Barclay, Penington, and others[.] . . . Hannah W. Smith . . . felt that she had an especial message to the Friends in this country, and from [her] lucid setting forth of this truth many of us have derived deep and lasting benefit. . . . Perfection lies in this [Higher Life system]. . . . [T]housands . . . every day flocked to hear the Bible readings of Hannah W. Smith, eagerly accepting her clear and winning settings forth of the life of faith . . . [at] the Friends’ Meeting House . . . to a crowded assembly, those of our own body were proclaiming in triumphant strains the glory and richness of this full salvation[.][90]

Quakers were unequivocally welcomed at Keswick as true Christians.[91] Thus, “[a]t the outset the management of the Convention was entirely in the hands of the two conveners, Canon Harford-Battersby and Mr. Robert Wilson.”[92] The Quaker “Robert Wilson [was] one of the two founders of the Convention and its chairman from 1891 to 1900.”[93] Speakers were for some years only selected at “the personal invitation of the conveners,” Wilson and Battersby, although in later times the “the Trustees of the Convention” began to make the selections.[94] William Wilson, Robert Wilson’s son, continued his father’s work when Robert became Keswick chairman,[95] Robert being the “successor” of Harford-Battersby after the latter man’s retirement.[96] The succession was the more natural because Wilson was Harford-Battersby’s “principal parish worker,” regularly attending the Canon’s Anglican assembly Sunday evenings after attending the Friends’ Meeting in the morning.[97] Indeed, Robert Wilson was not only co-founder of Keswick and chairman of the Convention for nearly a decade but was also the author of the Keswick motto “All One in Christ Jesus.”[98] Truly, “without Mr. [Robert] Wilson’s support and brave backing, there would have been no . . . Keswick story . . . at all.”[99]

Consequently, the Anglican with a Quaker background, Harford-Battersby, and his chief parish worker, the unrepentant Quaker Robert Wilson, together founded the Keswick convention and “invited . . . leading speakers [such as] Mr. and Mrs. Pearsall Smith. Mr. Pearsall Smith promised to preside.”[100] “Robert . . . [was] invited . . . to preside and . . . Hannah Pearsall Smith . . . to give daily Bible Readings,” that is, to preach,[101] as well as to run the ladies’ meetings;[102] Keswick was to be “arranged around the Pearsall Smiths.”[103] However, the Keswick movement almost collapsed as a result of Mr. Smith’s hasty withdrawal because of a doctrine and practice that the Brighton Convention Committee[104] was hesitant to explain, namely, that the baptism of the Holy Ghost was accompanied by physical sexual thrills because of the esoteric union of Christ with His people as Bridegroom and Bride, as described in the Song of Solomon. Publicly admitting what Robert Smith had been teaching would certainly have cast a dark shadow over Keswick, as it was an indisputable fact that even without Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s presence “a continuity of teaching [was] maintained . . . the same as that given at the Oxford Conference,”[105] where the great spiritual secret of erotic Baptism was publicly proclaimed. Besides, in that day of Victorian propriety very few would want to propogate and preach a theology of sanctification invented by such persons. The Keswick leaders consequently deemed it best to conceal the reasons for the withdrawal of Mr. and Mrs. Smith and get along as best they could.

Nonetheless, despite the withdrawal of Robert and Hannah Smith and “other expected speakers,”[106] the first Keswick Convention took place, “acknowledging the debt [the speakers] owed to Mr. Pearsall Smith,”[107] and propogating the Higher Life theology of sanctification Mr. Smith had learned from his wife. Despite “violent criticism and opposition . . . [such that to] identify oneself with the . . . Keswick Convention . . . [and] Higher Life teaching meant to be willing to be separated from the leaders of the Evangelical Church,”[108] including opposition by men such as “Mr. Spurgeon,” “Dr. Horatius Bonar,”[109] and “Canon Ryle,”[110] Mr. Battersby “and Mr. Wilson decided to hold another convention. After that there was never any doubt that it should be held yearly.”[111] The fact that “the greatest Leaders and Teachers of Evangelical Truth thought it their duty to oppose to the utmost what they considered ‘very dangerous Heresy’” taught at Keswick and its antecedent Holiness Conventions, so that “the Evangelical Leaders of that day felt it their duty to oppose what they believed to be a false doctrine of ‘Perfection in man’” taught at Keswick, was not going to stop Wilson and Battersby.[112] Since that time “the Keswick message . . . [has been] carried . . . to almost every corner of the world”;[113] “its influence is seen to-day in every quarter of the globe.”[114] In modern times, Keswick Conventions are held in many cities throughout countries such as England, the United States, Australia, Canada, Romania, New Zealand, India, Jamaica, South Africa, Japan, Kenya, and “other parts of Africa, Asia, and South America”—there are “numerous conventions around the world on every continent which are modelled on Keswick.”[115] Keswick theology appears in devotional compositions by men such as Andrew Murray,[116] F. B. Meyer,[117] J. Oswald Sanders,[118] and Hudson Taylor,[119] and has “impact[ed] . . . the Welsh revival,[120] the German holiness movement, Foreign Missions, Conventions Abroad, the American holiness movement, the American Pentecostal movement . . . the Christian and Missionary Alliance . . . American fundamentalism . . . [and] English fundamentalism or conservative evangelicalism,”[121] as well as offshoots of Pentecostalism like the Health and Wealth or Word-Faith movement which “arose out of the classic Higher Life, Keswick, and Pentecostal movements.”[122] Keswick became extremely influential:

Keswick-like views of sanctification [were] promoted by A. B. Simpson, Moody Bible Institute[123] (D. L. Moody, R. A. Torrey, James M. Gray), Pentecostalism, and Dallas Theological Seminary (Lewis S. Chafer, John F. Walvoord, Charles C. Ryrie). Simpson founded the Christian and Missionary Alliance, Moody founded Moody Bible Institute, and Chafer cofounded Dallas Theological Seminary. Pentecostalism, which subsequently dwarfed Keswick in size and evangelical influence, is the product of Wesleyan perfectionism, the holiness movement, the early Keswick movement, Simpson, Moody, and Torrey. Dallas Theological Seminary, the bastion of the Chaferian view of sanctification, is probably the most influential factor for the [strong influence] of a Keswick-like view of sanctification in modern fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism.[124]

The tremendous influence of Hannah W. and Robert P. Smith continues to this day. Not only are their teachings being spread worldwide through the continuing widespread propogation of Keswick theology, but their message is the root of other forms of error and apostasy in Christiandom, such as, most notably, the Pentecostal, charismatic, and Word of Faith movements.

2.) The Scriptural Aspects of Keswick Theology

Regenerate proponents of the Keswick theology[125] rightly exalt the Lord Jesus Christ, His power to sanctify sinners, and the necessity of faith in the Christian life. A high regard for these tremendous truths will indubitably strengthen the believer’s spiritual walk, and Keswick’s proclamation of these Biblical doctrines has unquestionably been a means of Divine blessing upon many. Furthermore, Keswick’s preaching that believers must immediately surrender to the Lord and confess sin that is yet unrepented of is eminently Biblical. If, because of Keswick’s calls to the surrender of the will, “no man can attend a Keswick Convention and be the same afterwords: he is either a better or a worse man for it,”[126] such a fact is highly commendable. Strong Biblical preaching does not leave hearers unmoved.[127] A call to the “renunciation of all known sin . . . and . . . surrender to Christ for the infilling of the Holy Spirit”[128] is an excellent and commendable message, at least if terms are defined properly. When Keswick emphasizes “the exceeding sinfulness of sin”[129] and seeks to have “laid bare . . . the cancer of sin eating at the vitals of the Christian . . . [so that] the Christian is urged to cut it out at once”[130] and come to “an unreserved surrender to Christ . . . in . . . heart and life,”[131] it does very well. Furthermore, Keswick deserves commendation when it seeks to have the “Holy Spirit exalted . . . [and] looked to as the divine Guide and Governor . . . [and] prayer is emphasized as the condition of all success and blessing.”[132] When some[133] modern Keswick writers teach that the Holy Spirit “dwells in every child of God . . . [but] not every Christian is filled with the Spirit . . . [and] to be filled with the Spirit is not presented in Scripture as an optional matter, but as a holy obligation that rests upon all Christians,”[134] they do well. The Holy Spirit, although He does not speak of Himself (John 16:13), is nonetheless God, equal in essence to the Father and the Son, and worthy of all reverence, trust, and worship. Keswick is correct that the “Christian is expected to live in communion with the Spirit[.]”[135]Furthermore, prayer is unquestionably key to a Biblical Christianity, to the extent that believers are characterized as those who call on the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:2). Keswick emphasis upon the impossibility of “mere moral processes to overcome sin”[136] and upon the error of self-dependence in sanctification (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:9) is important and correct, as is its affirmation that the believer’s “union with Christ in His death and resurrection . . . secures moral renovation as well as justifying grace.”[137] “Anyone who is sensitive to the high demands of the Christian vocation . . . must find himself in deep agreement with the earnest contrition which has characterized so many of the Keswick leaders and with their insistent plea for the appropriation and application of the resources of God’s cleansing and sanctifying grace.”[138] Furthermore, Keswick is correct in its affirmation “that in Scripture sanctification comes by faith.”[139] Modern Keswick emphasis upon evangelism and missions[140] is clearly Scriptural (Acts 1:8) and is a tremendous blessing. Believers who gain a greater understanding and practice of Biblical truths such as these through hearing Keswick preaching or reading Keswick literature will be able to grow closer to God and be more effective in serving Him as a result. Such Keswick teachings explain why many have received definite spiritual blessings at Keswick Conventions.

However, while these aspects of the Keswick theology are Biblical, refreshing, and key to an increase in spiritual life, they are not unique to Keswick or to Higher Life doctrine. The historic Baptist doctrine of sanctification has taught all of these truths,[141] and many old-line evangelical Protestants have done so likewise. One can learn all of these great truths from the Bible alone or from Christian writings without any connection with the Keswick movement. For example, J. C. Ryle, the classic nineteenth century devotional writer and opponent of the Keswick theology, wrote:

As to entire “self-consecration” . . . of which so much is said in the new [Keswick] theology . . . I never in my life heard of any thorough evangelical minister who did not hold the doctrine and press it upon others. When a man brings it forward as a novelty I cannot help thinking that he can never have truly known what true conversion was. . . . [T]hat the duty and privilege of entire self-consecration is systematically ignored by Evangelicals, and has only been discovered, or brought into fresh light by the new [Keswick] theologians, I do not for a moment believe.[142]

Nor is the doctrine that sanctification is through faith by any means a Keswick distinctive. The body of non-Keswick Bible-believing Christians hold to this truth:

Sanctification is by faith . . . Whatever believers get from Christ, they must of necessity get by faith . . . faith is the one receptive grace, the sole apprehensive grace, that hand of the soul that lays hold upon Christ, and puts the believer in possession of the fulness that is in him[.] . . . [A]ll gifts of God come from grace, and all come to faith. Grace is the only fountain, faith the only channel. . . . That sanctification is by faith, then, is essentially a principle of Protestant theology, and is no distinctive feature of the new [Keswick] teaching. . . . [T]he doctrine of sanctification by Christ, through faith . . . had quite as prominent a place as is now assigned to it [in the Keswick theology] in the theology and preaching of the Reformers, of the Puritans, of the divines and preachers of the Second Reformation in Scotland . . . of the sturdy old Evangelicals of the English Church . . . and of the equally sturdy Evangelicals of the Nonconformists . . . [a]nd an equally prominent place does it hold in the dogmatic and homiletic and catechetic teaching of our evangelical contemporaries [in the late 19th century] in all sections of the Christian Church. It is not, then, in respect of these fundamental principles that we differ from the new [Keswick] school. On the contrary, we deny that they have any exclusive propriety in these principles[.] . . . [Rather, what is truly distinctive about Keswick is the idea] that there is a special act of faith . . . subsequent to . . . conversion . . . [which] Mr. Boardman calls “second conversion,” [and] Mrs. Smith calls “entire consecration.”[143]

Sanctification by faith is a Biblical teaching that is by no means a Keswick distinctive—only the unscriptural doctrine of the “second blessing,”[144] which is connected with a quietistic idea of sanctification by faith alone, is a Keswick distinctive.

The necessity of experiential communion with Jesus Christ through the Spirit by faith is also by no means a Keswick distinctive. John Owen,[145] who has led many away from Keswick theology to a more Biblical piety,[146] wrote:

[Christians ought to] make this observation of the lively actings of faith and love in and towards Jesus Christ their chiefest concern in all their retirements, yea, in their whole walk before God. . . . [T]he effects of his presence with us, and the manifestation of himself unto us[,] [are as follows:]

(1.) Now the first of these is the life, vigor, and effectual acting of all grace in us. This is an inseparable consequent and effect of a view of his glory. Whilst we enjoy it, we live; nevertheless not we, but Christ lives in us, exciting and acting all his graces in us. This is that which the apostle instructs us in; while “we behold his glory as in a glass, we are transformed into the same image, from glory to glory,” 2 Corinthians 3:18—that is, whilst by faith we contemplate on the glory of Christ as revealed in the gospel, all grace will thrive and flourish in us towards a perfect conformity unto him. For whilst we abide in this view and contemplation, our souls will be preserved in holy frames, and in a continual exercise of love and delight, with all other spiritual affections towards him. It is impossible, whilst Christ is in the eye of our faith as proposed in the Gospel, but that we shall labor to be like him, and greatly love him. Neither is there any way for us to attain unto either of these, which are the great concernments of our souls—namely, to be like unto Christ, and to love him—but by a constant view of him and his glory by faith; which powerfully and effectually works them in us. All the doctrinal knowledge which we have of him is useless, all the view we have of his glory is but fancy, imagination, or superstition, which are not accompanied with this transforming power. And that which is wrought by it, is the increase and vigor of all grace; for therein alone our conformity unto him does consist. Growth in grace, holiness, and obedience, is a growing like unto Christ; and nothing else is so. . . .

This transforming efficacy, from a spiritual view of Christ as proposed in the Gospel . . . [is] the life of religion . . . there must be a view of Christ and his glory, to cause us to love him, and thereby to make us conformable or like unto him . . . [which] is by our beholding his glory by faith, as revealed in the Gospel, and no otherwise. . . . [S]o, unto our stability in the profession of the truth, an experience of the efficacy of this spiritual view of Christ transforming our souls into his own likeness, is absolutely necessary. . . . [T]he beholding of Christ is the most blessed means of exciting all our graces, spiritualizing all our affections, and transforming our minds into his likeness. . . . [I]t is a real experience of the efficacy that there is in the spiritual beholding of the glory of Christ by faith, as proposed in the Gospel, to strengthen, increase, and excite all grace unto its proper exercise, so changing and transforming the soul gradually into his likeness, which must secure us against all [sinful] pretences[.] . . .

[I]f we grow weak in our graces, unspiritual in our frames, cold in our affections, or negligent in the exercise of them by holy meditation, it is evident that [Christ] is at a great distance from us, so as that we do not behold his glory as we ought. If the weather grow cold, herbs and plants do wither, and the frost begins to bind up the earth, all men grant that the sun is withdrawn, and makes not his wonted approach unto us. And if it be so with our hearts, that they grow cold, frozen, withering, lifeless, in and unto spiritual duties, it is certain that the Lord Christ is in some sense withdrawn, and that we do not behold his glory. We retain notions of truth concerning his person, office, and grace; but faith is not in constant exercise as to real views of him and his glory. For there is nothing more certain in Christian experience than this is, that while we do really by faith behold the glory of Christ, as proposed in the Gospel, the glory of his person and office, as before described, and so abide in holy thoughts and meditations thereof, especially in our private duties and retirements, all grace will live and thrive in us in some measure, especially love unto his person, and therein unto all that belongs unto him. Let us but put it to the trial, and we shall infallibly find the promised event. Do any of us find decays in grace prevailing in us—deadness, coldness, lukewarmness, a kind of spiritual stupidity and senselessness coming upon us? Do we find an unreadiness unto the exercise of grace in its proper season, and the vigorous acting of it in duties of communion with God, and would we have our souls recovered from these dangerous diseases? Let us assure ourselves there is no better way for our healing and deliverance, yea, no other way but this alone—namely, the obtaining a fresh view of the glory of Christ by faith, and a steady abiding therein. Constant contemplation of Christ and his glory, putting forth its transforming power unto the revival of all grace, is the only relief in this case[.]

Some will say, that this must be effected by fresh supplies and renewed communications of the Holy Spirit. Unless he fall as dew and showers on our dry and barren hearts—unless he cause our graces to spring, thrive, and bring forth fruit—unless he revive and increase faith, love, and holiness in our souls—our backsliding will not be healed, nor our spiritual state be recovered. . . . And so it is. The immediate efficiency of the revival of our souls is from and by the Holy Spirit. But the inquiry is, in what way, or by what means, we may obtain the supplies and communications of him unto this end. This the apostle declares in [2 Corinthians 3:18]: We, beholding the glory of Christ in a glass, “are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even by the Spirit of the Lord.” It is in the exercise of faith on Christ . . . that the Holy Spirit puts forth his renewing, transforming power in and upon our souls. This, therefore, is that alone which will retrieve Christians from their present decays and deadness. . . . [The] remedy and relief [of a] . . . dead [and] dull . . . condition . . . is, to live in the exercise of faith in Christ Jesus. This himself assures us of, John 15:4, 5, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.”

There is a twofold coming unto Christ by believing. The first is that we may have life—that is, a spring and principle of spiritual life communicated unto us from him: for he is “our life,” Colossians 3:4, and “because he liveth, we live also,” John 14:19. Yea, it is not so much we that live, as he liveth in us, Galatians 2:19, 20. And unbelief is a not coming unto him, that we may have life, John 5:40. But, secondly, there is also a coming unto him by believers in the actual exercise of faith, that they may “have this life more abundantly,” John 10:10; that is, such supplies of grace as may keep their souls in a healthy, vigorous acting of all the powers of spiritual life. And as he reproacheth some that they would not come unto him that they might have life, so he may justly reprove us all, that we do not so come unto him in the actual exercise of faith, as that we might have this life more abundantly.

(2.) When the Lord Christ is near us, and we do behold his glory, he will frequently communicate spiritual refreshment in peace, consolation, and joy unto our souls. We shall not only hereby have our graces excited with respect unto him as their object, but be made sensible of his acting toward us in the communications of himself and his love unto us. When the Sun of Righteousness ariseth on any soul, or makes any near approach thereunto, it shall find “healing under his wings”—his beams of grace shall convey by his Spirit holy spiritual refreshment thereunto. For he is present with us by his Spirit, and these are his fruits and effects, as he is the Comforter, suited unto his office, as he is promised unto us.

Many love to walk in a very careless, unwise profession. So long as they can hold out in the performance of outward duties, they are very regardless of the greatest evangelical privileges—of those things which are the marrow of divine promises—all real endeavors of a vital communion with Christ. Such are spiritual peace, refreshing consolations, ineffable joys, and the blessed composure of assurance. Without some taste and experience of these things, profession is heartless, lifeless, useless; and religion itself a dead carcass without an animating soul. The peace which some enjoy is a mere stupidity. They judge not these things to be real which are the substance of Christ’s present reward; and a renunciation whereof would deprive the church of its principal supportments and encouragements in all its sufferings. It is a great evidence of the power of unbelief, when we can satisfy ourselves without an experience in our own hearts of the great things, in this kind of joy, peace, consolation, assurance, that are promised in the Gospels. For how can it be supposed that we do indeed believe the promises of things future—namely, of heaven, immortality, and glory, the faith whereof is the foundation of all religions—when we do not believe the promises of the present reward in these spiritual privileges? And how shall we be thought to believe them, when we do not endeavor after an experience of the things themselves in our own souls, but are even contented without them? But herein men deceive themselves. They would very desirously have evangelical joy, peace, and assurance, to countenance them in their evil frames and careless walking. And some have attempted to reconcile these things, unto the ruin of their souls. But it will not be. Without the diligent exercise of the grace of obedience, we shall never enjoy the grace of consolation. . . .

It is peculiarly in the view of the glory of Christ, in his approaches unto us, and abiding with us, that we are made partakers of evangelical peace, consolation, joy, and assurances. These are a part of the royal train of his graces, of the reward wherewith he is accompanied. “His reward is with him.” Wherever he is graciously present with any, these things are never wanting in a due measure and degree, unless it be by their own fault, or for their trial. In these things does he give the church of his loves, Song of Solomon 7:12. “For if any man,” saith he, “love me, I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him,” John 14:21—“yea, I and the Father will come unto him, and make our abode with him,” verse 23; and that so as to “sup with him,” Revelation 3:20—which, on his part, can be only by the communication of those spiritual refreshments. The only inquiry is, by what way and means we do receive them? Now, I say this is in and by our beholding of the glory of Christ by faith, 1 Peter 1:8, 9. Let that glory be rightly stated . . . the glory of his person, his office, his condescension, exaltation, love, and grace; let faith be fixed in a view and contemplation of it, mix itself with it, as represented in the glass of the gospel, meditate upon it, embrace it, and virtue will proceed from Christ, communicating spiritual, supernatural refreshment and joy unto our souls. Yea, in ordinary cases, it is impossible that believers should have a real prospect of this glory at any time, but that it will in some measure affect their hearts with a sense of his love; which is the spring of all consolation in them. In the exercise of faith on the discoveries of the glory of Christ made unto us in the Gospel, no man shall ever totally want such intimations of his love, yea, such effusion of it in his heart, as shall be a living spring of those spiritual refreshments, John 4:14; Romans 5:5.[147]

Such declarations were by no means an exception, centuries before the invention of the Keswick theology, in the Biblically-based piety of Owen and vast numbers of like-minded Christians. He wrote elsewhere:

The . . . daily exercise of faith on Christ as crucified . . . is the great fundamental means of the mortification of sin in general, and which we ought to apply unto every particular instance of it. This the apostle discourseth at large, Romans 6:6-13. “Our old man,” saith he, “is crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Our “old man,” or the body of sin, is the power and reign of sin in us. These are to be destroyed; that is, so mortified that “henceforth we should not serve sin,” that we should be delivered from the power and rule of it. This, saith the apostle, is done in Christ: “Crucified with him.” It is so meritoriously, in his actual dying or being crucified for us; it is so virtually, because of the certain provision that is made therein for the mortification of all sin; but it is so actually, by the exercise of faith on him as crucified, dead, and buried, which is the means of the actual communication of the virtue of his death unto us for that end. Herein are we said to be dead and buried with him; whereof baptism is the pledge. So by the cross of Christ the world is crucified unto us, and we are so to the world, Galatians 6:14; which is the substance of the mortification of all sin. There are several ways whereby the exercise of faith on Christ crucified is effectual unto this end: —

(1.) Looking unto him as such will beget holy mourning in us: Zechariah 12:10, “They shall look on me whom they have pierced, and mourn.” . . . A view of Christ as pierced will cause mourning in them that have received the promise of the Spirit of grace and supplication there mentioned. And this mourning is the foundation of mortification. It is that “godly sorrow which worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of,” 2 Corinthians 7:10. And mortification of sin is of the essence of repentance. The more believers are exercised in this view of Christ, the more humble they are, the more they are kept in that mourning frame which is universally opposite unto all the interests of sin, and which keeps the soul watchful against all its attempts. Sin never reigned in an humble, mourning soul.

(2.) It is effectual unto the same end by the way of a powerful motive, as that which calls and leads unto conformity to him. This is pressed by the apostle, Romans 6:8-11. Our conformity unto Christ as crucified and dead consists in our being dead unto sin, and thereby overthrowing the reign of it in our mortal bodies. This conformity, saith he, we ought to reckon on as our duty: “Reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin;” that is, that you ought so to be, in that conformity which you ought to aim at unto Christ crucified. Can any spiritual eye behold Christ dying for sin, and continue to live in sin? Shall we keep that alive in us which he died for, that it might not eternally destroy us? Can we behold him bleeding for our sins, and not endeavor to give them their death-wound? The efficacy of the exercise of faith herein unto the mortification of sin is known unto all believers by experience.

(3.) Faith herein gives us communion with him in his death, and unites the soul unto it in its efficacy. Hence we are said to be “buried with him into death,” and to be “planted together in the likeness of his death,” Romans 6:4, 5. Our “old man is crucified with him,” verse 6. We have by faith communion with him in his death, unto the death of sin. This, therefore, is the first grace and duty which we ought to attend unto for the mortification of sin.[148]

The precious Biblical truths set forth by Owen are by no means the peculiar perogative of the Keswick theology, as he wrote of them centuries before the Keswick movement came into existence. Just as Owen declares that “efficacy of the exercise of faith . . . unto the mortification of sin is known unto all believers by experience,” and so the necessity of faith for sanctification is by no means a Keswick distinctive.

Perhaps the clearest way to indicate the positive truths affirmed by both Keswick and its critics is to examine the doctrine of sanctification confessed by that staunch advocate of the theology and revivalistic[149] piety of Old Princeton and inveterate opponent of Keswick, B. B. Warfield. Truths confessed by both Keswick and by Warfield can by no means be labeled Keswick distinctives, but would evidently be the common inheritance of classic evangelical spirituality.[150]

Warfield, receiving the truth common to old evangelicalism, emphasized the need to depend on the Christ and the Holy Spirit for strength in sanctification, rather than being self-dependent. Indeed, he recognized such dependence was the very essence of religion: “[The] attitude of trust and dependence on God is just the very essence of religion. In proportion as any sense of self-sufficiency or any dependence on self enters the heart, in that proportion religion is driven from it.”[151] The “central truth of complete dependence upon the free mercy of a saving God,” Warfield affirmed, “is an absolutely essential element in evangelical religion” which “underl[ies] and g[ives] its form and power to the whole . . . movement” and is key to “a great revival of religion.”[152] Warfield recognizes that confusing Christian holiness with mere “righteous conduct and of self-sanctification or moral character-formation,” so that “the individual Christian sanctifies himself,”[153] is part of a view of God, sin, and salvation that is a “profoundly immoral doctrine.”[154] The believer must not rely upon his own works for either justification or sanctification; teaching this, Warfield approvingly cited the “the words of the revival hymn” calling men to “‘cast our deadly doing down’ and make our appeal on the sole score of sheer helplessness . . . [rejecting] . . . self-dependence and [the] power of self-help.”[155] He states that the “very cor cordis of the Gospel” is expressed in the words of the hymn:

Nothing either great or small,

Nothing, sinner, no;

Jesus did it, did it all,

Long, long, ago. . . .

Doing is a deadly thing,

Doing ends in death . . .

Cast your deadly doing down,

Down at Jesus’ feet,

Stand in Him, in Him alone,

Gloriously complete.[156]

Consequently, helpless dependence on the perfectly sufficient Christ is the attitude of the Christian:

[The] characteristic . . . [of] the children of the Kingdom . . . [is to] lay happy and thoughtless . . . in Jesus’ own arms. Their characteristic was just helpless dependence; complete dependence upon the care of those whose care for them was necessary. . . . [T]he Kingdom of heaven is made up of those who are helplessly dependent on the King of the Heavens . . . [like] infants who are to be done for, who can not do for themselves.[157]

Warfield stated:

[The] evangelical quality of all really evangelical faith [is found in] . . . whoever recognizes in the recesses of his soul his utter dependence on God; whoever in all his thought of salvation hears in his heart of hearts the echo of the soli Deo gloria of the evangelical profession . . . these fundamental principles—which underlie and give its body to all true religion—[ought] to work themselves freely and fully out in thought and feeling and action.[158]

Warfield explained elsewhere that this utter dependence on the Holy Spirit is characteristic of the Christian piety of all Bible-believing Protestant denominations:

The evangelical note is formally sounded by the entirety of organized Protestantism. That is to say, all the great Protestant bodies, in their formal official confessions, agree in confessing the utter dependence of sinful man upon the grace of God alone for salvation, and in conceiving this dependence as immediate and direct upon the Holy Spirit, acting as a person and operating directly on the heart of the sinner. It is this evangelical note which determines the peculiarity of the piety of the Protestant Churches. The characteristic feature of this piety is a profound consciousness of intimate personal communion with God the Saviour, on whom the soul rests with immediate love and trust.[159]

Every single spiritual good comes from the Holy Spirit, Warfield taught, and Biblical religion necessitates utter dependence on Him. Possession of the Spirit is the highest glory of the believer:

[T]he Spirit of God is the author of all right belief and of all good conduct,—to assure us that then, too, on Him depended all the exercises of piety, to Him was due all the holy aspirations and all the good accomplishments of every saint of God. And certainly the New Testament tells us in repeated instances that the Holy Spirit was active throughout the period of the Old Dispensation, in all the varieties of activities which characterize the New. The difference between the two lies not in any difference in the utter dependence of men on Him[.] . . . Paul . . . is full of joy . . . to have . . . God’s Holy Spirit . . . working faith in him[.] . . . He claims no superiority [to other believers] in the matter. If he has a like faith, it is because he is made by God’s grace to share in a like fountain of faith. The one Spirit who works faith is the common possession of them and of him; and therein he finds his highest privilege and his greatest glory. . . . [T]he operations of the Spirit . . . Paul represents as the height of Christian privilege to possess.[160]

Warfield unabashedly identified himself with those in the history of doctrine who were the champions of the grace of God. Self-dependent moralism was the very antithesis of Biblical Christianity:

The champion[s] of grace . . . entire system revolved around the assertion of grace as the sole source of all good in man as truly and as completely as did that of Pelagius around the assertion of the plenary ability of the unaided will to work all righteousness. . . . [W]e are aided by the grace of God, through Christ, not only to know but also to do what is right, in each single act, so that without grace we are unable to have, think, speak, or do anything pertaining to piety[.] The opposition between the two systems was thus absolute. In the one, everything was attributed to man; In the other, everything was ascribed to God. In them, two religions, the only two possible religions at bottom, met in mortal combat: the religion of faith and the religion of works; the religion which despairs of self and casts all its hope on God the Saviour, and the religion which puts complete trust in self; or since religion is in its very nature utter dependence on God, religion in the purity of its conception and a mere quasi-religious moralism.[161]

Rejection of self-dependence, a recognition of the need to trust in the Lord Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit for strength to live the Christian life, and a rejection of sanctification sourced in the believer’s works, is by no means a Keswick distinctive.

Warfield taught that the essence of Christianity is that “all [is] of God and nothing of ourselves”—God’s unmerited love gives His people all. Since “the Christian life as a life” is one “of continuous dissatisfaction with self and of continuous looking afresh to Christ as the ground of all our hope,”[162] believers must always look to the Lord Jesus and depend on Him for grace:

We may rightly bewail our coldness: we may rightly blame ourselves that there is so little response in our hearts to the sight of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, or even to the manifestation of His unspeakable love in the death of His Son. Oh, wretched men that we are to see that bleeding love and not be set on fire with a flame of devotion! But we may be all the more thankful that it is not in our frames and feelings that we are to put our trust. Let us abase ourselves that we so little respond to these great spectacles of the everlasting and unspeakable love of God. But let us ever remember that it is on the love of God and not on our appreciation of it that we are to build our confidence. Jesus our Priest and our Sacrifice, let us keep our eyes set on Him! And though our poor sinful hearts so little know how to yield to that great spectacle the homage of a suitable response, His blood will yet avail even for us.

“Nothing in my hand I bring,

Simply to Thy cross I cling”—

here—and let us bless God for it—here is the essence of Christianity. It is all of God and nothing of ourselves.[163]

Through the “gospel the eye is withdrawn from self and the face turned upward in loving gratitude to God, the great giver [in a] . . . continual sense of humble dependence on God and of loving trust in Him.”[164] Warfield noted the teaching of Scripture that, in the workings of the Lord towards His people, “[a]t every step it is God, and God alone, to whom is ascribed the initiative; and the most extreme care is taken to preserve the recipients of the blessings consequent on His choice from fancying that these blessings come as their due, or as reward for aught done by themselves, or to be found in themselves.”[165] Nothing was the product of the believer’s own strength; thus, Warfield could encourage believers:

Faint not! It is not your own strength—or rather weakness—that is . . . in question; it is the power of Almighty God. . . . It was of His own purpose that He called you; the grace that has come to you was given you from all eternity. . . . It is this Almighty God who is using you as His instrument and organ. Nothing depends on your weakness; all hangs on His strength.[166]

Since every aspect of salvation was sourced in God alone, Warfield passionately warned of the dangers of self-sufficiency and called upon men to live by faith and to surrender themselves entirely to the Lord:

The very point of this passage [Habbakuk 2:4] is the sharp contrast which is drawn between arrogant self-sufficiency and faithful dependence on God . . . [I]t is by faith that the righteous man lives . . . the righteous appear . . . as men who look in faith to God and trustingly depend upon His arm. . . . Here we have, therefore, thrown into a clear light the contrasting characteristics of the wicked, typified by the Chaldæan, and of the righteous: of the one the fundamental trait is self-sufficiency; of the other, faith. This faith, which forms the distinctive feature of the righteous man, and by which he obtains life . . . is a profound and abiding disposition, an ingrained attitude of mind and heart towards God which affects and gives character to all the activities.[167]

Indeed, “[T]he very core of Old Testament religion . . . [is] entire self-commitment to God [and] humble dependence on Him for all blessings,” so “[s]elf-sufficiency is the characteristic mark of the wicked . . . while the mark of the righteous is that he lives by his faith (Hab. 2:4).”[168] Warfield wrote that trusting in God and rejecting self-dependence was not just the very core of Old Testament true religion, but of all true religion in any dispensation whatever: “Now this attitude of trust and dependence on God is just the very essence of religion. In proportion as any sense of self-sufficiency or any dependence on self enters the heart, in that proportion religion is driven from it.”[169] Consequently, Warfield extolled those in church history he understood as recognizing that the essence of true religion is dependence on God, despair of any confidence in themselves, and rejection of mere religious moralism. Such an understanding is key to being filled with love and joy in believing:

Self-despair, humble trust, grateful love, fullness of joy—these are the steps on which his own soul[170] climbed upward: and these steps gave their whole color and form both to his piety and to his teaching. In his doctrine we see his experience of God’s seeking and saving love toward a lost sinner expressing itself in propositional form; in his piety we see his conviction that the sole hope of the sinner lies in the free grace of a loving God expressing itself in the forms of feeling. In doctrine and life alike he sets before us in that effective way which belongs to the discoverer, the religion of faith as over against the religion of works—the religion which despairing of self casts all its hope on God as over against the religion that to a greater or less degree trusts in itself: in a word, since religion in its very nature is dependence on God, religion in the purity of its conception as over against a quasi-religious moralism. . . . [W]e are admitted into the very life of [the godly man] and are permitted to see his great heart cleansing itself of all trust in himself and laying hold with the grasp first of despair, then of discerning trust and then of grateful love upon the God who [is] his salvation . . . [such truths have] perennial attractiveness and [the] supreme position . . . [for] edification.[171]

Warfield believed that the advocates of system of doctrine he embraced were in a special way “called upon to defend the treasures of truth that had been committed to the[m] from the inroads of that perpetual foe of the grace of God which is entrenched in the self-sufficiency of the natural heart.”[172] Warfield believed that part of his calling as a defender of the faith was, in a special way, to fight against that awful foe, self-sufficiency. He wrote: “As over against all teaching that would tempt man to trust in himself for any, even the smallest part, of his salvation, Christianity casts him utterly on God. It is God and God alone who saves, and that in every element of the saving process.”[173] Justification, sanctification, glorification, and everything else in the doctrine of salvation was all sourced in God, not in man himself. Since every aspect of salvation comes from God, Christian life involves despairing of confidence in oneself and a humble and joyful trust in the Lord alone. B. B. Warfield, and the old evangelical piety of his theological tradition, emphasized these truths—they were by no means the peculiar possession of the Kewick theology.

Warfield embraced and warmly advocated the life of faith as the distinctive mark of true piety, affirming the centrality of living by faith not only in the New Testament, but in the Old also:

[F]rom the very beginning the distinctive feature of the life of the pious is that it is a life of faith[.] . . . Thus the first recorded human acts after the Fall . . . are expressive of trust in God’s promise . . . in the great promise of the Seed (Gen. 3:15). Similarly, the whole story of the Flood is so ordered as to throw into relief, on the one hand, the free grace of God in His dealings with Noah (Gen. 6:8, 18, 8:1, 21, 9:8), and, on the other, the determination of Noah’s whole life by trust in God and His promises (Gen. 6:22, 7:5, 9:20). The open declaration of the faith-principle of Abraham’s life (Gen. 15:6) only puts into words, in the case of him who stands at the root of Israel’s whole national and religious existence, what not only might also be said of all the patriarchs, but what actually is most distinctly said both of Abraham and of them through the medium of their recorded history. The entire patriarchal narrative is set forth with the design and effect of exhibiting the life of the servants of God as a life of faith, and it is just by the fact of their implicit self-commitment to God that throughout the narrative the servants of God are differentiated from others. This does not mean, of course, that with them faith took the place of obedience: an entire self-commitment to God which did not show itself in obedience to Him would be self-contradictory, and the testing of faith by obedience is therefore a marked feature of the patriarchal narrative. But it does mean that faith was with them the precondition of all obedience. The patriarchal religion is essentially a religion, not of law but of promise, and therefore not primarily of obedience but of trust; the holy walk is characteristic of God’s servants (Gen. 5:22, 24, 6:9, 17:1, 24:40, 48:15), but it is characteristically described as a walk “with God”; its peculiarity consisted precisely in the ordering of life by entire trust in God, and it expressed itself in conduct growing out of this trust (Gen. 3:20, 4:1, 6:22, 7:5, 8:18, 12:4, 17:23, 21:12, 16, 22). The righteousness of the patriarchal age was thus but the manifestation in life of an entire self-commitment to God, in unwavering trust in His promises. . . . The piety of the Old Testament thus began with faith.[174]

Indeed, “faith . . . on the human side is the fundamental element of religion, as grace is on God’s side.”[175]Consequently, the Christian must continually trust and look to God through Christ in every area of his daily life, for not to do so is “practical atheism.” Believers are to commit all their cares, burdens, and needs to the Lord, trusting that He will take care of them:

There is a formal atheism of opinions and words and reasonings which declares that there is no God and seeks to sophisticate the understanding into believing that there is none. This the Bible describes as an open folly: the fool has said in his heart, There is no God. But even when the lip and the mind behind the lip are true to right reason and confess that there is a God who rules the world and to whom we are responsible in our every thought and word and deed, there is often a practical atheism that lives as if there were no God. Formal atheism denies God; practical atheism is guilty of the possibly even more astounding sin of forgetting the God it confesses. How many men who would not think of saying even in their hearts, There is no God, deny Him practically by ordering their lives as if He were not? And even among those who yield, in their lives, a practical as well as a formal acknowledgment of God, many yet manage, practically, to deny in their lives that this God, acknowledged and served, is the Lord of all the earth. How prone we are to limit and circumscribe the sphere in which we practically allow for God! We feel His presence and activity in some things but not in others; we seek His blessing in some matters but not in others; we look for His guidance in some affairs but not in others; we can trust Him in some crises and with some of our hopes but not in or with others. This too is a practical atheism. And it is against all such practical atheism that [Matthew 6:33] enters its protest. . . . It protests against men reckoning in anything without God.

How are we to order our lives? How are we to provide for our households—or, for our own bodily wants? Is it true that we can trust the eternal welfare of our souls to God and cannot trust to Him the temporal welfare of our bodies? Is it true that He has provided salvation for us at the tremendous cost of the death of His Son, and will not provide food for us to eat and clothes for us to wear at the cost of the directive word that speaks and it is done? Is it true that we can stand by the bedside of our dying friend and send him forth into eternity in good confidence in God, and cannot send that same friend forth into the world with any confidence that God will keep him there? O, the practical atheism of many of our earthly cares and earthly anxieties! Can we not read the lessons of the birds of heaven and the lilies of the field which our Father feeds and clothes? What a rebuke these lessons are to our practical atheism, which says, in effect, that we cannot trust God for our earthly prosperity but must bid Him wait until we make good our earthly fortunes before we can afford to turn to Him. How many men do actually think that it is unreasonable to serve God at the expense of their business activity? To give Him their first and most energetic service? How many think it would be unreasonable in God to put His service before their provision for themselves and family? How many of us who Have been able to “risk” ourselves, do not think that we can “risk” our families in God’s keeping? How subtle the temptations! But, here our Lord brushes them all away in the calm words, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; land all these things shall be added unto you.” Is this not a rebuke to our practical atheism?[176]

The need to daily—indeed, constantly—live by faith, looking always to the Lord in confident trust, is by no means a Keswick distinctive. It is a glorious truth held in common by classic Baptist and old evangelical piety, one fervently proclaimed for many centuries before the origin of the Higher Life theology.

Warfield emphasized the need for surrender and consecration to Christ. He rejoiced that the Bible revealed to him “a Christ to love, to trust and to follow, a Christ without us the ground of our salvation, a Christ within us the hope of glory.”[177] Indeed, Warfield taught that “[s]urrender and consecration . . . are the twin key-notes of the Christian life.”[178]Divine blessing in Christian ministry depends upon surrender and consecration, and in proportion as they are emphasized may the Christian hope for success: “[O]ur life as ministers of the Gospel is nothing else but one side of our Christian life—the flower and fruit of our Christian life—[so] surrender and consecration must be made also its notes. It is in direct proportion as they are made its key-notes that we may hope for success in our ministry[.]”[179] Surrender and consecration can by no means be divorced from faith—they are inextricably bound together: “[T]he two essential elements of all religion [are] surrender and consecration—the passive and active aspects of that faith which on the human side is the fundamental element of religion, as grace is on God’s side, when dealing with sinful men.”[180] Warfield also recognized the absolute need for the strength of the Holy Spirit to enable surrender and consecration; God the Spirit’s work is always primary and initiatory, while the believer’s response is dependent upon Divine working. Therefore, on account of the believer’s weakness, constant dependence upon God, prayer to Him, and constant empowerment from the Holy Ghost is absolutely necessary:

Thus, then, the Spirit helps our weakness. By His hidden, inner influences He quickens us to the perception of our real need; He frames in us an infinite desire for this needed thing; He leads us to bring this desire in all its unutterable strength before God; who, seeing it within our hearts, cannot but grant it, as accordant with His will. Is not this a very present help in time of trouble? As prevalent a help as if we were miraculously rescued from any danger? And yet a help wrought through the means of God’s own appointment, that is, our attitude of constant dependence on Him and our prayer to Him for His aid? And could Paul here have devised a better encouragement to the saints to go on in their holy course and fight the battle bravely to the end?[181]

Indeed, as Warfield emphasized that believers are always weak and in need of the enablement of the Spirit, so he taught that Christians are always unworthy and always in continual need of God’s grace. Anything good in them whatsoever must be ascribed, not to themselves, but to grace alone, received from the Holy Spirit alone “[e]very grace of the godly life . . . [is] a fruit of His working.”[182] Warfield explained:

It belongs to the very essence of the type of Christianity propagated by the Reformation that the believer should feel himself continuously unworthy of the grace by which he lives. At the center of this type of Christianity lies the contrast of sin and grace; and about this center everything else revolves. This is in large part the meaning of the emphasis put in this type of Christianity on justification by faith. It is its conviction that there is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake, or we cannot ever be accepted at all. This is not true of us only “when we believe.” It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be true as long as we live. Our need of Christ does not cease with our believing; nor does the nature of our relation to Him or to God through Him ever alter, no matter what our attainments in Christian graces or our achievements in Christian behavior may be. It is always on His “blood and righteousness” alone that we can rest. There is never anything that we are or have or do that can take His place, or that can take a place along with Him. We are always unworthy, and all that we have or do of good is always of pure grace. Though blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ, we are still in ourselves just “miserable sinners”: “miserable sinners” saved by grace to be sure, but “miserable sinners” still, deserving in ourselves nothing but everlasting wrath. That is the attitude which the Reformers took, and that is the attitude which the Protestant world has learned from the Reformers to take, toward the relation of believers to Christ.[183]

Since every aspect of salvation, whether justification, sanctification, or glorification, arises purely from the grace decreed by the Father, purchased by the Son, and applied by the Holy Ghost, the believer’s spiritual strengthening is not a self-dependent moralism, but is sourced in the Son and wrought by the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of faith:

[S]piritual strengthening is contingent on, or let us rather say, is dependent on the abiding presence of Christ in their hearts. The indwelling Christ is the source of the Christian’s spiritual strength. This is, of course, not to set aside the Holy Spirit. But he has read his New Testament to little purpose who would separate the Holy Spirit and Christ: Christ abides in the heart by the Spirit. The indwelling of the Holy Ghost is the means of the indwelling of Christ and the two are one and the same great fact. We are strengthened in the inner man with might by the Holy Spirit, because by the operation of the Spirit in our hearts, Christ abides there—thus and not otherwise. And here we learn then the source of the Christian’s strength. Christ is the ultimate source. His indwelling is the ground of all our strength. But it is only by the Spirit—the executive of the Godhead in this sphere too—that Christ dwells in the heart. It is the Spirit that strengthens us, and He so strengthens us that He gives us “might” in our inner man. The way He does this is by forming Christ within us.

The Apostle [Paul] is one of the most fecund writers extant, and thus it happens that he does not leave the matter even there. It is by the Spirit that Christ dwells in us—that is the objective fact. But there is a subjective fact too, and the Apostle does not fail to touch it—it is by our faith, too, that Christ dwells in us. “That Christ may abide in your hearts by your faith,” he says. He does not say “by faith” merely, though he might well have said that, and it would have covered the whole necessary idea. But, in his habitual fullness of expression, he puts in the article,[184] and thus implies that he recognizes their faith as already existent. They are Christians, they already believe, Christ is already dwelling in them by faith; he prays that He may abide in them by their faith. The stress is everywhere laid on continuance. May God strengthen your inner man, he says, by His Spirit. That is to say, he adds, may that Christ whom ye have received into your hearts by faith abide continuously in your hearts by that faith of yours. As much as to say, Christ is brought into your hearts by the Holy Ghost. He abides there by that Holy Ghost. May God thus continually strengthen your hearts by His Spirit, and that, even with might. I pray to Him for it, for it is He that gives it. But do not think, therefore, that you may lose hold on Christ. It is equally true that He abides in your hearts by your faith. When faith fails, so do the signs of His presence within: the strengthening of the Spirit and the steady burning of the flame of faith are correlative. As well expect the thermometer to stand still with the temperature varying as the height of your faith not to index the degree of your strength. Your strength is grounded in the indwelling Christ, wrought by the Spirit by means of faith.

Thus we have laid before us the sources of the Christian’s strength. It is rooted in Christ, the Christ within us, abiding there by virtue of the Spirit’s action quickening and upholding faith in us. And only as by the Spirit our faith is kept firm and clear, will Christ abide in us, and will we accordingly be strong in the inner man.[185]

Evangelical piety has long recognized the necessity of surrender and consecration to Christ, the believer’s continual weakness and need for grace, and the supernatural Divine source of all spiritual growth in the Triune God. Keswick theology did not contribute any new Scriptural teaching or new positive emphasis in relation to these blessed truths.

Warfield also recognized, because of the absolute dependence of the Christian on God and His grace, the supreme importance of prayer. The believer is to live in perpetual communion with God and to seek Him earnestly in prayer:

The thing for us to do is to pray without ceasing; once having come into the presence of God, never to leave it; to abide in His presence and to live, steadily, unbrokenly, continuously, in the midst of whatever distractions or trials, with and in Him. God grant such a life to every one of us! . . .

We must not undervalue the purely subjective or reflex effects of prayer. They are of the highest benefit to us. Much less must we undervalue the objective effects of prayer. In them lies the specific meaning of that exercise of prayer which we call petition. But the heart of the matter lies in every case in the communion with God which the soul enjoys in prayer. This is prayer itself, and in it is summed up what is most blessed in prayer. If it be man’s chief end to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever, then man has attained his end, the sole purpose for which he was made, the entire object for which he exists, when he enters into communion with God, abides in His presence, streaming out to Him in all the emotions, I do not say appropriate to a creature in the presence of his Maker and Lord, apprehended by him as the Good Lord and Righteous Ruler of the souls of men, but appropriate to the sinner who has been redeemed by the blood of God’s own Son and is inhabited by His Spirit and apprehends his Maker as also his Saviour, his Governor as also his Lover, and knows the supreme joy of him that was lost and is found, was dead and is alive again,—and all, through the glory of God’s seeking and saving love. He who attains to this experience has attained all that is to be attained. He is absorbed in the beatific vision. He that sees God shall be like Him. . . .

If there is a God who sits aloft and hears and answers, do we not see that the attitude into which prayer brings the soul is the appropriate attitude which the soul should occupy to Him, and is the truest and best preparation of the soul for the reception of His grace? The soul in the attitude of prayer is like the flower turned upwards towards the sky and opening for the reception of the life-giving rain. What is prayer but an adoring appearing before God with a confession of our need and helplessness and a petition for His strength and blessing? What is prayer but a recognition of our dependence and a proclamation that all that we dependent creatures need is found abundantly and to spare in God, who gives to all men liberally and upbraids not? What is prayer but the very adjustment of the heart for the influx of grace? Therefore it is that we look upon the prayerful attitude as above all others the true Christian attitude—just because it is the attitude of devout and hopeful dependence on God.[186]

Warfield called believers to a passionate and intimate life of fellowship with their Triune Redeemer in prayer. Conscious, direct, and intimate fellowship with the Triune God through the Holy Spirit, and immediate dependence on Him, is the distinguishing mark that separates evangelical piety from false systems such as sacerdotalism and which gives true Christianity its joy and power:

[T]he sacerdotal system separates the soul from direct contact with and immediate dependence upon God the Holy Spirit as the source of all its gracious activities. . . . The Church, the means of grace, take the place of God the Holy Spirit in the thought of the Christian, and he thus loses all the joy and power which come from conscious direct communion with God. It makes every difference to the religious life, and every difference to the comfort and assurance of the religious hope, whether we are consciously dependent upon instrumentalities of grace, or upon God the Lord himself, experienced as personally present to our souls, working salvation in his loving grace. The two types of piety, fostered by dependence on instrumentalities of grace and by conscious communion with God the Holy Spirit as a personal Saviour, are utterly different, and the difference from the point of view of vital religion is not favorable to sacerdotalism. It is in the interests of vital religion, therefore, that the Protestant spirit repudiates sacerdotalism. And it is this repudiation which constitutes the very essence of evangelicalism. Precisely what evangelical religion means is immediate dependence of the soul on God and on God alone for salvation.[187]

Keswick teaching on prayer and fellowship with God added nothing to the store of Biblical truth already possessed and treasured by traditional evangelical piety.

Warfield taught that the believer must be filled with and empowered by the Spirit—the Spirit-filled life was the goal of Apostolic piety, and it was the goal towards which the Princeton theologian likewise pointed men:

It is only in our Head that the victory is now complete: in us who are members, it appears as yet only in part: and it is only when we put off our flesh, according to which we are liable to infirmity, that we shall be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.[188]

On the basis of this great declaration the Apostle erects, then, his exhortation. Nor is he content to leave it in a negative, or merely inferential form. In the accomplishment of the Spirit-filled life he sees the goal, and he speaks it out in a final urgency of exhortation into which he compresses the whole matter: “Having, therefore, such promises as these (note the emphasis), beloved,” he says, “let us purify ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit and perfect holiness in the fear of God.” It is perfection, we perceive, that the Apostle is after for his followers; and he does not hesitate to raise this standard before the eyes of his readers as their greatest incitement to effort. They must not be content with a moderate attainment in the Christian life. They must not say to themselves, O, I guess I am Christian enough, although I’m not too good to do as other men do. They must, as they have begun in the Spirit, not finish in the flesh; but must go on unto perfection.[189]

The work of the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential in every aspect of salvation:

Let us remind ourselves moreover that the matters which fall under discussion here are of the order of what the Bible calls “things of the Spirit,” things which are not to be had at all except as imparted by the Holy Ghost; and that it is therefore peculiarly infelicitous to speak of them as “attainable,” merely on the ground of “natural ability.” In so speaking of them, we seem gravely in danger of forgetting the dreadful evil of sin as the corruption of our whole nature, and the absolute need of the Spirit’s free action in recovering us from this corruption. The unregenerate man cannot believe; the regenerate man cannot be perfect; because these things are not the proper product of their efforts in any case but are conferred by the Spirit, and by the Spirit alone. . . . The Scriptures do not . . . subordinate the Spirit’s action to that of man; they do not think of the gifts of the Spirit as “attained,” but as “conferred.” . . . [We] rightly emphasiz[e] the supernatural nature of sanctification, as of regeneration, and of salvation at large. We do not sanctify ourselves by our own power; we do not even sanctify ourselves by using the Spirit as the instrument by which alone we can accomplish this great result. It is God who sanctifies us; and our activities are consequent at every step on His, not His on ours. . . . [We ought to] rise to the height of the Scriptural supernaturalness of sanctification . . . [and] recognize[e] the supernaturalness of the actual process of the sanctifying work[.][190]

The old evangelical piety represented by Warfield taught that believers must not rest satisfied with moderate Christian attainments, but press on towards the standard of the absolute perfection of Christ. In this goal, they must not trust in the flesh, but be filled with the Spirit, for sanctification is absolutely and utterly depedent upon His work. Keswick contributed no new truth to the old orthodox piety in these key doctrinal and practical areas.

The following quotation summarizes the warm evangelical piety that Warfield, as a representative of old evangelical orthodoxy, embraced, preached, and defended:

[T]he systematic theologian is preëminently a preacher of the gospel; and the end of his work is obviously not merely the logical arrangement of the truths which come under his hand, but the moving of men, through their power, to love God with all their hearts and their neighbors as themselves; to choose their portion with the Saviour of their souls; to find and hold Him precious; and to recognize and yield to the sweet influences of the Holy Spirit whom He has sent. With such truth as this he will not dare to deal in a cold and merely scientific spirit, but will justly and necessarily permit its preciousness and its practical destination to determine the spirit in which he handles it, and to awaken the reverential love with which alone he should investigate its reciprocal relations. For this he needs to be suffused at all times with a sense of the unspeakable worth of the revelation which lies before him as the source of his material, and with the personal bearings of its separate truths on his own heart and life; he needs to have had and to be having a full, rich, and deep religious experience of the great doctrines with which he deals; he needs to be living close to his God, to be resting always on the bosom of his Redeemer, to be filled at all times with the manifest influences of the Holy Spirit. The student of systematic theology needs a very sensitive religious nature, a most thoroughly consecrated heart, and an outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon him, such as will fill him with that spiritual discernment, without which all native intellect is in vain. He needs to be not merely a student, not merely a thinker, not merely a systematizer, not merely a teacher—he needs to be like the beloved disciple himself in the highest, truest, and holiest sense, a divine.[191]

Non-Keswick Baptist and classical evangelical spirituality is a Christ-centered and Spirit-dependent piety found in the hearts and writings of Christians for many centuries before the origination of the Keswick theology. Both before and after the rise of the Keswick and Higher Life movements, old evangelical orthodox spirituality prominently preached and lived by the truths that were also proclaimed at Keswick.

Keswick’s advocates and its staunch Baptist and classical evangelical opponents stand in full agreement upon the need for Christians to seek for close and sweet communion with Christ by the Spirit. They agree upon the necessity of recognizing the terrible evil of sin, of living by faith in Christ, of relying on the power of the Spirit, of the futility of self-dependence, of the need for whole-hearted surrender and consecration to the Lord, and of the centrality of prayer. Thus, the Biblical truths affirmed at Keswick were not newly originated by the Convention but were taught and accepted by countless multitudes during the centuries before it arose and thus by those with no knowledge of the Keswick theology. What is more, all the truths affirmed at Keswick were warmly defended by multitudes who were passionately opposed to the Convention after its origin in the latter portion of the nineteenth century. Keswick set forth no new truth.

While Keswick set forth no new truth, it did set forth many errors, both new and old. While one cannot but rejoice if a believer’s spiritual life is strengthened on account of the emphasis upon the tremendous truths set forth in Keswick literature and preaching, the unscriptural aspects of the Keswick theology are extremely dangerous and must be avoided. Although the Lord Jesus is gracious and, in His great love for His yet sinful people, He condescends to commune with them even when they adopt theological errors, nonetheless the false teaching mixed with truth at Keswick hinders, rather than furthers, experiential communion with Jesus Christ by faith. Keswick errors dishonor God the Father, confuse the work of Christ, and grieve the Holy Spirit, and so restrain His work of shedding abroad the love of God in the Christian’s heart. The believer can learn the fulness of truth on sanctification from the Bible and from sound Scripturally-based books that have no association with the Keswick theology. He would do well to do so, because Keswick promotes pernicious errors.

3.) The Unscriptural Aspects of Keswick Theology

Keswick theology has severe problems. These problems are natural in light of Keswick’s corrupt roots. Keswick’s errors and heresies include its ecumenicalism, its theological shallowness or even incomprehensibility, its downplaying of the role of God’s Word in sanctification, its distaste for careful exegetical and systematic theology and the Biblical dogmatics arising from such theology, its allegorical hermeneutical methods and exegetical fallacies, its shallow views of sin, and its perfectionism. Furthermore, Keswick supports certain Pelagian or semi-Pelagian positions, improperly divorces justification and sanctification, is confused about the nature of saving repentance, denies that God’s sanctifying grace always frees Christians from bondage to sin and changes them, and fails to warn strongly about the possibility of those who are professedly Christians being unregenerate. Keswick likewise supports an unbiblical pneumatology, supports continuationism as opposed to cessationism, advances significant exegetical errors, distorts the positions and critiques of opponents of the errors of the Higher Life movement, misrepresents the role of faith in sanctification, supports Quietism, and denies that God actually renews the nature of believers to make them less sinful and more personally holy. Keswick’s grievous errors and heresies should have no place in any Christian’s life.

The Keswick Convention intentionally “stands for no particular brand of denominational theology. It could not, and have on its platform men of many different denominational affiliations.”[192] There is an (alleged) “ecumenical value of Keswick . . . gathering together as it has done men and women of . . . almost all Protestant denominations,”[193] for “denominational differences are put aside as of little importance in comparison with what all Christians hold in common. The motto of the Convention is, ‘ALL ONE IN CHRIST JESUS.’”[194] Following the great desire of Lord Mount-Temple and his associates to unite heresy, apostasy, and orthodoxy in a melting-pot of ecumenical spirituality,[195] the Broadlands, Oxford, Brighton, and Keswick Conventions fulfilled the wishes of their ecumenical founders.[196] Therefore, at Keswick, “men . . . forget their religious differences . . . [and the conflict] of creeds . . . [and] of sects,” so that “Keswick has . . . no[t] weakened any of the old . . . denomination[s.] . . . Its aim has been to send back Church members . . . to their old circles.”[197] Keswick united Anglicans with their sacramentalism, Quakers with their false gospel, Lutherans with their baptismal regeneration, and many other religious organizations and individuals of “almost every shade of religious opinion.”[198] Keswick accepted the Broadlands idea that “[i]t is not our creed, but our conduct, that proclaims what our life is.”[199] The Keswick Convention consequently brings together “ministers of all denominations,” uniting “High Churchmen and Low Churchmen,” despite the damnable sacramental heresies of High Church Anglicanism, and in this union spiritual wolves and sheep discover that “the things on which they honestly differ are as nothing[.]” Keswick wishes to “hasten that day” when the Anglican “Church and Dissent join hands” and “Reunion is an established fact.”[200] The piety of Keswick is such that “the dividing-lines between church and church are forgotten.”[201] Indeed, Keswick founder Canon Harford-Battersby’s goal was “the Re-union of the Churches . . . bringing together on a common basis members of all Christian churches,”[202] a goal which shall be fulfilled in the one-world religious system centered in Rome and described by the Apostle John as “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Revelation 17:5). Keswick follows the pattern of Robert and Hannah Smith’s “preaching[,] [which] was not sectarian; they led no exodus from any of the Churches, but taught only the need for the Higher Life.”[203] Robert Smith “presented himself as an unattached teacher, who would fain serve all denominations alike.”[204] He would not visit a city and proclaim the Higher Life without broad and ecumenical support.[205] He declared: “I am not aware of a single instance in which these [Higher Life] meetings have led Christian persons to change their denominational connection.”[206] On the contrary, he affirmed: “I have reason to believe that hundreds have been saved by . . . this line of teaching . . . from temptation to change . . . their ecclesiastical connections.”[207] After years of Keswick Conventions, its leaders could boast that their “movement, so far as is known, never resulted in a change of the Church connection of a single individual from that in which it found him.”[208] Keswick consciously and strongly embraced the teaching of the Broadlands Conference that “a desire to proselytize . . . is entirely opposed to the spirit and teaching of Jesus.”[209] Keswick maintained the passionate ecumenicalism of its founders and early leaders.

The doctrinal confusion that results from Keswick ecumenicalism has plagued the Convention from the time of its founding until modern times. As at Broadlands a “great variety of spheres of thought were admitted for consideration, and wide and progressive views were presented and listened to,”[210] so theological liberalism and apostasy was presented and listened to at Keswick. For example, following the steps of Hannah W. Smith in the rejection of eternal torment, George Grubb, a key Keswick leader from the 1880s onward, denied hell in favor of annihilationism or conditional immortality.[211] In 1899 Grubb was the first Keswsick leader sent out to bring the Higher Life message to the world. He was an effective speaker, contributing, everywhere he went, to the rise of both Keswick theology and annihilationism.[212] In response to the annihilationism of Grubb and other Keswick missioners such as Gelson Gregson, Keswick co-founder Robert Wilson declared: “If Keswick won’t own those whom the Lord does—Grubb, Moore, Gregson, etc., where are we? High and very dry I fear?” In response to a query by a lady Keswick missionary who held to annihilationism, “John Battersby Harford, as honorary secretary of the Keswick Missionary Council, insisted . . . that there was no official Keswick opinion about whether conditional immortality was true or false.”[213] Rejecting what Jesus Christ plainly taught about hell was acceptable at Keswick. Thus, Grubb “travelled extensively in . . . [spreading the] ministry [of] . . . the Keswick message,” being among a select number chosen by Keswick to spread the Higher Life “far afield” to countries such as “Australia, Canada, . . . India and the Far East . . . the United States . . . and other lands.”[214] Indeed, Grubb “was the first to be sent abroad as a ‘Keswick deputation’ speaker—a most fruitful aspect of the Convention’s ministry . . . Mr. Grubb traveled widely as an ‘ambassador at large’ of Keswick, and was greatly used . . . especially in India, Ceylon and Australia . . . his . . . ‘return home’ visits to Keswick . . . invariably had a stimulating effect,” his messages making a “profound impression,” so that he was among the “most renowned . . . [and] most distinguished exponents” of the Keswick theology.[215] At his worldwide Keswick venues Grubb promoted his heresies, from annihilationism to the the Broadlands Conference doctrine[216] that people could make Jesus Christ return more quickly,[217] while exemplifying Keswick ecumenicalism by “cross[ing] the oceans” specifically to “conduct a mission” for the “extreme high church Bishop of Cape Town.”[218] Grubb similarly spread the Higher Life doctrine of a post-conversion Spirit baptism at Keswick in England and worldwide,[219] being Keswick’s “important influence . . . [and] advocate in the 1890s of the baptism of the Spirit,”[220] as well as “drawing particular attention to th[e] subject [of] . . . [h]ealing . . . at Keswick . . . influences [that] were to find their way into Pentecostalism in Britain and North America.”[221]

Since the Broadlands Conference that led to the formation of Keswick promoted spiritualism with its free intercourse with devils, it is not surprising that Grubb was by no means the only heretic who used the ecumenicalism of Keswick to spread doctrines of demons.[222] “James Mountain, Keswick’s early song-leader,” who led the singing at “the Brighton Convention of 1875, and at the first Keswick” and many following meetings, “subscribed to British Israelism . . . for forty years.”[223] The “liberal evangelicalism” that denied the verbal, plenary inspiration of Scripture and other key tenets of Christian orthodoxy found its place at Keswick among men such as John Battersby Harford, the “most prominent of the [Keswick] founder’s sons.”[224] Keswick council members had “no agreement about the appropriateness of [the] term . . . ‘inerrancy’” for the Holy Bible; Keswick President Graham Scroggie “stated that subscription to a particular theory of inspiration was not . . . a true test of doctrinal orthodoxy.”[225] In 1894, “John R. Mott, an American who became the foremost international and ecumenical misionary figure of his time, was at the Keswick camp.”[226] Sadhu Sundar Singh, who “was converted to Christianity by a vision on 18 Dec. 1904 . . . and donned the robe of a Sadhu (i.e. ‘holy man’) in an endeavour to present Christianity in a Hindu form,”[227] and who “claim[ed] to have received many visions and experienced many miracles”[228] validating his Hindu-Christian syncretism, spoke at Keswick despite “sympathy towards Hinduism and Spiritualism.”[229] Key Keswick leaders manifested a very spiritually dangerous willingness to share platforms at Holiness Conventions and other settings with false teachers and fanatical perfectionists—for example, shortly before speaking at Keswick in 1886, Handly Moule and other Keswick speakers preached at a Convention at Cambridge organized by Douglas Hamilton with the unabashed perfectionist Smyth-Piggott, as a result of which many Cambridge undergraduates, including Charles Harford, Canon Harford-Battersby’s youngest son, came to believe “themselves to be quite free from all internal evil.” A few months later, Hamilton joined the Agapemonites,[230] and “[w]hen Pigott joined him . . . the extremist wing of Holiness made shipwreck.”[231] As time passed, the Pentecostal movement found a home at Keswick, so that by the 1960s Keswick, along with its association with the wider ecumenical movement,[232] invited charismatics to speak at the Convention, while their ministers became part of the Keswick council itself.[233] Doctrinal confusion and apostasy has found a secure home in the ecumenical atmosphere of the Keswick Convention from the time of its founding. Keswick ecumenicalism has never been purged out. On the contrary, ecumenicalism has constantly been rejoiced in and fostered.

While Keswick rejects separatism for ecumenicalism, Scripture never commands individuals or true churches to ignore Biblical doctrine to come together in an ecumenical setting. Rather, God requires a strict separation of the faithful from false teachers and even disobedient brethren. They are to be separate from all false doctrine, false teachers, and error. So far from ignoring such, they must, to honor the Lord, specifically mark and reprove error and those who advocate it.[234] Keswick denigrates creed to exalt conduct in relation to spiritual life, while Scripture exalts both creed and conduct (1 John 3:7, 14; 2 John 9) in relation to spiritual life. Faithful Biblical preaching deals with all that is in the Word, whether it is “in season” or “out of season” (2 Timothy 3:16-4:2), but those who speak at Keswick “consider themselves pledged . . . not to teach during the course of any Keswick Convention any doctrines or opinions but those upon which there is general agreement [at the Convention]. . . . Speakers are not permitted to discuss controversial matters at the Convention.”[235] True churches are to tolerate “no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3), not overlook doctrine to become ecumenical. The fact that Keswick fails to expose, but rather tolerates and supports[236] the heresies of Protestant denominations, such as the baptismal regeneration that plagues the large majority of the paedobaptist world,[237] is a great failure on its part. Keswick’s utter lack of strict association with the modern representatives of the congregations of the New Testament—historic Baptist churches—leaves the movement apart from the authority of the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15) and the work of spiritual edification that God has ordained take place within that context (Ephesians 4:11-16). The movement thus lacks the promise which the Baptist congregation possesses—that Christ would build up or edify His church (Matthew 16:18).[238] Error can take root firmly and easily as the movement is without the special protection that Christ provides as Head of His congregation. Keswick’s heavy Quaker influence, to the extent that one of the co-founders of Keswick was a Quaker and that from its inception the Keswick convention allowed those in soul-damning error, such as Hannah Whitall Smith, to mold its doctrinal position, illustrates the failure among its leadership to separate from even the most serious of errors and a lack of discernment about what is involved in even being a Christian at all.[239] Holiness, sanctification, and separation share the same word group in the Hebrew and Greek languages. The disobedience of the Keswick Convention to the Biblical commands to practice ecclesiastical separation hinders its intention of promoting holiness. Compromise on any area of the truth hinders growth in holiness, which takes place by means of the truth (John 17:17).[240] What the Keswick Convention boasts of as a strength, “that no man or woman has ever been known, through the influence or under its teaching, to leave one communion for another,” so that “those who accept the Keswick teaching and enter into the [Keswick] experience . . . incline to remain where they are . . . [even in] moribund or dead churches,”[241] is no strength at all, but a very serious weakness. Keswick unites those professing paedobaptism and believer’s baptism; those who think that sprinkled infants are Christians and those who believe that one must be converted to become a Christian; those who advocate hierarchical denominational structures and those who practice congregational church government; those who believe in liturgical ritualism and those who accept the regulative principle of worship; those who preach the inherent goodness of man inherent in the Quaker “Divine seed” heresy and those who accept the total depravity of man; those who embrace corrupt sacramental gospels and those who profess the true gospel of justification by faith alone through Christ alone apart from religious ceremonies. When all such, together with sundry sorts of other doctrinal deviants, get together for a “united communion service,”[242] one can be happy that the Lord’s Supper is not really being practiced, as only true Baptist churches can celebrate it, for the gross doctrinal and practical disharmony might lead to many people to suffer serious illness or early death (1 Corinthians 11:30) as Divine judgment. In sum, Keswick ecumenicalism is unscriptural and dangerous.

A related error of Keswick, which developed out of the identical position at Broadlands[243] and which accorded well with the ecumenicalism of the movement,[244] is that it “is interested in the practical application of religious truth rather than in doctrinal or dogmatic theology.”[245] Biblically, no disjunction exists between doctrine and practice—on the contrary, sound doctrine and practice mutually reinforce each other (1 Timothy 4:16). Keswick has produced an ocean of books, “many volumes of devotional literature,”[246] so that “the literature of the Convention . . . ha[s] circulated far and wide . . . throughout the world.”[247] Myriads of “addresses [have been] given at the Convention year after year for over seventy-five years.” Nevertheless, “Keswick furnishes us with no formal treatise of its doctrine of sin, and no carefully prepared, weighty discourses of a theological nature”[248] of any kind. This lack was abetted by the total lack of formal theological training on the part of many early Keswick leaders.[249] Keswick’s neglect of carefully prepared theology is a definite weakness, although natural for those who accepted Robert P. Smith’s view that for “souls i[n] vital conscious union with Christ . . . the effects of any errors of judgment are neutralised.”[250]

What was important at Keswick, as in the teaching and ministry of Hannah and Robert P. Smith, and at the Broadlands Conferences,[251] was not the careful study of what Scripture said, but feeling happy—the secret of a happy life.[252] While Keswick’s neglect of the careful study of Scripture suited the Quaker exaltation of immediate extra-canonical revelation, for those who wanted to know what God’s Word said about sanctification, it was a great hinderance that at “the early Conventions . . . [a]ll the addresses were extemporaneous,”[253] so that none of the spiritual guides who were to lead others into the way of holiness could preach carefully exposited Scripture. All speakers had to teach unprepared:

Canon Harford-Battersby . . . . assigned . . . speaking roles each evening for the following day, after a time of prayer with the chairman [Robert Wilson] in his vicarage drawing room . . . informal planning of the speakers for each day, undertaken only during the week itself, characterized the Convention for more than fifty years. . . . Some may see in that a more noble leading of the Spirit, whilst others may call it flying by the seat of your pants[.][254]

Keswick maintained “a remarkable absence of planning and organizing of speakers.”[255] It is not surprising that a later Keswick president thought that “the reason that Convention blessings were short-lived” was the “lack of solid exposition” at the Conference.[256] Keswick’s oft recognized[257] lack of “carefully prepared” and theologically precise views of sin and the solution for it is evident in its inaccurate presentations and bungling refutations by Keswick advocates of alternative positions on sanctification, its failure to deal comprehesively and carefully with the scriptural data related to the believer’s growth in holiness, its invalid arguments, its allegorization of Scripture, and its faulty exegesis of key texts on sanctification.[258] In all these ways, while unfaithful to the Bible, Keswick continued faithful to its roots at Broadlands, where the misinterpretation of Scripture was tightly connected to the Quaker Divine Seed heresy.[259] From the Divine Seed doctrine many an allegorization of Scripture came forth—what need was there of careful exegesis of the Bible when one has the Divine Seed within, and from his allegedly sinless spirit receives new revelations? Keswick does not do well to set against each other “exegetical skill” and “present illumination and anointing of the Holy Spirit,” and claim to value the latter despite downplaying the former. Keswick’s theological sickness is evident when it affirms that the “distinctive vitality” of “Keswick meetings” is “lost” if “exegetical skill instead of . . . present illumination” is employed in preaching.[260] Keswick authors testify that the generality of those that accede to their theology do so not as a result of exegeting and searching the Scriptures (Acts 17:11), but because of feelings and experiences they have at Keswick conferences.[261] It is consequently not surprising that the key requirement for ascending the Keswick platform during its founding decades was not doctrinal orthodoxy, but, as at Broadlands, the experience of entering into the carefree happiness of the Higher Life.[262] Keswick’s inability to support itself exegetically, and its reliance upon testimonies and pleasant words and deeds to lead people into its system, is explained by Robert P. Smith:

Do not press this fulness of the Gospel [the Higher Life], in its doctrinal, dogmatic side. It is not so much a doctrine to be argued as a life to be lived. Confess Christ—do not profess to be anything. . . . Your life must be your argument to those who see you constantly. Do not worry them by doctrinal statements, but love them into the fulness of salvation. It is usual to hear persons say, “I was wrong. I could meet the arguments, but the life of my friend has convinced me that she was right.”[263]

Thus, careful statements of Biblical teaching only “worry” the generality of those who accede to the Higher Life. Although arguments for Keswick doctrine from the text of Scripture can be easily met, as the Bible does not teach the theology of the Pearsall Smiths, the appearance of a carefree and happy life full of rest and quiet leads many to adopt it. The theological imprecision that results by setting the Holy Ghost against painstaking exegesis of the Word He dictated is also a major explanatory factor for the other Biblical errors in the Keswick theology. Keswick statements on theological issues are often better when they are not taken seriously, but only their general intention is considered; taking Keswick too seriously leads to serious error.

Keswick theology, following the practice of the Broadlands Conference[264] and the devaluation of doctrinal truth by Hannah W. Smith,[265] downplays the role of the Word of God in sanctification to exalt testimonials.[266] While Deuteronomy 17:19 indicates that by studying and growing in knowledge of God’s Word, one “may learn to fear the LORD his God,” Keswick is “not interested in . . . adding to the store of Bible knowledge of those who attend.”[267] Maintaining a pattern set by earlier Keswick classics, Barabas’s book, in the course of over two hundred pages, never once cites John 15:3; 17:17; Acts 20:32; Romans 10:17; Ephesians 2:20; 5:26; Colossians 3:16; 1 Timothy 4:6; 1 Peter 2:2; Psalm 119:7; 119:50; 119:93, or any other text that teaches that sanctification takes place through the instrumentality of the Word of God.[268] Such neglect is a serious error. The Bible is the instrumentality the Father has ordained for the revelation of God’s glory through the Son by the Spirit, the view of which transforms and sanctifies the believer (2 Corinthians 3:18; John 17:17, 26). Keswick’s downplaying of the role of the Word of God in sanctification to exalt testimonials, a practice it inherited from the Broadlands Conference[269] and earlier Higher Life perfectionisms, is associated with its exaltation of the testimonial as the key instrumentality for spreading its teachings. In the Keswick system, oral or written testimonies of entering into and maintaining the Higher Life largely displaced the expository preaching of and exegetical study of God’s Word.[270] Legions of books about those who discovered the spiritual secret of Keswick theology, hundreds of testimonies of those who discovered the Keswick system, and swarms of revisionistic historical accounts of blessings received by individuals, churches, and communities who adopted the Higher Life system abound in Keswick settings. On the other hand, the “Convention is not interested in . . . adding to the store of Bible knowledge”[271] of those who come to their meetings, and “Keswick furnishes us with . . . no carefully prepared, weighty discourses of a theological nature . . . for over seventy five years[.]”[272] Not even one carefully prepared discourse or book expositing Scripture in a scholarly way has ever been written in favor of the Keswick theology, as Keswick authors themselves testify. By downplaying the study of and growth in knowledge of the Word of God and exalting uninspired testimonies instead, Keswick hinders the believer’s sanctification.

D. Martin Lloyd-Jones comments on Keswick’s failure to deal comprehesively and carefully with the scriptural data related to the believer’s growth in holiness:

Instead of expounding the great New Testament texts, [Keswick promulgators] so often started with their theory and illustrated it by means of Old Testament characters and stories. You will find that so often their texts were Old Testament texts. Indeed their method of teaching was based on the use of illustrations rather than on exposition of Scripture. An inevitable result was that they virtually ignored everything that had been taught on the subject of sanctification during the previous eighteen centuries. . . . Many of them boasted of this.[273]

Indeed, even those who were passionately committed to the Higher Life theology, to the extent that they were willing to favor it in print in its official literature, admitted that sound Biblical interpretation was grievously lacking. Robert W. Dale testified:

I agree with every word . . . about the singularly uncritical manner in which those who are associated with this doctrine quote passages from both from the Old Testament and the New. . . . But then let us remember that the gentlemen who represent this particular movement are frankly and constantly acknowledging that they have no claims to the kind of scholarship that is necessary to treat theological questions scientifically. . . . I . . . [am] not hostile to this movement, [but] favorable to it.[274]

Similarly, another minister and friend of the Higher Life testified:

If there has been anything to which exception might be taken it has been the fanciful and even absurd interpretation occasionally given to passages of Scripture, particularly those of the Old Testament. But where the end is so great . . . one is little disposed to find fault[.][275]

Such admissions were regularly made by those who were contending, in print, for the Higher Life and Keswick theology. What, then, will those without partisan precommitments to Keswick conclude?

The gross abuse, exegetical fallacies, and silly allegorization of Scripture by advocates of the Higher Life contributed to the Keswick consensus that discussion of doctrine and careful exegesis of Scripture were not the way to spread the Blessing;[276] by such means the Keswick theology was so far from being able to be propogated that it was certain to collapse. Examples of faulty Keswick exegesis are legion. For instance, consider the severe equivocation on the phrase “God’s people” in the following argument by Barabas:

Christians are too apt to think that only the unsaved are sinners. . . . This certainly is not Biblical. The truth is that God’s Word has a great deal more to say about the sin of God’s people than it does about the sin of those who do not know Him. It was the sin of God’s people that delayed the entrance of Israel into Canaan for forty years. It was the sin of God’s people that was responsible for the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. It was the sin of God’s people that caused the crucifixion of the Messiah. It was the sin of God’s people, more than the unbelief of the heathen, that caused Paul heartache and sorrow. And it is the sin of God’s people, more than anything else, that is hindering the manifestation of His saving power in the world today. . . Keswick is right in putting great stress on the fact that there must be a revival among Christians of a sense of sin in themselves.[277]

The beginning and end of the argument draw conclusions about those who are true believers, but the examples in Scripture that are to prove the conclusion deal in each instance either primarily or totally with the sin of those who merely professed to be God’s true people, that is, those who, in the Old Testament, were merely “of Israel” but not true spiritual Israel (Romans 9:6). As demonstrated above,[278] those who died in the wilderness wanderings pictured the professing but unconverted, not backslidden saints. The idolators who brought upon themselves the Deuteronomic curses, including the Assyrian and Babylonian exile (Deuteronomy 28:63-68), went to hell (cf. Revelation 21:8), as Paul indicates that those who are under the Deuteronomic curse are the unsaved (Galatians 3:10; Deuteronomy 27:26) while all the spiritual seed of Abraham are free from this curse and its penalty (Galatians 3:11-14). The passage concerning Paul’s sorrow for his fellow Israelites indicates his sadness on account of their coming damnation, not sorrow because they were on their way to heaven but without a Higher Life (Romans 9:1-6). And it was certainly not genuine believers, who were just a little backslidden, who conspired against and crucified Christ! The Keswick conclusion drawn from this argument—that Christians need to take sin in their lives very seriously—is excellent. The exegetical basis provided for the conclusion is a disaster.

Another example of invalid exegesis is Barabas’s assertion: “Paul constantly urges Christians to make instantaneous decisions (as the aorist of his verbs shows) to yield their members unto God (Romans 6:13), to present themselves unto God (Romans 12:1), [and] to mortify the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13).”[279] Such an argument, while based on the teaching of Robert P. Smith that surrender is “a thing done once for all . . . just as we look on our marriage for life,”[280] misunderstands the nature of the aorist tense[281]—even apart from the fact that the command to mortify in Romans 8:13 is not in the aorist tense at all but is a present tense imperative.[282] Similarly, the classic The Keswick Convention: Its Message, its Method, and its Men, affirms that at Keswick “[t]he student becomes aware of the spiritual significance of the aorist tense in the programme of holiness”[283] and proceeds to misinterpret a variety of texts based on an inaccurate view of the nature of the Greek aorist.[284] Evan Hopkins follows the pattern of misinterpretation in his Keswick classic The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life.[285] Hopkins had a great “love [for] the Aorists of New Testament Greek,” but, as a standard Keswick writer, he evidently did not understand the tense very well.[286]

For “Keswick there was no passage of Scripture that was more frequently to the front” than Romans 6, so that “it is doubtful whether a Keswick Convention has ever been held in which one or more speakers did not deal with this chapter . . . [t]here is no understanding of Keswick without an appreciation of the place accorded by it to this chapter in its whole scheme of sanctification.”[287] Unfortunately, this chapter is also fundamentally misunderstood. As demonstrated above, Romans 6 is Paul’s proof that the justified will not continue in sin, while Keswick reduces the chapter to a merely potential freedom from sin.[288] For Keswick, “[i]t is possible to serve sin again, but not necessary,”[289] but for the Apostle Paul in Romans 6, all believers are no longer the servants of sin, but are now the servants of righteousness. Furthermore, the reckoning of Romans 6 is commanded because the believer is already dead to sin, alive to God, and a servant of righteousness, not, as in Keswick theology, in order to activate an inactive and merely potential sanctification. Both the Keswick idea that victory over sin is only possible and potential for believers, not certain, and the idea that the reckoning of Romans 6 activates a merely potential and inactive progressive sanctification, come from the preaching of Hannah W. Smith at the 1874 Broadlands Conference, supported by an experience she had and by the fact that she looked pretty, not by careful grammatical-historical exegesis of the chapter:

[A]t the first Conference . . . [s]everal speakers had contributed valuable thoughts, and then Mrs. Smith rose. . . . [S]he stood with the dark oak background, her tall figure, lifted head, and radiant countenance. It was good to look at her, to observe her dear, beautiful face, shining hair, serene, deep-blue eyes, and absolutely natural, easy attitude, a personification of purity, joyous health, and vitality[.] . . . [S]he . . . told how she had found that if we but surrender our wills to Him and trust Him absolutely, we can conquer through Him. [That is, victory over sin is merely potential; believers “can,” not “will,” conquer through Christ.] She said some one had done her an injury of a particularly mean kind, and quick resentment rose in her heart. At once, she looked to God, and the words, “Reckon ye yourselves to be dead unto sin,” came into her mind. She did reckon herself to be dead unto sin and alive to God, and what came to her, she said, was “like a spring morning.” [That is, reckoning activated an inactive and merely potential victory over sin.] . . . [“]Friends, it is true, I have found it! I have known it![”] . . . All listened with breathless attention, not least so the many clergymen who were present, and surely, each heart felt a longing to reach the place at which Mrs. Smith had arrived[.] . . . Lord Mount-Temple wisely called for a few minutes of silent prayer.[290]

Of course, meditating on the truths of Romans 6 can be of great aid in resisting temptation, but the chapter does not teach that reckoning activates an inactive and merely potential sanctification, no matter what Mrs. Smith claimed that she experienced, and no matter how many Keswick writers follow and reproduce her teaching. Keswick theology falls into serious error because of its misinterpretation of key passages of Scripture on sanctification.

While preaching about the sinfulness of sin, Keswick theology, following the teaching of Broadlands and its successor Conventions,[291] the emphasis of Hannah W. Smith on attaining happiness and freedom from feelings of guilt, and in continuity with Pentecostalism,[292] leads to lower views of the sinfulness of man by promising those who still possess the sinful flesh “victory over all known sin.”[293] No believer short of glory loves God will all his heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37-38), is inwardly perfect, even as his heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48), or perfectly obeys other similar commandments. A believer’s obedience to some commands, such as: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16), or “sin not” (1 Corinthians 15:34), is imperfect but progressive. Believers can be commanded to do more of what they are already doing to some extent (1 Thessalonians 5:11). The only way a believer can affirm, with Keswick, that the “cleansing work [of] . . . the Spirit . . . to remove . . . sin . . . is as thorough as His revealing work . . . reveal[ing] sin,”[294] is either by suppressing the Spirit’s testimony that some sins are truly sin or by suppressing the Spirit’s testimony to the Christian’s failure to meet the Divine standard of absolute sinless perfection.[295] While the Christian has the joy and privilege of walking in uprightness before the Lord and in genuine, glorious, and progressively growing victory over sin, he is not assisted spiritually by denying that his real failure to entirely conform to commands such as Matthew 22:37-38 or 5:48 is indeed sin, and should be known,[296] consciously acknowledged, guarded against, and hated as sin.[297] The Keswick overemphasis upon the believer’s personal happiness, evident in Hannah W. Smith’s paradigmatic Keswick classic, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life and elsewhere, is connected with Keswick’s denial of the Biblical truth that the fact of sin should always remain in the believer’s consciousness. John Murray notes:

The representatives of Keswick have a passionate concern for deliverance from the oppressing consciousness of sin and the dissatisfaction arising from this consciousness. Every person who has his eye upon the goal of redemption must be aware of the oppression which sin involves and must long for deliverance from it. But we must beware of the tendency to complacency which is the snare of perfectionism. As long as sin remains we must have the consciousness of it and the ensuing dissatisfaction. The more sanctified the believer becomes the more acute becomes his conviction of the sinfulness that is his, the more he loathes it and reproaches himself for it. Here again one feels the passion for freedom from the oppressing consciousness of sin, so characteristic of Keswick leaders, betrays a lack of appreciation of what the presence of sin ought to mean in the consciousness of the believer.[298]

Christians should not aim for or be satisfied with anything less than the literal perfection set before them by the holy character of the triune God and the incarnate Son. When a saint sees his failure to conform to the standard set before him of God’s own holiness, he is able to more humbly and closely walk after the Spirit (Romans 7:14-8:4). Biblical sanctification has a deeper view of the sinfulness of sin than does the Keswick theology, leading Scriptural and non-Keswick piety to a deeper repentance for and hatred of sin, and a greater glorification of and glorying in Jesus Christ, than is possible for the adherent of Keswick (Luke 14:11). The believer should repent, not only of his known sins, but also of his unknown sins, for the corruption of his heart, for the imputation of Adam’s sin to himself, and for the corruption that adheres to even his holiest works,[299] committing himself to his infinitely precious High Priest who bears the inquity even of his holy things (Exodus 28:38). The related Keswick idea that, in this life, “sin . . . need not be a continued source of trouble,”[300] is also unbiblical. Such an idea lays the groundwork for either self-deception in the believer who thinks he has arrived at such a state of complete triumph over sin, or hopeless despair in the believer who knows his own heart too well to make such an affirmation. Keswick affirmations of this nature, in addition to unabashed affirmations of the truth of perfectionism by Keswick leaders,[301] explain why “from the first, opponents of Keswick have accused it of holding a shallow view of sin. . . . [and of being] perfectionist.”[302] Scripture does not present progressive sanctification as an instantaneous transition from a state of utter defeat to one of total victory, and the fact that sinless perfection is impossible in this life is Biblically a motive to continue striving for ever-greater progressive victory against sin, not, as is commonly argued by many groups of perfectionists, a reason to give up the fight in despair.[303] Barabas states: “The value of a system of thought or of a doctrine therefore depends upon the manner in which it proposes to deal with the problem of sin. Any failure here means failure all along the line.”[304] Unfortunately, the Keswick theology does not properly deal with sin. While some who have been helped spiritually because of Keswick preaching are blessedly inconsistent, consistent belief that sin no longer need trouble the believer is only possible by disregarding the true nature of sin or by adopting perfectionism. Furthermore, to the extent that Keswick lowers the standard of God’s requirement from literal and absolute sinlessness to a lower and subjective standard of “known sin” that downplays the evils of sins of ignorance,[305] it leads believers to be satisfied with less than what God requires and discourages them from striving after the actual standard of perfect conformity to the absolute holiness of the Most High.[306]

Associated with the Keswick idea that sin need no longer trouble believers who have entered into the Higher Life is the Pelagianizing and perfectionist idea, adopted by Keswick from the Broadlands Conference,[307] that the obligation of the believer to obey God is coextensive with his ability to do so.[308] “A saying frequently heard at Keswick is this[:] ‘God’s commandment is his enablement,’ meaning that God never issues a command that He does not give us grace to fulfil.”[309] The Keswick theology asks, “Does God therefore make demands of human beings that they cannot fulfil? Does He expect of them conduct beyond their reach? . . . God’s requirements cannot be greater than His enablements. If they were, man would be mocked. . . . What He demands He makes possible.”[310] Barabas cites no texts from the Bible to prove his position, since none teach his equation of obligation and ability. His argument, however, stands squarely in the line of centuries of perfectionist argumentation and arises out of the denial of total depravity that accompanied the Divine Seed heresy of the Broadlands Conference and the Quakerism of the Pearsall Smiths. Consistency with the affirmation that man has the inherent ability to perform all that God demands of him requires sinless perfection, since God’s standard for man is nothing less than the perfect purity and holiness of His own nature. Affirming that, in this life, one can be entirely without sin is a dangerous heresy affirmed only by unregenerate individuals (1 John 1:8, 10).

Keswick, however, since it at times recognizes the dangerous and unscriptural character of a more consistent perfectionism,[311] does not usually take its perfectionist doctrine that obligation is limited to ability to its actual conclusion, but stops with the affirmation that believers can live without known sin, while at the same time affirming that all believers still are sinners and do sin, although unwittingly. It is certainly true that believers can have a clear conscience and not be deliberately refusing to forsake sin, and that genuine and ever-greater progressive victory over sin—although not the absolute victory coming in heaven—is given to the saints on earth (Romans 6:14). However, the restricted Keswick perfectionism is not compatible with its doctrine that obligation is limited to ability. God commands all men and angels to be perfect, just as He is perfect (Matthew 5:48), but the Holy One of Israel is not just free from certain areas of conscious sinning. God does not lower His standard to what is possible for either unregenerate fallen man or pre-glorified regenerate man who still has indwelling sin. Consistency with its affirmation that man’s obligation is limited to his ability would require Keswick to affirm either literal, absolute perfectionism for fallen men or to downgrade the character of God’s holy character and law, and the nature of sin, to something less than absolute conformity to the holiness of Jehovah.[312] Such conclusions cannot be avoided by Keswick’s affirming that grace enables ability to meet Divine obligation. Absolute perfection or a downgrade in the nature of sin must still follow—only the sinless perfection would now be allegedly enabled by grace.[313] God certainly will give all His people the grace to be sinlessly perfect, but He will only do so when they are forever with Him, not during this life. The necessary consequences of the Keswick doctrine of ability and obligation explain why “opponents of Keswick have accused it [of being] perfectionist.”[314] Happily, Keswick advocates do not usually believe what is truly involved in their affirmation that God’s standard for fallen man is limited by the sinner’s ability. But would it not be better to simply represent the teaching of the Bible on sanctification accurately than to affirm a Pelagian and perfectionistic view of obligation and ability, but inconsistently deny its consequences?

Keswick adopted the error of the Broadlands Conference[315] and its successors[316] that Christians can be justified but unsanctified[317] if they do not enter into the secret of the Higher Life. The related Keswick weakness, likewise adopted from Broadlands,[318] on saving repentance[319] and surrender to the Lordship of Christ at the point of the new birth and the necessity of a conscious and clear conversion[320] is another fearful error. Keswick’s related idea that Christians can be brought into bondage to sin in the same way that unsaved people are under the dominion of sin[321] is similarly erroneous and very dangerous. God swears in the New Covenant: “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people” (Hebrews 8:10). Scripture promises the saints: “[S]in shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). Indeed, this blessed promise undergirds the command to the believer to yield to God (6:13). Thus, when Keswick affirms that “such sins as . . . falsehood, theft, corrupt speech, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, railing, [and] malice[,] may gain such dominion over [believers] that [they] forfeit [their] freedom, and . . . become like a second nature”[322] it is clearly in error. Indeed, based on Romans 6:13-14, such Keswick teaching hinders believers from yielding to God by taking away from them the precious promise that sin will not dominate them. Keswick follows Robert P. Smith and the Oxford Convention[323] to state that Christians “are to be freed from the dominion of sin,”[324] but Scripture states that Christians are freed from the dominion of sin (Romans 6:14). The Christian’s freedom from sin is actual, not merely potential.[325] It is a blessed fact that Keswick is in error when it declares that “a Christian . . . [can] become an entire worldling.”[326] The power of the Son is greater than what is stated in Keswick theology: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).[327] There are no exceptions—Hallelujah!

Keswick, following the rejection of self-examination Hannah and Robert P. Smith adopted from Madame Guyon and other reprobates, and in keeping with the teaching of the Broadlands pre-Keswick Convention[328] and its Oxford and Brighton successors,[329] fails to warn strongly about the possibility of professing believers not truly being regenerate, although this is a clearly Biblical theme (Matthew 7:21-23; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Hebrews 12:15). Keswick also adopts a dangerous teaching when, following Robert and Hannah W. Smith,[330] it states, without any explanation or qualification,[331] that “some are regenerated without knowing when.”[332] What is more, its unbiblical concept that believers can be justified but not sanctified, coupled with its rejection of separatism and its stand with broad Protestantism, rather than with Biblical Baptist churches composed of visible saints, leads Keswick to make statements such as the following:

Christians . . . not advancing in holiness at all . . . [is] widely prevalent . . . [or] almost universal[.] . . . The vast majority of Christians . . . [are] apparently . . . making no advance or increase at all . . . [but live in] defeat and failure . . . full of futile wanderings, never enjoying peace and rest . . . their own spiritual condition absolutely unsatisfactory . . . stop[ping] short in their experience of the blessings of salvation with the . . . forgiveness of past sins and with the hope of Heaven.[333]

The idea that the “vast majority of Christians” never grow but live in an “absolutely unsatisfactory” spiritual condition is a very dangerous misdiagnosis of the spiritual need of the generality of Protestant church members, who are lost and who need to be truly converted and then to separate from their false religious denominations and be baptized into historic Baptist congregations.[334] Such people need spiritual life, not Higher Life preaching. Backslidden saints are certainly a serious problem which should not be minimized. However, neither should the Biblical fact that all believers will be different or the possibility of false profession be neglected. Keswick’s setting aside of Biblical self-examination, its teaching that the vast majority of Christians make no advance in spiritual life at all, and its many other weaknesses on the nature and power of the gospel, are extremely spiritually dangerous. Many are in hell today because of these toxic Keswick errors.

As already note, Keswick theology is right to call believers to the “renunciation of all known sin . . . and . . . surrender to Christ for the infilling of the Holy Spirit.”[335] Keswick does well to affirm that the Holy Spirit “dwells in every child of God . . . [but] not every Christian is filled with the Spirit . . . [and] to be filled with the Spirit is not presented in Scripture as an optional matter, but as a holy obligation that rests upon all Christians.”[336] Keswick is correct that the “Christian is expected to live in communion with the Spirit.”[337] Nonetheless, the Keswick pneumatology differs at important points from the pneumatology of Scripture.[338] Barabas is incorrect when he affirms that only some isolated “statements . . . from addresses and books by Keswick speakers . . . seem to . . . outrun Scripture.”[339] Some of the Keswick theology of the Spirit not only seems to, but does, in fact, outrun Scripture. The historic Baptist position that Spirit baptism was a first century corporate blessing authenticating the church, which was accompanied by miraculous signs and wonders, and which does not take place today, is the teaching of Scripture.[340] It is incorrect to hold either to a view that affirms that Spirit baptism is a post-conversion blessing for today that bestows special powers, or to the doctrine that “the Holy Spirit, on the condition of faith, baptizes a man into Christ and joins him permanently and eternally to Him, [so that Spirit baptism makes] a man ‘in Christ,’ in union with both the person and the work of Christ . . . [a teaching allegedly] clearly set forth in the sixth chapter of Romans.”[341] Scripture nowhere, and certainly not in the sixth chapter of Romans, teaches that “every Christian . . . has been baptized by the Spirit.”[342] Nor does God’s Word teach that the “full blessing of Pentecost is the inheritance of all the children of God,”[343] as all the children of God today are not wonder-working apostles with the miraculous ability to speak in foreign languages, the spiritual gift of healing, and other supernatural powers that ceased early in Christian history—a fact that is itself denied by the strongly dominant Keswick continuationism or anti-cessationism in the matter of spiritual gifts.[344] Furthermore, if Keswick “distinguishes between being ‘full’ and being ‘filled’” with the Spirit, so that the latter refers to a “filling, or momentary supply . . . as special difficulties arise,”[345] such a distinction is difficult to reconcile with the fact that the command in Ephesians 5:18 is to be filled, not to be full, of the Spirit.[346] Furthermore, when the Keswick theology employs Acts 5:32[347] to make a point about being “endue[d] with the divine power”[348] to serve the Lord, or as a proof-text for recommended means of believers becoming Spirit-filled, it misinterprets Scripture. In Acts 5:32, Peter teaches that God gives the Holy Spirit to believers,[349] while God does not give the Holy Spirit to those, such as the council of Pharisees and Sadducees that the Apostle was addressing, who reject Jesus Christ, disobeying the command of God to receive Him as the risen Lord and Savior (Acts 5:28-33, 38-42). Consequently, every Christian on earth has the Spirit in the sense mentioned in Acts 5:32. What is more, the obedience mentioned in Acts 5:32 is a result of the receipt of the Spirit at the moment of regeneration, not a means to obtain spiritual power.[350] The Christian should consequently recognize that the power of God the Holy Ghost is essential for his effective sanctification and service, but reject the unbiblical aspects of the Keswick pneumatology.

Stephen Barabas, cleaving closely to Keswick tradition, well illustrates Keswick’s inaccuracy and bungling attempts at refutation of alternative positions on sanctification. Dealing with “wrong ways of seeking sanctification,” inaccuracy of presentation and theological imprecision are apparent.[351] The erroneous views he examines are:

1.) [T]he sanctification of the believer is a matter of course, and that he need not trouble himself about it . . . sanctification will proceed automatically without our doing anything about it.[352] . . .

2.) [M]any people . . . regard sanctification as merely a matter of gradual growth, not to be stopped or hindered or accelerated by anything the Christian may do. . . . [D]eliverance from conscious sinning . . . is just a question of time. . . . it . . . is necessarily imperceptibly slow and . . . cannot be retarded or hastened by anything the believer may do.[353] . . .

3.) [The] theory . . . that it is possible in this life, either at regeneration or at some subsequent crisis of religious experience . . . to reach a point in spiritual development where the sin nature is eradicated and therefore no longer operative. . . . A theory of gradual eradication is held by others.[354] . . .

4.) Perhaps the most widely-held view of sanctification is that it is to be gained through our own personal efforts by trying to supress the flesh in us.[355] . . .

5.) Other Erroneous Methods.[356]

Very few people actually believe false theories #1 or 2. The perfectionist theory of sinlessness through instanteous eradication of the sin principle mentioned in #3 is indeed held by some and is erroneous. In relation to #4, the problem of self-dependence in sanctification is certainly serious and is a false idea. If someone actually believes that sanctification will proceed automatically without the believer doing anything about it, he will find the refutation of this view helpful. However, since views #1 and 2 are entirely absent from any standard confession by any evangelical group in church history, one wonders if positions #1-2 are really a caricature of Biblical truths about sanctification.

If Barabas’s position #1 is supposed to refute the Scriptural fact that believers will be different, it is a gross misrepresentation; God works in the believer to will and do (Philippians 2:13) and the fact of the certainty of the sanctification of the regenerate is a basis for Biblical exhortation to grow, not a hinderance to it or an encouragement to neglect growth (Romans 6:13-14). So far from #2 being held by “many” Christians, the idea that growth cannot be accelerated or hindered or stopped is a very unusual position. Among the alleged “many” that advocate view #2, Barabas provides not even one original source, perhaps because no such source exists. One wonders if it has ever been advocated in print in any work of evangelical Christian literature in history.[357]

Barabas very unfortunately combines the idea of a second blessing of instantaneous sinlessness in #3 with the position, represented by a quotation from Warfield, that the Holy Spirit weakens the remnants of sin in the believer and strengthens the new nature over time. The argument on the pages dealing with #3 make some valid points against the instantaneous perfectionist second blessing position, but Barabas’s examination of Warfield’s view sets up a straw man and is very weak. Similarly, while people can certainly deceive themselves into thinking that they can serve the Lord in their own strength, and the believer’s indwelling sin constantly seeks to lead him to live in an independent manner, self-dependence is not “the most widely-held view of sanctification.”[358] The Keswick presentation by Barabas in #4 contains severe confusion between an unbiblical self-dependent attempt to sanctify onself apart from the power of God and the Biblical truth that sanctification does indeed involve God-dependent, faith-filled personal effort, striving, and struggle. Finally, Barabas’s presentation of erroneous views of sanctification never deals with actual commonly held erroneous views of sanctification, from Wesleyan and Methodist to Oberlin perfectionism, to liturgical and Romanist ex opere operato sorts of sacramentarianism, to Quaker Quietism. Furthermore, if Barabas’s positions #1-5 are not intended to caricature and oppose important elements of the Biblical doctrine of sanctification, from the certainty that believers will be different to the fact that God actually does inwardly make the believer less sinful and more holy, then these truths are entirely passed over in utter neglect, and the Keswick position is set forth as if it were the only alternative to what is stated in #1-5. Either Barabas’s presentation of non-Keswick positions on sanctification is grossly deficient because it ignores its theologically conservative alternatives, or it severely misrepresents and mischaracterizes those alternative positions. Barabas effectively illustrates that Keswick presentations of sanctification are not “carefully prepared, weighty discourses”[359]—a truth both patently evident and most unfortunate.

Barabas’s attempt to support Keswick by refuting the classical Biblical doctrine that in sanctification the believer through mortification and vivification actually becomes less sinful and more holy in his nature[360] misrepresents the Biblical view and fails miserably as a refutation.[361] In dealing with Warfield’s confession of the classical orthodox position that supernatural sanctification involves the Spirit’s working to “eradicate our sinfulness and not merely to counteract its effects,”[362] Barabas argues—without exegeting or citing a single passage of Scripture that could reasonably be taken as relevant as an argument against progressive eradication of the strength of the sin principle,[363] but following Hannah W. Smith,[364] that “Keswick is plainly right in rejecting the theory of eradication,[365] whether instantaneous or gradual, as the divine way of sanctification” in favor of the position that “holiness . . . is a maintained condition, never a state.”[366] That is, in Keswick theology, as in the teaching of the Keswick precursor Conventions,[367] the believer is not personally and actually the slightest bit more holy after decades of what may be improperly termed progressive sanctification, but is hardly sanctification that is progressing, than he was the moment he was regenerated. Barabas very regretably tries to deal at the same time with the false “second blessing” concept that at an instant during this life one can have his sin nature entirely eliminated and the Scriptural position of Warfield that only at the moment of a Christian’s death the sin nature is entirely eliminated, while the Holy Spirit’s mortifying and renewing work actually gradually weakens and eradicates the remnants of sin in the believer and strengthens his new nature. To combine these two views as if they were truly closely related leads Barabas to a serious misrepresentation of Warfield’s position and a very off-base attempt at a refutation of it on the assumption that it is somehow the close relative of the idea that one enters into sinless perfection through a second blessing.

Barabas argues against Warfield: “The word of God does not teach us to expect, in this life, either the eradication or the improvement of the ‘flesh.’”[368] While he does not cite the verse, Romans 7:18 clearly teaches that the flesh does not improve in any way. Barabas’s statement, however, equivocates on the word eradication—if he means “absolute elimination of the flesh,” he is entirely correct. If, however, Barabas wishes to refute Warfield’s position, he must demonstrate that the influence and power of the flesh is absolutely unchanged, which he fails to demonstrate or even argue for effectively. Instead of refuting Warfield, Barabas sets up a false dichotomy, arguing that “the tendency to sin is not extinct, but is simply counteracted,”[369] as if those were the only two options. The classical orthodox position represented by Warfield is that while indwelling sin does not itself get any better (Romans 7:18), mortification weakens the power of the sin principle and vivification strengthens the power of the new nature. The ethically sinful flesh itself does not improve, but progressive sanctification weakens its influence as it is put to death or mortified, a process only completed when the believer reaches heaven. In this sense only did Warfield affirm gradual eradication, and in this sense Barabas does not touch his position.

Barabas goes on to argue that Warfield’s position would require that “the longer a person lived the Christian life the less possible it should be for him to sin . . . [b]ut . . . spiritual growth is not determined by the length of time [one] has been a Christian.”[370] Since Warfield never taught that simply surviving for a longer time as a Christian resulted in one’s growing less able to sin, Barabas’s criticism again leaves Warfield’s doctrine untouched. Warfield would affirm that the more the Christian mortifies sin and his new nature is renewed by the Spirit, the more holy he is. He never taught that sanctification was in direct and sole proportion to the length of time since the believer’s regeneration.

In association with the misrepresentation of Warfield’s position as one of sanctification by survival, by a Christian’s existing for a longer period, Barabas argues that the record of Demas in 2 Timothy 4:10 proves that living longer as a Christian does not necessarily involve greater sanctification. Furthermore, Barabas employs 1 Corinthians 9:27 to prove that “years after his conversion on the Damascus road, Paul himself declared that he dared not be careless[.]”[371] Unfortunately for Barabas’s arguments, in addition to the severe problem that he is refuting a position Dr. Warfield did not advocate, Demas is presented as an example of a professing but unconverted individual, one who has no true love for the Father and who will not abide forever with God but will go to hell (2 Timothy 4:10; 1 John 2:15-17), while Paul’s spiritual growth led him to ever-greater carefulness. To aver that Warfield’s position is in error because if Paul were more holy years after his conversion he would be more careless about sin, rather than more careful to avoid it, is an astonishingly poor argument.

Barabas’s last and presumably crowning argument against Warfield’s position is:

[I]f Dr. Warfield were right . . . [then] [i]f we lived long enough . . . we must reach a stage of spiritual development where the old nature was completely eradicated [and] sin were no longer in us . . . such injunctions as “reckon,” “yield,” “put off,” . . . would no longer have any meaning for us. . . . And when we reached this state of purity we would no longer have to depend upon Christ and the Holy Spirit to enable us to live a holy life. . . . Keswick is plainly right in rejecting [Warfield’s view, because of] . . . 1 John 1:8 . . . [and] John 15:5 . . . [his theory] tempts the Christian to negligence . . . carelessness [is] . . . easily fostered by a belief that sin was eradicated from one’s nature.[372]

Barabas seems to have neglected the fact that a huge emphasis in Warfield’s two volume work against perfectionism is that sin never is “no longer in us” at any moment before the believer reaches heaven. Since Warfield confessed that “[t]he moment we think that we have no sin, we shall desert Christ,”[373] to argue against his position by making it into almost exactly its reverse is a terrible caricature. Those who affirm the Biblical fact that God actually makes the believer more holy—such as Warfield—do not say that the more Christlike a believer grows the more self-dependent, careless, and negligent he becomes,[374] and the less concerned he is about yielding to God, putting off sin, and the like.[375] To argue that God cannot make Christians more holy in this life because growing more holy makes one ever the more careless and negligent about spiritual things would mean that the saints in heaven would be the most careless and negligent of all. What is more, if carelessness and negligence are only avoided by eliminating real progressive sanctification and the supernatural eradication of indwelling sinfulness, replacing this blessed truth with a mere counteraction of sin, then, to keep them from carelessness and negligence, believers in heaven must also not have their sinfulness eradicated, but only counteracted. On the contrary, the more the victory over sin described in Romans 6-8 becomes manifest in the believer’s life, the greater is his abhorrence of his remaining indwelling sin—the more he loathes it, longs for perfect deliverance from it, and guards himself against it (Romans 7:14, 20-24). While Barabas may not recognize it, Scripture teaches that the Spirit actually makes believers more holy and less sinful, and a concomitant of that greater holiness is greater, not lesser, watchfulness, carefulness, and God-dependence.

The following extensive quotation from Warfield, discussing the old evangelical piety of another of its staunch defenders, Thomas Adam,[376] both explains well the truly Scriptural and old evangelical orthodox position that Barabas opposes and shows just how radically Barabas misrepresents Warfield’s position:

[T]he eighteenth century . . . . English Evangelicals . . . [embraced] “miserable-sinner Christianity” . . . for themselves[.] We may take Thomas Adam as an example. His like-minded biographer, James Stillingfleet, tells us37 how, having been awakened to the fact that he was preaching essentially a work-religion, he was at last led to the truth . . . particularly by the prayerful study of the Epistle to the Romans. “He was,” writes his biographer, “rejoiced exceedingly; found peace and comfort spring up in his mind; his conscience was purged from guilt through the atoning blood of Christ, and his heart set at liberty to run the way of God’s commandments without fear, in a spirit of filial love and holy delight; and from that hour he began to preach salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone, to man by nature and practice lost, and condemned under the law, and, as his own expression is, Always a sinner.” In this italicized phrase, Adam had in mind of course our sinful nature, a very profound sense of the evil of which coloured all his thought. In one of those piercing declarations which his biographers gathered out of his diaries and published under the title of “Private Thoughts on Religion,”38 Adam tells us how he thought of indwelling sin. “Sin,” says he, “is still here, deep in the centre of my heart, and twisted about every fibre of it.”39 But he knew very well that sin could not be in the heart and not in the life. “When have I not sinned?” he asks,40 and answers, “The reason is evident, I carry myself about with me.” Accordingly he says:41 “When we have done all we ever shall do, the very best state we ever shall arrive at, will be so far from meriting a reward, that it will need a pardon.” Again, “If I was to live to the world’s end, and do all the good that man can do, I must still cry ‘mercy!’”42—which is very much what Zinzendorf said in his hymn. So far from balking at the confession of daily sins, he adds to that the confession of universal sinning. “I know, with infallible certainty,” he says,43 “that I have sinned ever since I could discern between good and evil; in thought, word, and deed; in every period, condition, and relation of life; every day against every commandment.” “God may say to every self-righteous man,” he says again,44 “as he did in the cause of Sodom, ‘show me ten, yea, one perfect good action, and for the sake of it I will not destroy.’”

There is no morbidity here and no easy acquiescence in this inevitable sinning. “Lord, forgive my sins, and suffer me to keep them—is this the meaning of my prayers?” he asks.45 And his answer is: “I had rather be cast into the burning fiery furnace, or the lion’s den, than suffer sin to lie quietly in my heart.”46 He knows that justification and sanctification belong together. “Christ never comes into the soul unattended,” he says;47 “he brings the Holy Spirit with him, and the Spirit his train of gifts and graces.” “Christ comes with a blessing in each hand,” he says again;48 “forgiveness in one, and holiness in the other, and never gives either to any who will not take both.” But he adds at once: “Christ’s forgiveness of all sins is complete at once, because less would not do us good; his holiness is dispensed by degrees, and to none wholly in this life, lest we should slight his forgiveness.” “Whenever I die,” he says therefore,49 “I die a sinner; but by the grace of God, penitent, and, I trust, accepted in the beloved.” “It is the joy of my heart that I am freed from guilt,” he says again,50 “and the desire of my heart to be freed from sin.” For both alike are from God. “Justification by sanctification,” he says,51 “is man’s way to heaven, and it is odds but he will make a little [sanctification] serve the turn. Sanctification by justification is God’s, and he fills the soul with his own fulness.” “The Spirit does not only confer and increase ability, and so leave us to ourselves in the use of it,” he explains,52 “but every single act of spiritual life is the Spirit’s own act in us.” And again, even more plainly:53 “Sanctification is a gift; and the business of man is to desire, receive, and use it. But he can by no act or effort of his own produce it in himself. Grace can do every thing; nature nothing.” “I am resolved,” he therefore declares,54 “to receive my virtue from God as a gift, instead of presenting him with a spurious kind of my own.” He accordingly is “the greatest saint upon earth who feels his poverty most in the want of perfect holiness, and longs with the greatest earnestness for the time when he shall be put in full possession of it.”55

Thus in complete dependence on grace, and in never ceasing need of grace (take “grace” in its full sense of goodness to the undeserving) the saint goes onward in his earthly work, neither imagining that he does not need to be without sin because he has Christ nor that because he has Christ he is already without sin. The repudiation of both the perfectionist and the antinomian inference is made by Adam most pungently. The former in these crisp words:56 “The moment we think that we have no sin, we shall desert Christ.” That, because Christ came to save just sinners. The latter more at length:57 “It would be a great abuse of the doctrine of salvation by faith, and a state of dangerous security, to say, if it pleases God to advance me to a higher or the highest degree of holiness, I should have great cause of thankfulness, and it would be the very joy of my heart; but nevertheless I can do without it, as being safe in Christ.” We cannot set safety in Christ and holiness of life over against each other as contradictions, of which the one may be taken and the other left. They go together. “Every other faith,” we read,58 “but that which apprehends Christ as a purifier, as well as our atonement and righteousness, is false and hypocritical.” We are not left in our sins by Him; we are in process of being cleansed from our sins by Him; and our part is to work out with fear and trembling the salvation which He is working in us, always keeping our eyes on both our sin from which we need deliverance and the Lord who is delivering us. To keep our eyes fixed on both at once is no doubt difficult. “On earth it is the great exercise of faith,” says Adam,59 “and one of the hardest things in the world, to see sin and Christ at the same time, or to be penetrated with a lively sense of our desert, and absolute freedom from condemnation; but the more we know of both, the nearer approach we shall make to the state of heaven.” Sin and Christ; ill desert and no condemnation; we are sinners and saints all at once! That is the paradox of evangelicalism. The Antinomian and the Perfectionist would abolish the paradox—the one drowning the saint in the sinner, the other concealing the sinner in the saint. We must, says Adam, out of his evangelical consciousness, ever see both members of the paradox clearly and see them whole. And—solvitur ambulando. “It is a great paradox, but glorious truth of Christianity,” says he,60 “that a good conscience may consist with a consciousness of evil.” Though we can have no satisfaction in ourselves, we may have perfect satisfaction in Christ.[377]

It is clear that “miserable-sinner Christianity” is a Christianity which thinks of pardon as holding the primary place in salvation. To it, sin is in the first instance offence against God, and salvation from sin is therefore in the first instance pardon, first not merely in time but in importance. In this Christianity, accordingly, the sinner turns to God first of all as the pardoning God; and that not as the God who pardons him once and then leaves him to himself, but as the God who steadily preserves the attitude toward him of a pardoning God. It is in this aspect that he thinks primarily of God and it is on the preservation on God’s part of this attitude towards him that all his hopes of salvation depend. This is because he looks to God and to God alone for his salvation; and that in every several step of salvation—since otherwise whatever else it might be, it would not be salvation. It is, of course, only from a God whose attitude to the sinner is that of a pardoning God, that saving operations can be hoped. No doubt, if those transactions which we class together as the processes of salvation are our own work, we may not have so extreme a need of a constantly pardoning God. But that is not the point of view of the “miserable-sinner Christian.” He understands that God alone can save, and he depends on God alone for salvation; for all of salvation in every step and stage of it. He is not merely the man then, who emphasizes justification as the fundamental saving operation; but also the man who emphasizes the supernaturalness of the whole saving process. It is all of God; and it is continuously from God throughout the whole process. The “miserable-sinner Christian” insists thus that salvation is accomplished not all at once, but in all the processes of a growth through an ever advancing forward movement. It occupies time; it has a beginning and middle and end. And just because it is thus progressive in its accomplishment, it is always incomplete—until the end. As Luther put it, Christians, here below, are not “made,” but “in the making.” Things in the making are in the hands of the Maker, are absolutely dependent on Him, and in their remanent imperfection require His continued pardon as well as need His continued forming. We cannot outgrow dependence on the pardoning grace of God, then, so long as the whole process of our forming is not completed; and we cannot feel satisfaction with ourselves of course until that process is fully accomplished. To speak of satisfaction in an incomplete work is a contradiction in terms. The “miserable-sinner Christian” accordingly, just as strongly emphasizes the progressiveness of the saving process and the consequent survival of sin and sinning throughout the whole of its as yet unfinished course, as he does justification as its foundation stone and its true supernaturalness throughout. These four articles go together and form the pillars on which the whole structure rests. It is a structure which is adapted to the needs of none but sinners, and which, perhaps, can have no very clear meaning to any but sinners. And this is in reality the sum of the whole matter: “miserable-sinner” Christianity is a Christianity distinctively for sinners. It is fitted to their apprehension as sinners, addressed to their acceptance as sinners, and meets their clamant needs as sinners. The very name which has been given it bears witness to it as such.[378]

Warfield—and old evangelical piety in general—emphasized both the Spirit’s work in progressively eradicating indwelling sin and making the believer more holy and the Spirit’s work in reminding the Christian that he is simil iustus et peccator—both righteous and a sinner. Such teaching—which is eminently Biblical—leads the Christian to recognize and hate his indwelling sin the more, and cling the more passionately to Christ alone, the more the Spirit makes him holy. Steven Barabas’s attempt to set aside old orthodox position represented by Warfield fails utterly as a refutation. Indeed, Barabas fails to even understand and represent accurately the position he so strongly opposes.

While one cannot rule out that Barabas’s bungled misrepresentation of Warfield is deliberate, charity hopes that it was merely accidental. Support for accidental misrepresentation of Warfield appears from the entire absence in Barabas’s presentation of the fact that Warfield believed that both eradication, control, and counteraction of indwelling sin were taught in Scripture. Barabas presents Warfield’s position simply as eradication. No acknowledgment of statements by Warfield such as the following, in his prominent critique of Lewis Sperry Chafer’s He That is Spiritual, are acknowledged:

Mr. Chafer conducts his discussion . . . on the presupposition that . . . “[w]e are either to be delivered by the abrupt removal of all tendency to sin, and so no longer need the enabling power of God to combat the power of sin, or we are to be delivered by the immediate and constant power of the indwelling Spirit.” This irreducible “either—or” is unjustified. In point of fact, both “eradication” and “control” are true. God delivers us from our sinful nature, not indeed by “abruptly” but by progressively eradicating it, and meanwhile controlling it. For the new nature which God gives us is not an absolutely new somewhat, alien to our personality, inserted into us, but our old nature itself remade—a veritable recreation, or making of all things new.[379]

Furthermore, in his bibliography Barabas cites no works by Warfield other than his Perfectionism,[380] supporting the possibility that Barabas’s astonishing misrepresentation of the Princeton theologian is a product of shallow understanding of his theology. However, to avoid the conclusion that Barabas has deliberately misrepresented Warfield, one must assume not only that he neglected to read Warfield’s critique of Chafer, but that Barabas has not even read carefully the pages he cites[381] where Warfield explains his position. On those very pages the Princetonian states: “Counteraction there is; and suppression there is; but most fundamentally of all there is eradication; and all these work one and the self-same Spirit.”[382] Barabas’s Keswick classic never states or even hints that Warfield taught counteraction,[383] suppression, and eradication—the reader of So Great Salvation who did not consult Warfield’s own writings would certainly never know what Warfield actually believed. Barabas, in a number of pages of confused critique, never summarizes Warfield’s position as clearly as does Paul Schaefer in a single sentence: “Warfield’s emphasis on divine sovereignty and on regeneration mean[t] that God both controls by the power of the Spirit the remnants of indwelling sin and progressively eradicates them in the one whom he has remade, as that person grows in faith.”[384] Whether a matter of deliberate misrepresentation of inexcusable sloppiness and carelessness, Barabas’s attempt to rebut Warfield in So Great Salvation falls so short of success that it does not even state the position of the great Princeton theologian accurately.

Since Barabas so strikingly misrepresents Warfield’s position[385] as one that “tempts the Christian to negligence,” leads him to turn from “continued reliance upon the keeping power of God,” and teaches that “we must reach a stage of spiritual development where the old nature was completely eradicated . . . [and we] become ethically self-sufficient,”[386] it is appropriate to provide an extended quotation from Warfield’s locus classicus on progressive eradication. One can easily judge whether Warfield’s concern, in refuting the Higher Life model of mere counteraction, is to advocate ethical self-sufficiency, or whether Warfield actually meant what he said when he confessed a “supernatural sanctification” in which “the Spirit leads us in all our acts, as well as purifies our hearts . . . [so that] to grace always belongs the initiative.” One can also easily discern whether Barabas’s critique of Warfield’s classical orthodox model of progressive eradication, or Warfield’s critique of the Keswick model of mere counteraction, is the more accurate representation of the teaching of Scripture:

It is a fatally inadequate conception of salvation which so focuses attention on deliverance from the penalty of sin and from continued acts of sin, as to permit to fall out of sight deliverance from sin itself—that corruption of heart which makes us sinners. Laying one-sided stress on deliverance from acts of sin—especially when these acts of sin are confined by definition to “deliberate transgressions of known law”—is too poverty-stricken a conception of salvation to satisfy any Christian heart. Christians know that their Lord has come into the world to save them from sin in all its aspects, its penalty, its corruption and its power: they trust Him for this complete salvation: and they know that they receive it from Him in its fulness. [Victorious Life leader] Mr. Trumbull and his associates have no doubt been betrayed into neglect or denial of our deliverance from the central thing—“the corruption of man’s heart”—by a certain prudence. They are set upon the assertion of the possibility and duty for Christians of a life free from sinning. Grant them that, and they are willing to allow that their unsinning Christians remain sinners at heart. They do not appear to see that thus they yield the whole case. An astonishing misapprehension of the relation of action to motive underlies their point of view; and a still more astonishing misapprehension of the method of sanctification which is founded on this relation. To keep a sinner, remaining a sinner, free from actually sinning, would be but a poor salvation; and in point of fact that is not the way the Holy Spirit operates in saving the soul. He does not “take possession of our will and work it”—thus, despite our sinful hearts, producing a series of good acts as our life-manifestation and thereby falsifying our real nature in its manifestation. He cures our sinning precisely by curing our sinful nature; He makes the tree good that the fruit may be good. It is, in other words, precisely by eradicating our sinfulness—“the corruption of our hearts”—that He delivers us from sinning. The very element in salvation which Mr. Trumbull neglects, is therefore, in point of fact, the radical element of the saving process, and the indispensable precondition of that element in salvation which he elects to emphasize to its neglect. We cannot be saved from sinning except as we are saved from sin; and the degree in which we are saved from sinning is the index of the degree in which we have been saved from sin. Here too, as in every other sphere of activity, the operari follows and must follow the esse: a thing must be before it can act, and it can act only as it is. To imagine that we can be saved from the power of sin without the eradication of the corruption in which the power of sin has its seat, is to imagine that an evil tree can be compelled to bring forth good fruit—or that it would be worth while to compel it to do so—which is the precise thing that our Lord denies. What Mr. Trumbull in point of fact teaches is exactly what Hannah Whitall Smith ridicules in a vivid figure which she uses in a less felicitous connection: that what Christ does is just to tie good fruit to the branches of a bad tree and cry, Behold how great is my salvation!42

It is astonishing that nevertheless even Dr. W. H. Griffith Thomas falls in to some extent with this representation. Dr. Thomas does not forget, indeed, that we are to be delivered from the corruption of sin—ultimately. When he wishes to bring into view the whole deliverance which we have in Christ, he enumerates the elements of it thus: “Deliverance from the guilt of sin, deliverance from the penalty of sin, deliverance from the bondage of sin, and deliverance hereafter from the very presence of sin.”43 The insertion of the word “hereafter” into the last clause tells the story. We must wait for the “hereafter” to be delivered from the “presence of sin”—that is to say from the corruption of our hearts—but meanwhile we may very well live as if sin were not present: its presence in us need not in any way affect our life-manifestation. Dr. Thomas enters the formal discussion of the matter,44 apparently, as a mediator in “the old question, ‘suppression or eradication?’ ”45 on this side or the other of which perfectionists have been accustomed to array themselves as they faced the problem of the sin that dwells in us. He comes forward with a new formula, by which, supposedly, he hopes that he may conciliate the parties to the dispute. “Suppression,” he declares, says too little, “eradication” says too much; let us say, “counteraction,” he suggests, and then we shall have the right word. Does “counteraction,” however, come between “eradication” and “suppression,” saying less than the one and more than the other? Does it not say less than either? Whether the “sinful principle” in us be “eradicated” or “suppressed,” it is put out of action: if it be merely “counteracted,” it not only remains but remains active, and enters as a co-factor into all effects. The illustration which Dr. Thomas himself uses, to make his meaning clear, is what he speaks of as the counteraction of gravitation by volition. In the same way, he says, “the lower law of sin and death can be counteracted by the presence of the Holy Ghost in our hearts.” Of course volition does not directly counteract gravitation: we cannot by a mere volition rise at will upwards from the earth. What volition is able to do is to set another physical force in operation in the direction opposed to the pull or push of gravitation: and if this new physical force pulls or pushes more powerfully in a direction opposite to that in which gravitation pulls or pushes—why, the effect will be in the direction of the action of the new force, and will be determined by the amount of its superiority to the force of gravity. We throw a ball into the air. We have not suppressed gravity. It pulls the ball all the time. We only counteract its effect in the exact measure in which the force we apply exceeds the pull of gravity. If Dr. Thomas intends this illustration to be applied fully, it appears to imply that the “principle of sin” operates in all our acts with full power, and therefore conditions all our acts: only, the Holy Spirit dwelling in us is stronger than indwelling sin, and therefore the effect produced is determined by Him. We do not sin, not because the principle of sin in us is suppressed or eradicated, but because it is counteracted. If this be Dr. Thomas’ meaning, one would think that he ought to declare not, as he does declare, that Christians need not sin, but that they cannot sin—not even to the least, tiny degree. If the Holy Spirit who is the infinite God dwells in them for the express purpose of counteracting the principle of sin in them; and if He operates invariably, in every action of the Christian; it would seem to be clearly impossible that the principle of sin should ever be traceable in the effect at all. The ball that we throw into the air will rise only a certain distance and ever more and more slowly until, its initial impulse being overcome by the deadly pull of gravity, it turns and falls back to earth. If, however, it was propelled by an infinite force, the pull of gravity, though always present, could have no determining effect on its movement. On this theory of counteraction Dr. Thomas should teach therefore not that Christians need not sin, but that they cannot sin—as indeed the passages in I John on which he immediately depends in his exposition of his view would also compel him, on his system of interpretation, to teach.

From the point of view of Scripture, however, this theory of counteraction is quite inadequate. It renders it impossible for the Christian to sin—and the Scriptures do not teach that: but it leaves the “principle of sin” in him unaltered and in full activity, and most emphatically the Scriptures do not teach that such is the condition of the Christian in this world. It surely would be better to be freed from the “principle of sin” in us than merely from its effects on our actions. And this is in fact what the Scriptures provide for. What they teach, indeed, is just “eradication.” They propose to free us from sinning by freeing us from the “principle of sin.” Of course, they teach that the Spirit dwells within us. But they teach that the Spirit dwells within us in order to affect us, not merely our acts; in order to eradicate our sinfulness and not merely to counteract its effects. The Scriptures’ way of cleansing the stream is to cleanse the fountain; they are not content to attack the stream of our activities, they attack directly the heart out of which the issues of life flow. But they give us no promise that the fountain will be completely cleansed all at once, and therefore no promise that the stream will flow perfectly purely from the beginning. We are not denying that the Spirit leads us in all our acts, as well as purifies our hearts. But we are denying that His whole work in us, or His whole immediate work in us, or His fundamental work in us, terminates on our activities and can be summed up in the word “counteraction.” Counteraction there is; and suppression there is; but most fundamentally of all there is eradication; and all these work one and the self-same Spirit. We are not forgetful that Dr. Thomas teaches an ultimate eradication; and we would not be unwilling to read his recognition of it “with a benevolent eye” and understand him as teaching, not that the eradication is not going on now, but only that the eradication which is going on now is not completed until “hereafter.” That would be Scriptural. But we fear Dr. Thomas will not permit us so to read him. And, if we mistake not, this difference in point of view between him and the Scriptures is in part, the source of his misconception and misprision of the seventh chapter of Romans. That chapter depicts for us the process of the eradication of the old nature. Dr. Thomas reads it statically and sees in it merely a “deadly warfare between the two natures”; which, he affirms,46 “does not represent the normal Christian life of sanctification.” He even permits himself to say, “There is no Divine grace in that chapter; only man’s nature struggling to be good and holy by law.” What is really in the chapter is Divine grace warring against, and not merely counteracting but eradicating, the natural evil of sin. To Paul the presence of the conflict there depicted is the guarantee of victory. The three things which we must insist on if we would share Paul’s view are: first, that to grace always belongs the initiative—it is grace that works the change: secondly, that to grace always belongs the victory—grace is infinite power: and thirdly, that the working of grace is by process, and therefore reveals itself at any given point of observation as conflict. In so far as Dr. Thomas’s representation obscures any one of these things it falls away from the teaching of the New Testament. Grace assuredly “means a new life, a Divine life, which lifts us above the natural, and is nothing else than the life of Christ Himself in His people.” It is, in substance, as sanctifying grace, the occupation of our hearts by the Holy Spirit, and the undertaking by Him, not only of their renewal, but of their control. It is they alone who are “led” by the Spirit who are sons of God. But the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts is not confined to the direction of our activities. Dr. Thomas says truly47 that grace does not merely “educate the natural heart.” But he errs when he says that “grace does not improve the old nature, it overcomes it.” He errs when he teaches only that “it promises hereafter to extirpate it,” but meanwhile, only “counteracts its tendencies.” It is progressively extirpating it now, and that is the fundamental fact in supernatural sanctification. The sanctifying action of the Spirit terminates on us, not merely on our activities; under it not only our actions but we are made holy. Only, this takes time; and therefore at no point short of its completion are either our acts or we “perfect.”[387]

A comparison of Barabas’s attempt to critique Warfield and Warfield’s own words brings to mind Barabas’s admission that Keswick theology, despite around a century in which it has produced book after book, has produced no “carefully prepared, weighty discourses of a theological nature.”[388] It is consequently not surprising that Barabas’s own book fits the Keswick pattern, so that rigorous analysis demonstrates that his presentation of Keswick arguments is neither weighty nor carefully prepared. In any case, whatever the reason, Barabas’s critique of Warfield’s classically orthodox position that sanctification includes the Spirit’s work in progressively eradicating indwelling sin is a disasterous failure.

Barabas also argues against the position he terms “supression of the old nature.”[389] He writes: “Perhaps the most widely-held view of sanctification is that it is to be gained through our own personal efforts by trying to suppress the flesh in us. Justification, it is believed, is by faith, but sanctification is by works—at least to a large extent.”[390] Barabas argues against this position by setting forth the erroneous Keswick view of Romans 7:14-25,[391] by setting forth the teaching Keswick adopted from Hannah W. Smith and the Broadlands Conference[392] that sanctification is by faith alone, not works,[393] and by making arguments such as: “Neither a tree nor a man grows by effort.[394] . . . It is a kind of sanctification of the flesh. . . . the [failed attempt at] the conquest of self by self . . . [the] legalism . . . to assume that justification is by faith, [but] sanctification is somehow by struggle.”[395] To “fall back upon mere moral processes to overcome sin is not Christianity, but pagan philosophy, which offers nothing better than self-effort as the only way of improvement.”[396] Barabas concludes, based on these arguments: “It is the teaching of Keswick that an important reason for the defeat and failure of so many Christians is that they try to supress the old nature. . . . Sanctification is therefore not by works but by faith. . . . That is the distinctive method of Keswick.”[397]

            Barabas’s argument is based upon a key confusion of two entirely different ideas, combined with some faulty exegesis. If all he wished to prove was that anyone who attempted to be holy without depending upon the Triune God for strength was doomed to failure, and that believers need, consequently, to live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4), his exhortation would be correct, and its warning well taken. The necessity of living by faith and of experiential and personal communion with Jesus Christ by the Spirit is extremely important, and it has been regarded as such by Christians who lived centuries before the invention of the Keswick theology in association with the preaching of Hannah W. Smith. If self-dependence, seeking the ultimate ground for growth in holiness within one’s own person, and “mere moral processes to overcome sin” as in “pagan philosophy” were all Barabas wished to combat when he warned of the “man who is trying to be good and holy by his own efforts and is defeated every time,”[398] he would be right on target, warning against a serious sin that the believer’s fleshliness naturally inclines him to commit.

However, the “most widely-held view of sanctification,” which Barabas seeks to argue is in error, is not an independent moralism, based on pagan philosophy, that does not depend upon Christ and the Spirit—although such errors are indeed taught in large portions of the apostate denominations Keswick ecumenicalism refuses to repudiate. Rather than restricting his argument to the real error of an independent moralism, Barabas argues that believers are not to try to suppress the old nature or struggle against sin in sanctification. If Barabas is against the “man who is trying to be good and holy by his own efforts,” and by this he means the Christian himself should not personally make effort and strive to mortify sin, depending upon Christ and the power of the Spirit, he is definitely wrong. Unfortunately, this latter sense of opposition to effort is in fact what Barabas decries. His view that “sanctification . . . by struggle” is an error ignores the many texts such as “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin” (Hebrews 12:4). Indeed, Paul’s conclusion, after in a detailed chapter setting forth the necessity of living by faith (Hebrews 11), is “wherefore”[399] (Hebrews 12:1)—in light of Hebrews 11 and those who lived by faith in that chapter—“lay aside every weight . . . run with patience . . . consider [Christ] . . . resis[t] unto blood, striving against sin . . . nor faint . . . endure chastening . . . be in subjection . . . [be] exercised . . . lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet . . . follow peace . . . and holiness. . . loo[k] diligently,” and so on (Hebrews 12:1-16). Living by faith, Biblically, is not only compatible with struggling and striving for holiness, but it necessarily produces it. Biblical sanctification does not state: “We cease from labor because we trust in God,” but “we . . . labour . . . because we trust in the living God” (1 Timothy 4:10). For Paul, living by faith means one will “run . . . striv[e] for the mastery . . . fight . . . keep under [the] body, and bring it into subjection” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). The Bible says to do exactly what Barabas says not to do. The Christian’s attitude must not be “let go and let God,”[400] but “trust God and get going!”[401] Faith in sanctification does not lead the believer to cease striving, but to strive ever the harder, trusting in the Lord for strength to fight. He does not labor independently and faithlessly, but “labour[s], striving according to [God’s] working, which worketh in [him] mightily” (Colossians 1:29). For Keswick to affirm a genuine dichotomy between independent moralism and ending all “trying to conquer the old nature . . . effort . . . [and] struggle,”[402] so that one must choose the one or the other, is a serious misrepresentation, one that ignores the true position that sanctification involves a faith-based, God-dependent struggle.[403] By discouraging believers from striving to mortify their indwelling sin, Keswick theology hinders the work of sanctification.

Barabas affirms that the Keswick theology recognizes other “other erroneous methods”[404] of sanctification. Following Hannah W. Smith,[405] Barabas warns that believers must not “trust for their sanctification to a diligent use of the means of grace, to watchfulness over their own heart and life, taking themselves to task ever and again for the coldness of their heart.”[406] It is an amazing thing that Barabas’s book explaining the Keswick theology never once quotes any of the numerous verses in Scripture that connect sanctification with the Word of God, but attacks as an “unscriptural wa[y] of pursuing holiness”[407] employing the means that God has given to increase and strengthen inward grace, such as, centrally, the Word.[408] Rejecting watchfulness over one’s heart and life as a means of avoiding sin and growing holy is astonishing when the Son of God specifically states that watching and praying protect one from temptation (Matthew 26:41) and are essential for spiritual preparedness for His second coming (Mark 13:33-36). The Lord Jesus said, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy”[409] (Luke 21:36), so watching helps the believer be more holy. Scripture is filled with commands to watch,[410] and the Lord Jesus Himself commanded, “What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch” (Mark 13:37)—but Barabas rejects such watchfulness as an unscriptural means of growing in grace! As for it being “unscriptural” to take oneself to task over the coldness of one’s heart, it is evident that some of the psalms, which the Spirit-filled Christian is to sing (Ephesians 5:18-19), are not appropriate for the advocate of Keswick. God’s inspired songbook teaches the righteous man to pray: “For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God” (Psalm 38:15) and yet complain: “There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me” (Psalm 38:3-4).[411] The saint who can say “I waited patiently for the LORD . . . thou art my help and my deliverer” (Psalm 40:1, 17) also prays, “mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me” (Psalm 40:12). The holy man in the Bible, who says “I put my trust in thee” (Psalm 25:20), can nonetheless pray: “Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net. Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins” (Psalm 25:15-18). Keswick is dead wrong when it condemns sanctification through the diligent use of the means God has appointed to grow in grace, when it deprecates watchfulness, and when it affirms that the saint should not take himself to task over the coldness of his heart. Following this unscriptural advice of Keswick will hinder the believer’s sanctification.

Barabas’s Keswick critique of the Biblical fact that believers grow inwardly more holy by sanctification, and indwelling sin is actually reduced in its strength through mortification, is a total failure. Barabas misrepresents the classical orthodox doctrine of sanctification held by his theological opponents, such as Warfield, refutes straw men of his own creation, and then concludes that actually untouched non-Keswick alternatives have been refuted. Scripture employed by Barabas is often misused, and Scripture that refutes the Keswick position is often ignored. One who was actually convinced by the Keswick position would despair of any hope that the Holy Spirit would make him a particle more holy, would cease striving to mortify indwelling sin, would stop seeking to diligently study the Word of God to grow in grace, would cease from watchfulness as a means to avoid sin and become more holy, and would no longer lament the remaining sinfulness of his heart. These positions of Keswick theology are blatently unscriptural and will hinder the sanctification of God’s people if adopted.

Having completed his exceedingly problematic attempt at a refutation of alternative positions on sanctification, Barabas goes on to positively set forth the Keswick method of becoming holy. Keswick considers “sanctification as a process, as a crisis, and as a gift.”[412] The order places “process” first, because it “is the best understood, and not because it is the first in the order of time,”[413] for in the Keswick theology any process in sanctification only takes place in a significant way[414] after the experience of crisis and the receipt of the gift. Over the course of a chapter of twenty pages[415] on the crisis of consecration, Barabas states that it is “very characteristic of Keswick” and “some of its basic teachin[g]” to affirm that “sanctification is a process beginning with a crisis,”[416] following the teaching of Hannah and Robert P. Smith and the Broadlands, Oxford, and Brighton Conventions.[417] The “crisis must take place before we really know the process. . . . The process succeeds the crisis.”[418] The crisis takes place when one makes a “complete personal consecration” to God, “also referred to as dedication and full surrender.”[419] The crisis has a “positive side . . . surrender or the committal of oneself to Christ and the pledge to be eternally loyal to Him as Lord and Master . . . [and] a negative side[,] . . . [t]o deny self . . . [to] definitely and for ever cho[ose] the will of the Lord Jesus Christ as [one’s] Guide and Director through life, in place of [one’s] own will.”[420] In fact, “God’s blessing of deliverance from the power of sin is not to be had” until a Christian makes this full surrender,[421] for “the divine Potter . . . cannot shape the human vessel unless it is committed into His hands and remains unresistingly and quietly there.”[422] In the Keswick theology, “Consecration is . . . the starting point of the sanctification process,” which is only continued as “the response made to God at consecration is continued.”[423] The crisis “decision is the inescapable condition of progressive sanctification.”[424]

In terms of sanctification as a gift, explicated by Barabas for twenty-one pages,[425] Keswick teaches that we are “asked . . . to accept holiness by faith in the same way that we accept justification by faith.”[426] According to “Keswick, we are not sanctified by self-effort or by works, but by faith in what Christ has done for us at Calvary. Sanctification, like justification, is by grace alone.”[427] Keswick affirms that “if we wish to make any progress in holiness, we have to give up belief in the value of self-effort in holiness. . . . sanctification . . . is not something for which we have to struggle or strive[.] . . . Sanctification is primarily and fundamentally ‘neither an achievement nor a process, but a gift, a divine bestowal of a position in Christ.’”[428] It is “the heart and essence . . . of Keswick teaching . . . [that] [f]reedom from the dominion of sin is a blessing that we may claim by faith, just as we accept pardon.”[429] Since believers are “identified with Christ in His death to sin . . . [they] need no longer serve sin,”[430] although it is supposedly possible for “all Christians . . . [to] be in terrible bondage . . . under the power of sin.”[431] They “have a legal right to be free,” however, and obtain “[d]eliverance . . . not . . . by struggle and painful effort, by earnest resolutions and self-denial, but . . . by simple faith.”[432] The “special message . . at Keswick . . . [is that it] is possible to serve sin again, but not necessary, for Christ has freed us.”[433] This “freedom is only potential . . . [and] Keswick leaders often say that God’s method of sanctification is not suppression or eradication, but counteraction.”[434] Keswick reproduced the teaching of Broadlands, Oxford, and Brighton[435] to affirm that the sinfulness within the believer “is something fixed and permanent, and will remain in us as long as we live. . . . The principle of counteraction is . . . basic to Keswick teaching.”[436] The “locus classicus on” the Keswick doctrine of sanctification as gift is “Romans vi.”[437] As the Holy Spirit counteracts indwelling sin in the Christian, the believer “ceases from his own struggles to live a holy life, and enters the ‘rest of faith’ . . . the secret of perfect and constant victory over temptation.”[438] Thus, “the heart and core of Keswick teaching is its doctrine of sanctification by faith. . . . The Keswick position,”[439] which is derived from Hannah W. Smith,[440] “is that in Scripture sanctification comes by faith, and not in any other way.”[441] The believer, to be sanctified, must recognize the truth of the Keswick doctrine, “the scriptural method of progressive sanctification,” have “proper faith,” which involves “the believer’s consent to die to every fleshly desire in him,” and then “hand over the fleshly deeds of the body to the Spirit for mortification . . . Romans 8:13 . . . [and] stand in faith in the knowledge that he died to sin in Christ at Calvary. It is the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to do the rest. Sanctification is thus the result, not of attempts at suppression of the flesh, but of faith in the finished work of Calvary.”[442]

Sanctification as a process, which is dependent in the Keswick theology upon experiencing the sanctification crisis and receiving of sanctification as a gift, is discussed by Barabas on half a page.[443] Barabas discusses sanctification as a crisis for over twenty pages, and sanctification as gift for over twenty pages, while he has only a tiny discussion of sanctification as process for one-half of one page. This huge contrast exists because, for Keswick, “Sanctification is primarily and fundamentally ‘neither an achievement nor a process, but a gift[.’]”[444] Little emphasis is placed upon sanctification as a process because Keswick believes that through the course of the Christian life the “indwelling tendency to sin . . . is as fixed and constant as any of the laws of nature,”[445] so “purity can become a maintained condition, but never a state,”[446] the “tendency to evil” being merely “counteracted”[447] but left entirely unchanged, and “the tendency to sin [being] . . . simply counteracted.”[448] Victory over sin “is not a question of progressive attainment.”[449] Little emphasis is placed upon sanctification as a process because there is little or nothing that actually changes within the believer. Keswick believes that it “is astonishing that theologians have not seen this”[450] theology of counteraction and rejection of actual inward renewal in the Bible.

While Keswick is correct and commendable in calling believers to surrender themselves completely to God, in its emphasis upon the believer’s union with Christ, and in its affirmation that strength to grow spiritually is derived from the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit, there are serious problems with the Keswick doctrine of sanctification as crisis, gift, and process. First, it is certainly true that when a believer is deliberately allowing and tolerating sin in his life his growth in holiness will be greatly hindered or even reversed. However, it is not true that real steps in sanctification cannot take place before a post-conversion crisis because “God’s blessing of deliverance from the power of sin is not to be had” until such a crisis takes place.[451] All Christians are delivered from the power of sin. It is not true, as Keswick affirms, that “all Christians . . . [can] be in terrible bondage . . . under the power of sin”[452] or that, as Hannah W. Smith taught[453] and Keswick proclaims, Christian “freedom [from sin] is only potential.”[454] To state that, for Christians, “our individual self is entirely and completely under the power of sin”[455] is flatly false. Since believers are “not under the law, but under grace,” God promises that “sin shall not have dominion” over them (Romans 6:14). Such freedom is not merely potential, but actual. Romans six does not establish the mere possibility of freedom from sin for the Christian, but establishes that all Christians are indeed free from the bondage of sin, and as a result, they will—not merely may—grow in holiness. The commands to the believer in Romans six to reckon and yield are not based upon a mere possibility of change, but upon the certain promise that grace guarantees that sin “shall not” dominate them. Keswick, adopting the emphasis and Broadlands teaching of Hannah W. Smith,[456] affirms that death to sin and spiritual life are not in any sense a practical reality until, by an act of reckoning, the Higher Life is entered into—Scripture, on the contrary, commands a believer to reckon himself dead to sin and alive to God because he already is so and is already freed from the dominion of sin and under the reign of grace (Romans 6:11, 14). The power and promises God made in the New Covenant ratified in Christ’s blood secure the certainty of the believer’s sanctification. The Keswick doctrine of a merely potential deliverance from sin for the saint is far too weak.

The Keswick doctrine, adopted from the preaching of Hannah W. Smith at Broadlands,[457] that “the divine Potter . . . cannot shape the human vessel unless it is committed into His hands and remains unresistingly and quietly there”[458] is a Higher Life error associated with its crisis, gift, and process model of sanctification. It is also connected with other serious errors about the means of holiness.[459] Such a view does not properly deal with the fact that God works in the believer both to will and to do (Philippians 2:13)—Biblically, sanctification is intimately tied in with God’s work upon the human will, but Keswick, following the ideas Hannah and Robert P. Smith obtained from medieval Quietism, downgrades the power of God for the sovereignty, libertarian freedom, and autonomy of the human will.[460] Keswick, following Broadlands, undermines the power of God when it affirms that He “cannot” do a variety of things, including sanctifying His creatures, without their sovereign, uninfluenced and autonomous wills allowing Him to.[461] Sanctification, and all the other blessings promised by God in the gospel, for the Keswick theology as for Hannah W. Smith and the Broadlands Conference,[462] are totally inactive until they are switched on by the decision to enter the Higher Life, somewhat as electricity from a power plant is totally inactive in lighting up a room until one flips on the light switch.  Keswick, adopting the Broadlands doctrine of “full surrender,”[463] affirms that the believer is in bondage to sin until he makes a “complete personal consecration” to God, “also referred to as dedication and full surrender,”[464] so that he “commit[s] [himself] to Christ and . . . pledge[s] to be eternally loyal to Him as Lord and Master . . . den[ies] self . . . [and] definitely and for ever choos[es] the will of the Lord Jesus Christ as [his] Guide and Director through life, in place of [his] own will.”[465] But how, if the believer is in bondage to sin until he makes this decision, could such a surrender ever take place? Is not the Christian’s pledge of eternal loyalty to Christ as Lord, denial of self, and a choice in the will of the Son of God as Guide and Director, rather a result of freedom from the bondage of sin than a prerequisite to obtain it? Must a will in bondage to sin free itself by its own power before God steps in to do anything, or, on the contrary, must not God free the will first before it is able to be consecrated to God? Ironically, while Keswick theology criticizes the idea that “sanctification is . . . to be gained through our own personal efforts,”[466] it requires incredible personal effort—indeed, personal effort that is utterly impossible for a will in bondage to sin, as Keswick claims the believer’s will is until he enters the Higher Life—to make the surrender Keswick claims is the prerequisite to God beginning any good work within the saint at all.

The problem in the Keswick doctrine of full surrender as a prerequisite to sanctification is connected to the fact that the Keswick argument against literal perfectionism is untenable and contradictory given its own theological premises. Keswick affirms that one must absolutely surrender before sanctification can truly begin; that through an act of total surrender and of faith in Christ for deliverance, one enters into a state where one is free from all known sin; and that a Christian’s ability to obey (by grace) and his obligation are coextensive. However, Keswick’s majority deny literal sinless perfection because, although “from the side of God’s grace and gift, all is perfect, [yet] from the human side, because of the effects of the Fall, there will be imperfect receptivity, and therefore imperfect holiness, to the end of life.”[467] The exact nature of this “imperfect receptivity” is not defined, but since the Keswick theology defines man’s role in sanctification as surrender and faith, the imperfect receptivity must signify either imperfect surrender or imperfect faith. If absolute surrender truly is required before God’s grace even begins to effectively work in sanctifying the believer, then a Keswick affirmation that the Fall precludes a truly absolute surrender would mean that sanctification can never really begin at all. If an imperfect faith and surrender allows the believer to move through progressive degrees of battle with sin to progressive degrees of spiritual victory, so that the more perfect the believer’s surrender is, the more victory over sin and spiritual strength the believer possesses, then the Keswick doctrine that believers instantly flip-flop from a state of spiritual defeat, carnality, and domination by sin to one of total victory by means of the sanctification crisis is replaced with something closer to the classic doctrine of sanctification, for victory over sin and surrender to the Lord become progressive.[468] Furthermore, if the believer’s ability is truly equal to his obligation, then God’s “perfect . . . grace and gift” would give him truly perfect ability, and there would be no reason why literal sinless perfection would be impossible for the Christian. After all, “God’s requirements cannot be greater than his enablements”[469]—so since God gives perfect grace, and the gift of “holiness [that He] requires of His creatures . . . He first provides,”[470] the literal perfection of God’s grace necessarily requires that the Christian can be literally sinless. While one can be happy that most advocates of the Keswick theology do not believe in the literal perfectionism inherent in their theological position, nonetheless Keswick opposition to absolute perfectionism is contradictory and incoherent.[471]

Furthermore, when Keswick affirms, following the Pearsall Smiths and the Broadlands Conference,[472] that the believer’s sole responsibility in sanctification is to lie “quietly” in the Potter’s hands, to “give up belief in . . . struggl[ing] or striv[ing]”[473] and cease from “struggle and painful effort . . . earnest resolutions and self-denial,”[474] it teaches an unbiblical Quietism,[475] exemplified in the Victorious Life motto, “Let go and let God.”[476] Barabas alleges that “Keswick is very careful to point out that its doctrine of sanctification by faith is not Quietism,” quoting “Bishop Handley Moule”[477] to support this alleged opposition to Quietism by Keswick. However, Barabas either overlooks or misrepresents[478] the fact that Moule himself, who Barabas affirms was the greatest scholar to ever adopt the Keswick theology,[479] wrote that the believer’s part in the Keswick model of sanctification is “a blessed and wakeful Quietism,” so that “Quietism . . . express[es] one side of [the] truth” in sanctification.[480] The explicit endorsement of a form of Quietism by Keswick leaders was simply a continuation of the teaching of Lord Mount Temple,[481] reproduced at the Broadlands, Oxford, and Brighton conferences, where “Quietism . . . was taught . . . in the sense of [the poem], ‘Sweet to lie passive in His hands/And know no will but His.’”[482] In sanctification, the believer is “simply to . . . lie passive.”[483] Passivity is of the highest importance: “[I]n the disciple’s life, the . . . first quality of a true instrument is passivity. An active instrument would defeat its own purpose . . . and then it not only becomes useless, but it works damage and disaster. . . . [I]n the Word of God, we meet so frequently the symbols of passive service.”[484] Hannah and Robert Smith sought to bring others into a life of carefree and quietistic happiness, since the Higher Life was “an easy life of rest and ease . . . without effort,” indeed, “the only easy life.”[485] Unfortunately, when Moule and other Keswick writers followed the Smiths and warned of “letting the self-life intrude itself into the work of God,”[486] they were not warning only of the danger of fallen, sinful volitions in man, or of making one’s own self rather than the glory of God one’s goal. Rather, they were teaching the quietistic doctrine that the human personality itself needed, in unbiblical ways, to be passive, as Hannah W. Smith taught when she opposed the “self-life” in favor of the Quietism of Quakerism and Roman Catholic mysticism, or when Lord Mount-Temple and others exhorted at Broadlands, “Let us give up the self-life” for the Higher Life flowing from the Divine Seed within.[487] Not sin—including the sin of selfishness—but “self,” the active human personality, was the problem for Keswick. Thus, Bishop Moule, the man Keswick recognizes as its most scholarly advocate, consciously and deliberately labeled the Keswick theology he loved and defended a form of Quietism, a fact supported by other Keswick writers such as Andrew Murray and Jessie Penn-Lewis.[488] The plain historical facts indicate, contrary to the revisionistic history set forth by Barabas, that “the Quietists and other Catholic mystics [were] widely accepted as part of the true holiness movement.”[489] Thus, classic statements of the Keswick theology by its proponents affirm: “The Keswick message . . . [is] ‘quietism.’”[490] According to Keswick, by a cessation from effort, the believer can pass from the state where the “Lord [is] unused” to one where he can “use the Lord”[491] to become sanctified. The secret of victory and sanctification by faith alone was that “we had nothing to do but remain quiet, and the Lord would do everything for us.”[492] Keswick, following Hannah W. and Robert P. Smith and the Broadlands Conferences,[493] affirms that one is to “hand over the fleshly deeds of the body to the Spirit for mortification . . . Romans 8:13 . . . [and] stand in faith[.] . . . It is the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to do the rest. Sanctification is thus the result, not of attempts at suppression of the flesh, but of faith in the finished work of Calvary.”[494] In contrast to Keswick, the Bible says that the believer is himself to actively “mortify the deeds of the body . . . through the Spirit” (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5), not refuse to mortify them but hand them over to the Spirit. Keswick teaches that the Christian is not to try to suppress the flesh, but Scripture commands him not merely to suppress his ethically sinful flesh, but to go far beyond that, and put it to death. The Biblical relationship between faith and effort in sanctification, which has already been explicated,[495] is dramatically different from the Quietism inherent within the Keswick theology. Scripture denies passivity and Quietism in sanctification, and thus denies Keswick theology.[496]

Keswick unbiblically depreciates the importance of sanctification as a process, as progressive growth. This fact is evident in direct statements such as that, for Keswick, “[s]anctification is primarily and fundamentally . . . no[t] a process”[497] and that the “conventional threefold division” which considers sanctification as positional, progressive,[498] and ultimate is not characteristic of Keswick in the way the crisis, gift, process division is.[499] This neglect of progressive sanctification also evidences itself in that Barabas spends only half a page on this aspect of the doctrine, while he spends forty pages describing sanctification as a crisis and a gift—progressive sanctification gets 1.25% the treatment that the other aspects receive in Keswick. Indeed, considering the entire scope of Barabas’s discussion of “God’s Provision For Sin” and “Consecration,” where the Keswick doctrine of sanctification as crisis, gift, and process is explicated and contrasted with the views he deems erroneous, the discussion of progressive sanctification receives attention only 0.75% of the time.[500] This vast underemphasis stands in stark contrast to the tremendous amount of Biblical material dealing with progress in sanctification.

What Barabas writes in his half-page on progressive sanctification is, however, sound; although it is not properly prominent, nonetheless Keswick is said to accept the classical doctrine that “experimental sanctification is the day-by-day transformation of the believer into the image of Christ, and is progressive in nature. Beginning at regeneration, it continues all through life, but is never complete.”[501] Barabas indicates his dependence in his discussion of progressive sanctification upon the exposition of The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life by Evan Hopkins.[502] Hopkins learned the Higher Life theology from William Boardman and Mr. and Mrs. Pearsall Smith[503] and was brought to adopt Keswick theology after looking at the placid face of one who had received it,[504] having sat at the feet of the Smiths and Mr. Boardman from the time of the first spiritualist-hosted Broadlands Conference onwards[505] even to the last one.[506] He “was for years the acknowledged leader of the Keswick teaching” and “the theologian of the movement. . . . He spoke at the first Keswick Convention, and appeared at Keswick as a leader for thirty-nine years without a break. No one was regarded with greater respect there than he.”[507] While Hopkins was deeply influenced by the heretics surrounding him at Keswick and Broadlands, what he states in the section of his book on which Barabas depends[508] is as Scriptural[509] as what Barabas derives from him. Hopkins even admirably affirms, quoting another writer, that in sanctification “the whole aspect of human nature is transformed.”[510] Barabas claims Keswick acknowledges that the process aspect of sanctification includes “a soul that is continually increasing in the knowledge of God, and abounding in fruits of righteousness . . . [and] continued progress in the development of Christ-like character.”[511] Such an affirmation is certainly Biblical.

What is unusual about such affirmations by the Keswick advocate is that they sound remarkably like the statement by Warfield that the “Holy Spirit . . . cures our sinning precisely by curing our sinful nature; He makes the tree good that the fruit may be good,”[512] yet Barabas inveighs against the doctrine of Warfield as an unscriptural position that Keswick opposes. If there is no real difference between the doctrine of Keswick and that of Warfield, Barabas’s attack on Warfield is, at this point, inexplicable and unjustifiable; if there is a difference, Barabas does not make its character clear at all. It would have been of great value to see Barabas attempt to reconcile the classical model of sanctification as positional, progressive, and ultimate and the “more characteristic” division of sanctification by Keswick as process, crisis, and gift. Had he successfully done so, one could not claim that such a reconciliation is impossible. Unfortunately, Barabas simply asserts that Keswick accepts, although it deemphasizes, the classic model alongside of its usual and characteristic process, crisis, and gift model, without the slightest explanation of how the two apparently strongly divergent positions can both be true. The palpable contradictions between the two models are ignored, probably because the “Convention is not interested in academic discussions of theology or ethics, or even adding to the store of Bible knowledge of those who attend”[513] and “Keswick furnishes us with . . . no carefully prepared, weighty discourses of a theological nature.”[514] Since the classic position that sanctification involves the progressive transformation of the believer into the image of Christ appears to directly contradict the Keswick position that God the Holy Ghost does not make the Christian himself more inwardly holy and less sinful, Keswick’s affirmations that “purity [is] never a state,”[515] and that “holiness does not consist in a state of purity”[516] seem utterly irreconcilable with the classic doctrine of progressive sanctification it claims to uphold.[517] Keswick’s affirmation of both its characteristic crisis, gift, and process model and the classic doctrine of progressive sanctification appears unintelligible.

Illuminating further the tension between the Keswick attempt to affirm both its standard model of sanctification and classical orthodoxy, Barabas states: “Much is made by Keswick of sanctification as a crisis. It is true, Keswick says, that sanctification invariably begins at regeneration. There can be no question about this. On the other hand, many Christians do not make the progress in sanctification that they should. . . . For this reason real progress is often not made until they come to a spiritual crisis.”[518] The affirmation that sanctification invariably begins at regeneration is certainly Scriptural—the affirmation that many Christians do not grow as much as they should could only be improved by affirming that no Christian grows as much as he really ought to. Keswick is to be applauded for affirming with the Scriptures and historic Baptist doctrine that sanctification begins with regeneration, but the nature of this pre-crisis sanctification is difficult to determine on characteristic Keswick theological presuppositions. Furthermore, if only “often” does “real progress” fail to take place without a crisis, then sometimes “real progress” does take place without a crisis. If Barabas means what he says, then Keswick concedes that sanctification always begins at justification and that believers can grow in a great way without ever having a post-conversion crisis experience of the sort that the Convention emphasizes. What, then, becomes of the Keswick criticism that those who affirm that sanctification is certain for all the regenerate, and no Keswick crisis is required, are teaching that growth is “automatic”?[519] How can Keswick unite this concession to the clear teaching of the Bible with its typical doctrine that “sanctification is a process beginning with a crisis”?[520] How can sanctification both begin at regeneration, and yet not begin until after regeneration one experiences a crisis? The tension between these positions is palpable in Barabas’s successive quotations from Hopkins and Andrew Murray. Hopkins affirmed: “No one . . . can be really trusting Christ to save him from the penalty of sin who is not as sincerely desiring to be saved from its power. . . . The essence of conversion is the turning away from sin unto God. The soul that truly receives forgiveness is set also upon holiness.” Murray stated: “[V]ery many Christians at conversion . . . never think of saying that they are no more going to have their own will . . . there is real need [therefore, after conversion], to put one’s whole life under the management of Jesus.”[521] Barabas states later that “so many . . . Christians . . . have never faced a crisis in their lives—a crisis involving who will be the master of their lives: they themselves, or Christ,”[522] and that “not many . . . Christians . . . know what is meant by [Christ’s] lordship over their lives.”[523] How can someone turn from sin, sincerely desiring to be saved from its power, and become set upon holiness (Hopkins) without even thinking about not having his own will, without putting his life under the management of Christ, and without deciding who will be the master of his life (Murray)? Is this another instance where Keswick’s lack of “carefully prepared, weighty discourses of a theological nature”[524] places its system in at least apparent contradiction, so that a demonstration of how such affirmations can be reconciled is required, but lacking?   Or is the fact of the matter rather that the Keswick theology is truly contradictory,[525] caught between the teaching of Scripture that all who are justified are also changed and the development of its system from its historical roots in the Broadlands Conference and in Higher Life ideas that water down the power of regeneration to exalt a post-conversion crisis at which alone sanctification is initiated? The Keswick doctrine of sanctification as process is both greatly underemphasized and is unintelligible.[526]

Keswick theology rightly exalts the Lord Jesus Christ, His power to sanctify sinners, and the necessity of faith in the Christian life. Its call to immediate surrender to God and the renunciation of sin are Scriptural, as are its emphasis upon union with Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, prayer, and evangelism. However, while these aspects of the Keswick theology are Biblical, refreshing, and key to an increase in spiritual life, they are not unique to Keswick, as vast numbers of Christians who reject Keswick theology embrace them also. On the other hand, the problems in the Keswick theology are severe. Because of its corrupt roots, Keswick errs seriously in its ecumenical tendencies, theological shallowness or even incomprehensibility, neglect of the role of the Word of God in sanctification, shallow views of sin and perfectionism, support of some tenants of Pelagianism and semi-Pelagianism, improper divorce of justification and sanctification, confusion about the nature of saving repentance, denial that God’s sanctifying grace always frees Christians from bondage to sin and changes them, failure to warn strongly about the possibility of those who are professedly Christians being unregenerate, support for an unbiblical pneumatology, belief in the continuation of the sign gifts, maintainance of significant exegetical errors, distortion of the positions and critiques of opponents of the errors of Keswick, misrepresention of the nature of faith in sanctification, support for a kind of Quietism, and denial that God actually renews the nature of the believer to make him more personally holy. Keswick theology differs in important ways from the Biblical doctrine of sanctification. It should be rejected.

Applications from the Analysis and Critique of Keswick Theology

The believer who trembles at the Word of the Lord can learn much from the examination and critique of Keswick theology. First, since charity rejoiceth in the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6), he can greatly delight in the blessed truths retained by the Keswick Convention from the older orthodoxy. Does Keswick seek to exalt Christ? Hallelujah! Does not the heart of the upright child of God cry, “Oh that the Lord Jesus would be exalted the more—in my own life, in my congregation, in my city, in my country, and in the world!” Does not such a one long for the day when every knee shall bow before Him, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father? Jesus Christ cannot be too highly exalted, and the feebleness the Christian recognizes in his own exaltation and glorying in Christ is exceedingly grievous to him. Does he not look with expectant joy for the time when the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea, and his own heart will be free from indwelling sin forever? “Come, come Lord Jesus!” is the upright’s cry.

Furthermore, the blessed fact that Jesus Christ is full of truth and grace—that He is an overflowing treasury of grace who fills His dear redeemed and upright ones with the communicable Divine attributes by His Spirit, based on His purchase of them at infinite cost, is an unspeakable consolation. The Lord’s purchased people marvel at their Father’s infinite power, exerted on their behalf to sanctify them. They rightly renounce all self-confidence, self-dependence, and self-righteousness, to wait in an active faith upon their God in Christ, and upon Him only. He alone must receive all the glory for their sanctification, for it is only His power that can affect that supernatural transformation from glory to glory into the image of their Head, Christ Jesus. To whatever extent the Keswick theology has led believers to such spiritual motions, to that extent they can thank God for the truth within its Higher Life system. If Keswick preaching has led them from backsliding to being right with God—if it has led them to the immediate renunciation of sin—if it has led them to renounce all self-dependence—if it has led them to greater communion with the Holy Spirit—if it has brought them to greater fervency in prayer—if it has led them to proclaim the sweet name of Jesus Christ with greater passion, so that the world is more filled with the savor of His name than it would have been otherwise—can any not rejoice at these things and praise the Lord?

Indeed, those precious elements of truth emphasized at Keswick are what make the Convention’s system appealing to the Christian heart. Reader, do not by any means turn away from these blessed truths because your renewed mind cannot bear any longer the corruptions and errors mixed with them at Keswick. Some critique Keswick because of a fervent zeal for the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, rejoicing in the truths affirmed by Keswick but deploring its errors. Others critique Keswick because they have no zeal for the truth and use the corruptions of the Keswick theology as an excuse to live a life of carnal self-pleasing. Do you reject the errors of the Keswick theology? You do well—but the devil knows that Keswick errors are false also, and such knowledge does not make Satan a whit more holy. Are you, in your opposition to Keswick errors, yet carnal, worldy, selfish, self-dependent, faithless, non-evangelistic, false-worshipping, careless, cold, and unspiritual? Then you are a vile hypocrite, and you need to get right with God. Now. Do not use the mote in your Keswick brother’s eye as an excuse to smack people on the head with the two-by-four protruding from your own. Do not think you please the Lord if you yourself downplay God’s white-hot holiness, diminish the immense loathsomeness of sin—of all sin, even the least—shrink from making pointed and specific application of Scripture to your life and the lives of those you are responsible to guide, dabble with pelagian or humanistic ideas, live by sight instead of by faith, and are openly and rebelliously ecumenical or are merely softly separatistic, happy to coexist with the Amalekites instead of putting them all under the ban and hewing Agag in pieces. Indeed, consider the warning of the Lord Jesus to the doctrinally sound church at Ephesus:

I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. (Revelation 2:2-5)

You do well to labor and work for God, and you do well to expose false apostles, such as those who originated the Keswick theology—but have you left your first love? Woe to you! Without love for Christ, all your works profit you nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Or are you even worse, so that you do not even labor with patience, expose false apostles, and serve the Lord without fainting? Will you then presume to take the Lord’s statutes into your mouth, criticize Keswick, and speak about spiritual things, when you are a weak and worldly compromiser and a desperately backslidden and wicked sinner? It is not enough to reject pseudo-spirituality—you must have a genuine and living Christian piety. Do not think that the Lord will be pleased with you if you reject, or fail to live, the truths affirmed at the Keswick Convention because of the errors also propogated there. Embrace and passionately love the truth, all of it, for the sake of He who is Truth Himself, and despise and passionately hate error, all of it, for the sake of Him who is Truth Himself.

Recognize that the ineffably precious gospel of Christ is a priceless jewel filled with beauties that the angels desire to look into (1 Peter 1:12). Consequently, all aspects of the gospel, in all its revealed fulness as the mind of Christ revealed to us in the Scripture, must be treasured and defended at all costs. You cannot be too precise with the gospel. Consequently, every one of the many errors and corruptions of the redeeming and sanctifying gospel propogated at Keswick must be absolutely and uncompromisingly rejected. Reject Keswick’s Pelagianism. Reject Keswick’s divorce of justification and sanctification. Reject Keswick’s confusion on saving repentance, saving faith, and true conversion. Reject Keswick’s practice of giving Christian assurance to the unregenerate and making them into two-fold children of hell. Reject Keswick’s ecumenical embrace of wolves who devour God’s flock. Reject Keswick’s weakness on the efficacy of sanctifying grace, its shallow and often incomprehensible or contradictory theology, its corruption of the revealed truths about the work of the glorious Holy Ghost, its perfectionism, its eudemonism, its Quietism, its neglect of the role of the Word in sanctification, its Spirit-grieving and Bible-twisting experiential hermeneutic, and its denial of the mortifying and vivifying work of God the Spirit in progressively eradicating indwelling sin. Purge all the unbiblical influence of Keswick from your mind, and cast out any affection for Keswick theology from your heart. Keswick’s false teachings are vile trash. Let them stink in the garbage bin and no longer corrupt the savor of Christ in the temple of the living God, whether the individual temple of the believer or the corporate temple of the congregation of Christ. We are not talking about the ideas of men, but the truths of God, the rejection of which constitutes sin for which the Lord Jesus had to shed His blood. Reject the Keswick theology for the Biblical and historic Baptist doctrine of sanctification.

The sufficiency of Scripture, and the abundance of Christian literature presenting truth on sanctification that is free from Keswick influence and error, makes it entirely unnecessary for believers to read or recommend Keswick authors. Keswick ideas should be purged from the heads of Christian preachers. Keswick theology should be purged from the seminaries, Bible colleges, Bible institutes, and all other teaching institutions of the churches—and all such teaching institutions ought themselves to be ministries of particular churches (1 Timothy 3:15). Keswick books should be purged from Christian bookstores, as the massive and easy-to-read devotional literature of Keswick has been wildly successful in propogating Keswick spirituality. Hymns propogating Keswick theology should be recognized and dealt with appropriately. Keswick advocates of the past and present should be warned about, not set up as models of Biblical piety. Your soul, and the souls of those whom you influence spiritually, can be filled with a deep longing for revival, a zeal for evangelism and missions, a confidence in the power of the Holy Ghost, and, most of all, a love for Jesus Christ and His Father, with a resultant passion for holiness, without filling your head and the heads of others with Keswick theology. Pray and preach against the Keswick theology, that it may be abolished from the earth and be found only in the eternal dwelling place of the gospel-rejectors who hatched it.

Learn, by the example of the unhappy worldwide spread of the Keswick theology, the unmistakable fact that “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (1 Corinthians 5:6; Galatians 5:9). Keswick theology has profoundly influenced world-wide Christiandom and corrupted the doctrine of sanctification confessed by countless churches of Christ, because of a failure to mark, reprove, and separate from unrepentant advocates of Keswick errors. Whether deliberately or in ignorance, Barabas’s sugar-coating of the deadly poison propagated by the wolves that originated the Keswick theology is inexcusable. Do not follow his example. Carelessness by God’s pastors in protecting their flocks, and preachers’ unthinking appropriation and propogation of unbiblical ideas wrapped in the tinsel of high-sounding testimonies, have contributed tremendously to the spread of Keswick. Many sincere preachers have unknowingly adopted, are proclaiming, and are imparting Keswick ideas to the next generation of church leaders, because such ideas were passed on to them by their ministrial forefathers. Now is the time to end this cycle of ignorance and error. Exercise great discernment as you hear the preaching of others. It is proper to exercise Biblical judgment when you hear the Word brought forth (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:29). Furthermore, if Biblical passages on separation would be violated by attendance at a meeting, fellowship with some person, or in any other way whatsoever, follow Scripture and remain separate. It does not matter if the speakers you will not hear are dynamic. It does not matter if it appears (in the short term, which is all that finite men can effectively gage) that great results arise from their work. The unscriptural work of Mr. and Mrs. Smith seemed to have glorious results in the short term; but in the long term the doctrine of sanctification in countless churches has been corrupted, hindering the holiness of vast numbers of God’s people. Furthermore, entirely new heresies have arisen in Christiandom, in large part because of the Smith family’s continuationism. Ecumenicalism—and all other disobedience to Scripture—is never the right course, and never, in truth and in the long term, the most effective or even pragmatically the best course. However, the world, the flesh, and the devil can make tremendous harm seem beneficial by pointing to the short-term benefits and pleasures of sin. Oh man of God, have you failed to protect the people over whom the Holy Ghost has made you an overseer from unscriptural Higher Life theology, either by its promotion, its toleration, or by communion with its unrepentant propagators? Today is the day to repent and to determine, by God’s grace, that you will no longer dishonor your Lord by such carelessness, but will allow only the uncorrupted truth on sanctification to be taught to the flock of God.

Recognize that the simple fact that someone is non-Keswick in his theology of sanctification does not mean that his teaching is automatically reliable. In addition to the errors on sanctification of non-Keswick perfectionisms, whether Roman Catholic, Quaker, Wesleyan, or Pentecostal, be on guard against the errors of Reformed, non-Baptist theology propogated by Puritanism. Do not move from accepting everything that Hannah Whitall Smith believed to accepting everything that John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, B. B. Warfield, or J. I. Packer believed simply because their writings obliterate the errors of Keswick. Follow Scripture alone, and find refuge in the protection offered by the pastors and teachers of the sound, separated, historic Baptist church of which you are—or ought to be—a member. The church is the place of the corporate manifestation on earth of the wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10). How important it is to carefully exegete Scripture in the context of a true church, where the special presence and blessing of the Lord and the protection of church leadership is found!

Rather than hoping that you will come to a point where you will be satisfied with your spiritual progress, recognize that the more Christ-like the Spirit makes you, the more dissatisfied with your indwelling sin and your remaining unlikeness to God you will become, and the more you will be dissatisfied with your spiritual progress. Satisfaction with your spiritual state is not a sign of superior holiness or of the entrance into a Higher Life but of severe spiritual myopia. God punishes those that are at ease and settled on their lees (Jeremiah 48:11; Zephaniah 1:12). Do not seek for satisfaction in your spiritual attainments but for speedier progress in mortification and vivification, while finding sweet consolation and refreshment in communion with Jesus Christ. Very frequently people turn to Keswick theology—and other errors and false teachings—because they have not themselves truly tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord in their Christian experience. He who genuinely walks with God will see the shallow and trite writings of a Hannah Whitall Smith for what they truly are.   Do not look within for happiness through ease and quietistic rest, but look to Jesus for blessedness and true joy and run the quicker and with the greater endurance the race that it set before you. Reject the Keswick siren-song and false promise of perfect, undisturbed, perpetual, and carefree happiness, peace, and rest before heaven. Yes, God calls you to “rejoice evermore” (1 Thessalonians 5:16) and wishes you to pray and cast your burdens on Him instead of being full of care, so that you can experientially know “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7; cf. Isaiah 26:3-4). Nonetheless, indwelling sin will always be lusting against the Spirit as long as you are in this body of death. Greater fellowship with the Triune God in Christ, greater degrees of His grace, greater experience of His transforming power, and deeper eyeing of His beauty and glory, are intimately conjoined with greater self-abhorrence and deeper repentance over sins of commission, omission, and of the pervasive corruption engendered by the sin of your nature itself. Embrace and seek for, rather than rejecting, the “negative” side of Christian spirituality, for it is the necessary adjunct of the positive side. The lower down you fall in humility before the Lord, the higher He will lift you up—and the higher He lifts you up, the more dissatisfied you will be with what you yet lack, and the deeper down you will abase yourself in shame.

Finally, recognize that, while the battle will be prolonged, as a child of the living God, you are on the winning side. Glorious growth in Christlikeness is possible for you now, and perfect conformity to your Lord’s perfect standard is your coming and certain blessedness. Enabled by the Spirit’s grace, and trusting in Christ alone, strive mightily against and mortify your indwelling sin and all its manifestations. Diligently use the means God has appointed for your growth in grace. Read, study, meditate on, talk of, hear the exposition of, and practice the Word. Remember and hate the remaining coldness of your heart. Be watchful, pray, and eye Christ in faith and love, relying on His Spirit to transform you. Rejoice that your loving Father has decreed that your progressive sanctification, while not automatic, is certain, and fight the harder, recognizing that you are indeed judicially dead to sin, and that He who works in you both to will and do of His good pleasure will continue His good work in you until the day of Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!

[1]           So Great Salvation: The History and Message of the Keswick Convention, Steven Barabas. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2005. Orig. pub. 1952.

While Hebrews 2:3 is the most likely source, it is possible that Barabas took his title from a book by Keswick leader George MacGregor wrote of the same name in 1892 (pgs. 105-107, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck). While the Author of Hebrews would disagree, MacGregor believed that a man such as Robertson Smith was “a reverent and believing critic . . . of the Bible” (pg. 106-107, ibid), although Smith brought Wellhausen’s Documentary Hypothesis to the English-speaking world and was expelled from the Free Church College at Aberdeen for heresy. “W. Robertson Smith, a cleric in Scotland, was subject to a heresy trial by the Scottish Presbyterian Church. He was accused of denying the deity of Christ. He responded, ‘How can they say that? I have never denied the divinity of any man, let alone that of Jesus Christ’” (pg. 59, The Speaker’s Quote Book, Roy B. Zuck. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregek Publications, 1997; cf. pg. 758, Christian Theology, Millard J. Erickson. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998).

[2]           Pgs. ix-x, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[3]           “Keswick and the Higher Life,”

[4]           Pg. 20, Keswick’s Authentic Voice, ed. Stevenson.

[5]           Pg. 112, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton.

[6]           Pg. 15, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Barabas follows W. H. Griffith Thomas in claiming that Walter Marshall’s The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification, written in 1692, is a Keswick antecedent. However, “the Keswick view is incompatible with Marshall’s because the Keswick view is influenced by a Wesleyan second work of the Spirit that is conditioned on the believer’s consecration. . . . Despite their claims to the contrary . . . Keswick theology is both historically and theologically novel” (pg. 72, 211 Let Go and Let God? A Survey and Analysis of Keswick Theology, Andrew D. Naselli). A more accurate and less historically revisionistic view of Marshall’s work is that the book is a “Puritan classic on sanctification” (pg. 692, A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life, J. R. Beeke & M. Jones). Compare also “Sanctification by Faith: Walter Marshall’s Doctrine of Sanctification in Comparison with the Keswick View of Sanctification,” Cheul Hee Lee. Ph. D. diss., Westminster Theological Seminary, 2005.

Barabas also claims that William Romaine’s books The Life of Faith, The Walk of Faith, and The Triumph of Faith were Keswick antecedents. However, J. C. Ryle’s assessment that the books taught the older evangelical doctrine of sanctification, not the Keswick doctrine, is more accurate (cf. pg. xxix, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots, J. C. Ryle. London: William Hunt and Company, 1889).

Barabas may perhaps be cleared somewhat from historical revisionism in that he only implies that Walter Marshall and William Romaine taught Keswick theology, without actually stating it. In the midst of his discussion of the actual origination of Keswick theology by the Pearsall Smiths, he cites Romaine and also Griffith-Thomas’s claim that the essentials of Keswick are found in Marshall. The only specific claim Barabas himself makes for Marshall and Romaine is that the men taught “the possibility of fellowship with Christ closer than than enjoyed by the generality of Christians” (pg. 16, So Great Salvation). Of course, an affirmation that Christians can walk more closely with God could be made for just about every devotional book ever written in Christendom. The reader will naturally assume that Barabas is not just making an empty affirmation that Marshall and Romaine wrote books that explained how one could draw closer to God but that the two men actually taught Keswick theology. It is uncertain whether Barabas qualified his specific affirmations simply because he wrote carelessly or because he knew that neither Marshall nor Romaine actually taught Keswick doctrine.

Contrast Barabas’s inaccurate and hagiographical explanation of the development of the Keswick movement with B. B. Warfield’s accurate one, where the widespread influence of both Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and their connection to earlier and later errors in sanctification, is carefully documented (“The ‘Higher Life’ Movement,” Chapter 4 in Perfectionism, vol. 2, Benjamin B. Warfield, pgs. 463-558. Note also Chapter 5, “The Victorious Life,” pgs. 559-611; and Chapter 1, pgs. 3-218, “Oberlin Perfectionism,” which examines the perfectionist errors of Mahan, Finney, and others.).

[7]           Pg. 224, The Keswick Convention: Its Message, Its Method, and Its Men, ed. Charles Harford.

[8]           Thomas á Kempis, out of his “monastic formation,” zealously practiced the anti-Christian piety that springs from the Roman Catholic false gospel. Thomas loved:

Marian devotion . . . [believed in] the sacrificial character of the Eucharist . . . “meritorious” works . . . [and] den[ied] the crucial importance of Christ’s mediatorship and sacrifice. . . . [In his writings, such as] The Imitation of Christ . . . the atoning significance of Christ’s work is overshadowed by the exemplary perspective . . . the Holy Spirit . . . remains unmentioned . . . throughout . . . [Thomas has] little to say . . . about the Lord Jesus as a ransom and as our righteousness . . . [he] cannot be considered a fore-runner of the Reformation . . . [but] brokers . . . ideas that are characteristically Roman Catholic” (pgs. 97-102, Sweet Communion: Trajectories of Spirituality from the Middle Ages through the Further Reformation, Arie de Reuver).

It is, therefore, not surprising that “Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order[,] . . . was accustomed to reading a chapter in the book [The Imitation of Christ] daily” (pgs. 74-75, ibid).

[9]           Pg. 223, The Keswick Convention, ed. Harford; cf. pg. 482, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875, for testimony to discovery of the Higher Life through “Brother Lawrence” at Brighton.

[10]         Pg. 223, The Keswick Convention, ed. Harford.

[11]         Pg. 16, So Great Salvation, Barabas. The wider background to the Keswick Convention included the “work of such figures as Charles Finney; Asa Mahan; W. E. Boardman; Hannah Whitall Smith and her husband, Robert Pearsall Smith; Charles Cullis; and others” from the Wesleyan, Oberlin, and Higher Life perfectionisms and continuationisms (pg. 104, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton); thus, for example, as noted in more detail below, both the persons and books of Mahan and Boardman were promoted at the Oxford Convention (e. g., pg. 90, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874).

[12]         Pg. 16, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[13]         Pg. 16, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[14]         Pg. 81, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton.

[15]         Pgs. 49-78, Absolute Religion, Thomas C. Upham. New York, NY: Putnam, 1873, pgs. 45-67; cf. also pgs. 337-459, Warfield, Perfectionism vol. 2. Italics in original. The “inward suggestions” Upham speaks of came from the devil, who worked through the Higher Life preacher’s corrupt and unregenerate nature.

[16]         Pg. 43, Only Believe: Examining the Origin and Development of Classic and Contemporary Word of Faith Theologies, Paul L. King. See also “The Mystical Perfectionism of Thomas Cogwell Upham,” Chapter 3 in Perfectionism, vol. 2, B. B. Warfield.

[17]         Pg. 21, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger.

[18]         Pg. 16, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[19]         Compare A. T. Pierson’s recognition of Finney as a Higher Life antecedent and promulgator of the libertarian “liberty of the Human Will, in salvation and sanctification,” so that all effectual influences of the Holy Spirit on the human will, and compatiblist views of freedom, were rejected (pg. 10, Forward Movements of the Last Half Century, Pierson).

[20]         Pgs. 98-99, Let Go and Let God? A Survey and Analysis of Keswick Theology, Andrew Naselli; pgs. 18-24, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[21]         Pg. 251, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson.

[22]         Compare pgs. 49, 81-83, 141-143, 192, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874.

[23]         Pg. 143, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874; cf. pgs. 176, 192, 215, 241, 278, 333, 341, 356, 360, 369, 371-372, 376, 381.

[24]         Dayton, Donald W., “Asa Mahan and the Development of American Holiness Theology,” Donald Dayton. Wesleyan Theological Journal 9:1 (Spring 1974): 60-69; cf. pg. 141, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874 & pgs. 383-385, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875.

[25]         Pgs. 46-47, Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Synan.

[26]         Pgs. 384-385, 457, 466-469, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton.

[27]         Pg. 19, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874.

[28]         “Wesleyan and Reformed Impulses in the Keswick and Pentecostal Movements,” Peter Althouse. Pneuma Foundation.

[29]         “Asa Mahan and the Development of American Holiness Theology,” Donald W. Dayton. Wesleyan Theological Journal 9:1 (Spring 1974): 60-69.

[30]         Pg. 67, Perfectionism vol. 2, Warfield.

[31]         Pg. 126, Perfectionism vol. 2, Warfield.

[32]         Compare pgs. 1-218, Perfectionism, vol. 2, Warfield.

[33]         “Asa Mahan and the Development of American Holiness Theology,” Donald W. Dayton.

[34]         See “Considerations on Revival in American History,” by Thomas Ross. Elec. acc.

[35]         Compare pg. 102, the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Walter Elwell, ed., Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1984, and pgs. 312-330, Lectures in Systematic Theology, Henry C. Thiessen, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1949, for a statement and a refutation of the governmental theory.

[36]         Pgs. 219-222, Finney’s Systematic Theology, Charles Finney.

[37]         Pgs. 249-250, 261-263, Finney’s Systematic Theology, Charles Finney.

[38]         Pg. 218, Finney’s Systematic Theology, Charles Finney.

[39]         Latin for “an essential condition.”

[40]         Pgs. 369-371, Finney’s Systematic Theology, Charles Finney.

[41]         Pgs. 367, 369, Finney’s Systematic Theology, Charles Finney.

[42]         “Wesleyan and Reformed Impulses in the Keswick and Pentecostal Movements,” Peter Althouse. Pneuma Foundation. Quotation marks from Althouse’s quote of Bundy have been removed.

[43]         “Wesleyan and Reformed Impulses in the Keswick and Pentecostal Movements,” Peter Althouse. Pneuma Foundation.

[44]         Pg. 42, A Theology of the Holy Spirit, Bruner.

[45]         Pgs. 15-16, So Great Salvation, Barabas; cf. pg. 193, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.

One must not confuse Mrs. Smith’s memoir of her son Frank, who died at eighteen years of age (cf. pgs. 33-37, Remarkable Relations, by Barbara Strachey), entitled The Record of a Happy Life (New York, 1873), with Mrs. Smith’s classic statement of Higher Life doctrine, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life (Boston, 1875; often reprinted); one hopes that Barabas has not done so, but has simply cited Mrs. Smith’s far less influential biography of her son for some reason instead of her far more influential Keswick classic. Both works do contain Higher Life theology.

[46]         Pg. 13, Religious Fanaticism, Strachey.

[47]         Pgs. 17-18, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Compare the discussion of Hannah W. Smith and her writings above.

[48]         Pg. 920, “A Hundred Years of Keswick,” John Pollock. Christianity Today 19:18 (20 June 1975): 6-8.

[49]         Pg. 86, Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Vinson Synan.

[50]         Pg. 17, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[51]         Pg. 316, The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors, D. M. Lloyd-Jones.

[52]         Pg. 18, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[53]         pgs. 228-229, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall, citing pg. 94, The Keswick Week, 1906, & So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[54]         pg. 234, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall. “Increasingly, the teaching at Keswick in the later decades of the twentieth century would owe more to traditional Reformed thinking about sanctification as a process than to Keswick’s nineteenth-century and earlier twentieth-century views . . . [t]he change in emphasis can be traced by looking at the way in which expositions of the letter to the Romans were given” (pg. 80, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall).

[55]         Pg. 18, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[56]         Pgs. 163, 45, The Unselfishness of God, Hannah W. Smith. Princeton, NJ: Littlebrook, 1987. Note Hannah’s false gospel of salvation by works.

[57]         Pg. 5, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[58]         pg. 168, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[59]         Pg. 162, Memoir of T. D. Harford-Battersby, Harford. The specific reference in the quotation is to the leaders of evangelical Anglicanism, but what was true of them was so much the more true of English nonconformity.

[60]         Pgs. 193, 127, Handley Carr Glyn Moule, Bishop of Durham: A Biography, John B. Harford & Frederick C. Macdonald.

[61]         eujagge÷lion.

[62]         Chapter 4, “The Higher Life Movement,” in Perfectionism, vol. 2, B. B. Warfield; see pgs. 55-57,Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874.

[63]         Journal, April 7, 1852, reproduced in the entry for January 12 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter.

[64]         Pg. 29, Remarkable Relations, Strachey; Italics in original.

[65]         Pg. 42, Remarkable Relations, Barbara Strachey. Robert Smith’s call was “communicating” the Higher Life “to Christians of all names and connections alike” (“Die Heiligungsbewegung,” Chapter 6, Perfectionism, B. B. Warfield, vol. 1).

[66]         Pg. 102, “The Brighton Convention and Its Opponents.” London Quarterly Review, October 1875.

[67]         Pg. 118, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874. Likewise, Hannah W. Smith preached at the Broadlands Conference: “I have learnt to know God in my nursery with my children on my lap” (pg. 222, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910.).

[68]         For example, Robert preached at the Oxford Convention: “[B]e sure to say [Christian language] aloud—there is marvelous power reflected by thoughts put into spoken words. Keep on saying [such language], even when the heart rebels” (pg. 221, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874; cf. pg. 42). Hannah similarly advised: “[I]f thee continually talks of thyself as being old, thee may perhaps bring on some of the infirmities of age” (pg. 187, A Religious Rebel: The Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Pearsall Smith, reproducing Letter to her Daughter, Mary Berreneson, March 5, 1907).

[69]         Pg. 107, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Barabas qualifies his admission that the Keswick doctrine of sanctification was unknown for centuries with the statement “except by a few isolated Christians,” since to admit that the Keswick doctrine was unknown to the church of God for over 1800 years would lead to severe doubts about its character. None of these alleged “few isolated Christians” who believed in the Keswick doctrine before the latter portion of the nineteenth century are named, nor do they appear to have provided any written evidence that they ever existed, unless Barabas views idolators like Upham as Christians speaks of them.

It should also be noted that it is more appropriate to denominate the distinctively Keswick position “sanctification by faith alone” rather than simply “sanctification by faith,” because the fact that without faith it is impossible to please God or be progressively sanctified is obvious and non-controversial on just about any position on sanctification that is adopted by those who recognize the authority of the Bible.

[70]         “Lord and Lady Mount Temple” determined that MacDonald should “have an hour all to himself” to address the Holiness Conference participants.(Circular letter, Broadlands, & December 30-31, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter); cf. pg. 33, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall. MacDonald was perfectly aware of the spirititualism of the Mount-Temples; he wrote, e. g., to his wife about how he witnessed a medium at Broadlands winning a convert to spiritualism by employing her supernatural powers (pg. 26, Ruskin, Lady Mount-Temple and the Spiritualists: An Episode in Broadlands History. Van Akin Burd. London: Brentham Press, 1982).

[71]         Cf. pg. 27, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910.

[72]         E. g., Mrs. Smith recorded the events of another conference at Broadlands in 1887 where George MacDonald taught (pg. 98, A Religious Rebel: The Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Pearsall Smith, reprinting a Letter to Her Friends of August 1887).

[73]         The friendship between Mrs. Smith and Mr. MacDonald continued for many years; for example, in 1893 he was her guest at her home, and she wrote of him: “George MacDonald . . . is the dearest old man, so gentle and yet so strong, and with such a marvellous insight into spiritual things. . . . [H]e has done a beautiful work in the world” (pg. 120, A Religious Rebel: The Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Pearsall Smith; from Letter to Her Friends, September 11, 1893). Hannah recommended George MacDonald’s book Diary of an Old Soul to her daughter Mary, affirming that it “will help you” (Letter to Mary, January 27, 1883, reproduced in the entry for December 9 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter). Hannah wrote of her great “unity” with “George MacDonald,” that they “got very close,” and affirmed: “It has been a sort of dream of my life to . . . sit at the feet of [him],” as she was able to do at the Holiness Conferences at Broadlands.MacDonald was a welcome presence and speaker at English Holiness Conferences, for if Hannah W. Smith’s universalism was no barrier to her, neither was his universalism a barrier to him—indeed, to Mrs. Mount-Temple, universalism was a reason to receive promotion and influence (Circular letter, Broadlands, & December 30-31, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter).

[74]         Pg. 62, Evan Harry Hopkins: A Memoir, Alexander Smellie.

[75]         Pg. 64, Evan Harry Hopkins: A Memoir, Alexander Smellie.

[76]         Pg. 64, Evan Harry Hopkins: A Memoir, Alexander Smellie.

[77]         Note, e. g., that a list of Broadlands Conference speakers and attendees places the Smiths first, following only the hosts, Lord and Lady Mount-Temple (pg. 34-35, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910. Cf. pgs. 186-187, where in the list of participants in the last Conference of 1888, she is prominent again, the first woman in the list after the Mount-Temples.). “Amongst the speakers [the Broadlands historian] think[s] first of Mrs. Pearsall Smith[.] . . . ‘The angel of the churches,’ Lady Mount-Temple used to call her” (pgs. 48-49, ibid).

[78]         “The most popular sessions of the Brighton Convention were those in which Hannah [W. Smith] preached her practical secrets of the happy Christian life to audiences of 5,000 or more, mostly clergymen who were theologically opposed [correctly, 1 Timothy 2:9-15; 1 Corinthians 14:34-37] to the preaching ministry of women” (“Smith, Hannah W. & Smith, Robert Pearsall,” Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, ed. Timothy Larsen).

[79]         Approximately eight thousand attended the Brighton Convention from around twenty-three countries (pg. 23, So Great Salvation, Barabas).

[80]         Pg. 124, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910.

[81]         Letter to Father and Mother, June 9, 1875, reproduced in the entry for July 26 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter. Compare the articles on Elisabeth Fry and Joseph John Gurney in The Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, ed. Larsen.

[82]         Barabas, who fails to mention that the Anglican minister in question, T. D. Harford-Battersby, had a Quaker background, does record that Harford-Battersby had made the theological rounds from apostate Anglo-Catholicism, to modernistic and evolutionary Anglican broad-churchism, to more evangelical Anglican low-churchism that was “strongly influenced by English Methodism” (pgs. 15, 24-25, So Great Salvation, Barabas). One hopes that Mr. Harford-Battersby did not just adopt better theology than the Anglo-Catholic and modernistic heresies that he had formerly followed but was himself personally born again after turning to Anglican low-churchism, although Barabas makes no mention of such an event. Indeed, Harford-Battersby’s two hundred and thirty page biography only states that he “he drew by degrees, but steadily, towards a calm and firm settlement in what are known as evangelical beliefs” (pg. x, Memoir of T. D. Harford-Battersby, Harford), “[b]eginning as a Tractarian, [but] little by little be[ing] led to Evangelical views” (pg. 75, Evan Harry Hopkins: A Memoir, Alexander Smellie). Not a single sentence of the biography of Battersby mentions a new birth experience associated with his rejection of high-Anglican or Tractarian heresies.

It is not at all a good sign that the only record of anything like a conversion to Christ in Harford-Battersby’s biography is his own testimony that he first began to repent and believe when he received confirmation. He wrote:

I had little of Christian principle. I was altogether a thoughtless, vile creature. I . . . was plunged . . . into idleness and dissipation . . . justly might I have been cut off in the midst of this course, but the Lord most graciously kept me[.] . . . [In] the care and goodness of God to me[,] He so ordained it that confirmation should come very soon[.] . . . Then I first learned to turn my thoughts really towards heaven, to repent, and believe in Jesus. (pg. 6, Memoir of T. D. Harford-Battersby, Harford)

Harford-Battersby thus indicates that he was a vile person, full of idleness and dissipation, but the Lord graciously kept him alive until he received the rite of confirmation, through which he came to repent and believe in Jesus. Belief in such a ritualistic false gospel in his allegedly more evangelical and non-Tractarian childhood would provide an easy explanation for his ability to adopt the Roman Catholic heresies taught by (the later Roman Catholic Cardinal) Newman and the other high-Anglican Tractarians at Oxford during Harford-Battersby’s college days, such as a “visible church with sacraments and rites, which are the channels of invisible grace, an episcopal dynasty descended from the apostles, [and] an obligatory body of doctrine, to be found in Scripture, but only recognised there by the aid of Church tradition” (pgs. 24-25, Memoir). “Mr. Battersby came under the spell. He missed no opportunity of hearing, not only Newman himself, but Manning and Pusey, and other leaders of the [Anglo-Catholic] movement. He discussed the sermons with his friends. He wrote about them in his letters home, and thus drew down upon himself grave warnings from his father as to the dangers of Romanising views” (pgs. 28-29, ibid). Thus, one can hope against hope that Harford-Battersby was indeed born again at some point, but there is certainly no mention of such an event at any point in his biography. Neither in his childhood before he adopted—which a true Christian will not do—an accursed sacramental false gospel (Galatians 1:8-9), nor after his entry into Anglican holy orders, when he “elected to begin ministerial work in a High Church parish” where baptismal regeneration and other sacramental heresies were taught because of his “admiration for Newman and the other leaders of the Oxford movement,” (pg. 52, cf. 43ff, ibid), is there any evidence at all of a genuine conversion. All that is recorded is that he gradually abandoned ritualism for rationalism and the broad-church Anglicanism of Frederick Myers, the curate of the town of Keswick under whom Harford-Battersby served after leaving his first ministry, and whom he regarded as “a guide and as a prophet” (pg. 288, Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals) although Myers was a spiritualist (pgs. 23-24, The Keswick Story, Polluck). Under him Harford-Battersby learned not to be concerned about “trying to find out the right theory of inspiration” (pg. 67, Memoir of T. D. Harford-Battersby, Harford). He finally replaced Myers as curate after his predecessor’s death and then gradually moved towards evangelical ideas—which meant assent to the “truth of Protestant principles” rather than “Anglo-Catholicism” (pg. 60, ibid), not personal conversion and the new birth. Finally, after being convinced by the doctrine of Hannah W. and Robert P. Smith, Harford-Battersby was “persuaded that the current teaching of the Evangelical school itself was defective and one-sided, and . . . of the general truth of the teaching upon which the holiness movement was based” (pgs. 175-176, ibid). He then abandoned mainstream Anglican evangelicalism for the Higher Life doctrine characteristic of the Keswick theology, destitute of a clear testimony to a new birth, but possessed of a clear testimony to the second blessing of the Higher Life. Such was the spiritual life of the Anglican Canon without whose entry into the Higher Life at the “Oxford Convention . . . the . . . Keswick Convention would never have had a beginning” (pg. 29, Forward Movements, Pierson).

[83]         pg. 340, Review by Ian S. Rennie of Keswick: A Bibliographic Introduction to the Higher Life Movements. by D. D. Bundy. Wilmore, Kentucky: Asbury Theological Seminary, 1975, in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 19:4 (Fall 1976) 340-343.

[84]         Pg. 170, Memoir of T. D. Harford-Battersby, Harford.

[85]         Pgs. 25, 168, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Canon Harford-Battersby, despite Wilson’s Quaker theology, considered him a “dear brother” (pg. 195, Memoir of T. D. Harford-Battersby, Harford), and at the Canon’s deathbed, Wilson was by his side (pg. 219, ibid).

[86]         Pg. 145, The Keswick Convention: Its Message, Method, and its Men, ed. Harford.

[87]         For example, the Keswick classic The Keswick Convention: Its Message, Method, and its Men, ed. Charles Harford, is dedicated “to the memory of Thomas Dundas Harford-Battersby and Robert Wilson, Founders of the Keswick Convention.” In a chapter on Keswick men, J. Elder Cumming breathes not the slightest warning about Quaker heresies but concludes his very laudatory description of Robert Wilson with the following affirmation, after recounting Mr. Wilson’s death: “Truly, the end of that man was peace! Who would not wish for such an end, if prepared for it, as he was?” (pg. 64, The Keswick Convention, ed. Harford). Thus, although Quakers deny justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ and other essential aspects of the Biblical gospel, Keswick leaders wished to be in the same place as Quakers like Mr. Wilson at death. While one can hope that, somehow, Mr. Wilson did not actually believe in Quakerism and its false gospel but was truly converted, wishing to be associated in death with Quakers is not a little unwise.

[88]         Pg. 110, Evan Harry Hopkins: A Memoir, Alexander Smellie.

[89]         Pg. 118, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple. London: Printed for private circulation, 1890; pgs. 335, 371, 407, 416-420, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875.

[90]         Pgs. 453-464, “Reflections on the Brighton Convention,” The Friends’ Quarterly Examiner, 9:23-26. London: Barrett, Sons & Co, 1875. Note that pages 416-420 of the Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875 consists of excerpts from this article in the Friends’ Quarterly Examiner extolling the teaching at Brighton.

[91]         Pg. 111, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.

[92]         Pg. 13, The Keswick Convention: Its Message, Method, and its Men, ed. Charles Harford.

[93]         Pg. 60, The Keswick Convention, ed. Harford; cf. pg. 119, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.

[94]         Pg. 20, The Keswick Convention, ed. Harford.

[95]         Pg. 14, The Keswick Convention, ed. Harford.

[96]         Pg. 51, The Keswick Convention, ed. Harford.

[97]         Pg. 30, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.

[98]         Pg. 60, The Keswick Convention, ed. Harford.

[99]         Pg. 61, The Keswick Convention, ed. Harford.

[100]        Pg. 25, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[101]        Pgs. 29, 149, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.

[102]        Pg. 197, The Keswick Convention: Its Message, its Method, and its Men, ed. Harford.

[103]        Pg. 11, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.

[104]        The Committee included Evan Hopkins, Stevenson Blackwood, the chairman of the Mildmay Conference, and Lord Radstock. All these were solid Broadlands men, and Blackwood’s suggestion led to the expansion of the 1874 Broadlands Conference at the Oxford Convention (pg. 17, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910).

[105]        Pg. 20, The Keswick Convention, ed. Harford. Harford-Battersby testified to the profound influence of Robert P. Smith upon him and countless others: “Not that I would shrink from confessing the great debt which I, and thousands more with me, owe to that remarkable man whose name has become a by-word and a reproach in the estimation of many whom I greatly honour” (pg. 173, Memoir of T. D. Harford-Battersby, Harford). Thus, “Mr. Smith . . . was at this time an honoured instrument in the hands of God for reviving the spiritual life in the hearts of hundreds, and even thousands, of devoted servants of Christ, both in this country [England] and on the Continent” (pgs. 174-175, ibid). That the teaching of Keswick was that of the Smiths is historically indisputable.

[106]        Pg. 26, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[107]        Pg. 26, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[108]        Pg. 27, So Great Salvation, Barabas. “Indeed, it was within the ranks of the Evangelicals that the hostility was most pronounced” (pg. 81, Evan Harry Hopkins: A Memoir, Alexander Smellie), for “the whole holiness movement was subjected to violent criticism and opposition amongst evangelical Christians” (pgs. 31-32, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall).

[109]        Pg. 87, “The Brighton Convention and Its Opponents.” London Quarterly Review, October 1875. Dr. Bonar, for example, wrote:

One thing has struck me sadly in the authorized reports of the Brighton Conference—the number of perverted passages of Scripture; and this is really the root of the whole evil. The speakers first disclaim, I might say, derived theology, and then they proceed to distort the Word of God. . . . I was grieved beyond measure . . . these perversions are part of the system. It cannot stand without them. . . . One of my chief objections to the Perfectionst [Keswick] Doctrine is that it subverts the whole argument and scope of the epistles to the Romans and the Hebrews. . . . Have I written too strongly? I don’t think so. Years are now upon me, and I may claim to be entitled to speak; and . . . have this as my testimony before God and the Churches, that I know few errors more subversive of what the Bible really teaches, and of what our fathers of the Reformation died for, than this modern Perfectionism. The thing now called holiness is not that which we find in Scripture, and the method of reaching holiness, by an instantaneous leap, called an act of faith, is nowhere taught us by the Holy Ghost. (pgs. 88, 90, 93, “The Brighton Convention and Its Opponents.” London Quarterly Review, October 1875)

[110]        Pg. 87, “The Brighton Convention and Its Opponents.” London Quarterly Review, October 1875. Ryle had a blessed and credible testimony to a genuine new birth:

In 1837 Ryle experienced his own conversion. First, Algernon Coote, a friend from Eton, urged him to “think, repent and pray”; then he heard the epistle one Sunday afternoon in church: “By grace are ye saved (pause) through faith (pause) and that not of yourselves (pause) it is the gift of God.” The succession of phrases brought full conviction to Ryle. “Nothing,” he said, “to this day appeared to me so clear and distinct as my own sinfulness, Christ’s presence, the value of the Bible, the absolute necessity of coming out of the world, and the need of being born again, and the enormous folly of the whole doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration.” (pg. 573, Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, ed. Larsen)

Some Keswick apologists affirm that Ryle changed his mind about his criticisms of Keswick; however, all that actually happened is that Ryle, in 1892, led in prayer the Sunday after a Convention ended on the platform where the Keswick Convention had been in session the week before. Ryle prayed during a meeting in which D. L. Moody, whose work Ryle commended, was speaking. Ryle supported Moody, while he did not support the Keswick Convention. The fact that Bishop Ryle would lead in prayer in a service where Moody was preaching by no means proves that he had become amenable to the Keswick theology, any more than the fact that he had preached at St. John’s Anglican congregation in 1879 before the Keswick Convention proves his endorsement of Keswick, whose meetings in the Keswick Tent he never frequented. Consequently, affirmations such as that of Polluck that Ryle was a “foremost past critic” and his actions indicated that by “1892 . . . Keswick stood accepted by British evangelicals” is not supported by the evidence, at least in the case of Bishop Ryle (cf. pgs. 77-78, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck).

[111]        Pg. 27, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[112]        Pg. 38, The Keswick Convention, ed. Harford. Cf. pg. 40.

[113]        Pg. 28, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[114]        Pg. 30, Forward Movements, Pierson.

[115]        Pgs. 11-12, 37, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.

[116]        Murray gave “testimony to the . . . Lord, and what He has done for me at Keswick . . . [and] was in close fellowship with . . . the great Holiness movement . . . [and] what took place at Oxford and Brighton, and it all helped me” (pg. 177, 180, So Great Salvation, Barabas;        pg. 448, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis). Murray spoke “at Keswick . . . [in] 1895 . . . [and] for many years he led a similar Convention in South Africa,” where he was a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church (pgs. 177, 182, So Great Salvation, Barabas). Note the discussion of Murray’s theology in the chapter on him below.

[117]        Note the chapter on Meyer below.

[118]        Sanders acted as a “Keswick speaker” and “Chairman of the Upway ‘Keswick’ Convention, Australia” (pg. 143, So Great Salvation, Barabas), advocating the second-blessing doctrine of “Wesleyan Perfectionism” (pg. 110, Keep In Step With The Spirit, Packer), as “Chambers used the language of Wesleyan entire sanctification,” having adopted “Keswick teaching . . . through F. B. Meyer” (pg. 49, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall).

[119]        pgs. 150-152, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Hudson Taylor, who spoke at the Keswick Convention of 1883 (pg. 81, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck) after discovering “the Exchanged Life,” held a partial-Rapture view, following the lead of Edward Irving and Robert Govett, as did D. M. Panton, Evan Roberts, Jessie Penn-Lewis, Otto Stockmeyer, Watchman Nee, and many other advocates of Keswick theology and the Pentecostalism that developed from it.

[120]        Evan Roberts, co-laborer with Jessie Penn-Lewis and the center and leader of the Welsh holiness revival, was strongly impacted by the Keswick theology, as was Mrs. Penn-Lewis. Note the discussion of Roberts and Penn-Lewis in the respective chapter below.

[121]        pg. 341, Review by Ian S. Rennie of Keswick: A Bibliographic Introduction to the Higher Life Movements. by D. D. Bundy. Wilmore, Kentucky: Asbury Theological Seminary, 1975, in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 19:4 (Fall 1976) 340-343. Barabas even records that “Mrs. William Booth [cofounder, woman preacher, second blessing perfectionist, and coleader of the Salvation Army] . . . remarked that Keswick had been one of the principal means of establishing the Salvation Army” (pg. 151, So Great Salvation, Barabas; cf. pg. 151, The Keswick Convention: Its Message, its Method, and Its Men, ed. Charles Harford; pg. 20, Forward Movements, Pierson).

[122]        Pg. 64, Only Believe: Examining the Origin and Development of Classic and Contemporary Word of Faith Theologies, Paul L. King. Note also the trajectory from the Keswick movement to Pentecostalism and the Health and Wealth heresy in the discussion of A. B. Simpson and John A. MacMillan in the respective chapters below.

[123]        “From Northfield,” Moody’s annual conference, “Keswick speakers, with Moody’s backing, were able to penetrate further into American evangelicalism,” so that “in the 1890s Keswick was a significant force molding sections of the evangelical constituency in North America” (pgs. 56-59, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall). Moody’s “old friend F. B. Meyer” was key in bringing Moody’s ministry to the side of Keswick; “a Keswick speaker [was] . . . at every summer conference” at Northfield (pgs. 116-117, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck). Moody, with thousands before him, at the time Robert P. Smith was leading the Brighton Convention, asked the crowds to pray for a special blessing “on the great Convention that is now being held at Brighton, perhaps the most important meeting ever gathered together,” a public endorsement of Brighton that Moody pronounced on both the first and last day of the Convention (pgs. 47, 319, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875).

[124]        Pg. 255, Keswick Theology: A Historical and Theological Survey and Analysis of the Doctrine of Sanctification in the Early Keswick Movement, 1875-1920, by Andrew Naselli. Ph. D. Dissertation, Bob Jones University, 2006. Abbreviations employed in the source text for institutions have been expanded to give their full names. In addition to Dallas seminary, the influence of Moody and Scofield on the spread of Keswick theology in fundamentalism is very significant: “The return of the holiness teaching to America . . . i[n] [its] Keswick form, was . . . related to the work of D. L. Moody. . . . Moody . . . taught very similar views . . . [to] Keswick . . . and made them central in his work. . . . C. I. Scofield . . . eventually more or less canonized Keswick teachings in his Reference Bible” (pgs. 78-79, Fundamentalism and American Culture, Marsden). D. L. Moody not only prayed for blessing upon the Higher Life meetings at Brighton during his evangelistic campaign in Convent Garden in 1875 (pgs. 23-24, So Great Salvation, Barabas) but also brought many Keswick speakers in who propogated Keswick theology at Moody’s conferences at Northfield: “The visits of Rev. F. B. Meyer, and notably of Prebendary H. W. Webb-Peploe, of London, and Andrew Murray, of Wellington, S. Africa (who were at Northfield in 1895), and the late G. H. C. McGregor introduced into Northfield conferences the grand teaching of Keswick” (pg. 164, Forward Movements of the Last Half Century, A. T. Pierson. New York, NY: Funk & Wagnalls, 1900; cf. pg. 163, So Great Salvation, Barabas; pg. 6, Out of His Fulness: Addresses Delivered in America, Andrew Murray. London: J. Nisbet & Co, 1897). The Keswick theology of Moody, Scofield, and their associates were in turn very influential in Pentecostalism (cf. pgs. 111-113, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson).

[125]        The fact that the Keswick theology developed very largely from the writings and preaching of unregenerate individuals such as Hannah and Robert Smith certainly does not mean that all advocates of Keswick theology or those sympathetic to the Higher Life system either endorse or hold to the gross errors of those associated with the development of Keswick. Indeed, the generality of modern advocates of Keswick are ignorant of the corrupt fountain from which their system flows.

[126]        Pg. 32, So Great Salvation, Barabas. While it is very hard to prove that “no man” has ever been the same after attending a Keswick Convention, such a goal is, at least, unquestionably commendable.

[127]        Acts 2:37-41; 5:33; 7:54-58.

[128]        Pg. 35, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[129]        Pg. 39, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[130]        Pg. 52, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[131]        Pg. 58, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[132]        Pgs. 131-132, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[133]        Many classic Keswick and Higher Life founders and leaders, from William Boardman to Hannah and Robert P. Smith to Andrew Murray, denied that all believers have the Holy Spirit, affirming instead that only those who entered into the Higher Life possess the Spirit. Stephen Barabas does well to reject this false teaching of many early Keswick leaders, although he does not do well when he ignores the facts, revises history, and affirms that the Scriptural position that all believers have the Spirit is universal Keswick teaching.

[134]        Pgs. 131-132, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[135]        Pg. 137, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[136]        Pg. 75, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[137]        Pg. 104, So Great Salvation, Barabas. The quotation comes from R. W. Dale, who is supposed to support the contention that “only since Keswick first called attention to the vital significance of [Romans 6] to the whole question of sin and sanctification have theologians even begun to give it its proper place.” Barabas also quotes from “John Laidlaw,” whom he alleges “bec[ame] one of Keswick’s enthusiastic supporters.” However, the “biography . . . by his son . . . [of the] great Birmingham Congregationalist, R. W. Dale . . . expressly states . . . that his father did not associate himself with Keswick. It is also highly doubtful that John Laidlaw of New College, Edinburgh, had any significant involvement” (pg. 341, Review by Ian S. Rennie of Keswick: A Bibliographic Introduction to the Higher Life Movements. by D. D. Bundy. Wilmore, Kentucky: Asbury Theological Seminary, 1975, in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 19:4 (Fall 1976) 340-343. Barabas’s employment of source material is too often hagiographal, revisionistic, and historically inaccurate.

[138]        Pg. 282, Collected Writings of John Murray, vol. 4, a review by Murray of So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[139]        Pg. 97, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[140]        The earliest Keswick Conventions, in keeping with the universalism of Hannah W. Smith and the denial of an eternal hell by many others, had no particular missions emphasis and rejected calls to have a missions meeting. When asked, the initial Keswick attitude was that appeals for missions were “quite out of the question; you surely misunderstand; these meetings are for edification!” (pg. 275, Forward Movements, Pierson. Italics in original). Thankfully, this unscriptural Keswick attitude was eventually challenged and reformed.

[141]        See, for example, the historic Baptist doctrinal material in the various chapters of this work. Doctrines such as being filled with the Spirit are found among Baptists far before the advent of the Keswick movement, as documented in the chapter in this book on Ephesians 5:18 and the doctrine of being filled with the Spirit. It is not a little presumptuous to assert: “One has to go back to the book of Acts for a parallel to the exaltation of the Holy Spirit found in the meetings at Keswick” (pg. 38, So Great Salvation, Barabas).

[142]        Pg. 111, “The Brighton Convention and Its Opponents.” London Quarterly Review, October 1875. Regretably, Stephen Barabas’s bibliography provides no evidence that he read this critique of the Higher Life movement.

[143]        Pgs. 257-259, “Means and Measure of Holiness,” Thomas Smith. The British and Foreign Evangelical Review (April 1876) 251-280. Similarly, Jacob Abbott, critiquing William Boardman’s The Higher Christian Life, notes:

Christians all believe that sanctification is the work of faith: that the victory which overcomes the world is our faith. They all hold that the renewal and purification of our sinful nature is, from first to last, the work of God; and that faith connects us with the source of life and power in God; that the ife which we now live in the flesh, we live by the faith of the Son of God. So that it may be as truly affirmed of sanctification, as of justification, that it is all of faith—by grace—and glorying is excluded . . . [for] self-righteousness . . . is such a foe to grace. (pg. 511, Review of William E. Boardman’s The Higher Christian Life, Jacob Abbott. Bibliotheca Sacra (July 1860) 508-535)

[144]        Compare, e. g., The Two Covenants and the Second Blessing, Andrew Murray. Chicago, IL: Fleming H. Revell, 1898.

[145]        Despite the profound impact John Owen’s works have made on the Christian world’s understanding of the doctrine of sanctification, and the importance non-Keswick evangelicals and historic Baptists place on his writings as a model of non-Keswick Biblical piety, Stephen Barabas’s extensive bibliography in So Great Salvation does not include even one work by John Owen. Not a single work by Jonathan Edwards, John Bunyan, John Flavel, or many other classic writers on sanctification are listed either.

[146]        E. g., “J.I. Packer’s . . . earliest personal Christian experience [was] marked by frustration with Keswick piety then liberation through the influence of John Owen” (pg. 181, The Theology of the Christian Life in J. I. Packer’s Thought, D. J. Payne). Note that while elements of Packer’s doctrine of Christian sanctification are superior to those of Keswick, his theology as a whole contains serious errors.

[147]        Pgs. 146-154, Meditations and Discourses Concerning the Glory of Christ, in His Person, Office, and Grace, John Owen.

[148]        Pgs. 36-37, A Treatise of the Dominion of Sin and Grace, John Owen. Note that in Owen’s day “virtue” meant “power,” as it does, at times, in the Authorized Version (Mark 5:30).

[149]        While the theologians of Old Princeton, in light of their recognition that doctrinal error hinders revival, were careful to diagnose and warn about pseudo-revival, they rejoiced to both promote and experience genuine spiritual revival. The love for revival in Princetonians such as Archibald Alexander, who was himself converted in a revival (pgs. 68-69, Studies in Southern Presbyterian Theology, M. H. Smith. Jackson, MS: Presbyterian Reformation Society, 1962) and who wrote Thoughts on Religious Experience (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian Board of Publications, 1844), can hardly be disputed. Similarly, Warfield “experience[d] a revival while an undergraduate student at Princeton, one that left a deep and lasting impression” (pg. 568, The Theology of B. B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary, F. Zaspel).

[150]        Warfield is probably the best choice to illustrate non-Keswick evangelical piety because of the tendency of Keswick apologists to create, in a historically inaccurate way, orthodox friends of their theology (cf. e. g., pg. 16, So Great Salvation, Barabas; pg. 108, The Faith Response: Understanding and Applying a Biblical View of Dependence on God, John R. Van Gelderen). Thus, Higher Life apologists could claim that writers who lived before the origination of the Convention and advocated classically orthodox piety were actually Keswick antecedents simply because of their advocacy of Biblical truths like living by faith and dependence on the Holy Spirit. Similarly, writers who lived after the origin of the Keswick Convention could be labeled by apologists for the system as teaching Keswick theology, just without knowing about it, for similar reasons. However, it is most doubtful that any Keswick writer would wish to affirm that B. B. Warfield was truly a defender of Higher Life truth, just in disguise. His writings, therefore, provide a safe avenue to a determination of what is involved in evangelical non-Keswick piety.

[151]        Pg. 213, The Power of God unto Salvation, B. B. Warfield. Philadelphia: PA: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1903.

[152]        Pg. 357, Calvin and Calvinism: The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 5, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2008.

[153]        Pg. 24, Studies in Perfectionism, Part One, The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 7, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008. Italics in original. Warfield is critiquing the theologically liberal perfectionism of Albrecht Ritschl.

[154]        Pgs. 160-161, 63-64; cf. pg. 100, Studies in Perfectionism, Part One, The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 7, B. B. Warfield. Warfield does not limit his reference to the immorality of Ritschl’s system to the German rationalist’s perfectionist doctrine of sanctification; Ritschl’s doctrine of justification and other parts of his system are certainly included and are mentioned in the immediate context of some of the pages referenced.

[155]        Pg. 99, Christology and Criticism: The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 3, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.

[156]        Pgs. 323-324, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.

[157]        Pg. 78, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.

[158]        Pg. 356, Calvin and Calvinism: The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield,vol. 5, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2008.

[159]        Pg. 87, The Plan of Salvation: Five Lectures, B. B. Warfield. Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1915.

[160]        Pgs. 237-238, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.

[161]        Pgs. 40-41, The Plan of Salvation: Five Lectures, B. B. Warfield. Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1915.

[162]        Pg. 90, Studies in Perfectionism, Part One, The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 7, B. B. Warfield.

[163]        Pgs. 253-254, The Power of God unto Salvation, B. B. Warfield. Philadelphia: PA: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1903.

[164]        Pg. 213, The Power of God unto Salvation, B. B. Warfield. Philadelphia: PA: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1903.

[165]        Pg. 12, Biblical Doctrines: The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 2, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.

[166]        Pg. 408, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.

[167]        Pgs. 469-470, Biblical Doctrines: The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 2, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.

[168]        Pg. 11, Biblical Doctrines: The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 2, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.

[169]        Pg. 213, The Power of God unto Salvation, B. B. Warfield. Philadelphia: PA: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1903.

[170]        Warfield speaks here of Augustine of Hippo. In light of Augustine’s strong advocacy of sacramental salvation and of the idea that outside of the Catholic Church there was no salvation, Warfield’s high estimation of Augustine needs not a little modification. Nevertheless, Warfield’s statements still show what the Princetonian valued highly as true piety.

[171]        Pgs. 252-253, Studies in Tertullian and Augustine: The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 4, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.

[172]        Pg. 144, Studies in Theology: The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 9, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.

[173]        Pg. 59, The Plan of Salvation: Five Lectures, B. B. Warfield. Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1915.

[174]        Pgs. 485-486, Biblical Doctrines: The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 2, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.

[175]        Pg. 155, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.

[176]        Pgs. 44-46, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.

[177]        Pg. 73, Revelation and Inspiration: The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 1, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.

[178]        Pg. 155, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.

[179]        Pg. 155, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.

[180]        Pg. 155, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.

[181]        Pgs. 200-201, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.

[182]        Pg. 129, Biblical Doctrines: The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 2, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.

[183]        Pgs. 113-114, Studies in Perfectionism, Part One: The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 7, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.

[184]        That is, Ephesians 3:17a reads: katoikhvsai to\n Cristo\n dia» thvß pi÷stewß e˙n tai√ß kardi÷aiß uJmw◊n. (This explanatory note was written by the author of this entire book, not by B. B. Warfield, who is being quoted.)

[185]        Pgs. 270-272, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.

[186]        Pgs. 153, 438-439, 149, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.

[187]        Pgs. 81-82, The Plan of Salvation: Five Lectures, B. B. Warfield. Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1915.

[188]        Pg. 334, Calvin and Calvinism: The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield,vol. 5, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2008.

[189]        Pg. 255, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.

[190]        Pgs. 74-75, Studies in Perfectionism, Part Two, The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 8, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.

[191]        Pgs. 86-87, Studies in Theology: The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 9, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008. Warfield’s language of the outpouring of the Spirit here is not technically accurate (reference the chapter on the historic Baptist view of Spirit baptism) but his sense of and expressed need for the Spirit is indubitably both accurate and highly commendable.

[192]        Pg. 29, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[193]        Pg. 9, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[194]        Pg. 186, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Similarly, at the Keswick-type Swanwick conferences led by Jessie Penn-Lewis, “[m]inisters of many denominations, lay workers, and spiritual teachers” came together around Keswick and mystical theology “in one spirit, and without controversy over divergent points of view” (pg. 276, Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis: A Memoir, Mary N. Garrard; cf. pgs. 299-301). Visions were seen and expounded at such conferences, in accordance with the continuationism of the participants (e. g., pgs. 118-119, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall).

[195]        Pg. 134, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple. London: Printed for private circulation, 1890.

[196]        Pg. 119, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple. London: Printed for private circulation, 1890. Thus, for example, at Broadlands “all shades of religious opinion” were present (pg. 139, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple. London: Printed for private circulation, 1890); at the Oxford Convention “High Churchmen and Low Churchmen sat side by side; and Nonconformist ministers [joined them,] [a]ll united in prayer[.] . . . It was surely a reason for praise to God that so many Christians, differing strongly on important subjects, should listen . . . [to the Higher Life] addresses on Holiness [by men including] Mr. R. Pearsall Smith [and] W. E. Boardman” (pg. 119, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874). Those of “the Society of Friends . . . Episcopalians . . . Presbyterians . . . Methodists . . . Congregationalists . . . Baptist[s] . . . Wesleyan[s],” and others all joined together in ecumenical unity (pgs. 262-263, 342; cf. 177-178). Oxford ministers also recognized the value of Western and Eastern Catholicism; they proclaimed: “Many of the [Russian Orthodox] priests are believers, and are circulating the Word of God” (pg. 230). One minister testified: “I was converted through the instrumentality of a monk” (pg. 191). Those who believed in the corrupt sacramental gospel of the Anglican High Church movement did not come under conviction and see their need to receive the true gospel; rather, they went away “comforted, consoled, peaceful, [and] joyful” in their false gospel (pg. 362).

[197]        Pg. 176, The Keswick Convention: Its Message, its Method, and its Men, ed. Harford.

[198]        Pgs. 10, 427, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875.

[199]        Pg. 184, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910. For Broadlands and Keswick, creed and conduct were to be set against each other. For Scripture and in true spirituality, creed and conduct mutually reinforce each other in evaluating the presence or strength of spiritual life.

The rise of the “People’s Church” movement, which through the influence of the Brighton Convention rejected historical Christianity for a Higher Life agnosticism, illustrates where the unscriptural Keswick disjunction between creed and conduct can lead:

[T]he Oxford-Brighton movement was . . . the means of forwarding the agnostic ‘Peoples’ Church’ through an attendant at Brighton, who, in a joyous sense of a yielded will, and full trust, feeling the force of the historical difficulties in Christianity, tho [sic] he seemed as earnest, sincere, consecrated and true in heart as ever, felt led with the same sort of personal devotion to making a church for the large class of morally good men among the working classes whom he found seemingly incapable of Christian faith, in its historical sense, and he formed congregations out of such. (pg. 20, Forward Movements, Pierson)

[200]        Pg. 191, The Keswick Convention: Its Message, its Method, and its Men, ed. Harford.

[201]        Pg. 177, pg. 11, Evan Harry Hopkins: A Memoir, Alexander Smellie.

[202]        Pg. 221, Memoir of T. D. Harford-Battersby, Harford.

[203]        Pg. 13, Religious Fanaticism, Strachey.

[204]        “The Higher Life Movement,” Chapter 4 in Perfectionism, vol. 2, B. B. Warfield.

[205]        Pg. 432,            pg. 12, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875.

[206]        Pg. 432, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875.

[207]        Pg. 185, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874.

[208]        Pg. 19, Forward Movements of the Last Half Century, Arthur T. Pierson. New York, NY: Funk & Wagnalls, 1900. The importance to Pierston of this ecumenical anti-separatism as one of the merits of Keswick was such that he emphasized it again on pg. 41; a “conspicuous result” of attendance at “Keswick meetings” was for people to “incline to stay where they are, ecclesiastically,” even in denominations with a “dead and formal service”; “no man or woman ever yet being known, through its influence or under its teaching, to leave one communion for another” (pg. 41, ibid).

[209]        Pg. 150, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910.

[210]        Pg. 18, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910.

[211]        Pgs. 88-97, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.

[212]        Pg. 110, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.

[213]        Pgs. 113-114, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall. Italics reproduced from the original. After all, as an authorized statement of Keswick declares, “Conditional Immortality . . . [is] a doctrine . . . lying in that doctrinal limbo where revelation grants no sharp outlines . . . not . . . clearly heterodox. The matter lay rather within the scope of private judgment” (pg. 95, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck). God’s Word states that the lost “shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night” (Revelation 14:9-11), but, for Keswick, such texts are not clear. Who can tell from such a passage whether “tormented with fire and brimstone . . . for ever and ever . . . no rest day nor night” means the lost are tormented with fire and brimstone for ever and ever, and have no rest day nor night, or whether they are annihilated, so that they are never tormented with fire and brimstone, but rest peacefully day and night?

[214]        Pg. 21, Keswick’s Authentic Voice, ed. Stevenson.

[215]        Pgs. 249, 17, Keswick’s Authentic Voice, ed. Stevenson. See             pg. 141, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall, for the Keswick connection of George Grubb’s nephew Norman.

[216]        E. g., those who adopted Broadlands doctrine could “hasten . . . the coming of the kingdom of God” (pg. 269, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910; the teaching of Broadlands included hastening both the current and eschatological aspects of the kingdom, hastening it “in any and every way.”).

[217]        Pg. 247, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall. This teaching of the Broadlands Conference was also promoted by other Keswick leaders such as Jessie Penn-Lewis; see pg. 181, The Overcomer, December 1913.

[218]        Pg. 90, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.

[219]        Pgs. 51-52, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.

[220]        Pg. 76, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.

[221]        Pg. 178, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.

[222]        See further, e. g., the biographical studies in the section “Keswick and Continuationism” below.

[223]        Pgs. 83, 134, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.

[224]        Pg. 137, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall; pg. 150, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.

[225]        See pgs. 64-69, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.

[226]        Pg. 117, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.

[227]        Pg. 1568, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. rev.), F. L. Cross, & E. A. Livingstone.

[228]        Pg. 647, Who’s Who in Christian History, ed. J. Douglas & P. W. Comfort.

[229]        Pg. 175, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.

[230]        The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church notes:

[The] Church of the . . . Agapemone . . . [was a] small 19th-cent. English sect. It was founded by Henry James Prince (1811–99), who in 1840 was ordained as curate of Charlynch . . . in Somerset. Together with his rector, Samuel Starky, he started a revivalist movement which soon resulted in illusions of the grossest kind. Both left the Church of England and began a ministry of their own, asserting that they were the Holy Spirit personified, the Two Witnesses of Rev. 11, or Elijah. In 1849 they opened the “Agapemone” or “Abode of Love” in the village of Spaxton (in Somerset), being amply supported by their followers, who believed Prince to be a Divine being. The morals of the sect caused great scandal, and a trial in 1860 revealed the licentiousness of Prince and his followers. In the early 1890s the sect conducted a campaign in Clapton in NE London, calling themselves the “Children of the Resurrection.” J. H. Smyth-Pigott, Prince’s successor in the leadership, proclaimed himself to be Christ. The sect disappeared early in the 20th century. (pg. 27, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 3rd rev. ed., Cross & Livingstone)

Likewise, the New International Dictionary of the Christian Church records:

Agapemonism [was a] religious movement founded by Henry James Prince (1811–99), an evangelical perfectionist. Ordained in 1840, Prince became a curate first in the Bath and Wells diocese and later in the diocese of Ely. Both bishops inhibited him. It was probably in 1843 that he began to make extravagant statements which gave the impression that he was claiming to be in some sense an incarnation of God. A community was formed at Spaxton where a magnificent residence was acquired and called Agapemone (Abode of Love). Prince declared that community of goods was binding upon believers, and numerous devotees handed over their property to him. The legal case Nottidge v. Prince revealed grave disorders, and the movement was generally discredited, though Prince and a number of followers continued to live in the Agapemone. In the 1890s the movement enjoyed a revival under J.H. Smyth-Pigott, formerly a curate of St. Jude’s, Mildmay Park. Calling themselves “Children of the Resurrection,” his followers built a meeting place known as the “Ark of the Resurrection.” In 1902 Smyth-Pigott proclaimed himself to be Jesus Christ, and the movement lost its vogue. Some of Prince’s writings breathe a spirit of devotion to Christ, but they are marred by an erotic element. Regarding himself and Samuel Starky, his former Somerset rector, as the two witnesses of Revelation 11, Prince proclaimed the doom of Christendom, for example in The Council of God in Judgment. (“Agapemonism,” in The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, gen. ed. J. D. Douglas)

Since Oliphant and Smyth-Pigott held Holiness missions together, the erotic elements in the Agapemonite sect, which included spiritual wives with whom very physical immorality was committed, among many other shameful and unspeakable abominations, would be expected (pg. 68, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck; cf. “Agapemone,”

[231]        Pgs. 71-72, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck. Charles Harford later renounced Smyth-Piggot perfectionism.

[232]        Pg. 79, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall; pg. 130, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.

[233]        Pgs. 251-2, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.

[234]        Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14; 2 Timothy 3:5.

[235]        Pg. 35, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[236]        For example, Barabas records the influence of Keswick on increasing ten-fold the giving of the congregation underneath the charge of H. W. Webb-Peploe to the Anglican Church Missionary Society, of which he was a Committee member, although (Barabas leaving this fact unmentioned) the society supported men who preached and associated with a sacramental false gospel and other soul-damning heresies, as well as charismatics (cf. pg. 165, So Great Salvation, Barabas; pg. 11, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck pg. 158, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall). The natural, Biblical expectation mentioned by Barabas that “the Church Missionary Society would get no more out of that church ‘now that a revivalist had come,’” was, unfortunately, disappointed. Rather, “the C. M. S. . . . [was among] the earliest [Society] to recognize Keswick’s value” (pg. 85, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck). Webb-Peploe had been associated with the Higher Life and Keswick theology from the time of its founding at the first Broadlands Conference (pg. 148, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple. London: Printed for private circulation, 1890; but see pg. 29, Forward Movements, Pierson).

[237]        Compare pgs. 1-10, Heaven Only For the Baptized? The Gospel of Christ versus Baptismal Regeneration and “Were the Reformers Heretics?” by Thomas Ross. Elec. acc.

[238]        The defender of Keswick ecumenicalism can appeal in vain to the alleged command of Christ for unity within the universal church, for such an entity is itself another error and false doctrine Protestantism has taken from its corrupt Roman Catholic fountain. For representative refutations of the universal church dogma, see Ecclesia, B. H. Carroll (Emmaus, PA: Challenge Press, n. d. reprint ed.; The Myth of the Universal, Invisible Church Theory Exploded, Roy Mason (Emmaus, PA: Challenge Press, 2003) & Landmarks of Baptist Doctrine, Robert Sargent, vol. 4 (Oak Harbor, WA: Bible Baptist Church Publications, 1990), pgs. 481-542. Erroneous ecclesiology also leads the Keswick theology into an erroneous view of the connection of Spirit baptism and sanctification; the Biblical doctrine of Spirit baptism is set forth in the appendix below, “Spirit Baptism: A Completed Historical Event. An Exposition and Defense of the Historic Baptist View of Spirit Baptism.”

[239]        Compare Jessie Penn-Lewis’ “deep conviction” that “many who have been reckoned ‘Modernists,’ even in the Mission field, are not really so in heart,” but are really “servants of Christ” that Keswick partisans should “labour to help . . . all that is in our power” (pg. 280, Mrs. Penn-Lewis: A Memoir, Mary N. Garrard). Many theological modernists are not, Penn-Lewis affirms, unregenerate false teachers who should be marked, avoided, and rejected, but servants of Christ who should be assisted as much as possible; they are simply in need of some Higher Life teaching so that all will be well. If even modernists should be accepted, it is no surprise that Penn-Lewis preached that “divergent views on prophecy, on sanctification, on healing, and other matters . . . should be put aside” to assist in bringing about “the UNITY of the Body of Christ in view of His soon Return” (pg. 283, ibid.). Since the Keswick co-founder, Canon Harford-Battersby, was himself High Church, then Broad Church, and only then an evangelical Anglican, and all without a conversion experience, Jessie Penn-Lewis’s statements are not surprising.

[240]        A view of the truth that is lower than is proper is evident in the statement that “Keswick itself has been and is still criticized; but that is of no serious consequence. The truth of God is bigger than any one view or school of thought” (pg. 10, So Great Salvation, Barabas). Rather than lightly treating criticism of Keswick because the truth of God is allegedly bigger than any one view, such criticism should be evaluated Biblically and acted upon if it is accurate, or rejected if it is unscriptural. Of course, the statement that the truth of God is bigger than any one view is itself incoherent; if the truth of God is bigger than any one view, it is bigger than the view that it is bigger than any one view, in which case the truth of God is not bigger than any one view. True theology has the objective propositional content that was given by the Father to His Son as Mediator to reveal to the church by the Spirit through the Scriptures.

[241]        Pg. 35, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[242]        Pg. 149, So Great Salvation, Barabas; cf. pg. 98, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall. The open communion service would take place in the meeting place of T. D. Harford Battersby’s Anglican congregation, where the severe errors of the Anglican communion liturgy were recited week by week (pgs. xiv-xv, Memoir of T. D. Harford-Battersby, Harford).

[243]        E. g., at the 1874 Broadlands Conference Robert P. Smith taught that the “purpose of this gathering together . . . was different from that of other religious gatherings. It was not for the teaching of religious truths,” but for the inculcation of the Higher Life in which the “teaching of the Spirit should be heard” (pg. 120, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple. London: Printed for private circulation, 1890), in accordance with the Quaker doctrines of the Inner Light and the Divine Seed. The “aim [was] less to enforce a creed than to inspire a life” for Broadlands preachers such as the universalist George MacDonald (pg. 59, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910). “The Conferences were, as Lord Mount-Temple said at the opening of the first one, ‘not for the promulgation of any new system, nor for the combined execution of any organized plan, but a meeting of grateful, loving hearts, united . . . to lead a higher and deeper Christian life’” (pgs. 119-120, ibid.).

[244]        Thus, in the words of very sympathetic Methodist writers, whose purpose in writing was generally to defend the Keswick theology and perfectionism (as taught, in their view, most perfectly by Wesley) against Higher Life critics:

The [Keswick] theology . . . does very seriously expose itself to misconception through its lack of systematic coherence and completeness. A certain consciousness of this seems sometimes to disturb the equanimity of the teachers, and tempts them to speak disparagingly of dogmatic theology[.] . . . It is not to be expected, of course, that the leaders of the movement . . . should publish to the world their precise creed . . . [since they] have generally been careful to disavow any connection with denominations and communions . . . on the principle of keeping out of view everything that might raise the question of sectarian differences . . . ignor[ing] . . . the formalities of worship, and ritual, and sacraments . . . effac[ing] . . . the distinction of pastorship and laity . . . [and] not always tak[ing] . . . sufficient care . . . to preclude . . . the imputation of Pelagianism . . . brought by almost all the censors against the movement. (pgs. 100-101, “The Brighton Convention and Its Opponents.” London Quarterly Review, October 1875)

[245]        Pg. 42, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[246]        Pg. 42, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[247]        Pg. 9, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[248]        Pg. 51, So Great Salvation, Barabas. This fact mentioned by Barabas does not mean that nobody associated with the Keswick theology has ever produced anything with at least a certain amount of scholarly value; it does mean that no Keswick advocate has ever composed a careful and scholarly presentation or theological defense of the distinctives of the Keswick doctrine. Rather, Keswick writings are “a mass of unsystematic literature, not always absolutely consistent with itself” (pg. 259, “Means and Measure of Holiness,” Thomas Smith. The British and Foreign Evangelical Review (April 1876) 251-280). Barabas is by no means the only Keswick advocate to recognize that no carefully prepared and theologically precise presentation of its position has even been written—this absence has been continually recognized from the very origin of the Keswick movement. R. W. Dale noted:

I said to Dr. Boardman only a few months ago that it seemed to me that this [Higher Life] movement had prophets, but had not teachers; and he acknowledged that there was a great deal of truth in that. I asked where he could show me a theological book in which this doctrine was so stated as really to satisfy any theological mind, and he was obliged to acknowledge that it was very difficult indeed to name any such book. . . . I have been called upon as one not hostile to this movement, [but] as favorable to it. (pg. 450, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875)

[249]        E. g., Evan Hopkins & Webb-Peploe “had no formal theological training” (pg. 68, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck); neither did Hannah or Robert Pearsall Smith, Robert Wilson, or many other Higher Life leaders.

[250]        Pg. 186, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874. Smith’s doctrine that errors of judgment have no negative consequences for people who experience the Higher Life as he had done helps explain both his adoption and continued propogation of the erotic Bridal Baptism doctrine. His judgment might indicate that he was propogating the vilest of perversions, but such judgment was to be set aside for the thrills of a “conscious union” where the rational could be set aside.

[251]        The wonder of the Higher Life resulted in “[t]he intense happiness experienced at Broadlands,” which was “as the dawn of a fresh springtime in th[e] lives” of many (pg. 267, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910), even the vast body at the Conferences who had never been born again but were wretched and unconverted sinners. “[A]t Broadlands . . . changed lives and characters . . . could not be gainsaid . . . one noted a great and marked increase in gladness and cheerfulness” (pgs. 246-247, ibid). Indeed, the spiritualism and the presence at Broadlands of demons impersonating the spirits of dead people contributed to the great happiness of those present; as the Mount-Temples believed, “the presence of unseen heavenly ones added to the deep gladness that was felt” (pg. 262, ibid.).

[252]        Thus, at the Oxford Convention, people learned: “If our preaching does not make people glad, we have not got the right message” (pg. 263, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874). For the Oxford Convention, then, it would seem that the Lord Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, did not have the right message when He proclaimed: “Blessed are they that mourn” (Matthew 5:4; cf. Luke 6:25; 7:32; 1 Corinthians 5:2; 2 Corinthians 7:7; James 4:9; Daniel 10:2; Joel 2:12, etc.). Rather than the message of Christ and the Apostles, Hannah Smith taught at Brighton that the Holy Spirit is not “one to make us unhappy”—thoughts that make one unhappy “always come from Satan” (pg. 376, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875). The Christian is to enter into the Higher stage where “he abides in utter unconcern and perfect rest . . . perfect abandonment of ease and comfort . . . the Higher Christian Life” (Chapter 3, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, Hannah W. Smith).

[253]        Pg. 16, Keswick’s Authentic Voice, ed. Stevenson. It is admitted that Keswick addresses were often “rather disjointed” because of this lack of study (pg. 17), even as at the Brighton Convention Robert P. Smith noted: “I do not think that there has been a single address arranged; I know there have been no formal preparations made in any respect,” as not until late in the evening were speakers for the next day selected (pgs. 12, 437-438, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875). Likewise at the Oxford Convention it “was not so much what was said, in the purely extempore remarks or addresses,” for all that the people heard were “unpremeditated extempore addressess,” concerning which what mattered was “the preparedness of the heart to listen” (pgs. 180, 200, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874). People were profoundly prepared to accept in their hearts whatever the speakers said or taught in their unprepared and unpremeditated addresses; this was possible because, as Robert P. Smith explained, for those in the Higher Life “the effects of any errors of judgment are neutralised” (pg. 186) so no negative effects would result from the many misinterpretations and misapplications of the Bible.

[254]        Pg. 205, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall; pg. 44, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.

[255]        Pg. 49, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck. Quotation marks within the reference above have been removed.

[256]        Graham Scroggie; see pg. 71, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.

[257]        For example, Hannah W. Smith stated:

As to the matter of theology in this [doctrine of the Higher Life], I beg, as I always do, that nobody will listen to me with theological ears. It is very likely that I make plenty of mistakes in that direction, but if you get hold of the experience, then you can put the matter straight . . . [I may not give] a very clear or exact statement of Christian truth; but I am sure . . . that [I present] an exact statement of Christian experience. (pg. 54, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875)

Of course, it is impossible to have an exact view of Christian experience without an exact statement of Christian truth, and believers are always to evaluate what they hear with “theological ears” that are carefully sifting with Scripture what others affirm (Isaiah 8:20; John 5:39; Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:1-3). If Mrs. Smith admits that she makes many mistakes with Christian truth, she ought not to be preaching at all—a certainty in any case (1 Timothy 2:11-15).

[258]        The phenomena mentioned in this sentence are examined in more detail below.

[259]        For example, teachers at the Broadlands Conference proclaimed: “Whenever I meet a man, I know the germ of the Christ-life is there. . . . Christ is the life of men, the Divine seed in every one” (pgs. 178-179, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910). The Divine Seed led to many allegorical misinterpretations of Scripture at Broadlands. For example, in Revelation 22:2, “The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” is not about the leaves of the tree of life in the New Jerusalem, but really means: “We cannot live in this world without longing to be healers.” (pg. 179, ibid). After all, the New Jerusalem only “signif[ies] glorified humanity” (pg. 132). With similar allegory, “The birds of the air came and lodged in the branches” (Matthew 13:32) means, to the amazement of the student of Scripture: “We are to be the support and sustainers of those who are seeking rest” (pg. 179, ibid. Italics reproduced from the original.) Indeed, Broadlands even made the astonishing discovery that in Luke 16 Lazarus was worse off than the rich man: “Lazarus was the most wanting in brotherly kindness, for Dives [the rich man] got no help from Lazarus . . . They were both in Hades. Better to be a sufferer than a helpless witness of suffering. . . . The only true heaven is a character like God’s” (pg. 208, ibid. Italics in original.). Perhaps such an exaltation of the rich man in hell above Lazarus in paradise was assisted by the Broadlands confusion of the Antichrist with Christ in texts such as Revelation 6:2 (pg. 207, ibid), but such is uncertain.

Keswick allegorization and Scripture-twisting thus followed the pattern set at the Broadlands Conference and its successors. At Broadlands in 1874 a “very distinct feature of this Conference, [which] must not be omitted in any attempt to delineate it . . . [was] the conversations over passages in Scripture [where people] had not tarried in the letter of the Word, but had discerned everywhere beneath it the living Word . . . unveiling . . . the inward and spiritual meaning in the Jewish history and ceremonial” (pgs. 122-123,Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple. London: Printed for private circulation, 1890). Consequently, for example, the Oxford Convention took the fact that “[a]ll priests are Levites, but all Levites are not priests” and allegorized it to support the division of Christians into those living the Higher Life and those not; the number of days it took to cleanse the temple in 2 Chronicles 29:17 was allegorized into Higher Life truth; an address was given on “Joseph a type of the risen life”; Samuel’s predictions about the conclusion of Saul’s search for his father’s donkeys, receipt of bread from people, and encounter with a company of prophets in 1 Samuel 10 “is a picture of the Christian life” where people are “first chosen, then consecrated”; the water coming from Ezekiel’s Millennial temple (Ezekiel 47) teaches the Higher Life; the Valley of Achor (Joshua 7, 15; Isaiah 65; Hosea 2) is “the place of entire absolute renunciation of all discovered evil for a door of heavenly blessing”; “Kadesh Barnea” is allegorized into a font of Higher Life truth; the fact that Solomon wrote the Song of Songs teaches that the Higher Life is a “reign of peace,” and so on (pgs. 58, 60, 124, 128-130, 148, 268-269, 306-7, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874).

Similarly, Keswick convention founder T. D. Harford-Battersby adopted the Higher Life theology after hearing an allegorical misinterpretation of John 4:46-53 by Evan Hopkins (cf. pgs. 157-158, Memoir of T. D. Harford-Battersby; pg. 52, The Keswick Convention: Its Message, its Method, and its Men, Harford; pgs. 113ff., 174,Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874). Compare also the numerous examples of severe eisegesis in the elenctic examination of controverted passages on sanctification and the several vignettes of central Keswick leaders in the various chapters of this book. The Higher Life was found in countless texts when allegorized, although it was not in any when principles of grammatical-historical hermeneutics were applied.

[260]        Pg. 214, The Keswick Convention: Its Message, its Method, and its Men, ed. Harford.

[261]        For instance, A. E. Barnes-Lawrence, in The Keswick Convention: Its Message, its Method, and its Men, ed. Harford, on pgs. 188-191 describes how a typical “cleric of devout mind who for the first time has come to Keswick, prepared to find fault, but for the moment is withholding his judgment” is brought to adopt the Higher Life doctrine. He goes to a prayer meeting, sees a lot of people who are fervent (pgs. 188-189), hears “the flood of melody as the hymn is taken up by the great assembly,” is impressed by the “sudden hush and expectant quietness that falls” in the “Bible Readings,” concludes that his own “best sermons” arouse “languid” interest in comparison with those at the Convention, and that people at the Convention are more “keen” than those in his congregation, and he therefore adopts the Keswick theology, even while averring: “It was not the address, certainly not . . . and I should have treated that last point quite differently myself” (pg. 190). By such impressions and feelings, rather than by careful study of the Bible, hundreds of ministers receive the Keswick message (pg. 191). “Such a testimony is not unfrequent, and it carries its own imprimatur” (pg. 190).

For further examples, note Griffith-Thomas’s attempt to respond to Warfield’s crushing critique of the Keswick theology by testimonial, rather than exegesis (ref. the footnote that has this material); cf. also pgs. 66, 85-86, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875.

[262]        “The only qualification required from the speakers [at Broadlands] was that they should have personal experience of the truths they uttered” (pg. 120, cf. pg. 265, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910). Of course, Christian preachers should know experientially the truths that they proclaim, but testimony to having received a certain experience is by no means a sufficient standard for allowing a person behind a pulpit (cf. 1 Timothy 1:3, 13; 2 John 7-11).

[263]        Pg. 291, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874. Italics in original. Cf. pg. 263. Note that the generic “friend” who leads another to adopt the Higher Life is a “she.”

[264]        Compare the very similar statements of purpose of the Keswick Convention (cf. pgs. 108ff., So Great Salvation, Barabas) and the Broadlands Conferences (pgs. 262-263, 268, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910).

Pg. 262, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910.

Hovey, discussing other pre-Keswick forms of Higher Life theology, noted that they “at least see[m] to depart . . . from the plain sense of Scripture by ascribing the believer’s sanctification to the work of the Spirit, almost without the use of the truth. Very little comparatively is said of the office of truth . . . undervalu[ing] the sure word of God” (pgs. 126-127, Doctrine of the Higher Christian Life Compared With the Teaching of the Holy Scriptures, Alvah Hovey).

[265]        E. g., note Mrs. Smith’s denial of the Biblical unity between doctrine and practice and affirmation of the sufficiency of morality combined with doctrine so watered down that even a Deistic, non-Christian deity was acceptable:

How true the old Friends were when they used to tell us that it was not what we believed but how we lived that was the real test of salvation, and how little we understood them! . . . And as thee says, my opinions about God may all be wrong, but if my loyalty to Him is real it will not matter. It seems as if it would be enough just to say, “God is,” and, “Be good,” and then all would be said. It is the practical things that interest me now. (Letter to Anna, August 4, 1882, reproduced in the entry for November 18 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter)

[266]        The exaltation of testimonials over literally interpreted Scripture also suits Quaker theology very well; does not the Inner Voice arising from the Divine Seed within give a Word from God for today that is of greater value than the Word given thousands of years ago in the Bible? Should not testimonies to such modern day Words therefore hold the preeminent place? As Hannah Smith explained:

A Quaker “concern” [alleged revelation] was to my mind clothed with even more authority than the Bible, for the Bible was God’s voice of long ago, while the “concern” was His voice at the present moment and, as such, was of far greater present importance . . . the preaching I hear[d] was certainly calculated to exalt the “inward voice” and its communications above all other voices . . . since God spoke to us directly. (pgs. 82-83, The Unselfishness of God, by Hannah W. Smith)

[267]        Pg. 108, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[268]        Barabas fallows in the footsteps of earlier Keswick classics such as The Keswick Convention: Its Message, its Method, and its Men, ed. Harford, which likewise never cites any of these passages in the course of its 249 pages. Harford’s work itself follows the pattern of Keswick’s most important exposition, Hannah W. Smith’s The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, which omits all mention of these texts. Andrew Murray’s Abide in Christ, although it is supposed to exposit John 15, in the course of 236 pages never discusses any of these passages; even John 15:3 appears only within a quotation of John 15:1-12 at the very beginning of the book, never to appear again. Many other Keswick books manifest the same conspicuous neglect. (Of course, in the many hundreds and even thousands of devotional books and pamphlets by Keswick authors, at some point the verses above are cited somewhere; the affirmation is not made that no Keswick writer ever cites them anywhere, but that the de-emphasis upon such texts is striking.)   Contrast the classical Baptist view as set forth in the chapter in this volume “The Means Of Sanctification,” by James Petigru Boyce. What Jacob Abbott stated, reviewing the foundational Keswick classic The Higher Christian Life by William Boardman, is regretably true of the main body of Keswick theology in general:

There is nowhere in [Boardman’s] volume a recognition of the fact that the truth, as revealed in the holy scriptures, is the means of sanctification. More than this: he puts faith in opposition to the use of means. . . . [H]is theory as to the means of sanctification . . . [is that] it is derived immediately from Christ, by faith, and not mediately, through the scriptures, appropriating them by faith, and finding Christ in them, and through them binging him into the soul. He quotes no such scriptures as these: “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth;” [John 17:17] and John 15:3. 2 Pet 1:4. He has very little to do with the Scriptures, any way; it is all theory, supported by what he calls experience. He draws largely from the experiences of men; very little from the inspired oracles of truth, and then with a strange perversion or misapplication. . . . This theory as to the means of sanctification, by Christ alone, received immediately by faith, in opposition to the view that it is by the Spirit of Christ working in us through the truth, is the one idea of the book, to which all else is intended to be subservient. (pgs. 511-514, Review of William E. Boardman’s The Higher Christian Life, Jacob J. Abbott. Bibliotheca Sacra (July 1860) 508-535. Italics in original.)

[269]        E. g., at Broadlands when “the question of victory over temptation was considered,” a careful exposition of what the Bible taught on resisting temptation (such as is found in John Owen’s treatise Of Temptation) was not conducted; on the contrary, “personal testimony was the interesting feature” that provided the way to enter into victory (pg. 152, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910). Likewise, to prove that the Broadlands Conference was presenting the truth, “changed lives and characters were a witness to others that could not be gainsaid . . . by their actions and disposition, not by their words . . . [by] a great and marked increase in gladness and cheerfulness,” the teachings of the Conference were validated (pgs. 246-247, ibid). Of course, living a holy life is very important, but the infallible record of Scripture is the only inerrant testimony to the truth: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).

[270]        The displacement of exposition of Scripture for testimonial among the advocates of the Keswick theology is so pervasive that W. H. Griffith Thomas, when seeking to respond to B. B. Warfield’s crushing critique of the Keswick and Victorious Life movements in the Princeton Review, spends about half of his response (“The Victorious Life (I.).” Bibliotheca Sacra (76:303) July 1919, 267-288; “The Victorious Life (II.).” Bibliotheca Sacra (76:304) October 1919, 455-467) on testimonials to the value of the Higher Life. Thomas argues for the Keswick theology based on what he has “observed” (pg. 273), on “experience” (pg. 275), on “very many a Christian experience” (pg. 277). Warfield is wrong because “experience in general gives no suggestion” of his position and “there is no general evidence of” Warfield’s doctrine, Thomas claims, “in Christian lives” (pg. 464). “Warfield . . . is disproved . . . by experience of everyday life” (pg. 275). The great majority of Thomas’s second article is a compilation of testimonials to Keswick theology. He concludes:

I submit, with all deference to Dr. Warfield, yet with perfect confidence, that the convinced acceptance of the Keswick movement by such [men as have given testimonials to it] . . . is impressive enough to make people inquire whether, after all, it does not stand for essential Biblical truth[.] . . . [T]he rich experiences to which testimony is given . . . the possession of an experience which has evidently enriched their lives . . . [is] not to be set aside by any purely doctrinal and theoretical criticism. (pgs. 462-466)

The Keswick experience, Griffith Thomas avers, is not to be set aside by criticism of its doctrine from Scripture alone.

For other examples of the spread of the Keswick theology by testimonial rather than exegesis, see, e. g., pgs. 54, 71, Evan Harry Hopkins: A Memoir, Alexander Smellie; compare also the foundational work The Higher Christian Life, William Boardman.

[271]        Pg. 108, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[272]        Pg. 51, So Great Salvation, Barabas. The seventy-five years was as of 1952, when Barabas wrote. Keswick has still produced no carefully prepared and weighty theological discourses as the 150 year mark approaches.

[273]        Pg. 321, The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors: Addresses Delivered at the Puritan and Westminster Conferences, 1959-1978, D. M. Lloyd-Jones.Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1987.

[274]        Pg. 450, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875.

[275]        Pgs. 464-465, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875.

[276]        Cf. pg. 59,Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874.

[277]        Pgs. 59-60, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Note that nothing that remotely approaches a comprehensive study of the NT word aJmartwlo/ß, “sinner,” is undertaken by Barabas—an examination of its 47 uses in the New Testament gives strong support to the position that, although believers still sin, only the unconverted man is a “sinner” (Matthew 9:10–11, 13; 11:19; 26:45; Mark 2:15–17; 8:38; 14:41; Luke 5:8, 30, 32; 6:32–34; 7:34, 37, 39; 13:2; 15:1–2, 7, 10; 18:13; 19:7; 24:7; John 9:16, 24–25, 31; Romans 3:7; 5:8, 19; 7:13; Galatians 2:15, 17; 1 Timothy 1:9, 15; Hebrews 7:26; 12:3; James 4:8; 5:20; 1 Peter 4:18; Jude 15).

[278]        See the chapter “Hebrews 3-4 As An Alleged Evidence For Perpetually Sinning Christians.”

[279]        Pg. 125, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[280]        Pgs. 99, 136, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874. Italics in original.

[281]        Cf. pgs. 554-557; 713-724, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Daniel Wallace; pgs. 67-73, Exegetical Fallacies, D. A. Carson. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996.

[282]        Qanatouvte.

[283]        Pg. 179, The Keswick Convention: Its Message, its Method, and its Men, ed. Harford.

[284]        Pgs. 179-180, The Keswick Convention: Its Message, its Method, and its Men, ed. Harford.

[285]        Cf. pgs. 108, 223, The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life, Evan Hopkins.

[286]        See pgs. 95-96, Evan Harry Hopkins: A Memoir, Alexander Smellie; Hopkins’s exposition of various texts based on this erroneous view that the aorist fundamentally specifies acts that take place in “one instant of time” follows.

Note also the chapters above dealing with Romans 7:14-25; Colossians 2:6-7; Galatians 2:20; and Hebrews 3-4. Keswick writers misuse all of these texts and passages, as is evidenced in the quotations in those chapters.

[287]        Pg. 89, So Great Salvation, Barabas, cf. pgs. 90-92, 104.

[288]        Note the chapter above entitled “The Just Shall Live by Faith.”

[289]        Pg. 92, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[290]        Pgs. 220-223, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910. Italics in original.

[291]        “Victory over all known sin” was the stated aim of the Broadlands Convention (pg. 21, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck).

[292]        Pg. 235, A Theology of the Holy Spirit: The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, F. D. Bruner.

[293]        Pg. 20, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[294]        Pg. 55, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[295]        Baptist seminary professor Alvah Hovey notes:

[Those who] claim to be saved from conscious transgression . . . lower the standard of holiness prescribed by the law of God, until it agrees with their own experience. . . . [T]he requirements of the divine law are so comprehensive and spiritual that no man can test his inward life by that law, without perceiving that he is a transgressor. If he fails to meet the exact, the utmost demands of that law, as set before him in the Scriptures, he is not saved from conscious transgression. When, for example, he is commanded to be holy, because God is holy, the standard is one of absolute moral perfection; and, measuring himself and others by it, he will see that the words of Christ are profoundly true, ‘There is none good but one, that is, God;’ as if Christ had said to the young ruler [of Matthew 19:16-22], ‘By comparing yourself with any man, however upright and devout, you compare yourself with one who is morally imperfect, with a sinner; while the only true standard or right character for man is the holy character of God.’ The same result will be reached, if he tests himself by the two great commands of the law: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind;’ and, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ For what is it to love God with all the heart, and soul, and mind? It is to love him as purely and intensely and constantly as a being of the same capacity, but without the least taint of evil in the heart to weaken, cloud, or interrupt the ardors of holy affection, could love him. It is to love him with the whole force of the soul, undiminished by the least remnant of selfishness. . . . [T]he law of God, as set forth in the Bible, require[s] of all a life without sin; for it commands them to be perfect or holy, while it brings forward the character of God as the standard of holiness. . . . And there is no greater absurdity in religion than to suppose that the standard of holiness has been lowered for the servants of Christ. (pgs. 59-62, 125, Doctrine of the Higher Christian Life Compared With the Teaching of the Holy Scriptures, by Alvah Hovey)

[296]        John Murray astutely notes:

While Keswick stresses the gravity of sin, there is still an underestimation of the consequences for the believer of remaining indwelling sin[.] . . . Going hand in hand with this failure is a corresponding preoccupation with what it calls known sin, apparent in its definition that “the normal Christian life is one of uniform sustained victory over known sin” (pg. 84; cf. pg. 99 [of Barabas, So Great Salvation]). If sin still dwells in the believer, if there is still the tendency to sin, if corruption has not been eradicated, all of which Keswick admits, then we ought to be always conscious of that sin. It is not by any means a virtue to say, as Evan Hopkins says, that we need not be “conscious of that tendency” (p. 50). . . . Indwelling sin is still sin and the believer ought always to be conscious of it as such. To fail to be conscious of it amounts either to hypocrisy or self-deception. To have sin in us and not to be conscious of it is itself grave sin; it is culpable ignorance or culpable ignoring. As long as sin remains there cannot be freedom from conscious sin, for the simple reason that in the person who is sensitive to the gravity of sin and to the demands of holiness this sin that remains is always reflected in consciousness. Again, indwelling sin is defiling and it defiles the holiest of the believer’s thoughts, words, and actions. The specifically deliberate and volitional is never immune to the defilement which proceeds from the corrupt nature and that is why the most sanctified of saints are oftentimes most acutely aware of their sinfulness just when by the power of Christ and the grace of the Holy Spirit they are engaged in the holiest of their undertakings. . . . [Indeed,] Keswick[’s] . . . liabilities . . . are related to or stem from failure to take adequate account of the implications of the presence of sin in the believer and of the effects which must follow in his consciousness. This reflects a defective view of holiness and of its demands, which, in turn, gravely . . . impair[s] its effectiveness as a convention “for the promotion of scriptural holiness” (p. 30, [Barabas]).” (pgs. 283, 286, Collected Writings of John Murray, vol. 4, a review of So Great Salvation, Barabas. Italics in original.)

[297]        Hovey notes:

[Those who] assume that God has promised to deliver them now from all sin, if they believe aright . . . [who teach] “Holiness through Faith” . . . [teach that] there is a Christian, in distinction from a divine, an angelic, or even an Adamic perfection, and [use as a proof-text that] “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” . . . But according to this view the standard of holiness is a fluctuating one, and for aught we can see some of the followers of Christ, who have bound their fellow-Christians to the rack or the stake for what was believed to be the mortal sin of heresy, may have been acting at the time “up to the given measure of light upon their duty,” and were therefore free from sin. The error in this view is a very dangerous one. Faith in Christ does not, as a matter of fact, render every act which partakes of it holy. Faith in Christ is acceptable to God, not because it makes the conduct of the believer in this life sinless, but because it unites the soul with Christ who has suffered for [him]. . . . Rahab and Samson had faith, but they were not free from sin. And of one thing at least we may be sure—that the Scriptures nowhere teach that “whatsoever is of faith is not sin.” (pgs. 108-110, Doctrine of the Higher Christian Life Compared With the Teaching of the Holy Scriptures, by Alvah Hovey)

[298]        Pg. 286, Collected Writings of John Murray, vol. 4, a review of So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[299]        Contrary to Keswick practice, a Biblical Christian spirituality recognizes that not only one’s individual and willful sins in thought, word, and deed are ungodly and require repentance, but also unintentional sin, and even the corruption within one’s best and holiest deeds, needs to be recognized and repented of. Consequently, Biblical piety contributes to a deeper hatred and repentance for sin, and a greater joy in the glorious righteousness of Christ wrought out for the believer on account of His free grace and love, than Keswick doctrine. A spirituality of the kind manifested in the following quotation by Robert Hawker has no place in the too-shallow view of sin of Keswick founder Hannah Whitall Smith:

[M]y soul[,] thou needest not to look abroad into another’s heart to see iniquity; for at home, in thine own, a voice may be heard continually proclaiming it. Renewed as thou art by grace, still thou feelest the workings of corrupt nature: and though, as the apostle said, “with thy mind thou thyself servest the law of God, yet with thy flesh the law of sin,” Romans 7:25. Pause over the solemn subject, and observe the working of a body of sin and death, which is virtually all sin: “the carnal mind, (the apostle saith) is enmity against God,” Romans 8:7; not only an enemy, but in enmity: so that the very nature is so; it is averse, naturally averse to God, and is everlastingly rising in opposition to his holy law. And this not only (as some have supposed, but all men, if they would confess the truth, find to the contrary) before a work of grace hath passed upon the soul, but after. Else wherefore doth the apostle say, “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would?” Galatians 5:17. He saith this to the regenerate, to the [saints] at large. And consequently this conflict is after grace hath been manifested to the soul, and not before. A sinner unawakened may indeed feel at times compunctions of conscience, and be alarmed at what will be the consequence of his sins: but these are only the alarms of conscience, not the workings of grace: and for the most part, these alarms are but momentary. His affections are all on the side of sin. His soul still remains “dead in trespasses and sins;” and he himself, like a dead fish, swims down the stream of sin uninterrupted, without resistance, and without concern. But when a child of God is renewed, and the soul, that was before dead in trespasses and sins, becomes quickened and regenerated; then it is that the conflict between the renewed part in grace, and the unrenewed part in nature, begins, and never ends but with life. My soul, hath the Lord taught thee this, made thee sensible of it, and caused thee to groan under it? Dost thou find this heart of thine rebelling against God; cold to divine things, but warm to natural enjoyments; framing excuses to keep thee from sweet communion with the Lord; and even in the moment of communion, running with a swarm of vain thoughts, that “like the flies in the ointment of the apothecary causeth it to send forth an ill savour?” Are these in thy daily, hourly, experience? . . . Oh! precious, precious Jesus! how increasingly dear, under this view of a nature so totally corrupt, art thou to my poor soul! What but the eternal and unceasing efficacy of thy blood and righteousness could give my soul the smallest confidence, when I find that I still carry about with me such a body of sin and death? Let those who know not the plague of their own heart, talk of natural goodness; sure I am, there is nothing of the kind in me. “I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing.” And were it not, dearest Lord, for the holiness of thy person, blood, and righteousness, the very sins which mingle up with all I say or do, yea, even in prayer, would seal my condemnation. Lamb of God! it is the everlasting merit of thy atonement and intercession, thy blood sprinkled upon my person and offering, by which alone the justice of God is restrained and satisfied, and that it breaks not forth in devouring fire, as upon the sacrifice of old, to consume me upon my very knees! Blessed, blessed for ever be God for Jesus Christ! (May 10e, The Poor Man’s Morning and Evening Portions, Robert Hawker)

Compare also the words of John Owen:

[Believers] weigh their own righteousness in the balance, and find it wanting; and this two ways: —

1.) In general, and upon the whole of the matter, at their first setting themselves before God. . . . This the saints renounce; they have no confidence in the flesh: they know that all they can do, all that the law can do, which is weak through the flesh, will not avail them. . . . This they bear in their minds daily, this they fill their thoughts withal, that upon the account of what they have done, can do, ever shall do, they cannot be accepted with God, or justified thereby. This keeps their souls humble, full of a sense of their own vileness, all their days.

2.) In particular. They daily weigh all their particular actions in the balance, and find them wanting, as to any such completeness as, upon their own account, to be accepted with God.

“Oh!” says a saint, “if I had nothing to commend me unto God but this prayer, this duty, this conquest of a temptation, wherein I myself see so many failings, so much imperfection, could I appear with any boldness before him? Shall I, then, piece up a garment of righteousness out of my best duties? Ah! it is all as a defiled cloth,” Isaiah 64:6.

These thoughts accompany them in all their duties, in their best and most choice performances: —

“Lord, what am I in my best estate? How little suitableness unto thy holiness is in my best duties! O spare me, in reference to the best thing that ever I did in my life!” Nehemiah 13:22.

When a man who lives upon convictions has got some enlargements in duties, some conquest over a sin or temptation, he hugs himself, like Micah when he had got a Levite to be his priest: now surely it shall be well with him, now God will bless him: his heart is now at ease; he has peace in what he has done. But he who has communion with Christ, when he is highest in duties of sanctification and holiness, is clearest in the apprehension of his own unprofitableness, and rejects every thought that might arise in his heart of setting his peace in them, or upon them. He says to his soul, “Do these things seem something to thee? Alas! thou hast to do with an infinitely righteous God, who looks through and through all that vanity, which thou art but little acquainted withal; and should he deal with thee according to thy best works, thou must perish.”

3.) They approve of, value, and rejoice in, this righteousness, for their acceptation, which the Lord Jesus has wrought out and provided for them; this being discovered to them, they approve of it with all their hearts, and rest in it. Isaiah 45:24, “Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength.” This is their voice and language, when once the righteousness of God in Christ is made known unto them: “Here is righteousness indeed; here have I rest for my soul. Like the merchant man in the gospel (Matthew 13:45,46) that finds the pearl of price, I had been searching up and down; I looked this and that way for help, but it was far away; I spent my strength for that which was not bread: here is that, indeed, which makes me rich for ever!” When first the righteousness of Christ, for acceptation with God, is revealed to a poor laboring soul, that has fought for rest and has found none, he is surprised and amazed, and is not able to contain himself: and such a one always in his heart approves this righteousness . . . [a]s full of infinite wisdom . . . as full of grace. He knows that sin had shut up the whole way of grace towards him; and whereas God aims at nothing so much as the manifestation of his grace, he was utterly cut short of it. Now, to have a complete righteousness provided, and yet abundance of grace manifested, exceedingly delights the soul; —to have God’s dealing with his person all grace, and dealing with his righteousness all justice, takes up his thoughts. (Chapter 8, “How the Saints Hold Communion with Christ as to their Acceptation with God,” in Of Communion with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, John Owen)

Indeed, since Mrs. Smith rejected justification by imputed righteousness, not only was her view of sin too low, but her valuation of Christ’s cross and righteousness was similarly blighted.

[300]        Pg. 36, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Compare Robert Pearsall Smith: “The Christian who has the faith [of the Higher Life] need never sin” (pg. 257, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875). Of course, Smith reduces “sin” to “conscious sin.”

[301]        E. g., W. H. Griffith Thomas, responding to Warfield’s critique of Keswick theology and attempting to justify Keswick, boldly stated: “‘Keswick’ stands for perfectionism. I have heard that scores of times, and so have you—and it does” (pg. 283, “The Victorious Life (I.).” Bibliotheca Sacra (76:303) July 1919, 267-288). Keswick leader A. T. Pierson said: “There is one kind of sinless perfection in which every Keswick teacher believes—the sinless perfection of instantaneously and for ever renouncing every known sin.” Pierson proves this sort of perfectionism in the following manner: “There is no mistake in the attitude of our Lord. He says: ‘Sin no more;’ and He would not say that if He did not mean it.” That is, God’s obligation on man and man’s ability to obey are coextensive, Pierson believes, so if God commands man not to sin, a fallen man with indwelling sin is able to be perfect; and, furthermore, “Paul preach[ed] perfect holiness,” meaning the Keswick doctrine of perfectionism. However, other sorts of perfectionism were not accepted at Keswick, according to Pierson—only their peculiar brand was acceptable. Other than the distinctive Keswick perfectionism, “being sinlessly perfect” is not for the “present” (pgs. 8-10, A Spiritual Clinique: Four Bible Readings Given at Keswick in 1907, Pierson. New York, NY: Gospel Publishing House, 1907. Italics in original). During the “‘turn of the century’ era” from “1897 to 1909 . . . Dr. Pierson came to Keswick more often than any other speaker from America . . . and assumed from the first . . . a position of leadership unique in a speaker from overseas. Again and again we read of him guiding the proceedings in times of particular moment.” The editor of the Keswick Life of Faith periodical verified that Pierson “dominated the Convention by his spiritual and intellectual powers, and thousands hung upon his words with an intense eagerness” (pg. 405, Keswick’s Authentic Voice, ed. Stevenson).

While Pierson was generally correct that the distinctive perfectionism of Hannah W. and Robert P. Smith was dominant at the early Keswick convention, he was not correct in his affirmation that other forms of perfectionism were not also acceptable at the Convention. Asa Mahan’s early influence makes it clear that Oberlin Perfectionism was acceptable from the beginning. Moule was converted to the Keswick theology at a convention which included both Evan Hopkins and “an ardent Salvation Army captain,” an advocate of the Army’s standard Wesleyan perfectionism (pg. 42, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall). Likewise, the “Japan Evangelistic Band . . . formed at the Convention of 1893 . . . looked to Wesleyan holiness speakers” (pg. 115, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall; cf. pg. 81, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck; the Band was founded by Webb-Peploe’s curate Barclay Buxton). “Another vital link between Keswick and the Wesleyan holiness tradition was through Charles Inwood,” who spoke at twenty-one Keswick conventions and represented Keswick internationally while receving prophetic impressions through which he predicted the future (pg. 112, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall). “As a Wesleyan Methodist himself, Inwood actively sought to influence Keswick thinking from within the movement . . . Inwood was deeply indebted to the Wesleyan revivalist tradition” (pg. 50, ibid). The Methodist perfectionist, continuationist, and woman preacher Amanda Smith, who preached at Keswick and was then invited to and preached at Broadlands by invitation of Evan Hopkins and Lord Mount-Temple in the 1880s, is another example of Methodist perfectionism being propogated at Keswick (pg. 116, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck; The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith, ed. Dieter, entry for December 30; Chapter 20-21, An Autobiograpy: The Story of the Lord’s Dealings with Mrs. Amanda Smith, The Colored Evangelist, Containing an Account of her Life Work of Faith, and her Travels in America, England, Ireland, Scotland, India, and Africa, as an Independent Missionary, Amanda Smith. Chicago, IL: Meyer & Brother, 1893; pgs. 71-73, 114, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910). The ecumenicalism of the Keswick Convention embraced a variety of conflicting perfectionisms, predominently the type taught by Hannah W. and Robert P. Smith, but also that of the Oberlin and Wesleyan theologies, in its seeking for a Higher Life spirituality.

[302]        Pg. 40, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[303]        As already noted, Keswick does not (usually) teach actual sinless perfection. However, by teaching that continued struggle with sin in the Christian life, and anything less than “perfect and constant victory over temptation” is “heart-breaking defeat” (pgs. 95, 76, So Great Salvation, Barabas), it lends itself to the argument of other and more radical perfectionisms that anything less than the possibility of perfection (of whatever kind is advocated by a particular perfectionst theology) in this life is a ground for despair. Snodgrass notes:

[Doctrines of] perfectionism . . . [and] entire sanctification . . . fee[d] the mind with the notion of entire freedom from sin; and this is, at once, the essence of the system, and the reason of its danger. . . . [T]hose who anticipate better effects [in holier Christian living] from the doctrine of Perfection than from the common doctrine of Sanctification, reason falsely[.] . . . The question is asked . . . “Who would expect an army to fight, with energy, under the impression of inevitable defeat?” And this, it is taken for granted, is a parallel case to that of the Christian, who entertains no hope of entire sanctification in the present life. But, is it so? Has he the impression of inevitable defeat, because he expects the war to be somewhat protracted? Does he lay down his arms, in despair, because he believes that more than one battle is to be fought? Does he cease from the contest, because he does not anticipate a perfect triumph, until the “last enemy” shall “be destroyed,” which “is death”? The truth is, that, on his own principles, he has an expectation of victory, which is qualified by no peradventure; he anticipates it, with unwavering faith, and with joyful hope; it is as certain to him, as the love and faithfulness of God can make it;—nay, he has the earnest of it, in his present success;—he has already come off as a conqueror in many a struggle;—he is pursuing his advantage from one battle-field to another; and he has no doubt, that the time is near, when all the armies of the aliens shall be put to flight, “And death, the last of all his foes,/ Lie vanquished at his feet.” So far, therefore, as the certainty of success is concerned, he has the same reason to persevere and be active, with those who anticipate a speedier triumph.

Again: it is wrong, in principle, to say, that the hope of success, in order to be an efficient motive, must terminate upon acquisitions to be made within the limits of the present life. This is neither consistent with Scripture, nor in accordance with actual experience. The hope of the apostles and primitive Christians, was a hope, which “entereth into that within the veil,” and, this was the reason why it was an “anchor to the soul.” . . . It transported its subjects beyond the region where sin and sorrow dwell, and brought them into communion with the inhabitants and felicities of heaven. And this was the true secret of its animating influence. It derived its energy from the importance and glory of its object; and this was something entirely above and beyond any degrees of sanctification to be anticipated here. “Every man,” says an apostle [1 John 3:3], “that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself.” Such a hope will undoubtedly sanctify those in whom it dwells; but a similar influence is never ascribed to any hope, the object of which is to be realized on this side of the grave.

Moreover: it is incorrect to assume, that the Christian derives his strongest impulses for holy living, from direct meditations upon his prospect of success. No doubt, he has “respect unto the recompense of the reward,” both here and hereafter; and yet, his experience will bear me out in saying, that his heart is never assailed by more irresistible motives to active and entire consecration to God, than when his mind is most fully occupied by other considerations than those which relate immediately to himself. . . . [A greater motive than being] taken up with reflections on the degree of proficiency at which he [is] expecting to arrive . . . [is] “the love of Christ constraineth us” [2 Corinthians 5:14]! Here [is] the main-spring of [Christian] activity . . . with his face towards Calvary, with his eye on the cross, and with his mind intent upon the compassion and condescension of a suffering Saviour, he [is] carried beyond himself, and [is] borne away, by the impulse of a mightier and more generous motive. So it is in all the higher achievements of the Christian life. It is not by sitting down to meditate upon the prospect of our perfect sanctification that we gather the strongest motives to the pursuit of holiness. Our best seasons, both of feeling and action, are those, in which we think least of ourselves, and most, of the love of God, of the compassion of Christ, of the claims of gratitude and duty, and of the beauty and excellency of holiness itself. We are not servants, who work merely for wages, but we are bound to our employment, by love and gratitude to the master, as well as by the happiness we find in the service itself. . . . And in these considerations, are contained our highest inducements, to persevere in his service, and live to his glory. “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself; for whether we live, we live unto the Lord, and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” [Romans 14:7-8] (pgs. 95-101, The Scripture Doctrine of Sanctification, Snodgrass).

[304]        Pg. 101, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[305]        Lyman Atwater notes:

Some of our most dangerous sins are sins of ignorance. Nay, the very ignorance of moral and Christian duty is itself often most culpable, and incurs the divine condemnation, even the woe upon those who call good evil and evil good; who put light for darkness and darkness for light [Isaiah 5:20]. It is the very essence of sin to be deceitful, to disguise itself, to hate the light, and refuse to come to the light which would unveil it—and is not this declared by the Light of the world to be eminently its condemnation? What! Do men become innocent by blinding themselves to their guilt, and sinless by ignoring their sin? Paul “verily thought that he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth” [Acts 26:9]. Can a man be innocent and perfect in persecuting the Church, whatever his ignorance or sincerity therein? Out [with] such casuistry, no matter how plausible and acceptable it may be to a worldly and backslidden church, or those who think they are something when they are nothing, or who “say they are perfect,” by whatever names sanctioned! (pg. 407, “The Higher Life and Christian Perfection,” Lyman H. Atwater. The Presbyterian Quarterly and Princeton Review (July 1877) 389-419)

[306]        B. B. Warfield incisively notes concerning this sort of teaching:

Nothing can be more important than that the conception of perfection be maintained at its height. If there is an eternal and immutable distinction between right and wrong . . . then [g]oodness must be everywhere and in all beings essentially the same. The fundamental principles of right moral action, must be the same to God and to his creatures; and there must be one rule of duty—one standard by which to test character—to angels and to men. . . . True perfection is one and the same thing in all beings[.] The habit of conceiving of perfection as admitting of many imperfections—moral imperfections, glossed as infirmities, errors and inadvertences—not only lowers the standard of perfection and with it the height of our aspirations, but corrupts our hearts, dulls our discrimination of right and wrong, and betrays us into satisfaction with attainments which are very far from satisfactory. There is no more corrupting practice than the habit of calling right wrong and wrong right. That is the essence of antinomianism, if we choose to speak in the language of the schools. To give it its least offensive description, it is acquiescence in sin. And this is the real arraignment of all perfectionist theories[.] They lull men to sleep with a sense of attainments not really made; cut the nerve of effort in the midst of the race; and tempt men to accept imperfection as perfection—which is no less than to say evil is good. (pgs. 457-458, Studies in Perfectionism, Part Two, The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 8, B. B. Warfield)

[307]        As Hannah W. Smith taught at Broadlands: “God’s commands are not grievous, but they would be if He commanded what we could not do” (pg. 128, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910). Because of the Divine Seed, “We have in our hearts the germ that can receive” (pg. 185, ibid); no monergistic and supernatural regeneration of the totally spiritually dead sinner is necessary.

[308]        The doctrine that fallen man’s obligation to obey is limited to his ability to do so is refuted in the chapter in this book “Is Fallen Man’s Obligation To Obey God Limited To His Ability To Do So?”

[309]        Pg. 30, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[310]        Pg. 63, 188, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Indeed, that “What He expects of us He gives us the power to do, both in sanctification and service” is stated to be “the message of Keswick” (pg. 155, cf. pg. 88).

[311]        Keswick opposes consistent perfectionism, at least most of the time—however, sometimes more consistent strains break out. For instance, Robert P. Smith permitted “an aged minister by his side to assert roundly that he had lived for thirty-five years as purely as Jesus” (“Die Heiligungsbewegung,” Chapter 6, Perfectionism, B. B. Warfield, vol. 1).

[312]        This dilemma faces all perfectionist positions that attempt to deal with any kind of seriousness with the data of Scripture. Note also that inability to sin because of a will permanently and immutably inclined to holiness is not a little of the bliss of the saint’s heavenly holiness, as it is a glorious characteristic of the Divine holiness (Deuteronomy 32:4; Romans 9:14; 1 John 3:2-3).

[313]        Furthermore, once such a state of sinless perfection had been entered, grace would no longer be necessary to sustain the believer in his state of holiness; as God is perfectly holy and unable to sin, so the Christian would be inherently perfectly holy and unable to sin.

[314]        Pg. 40, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Barabas must ignore the many affirmations of perfectionism by Keswick’s greatest leaders to label the charge of perfectionism a mere “accusation.” He would have been more faithful to actual historical facts had he stated: “[O]pponents of Keswick have accused it [of being] perfectionist, and they were right,” or “the facts clearly demonstrate that Keswick stands for perfectionism.”

[315]        E. g., at Broadlands people who were allegedly already true Christians came to a post-conversion point where “they took Christ to be their Saviour, not only from the guilt but [also] from the power and practice of sin” (pg. 125, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple. London: Printed for private circulation, 1890). Broadlands affirmed that one could be spiritually alive and yet manifest no outward evidences of it whatever (pg. 249, ibid.). Then again, since Mrs. H. P. Smith, as a Quaker universalist, believed that every man on earth has spiritual life because of the Divine Seed in him, yet it is painfully obvious that the vast majority of men do not live holy lives, the effete impotence of the Broadlands and Keswick view of spiritual life is very easily explicable.

[316]        For example, at the Oxford Convention:

[The] testimonies all agreed in this, that the speakers had not for a greater or less period after their conversion experimentally known the secret of victory, and that consequently for a longer or shorter time their Christian lives had been full of failure and defeat; but that at last they had been taught either directly by the Spirit through the Scriptures, or through the testimony of others—that the Lord Jesus Christ was able and willing to deliver them, not only from the guilt of their sins, but also from their power [for He had not delivered them from the power of sin at their conversion]; . . . [t]he convincing nature of these testimonies, and the Scriptural teaching that was brougth forward, seemed to carry the truth home to many hearts[.] (pgs. 290-291, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874)

[317]        “The Disjunction Between Justification and Sanctification in Contemporary Evangelical Theology,” by William W. Combs (Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 6 (Fall 2001) 17-44), provides a useful overview of the historical development of the concept that justification and sanctification may be divided and a critique of this erroneous and dangerous theological affirmation.

[318]        Thus, e. g., “Lord Mount-Temple was not only a believer but a disciple” (pg. 44, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910), for one could be the former without being the latter. A Broadlands evangelistic appeal could be, not to repentance and faith in the finished work of the crucified and risen Christ, but to “Come to God . . . for the forgiveness of sins, which all might have, who really desired and asked for it” (pg. 224, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910). If, in Broadlands teaching, men are lost at all—and such is very, very far from clear, so that an eternal hell, for example, is not to be mentioned—salvation allegedly comes by asking, rather than, as in the Bible, by the instrumentality of repentant faith alone, asking or no asking.

[319]        Early Keswick weakness on repentance carries over to modern advocates of classic Keswick theology. For example, modern Keswick evangelist John R. Van Gelderen misdefines the primary verb in the NT for repentance, metanoeo, as merely “to change one’s mind,” and then argues that to “make repentance more than this exchange of ways of thinking is to make repentance something additional to the other side of the theological coin of faith . . . this violates the usage of Scripture,” for faith is also, it seems, simply exchanging one’s way of thinking. Consequently: “If repent means turning from sins, why did Jesus die?” (; cf. pgs. 190-200, The Evangelist, the Evangel and Evangelism, John R. Van Gelderen). Contrast Ezekiel 33:11; Revelation 16:11; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, etc.

[320]        Thus, e. g., at Broadlands three stages in spiritual life were set forth—but not one of the three was genuine conversion. One could have spiritual life and “advance to higher life” with a conversion that was as clear as the mudpit of a sinner’s unregenerate life, or without any conversion and regeneration at all (pgs. 191-193, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910). After all, as the Quakers taught, the supernatural impartation of a new nature in regeneration and conversion were unnecessary—all men have the Divine Seed, and they thus do not need and ought not to be evangelically converted.

[321]        In light of the fact that Hannah W. Smith confused conversion with mental assent to the doctrine of justification by faith alone, and both she and her husband, the theological sources of the Keswick theology, were unconverted, it is not surprising that Keswick downplays the power and certainty of the change associated with true conversion. The influence on Keswick of Anglicanism, a denomination teeming with religious but unconverted people, and of Quakerism, which denied the necessity of conversion at all, also make it easy to understand how the weakness of the Keswick doctrine of regeneration and conversion developed. The demons called up by Lord and Lady Mount Temple at Broadlands would also have offered mighty supernatural assistance in the perverting of the gospel (cf. Matthew 13:19).

[322]        Pg. 47, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[323]        E. g., on pg. 153, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874, Robert P. Smith teaches that Christians are under the dominion of sin until they “accept the glorious emancipation” offered in the Higher Life, an affirmation he supports by forcing Romans 6:14 to mean exactly the opposite of what it actually states. The “saint . . . having been freed from the guilt of sin,” is then to “com[e] to Christ to be freed from its power” (pg. 43, ibid).

[324]        Pg. 63, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Compare the misrepresentation by William Boardman: “The bulk of professing Christians . . . [are] indifferent, or opposed to the glorious truth that Jesus can deliver from the dominion of sin,” but the minority who enter the Higher Life discover that “sin had no longer dominion over them” (pgs. 58, 141, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman).

[325]        John Murray notes:

While Keswick . . . places a much-needed emphasis upon Paul’s teaching in Romans 6, there is at the same time shortcoming in the interpretation and application of this passage and of others of like import. The freedom from the dominion of sin of which Paul speaks is the actual possession of every one who is united to Christ. It is not merely positional victory which every believer has secured (cf. pp. 84ff. [in Barabas]). When Paul says in Romans 6:14, “Sin shall not have dominion over you,” he is making an affirmation of certainty with respect to every person who is under the reigning power of grace and therefore with respect to every one who is united to Christ. . . . This victory . . . is the once-for-all gift of God’s grace in uniting us to Christ in the virtue of his death and resurrection. But it is not simply positional, far less is it potential; it is actual. And because it is actual it is experimental. . . . It is true that there are differing degrees in which the implications of this freedom from the dominion of sin are realized in experience. In other words, there are differing degrees in which the “reckoning” to which Paul exhorts in Romans 6 is applied and brought to expression in the life and experience of believers. But the victory over sin is not secured by the “reckoning”; it is secured by virtue of union with Christ [at the time of] . . . initial faith . . . and is therefore the possession of every believer, however tardy may be his advance in the path of progressive sanctification. Reckoning ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God is not the act of faith whereby victory is achieved; this reckoning is the reflex act and presupposes the deliverance of which Paul speaks in Romans 6:14. If we fail to take account of this basic and decisive breach with sin, specifically with the rule and power of sin, which occurs when a person is united to Christ in the initial saving response to the gospel, it is an impoverished and distorted view of salvation in Christ that we entertain and our doctrine of sanctification is correspondingly impaired. (pgs. 284-285, Collected Writings of John Murray, vol. 4, reviewing So Great Salvation, Barabas)

[326]        Pg. 56, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[327]        The Keswick affirmation that “there are . . . two kinds of Christians . . . depending upon whether the flesh or the Spirit is in control in their lives” (pg. 54, So Great Salvation, Barabas) is also liable to abuse. Certainly some Christians are right with God and walking in sweet and conscious fellowship with Him, while others are backslidden. To affirm, however, that an underclass of Christian exists in whom “sin and failure are still master” and for whom “it is impossible to receive spiritual truth” (pg. 54) is simply false. Those who cannot know spiritual truth are the unregenerate, not an alleged Christian underclass (1 Corinthians 2:14). Furthermore, one wonders how any backslider could ever be reclaimed, if for believers who have fallen into sin, it is “impossible” to receive spiritual truth. Nor does 1 Corinthians 3:1ff. establish that sin is still the master in some Christians—it simply affirms that Corinthian believers were allowing sinful envying and divisiveness in their ranks. Paul could tell the very same assembly that they had been freed from the dominion of sin and been changed by God a few chapters later in the same letter (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). 1 Corinthians 3:1ff. does not by any means establish that sin is still the master of some of the regenerate, or that it is impossible for some true believers to receive spiritual truth. The idea of a distinct class of Christian, “the ‘carnal’ Christian [who] is . . . characterized by a walk that is on the same plane as that of the ‘natural’ man . . . [whose] objectives and affections are centered in the same unspiritual sphere as that of the ‘natural’ man” (pgs. 10-12, He That is Spiritual, Lewis Sperry Chafer, rev. ed.), that is, a class of “Christian” that is just like the unregenerate, is a fiction not taught in 1 Corinthians 3 or in any other portion of the Bible.

[328]        The Broadlands Conference followed Hannah W. Smith to affirm: “Those who love have Him whether they recognize it or not” (pg. 239, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910), so self-examination concerning whether one had consciously been converted was certainly unnecessary.

[329]        E. g., the Oxford Convention proclaimed as truth: “Madame Guyon said, ‘Let us have no self-reflective acts’” (pg. 107, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874). Robert P. Smith stated: “Let us have no retrospective acts,” since when “we have given up ourselves to a life of full consecration and faith, we need not now be analysing our experience” (pgs. 275, 323, ibid), an error that helped both Mr. and Mrs. Smith remain without true conversion and which allowed them to adopt and spread the erotic Bridal Baptism heresy.

[330]        E. g., Robert Smith preached “some do not know the hour of their conversion” while setting forth his doctrine of post-conversion Spirit baptism (pg. 251, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874), and testimonies of those who received “the baptism of the Holy Spirit” through “Mr. Smith’s address” but “cannot remember . . . [their] conversion” were considered valuable enough witness to the truth of his doctrine to be printed and publicly distributed in the standard record of the Oxford Convention (pg. 384, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874). William Boardman likewise downplayed the importance of knowing the time of one’s conversion; see pg. 149, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[331]        No one would dispute that a believer who has a serious head injury and loses his memory, including that of his conversion experience, is still saved. Under other limited sets of circumstances it is possible that a genuine convert might not know when he was born again. For example, a person might, with his whole heart, recognize his lost condition and came to Jesus Christ in repentant faith, but later conclude that he was not really converted, believe he was lost, and therefore seek to repent and believe again to receive pardon. Such a one might be unsure, looking back, on which occasion he was really saved. However, in light of the conscious workings of the mind and will associated with repentance and faith, and the radical transformation involved in regeneration, one who has been born again will almost certainly know when this change took place. It is most unusual that one could repent, be given a new heart and a new nature, pass from being God’s enemy to being His dear child, and receive all the other effects of salvation without knowing about it. The convert who cannot remember when he came to Christ in repentant faith and was regenerated should be about as rare as the husband who cannot remember or say anything about what happened on his wedding day. Likewise, the paedobaptist error, afflicting many Reformed churches, that allows people to allegedly have salvation “sealed” to them by infant baptism so that they do not need to know when they were regenerated but can assume that it happened at some point as long as they live a moral life, and other common errors that fill the world with unconverted people who claim they have been regenerated, but do not know when, must be warned of and cried out against—but Barabas provides no such cautions, instead simply making the unqualified statement that people can be regenerated and not know when the new birth and their conversion took place.

[332]        Pg. 124, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[333]        Pgs. 67-68, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[334]        Unregenerate Protestants would certainly not be helped by those Higher Life preachers who denied the necessity of being converted and regenerated at a particular moment of time, and taught instead the extremely dangerous error of gradual conversion, as was proclaimed, e. g., at the Brighton Convention: “Some are suddenly converted, others gradually; and perhaps in each case of conversion there has been a blending of both gradual and sudden work. There has been a [converting] work going on gradually, perhaps through years of our life” (pg. 203, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875).

[335]        Pg. 35, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[336]        Pgs. 131-132, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[337]        Pg. 137, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[338]        While perhaps Barabas was simply employing hyperbole when he stated that for “multitudes of Christians the Holy Spirit is an impersonal divine influence” (pg. 130, So Great Salvation; cf. pg. 137, Forward Movements, Pierson), such a declaration is careless, as one who truly denies the Trinity to affirm that the Holy Spirit is simply an impersonal influence is an idolator, not a Christian. However, it is not clear that Barabas is simply employing hyperbole in his denial of the necessity of faith in the Trinity since his anti-Trinitarian affirmation has clear precedent among Keswick leaders. Hannah W. Smith did not (she thought) need the Triune God of the Bible; a mystic, non-Trinitarian “bare God” was enough for her. Keswick leaders such as F. B. Meyer taught that all believers in the Old Testament thought that the Holy Spirit was not a Person, but a force, and denied that a saving conversion involves belief in the Trinity. If Barabas meant what he said, he was true to much of Keswick piety, although a traitor to the Trinitarianism confessed in Christian baptism (Matthew 28:19).

[339]        Pg. 138, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Barabas, on this page, does not actually concede that even isolated statements from Keswick speakers and books do in fact outrun Scripture, but only that they seem to do so. If not even an isolated statement from any Keswick speaker or writer, for decade after decade, outran Scripture, the conference truly would be remarkable, as it would differ from every other conference of similar length held by fallen men that has ever existed in history. H. C. G. Moule, while very favorable to the Keswick theology, is more admirably honest than Barabas: “I venture to think that some new statements made [at Keswick], particularly at first, in the course of the movement we have here before us, failed in either scriptural accuracy or scriptural balance. . . . There is no such thing on earth as a vast assembly where, in the utterances of day after day, no mistake is made, no sin of excess or defect in speech committed” (pgs. xi, xiii, preface by Moule in Harford, Memoir of T. D. Harford-Battersby). Similarly, Harford-Battersby noted: “I am not going to deny, indeed I am sadly conscious of the fact, that certain elements of error have been imported into the movement . . . by some less cautious speakers and writers, which, if not eliminated . . . might prove of considerable danger to the minds of those who receive them” (pgs. 173-174, Memoir of T. D. Harford-Battersby, Harford). Thus, “there were elements of danger connected with Mr. Smith’s presentation of truth” (pg. 174, ibid). Evan Hopkins likewise believed that at early Keswick conventions and other Higher Life meetings “things had been said . . . which did lack balance and had a dangerous drift . . . things were certainly said there . . . which were not balanced, and which only disturbed my mind and soul” (pgs. 11, 13, Evan Harry Hopkins: A Memoir, Alexander Smellie). Barabas would have done well to acknowledge such concessions by the founders and pillars of the Keswick theology.

[340]        See the chapter in this book “Spirit Baptism: A Completed Historical Event. An Exposition and Defense of the Historic Baptist View of Spirit Baptism.” The fact that Luke 11:13 does not teach the Keswick doctrine that “Christians [should] ask for the Holy Spirit” (pg. 140, So Great Salvation, Barabas) is also examined there. The Keswick view of Luke 11:13 was also taught at the Broadlands Conference (e. g., pg. 265, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910). What is more, Keswick writers like Andrew Murray even taught that the unconverted could be saved by asking for the Holy Spirit (cf. pg. 14, Why Do You Not Believe?: Words of Instruction and Encouragement for All Who Are Seeking the Lord, Murray). Such an idea is totally contrary to Scripture’s consistent teaching of justification by faith in Christ alone, not by prayer, and the direct object of saving faith as Christ crucified (cf. John 3:14-18), not specifically the Person of the Spirit. Of course, it is also true that faith in Christ really involves faith in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (cf. John 5:24).

[341]        Pgs. 103-104, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[342]        Pg. 132, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[343]        Pg. 139, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Barabas follows Andrew Murray in the quoted affirmation. Murray, since he believed that all the gifts, from healing to tongues, were for the entire church age, could, with the modern charismatic movement, consistently make this affirmation. Modern non-charismatics who seek to combine cessationism with Keswick theology cannot do so, and nobody should do so, since the Bible teaches that the sign gifts have ceased.

[344]        Note the discussion below of Keswick and continuationism.

[345]        Pg. 133, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[346]        Such a distinction also needs to be more carefully and specifically defined if it is to be employed of the terms in the book of Acts. Careful consistency in terminology is not employed by Barabas himself, as he quotes Evan Hopkins’s affirmation for a filling/full distinction on pg. 133, and then on pg. 134 quotes G. Campbell Morgan making a different distinction between a “perpetual filling [not perpetual fulness] of the Spirit” and “specific fillings to overflowing.”

[347]        Barabas does so on pgs. 141, 145, 188. Acts 5:32 is the only verse quoted or referenced by Barabas from pgs. 134-145, the section where he sets forth the Keswick position on how to become Spirit-filled. It is unfortunate that the only verse cited has nothing to do with the question, other than the fact that one cannot be Spirit filled until he has been converted, a fact which is not at all the point made by Barabas in his use of the text.

[348]        Pg. 141, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[349]        Cf. Acts 2:38; 11:17; 15:8; Romans 5:5; 8:15; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Galatians 4:6; 1 John 3:24. Compare also the uses of di÷dwmi in Acts 5:31 & 11:18.

[350]        That is, in Acts 5:32 God gave (aorist) the gift of the Spirit (to\ Pneuvma . . . to\ ›Agion, o§ e¶dwken oJ Qeo\ß) to those who are now obeying Him (present participle, toi√ß peiqarcouvsin aujtwˆ◊). The verse does not affirm that God will give the Spirit to those who will obey, or that the Holy Spirit was given to those who had gone through some process of obedience or certain steps set forth in Keswick theology in order to obtain Him, but that He was given through the new birth to those who are now obeying Him—a description of all regenerate people.

[351]        Pgs. 68-84, So Great Salvation.

[352]        Pgs. 69-70, So Great Salvation.

[353]        Pgs. 70-71, So Great Salvation.

[354]        Pgs. 71-73, So Great Salvation.

[355]        Pgs. 74-83, So Great Salvation.

[356]        Pgs. 83-84, So Great Salvation.

[357]        While Barabas does not cite even one advocate of this allegedly common position on sanctification, he does reference J. Elder Cumming, Through the Eternal Spirit (Stirling, Stirling Tract Enterprise, 1937), pgs. 112-114 (pgs. 152ff. in the 1896 ed.). Unfortunately, Cumming, in his Keswick classic, likewise provides not a shred of documentation for this allegedly common view.

[358]        Pg. 74, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[359]        Pg. 51, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[360]        The classical orthodox affirmation that indwelling sinfulness is progressively eradicated and the regenerate man progressively strengthened, so that believers really and personally become more holy, rather than indwelling sin merely being counteracted in them, as in the Keswick theology, is evident in documents such as the 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith:

1. They who are united to Christ, effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new Spirit created in them, through the virtue of Christ’s death, and resurrection; are also (Acts 20:32; Romans 6:5, 6) farther sanctified, really, and personally, through the same virtue, (John 17:17; Ephesians 3:16, 17, 18, 19; 1 Thessalonians 5:21, 22, 23) by his word and Spirit dwelling in them; (Romans 6:14) the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, (Galatians 5:24) and the several lusts thereof, are more and more weakened, and mortified; and they more and more quickened, and (Colossians 1:11) strengthened in all saving graces, to the (2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14) practice of all true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

2. This Sanctification is (1 Thessalonians 5:23) throughout, in the whole man, yet imperfect (Romans 7:18, 23) in this life; there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part, whence ariseth a (Galatians 5:17; 1 Peter 2:11) continual, and irreconcilable war; the Flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the Flesh.

3. In which war, although the remaining corruption for a time may much (Romans 7:23) prevail; yet through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ the (Romans 6:14) regenerate part doth over-come; and so the Saints grow in Grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, (Ephesians 4:15, 16; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 7:1.) pressing after an heavenly life, in Evangelical Obedience to all the commands which Christ as Head and King, in his Word hath prescribed to them. (Article 13, “On Sanctification”)

[361]        Barabas’s discussion and attempted refutation is on pgs. 71-84 of So Great Salvation.

[362]        Barabas cites Warfield, Perfectionism vol. 2, pgs. 579-583. He does, commendably, at least quote Warfield’s position correctly, even if much of his argument against Warfield is based upon misunderstanding. The statements quoted by Barabas from Warfield represent part of the truth on sanctification, although Warfield’s theology has other problems. Since historic Baptist and non-Calvinist theology is taught in Scripture, the Presbyterian Calvinist Warfield certainly had areas where he deserved criticism, from his paedobaptism, to his advocacy of TULIP soteriology, to his opposition to young-earth creationism, to his acceptance of unbelieving textual criticism as opposed to a faith-based acceptance of the Textus Receptus, and so on.

[363]        The only texts Barabas cites in his argument are 1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Timothy 4:10; 1 John 1:8 & John 15:5. None of them are especially relevant as a refutation of Warfield’s position and the classical orthodox doctrine of progressive sanctification.

[364]        While Scripture does not support Barabas, Hannah W. Smith does; she wrote: “I am inclined to think [there] is in reality no change in me” in sanctification, “but only my being ‘filled with the Spirit’” in “the Baptism of the Holy Ghost” (Letter to Sally, August 1867, reproduced in the entry for March 19 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter). Mrs. Smith was confirmed in this Quaker false doctrine through “an old book” she received from “a Friend” that taught that “Christ is in the believer instead of all created habits of grace,” so that neither “meekness, or wisdom, or any other virtue” is in the believer “from any habits formed” by him, “or store of these things laid up within” (Letter to Abby, May 28, 1867, reproduced in the entry for March 18 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter). The believer, she thought, is never made the slightest bit more holy, never actually being “filled with any goodness . . . nor with any righteousness . . . but simply with Jesus”—indeed, he does not even have a real new nature, but “the new nature in us” is nothing “more than Christ in us.” (Letter to a Friend, March 28, 1867 & Journal, 1867, reproduced in the entries for March 10 & 27 of ibid). Conseequently, Romans 6:6 does not mean that the body of sin is truly progressively destroyed, but instead the “indwelling presence of Christ” merely “renders inert” the body of sin, leaving the believer totally unchanged (pg. 149, The Record of a Happy Life: Being Memorials of Franklin Whitall Smith, Hannah W. Smith. Boston, MA: Willard Tract Repository, 1873).

[365]        Keswick is actually plainly wrong in rejecting the orthodox Christian doctrine of progressive eradication. As John Murray explained:

Keswick insists upon counteraction as opposed to suppression and eradication. . . . If we are to use any of the terms mentioned above with reference to the grace of God as it is brought to bear upon the corrupt nature . . . eradication . . . is the only proper one. It is by progressive renewal of heart and mind that we are progressively sanctified. And that is just saying that it is by progressive eradication of inward corruption that we are progressively conformed to the image of Christ; a progressive conformation which comes to expression in the life of conscious understanding, feeling, and will. It is only as we are sanctified within that we can be [truly] sanctified in what is more overt and voluntary. B. B. Warfield comes in for criticism at Barabas’ hands in this connection. But the criticism exposes the fallacy and even inconsistency of the Keswick position. What Warfield said was that the Holy Spirit ‘cures our sinning precisely by curing our sinful nature; He makes the tree good that the fruit may be good’ (p. 71). This Barabas regards as ‘unscriptural and dangerous’ (p. 72). But on any scriptural view of human nature and of sanctification how could progressive conformation to divine holiness be by any other process than by that of cleansing the heart of its inherent corruption? And this is nothing if it is not eradication of that corruption, an eradication, of course, which will not be complete until sanctification is complete. Besides, Warfield means in principle what is formally expressed [though, unfortunately, never shown to be consistent with the dominant Keswick paradigm, nor ever developed] by Barabas himself when he speaks of ‘a gradual transformation by the Holy Spirit who works within’ (p. 85). And Warfield would be the first to say of this process that it can ‘never be complete in this life’ (id.). Barabas’ averment to the effect that on Warfield’s position ‘it should be practically, if not entirely, impossible to sin’ (p. 73) toward the end of the believer’s life evinces again a failure to assess the gravity and liability of any remaining corruption, a gravity of which Warfield took full account. (pgs. 283-284, Collected Writings of John Murray, review of So Great Salvation, Barabas)

[366]        Pgs. 72-73, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Compare the view of Evan Hopkins, who taught that Keswick “has rejected the doctrine of eradication . . . and has insisted on the wiser doctrine, and the happier experience, of counteraction,” on the misrepresentation and false assumption, comparable to that of Barabas, that the classic Baptist and Protestant doctrine of the progressive eradication of indwelling sin meant that “the soul . . . w[as] secure now from contamination and incapable of defilement . . . [this is] the doctrine of eradication” (pg. 82, Evan Harry Hopkins: A Memoir, Alexander Smellie). Hopkins, having misunderstood the classical doctrine, concludes instead: “There is no eradication of sin . . . but there may be the continual counteraction of sin in our heart and history . . . a ‘condition of purity’ maintained in the man by Another” (pgs. 92-93, ibid. Italics in original.).

[367]        For example, the Oxford Convention taught:

The natural tendency of Peter was to sink [when walking on the water]. Jesus counteracted this, and Peter walked on the water until he took his eye off from Jesus and looked at the waves. Our tendency by nature is to sin, but faith in Jesus meets this tendency to evil [and] . . . brings into operation the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, which sets us free from the law of sin and death. (pg. 53, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874)

For Keswick and its antecedents there is no actual growth in the believer’s inward holiness—indwelling sin is not eradicated, only counteracted.

[368]        Pg. 72, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Italics in original.

[369]        Pg. 49, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[370]        Pgs. 72-73, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[371]        Pg. 73, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[372]        Pg. 73, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[373]        Pg. 129, Studies in Perfectionism, Part One, The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 7, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.

[374]        One wonders if Barabas was aware that Warfield, in his “The Biblical Doctrine of Faith” (Biblical Doctrines, vol. 2 of Works), made statements such as: “Freed from all illusion of earthly help, and most of all from all self-confidence, [the believer] is meanwhile to live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4).” Perhaps instead of grossly misrepresenting Warfield and affirming that the Princeton theologian’s position leads a believer to more and more self-dependence, carelessness, and negligence, Barabas should have considered what Warfield actually said, and noted that Warfield warned that the life of faith requires, “most of all,” a rejection of “all self-confidence.”

[375]        Indeed, the Keswick doctrine that the believer “need . . . not . . . be conscious of [his] . . . tendency to sin” (pgs. 49-50, So Great Salvation, Barabas) and that he must desist from “struggle and painful effort . . . earnest resolutions and self-denial” (pg. 90) is more likely to lead one to let down his guard than the doctrine of Scripture that sin, although progressively eradicated by the Spirit, remains within the believer until the return of Christ or the end of his life, and he ought to always be conscious of it, guard against it, and strive against it. However, while Barabas dangerously affirms that the Christian does not need to be conscious of his tendency to sin, he does at least warn that one must not “be ignorant of Satan’s devices” (pg. 50) about sinlessness. Hopefully the Christian who hears Keswick preaching will not take the affirmation of freedom from the consciousness of sin too seriously, while taking the warning not to be ignorant of Satan’s delusions on this matter very seriously, and consequently not be much less watchful than if he believed what Scripture actually teaches.

[376]        See, e. g., pg. 183, The Biographia Leodiensis, or Biographical Sketches of the Worthies of Leeds and Neighbourhood, R. B. Taylor (London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co, 1865), for a brief biographical sketch of Thomas Adam (1701-1784).

37         “Private Thoughts on Religion,” by the Rev. Thomas Adam: ed. Poughkeepsie, 1814, pp. 22 ff. There are many other editions.

38         “These entries from his private diary, which were meant for no eyes but his own, bring before us a man of no common power of analytic and speculative thought. With an intrepidity and integrity of self-scrutiny perhaps unexampled, he writes down problems started, and questionings raised, and conflicts gone through; whilst his ordinarily flaccid style grows pungent and strong. Ever since their publication these ‘Private Thoughts’ have exercised a strange fascination over intellects at opposite poles. Coleridge’s copy of the little volume (1795) . . . remains to attest, by its abounding markings, the spell it laid upon him, while such men as Bishop Heber, Dr. Thomas Chalmers, and John Stuart Mill, and others, have paid tribute to the searching power of the ‘thoughts.’ ” A. B. Grosart, in Leslie Stephen’s “Dictionary of National Biography,” i. 1885, pp. 89, 90.

39         “Private Thoughts on Religion,” as cited, p. 72

40         P. 74.

41         P. 218.

42         P. 212.

43         P. 71.

44         P. 129. In the same spirit with these quotations, but with perhaps even greater poignancy of rhetorical expression is this declaration of Alexander Whyte’s (“Bunyan Characters,” iii. 1895, p. 136): “Our guilt is so great that we dare not think of it. . . . It crushes our minds with a perfect stupor of horror, when for a moment we try to imagine a day of judgment when we shall be judged for all the deeds that we have done in the body. Heart-beat after heart-beat, breath after breath, hour after hour, day after day, year after year, and all full of sin; all nothing but sin from our mother’s womb to our grave.”

45         P. 103.

46         P. 99.

47         P. 180.

48         P. 179.

49         P. 209.

50         P. 216.

51         P. 219.

52         P. 242.

53         P. 234.

54         P. 247.

55         P. 225.

56         P. 231.

57         Pp. 223 f.

58         P. 220.

59         P. 225.

60         P. 253.

[377]        Pgs. 126-133, Perfectionism, Part One, vol. 7 of The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, by B. B. Warfield.

[378]        Pgs. 130-132, Perfectionism, Part One, Warfield.

[379]        “A Review of He that is Spiritual,” Benjamin B. Warfield. Orig. pub. Princeton Theological Review 17 (April 1919) 322-327, reviewing He That is Spiritual, Lewis Sperry Chafer. (New York, NY: Our Hope, 1918. Reprinted on pgs. 211-218 of Christ the Lord: The Reformation and Lordship Salvation, ed. Michael Horton. Note that Barabas makes the same sort of false dichotomy that Chafer does—perhaps a further line of evidence that Barabas was ignorant of Warfield’s argument.

[380]        Pg. 201, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Barabas would have done well to carefully investigate the writings of what is very likely the most prominent historical Keswick critic before composing a Keswick critique of Warfield’s theology. Then again, his sloppy study of Warfield is an accurate reflection of the Higher Life methodology overall, as “Keswick furnishes us with . . . no carefully prepared, weighty discourses of a theological nature” (pg. 51, So Great Salvation).

[381]        On pg. 72 of So Great Salvation, Barabas cites pgs. 579-583 of Warfield’s Perfectionism vol 2, where Warfield explicitly states that the Holy Spirit counteracts the sin principle as well as suppressing and progressively eradicating it. Indeed, Warfield’s affirmation “Counteraction there is; and suppression there is; but most fundamentally of all there is eradication; and all these work one and the self-same Spirit” (pg. 583, Perfectionism, vol. 2) is made in-between two quotations Barabas makes from pgs. 583 and 584 of Warfield’s work, a mere handful of sentences after the end of Barabas’s quotation. Barabas’s failure to state Warfield’s position correctly in such a situation is both most regrettable and inexcusable.

[382]        Pg. 583, Studies in Perfectionism, Part Two, The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 8, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.

[383]        In the sense Warfield employs the word control and counteract the words can be legitimately employed to describe one aspect of the Spirit’s work in sanctification. However, the Keswick quietistic and perfectionistic penumbras associated with counteract make control a generally superior designation.

[384]        Pg. 164, “An American Tale,” Schaefer, in Christ the Lord: The Reformation and Lordship Salvation, ed. Horton.

[385]        Regretably, Barabas is not alone in his misrepresentation of Warfield. John Walvoord, reviewing Warfield’s Studies in Perfectionism from a Chaferian, pro-Higher Life perspective, makes the astonishing affirmation that “Warfield never seems to have adequately distinguished spirituality from perfectionism” (pg. 358, Bibliotheca Sacra 116:464 (October 1959)). A more accurate assessment, made by a comprehensive study of Warfield’s works rather than by the utterly unwarranted assumption that opposition to Keswick is opposition to deep Christian spirituality and passionate fellowship with God, was made by Fred G. Zaspel:

Warfield . . . glories in the lavish provisions of salvation in Christ. The Christian’s privileged standing as a saint; his status as a child of God in the realization of the Father’s love and fellowship; his rich enjoyment of the Spirit; his freedom of conscience despite his sin; the fullness of righteousness imputed to him in justification; the new life, “repristination,” purity, and inward and outward transformation all inevitably realized in renewal and in sanctification; the hope and final realization of glory with Christ—these are all common themes in Warfield. (pg. 508, The Theology of B. B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary, F. G. Zaspel)

[386]        Pg. 73, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Ironically, one of Warfield’s critiques of the Higher Life theology is that it hinders the genuine dependence on God fostered by the classic evangelical doctrine:

Nevertheless, the open teaching of the whole [Higher Life] movement is to the effect that God acts—and can act—in the matter of sanctification, as in the whole matter of salvation, only as man, by his prior action, releases Him for action. This is not a wholesome attitude to take towards God. It tends to looking upon Him as the instrument which we use to secure our ends, and that is a magical rather than a religious attitude. In the end it inhibits religion which includes in its essence a sense of complete dependence on God. (pgs. 554-555, Studies in Perfectionism, Part Two, The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 8, B. B. Warfield.)

Would Warfield criticize the Higher Life system for inhibiting that “sense of complete dependence on God” which is the “essence” of religion if he were truly an advocate of ethical self-sufficiency? Let his own words indicate his attitude toward being ethically self-sufficient: “Ethicism and solafideanism—these are the eternal contraries, mutually exclusive. . . . [It must be] Christ Only, Christ All in All, with us; only then, do we obey fully Paul’s final exhortation: ‘Let your joy be in the Lord’” (pgs. 324-325, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916).

42         For example, “Every-Day Religion,” 1893, p. 165. [Footnote in Warfield.]

43         “Grace and Power,” 1916, p. 62. [Footnote in Warfield.]

44         “Grace and Power,” chapter viii. pp. 131 ff.; also printed in tract form under the title of “Must Christians Sin?” [Footnote in Warfield.]

45         The phrase is taken from O. A. Curtis, “The Christian Faith,” p. 390. [Footnote in Warfield.]

46         pp. 93, 94. On the ill-treatment which the Seventh Chapter of Romans has received in general from the members of this school see some interesting remarks by H. A. Boardman as cited, chapter vii. pp. 98 ff. [Footnote in Warfield.]

47         P. 93. [Footnote in Warfield.]

[387]        Pgs. 579-584, The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield: Perfectionism, Part Two (Vol. 8 of Works. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.

[388]        Pg. 51, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[389]        Pg. 74-83, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[390]        Pg.74, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[391]        Romans 7:14-25 is analyzed in “Romans 7:14-25: A Depiction of Part of the Normal Christian Life.” The Keswick position is evaluated in that chapter. It will not be discussed further here.

[392]        Indeed, the Broadlands doctrine of faith was “[s]ome of the most valuable of the teaching at Broadlands,” preached there by “Mrs. Smith” (pgs. 263-264, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910).

[393]        The question of whether sanctification is by faith alone, just as justification is by faith alone, is evaluated in the chapter “Does Colossians 2:6-7 Teach Sanctification by Faith Alone?”

[394]        Effort is certainly involved in a man’s growing—if he stops eating, drinking, exercising, and the like, he will grow weak and sickly with great speed. The man who grows physically strong so that he can become the winner of a race works very hard (1 Corinthians 9:24). So spiritual eating, drinking, and exercise are necessary for spiritual growth. It is pushing an analogy far beyond its proper limits, and ignoring the many plain statements about the striving and struggle God commands the believer to employ in sanctification, to draw Keswick conclusions from growth metaphors. While Keswick conclusions about effortlessness in the Christian life are not validated by the metaphors of Scripture, they are the indisputable fruit of the pre-Keswick Conventions at Broadlands, Oxford, and Brighton, e. g.: “Fruit is an effortless thing, it comes by abiding in the vine . . . not by struggles” (pg. 241, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874).

[395]        Pg.74-75, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[396]        Pg. 75, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[397]        Pg. 83, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[398]        Pg. 75, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[399]        toigarouvn; “a particle introducing an inference, for that very reason, then, therefore”
(BDAG), an “emphatic marke[r] of result, often associated with exhortation — ‘for this very reason, therefore, hence, therefore indeed, so then’” (Louw-Nida).

[400]        This phrase became a popular Keswick cry through its use by Victorious Life leader Mark Trumbull. Note the comments on pgs. 155-157, Keep in Step with the Spirit, Packer. Snodgrass notes:

[S]anctification [is] the work of God. . . . [b]ut . . . it is important in another view that we should regard it as the work and the duty of man. The subject of it . . . is bound to be holy[.] . . . [H]e is properly dealt with in the use of arguments, exhortations, and motives. He has a duty to perform and work to do; and that is to follow holiness, to purify himself, to cleanse himself from all filthiness both of the flesh and of the spirit. In prosecuting this work, his reliance for success must be [o]n the Spirit of God working by appointed means. He must be active, yet he must not depend on himself. He must have recourse to meditation and prayer, to watchfulness and self-examination, to [C]hristian intercourse and counsel, and to all positive institutions, especially the reading and hearing of the word; but, in all this, he must remember that the means are nothing without an influence from God to render them effectual. Their whole efficiency lies in the fact . . . that they are of God’s appointment, and that he has promised to bless them. And hence, our only encouragement to be active in the use of means, is made to rest upon our knowledge of the interposition and the agency of God. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” [Philippians 2:12-13]. Nor is the[re] any inconsistency or confusion in the idea of these two agencies as working together in the production of the same result. They are not of the same kind; the sphere of their operation is not the same; one is efficient, the other instrumental. And, so accustomed are we to assign to each the place and position of a real agency, that we often ascribe the same event, sometimes to God, and sometimes to man. We say of an individual that he has risen from indigence to affluence, or from obscurity to distinction, by the Providence of God; but we are not supposed to contradict ourselves, if we afterwards say, that he has succeeded by his own prudence, wisdom, and skill. Both statements are true, though in different senses. And accordingly they are both adopted by the sacred writers in reference to the work of sanctification. In one place, we are taught to call upon God to sanctify us; in another, we are commanded to sanctify ourselves. One introduces God as promising us a new heart and a right spirit, and another commands us to make to ourselves a new heart and a right spirit. And both these views are important in practice, as well as true and consistent in theory. We need the idea of human agency to incite us to activity; and we need the doctrine of Divine influence and efficiency to remind us of our dependence, to make us “pray without ceasing[.]” . . . [Thus] sanctification . . . [is properly] considered both as the work of God and the duty of man. (pgs. 13-18, The Scripture Doctrine of Sanctification, W. D. Snodgrass)

[401]        Cf. pg. 128, Keep In Step With the Spirit, J. I. Packer.

[402]        Pg. 74-75, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[403]        Thomas Smith wrote:

Another evil that necessarily follows from the erroneous [Keswick] conception of holiness is the representation that pervades these writings of the attainment of holiness by the believer without effort on his part. The idea which they have suggested to us is that of a man put into a boat, lying in it in absolute rest, and being carried down a gently flowing stream; whereas that suggested by the apostolic writings is that of a strong rower, straining every muscle to stem the current, with the knowledge that he shall ultimately succeed in reaching the goal, but only in virtue of strength imparted to him by Christ, and received by faith. The one representation is that of faith dispensing with effort, the other of faith enabling for effort. The one seems to say, “Work not out your salvation, for God worketh for you;” the other says, “Work out your salvation, for God worketh in you.” In both cases a certain work of God is the premise, but the conclusions are directly the opposite of each other, just because the works postulated in the premises are altogether different. Somewhere in the course of our reading of [Higher Life] works, we have fallen upon the expression, “sanctification by works,” as opposed to “sanctification by faith,” and descriptive of the prevalant [classical evangelical, non-Keswick] view of sanctification. No one who understands that view, and who does not design to misrepresent it, could possibly state such an antithesis. . . . The question is as to the specific action of faith in the production of holiness in the heart and life of the believer. We hold as strongly as our [Higher Life] friends can hold that Christ is made to his people sanctification, quite as really and quite as much as he is made unto them righteousness or justification; but in ways according with the essential difference between justification and sanctification, between judicial righteousness and personal holiness. (pgs. 267-268, “Means and Measure of Holiness,” Thomas Smith. The British and Foreign Evangelical Review (April 1876) 251-280)

[404]        Pgs. 83-84, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[405]        While Scripture does not support Barabas, at least Hannah W. Smith’s writings do so. She taught: “[W]e are passive of choice and willingly . . . are to grow . . . without any concern about our own growing[.]” We are to “tak[e] no . . . care for . . . spiritual growth” (Letter to Daughter, May 25, 1878 & Letter to Anna, July 27, 1878, reproduced in the entries for August 26-28 & September 3 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter).

[406]        Pg. 84, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Of course, one must trust ultimately in Christ, not in the means through which Christ gives His people grace, but Barabas does not merely speak against such an error.

[407]        Pg. 84, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[408]        Note the chapter “The Means Of Sanctification,” by James Petigru Boyce, for the role of the Word of God in sanctification and its connection with other things termed “means of grace” in Protestantism, such as baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Were Barabas warning against sacramentarianism or an ex opere operato form of doctrine, his warning would be wholesome and welcome. Unfortunately, he never even mentions or gives a single word of warning against sacramental corruptions, while attacking as unscriptural the idea that sanctification comes through the means God has appointed for the believer’s growth in holiness.

[409]        kataxio/w, clearly a sanctification term; compare the other uses of the verb in Luke 20:35; Acts 5:41; 2 Thessalonians 1:5.

[410]        1 Corinthians 16:13; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Peter 4:7; Revelation 3:3, etc.

[411]        The whole of Psalm 38 is entirely against this Keswick concept that the righteous man should not complain about the sinfulness of his own heart:

Psa. 38:0   A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance. 1   O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. 2 For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. 3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. 4 For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. 5 My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. 6 I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. 7 For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. 9 Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. 10 My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me. 11 My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off. 12   They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long. 13 But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth. 14 Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs. 15 For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God. 16 For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me. 17 For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me. 18 For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin. 19 But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied. 20 They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is. 21 Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me. 22 Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.

Such a song would be a very poor fit at a Keswick convention, and Hannah. W. Smith would be much displeased with the Scriptural holiness set forth in it.

[412]        Pg. 85, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Barabas states on the same page that Keswick accepts the classical doctrine that “experimental sanctification is the day-by-day transformation of the believer into the image of Christ, and is progressive in nature. Beginning at regeneration, it continues all through life, but is never complete.” However, the description of sanctification as process, crisis, and gift is “more characteristic of Keswick” and is “more often” employed than the classical doctrine.

[413]        Pg. 99, Chapter 5, The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life, by Evan Hopkins. Barabas indicates his dependence upon Hopkins’s exposition (pg. 85, So Great Salvation). Hopkins’s “discussion of ‘God’s Gift of Holiness’” at Keswick in 1899 was also “quoted at length by Steven Barabas, in So Great Salvation” (pgs. 404-405, Keswick’s Authentic Voice, ed. Stevenson; the actual address by Hopkins follows on pgs. 436-442).

[414]        Barabas states: “Much is made by Keswick of sanctification as a crisis. It is true, Keswick says, that sanctification invariably begins at regeneration. There can be no question about this. On the other hand, many Christians do not make the progress in sanctification that they should. . . . For this reason real progress is often not made until they come to a spiritual crisis” (pg. 86, So Great Salvation).

[415]        Pgs. 108-127, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[416]        Pg. 110, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Keswick writers do indeed regularly affirm such a crisis/process model; for example, Watchman Nee wrote that sanctification “usually takes the two-fold form of a crisis leading to a continuous process” (“A Gate and a Path,” The Normal Christian Life, Watchman Nee).

[417]        See, e. g., Hannah W. Smith’s preaching of Keswick’s crisis-process model on pgs. 125ff., The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910. Robert proclaimed at Oxford:

It is to bring you to a crisis of faith that we have come together[.] . . . We preach this, not as a finality, but as the only true commencement of a life of progress[.] . . . [T]he Rest of Faith . . . is not a finality but the true and only commencement of a life of progressive sanctification. . . . It was constantly pointed out that, so far from [the Higher Life] being the finality of Christian experience, it was but the commencement of a course of “progressive sanctification[.]” (pgs. 42, 51, 278-279, 332, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874. Italics in original.)

[418]        Pg. 114-115, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Compare the belief of Evan Hopkins in “the crisis that prefaced the process . . . the crisis must take place before the process has its beginning” (pgs. 56, 94-95, Evan Harry Hopkins: A Memoir, Alexander Smellie).

[419]        Pgs. 109-110, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[420]        Pg. 116-117, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[421]        Pg. 109, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[422]        Pg. 112, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[423]        Pg. 116, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[424]        Pg. 125, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Interestingly, Barabas wrote concerning this crisis decision: “For many people the crisis is prolonged—perhaps even over years—and the decision is made piecemeal; for some there are stages in the crisis and in the decision[.] . . . The decision is the inescapable condition of progressive sanctification” (pgs. 124-125). One wonders what state the person is in who makes the decision piecemeal and in stages; is he still a carnal Christian, has he ascended to the Higher Life of the spiritual Christian, or is he a third type, the carnal/spiritual Christian, a sort of half-and-half that has both not yet met the condition that begins progressive sanctification and yet has also met it, so that progressive sanctification can begin and yet has not begun? Note that this carnal/spiritual Christian has, because he has surrended much, but not yet all, of his life to God, made progress in sanctification, as he is certainly further along than the alleged category of Christian that is still totally in charge of his own life. However, although he is further along, since he has not yet fully surrendered, he still cannot even begin the process of progressive sanctification, according to Barabas. Barabas’s contradictory arguments are just another example of the fact that “Keswick furnishes us with no carefully prepared, weighty discourses of a theological nature” (pg. 51). His contradictions, unintelligibility, and incoherence are good Keswick teaching.

[425]        Pgs. 86-107, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[426]        Pg. 86, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[427]        Pg. 86, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[428]        Pg. 88, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Barabas quotes Ruth Paxson, Life on the Highest Plane, Vol. II, pg. 107.

[429]        Pg. 89, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[430]        Pg. 89, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[431]        Pg. 90, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[432]        Pg. 90, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[433]        Pg. 92, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[434]        Pg. 94, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[435]        For example, the Oxford Convention set forth the Keswick doctrine of counteraction:

The natural tendency of Peter was to sink [when walking on the water]. Jesus counteracted this, and Peter walked on the water until he took his eye off from Jesus and looked at the waves. Our tendency by nature is to sin, but faith in Jesus meets this tendency to evil [and] . . . brings into operation the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, which sets us free from the law of sin and death. (pg. 53, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874)

Thus, for Keswick, as at Oxford, there is no actual growth in the believer’s inward holiness—indwelling sin is not eradicated, but only counteracted, so that the Higher Life keeps one above water, but devoid of any actual progress.

[436]        Pg. 95, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Compare the teaching at the Oxford Convention:

[S]ettle it once for all that we shall never find anything good in ourselves of any kind whatsoever. Christians are apt to think they can have stocks of virtues laid up in themselves [that is, that God actually makes them holy in progressive sanctification, but this is false.] . . . God’s way is . . . just like drawing on a bank. Our money is in the bank, not in our pockets. God never gives us anything [inwardly.] . . . We get up each morning with nothing, and we go to bed with nothing. (pgs. 302-304, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874)

[437]        Pg. 89, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[438]        Pg. 95, So Great Salvation, Barabas. It is noteworthy that an examination of the personal journals of T. D. Harford-Battersby, co-founder and chairman of the Keswick convention, “do not bear witness to unfailing victory, to neverbroken peace,” but to a kind of spiritual life that is entirely consistent with the classical Baptist and old evangelical view of Romans 7:14-25 (pgs. 188ff., Memoir of T. D. Harford-Battersby, Harford). Mr. Harford-Battersby’s private journal was more honest about the continuing reality and influence of indwelling sin in the regenerate than was the public preaching of the Keswick theology.

[439]        Pg. 100, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[440]        Mrs. Smith wrote: “We can do nothing . . . [o]ur only part . . . is to stop working” (Journal, 1867, reproduced in the entry for March 26 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter). Compare Evan Roberts’s exhortation to be “simply trusting and not trying,” a maxim on sanctification that was also adopted by Pentecostalism (pg. 65, Azuza Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan).

[441]        Pg. 100, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[442]        Pgs. 106-107, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[443]        Pg. 85, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[444]        Pg. 88, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[445]        Pg. 47, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[446]        Pg. 47, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[447]        Pg. 49, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Keswick theology often affirms that Romans 6:6 does not actually teach that the body of sin is progressively, through mortification, “destroyed,” but that it is merely “counteracted.” As noted in the discussion above in the section “The Body of Sin Is Indeed Destroyed, Not Merely Counteracted,” this conclusion of Keswick is false.

[448]        Pg. 49, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[449]        Pg. 96, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[450]        Pg. 104, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[451]        Pg. 109, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[452]        Pg. 90, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[453]        E. g., pg. 128, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910.

[454]        Pg. 94, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[455]        Pg. 139, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[456]        E. g., pg. 128, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910.

[457]        E. g., Mrs. Smith preached at the 1874 Broadlands Conference that through a “step of faith” where the believer “surrender[s] himself and trust[s] . . . we put ourselves into the hands of the Divine Potter . . . [we] can do nothing [else]” (pgs. 124-125, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910). Broadlands taught that the “potential force of the Holy Spirit” by such means becomes “the actual, when we are willingly receptive of His inflowing powers. We must be willing . . . [t]here must be complete acquiescence” (pgs. 190-191, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910. Italics reproduced from the original.). For Mrs. Smith, the Broadlands Conference, and the Keswick Convention, the Holy Spirit falls helpless before the sovereign human will, while Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit is the sovereign God who works to incline and renew the will through His Almighty works of regeneration and progressive sanctification, leading men to fall in worship before the Triune Jehovah, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

[458]        Pg. 112, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[459]        In addition to the errors mentioned below, one wonders, for example, if unbelievers in rebellion against God, such as Esau and the Pharoah of the Exodus, were unresisting and quiet in the divine Potter’s hands before He hardened them (Romans 9:18) and they were fitted for destruction (Romans 9:14-24). While Keswick affirms the Divine Potter “cannot” work until the clay acts a certain way, Scripture says the Divine potter makes the clay what He wills by His own power: “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” (Romans 9:21).

[460]        E. g., at the Oxford Conference Robert P. Smith proclaimed: “President Edwards’ teaching of the affections governing the will [in, e. g., his The Religious Affections] I believe to be untrue. I believe in the yet older saying [of the Quietists Madame Guyon and Archbishop Fénelon], that ‘True religion resides in the will alone’” (pg. 134, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874; also pgs. 279, 331). Nothing positive is said about the views of Jonathan Edwards at the Oxford Convention, and nothing negative is said about Madame Guyon, Archbishop Fénelon, or the Catholic Quietism of the Dark Ages.

[461]        For example, Broadlands affirmed that men need to feel sorry for God because He is suffering when men rebel against Him: “Looking at the sins and sufferings of men, we must remember God is suffering too, and we must have sympathy not with men only, but with God” (pg. 175, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910). Men are not only to fulfill their duties to God, but God supposedly has duties to creatures that He must fulfill; indeed, “Jesus is the revelation of God fulfilling His duty to His creatures” (pg. 213, ibid). Indeed, the Triune God is not, it seems, self-sufficient, but creatures are necessary to Jesus Christ: “The Church, the body, is necessary to Christ the Head” (pg. 210, ibid). The Keswick doctrine of Divine inability and human ability was developed by Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts into the doctrine of the inability of God to Rapture the saints who have not entered into the Highest Life, and by the Word of Faith movement into the doctrine of men as gods.

[462]        Compare Mrs. Smith’s exposition of the impotence and total inactivity of spiritual blesings until individually activated by faith on pgs. 128-129, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910.

[463]        E. g., pg. 120, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910; pg. 26ff., Forward Movements, Pierson.

[464]        Pgs. 109-110, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[465]        Pg. 116-117, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[466]        Pg. 74, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[467]        Pg. 99, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[468]        This problem with the Keswick theology has been pointed out since the time of its invention. For example, in 1876 Thomas Smith pointed out this flaw in the Keswick doctrine as explained by its founder, Hannah W. Smith:

Mrs. Smith’s requirement of “entire consecration” as preliminary to sanctification . . . [is] utterly subversive of the very doctrine that it is designed to establish, subversive not only of the doctrine of holiness by faith, as that doctrine is held by Mrs. Smith and her friends, but subversive of the doctrine of holiness by faith, as held by the universal [body of believers belonging to] Christ. Be it distinctly noted that this entire consecration is uniformly represented as preliminary to the obtaining of holiness by faith, and as a necessary and indispensable condition thereto. . . . Mrs. Smith . . . places this consecration absolutely before the exercise of faith in Christ for sanctification, making no allusion to any aid to be received from Christ, or any working or co-working of the Holy Spirit, in order to the making of this consecration. But what in reality is consecration but sanctification? What is entire consecration but perfect holiness? Either they are identical, or consecration is the result of sanctification. In no possible sense can it be said truly that consecration goes before and sanctification follows. . . . Mrs. Smith’s system is simply this—Make yourself perfectly holy first, then go to Christ, believe that he will make you perfectly holy, and he will do it. Of course she does not know that this is the meaning of her system; but all the more is she blameworthy for putting herself forward as the teacher of a system whose meaning she is incapable of comprehending. . . . [In the Keswick theology people] are saved [only] by illogicality and inconsistency from the legitimate fatal result of their erroneous beliefs.

In another and quite a different respect, all the [Keswick] writers . . . err, not by excess, but by defect, in stating the doctrine of sanctification by Christ. . . . [I]n no one of the [testimonies mentioned by them] was there any approach to [gradual and progressive sanctification from the time of conversion.] One was five years, another ten, another twenty years living in undoubting assurance of pardon before adopting the method of sanctification which they now advocate so strenuously. But during these several intervals they had each made some progress in holiness, a very unsatisfactory progress indeed, but still some real progress. But that progress, such as it was, was effected, according to their present shewing, not by that faith which they now inculcate, but by that striving which they now condemn as legal and carnal. According to their view, then, there must be two distinct ways of sanctification—one far better, indeed, than the other, by taking Christ by faith [alone] for sanctification; the other inferior, indeed, but still real, by dispensing with Christ, and simply striving. Now this is a far less evangelical and a far more legal doctrine than the orthodox, which maintains that there is but one way of holiness, as there is but one way of righteousness; and that Christ’s being made of God sanctification to his people, is as exclusive of sanctification in any other way as his being made to them righteousness is exclusive of justification in any other way. In answer to this they would probably say that, in the interval betwixt their first and second conversion, they did not altogether reject Christ as their sanctification, but trusted partly to him and partly to their own endeavours, and that so much of sanctification as they then achieved was in virtue of the measure of faith which even then they exercised. If they say this, then it is an important modification of their present system, quite different from what they have said hitherto. But more than this, it will be fatal to their system, for it would utterly destroy the analogy between justification and sanctification, for which they so strongly contend. For they will admit that he who trusts partly to Christ and partly to himself for righteousness, does not, while he so trusts, attain to righteousness at all; and by parity of reason, it ought to follow that he who trusts partly to Christ and partly to himself for holiness, must equally fail to attain any holiness at all. . . . It is enough to point out that t[heir] system, as it now stands, utterly fails to account for the admitted fact that some measure of holiness is attained by many otherwise than as th[e] [Keswick] system prescribes, and that some measure was attained by the present advocates of the system before they adopted it. (pgs. 263-264, “Means and Measure of Holiness,” Thomas Smith. The British and Foreign Evangelical Review (April 1876) 251-280)

Unfortunately, although the severe problems in the Keswick doctrine were pointed out from the time of its inception, Keswick writers and agitators tend to be either unwittingly or intentionally ignorant of critiques of their system of sanctification, and consequently continue to testify to and promulgate it, fatal errors and all.

[469]        Pg. 63, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[470]        Pg. 88, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[471]        Early opponents of the Higher Life theology noted “Mr. Pearsall Smith’s . . . confused and confusing theology” (pg. 87, “The Brighton Convention and Its Opponents.” London Quarterly Review, October 1875).

[472]        E. g., Robert P. Smith set forth what became the standard Keswick Quietism on pg. 220ff. Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874. Hannah W. Smith preached at Broadlands: “We have the Divine life; we must see to it that we let it live, that we let no other life live” (pg. 182, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910). That is, our own human life must cease, and we must allow the Divine Seed, the Christ-life, to live instead of us.

[473]        Pg. 88, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[474]        Pg. 90, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[475]        While Keswick is quietistic, its Quietism is often milder than many of the historical manifestations of Quietism, and thus, while its Quietism hinders the believer’s sanctification, it is not as theologically aberrant as, say, the Quietism of the medieval Romanist mysticism that influenced it. Keswick happily, though inconsistently, denies that sanctification involves “the destruction of the Christian’s personality” (pg. 134, So Great Salvation, Barabas) while still affirming that, rather than the world, the flesh, and the devil, “the greatest danger . . . the individual has to dread is the inordinate activity of the soul with its powers of mind and will” (pg. 335, The Spirit of Christ, Andrew Murray; also cited in chapter 8, Soul & Spirit, Jessie Penn-Lewis).

[476]        This phrase was popularized by Victorious Life leader Mark Trumbull in his tract, “What is Your Kind of Christianity?” and examined by B. B. Warfield in “The Victorious Life,” Chapter 5 of Perfectionism, vol. 2. Compare, in Trumbull’s book Victory in Christ, the title to chapter 5: “Victory without Trying” (Elec. acc.

However, to his credit, “at Keswick . . . [William Graham] Scroggie,” who “[i]n 1950 . . . was called ‘indisputably the foremost living Keswick teacher’ . . . had opposed the idea of ‘Let go–and let God’ and had said that victory came through ‘fighting and striving to make true in experience what is true for us positionally.’” Unfortunately, “Scroggie did not deny the possibility of contemporary speaking in tongues,” and, “[s]peaking at one Keswick Convention on the subject of the Apostles’ Creed, he argued that given the conflicts of the 1920s over theological modernism (with fundamentalists calling for evangelicals to leave the existing denominations), it was preferable to use the Apostles’ Creed as a widely accepted basis of faith than for small groups to construct their own bases of belief and split from the wider [universal] church” (“Scroggie, William Graham,” Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, pgs. 593-594). Furthermore, “Scroggie . . . did accept that the gift of tongues might still be available to Christians” (pg. 71, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall). While Scroggie sought to reform the dominant Keswick Quietism, he maintained its unbiblical continuationism or anti-cessationism and its ecumenicalism.

[477]        Pg. 97, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Packer, commenting on Barabas’s denial that Keswick is quietistic, notes:

[Barabas’s denial is based] on the ground that intense activity in using the means of grace is necessary to keep up one’s consecration and to maintain faith. But such activity, as is explicity stated in the passage from Bishop Moule which he quotes, is merely preparatory: “the temptation of the hour will be met less by direct efforts of the will than by indirect”—i. e., by handing the matter over to the Spirit and ceasing to act in it oneself. This is the quietism of Keswick teaching. (pg. 161, “‘Keswick’ and the Reformed Doctrine of Sanctification,” J. I. Packer. The Evangelical Quarterly, vol. 27 (1955) 153-167).

[478]        It is possible that Barabas borrowed his misuse of Moule from W. H. Griffith Thomas, who quoted Moule to respond to Warfield’s criticism of Keswick Quietism on pgs. 278-279, “The Victorious Life (I.),” Bibliotheca Sacra 76:303 (July 1919), 267-288. Griffith Thomas was Barabas’s predecessor in ignorance of or the passing over of the fact that, decades before Thomas wrote, Moule himself specifically affirmed, in print, the Quietism of his beloved Keswick doctrine of sanctification. Perhaps if ignorance of or bypassing of inconvenient facts worked well enough for Griffith Thomas, it might work well enough for Barabas also.

[479]        “The adherence of Dr. Moule to the Keswick platform was a great accession of strength . . . there is no doubt that Dr. Moule was [Keswick’s] greatest . . . scholar” (pg. 175, So Great Salvation, Barabas). Moule adopted the Keswick theology through the influence of Evan Hopkins (pgs. 106, 148, Evan Harry Hopkins: A Memoir, Alexander Smellie). Nevertheless, even Bishop Moule did not write any works for the world of scholarship, a fact put in the most favorable light by his biographers:

Those who knew Dr. Moule’s powers often longed that he would give to the Church some great work, which would appeal to the world of pure scholarship and advanced studies; but . . . he deliberately consecrated all his powers to meet the needs of the general body of Christian people . . . it is not surprising that Dr. Moule should have felt that he could best serve his day and generation by using his all-too-scanty leisure upon such writings as were in the line of his pulpit and platform ministrations. (pg. 173, Handley Carr Glyn Moule, Bishop of Durham: A Biography, John B. Harford & Frederick C. Macdonald)

Thus, Moule did not write any exposition or defense of the Keswick theology for the world of scholarship, just as nobody else has done, despite what will soon be a century and a half of the worldwide promulgation of the Keswick theology. Perhaps such an exposition has never been written because Keswick doctrine is unscholarly and cannot be defended at an advanced level.

[480]        Pg. 197, Veni Creator: Thoughts on the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit of Promise, by H. C. G. Moule. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1890; cf. repr. ed., Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1977. Thankfully, although Moule affirmed Quietism was one side of the truth, he also affirmed it was “only” one side of it, adding: “In the history of theological language [Quietism] has some associations with dangerous error.” While such a warning is better than an unqualified endorsement of Quietism, it is far too bland and nonspecific; nobody knows who exactly is teaching “dangerous error” or what “some associations with” such error actually means, so that Moule’s disclaimer has no practical value. It seems that Moule thought that those teaching “dangerous error,” or at least error that was damnable and really and truly serious, did not include the actual promulgators of Roman Catholic mystical Quietism such as Archbishop Fenélon, for Moule wrote concerning him: “There are assuredly many Roman [Catholics] that know that light [of salvation], as Fenelon and his friends [such as Madame Guyon] so beautifully did” (pg. 215, Handley Carr Glyn Moule, Bishop of Durham: A Biography, John B. Harford & Frederick C. Macdonald). If beautiful knowledge of the light of Christ is found in such a central figure of medieval Romanist Quietism as Archbishop Fenélon, despite his rejection of core elements of the gospel such as justification by faith alone, and despite the fact that he was so zealous as a partisan for Rome and against Protestantism that he led a mission to bring French Huguenots back into the fold of Mystery Babylon and her idolatry, one wonders what advocates of Quietism actually qualified as dangerous.

Unfortunately, Moule’s lack of a Christ-like, pointed, and specific denunciation of false teachers and false teaching (cf. Matthew 23) was not limited to applying a feather duster to Roman Catholic Quietism instead of hewing it in pieces with the sword of the Spirit. Moule himself held to numerous serious heresies. He was “quite willing to read” the creation account in “Gen i-iii . . . as hieroglyphics [rather] than as pictures or photographs of scenery.” He wrote:

We are not bound to believe that the Creator literally spoke syllables meaning “Let there be light.” We are not bound to literalism in the mysterious details of the creation of woman. We are not bound to every particular of the temptation. They are . . . fact not necessarily painted exactly as it happened, but conveyed in hieroglyphic signs . . . a prophecy of fact, conveyed through non-literal symbols . . . I think the action of the serpent in Gen. iii. may be of the same class. We thus have Scripture beginning . . . with facts so mysterious that they need in our present state mysterious representation. (pg. 175, Handley Carr Glyn Moule, Bishop of Durham: A Biography, John B. Harford & Frederick C. Macdonald)

God’s Word did not have to mean exactly what it says in the account of the Creation and Fall; rather, this portion of the Mosaic narrative may be “hieroglyphic signs” filled with sound and fury, signfying nothing, or at least nothing anyone could know for certain. Moule also affirmed that a “new and higher law for the Christian mind” made it well if portions of the Psalter were “omit[ted] . . . [from] public use . . . in common worship,” as parts of God’s Word in songs such as Psalm 69 and 109 were allegedly sub-Christian (pgs. 175-176), despite profuse references to these very psalms in the New Testament (Matthew 27:34, 48; Mark 15:36; Luke 23:36; John 2:17; 15:25; 19:28-29; Acts 1:16, 20; Romans 11:9-10; 15:3, etc.). Concerning “Old Testament Criticism” Moule wrote: “I do not forget that large recognition has often and obviously to be given to the presence of many documents or ‘sources’ in one writing, and to many an after note or comment usefully embodied in the text” (pgs. 295-296). Moule also “showed a large-hearted tolerance” for those, including “many of his pupils and some of his colleagues,” who “took more advanced positions,” that is, who delved further into the hellish pits of the Higher Criticism than he did himself; such people were certainly not false teachers in need of deliverance from the kingdom of darkness, but could be “loyal to the Master Himself” while holding to higher critical heresies (pg. 176). It is not surprising that many of Moule’s pupils accepted Higher Criticism when Moule taught them: “The Lord . . . stated no theory of th[e] construction . . . [of] the Scriptures” (pg. 174), such as the Biblical fact that the Bible was dictated, although not mechanically, by the Holy Ghost, in such a manner that its very words, and all of its words, were inspired by God. But if the Creation and the Fall could be “hieroglyphic signs,” why could not the saving work of Christ be a mere symbol also—does not the Apostle Paul parallel the fall of men in Adam and their deliverance through Christ in Romans five?

Furthermore, despite the fearful warnings of Scripture against such practices, and the terrible opportunities they gave to the devil, Moule also claimed to communicate with the dead and offered prayer for them, in a manner reminiscient of the interactions with the dead of the spiritualist Higher Life pillars Mr. and Mrs. Mount-Temple. Moule also commended such frightfully unscriptural practices to others. It was his “sweet solace” to offer “[p]erpetual greetings to” his “beloved ones” who had “gone” to the grave. He stated: “I daily and by name greet my own beloved child, my dearest parents, and others precious to me,” although they were already dead. Prayers for the dead were “no sin;” rather, communication with and prayers for the dead were a “sweet and blessed help” in the spiritual life (pgs. 220-221), so Moule himself engaged daily in such spiritualistic exercises. Moule stated: “I cannot think . . . that warrant for such prayer is a fact of revelation,” but although no support whatever for prayers for the dead appeared in Scripture, he stated: “I for one cannot condemn such exercises of the soul,” and he both practiced such himself and accepted such communications as a legitimate “devotional” practice of other “Christians who so pray.” He even commended a “beautiful . . . prayer” for the dead for the use of Christians, which included not only intercession for the dead but a wish for communication with the dead person: “[I]f there be ways in which [he] may come. . . grant me a sense of [his] presence” (pgs. 96-98, Christus Consolator, Moule). Such interaction with the dead—who, Moule knew, really came back, as such communications certainly were not simply the work of deceiving demons—contributed to the Bishop’s belief in the continuation of spiritual gifts and his opposition to cessationism. As a result of such fellowship with and prayers for the dead, Moule believed that “the Lord grants what can only be called visions,” so that the dead return and grant an even greater level of communication with the living than can be obtained by invisible communication with the afterlife. Moule himself had received supernatural and “deeply sweet dreams” where dead people he communicated with and prayed for appeared to him and looked on him “with an extraordinary look of bliss” (pgs. 220-221, Handley Carr Glyn Moule, Bishop of Durham: A Biography, John B. Harford & Frederick C. Macdonald). Moule likewise commended others who had “veritable vision[s] of God” coming to them and telling them things, and encouraged and supported those who received such visions to trust in their veracity (pg. 287). In light of his continuationism, Moule’s sympathy for the leader of early British Pentecostalism, Alexander Boddy, is unsurprising (pgs. 23-24, 88, The Pentecostal Movement, Donald Gee). Furthermore, Moule also had the ability as a Anglican Bishop to convey special powers through the laying on of his hands. One who received such power from Moule testified: “At my interview, he laid his hands on my head, and gave me his solemn blessing for the work. I distinctly felt that it was something very real. This was not a matter of faith, but a distinct physical experience, as definite as an electrical shock. It was not like an electric shock, but something both spiritual and physical which I cannot properly describe. . . . It had results, for both in my parish, and where I was Bishop’s Messenger, the Mission was much more successful than it usually was” (pgs. 222-223).

Moule was also ecumenical, warmly accepting as brothers in Christ High Anglican and Romanizing Anglican baptismal regenerationists and other heretics within his denomination, instead of seeking to purge such false teachers out. “His breadth of view gained for him in a marked degree the confidence of all schools of thought,” and his “genial tolerance” of non-evangelicals brought him the “war[m] prais[e]” of the “High Anglicans” (pgs. 186-187; cf. Luke 6:26). It probably helped that Moule could make “strongly worded sacramental statement[s]” about “the Lord as present on the Table” in the sacrament of Communion (pg. 95, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall). The Roman Catholic sacrament of Confirmation could bring one into the Anglican communion, Moule held—even if the Anglican “Canons might say otherwise.” “[P]ublic renunciation” of Rome and her heresies should be “waive[d]” for entrance into Anglicanism (pg. 215). Incense could be used in association with the sacrament of Holy Communion (pg. 218-219). Moule permitted those under his authority to practice the “Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament” as an act of “real helpfulness” in certain situations in worship, although it was a practice involving the worship of the communion bread in Roman Catholicism (pg. 220). Sharing wine and meals with his fellow clergy (pg. 201), Moule became “most devoted and loving friends” with “the leading Ritualist in the North of England,” whom Moule regarded as a “Christian man and minister wholly devoted to his Lord” and to whom Moule “took special delight” in providing ecclesiastical advancement (pg. 194). Moule “quite recognized that those who held the Catholic standpoint had a perfect right to be included in the Anglican Church. And his letters breathe the spirit of kindly sympathy with this point of view. He desired that ‘all essential requirements of the High Anglicans should be met’” (pg. 196), and, as a Bishop, he “rejoice[d]” to put “important . . . living[s]” with “most important point[s] of vantage” into the hands of those with “extreme opposite” views to his generally evangelical Anglicanism (pg. 195). Thus, he happily worked as an Anglican Bishop, not to purge, but to promote those under his charge who led countless precious souls into false ritualistic gospels and the fires of an eternal hell. Moule was so far from seeking to remove those who believed a false gospel that “he would have erred in favour to High Churchmen lest he should even appear to be unkind” (pgs. 196-197). He wrote:

It has been my happiness, not least in my later years, to know and to love, as friends in Christ, holy men of other types and schools, and to see with reverence their Lord’s likeness in the countenance of their lives. . . . These men are beyond shadow of question at least as much Christ’s own as I dare to think myself. From their example, from their words, sometimes from words definitely shaped by their distinctive tenets, I have often received exhortation and edification. (pg. 197)

That is, Moule thought both rationalist Higher Critics and Romanist Anglicans were as much Christians as himself, and he often received exhortation and edification from their distinctive tenents, although these were damnable heresies. To Moule, in his appointments of ministers to lead the people of God, “the question of views was secondary” (pg. 203); “nor was he a good judge of character” (pg. 211; contrast 1 Timothy 3). In his bishopric he brought about “entire freedom . . . from ritual trouble and partisan division” (pg. 200), although the gospel itself had to be jettisoned to do so. Thus, Moule was “scrupulous” to treat well “High Churchmen in [his] Diocese[.] It fell to his lot to appoint incumbents to many parishes where the teaching and practice were not in accord with his personal convictions, but he was always at pains to secure the continuity of the tradition of such churches” (pg. 203). That is, when a false gospel was being preached by a minister of Satan in a parish overseen by Moule, the Bishop was very diligent to make sure that the true gospel was not brought in, but upon the retirement of one minister of Satan, Moule consecrated another servant and preacher of Antichrist. While the Bible affirms that believers must “earnestly contend for the faith” (Jude 3), and although the Anglican denomination decended ever further into rationalism and Romanism as Moule grew older, he nonetheless wrote: “As life advances, I feel less and less the value of controversy, where spiritual matters are concerned” (pg. 215).

In light of his willingness to praise and commend ritualism, it is not surprising tht Moule could write: “Only it is right that I should say for my own part that not one word . . . has been written [by me] in forgetfulness of my obligations as a presbyter of the English Church, or with faltering convictions as to the rightness of the language of its sacramental ritual” (pg. 80, Veni Creator). Moule thus endorsed the language employed in, for example, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, in “The Ministration of Publick Baptism of Infants, to be Used in the Church,” which requires the priest to pray:

By the Baptism of thy well-beloved Son Jesus Christ, in the river Jordan, [Thou, God] didst sanctify Water to the mystical washing away of sin. . . . We call upon thee for this Infant, that he, coming to thy holy Baptism, may receive remission of his sins by spiritual regeneration. Receive him, O Lord, as thou hast promised . . . that this Infant may enjoy the everlasting benediction of thy heavenly washing, and may come to the eternal kingdom which thou hast promised by Christ our Lord. Amen.

The form for “The Ministration of Private Baptism of Children” requires the priest to act as follows:

[P]our Water upon [the infant], saying these words; “I baptize thee in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.” Then, all kneeling down, the Minister shall give thanks unto God, and say, “We yield thee hearty thanks, most merciful Father, that it hath pleased thee to regenerate this Infant with thy Holy Spirit, to receive him for thine own Child by adoption, and to incorporate him into thy holy Church. And we humbly beseech thee to grant, that as he is now made partaker of the death of thy Son, so he may be also of his resurrection; and that finally, with the residue of thy Saints, he may inherit thine everlasting kingdom; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

The Ministration further commends the “baptizing of [a] Child; who being born in original sin, and in the wrath of God, is now, by the laver of Regeneration in Baptism, received into the number of the children of God, and heirs of everlasting life.” The binding Anglican Confession of Faith, the 39 Articles, affirm that as “by an instrument, they that receive baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; [and] the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God, by the Holy Ghost are visibly signed and sealed” (Article XXVII). While one can be glad that Moule personally denied baptismal regeneration and strove, albeit with questionable efficacy, to make the sacramental language of his denomination cohere with more evangelical views (cf. pgs. 259ff., Outlines of Christian Doctrine, H. C. G. Moule. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1890), he nonetheless swore commitment to the Anglican documents that actually did teach sacramental salvation, and he had good “Christian” fellowship with the multitude of his fellow Anglican ministers and members that took more seriously than he the language of Anglican creed and ritual and consequently affirmed baptismal regeneration.

Moule personally accepted grave errors, from weak views on the inspiration of Scripture, continuationism, and ecumenicalism, to prayers for the dead. He also had a terrible lack of discernment about heresy. It is consequently not surprising that unregenerate false teachers such as Hannah W. Smith and Robert P. Smith were accepted as Christian brethren by Moule, and their Keswick theology adopted and promulgated by him.

[481]        E. g., pg. 124, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple. London: Printed for private circulation, 1890.

[482]        Pgs. 421-422, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875. The pages affirm that “Quietism it may have been also in [another] sense,” so that Quietism was the explicit teaching of the foundational meetings that originated the Keswick theology in at least two senses. This Higher Life Quietism is explicitly tied to that of the “most renowned of the quietists, Madame Guyon . . . one can only wish that more went half as far as she did, in the passion for saving the sinful” (pgs. 421-422), which she somehow was capable of doing, although she believed a false gospel. The only qualification stated to the commendation of Guyon’s Quietism is that she “may”—it is only a possibility, not a certainty—have “gone somewhat further than was right”—what is certain is that “one can only wish that more went half as far as she did.”

[483]        Pg. 295, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874. Cf. pg. 299.

[484]        Pgs. 68-69, Forward Movements of the Last Half Century, Arthur T. Pierson. New York, NY: London: Funk & Wagnalls, 1900. Italics in original. Pierson goes on to illustration the Higher Life passivity by comparing his doctrine of the Christian’s role in sanctification with impersonal, unthinking objects: the “machine . . . plane . . . knife . . . axe . . . bow . . . rod . . . staff . . . saw . . . hammer . . . sword . . . spear . . . threshing instrument . . . flail . . . vessel.” The idea that the believer is in willful, deliberate cooperation with God by grace is definitively and deliberately excluded, and solely impersonal symbols are employed. The Biblical metaphors for a Christian that show his active willing and doing are all passed by—the Christian is not the servant who obeys, the sheep that follows the Shepherd, the watchman who is vigilant, the warrior who fights, and the athlete who wrestles, boxes, and runs. He is only the “plane” or the “machine” that runs when an electric current flows through it.

[485]        See pgs. 58, 84, 86, 211, 313-314, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875; also pgs. 276, 292, etc.,Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874.

[486]        pg. 172, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[487]        Pgs. 184-185, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910.

[488]        Barabas himself (pg. 138-139, So Great Salvation) quotes Murray’s quietistic affirmation (from pgs. 65-73, The Full Blessing of Pentecost, by Andrew Murray. New York, NY: Revell, 1908) that, for the Christian, “My life must be expelled; then the Spirit of Jesus will flow in,” so that, Barabas concludes, “our own life must be utterly cast aside, to make full room for the life of God.” For the influence of the Romanist mystical Quietist Madame Guyon on Jessie Penn-Lewis, see the section “Keswick Theology and Continuationism or Anti-Cessationism” below, the chapter on “Evan Roberts and Jessie-Penn Lewis.”

[489]        Pg. 64, Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Synan.

[490]        Pg. 181, The Keswick Convention: Its Message, Its Method, and its Men, ed. Charles Harford. In another chapter explaining “some characteristics of the message,” of Keswick, the book affirmed: “[P]eople might call it Quietism. Call it what they would, it was very real and very beautiful to see” (pg. 99).

[491]        Pg. 174, So Great Salvation, Barabas. The plain Biblical truth is that God uses the believer—the phraseology of the believer using God is unscriptural and repulsive, and too much like the thought of the later Word of Faith heresy. Nevertheless, at least among certain (though, happily, not all) prominent Keswick writers, following the theological trajectory of the Keswick precursor Conventions, the believer deciding to “use the Lord” or “use Christ” or “use God” to become sanctified was a regular part of the terminology of sanctification. For example, W. H. Griffith Thomas, trying to clear up what he alleged were misrepresentations of the Keswick theology by B. B. Warfield, and trying to put the most orthodox and moderate view he could on the Keswick doctrine, quoted as paradigmatic Moule’s preaching at Keswick and stating four different times that “we can use . . . Christ” for our sanctification, and another Keswick convention minister stating that “Keswick . . . is the idea of Christ . . . used fully” (see pgs. 279, 287, 455, 456, 458, “The Victorious Life (I.),” & “The Victorious Life (II.), W. H. Griffith Thomas, Bibliotheca Sacra July & October 1919, 267-288 & 455-467). Later Keswick writers, such as Watchman Nee’s successor Witness Lee, could speak of “qualified” people who “can properly use the Holy Spirit” (pg. 137, Guidelines for the Lord’s Table Meeting and the Pursuit of Life, Witness Lee. Anaheim, CA: Living Stream Ministry, 2005). Warfield incisively notes:

It would probably be no exaggeration to say that no heresy could be more gross than that heresy which conceives the operations of God the Holy Spirit under the forms of the action of an impersonal, natural force. . . . [This] deals with God the Holy Spirit, the source of all grace, in utter neglect of his personality, as if he were a natural force, operating, not when and where and how he pleases, but uniformly and regularly wherever his activities are released. . . . The conception is not essentially different from that of storing electricity, say, in a Leyden jar, whence it can be drawn upon for use. How dreadful the conception is may be intimated by simply speaking of it with frankness under its true forms of expression: it is equivalent to saying that saving grace, God the Holy Spirit, is kept on tap, and released at [one’s] will to do the work required of it. . . . [Men] contain in them the Holy Spirit as a salvation-working power which operates whenever and wherever it, we can scarcely say he, is applied. . . . And this obviously involves, in the third place, the subjection of the Holy Spirit in his gracious operations to the control of men. . . . The initiative is placed in [men] . . . and the Holy Spirit is placed at their disposal. He goes where they convey him; he works when they release him for work; his operations wait on their permission; and apart from their direction and control he can work no salvation. It ought to be unnecessary to say that this is a degrading conception of the modes of activity of the Holy Spirit. Its affinities are not with religion in any worthy sense of that word, which implies personal relations with a personal God, but with magic. At bottom, it conceives of the divine operations as at the disposal of man, who uses God for his own ends; and utterly forgets that rather God must be conceived as using man for his ends. (pgs. 82-84, The Plan of Salvation: Five Lectures, B. B. Warfield. Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1915)

[492]        Pg. 173, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875.

[493]        E. g., Hannah W. Smith taught “the plan of handing over your temptations to Him to conquer” instead of resisting them in His strength (Letter to her cousin Carrie, February 26, 1867, reproduced in the entry for February 20 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter). Robert P. Smith proclaimed, based on a misinterpretation of Galatians 2:20, that the believer’s part is not to actively mortify sin: “[O]ur work is simply to hand everything over to Him. . . . Suffer Christ to live out His own glorious life in you hour by hour . . . [you will be] more . . . free from effort each day” (pg. 220, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874).

[494]        Pgs. 106-107, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Note the false dichotomy Barabas makes between faith in the finished work of Christ and active effort to mortify the flesh; in Biblical sanctification the two are the most intimate friends, not the irreconcilable opposites Barabas makes them.

[495]        See the chapters “The Just Shall Live by Faith” and “Does Colossians 2:6-7 Teach Sanctification by Faith Alone?” above.

[496]        Packer notes:

Passivity means conscious inaction—in this case, inner inaction. A call to passivity—conscientious, consecrated passivity—has sometimes been read into certain biblical texts, but it cannot be read out of any of them. Thus, for instance, to “yield” or “present” oneself to God (Romans 6:13; 12:1), or as it is sometimes put, to “surrender” or “give ourselves up” to him, is not passivity. Paul’s meaning is not that having handed ourselves over to our Master, we should then lapse into inaction, waiting for Christ to move us instead of moving ourselves, but rather that we should report for duty, saying as Paul himself said on the Damascus road, “What shall I do, Lord? . . .” (Acts 22:10) and setting no limits to what Christ by his Spirit through his Word may direct us to do. This is activity! Again, being “led by the Spirit of God” (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18) is not passivity. Paul’s meaning is not that we should do nothing till celestial promptings pop into our minds, but that we should resolutely labor by prayer and effort to obey the law of Christ and mortify sin (see Galatians 5:13-6:19; and Romans 8:5-13, to which v. 14 looks back). This too is activity!

Surely we need not go further. The point is plain. Passivity, which quietists think liberates the Spirit, actually resists and quenches him. Souls that cultivate passivity do not thrive, but waste away. The Christian’s motto should not be “Let go and let God” but “Trust God and get going!” . . . [P]assivity [is] . . . unbiblical . . . and hostile to Christian maturity. (pg. 128, Keep In Step With The Spirit, J. I. Packer)

[497]        Pg. 88, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[498]        Barabas’ substitution of “experimental” for “progressive” in the division of sanctification into positional, progressive, and ultimate on pgs. 84-85 is noteworthy. The term “experimental” does not carry within it necessarily the idea of progress and growth.

[499]        Pgs. 84-85, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[500]       Pgs. 61-127, So Great Salvation, Barabas, 66 pages. 0.5/66=0.75%.

[501]        Pg. 85, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[502]        Pg. 85, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[503]        Thus, Hopkins read “Dr. W. E. Boardman’s volume on The Higher Christian Life . . . [and] a series of papers by the American, Robert Pearsall Smith, on the subject of Holiness,” and then went to a meeting where he heard R. P. Smith preach. Hearing Smith, Hopkins affirmed: “I felt that he had received an overflowing blessing, far beyond anything that I knew”—and by means of Robert Smith’s self-testimony overflowing Christian joy—although, in truth, Robert P. Smith was a miserable unconverted wretch who was promulgating sexual thrills as Spirit baptism at the time—Hopkins came to adopt the Higher Life doctrine of Boardman and Smith that was then promulgated at the Keswick Convention. The key passage that led Hopkins to the Higher Life was Mr. Smith’s misinterpretation of 2 Corinthians 9:8, which was, Mr. Smith averred, an affirmation that Christ “would do all, and would live in [the Christian] His Own Holy Life—the only Holy Life possible to us,” not, as an examination of the context and grammatical-historical interpretation would affirm, an affirmation that God would provide physically for His people who give generously to the needy. Mr. Smith’s view of 2 Corinthians 9:8 became “Mr. Hopkins[’s] . . . locus classicus, his Gospel within the Gospel, the sure ground where he had cast his anchor,” so that “[m]any a time, in the Conventions of the years that followed, Mr. Hopkins would read this text” and lead many others to the bright discovery of the Higher Life which was taught by it, when ripped from its context and interpreted allegorically (pgs. 52-55, Evan Harry Hopkins: A Memoir, Alexander Smellie). In 1875 Hopkins took over the work of Robert P. Smith’s magazine, The Christian Pathway to Power, after Smith’s public disgrace as a result of being caught in a woman’s bedroom teaching the erotic Baptism. Hopkins continued to edit the magazine until 1913, renaming the magazine The Life of Faith in 1883 (pgs. 73-74, ibid). Even forty years later in 1913, Hopkins testified at the Keswick Convention to the centrality of the teaching he had received from Robert P. Smith in 1873 (cf. pgs. 24-25, 38-39, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall).

[504]        Pg. 176, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874. Many at Broadlands, it seems, had special-looking faces that, at least in a culture strongly under the influence of Romanticism, validated the truth of the Higher Life theology, and formed part of the indissoluable link between Higher Life spirituality and the continuationistic Faith Cure, that is, the Higher Life for the soul and for the body. “So many faces quite changed their character in those days” of the 1874 Conference (pg. 128, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple). The transformation was comparable to the miraculous “shining of [the] face . . . of Moses” (pg. 131, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscenses of the Broadlands Conventions, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910).At Broadlands “Hannah Smith was radiant,” (pgs. 132-134, Memorials), for “her face gained a soft, Madonna-like beauty . . . her . . . sparking glance . . . [and] pure face spoke for her. . . . She looked as if she knew the [spiritual] secret. Fair and pure and glad, a piece of nature fresh and racy, and simple, and full of vitality” (pgs. 49-50, 160, 222, The Life that is Life Indeed). Even many an “inspired face” was present at Broadlands (pgs. 132-134, Memorials & pg. 59, The Life that is Life Indeed)—it was not in Hannah Smith alone that the “inner light” shone in the “inspiration that came from her shining face” (pgs. 121-123, The Life that is Life Indeed).The “face” of the universalist “George MacDonald . . . [was] very beautiful . . . very like the pictures of our Lord” (pg. 57, The Life that is Life Indeed), such pictures apparently being good, not sinful and idolatrous (cf. Exodus 20:4-6). Indeed, “looks that were Christ’s . . . on human faces” were found at Broadlands, where “a desire for the heavenly light . . . sh[one] on [many an] uplifted face,” in line with truth learned from “Swedenborg” (pg. 82, ibid). Such glowing faces were similar to the faces of the cute baby-like cherubs that allegedly helped God make Adam out of dust, as seen in a painting of Michelangelo—“how their faces shine” as they usurp the uniquely Divine work of creation! Like such mythic cherubs, the perfectionist “Amanda Smith” possessed a “glowing face” as she petitioned the moon and the stars to tell God that she was a sinner and ask Him to forgive her (pgs. 73-74, 130, The Life that is Life Indeed). The hell-rejecting theological liberal F. D. Maurice was a paradigmatic example of the fact that the “faces of some of God’s children shine” (pg. 199, ibid. Italics in original.). Ion Keith Falkoner had an “angel face.” Theodore Monod possessed such a “glowing countenance” that one “felt” he was in the presence of a holy man, for “his face was transfigured” and “holy fervor and deep reverence were expressed in face and . . . revealed, in a way no words could do,” even the words of Scripture, “the blessedness of communion with God.” Canon Carter of Truro had a “sweet, pure face with morning peace upon it.” The “radiant . . . lovely face[s]” of the “queens of beauty of [their] time” were present at Broadlands; indeed, “the whole company” went “streaming through the garden with radiant faces” at the Conferences(pgs. 76, 85, 102, 130, 176, 221, ibid). Mr. Mount-Temple gained, through the truths proclaimed at Broadlands, a “sacred illumination of face, too sacred to speak of . . . [which] was noticed . . . and tenderly recorded . . . [a] blessed face . . . placid and often illuminated with wonderful flickerings of light from beyond” pgs. 132-134, Memorials). After all, at especially spiritual times “a radiant, joyous, wondering glow often lights up the face of [those] who have soared beyond the shadow of our night” (pg. 170, ibid), even as “such brightness [had] appeared in [the] angelic face” of the Catholic monk “St. Cuthbert” (pgs. 7-8, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conventions). Thus, the generality of the “goodly company” at Broadlands “were beautiful, and what an attraction there always is in beauty! . . . [P]hysical beauty is . . . a source of real bliss, and . . . it takes the impress of the spiritual . . . Beauty always attracts us; we enjoy it, wish for it . . . beauty is truly an expression of character” (pgs. 35-36, ibid). Consequently, the shining faces at Broadlands proved the truth of the Higher Life, since “[s]uch faces are truly . . . windows, through which we see the soul” (pg. 46, ibid). Such validation of Higher Life teaching by shiny faces and other similarly utterly unathoritative and extra-Scriptural chimeras passed through Broadlands to the Keswick movement.

[505]        Both the Smiths and Boardman were Higher Life teachers at Broadlands, as well as at the Oxford and other Higher Life gatherings; cf. pg. 20, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck; pg. 20, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874. Note the lists of names of those who met at Broadlands, where Evan Hopkins, Webb-Peploe, and other early Keswick leaders are listed along with the Pearsall Smiths, on pgs. 118, 148, of Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple.

[506]        Pg. 202, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910. Thus, Hopkins regularly was present and preached regularly at the Broadlands Conferences, as he was present and preached at the Keswick Conventions.

[507]        Pgs. 158-159, So Great Salvation, Barabas. Polluck affirms that Hopkins, after skipping the first Keswick Convention, attended the next forty-one, not thirty-nine as Barabas stated, without a break (pg. 39, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck). Hopkins learned the Higher Life doctrine “after listening to Robert Pearsall Smith on the subject of Holiness,” and an address by Hopkins “was the means of winning T. D. Harford-Battersby,” co-founder of the Keswick Convention with the Quaker Robert Wilson, “over to the Higher Life movement” (pgs. 158-159, So Great Salvation; cf. pgs. 75ff., Evan Harry Hopkins: A Memoir, Alexander Smellie).

[508]        Pgs. 99-102, The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life, Hopkins.

[509]        Unfortunately, other things Hopkins taught were not a little less Scriptural; for example, his preaching at the Oxford Convention that one must “begin” in the Higher Life by rejecting the active obedience of Christ in redemption (pg. 93, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874), is, one hopes, simply loose language.

[510]        Pg. 101, The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life, Hopkins.

[511]       Pg. 123, So Great Salvation, Barabas. While Barabas does not have a specific section on sanctification as a process other than half of pg. 85, scattered statements about process are occasionally found within his comparatively massive discussions of sanctification as gift and as crisis.

[512]        Pg. 71, So Great Salvation, Barabas, quoting Warfield, Perfectionism vol 2, pgs. 579-583.

[513]        Pg. 108, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[514]        Pg. 51, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[515]        Pg. 47, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[516]        Pg. 49, So Great Salvation, Barabas. The page adds the qualifier “apart from Christ,” but its point in context is not simply to assert the obvious fact that Christ is the Author of all spiritual strength, life, and growth. Rather, it denies the progressive inward renewal of the believer and the progressive death of the principle of indwelling sin to affirm that nothing happens within the Christian besides counteraction.

[517]        Barabas does not clearly set forth the insufficient view that progress in sanctification is merely an increased appropriation of Christ, while the person himself remains unchanged—indeed, his quotation of Hopkins appears to deny this view—but other Higher Life writers have done so. Warfield refutes this position while discussing the doctrine of the German Lutheran Higher Life leader Theodore Jellinghaus (who affirmed typical Lutheran heresies, such as baptismal regeneration and opposition to eternal security, among other very serious errors on the way of salvation). Jellinghaus had learned of the Higher Life from Robert Pearsall Smith and his associates. Keswick’s leading to the rise of German Pentecostalism brought Jellinghaus to renounce the Higher Life as he saw its fruits more clearly. Warfield records:

[The Higher Life doctrine of Jellinghaus is that] [a]s we received forgiveness of sins at once on our first believing, so do we receive our full deliverance from the power of sin at once on this our second believing. But, along with this, emphasis is thrown on the continuousness of both the cause and the effect. Jesus saves us now—if I believe now; and the believer is to live in a continuous believing and consequent continuous salvation. This is, of course, the well known “moment by moment” doctrine of the Higher Life teachers. The main purpose of this teaching is to prevent us from supposing that the source of our holiness is in ourselves. But it has the additional effect of denying with great emphasis that the seat of our holiness—any of it, at any time—is in ourselves. It thus makes our holiness in all its extent purely a holiness of acts, never of nature. What we obtain by faith is Christ—as a Preserver from sinful acts. By continuous faith we obtain Him continuously—as Preserver from sinful acts; and only from those particular sinful acts with which we are for the moment threatened. We do not at any time obtain Him as Savior from all possible sins, but only as Savior from the particular sinful acts for protection from which we, from time to time, need Him. Thus we are never made “holy” in any substantial sense, so that we are ourselves holy beings. And also accordingly we are never made “holy” in any conclusive sense, so that, being holy in ourselves, naturally we continue holy. This is the way Jellinghaus expresses himself . . . [w]e are, says Jellinghaus, like a poor relation living in a rich man’s house as a dependent, and receiving all he needs day by day from his benefactor, but never being made rich himself.

The purpose in view here is to emphasize our constant dependence on Christ. But this is done so unskilfully as to end in denying the possibility of our sanctification. We never are ourselves made holy; only our acts are provided for. We ask nothing and we get nothing beyond the meeting of our daily needs in sustaining our struggles on earth. As for ourselves, we remain unholy, apparently forever. . . . There is a confusion here between the source and the seat of [sanctification]. . . . [Jellinghaus writes,] “The Christian can be pure only as a member of Christ our Head, as a branch of the vine. In himself every Christian is a branch of sinful humanity and is prone to sin. Only through implantation into Christ’s death and resurrection can he be and remain holy. Separated from Christ and His purifying blood (blood signifies the life of Christ given in death and resurrection), he is sinful and has sin.” . . . If this be true then salvation is impossible. We are never saved. We only seem to be saved, because Christ works through us the works of a saved soul. That is not the way John conceived it, or Christ. Naturally most painful results follow from such representations. For example, our aspirations are lowered. We are never to wish or seek to be holy ourselves, but are to be content with being enabled to meet in our unholiness the temptations of the day. We lose the elevating power of a high ideal. And we are to be satisfied with never being “well-pleasing to God.” . . . What the Scriptures teach is that we shall be more and more transformed into Christ’s image until at last, when we see Him as He is, we shall be like Him, and therefore in ourselves—as He has made us—well-pleasing to God.

There is expressly included in this doctrine a provision for a progressive sanctification, along the ordinary lines of the teaching of the Higher Life Movement in this matter. We have seen Jellinghaus in passages just quoted limiting the ability of the Christian to enter “immediately” into the victorious power and peace-bringing leading of Christ, by such phrases as “according to the measure of his knowledge,” and “for the needs of which he is presently conscious.” The Christian is freed from all the sinning which at the stage of Christian knowledge to which he has attained he knows to be sinning; and as his knowledge grows so his objective sanctification increases. It is apparently also repeatedly suggested that it depends entirely on the Christian’s own action whether or not he retains his hold on Christ and so continues in his sanctifying walk. Undoubtedly this is in accordance with Jellinghaus’ fundamental conception of the relation of the Christian to Christ and the way of salvation. He continually suggests that our standing in Christ depends absolutely on ourselves. Those that believe in Christ, he tells us for example, “have in Him forgiveness and righteousness, and also shall retain it so long as they abide in Christ.” It is, he continues, like a king granting public amnesty in terms like these: He who appears within a year at a particular place, lays down his weapons, and swears fealty—to him then shall be handed an already prepared diploma of pardon, and he will remain pardoned so long as he maintains his loyalty. . . . Our continued justification depends therefore absolutely on our continued faith, and the implication is that this is left wholly in our hands. Justification cannot therefore be made to cover our future sins—the sin, for example, of failing faith. . . . What Jellinghaus is really laboring for here is to make room in some way for “falling from grace.” He is possessed with the fear that if he does not limit the scope of justification, at least with respect to the grosser future sins, he will give license to sin, which in the end means merely that he has more confidence in man’s efforts than in God’s grace. What he has succeeded in doing is only to destroy all possibility of assurance of salvation. Men are cast back on their own works, whether of faith or of conduct, for their hope of ultimate salvation. God’s justification is valid only if they maintain their faith and commit no sins of malice aforethought, or of conscious indifference, or unlovingness. (Warfield, Perfectionism vol. 1, Chapter 7, “The German Higher Life Movement in its Chief Exponent.”)

[518]        Pg. 86, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[519]        A non-Higher Life, historic Baptist doctrine of sanctification denies that Christian growth is “automatic.” It affirms that “voluntary agency” is involved in sanctification, so that, as Hovey explains:

[A] believer’s progress in sanctification must therefore be determined in no small degree by his readiness to obey the commands of Christ. It is not, then, surprising that some are far in advance of others . . . growth is not uniform through all the periods of Christian life. . . . [There are] times, therefore, when growth seems to be arrested . . . [and] also times of manifest and rapid advance . . . and these times would be far more frequent if Christians were more given to prayer and labor. (pgs. 135-137, Doctrine of the Higher Christian Life Compared With the Teaching of the Holy Scriptures, Alvah Hovey)

For that matter, the classic evangelical Protestant doctrine of sanctification likewise denies that sanctification is “automatic.” While there may be someone on earth who believes that sanctification is in truth automatic, if Keswick represents its opponents as advocates of an automatic sanctification, it misrepresents the overwhelming majority of them.

[520]        Pg. 110, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[521]        Pg. 112, So Great Salvation, Barabas, quoting Hopkins from The Life of Faith, August 1890, pg. 141, and Murray from What Full Surrender Means, pg. 9.

[522]        Pg. 124, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[523]        Pg. 143, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[524]        Pg. 51, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[525]        Barabas is not alone in setting forth the contradictory character of the Keswick doctrine of sanctification as process. Althouse notes: “Thus, in the Keswick articulation of sanctification, a tension existed between the crisis and the progressive” (“Wesleyan and Reformed Impulses in the Keswick and Pentecostal Movements,” Peter Althouse. Pneuma Foundation).

[526]        For a study of the question of whether Keswick critics misrepresent Keswick, or whether Keswick doctrine is itself contradictory and unintelligible, see the chapter, “Do Keswick Critics Misunderstand Keswick Theology?”

More Resources on Soteriology: The Biblical Doctrine of Salvation