Keswick or Higher Life roots of the Pentecostal / Charismatic Movements; Biblical, Baptist, Cessationist Sanctification vs. the Continuationist Second Blessing (part 3)

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Keswick or Higher Life roots of the Pentecostal / Charismatic Movements; Biblical, Baptist, Cessationist Sanctification vs. the Continuationist Second Blessing (part 3)

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Keswick / Higher Life Theology and Continuationism or Anti-Cessationism: Vignettes of Certain Important Advocates of Keswick or Higher Life Theology and their Beliefs Concerning Spiritual Gifts and Other Matters: William Boardman, Andrew Murray, Frederick B. Meyer, Evan Roberts and Jessie Penn-Lewis, A. B. Simpson, John A. MacMillan, Watchman Nee, and the Rise of the Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Word of Faith Movements

I. Introduction

 

            Scripture[1] and history[2] require cessationism, the view that miraculous spiritual gifts and specific sign miracles ceased in apostolic days.[3] Keswick, on the other hand, has possessed from the time of its founding a strong belief in continuationism, the view that all the spiritual gifts given to the first century churches continue to the present day. All of Keswick’s most important advocates were continuationists.[4] Indeed, in continuity with the advocacy of Faith Cure continuationism in the Broadlands, Oxford, and Brighton Conventions and the spiritualism that spread from Broadlands onward, an “emphasis on . . . faith healing and the ‘gifts of the Spirit’ . . . marked the Keswick movement.”[5] At Brighton, meetings advocating both the Higher Life and the Faith Cure were held regularly from the time of the original Convention onwards. The Oxford Convention likewise stood in continuity with the Faith Cure practices of “the Faith Houses of Dorothea Trudel.”[6] Rejection of medical means in favor of healing by prayer alone and the Keswick theology of sanctification were the physical and spiritual corollaries of the full blessing received immediately by faith alone. As a result, there was little to no cessationism in the Higher Life movement.[7]

            Consequently, history indisputably records that the “immediate origins of the Pentecostal movement are to be found in the nineteenth century Holiness movement. . . . [T]he Pentecostal movement drew much of its membership and nearly all of its leadership from Holiness ranks.”[8] Keswick perfectionism is intimately connected with both the Faith or Mind Cure and the Pentecostal movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, respectively.[9] On the other hand, “the cessationist view of miracles proved a major hindrance to th[e] embrace of faith cure.”[10] An examination of forty-five representative Pentecostal pioneers indicated:

Nearly all[11] of the forty-five Pentecostal leaders . . . came out of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, or . . . other . . . Holiness factions that advocated healing and other gifts of the Spirit. . . . All looked for a Second Pentecost having both collective and individual aspects, which would restore the miraculous gifts and powers of the Apostolic Church—a notion that lay at the heart of the Keswick movement . . . acceptance of the new movement seemed both logical and natural.[12]

In fact, Robert Pearsall “Smith himself spoke of the possibility of the restoration of the spiritual gifts of the Apostolic age,” a view that “was from the beginning an element in the [Keswick] movement,”[13] as the Faith Cure continuationism, associated at Broadlands with spiritualism, was publicly proclaimed at the Keswick-predecessor Conventions. Mrs. H. W. Smith taught at Brighton that supernatural and “[g]reat manifestations” were received today, and that they were regularly from God. She preached: “[D]on’t think . . . that those who are favoured with [such manifestations] are enthusiasts.”[14] Similarly, Robert P. Smith taught the Faith Cure doctrine that those who have entered into the Higher Life have Christ live both their spiritual and physical life vicariously—the Christ-life—as allegedly taught in Galatians 2:20. He assured those who entered into such a Christ-life that they would never be sick nor lose their “power to work all [their] days for the Lord Jesus.” Rather, he proclaimed, they “will not wear [themselves] out” but will live perpetually with bodies as healthy as youths; they will “live as children do,” for God “will renew [their] youth like the eagle’s.”[15] Likewise, in connection with severe misinterpretations of Scripture, Hannah Smith preached at Brighton the parallelism between the Higher Life for the soul and physical healing:

The secret of our sickly condition is shown to us in the 28th chap. Deuteronomy, verses 58, 59, 60[.] . . . This exhortation is addressed to Christian people[.] . . . It is not to unconverted people. . . . I am afraid this describes a great many Christians present. They have been delivered from Egypt, but they have not kept God’s law, and the diseases, which they thought were left behind, still cleave to them. This was my own experience after my conversion; I had two weeks of obedience and soul health, and then the diseases of Egypt came back again. Now, is there a way of deliverance, or must we go on as chronic invalids, and only expect to be healed when we get to heaven? . . . If the Lord heals, it seems to me we may with confidence say, “I shall be healed.” Then, in Exodus, xv. Chap., 26th verse, we have the Lord giving Himself such a wonderful name, “I am the Lord that healeth thee.” . . . [I]n Luke ix. 6, it says of Jesus, “He healed them that had need of healing.” . . . [He] showed His power over both soul and body. . . . Is it not, then, as easy for the Lord to heal the soul as the body? . . . He came to heal both. . . . Do not ask your friend whether you may be healed. Do not ask your traditions or your prejudices, but ask your God, and if He says you may, I entreat of you to believe Him. . . . What we want is to find out whether we can be helped, and whether our disease comes within the reach of His healing power. Now, dear friends, we know that health is essential. . . . Get well, and then you can go and work for others. But how, you ask? First of all, I answer, it is utterly out of the question to even think of getting rid of disease ourselves; you cannot get at it . . . it is a thing that only God can do. . . . [P]ut your case now into His hands, and leave it with Him. Say to him, “Lord, here I am, sick and helpless; but I give myself to Thee to be healed. I believe Thou art able, and I trust Thee to do it.” And having done this, you must not worry yourselves about it any more, but you must simply obey His directions and trust Him. . . . [I]f the Lord . . . [says,] “I will take your case in hand; I will manage it for you; I will heal all your diseases,” [will] you . . . take Him at His word? . . . Why, dear friends, what did Jesus come to do if it was not to heal us? You know that He is willing. . . . [T]rust in Him. . . . [T]his [is the] secret of the Lord’s healing power[.][16]

The Higher Life for the body and soul preached at Keswick led directly onward to Pentecostalism.

            The Keswick theology was also influenced not only by the perfectionism but also by the continuationism of Wesley and the Methodist movement.[17] The Oberlin perfectionism and continuationism of Asa Mahan also was an important influence.[18] Furthermore, the expectation of the presence of continuing miracles,[19] whether wrought by graven images, holy relics, transubstantiated wafers, or other abominations present in the theology of medieval Roman Catholicism (cf. Revelation 13:14; 16:14; 19:20)[20] and in the mysticism of Madame Guyon, Fénelon, and other Romanist mystics,[21] influenced Keswick continuationism and the Pentecostalism that developed from it[22] both indirectly through Wesley and Methodism[23] and directly through the impact of Romanist mystical writings on Hannah Whitall Smith[24] and others.[25] Thus, “proponents of faith cure . . . [drew] heavily upon the classic works of mystical authors such as Madame Guyon and Fenelon[.]”[26] Indeed, many continuationist marvels, such as speaking in tongues, require the rejection of the activity of the mind[27] and the self-emptying exalted by the Higher Life theology that has been of the essence of Quietism since its flowering in medieval Romanism, just as in the even earlier openly heathen and polytheistic Quietism. What is more, since “the central persons [in the development of Keswick were] Friends, and still cl[ung] to the ‘inward light,’”[28] the Quaker theology, with its doctrine of the continuation of revelation through inner light in Hannah Whitall and Robert Pearsall Smith’s background and preaching, as well as that of Robert Wilson, Jessie Penn-Lewis, and other early Keswick leaders, provided crucial background for the strong Keswick continuationism.

            From the time of the earliest conference at Broadlands that led to the Keswick Convention, “[t]he ‘Seed,’ of which George Fox [the founder of Quakerism] spoke, was rooted in them all.”[29] The Keswick theology thus perpetuated the acceptance of continuing revelation and miracles as affirmed by Quakerism. Robert Barclay, the premier Quaker theologian, wrote:

Revelations of God by the Spirit, whether by outward voices and appearances, dreams, or inward objective manifestations in the heart, were of old the formal object of [believers’] faith, and remain yet so to be; for the object of the saints’ faith is the same in all ages, though set forth under divers administrations. Moreover, these divine inward revelations . . . we make absolutely necessary for the building up of true faith[.] . . . [T]hese divine revelations are . . . not . . . to be subjected to the examination, either of the outward testimony of the Scriptures, or of the natural reason of man, as to a more noble or certain rule or touchstone; for this divine revelation, and inward illumination, is that which is evident and clear of itself; forcing, by its own evidence and clearness, the well-disposed understanding to assent, irresistibly moving the same thereunto[.] . . . [T]he Scriptures . . . are not to be esteemed the principal ground of all truth and knowledge, nor yet the adequate primary rule of faith and manners. . . . [T]hey are . . . subordinate to the Spirit . . . for . . . by the inward testimony of the Spirit we alone do truly know them.[30]

Bushnell explains:

The sect of Friends, from George Fox downward, have had it as a principle to expect gifts [and] revelations[.] . . . Led on thus by Fox, the Friends have always claimed the continuance of the original gifts of the Spirit in the apostolic age, and have looked for them . . . in the ordinary course of their . . . demonstrations. We are not surprised to find [them] . . . believing as firmly in the prophetic gifts of [their] [Quaker] friend[s] as in those of Isaiah or Paul.”[31]

Hannah Whitall Smith described the practical result of this Quaker Inner Light teaching she received in her youth in pointing sinners away from the objective work of Christ on the cross for salvation to the “light within,” and away from sola Scriptura to alleged personal revelations. She wrote:

Our Quaker education had been . . . to refer us under all circumstances to the “light within” for teaching and guidance, and we believed that only when God should reveal Himself there, could we come really to know Him. In an old Quaker tract which I have found among my papers, called “What shall we do to be saved?” there is a passage that sets forth clearly the sort of teaching with which we had grown up. It is as follows:

I cannot direct the searcher after truth who is pensively enquiring what he shall do to be saved, to the ministry of any man; but would rather recommend him to the immediate teaching of the word nigh in the heart, even the Spirit of God. This is the only infallible teacher, and the primary adequate rule of faith and practice: it will lead those who attend to its dictates into the peaceable paths of safety and truth. . . .

The natural result of this teaching was to turn our minds inward, upon our feelings and our emotions, and to make us judge of our relations with God entirely by what we found within ourselves. What God had said in the Bible seemed to us of not nearly so much authority as what He might say to us in our own hearts, and I have no recollection of ever for a moment going to the Scriptures for instruction. The “inward voice” was to be our sole teacher.[32]

Keswick maintained the continuationism at the heart of Quaker belief and practice, preparing the way for the arrival of the Pentecostal and Word of Faith movements.[33] As today there are “Quaker Pentecostals,”[34] and Quakers were associated with the Pentecostal movement from its very beginning,[35] similarly “the early Quakers . . . experienced glossolalia,”[36] and there were “prominent Quaker Pentecostal[s] . . . in Pentecostal leadership.”[37] “Certainly the impact of Keswick thought had a substantial influence on the shaping of Pentecostal theology, not only in the English-speaking world, but elsewhere, particularly in continental Europe. . . . Keswick theology was accepted . . . readily by Pentecostals. . . . Keswick influence quickly gained currency in the young Pentecostal movement.”[38] Keswick theology permeated the institutions promulgating Pentecostalism.[39] The “Keswick movement” made “extremely important contributions to the development of pentecostalism,”[40] laying the groundwork that made the rise of the charismatic movement essentially inevitable:

Keswick leaders . . . concluded that [there] would be a great world-wide revival that would give every living person a last chance to accept the gospel. They expected that the Holiness movement would culminate in a Second Pentecost in which the Holy Spirit would endow believers with extraordinary powers[.] . . . The twin themes of a coming Pentecostal revival, sometimes called “the latter rain,” and of a Spirit baptism of power, run through . . . Keswick . . . literature. References to the gift of healing as a characteristic of both the revival and “the Baptism” are abundant; [references also appear] to speaking in tongues[.] . . . The Keswick movement . . . was absolutely crucial to the development of Pentecostalism. . . . The doctrinal basis for [Pentecostal] Christianity was laid by the Keswick wing of the Holiness movement, while an atmosphere heavy with hopes of a new Pentecost and inspired by the Welsh revival provided a favorable milieu. . . . Keswick-oriented people . . . in the Holiness movement . . . found the Pentecostal movement attractive . . . because its message fit so well into the general outlook already held by them.[41]

“It is thus no accident that Pentecostalism emerged when it did. All that was needed was the spark that would ignite this volatile tinder.”[42] The Keswick and Higher Life movement provided the theological fuel for Pentecostalism—all that was needed was a spark to set the whole continuationist mass ablaze.[43]

With Keswick continuationism came a practical undermining of sola Scriptura in favor of an experiential or allegorical method of interpreting Scripture, a phenomenon also passed on to the Pentecostal, charismatic, and Word of Faith movements, and one that distinguished the Keswick and Pentecostal movements from fundamentalism.[44] Donald Dayton explains:

[There is a] distinct hermeneutic, a distinctively Pentecostal manner of appropriating the Scriptures. In contrast to magisterial Protestantism [and Baptist orthodoxy] . . . Pentecostalism reads the rest of the New Testament through Lukan eyes . . . [placing] [n]arrative material [over] . . . didactic . . .Pauline texts. . . . In making this claim, Pentecostalism stands in a long tradition of a “subjectivizing hermeneutic.” . . . The “higher life” antecedents to Pentecostalism in the nineteenth century used a similar approach to Scripture in appropriating elements of the Old Testament Heilsgeschichte devotionally. The exodus from Egypt, the wilderness wanderings, and crossing Jordan River into the Promised Land all became stages in the normative pattern of the spiritual pilgrimage from conversion into the “second blessing” (“Beulah Land”).[45]

Consequently, it is unsurprising that Keswick taught: “There are times in our Christian life in which we have . . . to . . . accept as children from God things which often seem to be, and are, in contradiction with what appears to us the teaching of Scripture.”[46] Adopting this Keswick idea and accepting what was contrary to what one thought was the teaching of Scripture was very important if one was to embrace charismatic fanaticism. Thus, in the infancy of Pentecostalism at Azuza Street in Los Angeles, “[T]he operative hermeneutical principle [was that] . . . ‘the literal Word could be temporarily overruled by the living Spirit.’ . . . [I]n order to continue the [Pentecostal] revival, it was necessary for God to act independently of the regulating structure provided in the written Word.”[47] The rules regulating the gift of tongues specified by Paul in 1 Corinthians were “ignored . . . in all the early Pentecostal meetings.”[48] Pentecostal historians recognize that their movement arose and is propagated by events and experiences, not by careful preaching of the Word, interpreted grammatically and historically.[49] For the charismatic, the “exegetical difficulties which may arise [in Pentecostal doctrine] are, in the final analysis, more than balanced for Pentecostals by the experiential proofs.”[50] The mind must not be used to interpret Scripture.[51] Experience[52] is superior to Biblical theology and logical study of Biblical teaching.[53] Thus, both through continuationism and through the rejection of a literal interpretation of Scripture for an exaltation of experience, the Higher Life theology of Robert P. and Hannah W. Smith “gave birth to the Keswick Convention . . . and Pentecostal movements.”[54]

            In addition to Quaker theology, William Boardman’s healing doctrine, developed out of antinomian, Oberlin, and Wesleyan continuationism and perfectionism, was passed on to the Higher Life movement and is prominent in the writings of Andrew Murray, A. B. Simpson, and many other Keswick leaders. That is, the continuationism of the Faith and Mind Cure movement, which grew out of Methodist and other pre-Keswick perfectionist theologies, was very influential on Keswick. McConnell explains:

[H]ealing . . . w[as] very much alive in the nineteenth-century Faith-Cure movement led by Charles Cullis and spread by William Boardman, Andrew Murray, Adoniram Gordon, Carrie Judd Montgomery, and A. B. Simpson. . . . [T]he Faith-Cure disciples of Charles Cullis . . . [provided] the divine healing movement with the production of a permanent literature . . . transcended denominational distinctions and drew supporters and practitioners from every background . . . [and had] lasting significance . . . [as seen in] the explosion of the Pentecostal movement in the first decade of the twentieth century. The Pentecostal movement was built upon the theological foundation of the Faith-Cure movement.[55]

The Quaker and Faith Cure continuationism, adopted and strongly promulgated by so many of the leaders of the Keswick theology—and strongly opposed by, or separated from, by none of them—is profoundly connected to the modern Pentecostal, charismatic, and Word of Faith movements.[56] Charles Parham, the “theological father of the . . . Azusa Street revival . . . which ushered into being the worldwide twentieth-century pentecostal renewal,” adopted the key doctrinal distinctive of Pentecostalism—tongues-speech as the necessary evidence of present-day post-conversion Spirit baptism—at the Faith Cure home he had founded as a Higher Life minister, where he taught “the standard teachings of the holiness movement that were current in his day . . . sanctification as a second work of grace [and] divine healing[.]”[57] William Seymour, the central figure of Azuza Street, learned the Pentecostal theology at the Bible school associated with Parham’s Faith Cure home.[58]   Keswick—the Higher Life of the spirit and of the body—laid essential groundwork for the rise of charismatic fanaticism. Indeed, the leadership for the early Pentecostal movement had direct, personal contact with Keswick leaders and drew countless adherents of Keswick into their ranks. “Many of the early Pentecostal leaders in Britain attended Keswick meetings.”[59] For example, prominent English Pentecostal “Alexander Boddy . . . was a Keswick evangelical,” while “George Jeffreys . . . the . . . founder of another Pentecostal denomination, the Elim Church, had attended Conventions where he was taught to receive [t]he Baptism of the Holy Spirit . . . the Keswick message.”[60] It is very clear that “Keswick . . . played an important role as a precursor to the Pentecostal and charismatic movements”[61]—indeed, the “[t]he Keswick movement . . . was absolutely crucial to the development of Pentecostalism.”[62] Not surprisingly, “the early Pentecostal understanding of sanctification was . . . a view emanating from the Keswick understanding of consecration and surrender to the Holy Spirit.”[63] When tongues broke out in Los Angeles, “great holiness denominations, already in existence by the time of the Azusa street revival, were swept almost overnight into the pentecostal fold.”[64] The “workers at ‘Azuza’ . . . were largely called and prepared . . . from the Holiness ranks.”[65] History demonstrates:

[O]ne can find in late nineteenth century holiness thought and life every significant feature of pentecostalism . . . the ground had been well prepared. . . . the emergence of pentecostalism . . . may be seen as a natural development . . . connections are very apparent. . . . [T]he holiness revival of the late nineteenth century . . . was the cradle in which the pentecostal revival was rocked.[66]

Pentecostalism was simply a further development of the evil fruit of unscriptural doctrine and practice found in the holiness and Higher Life movements.[67]

II. William Boardman

William Boardman, a grocer from Illinois[68] and a New School Presbyterian who was strongly influenced by Charles Finney, Asa Mahan, and Phoebe Palmer,[69] worked very closely with Robert Pearsall Smith in the time from 1873-1875 that led to the beginning of the meetings at Keswick to promote the Higher Life theology, joining the Smiths in the spiritualist-sponsored gathering at Broadlands and its successor, the Oxford Convention,[70] as well as preaching at the Keswick Convention itself.[71] Indeed, one could say that “Boardman helped to found the Keswick movement . . . with [Robert] Pearsall and Hannah Whitall Smith.”[72] Through Mr. Boardman, “the despised doctrine of the early Methodists”—perfectionism and continuationism—“has become the glorious heritage of all denominations,”[73] for he “was the first standard-bearer on the subject of the Higher Life.”[74] The Higher Christian Life, which he wrote in three months[75] and published in 1859, was the book through which “interest in the subject really became widespread . . . and [which] led multitudes” to adopt the Higher Life doctrine of sanctification.[76] In The Higher Christian Life, Boardman claimed that for the first time, after “eighteen centuries . . . have . . . been allowed to roll away,” the truth of sanctification had been “brought distinctly and prominently before the mind of the church[.] . . . [U]ntil now, the time has never come for it. Now is the time.”[77] While “[t]rained theologians could tear its arguments to shreds” and “detractors” thought it “poison,” its influence was, nonetheless, vast.[78] “Wherever the English language is spoken, his books have gone.”[79] Thus, “[h]is book on The Higher Christian Life was perhaps the first popular treatise on this subject that won its way amongst all denominations; and its vast circulation, both in America and England, not only melted the prejudices of hosts against this subject, but made it possible for other writers to follow in the paths which he had opened, and led multitudes of timid souls out of the misty dawn into the clear shining of the sun”[80] of second-blessing perfectionism and views on the power and promises of the gospel that deviated from orthodoxy. In The Higher Christian Life, Boardman did not “plac[e] before his readers theological views on holiness” by exegeting what the Bible taught on the subject, but without “entire clearness of doctrinal statement . . . began with facts of Christian experience, and reasoned from those facts,”[81] as human experience could with much more facility be brought to coincide with his doctrine of the Higher Life than could the Scripture. For example, Boardman recounted the story of someone who, after suffering a serious injury, was allegedly born again because of a dream, and then found out the truth of the Higher Life doctrine because of another dream where Jesus supposedly appeared, hugged him, gave him assurance of salvation, and thus brought him into the Higher Life.[82] While Boardman did not employ the literal interpretation of Scripture to propagate his Higher Life theology, at least the Higher Life was supported in men’s dreams. For one who insists on following the teaching of Scripture alone, however, Boardman’s The Higher Christian Life is essentially worthless,[83] since “Boardman’s primary authority is experience rather than Scripture, which receives little exegetical attention throughout the 330-page work. To persuade his readers, however, he recounts in detail the experiences of over twenty-five people.”[84] Since God indicates that His Word, not experience, is the sole authority for the believer (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and since Mormons, Muslims, Buddhists, followers of Mary Baker Eddy, spiritualists, outright Satan worshippers, and followers of all sorts of other abominable false religions can with ease also put together a catena of testimonials about how wonderful their religious systems are, testimonials will not be convincing to one who recognizes the truth of sola Scriptura.

While the lack of authority in testimonial is the fundamental failure of Boardman’s The Higher Christian Life, his testimonials are themselves inaccurate. They are either inexcusably historically sloppy or deliberately deceptive distortions of historical data. Inaccurately recorded or recounted testimony is of even less value than testimony that actually represents a person’s perception of reality. Harry Ironside noted, concerning the Higher Life and perfectionist movements generally: “Exaggerations, amounting to downright dishonesty, are unconsciously encouraged by and often indulged in in their ‘testimony’ meetings,”[85] and what Ironside noted of the movement’s testimony meetings in general perfectly describes the testimonials of Boardman’s book in particular. As one reviewer noted:

[T]he proofs . . . [in The Higher Christian Life by which his] theory is supported . . . [are] the most remarkable thing about the whole production. His proofs are drawn primarily from real life. And as far as we have the means of verifying them, there is not one of them that stands upon the ground of historical truth. . . . We confess that when we discovered what was done . . . totally misrepresent[ing] [historical sources] . . . our moral nature felt a shock similar to that we experience when the tidings come to us of the fall, by heinous transgression, of some prominent one in the church that had stood high in our confidence.[86]

Since even accurate testimonial has no authority for Christian doctrine, what value for establishing the alleged truth of the Higher Life can there be in hundreds of pages of Boardman’s revisionist myth-making?

Boardman was closer to Christian orthodoxy than Thomas Upham, Asa Mahan, and Hannah Whitall Smith; he had a testimony of conversion that was reasonable and, possibly, genuine.[87] Nonetheless, since he looked for an ecumenical union of Christendom,[88] he did not separate from those who denied the Christian faith. Instead, he upheld false teachers such as Mrs. Smith and commended the vile heretic Thomas Upham, despite his worship of a Father-Mother duality as deity.[89] Boardman also seriously confused the gospel in his own writing and preaching. Boardman confused the doctrine of justification taught by Paul, replacing the Biblical doctrine of justification entirely based on the legal imputation of Christ’s alien, extrinsic righteousness[90] with the Roman Catholic heresy of justification by both imputed and imparted righteousness—a view that would also endear his belief to Quakerism and its doctrine of justification by inward renewal.[91] Boardman even managed to affirm, in an astonishing piece of historical revisionism—or ignorance—that Luther actually opposed what was at the heart of his view of the gospel; allegedly Luther rejected the Protestant doctrine to favor the Roman Catholic view[92] of justification:

[N]ow, of late, the whole Christian world has come to distinguish . . . justification and sanctification. Luther used the term justification as including both, in the same way that the apostle Paul used the expression righteousness of God. Justification, in the great reformer’s sense, was being made righteous; that is, being reckoned righteous before God, and being made righteous in heart and life . . . he must . . . be holy in heart and life, or he cannot be saved.[93]

Thus, “full justification includ[es] sanctification from sin,”[94] for Boardman, although “the history of the Reformation . . . demonstrates [that] the criterion employed . . . to determine whether a given doctrine of justification was Protestant or not was whether justifying righteousness was conceived extrinsically. This criterion served to distinguish the [Protestant] doctrines of justification . . . from those of Catholicism[.]”[95] Thus, Boardman rejected the heart of the Reformation by repudiating the Biblical doctrine of justification. However, Boardman believed that his Roman Catholic and Quaker doctrine of justification was “the first fact to be taken into account in coming to an understanding of the two separate and distinct experiences” of forgiveness and sanctification;[96] his heresy on justification was the “first fact” that undergirded his doctrine of the Higher Life. Boardman sowed further confusion when he taught: “Literally and strictly the Holy Spirit and not Christ is the justifier,”[97] which, literally and strictly, is absolutely false and a very dangerous confusion of the doctrine of justification. Boardman also threatened the gospel by unqualified assertions that “distinct recollections of one’s conversion, and . . . the knowledge of the time [of this event] is by no means indispensable.”[98] In accordance with a common paedobaptist weakness on conversion, Boardman affirmed that for those whose “life [is] laid on the altar of God, by parental faith in infancy” a little “child” can have “faith” that was “too early in its beginnings, and too steady in its unfoldings to be marked by memory, or recounted in its stages,” and so be converted without a conversion experience such as Paul had on the Damascus road or Jacob experienced at Bethel.[99] Boardman’s understanding of what a Christian is, and how one becomes a Christian—and thus enters into the Christian life—is dangerously deficient.

Boardman also taught that without both justification and the usually post-justification second blessing of sanctification, “the Pentecostal endowment [that] follows conversion . . . the higher starting point of power”[100] that brings entry into the Higher Life, one will be damned: “Sooner or later [one] must be purified . . . [and enter into the second blessing of] full salvation . . . [without which] [m]illions [of Christians] have lived in life-long ignorance . . . trembling often . . . at the thought of death [because] of their own unfitness for heaven.”[101] Consequently, Boardman taught: “It is necessary for all to come to the point of [distinctly] trusting in the Lord for purity of heart to be prepared for heaven . . . [a]nd none but the pure in heart shall see God in peace.”[102] Nonetheless, Boardman also thought that all of those who are true believers will get this second blessing, which he also termed the baptism of the Holy Ghost, before they die, so that they can go to heaven instead of being justified but in hell. In a related error, as Hannah W. Smith denied that all believers have the Holy Spirit,[103] Boardman thought that the Holy Spirit is “with” those who are “regenerate[d] in the new birth,” but “in” those only who have entered the Higher Life—a doctrine passed on to Andrew Murray and others,[104] through whom its kernel made its way into Pentecostalism.[105] Boardman, Murray, and many other advocates of the Higher Life would agree entirely with the charismatic position that “[u]ntil the Pentecostal baptism is experienced the Christian is . . . deprived of the lasting residence of the Holy Spirit; . . . the Spirit only operates on, or is with the Christian, he is not yet within him.”[106] Contrary to Ephesians 1:3, for Boardman “[c]onversion” does not “introduc[e] the convert into all the fulness of the blessings of the gospel of peace”—rather, the second blessing does.[107] How does the justified but unsanctified Christian receive the second blessing and enter the Higher Life so that he can enter heaven? Boardman explained, “Faith alone is the means” of both the first conversion for justification and the second conversion[108] for sanctification.[109] Consequently, despite hundreds of pages of material, Boardman wrote: “[Q]uestions . . . such as growth in grace, discipline, temptations, self-examination, watching and prayer, reading, study of the Scriptures, methods of doing good, and the like, might well form the conclusion of a work upon experimental religion. However . . . we must leave these topics untouched[.]”[110] Once one has figured out, from the testimonials Boardman copiously supplies, how to enter into the Higher Life, “exhortations” to matters like Bible study, watching and prayer, growth in grace, and the like “may be dispensed with,” for knowing about the Higher Life is enough, and receiving it will leave the reader “secure from the adversary and cheerful as the lark.”[111] The second blessing, the second conversion or the baptism of the Spirit, sanctification by faith alone, is enough. Although exhortations to Christians to study the Bible, pray, be disciplined, grow, and the like, fill the New Testament, but exhortations to experience the Higher Life through sanctification by faith alone are absent from its pages, the key matter, for Boardman, is the latter, and for those who experience it, the exhortations that actually are present in the Bible become “dispensable,” for one can be secure from Satan, and happy as a lark, without them. Such teaching will surely lead one to a carefree flight to a Higher Life.

            As Robert P. Smith learned the Higher Life from his wife Hannah, so Mr. Boardman came into the knowledge of the second blessing through his wife, who had entered the experience herself through the influence of Wesleyan and Oberlin perfectionism, but had been instructed in the secret chiefly from an old lady who had been excommunicated for dangerous antinomian and perfectionist heresy. Mrs. Boardman was “charged . . . to read [a] book . . . upon the doctrine of Christian perfection . . . by a Methodist minister when on one of his circuit visits” while a “guest” in the Boardman home. She consequently read “the experiences of Professor Finney and Dr. Mahan,” and by means of their testimonies to having discovered “the great secret of the power of God” and obtaining perfection and the Higher Life, entered into the second blessing.[112] Reading Finney and Mahan was essential to entering into her experience, as the Bible certainly did not teach the doctrines of either the Oberlin perfectionism of Mahan and Finney[113] or the Methodist perfectionism of Wesley, so simple exegesis of the Word would never suffice to discover the secret of power. She shared her experience with her husband and brought him to a Methodist meeting so that they could learn more.[114] However, being dissatisfied with certain aspects of Methodist perfectionism, she and her husband turned to a certain old lady to receive further instruction in the Higher Life. Mrs. Boardman explained what they learned from this lady:

She had been a member of Dr. Kirk’s Church, in Albany, and fifteen years before this, she was one of thirty members who had been turned out, as having embraced great error. Half of the thirty had gone into antinomian perfectionism, which led them into many very extravagant ideas, all the while under the impression that they were guided by the Holy Spirit. Because they prayed without ceasing, therefore they followed the suggestion of the adversary, that secret prayer was unnecessary. On the same ground they gave up family worship. So they imagined that the Lord told them they need not observe the Sabbath [the Lord’s Day], as they kept a holy Sabbath every day in their souls. Therefore the wives and daughters did the same on Sunday as on weekdays and while professing holiness, were not ashamed to be seen seated at the window, engaged in sewing, on the Lord’s day. Thus Satan, as an angel of light, led them into many errors, and brought into great disrepute the cause of Christ. . . . [T]his dear old lady, who had been dismissed from the church with the others . . . was God’s special gift to us.[115] She taught us many things, and strengthened me in the belief [in the Higher Life]. . . . All this was a wonderful help . . . [a]s the days went on, we were continually before the Lord in prayer for my dear husband, and the time came when, in a little prayer meeting, he was brought out [and received the Blessing].[116]

Thus, an old lady who had been expelled from the Fourth Presbyterian Church of E. N. Kirk[117] for abominable heresy—the antinomian perfectionism of John Henry Noyes, who joined perfectionism, communism, rampant sexual immorality, “complex marriage” or “free love” that involved spouse-swapping, and Faith Cure—was the instrument in confirming Mrs. Boardman in her perfectionism, specifically in what became one of the features that differentiated the later Keswick theology from Methodist perfectionism, namely, that one who is perfect is not in a “state of sanctification.” The Boardmans learned from this old woman that one does not have “his own holiness” but “Jesus his Sanctification” instead[118]—while the Methodists taught that perfection involved one actually becoming holy, Mrs. Boardman discovered from one who was disciplined for antinomianism that the perfect are not actually more holy in themselves, but rather allegedly have Christ’s holiness in a mystical way. Both ladies together then were used to bring Mr. Boardman into the experience of “the baptism of the Holy Ghost”[119] and this Higher Life of perfection without personal holiness. Mrs. Boardman explained her second blessing to her husband, although she feared that she would be called a perfectionist. He answered her: “I have never found it of the least profit to dwell on doctrines, and why should you?” Just tell out in a simple way what Jesus has done for you, and what He is to you, and let the rest alone.”[120] Aided by Mr. Boardman’s carelessness about Bible doctrine and preference for experiences, both Mrs. Boardman and the old lady under church discipline for Noyes’ perfectionism soon were rejoicing that he, too, had entered the Higher Life, after an allegorical interpretation of two passages of Scripture was “revealed to him” as the final key to unlock the spiritual secret the two women had already experienced.[121] By the secret power of the Higher Life, Mr. Boardman eventually came to the point that to look at his face was to discover the truth of the second blessing. “[S]eeing [his] face” was to “catch a glimpse of heaven,” his face manifesting “the glory of this holy of holies” as it “was lighted with beams of sunshine from the Sun of glory”—people came to be “convinced, not only of the existence of God, but of a future state of blessedness, by seeing [his] face . . . as he passed” by.[122] The possession of such a face was surely a great validation of the truth of his doctrine, as it excelled anything possessed by any mortal man in the New Testament; the first Christians only aspired to a holy life, not a shiny face, as evidence of holiness of heart (Luke 6:43), although others in the late nineteenth century, including many at the Broadlands Conferences that originated the Keswick Conventions,[123] also came to have shiny faces through the receipt of the second blessing, Spirit baptism, and entrance into the Higher Life,[124] and a happy-looking face brought many into the Higher Life that could not be brought in by Biblical exegesis.[125]

            Mr. Boardman, after some time, settled into a definite work of Higher Life agitation, Mrs. Boardman also addressing mixed audiences at times in conjunction with influence from Quakerism, as many Quakers were delighted to hear and assist both of the Boardmans.[126] Mr. Boardman and Mr. R. P. Smith worked together in an ecumenical way to reach “the ministers of all denominations” with the message of the Higher Life,[127] their joint efforts culminating in the spiritist-backed Conference at Broadlands and its successors at Oxford and Brighton, the precursors to Keswick.[128] At these Conferences “testimony upon testimony” to the Higher Life theology validated the teachings of Boardman and Smith in a way that grammatical-historical exegesis never could.[129] Hannah W. Smith wrote concerning the Oxford meeting, a paradigm for later Holiness and Keswick meetings:

[A]t Oxford . . . a great wave of blessing seemed to sweep all before it. . . . . [S]ome of the testimonies . . . are really most beautiful. . . . [A]ll sorts of denominations . . . met and mingled in the most happy and blessed union[.] . . . One German Pastor the last morning said, “I came over with our Pastors to report the meetings, very unwillingly, and with my whole mind full of prejudices against this new heresy. I did not believe it was according to good German theology, and for a day or two I did nothing but criticize and get vexed. But now all is changed. I do not know indeed whether it yet is good doctrine or not, but I do know the experience is true, and I have got it!” Such things were continually occurring.[130]

Despite the inability to provide a legitimate exegetical basis for the Higher Life doctrine, countless numbers set the Bible aside, entered into the ecumenical spirit, and received the Blessing through powerful testimonies.

Mr. Boardman also employed evangelistic methods that produced large outward results, so that many could testify to their effectiveness, although when judged by Scripture, they were faulty and dangerous. He asked large crowds, “Will you—do you now accept the Lord Jesus as your Saviour?” and when “a large part of them answered, ‘I do,’” he assumed that they had at the time of their statement actually been born again.[131] By such means many were led to profess entrance into the kingdom of God.

In 1875—the year the Keswick convention was founded—Boardman openly adopted a proto-charismatic doctrine and began allegedly freely working cures along with his preaching of the Higher Life. He had already been working since at least 1870 alongside advocates of the Higher Life for the body as well as for the soul, who had been promoting their healing doctrine in his meetings.[132] His experience of the Higher Life brought him to experience “the office work of our gracious Lord as the Healer.” Boardman affirmed that he discovered both sanctification by faith alone and healing by faith alone through the same experience at the same time, but that he allowed his “restoration of faith in Him as the Healer” to leave his consciousness until years later, proclaiming publicly only sanctification by faith alone for a while.[133] However, he had seen a man enter the Higher Life and receive healing after not just believing in his heart but making a sort of positive confession, similar to those of the later Word of Faith movement, with his mouth.[134] Boardman taught that one must take Christ for justification, then take Him for sanctification, and then proceed to take Him as healer. Those “who are going on to prove the fulness of God in Christ” will have God manifest Himself “[f]irst, as the sin-bearing and pardoning Saviour; next, in His ever-abiding presence as the Deliverer from present sin in its power . . . and lastly, as the Deliverer from all the consequences of sin, and from the heritage of sinful flesh—disease.”[135] The Higher Life of sanctification leads onward to the Higher Life of healing, for the transferal into the present of the perfect deliverance from sin and its consequences that, in Scripture, awaits the eschaton, logically involves not only the perfection of freedom from sin but the perfection of freedom from the consequence of sin in the body, disease.[136] Thus, as Boardman preached and did personal work, many took Christ not merely as their Sanctification but also “took Christ as . . . Healer [and] Keeper in health.”[137] Boardman himself, he claimed, lived an exchanged life, so that in his old age his body was as “fresh . . . through exchange with Him” as it was in youth.[138] His book “on divine healing, The Lord That Healeth Thee, . . . had significant impact on many . . . especially [A. B.] Simpson,”[139] founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Boardman, who had written a book entitled Faith Work under Dr. Cullis in Boston,[140] was led to publicly adopt the Faith Cure doctrine through “a meeting with Dr. Cullis[141] during [Cullis’s] visit to America in the summer of 1875.”[142] “Charles Cullis” was “a homeopathic physician and Episcopal layman” who adopted the Faith Cure “as part of his ministry to the sick in 1873. His ‘faith cure’ meetings quickly became one of the focal points of a transatlantic and interdenominational divine healing movement.”[143] He became “a major leader of the broader Holiness movement,” as well as a central figure in the Faith or Mind Cure,[144] promoting not just Boardman, but also the Higher Life continuationists Hannah W. Smith, Theodore Monod, Asa Mahan, and Thomas Upham.[145] The Faith Cure was a physical counterpart to the spiritual Higher life—the Higher Life for soul and for body was really “Arminianism of both the physical and spiritual sorts.”[146] The “nineteenth-century Holiness and health reform movements provide crucial background for excavating the origins and development of divine healing because so many of the movement’s seminal figures were influenced by these two powerful cultural currents. . . . If human beings could hope to attain sanctity of heart and freedom from sin this side of heaven, Holiness advocates reasoned, surely they could also expect to experience physical purity and bodily health in this life.”[147] Cullis was “quite full of the matter” of healing when he met Boardman that year, for the Faith Cure doctrine “had opened up to him a glorious relation of Christ to His Church, and a precious, permanent heritage of His Church in Him, which he had not seen before,”[148] his “espousal of faith healing [being] explain[ed] [by] his background in homeopathic medicine . . . [and] embrace of perfectionist theology[.]”[149] Soon Cullis was reporting that many Faith Cures had taken place through his instrumentality,[150] although he failed to report with the like prominence that he himself suffered, for decades, from a severe heart problem that was never healed.[151] Because of what Boardman had experienced in England during the Higher Life agitation there that led to the formation of the Keswick Convention, he testified, “I was quite prepared, through what I had seen and heard in London, to agree with [Cullis] in this.”[152] However, the testimony of Dr. Cullis to Mr. Boardman of the “remarkable healing of a broken arm in answer to prayer in Philadelphia” was instrumental in bringing Boardman to a firm stance in favor of the Faith Cure. Cullis recounted to Boardman the great marvel of the son of Dr. Read, the physician, being healed, for it was a “most remarkable case” and “quite unexplainable, if not by the power of God.”[153] Indeed, it was “one of the most celebrated instances of faith-healing ever wrought in America . . . nothing less than the instantaneous knitting of a broken bone in answer to prayer.”[154] Boardman recounted,[155] at length, this testimony in his The Lord that Healeth Thee, as a central weight that pushed him over the edge to his firm stance in favor of the continuation of Apostolic healing:

While in Philadelphia I called upon the Doctor [Dr. Read, whose son had experienced the marvel]. He was our family physician, and a dear Christian. I thanked him for all his kindness to my wife and myself, which was not a little, and all without money or price; and then said, “Doctor, I heard in Boston wonderful things about your little son.” “Ah!” said he, “I do not like to speak of it to people generally, they are so unbelieving; but I can tell you. The children were jumping off from a bench, and my little son fell and broke both bones of his arm below the elbow. My brother, who is a professor of surgery in the college at Chicago, was here on a visit. I asked him to set and dress the arm. He did so, putting it in splints and bandages, and in a sling. The dear child was very patient, and went about without a murmur all that day. The next morning he came to me and said, “Dear papa, please take off these things.” “Oh no, my son! You will have to wear them five or six weeks before it will be well.” “Why, papa, it is well.” “Oh no, my dear child; that is impossible!” “Why, papa, you believe in prayer, don’t you?” “You know I do, my son.” “Well, last night, when I went to bed, it hurt me very bad, and I asked Jesus to make it well; and He did make it well, and it is well.” I did not like to say a word to chill his faith. A happy thought came; I said, “My dear child, your uncle put the things on, and if they are taken off, he must do it.” Away he went to his uncle, who told him he would have to be very patient; and when the little fellow told him that Jesus had made him well, he said, “Pooh! Pooh! Nonsense!” and sent him away. The next morning the poor boy came again to me, and pleaded with so much sincerity and confidence that I more than half believed he was really healed, and went to my brother and said, “Had you not better undo his arm, and let him see for himself? Then he will be satisfied. If you do not, I fear, though he is very obedient, he may be tempted to undo it himself, and then it may be worse for him.” My brother yielded, took off the bandage and the splints, and exclaimed, “It is well! Absolutely well!” and hastened to the door for air to keep from fainting. He had been a real, simple-hearted Christian, but in his student days wandered away; but this brought him back to the Lord.” [Boardman comments:] Strange if it had not! To all this I could say nothing, if I had been ever so much disposed, in the way of accounting for it upon any other hypothesis than that of the little fellow himself—that Jesus had made him well. Two competent surgeons had seen the broken arm, felt the bones, and had the evidence of their own senses that it was broken. One of them had set it, dressed it, and after two days, to satisfy the boy and save him from the temptation to take off the dressings, he had taken them off himself, and found, to his amazement, the arm absolutely well. But now I greatly rejoiced in this new proof that Jesus remains today, as in the days when He was here in the body, the Healer of those who trust Him.[156]

Boardman reported this case to many others, so that it became the “most frequently quoted”[157] instance of a Faith Cure in the United States, and through this testimony large numbers adopting the Faith Cure and experienced their own marvels of the like kind, and thus added to Boardman’s ever-growing arsenal of testimonies. For example, a boy who had a “curved spine” after doing some hard work one day was healed, Boardman recounted, or at least after the Cure a “surgeon . . . examined the lad, and said, ‘There is nothing the matter with his spine, and there never was,’”[158] so either he never really had a curved spine, as the surgeon affirmed, or he was healed by a Faith Cure. Other equally convincing marvels were wrought through the inspiring influence of the Faith Cure of the broken arm of the son of Dr. Read, and these marvels, wrought by Boardman and others influenced to adopt the Faith Cure by his testimony, built up an ever more marvelous monument to the restoration of Apostolic healing power, based on the foundation of testimonials. Finally, passionately committed to the Faith Cure by such testimonies, and encouraged to write by Dr. Cullis, Boardman determined to write The Lord that Healeth Thee, a work filled with the testimonies of those healed, so that the doctrine might be propagated. At first, however, he hesitated. Mr. Boardman believed the cures Dr. Cullis and he worked were certainly “real.” However, Boardman averred, “I had not such a mastery of the subject” of healing as taught in the Bible as “would justify me in saying anything about it.” Nevertheless, pressed by the evident facts of marvels being freely worked and convinced of the truth of the Faith Cure system through such testimonies, he said, “finally I determined to do what I could, first in mastering the matter as revealed in the Bible, and then as it is exemplified in the reported instances of healing,” so that he could “haste[n] the return of [Christ’s] beloved Church to the . . . grand heritage in Him as the Healer.”[159] That is, after practicing, preaching, and propagating the Faith Cure for years, although he did not have such an understanding of the Biblical doctrine of healing as would justify him in saying anything about it, he finally decided to examine the Bible from the perspective of his predetermined paradigm in favor of the Faith Cure, so that he could publish a book that would, he hoped, bring all of Christendom into his firmly held conviction in its favor by adding Biblical arguments to the flourishing evidence of testimonial that had convinced him of its validity. As Boardman adopted and propagated his doctrine of sanctification by faith alone in his The Higher Christian Life through the instrumentality of testimonial, not Scriptural exegesis, so he adopted and propagated his doctrine of healing by faith alone by the same means, and experienced much success in convincing the masses to adopt both teachings.

However, when the case of Dr. Read’s son was investigated by Dr. J. H. Lloyd, Doctor Lloyd published a letter from the very child upon whom the marvel of healing was affirmed to have been accomplished, after the boy had grown up and become a physician himself. The letter reads:

Dear Sir:

The case you cite, when robbed of all its sensational surroundings, is as follows: The child was a spoiled youngster who would have his own way; and when he had a green stick fracture[160] of the forearm, and, after having had it bandaged for several days, concluded he would much prefer to go without a splint, to please the spoiled child the splint was removed, and the arm carefully adjusted in a sling. As a matter of course, the bone soon united, as is customary in children, and being only partially broken, all the sooner. This is the miracle. Some nurse or crank or religious enthusiast, ignorant of matters physiological and histological, evidently started the story, and unfortunately for my name—for I am the party—is being circulated in circles of faith-curites, and is given the sort of notoriety I do not crave . . . Very respectfully yours, Carl H. Reed.[161]

Thus, Boardman, like Cullis and advocates of the Faith Cure in general,[162] were “not always as careful as they might be in ascertaining the actual facts of the cases of cure which they report.”[163] In this instance, Boardman’s foundational testimonial to the Faith Cure, he got practically nothing correct about what had actually happened. However, perhaps it should not be surprising that Boardman would accept the Faith Cure doctrine because of testimony and blaze it forth to the world while failing to carefully investigate its alleged successes. After all, because of human testimony, he had already failed to carefully study the Bible before adopting and setting forth to the world his doctrine of the Higher Life.

Nonetheless, unaware that the healing that in large measure convinced him to adopt the Faith Cure was a delusion, Mr. Boardman proceeded to teach his doctrine of healing as part of the Higher Life from 1875 onward. Not long after the official foundation, based on demonic Mind Cure ideas that had been circulating for some years earlier, of the “Church of Christ, Scientist,” by Mary Baker Eddy in Boston in 1879, Boardman’s “publication of The Lord that Healeth Thee” in 1881 “fairly launched Mr. Boardman as a teacher of divine healing.”[164] He now propagated his theology of healing by faith as zealously as he did his doctrine of sanctification by faith. He zealously proclaimed a view of the gospel contrary to the grammatical-historical interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, which taught that the Good News is salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, instead reaching the position that “the gospel . . . may be summarized in the two words, salvation and healing.”[165] The “full gospel” includes doing what Christ did and “healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”[166] Indeed, healing is very important, for it can “turn the day” when “His gentler forces of grace and truth have failed.”[167] Despite many verses in the Bible that teach that miracles do not produce saving faith, but faith is produced by the Spirit through the Word (e. g., Romans 10:17; Luke 16:31; Matthew 11:20; John 12:37),[168] Boardman affirmed that healing can do what God’s grace and truth cannot in bringing men to Christ. The Spirit working through the preached Word is not the best way for men to be awakened—on the contrary, Boardman affirms, “nothing awakens men like His supernatural power in His physical kingdom.”[169] “Nothing ever has touched men like . . . healing power,” for “by means of” it “men . . . are awakened, convinced, conquered, saved. Yes, this, this only, is the faith by which now, as of old, the world is to be turned upside down.”[170] The necessity of the Faith Cure is thus clearly seen, for it can prevail when God’s holy Word cannot, despite being sharper than any sword (Hebrews 4:12) and being empowered by the Omnipotent Holy Ghost. The world cannot be turned upside down by Spirit-empowered preaching of the Word—no—Faith Cures are better.

Letters that testified to healings were read by Mrs. Boardman in holiness meetings, and there soon followed a “visit of Dr. Cullis to England” which “increased and deepened this interest” in the continuation of the sign gifts, “many being blessed and healed at that time.”[171] Testimonials evidenced that “here and there the gift of healing has been bestowed. . . . Gifts of healing have been manifested in a number of places,”[172] including a powerful manifestation of many Faith Cures at Dr. Cullis’ Faith Cure home in Boston,[173] that place of origin, hotbed and center of work for the Christian Science cult and Mind Cure of Mary Baker Eddy.[174] As testimonials were key to Boardman’s adoption of the Higher Life theology of sanctification by faith alone, so his eyes were “opened” to the doctrine of healing by faith alone, not by a close scrutiny of Scripture, but by a “close scrutiny of perhaps a hundred different testimonies written out by those who have been healed through faith.”[175] Soon the “Faith-house called ‘Bethshan’ was opened by Mrs. Baxter[176] and Miss Murray in 1882,” as well as Mrs. Boardman,[177] “to accommodate the patients who resorted to”[178] Mr. Boardman, and “at Bethshan dear Mr. Boardman was both the father and the pastor of the work.”[179] He “presided at the . . . weekly meeting for healing on Wednesday afternoons at Bethshan,” which was followed by a service that anointed people to heal them.[180] Bethshan was the flagship of the late nineteenth century “‘Faith-Homes’ established in America [which espoused] the treatment of disease by prayer alone,”[181] as “little groups of Christians here and there accepted the teaching of Bethshan and . . . other ‘Healing Homes’ were established[.]”[182] At such Faith Homes “treatments . . . did not involve medicinal therapies of any sort . . . the means prescribed [were] prayer, laying on of hands, and anointing.”[183] Bethshan was “in closest fellowship with the [Faith Cure] movement in America, and the teaching of Bethshan was identical with that of the Christian [and Missionary] Alliance.”[184] Boardman, and the Christian and Missionary Alliance that adopted his position, followed Charles Cullis[185] and believed that it was best to reject medicine to follow the example of Christ, who “never use[d] remedies or call[ed] in physicians, but always use[d] His own power” to heal miraculously.[186] Thus, based on Galatians 2:20, Boardman taught:

[Christ] is the Life, the All of life for body as well as soul, complete. In Him dwelleth all fulness; we are filled full in Him. . . . Fulness, absolute fulness of life dwells in Him alone; and in us only as He dwells in us by faith. Fulness of life is fulness of health. Disease is incompatible with fulness of life. His presence in us, welcomed by faith as our fulness of life, and so of health, is really the expulsive power that rebukes and dispels disease. The same is true of strength. . . . Our completeness in Him cannot be actualized until our faith welcomes Him in whom dwells the All-fulness, as our Fulness of life and health in the body, as well as in the soul. . . . He took our infirmities as truly as our sicknesses, and both as truly as our sins . . . And the prominent work of the Spirit is just this—to uplift us into Christ, and unfold Him in all His fulness, the Fulness of God in us.”[187]

One who has received such fulness of life, then, can no longer be sick, weak, or sinful in the least degree, for Christ is entirely free from sickness, weakness, and sin. Christ purchased physical health on the cross, so perfect health must be for today. After all, in the Higher Life theology “Jesus saves me now,”[188] so all the benefits of Christ’s work on the cross must be, in all their fulness, for this very moment. Jesus Christ lives the spiritual and the physical life for the believer, so the Christian who knows the spiritual secret is free from sin and from sickness. Sanctification by faith alone entirely without human effort, and healing by faith alone, entirely without human means such as medicine, stand together in Boardman’s Higher Life allegorization of Galatians 2:20. However, although Christ is also free from the end point of disease, death, and His human body is glorified, Boardman was not willing to affirm that one who receives Christ’s fulness of life will not die, nor that such people already have glorified bodies—such affirmations were too much for him, and, besides, it was very difficult to fill books with the testimonies of those who had lived hundreds of years and already had glorified bodies as they lived on the earth. Consequently, Boardman introduced an inconsistency in his doctrine and admitted that those who believed in the Higher Life still died like their less privileged brethren. Nevertheless, one who is receiving sanctification and healing moment-by-moment[189] from Christ will never get sick. “[A]biding faith in our Lord as the healer of all our diseases” guarantees that “we shall . . . be healed, not once, and in great extremity only, but always whenever we have need.”[190] Those living the Higher Life will “fill up the measure of [their] days” and then, in an affirmation easier to make in the 1880s before much of the progress of modern medicine, the Higher Life possessor will “die of age alone without disease . . . without abatement of strength or dimness of vision”; he will “di[e] . . . though not of disease,”[191] although Boardman himself died of a disease, and nobody actually dies of age apart from disease. At Bethshan, Boardman taught “it is God’s will to heal” in the same manner that Christ did when he was “here in bodily presence amongst us . . . do[ing] His Father’s will in healing the sick.”[192] It is the “will of God to heal all our diseases,” with no exceptions;[193] “it is the Lord’s will to heal all who put their trust in Him for healing, as it is to save all who believe in Him for salvation.”[194] While medical means were not forbidden for those who lacked faith, nonetheless just as supernatural sanctification was by faith alone, without human works or effort, so Divine healing comes by faith alone, without human works of effort such as the employment of medical means, as Christ’s own life within the Christian through the believer’s cessation of effort was the basis for both sanctification and healing. Christ is “for ever a Healer for those who put their trust in Him alone,”[195] and “from first to last healing of the body [is] side by side with salvation of the soul.”[196] Indeed, “we fail to have the fulness of our need met” by Christ if we do not “take Him as . . . our Healer”—“oh, how far short shall we fall” in our spiritual life “if we fall short of being made whole in body!”[197] Testimonials of people who were healed prove the truth of this view indubitably.[198] Thus, by means of the evidences of the “work of healing” in many lives, the “sophism that healing . . . . is simply the seal and sign of plenary inspiration and official authority peculiar to the times of giving the law and testimony of God in the Scriptures . . . this delusion of the devil” is being “practically destroyed,” that is, destroyed by the practical evidences of the testimonies of many people who received Faith Cures, rather than by careful exegesis of the Bible.[199]

While testimonials were key to Boardman’s adoption and propagation of the Faith Cure, he affirmed that Biblical narratives supported it also. The fact that Moses had a rod that could turn into a snake, and that he could put his hand into his bosom and make it become leprous and then cure it by returning it to his bosom again, certainly was proof for the Faith Cure (Exodus 4:1-8). Moses’ “rod . . . [was] the symbol of all power in heaven and on earth,” and Moses could cure all diseases at will since he could put his hand in his bosom and take it out again healthy, proving that there are “two permanent, grand, and comprehensive powers—power over all the power of that old serpent the devil, and power over all diseases of the body” that all Christians possess just as Moses did, because of Matthew 28:20.[200] “The whole church” has been given the authority to “carry on . . . the same work of preaching the gospel and healing the sick . . . exercised by Christ, and given to the twelve and the seventy—power over all the power of the devil to master it, and over all disease to heal it.”[201] Furthermore, because Moses cast a tree into bitter water at Marah and the waters became sweet, and the Lord promised not to send special plagues on Israel as He did on Egypt if they were obedient (Exodus 15:22-26), all who are “shown . . . the tree of Calvary” will have “healing of the body.” This is the “law of health . . . continual freedom from bodily maladies.”[202] Indeed, as in its twin, the Mind Cure of New Thought and Mark Baker Eddy, healing is a “law of His kingdom of grace, as inevitable as any law of His kingdom of nature.”[203] In fact, Boardman’s allegorizing of Exodus 15 is so convincing to him that he named his book after the phrase The LORD that healeth thee found in Exodus 15:26. Many other passages of the Bible, after they are allegorized, give equally clear support to Boardman’s doctrine, from the sending of quail in the wilderness, to the striking of Miriam with leprosy, to the writings of David in the Psalter, to king Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem—each of these prove that all Christians should be healed.[204] Indeed, even the fact that Elisha cured Naaman’s leprosy shows that all the people of God can heal themselves and others of all diseases by the law of healing—Faith Cure was Israel’s “national faith,” the “faith of the Church [of Israel] in the land . . . from the children up to the king[,] the whole people,”[205] despite the fact that Naaman needed to go to Elisha because nobody else could or did perform such healings, and despite the testimony of Christ that “many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian” (Luke 4:27). Boardman finds the narratives of Scripture filled with the doctrine of Faith Cure, and his arguments are all just as convincing as his conclusion from the pericope of Naaman and Elisha. There is no need to recount any more of them—essentially, a person who has seen one of his arguments has seen them all. Someone with an a priori commitment to the Faith Cure doctrine because of testimonial from experience and extrabiblical sources will be happy to have Boardman’s many allegorizations of sacred history as further evidence; someone who is committed to grammatical-historical exegesis and sola Scriptura will view all of Boardman’s argumentation as a wretched allegorization and awful misuse of the holy Word of God.

            Boardman does not, however, confine his argument entirely to allegorized narrative, although such allegorizations are the largest part of his appeal to the Bible. Thus, while he does not spend much time on passages that have a better chance at actually supporting his position when interpreted literally, choosing rather to spend many pages of his book on testimonials and allegorized narrative, he also makes a few other arguments in favor of his Faith Cure theology. Boardman affirms that a “comparison of Isaiah liii with Matthew viii plainly shows us that our Lord Jesus Christ bore our sins, sorrows, sicknesses, and all in His own body on the cross on purpose to [sic] take them all away from us in spirit, soul, and body,” so “healing through faith” in this age is guaranteed in the atonement.[206] While the passages in question indicate that perfect spiritual sinlessness and perfect restoration of the body are certainly purchased by Christ on the cross, these benefits are only actually partaken of to their fullest extent in glorification. Indeed, all good things that the saints possess are purchased for them by the cross—every good they receive comes from their heavenly Father (James 1:17), who has adopted them only because of Christ’s propitiatory work on the cross. Boardman, in accordance with his Higher Life theology that moves the spiritual benefits of perfect deliverance from sin from the eternal state into the present, while weakening their truly perfect spiritual nature, also moves the perfect bodily health of the glorified and resurrected body from the future into the present, while likewise weakening the perfect nature of the full bodily deliverance promised the saints. Neither Isaiah 53 nor Matthew 8 indicates that every believer who follows Faith Cure doctrine is guaranteed physical health in this life. Warfield correctly notes concerning Matthew 8:17 and the Faith Cure:

The passage has, of course, no direct bearing on the assertion that miraculous cures continue to be performed in the church. It speaks only of Christ’s own miraculous cures, and does not in the remotest way suggest that his followers were to work similar ones. . . . [As for the idea that Christ bore our sicknesses so that Christians might not get sick in this life, and that healing in this life is guaranteed in the atonement, the] error does not lie in the supposition that redemption is for the body as well as the soul, and that the saved man shall be renewed in the one as well as in the other. This is true. Nor does it lie in the supposition that provision is made in the atonement for the relief of men from disease and suffering, which are fruits of sin. This too is true. It lies in confusing redemption itself, which is objective and takes place outside of us, with its subjective effects, which take place in us; and in failing to recognize that these subjective effects of redemption are wrought in us gradually and in a definite order. . . .

        A very little consideration will suffice to show that . . . attempts so to state the doctrine of the atonement as to obtain from it a basis on which a doctrine of faith-healing can be erected betray us into a long series of serious errors. They imply, for example, that, Christ having borne our sicknesses as our substitute, Christians are not to bear them, and accordingly all sickness should be banished from the Christian world; Christians are not to be cured of sickness, but ought not to get sick. They imply further, that, this being so, the presence of sickness is not only a proof of sin, but argues the absence of the faith which unites us to Christ, our Substitute, that is saving faith; so that no sick person can be a saved man. They imply still further that, as sickness and inward corruption are alike effects of sin, and we must contend that sickness, because it is an effect of sin, is removed completely and immediately by the atoning act of Christ, taking away sin, so must also inward corruption be wholly and at once removed; no Christian can be a sinner. Thus we have full-blown “Perfectionism.” . . . Perfectionism and faith-healing, on this ground, stand or fall together. We wonder why, in [this line of] reasoning . . . believers [are still] subject to death. The reasoning which proves so much—too much—proves, of course, nothing at all.[207]

Dr. Warfield’s arguments are conclusive against any argument for the Faith Cure from Matthew 8:17 for those who recognize the sole authority of Scripture and seek to obey the Divine imperative to use logic and the mind (Isaiah 1:18). Unfortunately, the Faith Cure and the charismatic and Word of Faith fanaticisms that developed from it contained at their most fundamental level either a denial or weakening of both sola Scriptura and the Biblical use of logic and the mind.

           Boardman also appeals to Psalm 103:3b, “who healeth all thy diseases,” to prove that the Faith Cure is taught in the Bible. However, nothing in Psalm 103 indicates that the healing mentioned is miraculous, any more than the Lord’s crowning His children with lovingkindnesses is miraculous or His giving them good things to eat (Psalm 103:4-5) is miraculous, or whenever the Lord compassionately heals the broken hearts of His sad children a miracle has taken place (Psalm 147:3). Rather, Psalm 103 emphasizes Jehovah’s providential care of His children in all areas of life. Whenever a believer recovers from a disease, it is because the Lord healed him, just as whenever he eats, it is because the Lord provided food for him, for God providentially works all things after the counsel of His own will.[208] The point of Psalm 103:3b is that the Lord, who ordains all that comes to pass, works all things together for good for His children (Romans 8:28-39), not that some believers who have entered the Higher Life can receive miracles of healing when they employ the techniques of the Faith Cure.

            Boardman also appeals to James 5:14-15 to prove that the ability to heal like Christ and the apostles continues throughout the church age for all Christians. However, without allegorization and experience-driven hermeneutics, the passage proves no such thing. In fact, Scripture records that the disciples needed to send for Peter or another apostle to perform miracles (Acts 9:38), since the body of the Christian community did not possess miraculous healing gifts themselves. Only the apostles and a few others on whom the apostles laid their hands were able to miraculously heal.[209] James 5:14-18 reads:

14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.[210]

James[211] instructs a very ill person, who must summon the elders to come to him (v. 14) since he is unable to go to them,[212] to call for church leadership[213] to come and pray for him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.[214] The elders, who are characteristically men of prayer (cf. Acts 6:4), are able to give spiritual and godly counsel and to comfort one who is suffering; thus, they are summoned. Nevertheless, the entire congregation has just as much access to the Father in prayer, including prayer for healing (James 5:16). Since some sickness, but not all, is caused by sin (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:30-32; 3 John 2) or, under Divine permission, by Satan (Luke 13:16),[215] the elders can examine the ill person to see if he is sick as a Divine judgment upon him for his sin (cf. Hebrews 12:6-11). James specifically indicates, in agreement with the rest of the canon, that some sickness, but not all, is the result of personal transgression (James 5:15).[216] If the sick one is not right with God, but is backsliding and sinning, he can confess his sins to God and have them forgiven (1 John 1:9); if he has committed faults against his brethren, he can both confess them to God and also confess them to those he has offended. Such confession will lead to the removal of the Lord’s chastening hand and restoration to health, even as staying right with God and quickly confessing one’s faults against another to the offended party will prevent those illnesses that are Divine chastisement from coming upon believers in the first place (James 5:15-16).[217] On the other hand, a refusal to repent under sicknesses that are the Father’s chastisement can lead to untimely death.[218] The sinning believer cannot pray and receive answers from God (James 4:3); thus, he cannot offer “the prayer of faith” for his own healing (James 5:15) nor will the elders be able to offer the prayer of faith for him.

            “The prayer of faith”[219] is a specific,[220] Divinely enabled and energized[221] petition for healing, for the person to be healed and raised up from his bed of sickness.[222] As faith is a gift from God (Philippians 1:29; James 1:17-18), so when a particular healing is in the will of God, the Lord can enable the sick person, the elders, or the church to present the prayer of faith to Him, giving them belief that this specific healing is His will (cf. Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:24), and then answering their Divinely-produced faith. Only when healing is God’s will, giving Him greater glory and bringing a greater benefit to the sick believer than the spiritual strengthening that comes through trial (James 1:2-3, 12), does the Holy Spirit enable any group or individual among the saints to offer the prayer of faith, one free from any doubt (cf. James 1:6), for healing. The prayer of faith cannot be offered by Christians simply convincing themselves that a particular healing is going to take place—supernaturally produced faith must undergird the prayer, and such faith is only at times, not all the time, produced by God in accordance with His will.

            Furthermore, James 5:14-15 does not specify that the healing is miraculous. Whenever a person recovers from illness, whenever he is enabled to arise from a sickness that had left him bedridden, it is truly affirmed that the healing comes from the Lord and that it was the Lord who raised the sick one up (James 5:15). Nothing in James 5 requires that the healing be miraculous any more than the promise that the Lord gives wisdom to those who ask Him for it requires the performance of a miracle (James 1:5). Indeed, James does not speak of healing through the sign gift of miraculous healing that was limited to certain Christians (1 Corinthians 12:9, 28, 30), but of healing in answer to prayer that could be offered by any Christian (James 5:16) without any regard for miraculous gifts. When Epaphroditus was sick, and was not miraculously healed, but recovered through the less dramatic means that God uses to cure the overwhelming majority of non-fatal illnesses, Paul could still affirm that Epaphroditus’ recovery was because “God had mercy on him” (Philippians 2:27). James 5:14-15 does not limit God to the exertion of miraculous power in His work in delivering the sick—James recognizes that every good and perfect gift, including recovery from sickness through non-miraculous means, whether plenty of rest or prescribed medicine, comes from the Father (James 1:17). When God answers prayer and a sick believer recovers, whether because of a special supernatural intervention or through the mechanisms the Creator has placed within the human body, which can be assisted by medicine He has graciously enabled men to discover, and which are sustained by the strength of Him in whom we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28; Colossians 1:17) because of His gracious Divine decree for the restoration of physical health (Ephesians 1:11), it is true that the Lord was the One who healed and raised up the sick. God heals, not only when He works without means, but also when in accordance with His loving will and in answer to the Divinely-enabled prayer of His obedient people, He uses medicine to cure maladies. James 5:14 and 15 never specifies that the healings in question were miraculous, instantaneous, or in other ways identical in character to the miraculous healings Christ and the apostles performed—both on those with faith and on those without faith—as signs to validate their Divine authority.

            In fact, the “anointing . . . with oil” of James 5:14 actually requires[223] the use of medicine, rather than prayer alone, for the healing of the sick. The use of oil for healing was accepted medical procedure at the time,[224] and James commends the use of medical means with his reference to anointing with oil.[225] The verb to anoint in James 5:14 is not the verb expected for ceremonial anointing,[226] but a general anointing that would include the use of oil for physical and psychological well-being.[227] The oil is to refresh, strengthen, and heal the body through the natural means God has created in the physical realm. The good Samaritan, to assist physically the wounded man in Christ’s parable, “went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10:34).[228] “[W]ounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores” are to be “closed . . . bound up . . . [and] mollified with ointment [oil][229]” (Isaiah 1:6). The “balm in Gilead” was for use by the “physician” so that “health” might be “recovered” (Jeremiah 8:22). Extrabiblical literature contains abundant references of a similar nature to the medicinal use of oil.[230] Indeed, when James 5 teaches that the sick believer is to consider his spiritual needs and fellowship with the Lord, to pray and get godly counsel and fellowship, and to use medicine, he affirms a view of the relationship between God as healer and physicians dominant in inter-testamental Judaism as seen in the Apocrypha in the Wisdom of Ben Sira:

Make friends with the physician, for he is essential to you; him also God has established in his profession. From God the doctor has his wisdom, and from the king he receives his sustenance. Knowledge makes the doctor distinguished, and gives him access to those in authority. God makes the earth yield healing herbs, which the prudent should not neglect. Was not the water sweetened by a twig that people might learn his power?[231] He endows humans with the knowledge to glory in his mighty works, Through which the doctor eases pain and the druggist prepares his medicines; thus God’s creative work continues without cease in its efficacy on the surface of the earth. My son, when you are ill, delay not, but pray to God, for it is he who heals. 10 Flee wickedness; purify your hands, cleanse your heart of every sin.[232] 11 Offer your sweet-smelling oblation and memorial, a generous offering according to your means. 12 Then give the doctor his place lest he leave; for you need him too. 13 There are times that give him an advantage, 14 and he too beseeches God that his diagnosis may be correct and his treatment bring about a cure. 15 Whoever is a sinner toward his Maker will be defiant toward the doctor. (38:1-15)[233]

Intertestamental Judaism taught: “Pray to God, for it is He who heals. Flee wickedness; purify your hands, cleanse your heart of every sin . . . then give the doctor his place.” James likewise taught that God heals, but one must use medicine. Rejecting medicine is not Biblical faith—it is disobedience to James 5 and ungodly fanaticism.

            James 5:14-15 provides no support whatsoever for Boardman’s doctrine of the Faith Cure, nor for the Keswick, Pentecostal, and Word of Faith misinterpretations of James 5 that developed from the Higher Life Faith and Mind Cure doctrine. Boardman is either ignorant of or ignores the historical background to James 5:14-15 and its support for the use of medicine in healing. Without dealing with arguments to the contrary, Boardman assumes that James 5:14-15 is a binding prescription for believers in the entire church age. Boardman’s faulty, non-Baptist view of the church allows him to believe that the statements of James 5:14-15 are valid for those not part of true Baptist churches, although only such churches truly have church leadership such as elders. Boardman makes all disease the result of sin and failure to ascend to the Higher Life, while James specifically indicates that not all disease is the result of personal sin, and Boardman’s Higher Life and Faith Cure theology was unknown in the first century and for the first 90% of church history. Boardman neglects the fact that the faith of “the prayer of faith” is a gift from God, exercised in accordance with His sovereign will, rather than the spontaneous production of every man at his own will.[234] James, unlike Boardman, teaches that only when it is God’s will to heal can the prayer of faith be proffered to God. Nor does James 5:14-15 specify that the healing is miraculous. Indeed, James enjoins the sick to use medicine to be healed, while Boardman discourages the use of medicine. James 5:14-15, when interpreted in a literal, grammatical-historical way, provides no support whatsoever for Boardman’s Faith Cure. James 5:14-15 is only a witness for the Higher Life healing theology if one possesses an a priori commitment to the Faith Cure, based on supposedly authoritative testimonials to its efficacy outside of Scripture, combined with a hermeneutic of either empty proof-texting or allegorical eisegesis.

            In gathering all the arguments—discussed above—from Scripture he can to prove his Faith Cure position, Boardman makes no attempt in his book to carefully study the passages in their contexts, but simplistically proof-texts passages, and then both acts himself and teaches others to act as if what he assumes is in the passages in question is really present. He had no need to carefully exegete the texts, however; he knew his doctrine was true, for it worked—the multitude of testimonials to it was surely a sufficient replacement for the study of God’s Word. Testimony could be compared with testimony to validate the Faith Cure, even if Scripture could not be compared with Scripture to do so.

Indeed, Scripture could also simply be ignored when it was convenient. For instance, the fact that God warned Israel, “thou hast no healing medicines” (Jeremiah 30:13) is ignored by Boardman. That a lack of medicine is a Divine judgment, not a commendable aspect of an alleged Israelite doctrine of Faith Cure, does not fit well within Boardman’s paradigm, so surely it can simply be passed by. That God, by the mouth of Jeremiah, would assume that “balm in Gilead” and the “physician” is the normal means through which “the health of the daughter of my people [is] recovered” (Jeremiah 8:22) is very difficult for Boardman’s Faith Cure doctrine to explain. That, when extraordinary Divine judgment for sin is not in view, it is appropriate to receive a command to “take balm . . . for pain” and to “use many medicines” (Jeremiah 46:11; 51:8)[235] is very difficult if God’s view is truly that one should abandon medicine for the Faith Cure since the use of medicine is really a lack of trust in the Lord. Jeremiah, and the rest of the Bible,[236] when interpreted literally, provide not a shred of evidence for the Faith Cure, but clearly and repeatedly contradict it. However, in light of the many testimonials validating Boardman’s doctrine, Scripture’s teaching that medicine is good, while a lack of healing medicine is Divine judgment, could surely be passed by.

            Nevertheless, Boardman had an answer for those who appealed to Scripture to prove that it was not always God’s will to heal—at least for the parts of the Bible that he did not ignore. 1 Timothy 5:23, Boardman explains, was just about Timothy having “frequent weaknesses,” not frequent sicknesses,[237] although the word is used of disease every time it appears in the gospels, is also translated “sicknesses” (Matthew 8:17) and “diseases” (Acts 28:9), and is never used for any kind of “weakness” that would have existed in an unfallen world or existed in the incarnate Christ whose life allegedly is the sanctification and healing of the Higher Life advocate,[238] and, furthermore, the related verb[239] is used in the pastoral epistles only of Trophimus’ sickness (2 Timothy 4:20), which Boardman admits is actual sickness.[240] Despite the exegetical facts, Boardman knew that 1 Timothy 5:23 could not refer to Timothy getting sick or weak from sickness and needing to be in better health by changing his dietary habits; rather, Timothy was just “weak” in some sense that Christ, it seems, can be weak at the right hand of God, living Timothy’s physical life for him; Timothy was not really sick, and, in fact, not really weak either, for Timothy was surely an advocate of the Higher Life of healing, and so he was like Moses and lived his entire life “without disease . . . without abatement of strength or dimness of vision,”[241] regardless of what grammatical-historical interpretation of 1 Timothy 5:23 might indicate to the contrary.

            Furthermore, 2 Timothy 4:20 does not prove that the Lord sometimes allows His servants to be sick and unhealed, nor does Philippians 2:25-27, for both Trophimus and Epaphroditus were healed, for sure—the healing was just “delayed,” so that Trophimus was “attacked and prostrated by disease.”[242] Although Scripture does not record the healing of Trophimus at all, while Epaphroditus was “nigh unto death”[243] for some time from sickness, the fact that the Higher Life advocate is to live his entire life “without disease . . . [and] without abatement of strength”[244] is still, somehow, not obliterated. It is certain that many of Boardman’s Faith Cures were very much “delayed” and left people prostrated from disease and nigh unto death, until they actually suffered death, as Christ’s supposed living their physical life and the Faith Cure could not keep them alive. When Christ cured leprosy, reattached limbs, raised the dead, gave the blind from birth sight, and perfectly cured every single other disease, no such “delay” took place—the Lord never had to explain to lepers that they were still leprous, that men with withered hands still had withered hands, that the dead were still lifeless, that missing body parts were still missing, that the blind still could not see, and so on, because healing was “delayed.” This radical discontinuity between the Faith Cure and Biblical miraculous healing, however, was not truly extant, according to Boardman. Indeed, even 2 Corinthians 12:5-10, although specifically indicating that the Lord did not heal Paul of his thorn in the flesh, his disease,[245] and specifically stating that Paul submitted to the Lord’s will that he not be healed, actually does not prove that God does not will to heal some disease during the earthly pilgrimage of His saints—rather, Boardman knows, the truth is that Paul was “purified to the Lord alone in his faith,” and once having stepped into the Higher Life, he was cured and “made strong,” and therefore in 2 Corinthians 12:5-10 there is “nothing to shake, but everything to confirm, our confidence that it is the will of the Lord to heal all our diseases according to our faith, even as it is to save all who rest in Him for salvation.”[246] In light of the many testimonials from Boardman’s experience, and the confirmation of what he already knew to be true from an allegorical reading of various Biblical narratives, 1 Timothy 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:20; Philippians 2:25-27; and 2 Corinthians 12:5-10 must all—whatever the cost—be explained as signifying something other than their obvious and natural sense. The Faith Cure, Boardman affirmed, still stood as valid, despite these passages.

Furthermore, Boardman required faith in connection with his cures, although nowhere does the New Testament say that healing requires faith by the recipient. There is no record in the Gospels where anyone who came to Christ for healing was turned away unhealed, whether a believer or an unbeliever.[247] If someone is not healed, the problem is with the one seeking to do the miracle, not with the one seeking to be healed, even if that person is “faithless and perverse” (Matthew 17:14-21). Christ sometimes healed immediately after condemning those who came to him for their unbelief (Matthew 17:17-18; Luke 9:41-42).[248] In no instance did the Lord Jesus Christ refuse to heal someone who came to him for healing because of a lack of faith. He healed without discrimination as to person or afflic­tion. The vast majority in Galilee did not believe in Christ, but He healed all that came to Him (Matthew 4:23-25).

The Lord had no limitations as to place or time for healing. He healed throughout “Syria” (Matthew 4:24), at the bottom of a mountain (Matthew 8:8), in a desert place outside the cities (Matthew 14:14), on a mountain by the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 15:30), and in the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan (Matthew 19:1). Luke 9:6 explicitly says that He healed “everywhere.” There were no “healing meetings” in the Bible, nor did anyone have to come to a Faith Cure home to receive healing, or have a “delayed” healing that required one to be hospitalized for a while in a Faith Cure home or any other such institution.[249]

The Lord Jesus had no relapses or failed healings, nor did anyone have to wait for Jesus’ healing to take effect. He had the power to take care of every sickness or injury immediately.[250] He immediately cleansed lepers (Matthew 8:3; Luke 17:14). He immediately restored the hand of a withered man (Matthew 12:10-13).

Christ also healed every disease, including organic ones. Christ reattached the ear of Malchus after it had been completely cut off by Peter (Luke 22:51, 52). Matthew 9:35 indicates that He healed “every sickness and every disease” in Galilee (cf. Matthew 4:23). In John 9 He healed a man born blind.[251] Matthew 15:30-31 reads: “And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them: insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.” Someone who truly has the gift of healing will be able to immediately make visibly incurable and irreparably damaged body parts perfectly healthy and also reattach the body parts of people who have lost them.

Christ also raised people from the dead (Matthew 9:18, 24; Luke 7:12-15). He exercised His power to raise those who had been dead for days and were already decomposing (John 11). Christ’s Apostles also raised people from the dead (Matthew 10:8; Acts 9:40; 20:10-12). Someone who does miracles like Christ and the Apostles will also raise the dead.

While Boardman affirmed that the type of healing practiced by Christ and the Apostles was also found in his Faith Cure, in fact the type of healing practiced by Boardman was radically different and vastly inferior to that of Scripture. When the Lord Jesus and the Apostles healed people, the miraculous character of their healing was self-evident (John 11:47-48; Acts 4:16), but sometimes nobody knew—including Boardman himself—that the miracles he worked were actually miraculous, rather than the product of natural causes.[252] Indeed, “in many of the meetings for healing there would be nothing for the eye to see.”[253] Nobody was marveling because of evident miraculous power, as they did when Christ healed in Matthew 15:30-31. When Boardman and other Higher Life advocates practiced the Faith Cure, “healing was not instantaneous”[254] the great majority of the time; rather, people were “not healed perfectly at once,” but simply “felt comfortable.”[255] In the “faith-cures of our time . . . many . . . are not instantaneously entire, but by stages, and some of them quite lingering . . . healing remains incomplete.”[256] Many of those “healed” never recovered at all; they remained sick. Testimonials of healing that were supposed to be convincing enough to be included as evidence in Boardman’s book, but fell incredibly short of the miracles of healing found in the Bible, were very numerous—testimonials that were comparable to miracles such as the dead being raised (Luke 7:22), or Christ’s instant healing of a man born blind (John 9), or Christ’s instantly reattaching missing or amputated body parts (Matthew 15:30-31; Luke 22:51-52), were entirely absent. Boardman mentioned, as choice evidences for his Faith Cure, a “poor woman” who “probably” had “cancer,” although she might have had some other disease, and was, in any case, “not quite well” after being Faith Cured, although she felt “strengthened and relieved.”[257] A “child” with “a foot put out of joint” was healed, so that “she look[ed] quite bright and happy,” although she had “not tried yet to walk.”[258] A woman claimed a cure, stopped using all medical means, and then was “healed slowly,” indeed, over the course of at least a year, and never became normal.[259] Another lady, a missionary, was healed, although her “disease continued with UNABATED force” for some time.[260] Another woman was healed, although it took “a few months” for her disease to be gone.[261] A man had a lung disease, decided to take the path of the Faith Cure and so “took no medicine,” and was consequently healed, although he testified, “I have not the full use of my hepatized lung.” Nonetheless, he doggedly affirmed, “it will recover entirely,” using the future tense, for it still had not done so, despite his testimony of healing.[262] A child was healed, although “for nearly three months” the “child seemed to grow steadily worse” after medical means were abandoned and only prayer was employed for healing, and, indeed, “after nearly three years” the child’s mother testified, “I am still waiting upon God to have this wonderful cure completed.”[263] Had Christ practiced this sort of “healing,” a “healing” that involved years of delay without a cure, those “healed” at the start of His ministry would first get even more sick, and then still be diseased as His earthly ministry drew toward its close. For the sake of the truth of the gospel and the Messiahship of the Lord Jesus, the Christian greatly rejoices that the miracles of Scripture were of an entirely different class than the marvels of the Faith Cure, marvels that have been replicated in pagan religions and pseudo-Christianity. While Boardman insisted that his healing powers, and those of other practitioners of the Faith Cure, were of the same nature as those of the Lord Jesus and His Apostles, he nevertheless admitted that they were not in reality what they claimed: “[N]ot a few of those healed in our time have not been instantaneously made whole, as most of those were who were healed in the time of our Lord and His apostles,”[264] he conceded, although the accurate statement, that nobody was being healed of all diseases in the manner that Christ and the Apostles healed, and the Lord Jesus and the Apostles always—not merely “most” of the time—immediately healed everyone at their will, is left unsaid.

Indeed, the Faith Cure was an abysmal failure in actually healing everyone like Christ and the Apostles did (Matthew 9:35)—most of the time the healing did not heal. Boardman explained this failure by asserting that full healing came only to full faith, and partial healing came to partial faith.[265] In so doing, he contradicted his alleged parallel with justification, for full faith in Christ alone does indeed result in justification, but partial faith in Christ brings, not partial salvation, but nothing but a curse and damnation.[266] Those who are “fully brought into union with Him” are without fail “made whole in body,”[267] Boardman avers, leaving himself a way of escape for those who fail to be healed—their faith, supposedly, must have been deficient. The “responsibility for failure, partial or entire,” of the Faith Cure “rightfully” is placed “upon those who should have full and firm faith”—they are not healed immediately because they do not have enough faith.[268] While Boardman could not prove his position from the Bible, “experience” taught that “want of faith in the patient” led to “restoration” to health “not [being] immediate.”[269] Faith Cure did not fail because it was not Biblical, but because the person who needed to be healed did not have enough faith.

Further justification of the failure of the Faith Cure can come by assaulting the power of the Son of God and degrading His miracles during His earthly ministry; Boardman taught that Christ only healed “as the faith of the people would afford Him opportunity,”[270] and only healed “to the full measure of faith”[271] of those who came to Him, reducing His real, miraculous, perfect cures of everyone to the level of the marvels Boardman sought to affect with his Faith Cures. Boardman attempts to claim that those who were not healed by the Faith Cure missed out on their miracle because of a lack of faith, as, supposedly, took place in the Gospels and in Acts, although the accounts of Christ’s life teem with stories of people who did not believe but were healed. One wonders if the people Christ raised from the dead believed in their state of death as a prerequisite to healing. However, neither Boardman nor Cullis actually were able to see, as their doctrine required, the most holy receive cures and the less holy turned away; rather, as Hannah W. Smith observed, by means of the Faith Cure of Cullis and Boardman “there are far more failures than successes, and I dread the reaction. For these failures are nearly always with the most devout Christians, and it is an awful strain on their faith.”[272] However, the Faith Cure practitioner could always reply that the most devout Christians were not really the most devout; after all, even Job, although the Lord Himself directly testified that there was “none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil” (Job 1:8; 2:3), suffered from disease, Boardman affirms, because of Job’s “trust in himself . . . in . . . his own unselfish righteousness of life.”[273] God permitted Job to suffer disease so that he would not “remai[n] in his false trust in his own righteousness”[274] but enter into the Higher Life and because Job was not willing to listen to God’s warnings,[275] an insight into that holy man’s life which one needed Mr. Boardman to reveal, as one could never find it in the book of Job. Mr. Boardman’s argument sounds dangerously like that of Job’s three friends, which kindled Jehovah’s wrath (Job 42:7); Boardman perhaps should have paused over Job’s question, “Will ye speak wickedly for God?” (Job 13:7), but such wicked speech is not Mr. Boardman’s sin, for, of course, the Higher Life is true and Job was wrong for not having entered into it. However, when at the end of the book Job came to recognize that “in his own heart he had trusted in himself,” then “the Lord gave Himself . . . to His beloved servant, in place of his own wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption,” and Job, freed from “the evil of trusting in his own righteousness of heart,” was “in that moment” freed from both “Satan” and his bodily “malady,” being instantly transferred into the Higher Life and “therefore delivered from the evil trio—the evil one, the evil of trusting in his own heart, and the evil disease of his body.”[276] Mr. Boardman, and all others who had entered into the Higher Life, had thus reached a pinnacle of spirituality far above that of Job, one from which they were enabled to be free from all bodily disease of the kind Job suffered for his sin. If Boardman’s view of Job—which was passed on to the Keswick and Higher Life movement generally,[277] for without it the Higher Life theology is obliterated[278]—is false, such an affirmation would smack of immense pride, an astonishing lack of insight into the point of the book of Job,[279] and consequently a very low level of spirituality—even apart from the devastating pastoral consequences of telling the Lord’s beloved children, who were walking in uprightness of heart, that, when sick, they were ill because of some sin in their lives. However, Boardman’s affirmations about Job cannot be false, although there is not a shred of evidence in the Bible for them, because his theory of Faith Cure is destroyed if Job was indeed the most righteous man on the earth and his sickness was not a result of personal sin in his life and a failure to discover the Higher Life—and Boardman has such an abundance of testimonies to his doctrine of sanctification and healing by faith alone, that they must necessarily be the truth, despite the torture of the text required to manufacture evidence for his theology in Scripture.

Warfield summarizes the problems with the Faith Cure:

First of all, as regards the status quaestionis let it be remembered that the question is not:

(1) Whether God is an answerer of prayer; nor

(2) Whether, in answer to prayer, he heals the sick; nor

(3) Whether his action in healing the sick is a supernatural act; nor

(4) Whether the supernaturalness of the act may be so apparent as to demonstrate God’s activity in it to all right-thinking minds conversant with the facts.

All this we all believe. The question at issue is distinctly whether God has pledged himself to heal the sick miraculously, and does heal them miraculously, on the call of his children—that is to say without means—any means—and apart from means, and above means; and this so ordinarily that Christian people may be encouraged, if not required, to discard all means as either unnecessary or even a mark of lack of faith and sinful distrust, and to depend on God alone for the healing of all their sicknesses. This is the issue, even conservatively stated. For many[280] will say that faith gives us as clear a title to the healing of our bodies as to the salvation of our souls; and this is often interpreted to mean that it is the heritage of every Christian, if a true Christian, to be free from all disease and bodily weakness, and it is a proof of special sin in a Christian if he is a special sufferer from disease.

        With reference to this question it is to be said at least:

        (1) No promise of such miraculous action on God’s part exists in Scripture.

        (2) No facts have been adduced which will compel the assumption that such miraculous healing takes place.

        (3) Such a miraculous method on God’s part would be wholly unnecessary for the production of the effect desired; God can heal the bodily hurt of his people without miracle.

        (4) The employment of such a method of working would be contrary to the analogy of God’s mode of working in other spheres of his activity.

        (5) It would be contrary to the very purpose of miracle, which would be defeated by it. If miracles are to be common, everyday occurrences, normal and not extraordinary, they cease to attract attention, and lose their very reason of existence. What is normal is according to law. If miracles are the law of the Christian life they cease to serve their chief end.[281]

        (6) The contention of the faith-healers overlooks numerous important Biblical facts. Primarily the fact [is overlooked] that the miraculous gifts in the New Testament were the credentials of the apostles, and were confirmed to those to whom the apostles had conveyed them—whence a presumption arises against their continuance after the apostolic age. Then, again, [it is overlooked] that there are instances of sickness in the New Testament which were not removed by the prayer of faith. There is, for example, Paul’s leaving of Trophimus at Miletum sick, and his recommending to Timothy, when sick, not the seeking of healing by the miraculous act of God, but the use of medicinal means—the drinking no longer of water but of a little wine for his stomach’s sake and his often infirmities. It seems quite clear that Paul did not share the views of our modern faith-healers.

        (7) The faith-healing arguments presuppose or lead to many false doctrines. A desultory allusion to some of them may not be without its uses: (A) Sickness and sin are often connected in an utterly un-Scriptural manner. That all the sicknesses which afflict our race are a result of sin is true. But that special sicknesses infer special sin our Saviour himself explicitly denies [John 9:3]. (B) These arguments would be equally valid to commend Perfectionism.[282] If sinfulness is not to be removed in this life, neither is sickness. Both are the fruits of guilt, and both are removed on the basis of the work of the guilt-bearer; and both are removed only when the subjective salvation is completed [in the eschaton]. (C) They are founded on a completely un-Scriptural view of the functions of suffering, and the uses of sickness and pain. All sickness and suffering are spoken of as if they were from the Evil One alone; as if they were sheerly the mark of the displeasure of God; and as if they were a fruit of particular sin. Scripture says, “Behold whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives” [Hebrews 12:6]. Sickness is often the proof of special favor from God; it always comes to his children from his Fatherly hand, and always in his loving pleasure works, together with all other things which befall God’s children, for good.

        (8) The faith-healing contention leads to contempt for God’s appointed means, and this leads to the fanatical attitude of demanding from God apart from all means that for the attaining of which he has ordained appropriate means. We are not to refuse to cultivate the soil and then demand to be fed by miracle.

       (9) The faith-healing practice leads to the production of “professionals,” standing between the soul and God. There is grave danger in a soul permitting an unauthorized intermediary to take up a position between it and the gracious activities of God toward it. From this germ the whole sacerdotal evil has grown. And, on the other hand, to the practitioner himself there comes inevitable temptation to spiritual pride and autocracy, which is most disastrous to his spiritual life; and sometimes even something worse. . . . [T]he faith-healing delusion has [brought about] the production of a series of these practitioners, whose activities have not always been wholesome.[283]

The price for retaining Boardman’s Faith Cure doctrine might indeed seem high—the rejection of literal interpretation for allegory, Scripture-twisting, turning Job into someone who was sick because of a sinful failure to discover the Higher Life, a reduction of the miracles of Christ and the Apostles to the mockeries of real miraculous healing in the Faith Cure that are not evidently miraculous, but often delayed, partial, or non-existent, the spiritual confusion of telling those who are sick that some sin and failure to practice the Higher Life is the cause of their illness, countless medically unnecessary early deaths, lamenting widows and widowers, children without fathers and mothers, and the dishonor to God that arises from all these evils.[284] Nonetheless, Boardman continued preaching his faith-healing and Higher Life message until, being struck at Bethshan with paralysis that paralyzed his entire right side, and failing to be healed, although he held on in his paralyzed state for a week,[285] he died in 1886, following the pattern of very many others who had visited Bethshan, failed to be healed, and died. Despite Boardman’s false teachings and practical failures, he was very influential. Andrew Murray, who also preached for and fellowshipped with A. B. Simpson, imbibed Keswick theology and adopted the Faith Cure after a healing experience at Bethshan in 1882 and reading the writings of “Boardman and Cullis.”[286] The “broad holiness principles” of Boardman “summarize distinctive holiness theology as they later undergirded distinctive Pentecostal theology.”[287] Indeed, Boardman not only influenced the rise of worldwide Pentecostalism indirectly by spreading the Faith Cure in Higher Life meetings, but he influenced and worked directly with various Pentecostal pioneers.[288] The healing doctrine of Boardman, Murray, and other Higher Life and Keswick leaders was influential in the development of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements and the Prosperity Gospel or Word-Faith movement,[289] as “a whole host of . . . participants in the divine healing movement . . . [spread by] Charles Cullis” and channeled through the Higher Life movement “became Pentecostals.”[290]

Applications from the Life and Teachings of William Boardman

            The faithful Christian and historic Baptist church member can consider and learn much, both positive and negative, from William Boardman’s life and his errors. However, there is no need to read his writings to learn positive truth. Rather, Mr. Boardman should be recognized as a pernicious false teacher whose writings and false teachings should be rejected wholesale. Believers should beware of his corrupting influence upon later Higher Life teachers—one can imbibe the false doctrines of Mr. Boardman by reading later Keswick writers without ever even being aware of his existence. Indeed, his influence places the Higher Life and Keswick movements with which he was intimately associated, and which certainly never exposed his errors or sought to root out his influence, under grave suspicion of doctrinal and practical corruption, a suspicion that is sadly confirmed by the false teachings of those who followed Boardman in proclaiming the Higher Life. With an all-sufficient Scripture and many far better volumes of Christian literature, there is no need to read anything Mr. Boardman wrote. Put him away—the sooner the better.

            Glory in the doctrine of justification solely by Christ’s imputed righteousness. Echo the words of Isaiah 61:10: “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” How precious it is to know that you have Christ’s very righteousness as my legal standing before God! What glory does God receive in saving sinners through Christ’s sufficient merits, so that His love and justice, His grace and holiness, are all infinitely exalted by this precious, precious salvation through the cross! What abasement of self, destruction of self-righteousness, sweet comfort in the wounds of Christ, and love for your Redeemer is engendered by thoughts of this blessed truth of justification! How terrible it would be were I to have to meet the legal requirement of perfect holiness by means of my terribly imperfect sanctification! Indeed, such would be nothing less than certain spiritual death, everlasting wrath and damnation, and an eternity shut out from the face of God. Reject, then, with horror and disgust the least corruption of the blessed Biblical truth on justification, including the assault upon this truth by Mr. Boardman. Be willing to lay down your life rather than compromise the doctrine of justification in any way whatsoever.

            When you are sick, you need to pray, confess your sins, examine yourself and be sure you are right with God and are trusting in Him, and use the best medicine medical science can provide. Failure to use the best medicine available is a violation of James five and of the sixth commandment.[291] Rejecting medicine for the Faith or Mind Cure, or for anti-medical Pentecostal, charismatic, and Word of Faith concepts that developed from the earlier Higher Life and Christian Science cult pseudo-Cures, is a great sin, as is the employment of untested and unproven New Age and quack medical methods.[292] Christians are never led by God to disobey the teaching of Scripture on the proper use of medicine and the use of means for the preservation of life. Anti-medical notions are forbidden by Scripture in the same manner that a failure to pray, confess sin, and trust in God are contrary to Scripture.

            Do not seek to advance the kingdom of God with half-“truths” or lies, such as Mr. Boardman does with his shoddily documented and often flatly false testimonies to the Faith Cure that are such an insult to the Biblical standard for the miraculous. Be able to say with Paul that you and the believers with whom you fellowship “have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth [are] commending [y]ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2). Indeed, you must by no means allow any one’s testimony to anything to alter one jot or tittle what Scripture, literally interpreted, teaches. God’s Word is infallible truth, while testimonies can be lies—as is attested not only by Mr. Boardman’s delusion and false witness to the world concerning Dr. Read’s son, but by the lying prophet who led astray a faithful servant and prophet of God in the Scripture (1 Kings 13). The formerly faithful prophet’s allowing testimonial to change his interpretation of the Word of God led to his early death—in 1 Kings at the hand of a lion—and the replacement of repentance and revival in the northern Kingdom (1 Kings 13:33) with spiritual declension, apostasy, and the eternal damnation of many. So Boardman’s testimonial-based Faith Cure delusion has also led many who could have been healed by medicine to an early death, and his corruption of truth has contributed both to the destruction of true spirituality for the errors of the Higher Life and to the rise of vast realms of modern continuationist apostasy, which have likewise led to the eternal damnation of very many. You are neither responsible to know, nor think upon any person’s testimony to any allegedly extra-Biblical marvel. You are not responsible to explain anyone’s testimony to miracles he claims to have experienced. But you are responsible to know, think upon, obey, and live by every Word of God, and must have that Word alone as your sole authority for your faith and practice. By rejecting all false authorities—including the alleged authority of testimonials to this or that—and cleaving only to the Bible, you will be a fit instrument for the Lord to mightily advance His kingdom through you.

            Precious Christian ladies should recognize that they need to trust Biblical leadership and see their need for the guidance of the male authorities God has placed in their life. Women need the protection of their father, their husband, and their pastor, for they are more easily deceived (1 Timothy 2:11-15), and their men, consequently, need to live up to the role with which God has entrusted them. Many heresies have arisen as a consequence of Satan’s ability to deceive women more easily, as the Fall itself came through Adam’s failure to protect and lead his wife to obey God’s Word and Eve’s consequent deception by the Serpent. The story of the Boardmans, and of the Pearsall Smiths, illustrates this Biblical fact. Mrs. Boardman was led into Higher Life perfectionism first, having herself discovered the Second Blessing from an old woman under church discipline for antinomian heresy. This old woman and Mrs. Boardman than brought Mr. Boardman over to their position. The Keswick doctrine that the believer does not become the least bit more personally holy throughout the course of his Christian pilgrimage is the teaching that this antinomian lady conveyed originally to Mrs. Boardman. Similarly, Mrs. Smith first found the Higher Life, bringing into the doctrine her hesitant husband. She also encouraged her husband to learn from Dr. Foster, that great proponent of the erotic baptism of power, the receipt of which led Mr. Smith into the work of Higher Life agitation and then to his public disgrace, downfall, and apostasy from Christianity. Women from the Old Testament to the New Testament Jezebel (1 Kings 16ff.; Revelation 2:20), to Ellen G. White, to Mary Baker Eddy, to countless other women preachers and prophets have led, taught, and misled men. The Second Blessing would have been shorn of very much without Phoebe Palmer, the Keswick theology without Jessie Penn-Lewis, and Pentecostalism without vast numbers of women, going back to Agnes Ozman, the first to receive the restored gift of speaking in gibberish in connection with Charles Parham. Men should not be sitting at the feet of women preachers such as Hannah W. Smith or Jessie Penn-Lewis and learning doctrine from them. Furthermore, women must not allow their more emotional and less rational nature to preserve in them an attachment to Higher Life books, authors, and theology, nor in the least discourage or dissuade their husbands from rejecting the Higher Life because of its unscriptural character. They must not allow their God-given tendency toward nurture and softness—which is, in its proper place, a wonderful blessing—to lead them to encourage their husbands, pastors, or other spiritual leaders to soften their stand against perfectionism. Furthermore, men must take spiritual leadership and protect their wives, daughters, and church members from exposure to false teaching, including the Higher Life, and if they have failed to do so in the past, must repent and then lead their women out of error, even if their initial resumption of obedience to the leadership role God has given them incurs opposition.

            Literal interpretation of Scripture does not ignore context, nor does it wrest promises that have their complete fulfillment in the future so that they are allegedly completely fulfilled at this present time. Such an abuse of God’s revelation of Himself is not faith, but sin; not confidence in Divine promises, but rebellion and unbelief. Consequently, Boardman’s doctrine of the Higher Life, both for the body and for the soul, is rebellion and unbelief, for taking promises that pertain to the future and twisting them into false and watered-down present fulfillments is at the heart of the Higher Life. Rather than hearkening to Mr. Boardman’s doctrine of faith, hear the word of God’s prophet, Isaiah: “he that believeth shall not make haste” (Isaiah 28:16).[293]

            Congregations and pastors that allow Higher Life doctrine and its advocates to influence them and those they have spiritual responsibility for because of the truths retained in their system from the older orthodox model of sanctification—such as the importance of faith in the Christian life and the repudiation of self-dependence—will not be able to limit the Higher Life influence to the Scriptural elements. The errors and heresies will creep in also. The leaven of false doctrine will enter, spread, and cause more and more corruption. The Higher Life doctrine of sanctification is intimately connected with the Faith Cure continuationism; the same hermeneutical errors produce both ideas. Why accept the torture of texts of Scripture, the de facto rejection of sola Scriptura for the authority of experience, the spiritual confusion, and the other extreme dangers associated with the Higher Life simply because some Scriptural elements are retained? Why drink polluted water when the pure is available in the Word of God, and vastly better devotional writers are also available?

            Indeed, non-charismatic and cessationist advocates of the Higher Life will find that consistency with their perfectionist hermeneutic will lead them where they do not want to go. Their divided house will not stand. Either they should go all the way and become charismatic fanatics, embracing their strange fire from the spirit world, or they should turn their backs on the Higher Life and return to cessationism and the vibrant spirituality that is a fruit of a serious study of and commitment to the regulative authority of Scripture alone and the Lordship of God the Father, mediated by Christ and applied by the Holy Spirit. By all means, let the people of God be filled with true heavenly fire—but let them not seek for the true fire by bringing the false near to them, for so they will reap a terrible devastation.

III. Andrew Murray

The South African minister Andrew Murray (1828-1917), whose “influence has been, probably, greater than that of any other contemporary devotional writer,”[294] is a very notable advocate of the continuationistic Keswick theology and a charismatic precursor. His works, translated into many foreign languages, have received a wide recognition in Europe and America,” so that “[t]o estimate the spiritual influence which Andrew Murray exercised upon his day and generation is not only a difficult but an impossible task.”[295] He wrote approximately 240 books and tracts[296] in English and Dutch, translated into a large number of languages, including, among a number of others, French, German, Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Chinese,[297] Japanese, Russian, Arabic, Yiddish, and Urdu.[298] He could write quickly, as his writings,[299] while containing a variety of warm devotional thoughts, were generally “unpremeditated,” rather than being the product of careful and painstaking exegesis of Scripture. He could, for example, write eighteen chapters of a book in a single day.[300] As Keswick exercised a profound influence upon Murray, in turn, “‘[p]henomenal’ is not too strong a word to describe the influence of Dr. Andrew Murray upon Keswick . . . as powerful as that of any man upon the movement,” for “he became renowned as an exceptionally gifted exponent of the same teaching as at Keswick . . . through his books,”[301] which spread the Keswick theology around the globe. He was both associated with “Keswick” and with “Mr. Moody,”[302] and, his Faith Cure theology being well known,[303] he spoke at the Keswick Convention in 1895[304] at the invitation of its Quaker co-founder Robert Wilson,[305] where he was “one of the principal speakers,” indeed, “[t]he main feature of . . . [the] Convention” that year, telling the assembled crowds at Keswick: “Do not be afraid if people say, Do you want to make Quakers of us?”[306] Murray also preached at a variety of other Higher Life venues,[307] where, he testified, many “have heard how I have pressed upon [them] the two stages of the Christian life,” justification and sanctification, “and the step from the one to the other,” the special act of faith for sanctification.[308] The two-faith position of Murray and Boardman passed directly from the Higher Life theology into Pentecostalism.[309] Murray also adopted from William Boardman, in connection with other Higher Life and Faith Cure influences,[310] the theories of sanctification and healing by faith alone.[311] He adopted the doctrine of Boardman and Hannah W. Smith that the Holy Spirit does not indwell the believer at the moment of regeneration, but only indwells those who have received the second blessing and entered into the Higher Life, affirming, in a manner that prepared the way for Pentecostalism,[312] that adoption of this false pneumatological doctrine was key for entry into the Higher Life, revival, and a restoration of the sign gifts.[313] Indeed, whenever the Spirit is truly working with power, according to Murray, miracles of healing will always be found—anyone who claimed that the Spirit is working powerfully, but does not see miraculous physical healings take place, is deceiving himself:

Let us seek then to obtain divine healing. Wherever the Spirit acts with power, there He works divine healings. . . . [I]t is precisely because the Spirit acted powerfully [in the book of Acts] that His working must needs be visible in the body. If divine healing is seen but rarely in our day, we can attribute it to no other cause than that the Spirit does not act with power. . . . Let us pray earnestly for the Holy Spirit . . . for the work of healing.[314]

Murray also wrote an entire book to “help some to see that the second blessing is just what they need.”[315] After all, “the impotence of the regenerate man . . . proves the need of something new, a second blessing. . . . the second blessing and the higher life, or the spiritual life.”[316]  Murray’s adoption of a distinction between the Spirit being “with” all believers but only “in” those who knew of the Higher Life in the dispensation of grace was clear evidence of his dependence on Boardman, for such a distinction can with much more ease be discovered in Boardman’s The Higher Christian Life than it can be found in the Bible. Murray taught that in “regeneration . . . [t]he believer [becomes] a . . . temple ready for the Spirit to dwell in,” but only “where faith claims it” and the Higher Life is entered into does “the second blessing” come, namely, “the Spirit of the Father and the Son [coming] to dwell within [the Christian],” even as, misinterpreting Acts 2:38,[317] the “three thousand” were regenerated at the moment of their “repentance and faith” but then subsequently, “when they had been baptized,” received “the Indwelling Spirit . . . as God’s seal.”[318] Baptism is very important for the Higher Life, since “baptism is . . . the sacrament of the beginning of the Christian life . . . [and] in Romans 6 baptism is represented as the secret of the whole of sanctification, the entrance into a life in union with Jesus.”[319] Murray connected his error on the indwelling of the Spirit with the idea that in regeneration the believer gains only a “renewed regenerate spirit,”[320] rather than a renewal that affects the whole man; his restriction of regeneration to the human spirit was developed by Jessie Penn-Lewis and Watchman Nee in accordance with the initiator impetus from the spiritualist Lord Mount Temple’s doctrine of deification as propagated at the Broadlands Conferences.[321] Murray’s belief that only the spirit was regenerated was important in his rejection of Biblical activity in Christian sanctification for Keswick Quietism.[322] Since only the spirit is regenerated, “[t]he greatest danger the religion of the Church or the individual has to dread is the inordinate activity of the soul, with its power of mind and will,”[323] for the Christian conflict is not, as Scripture represents it, between the flesh and the spirit, but between the soul and the Spirit[324]—it is not the evil of indwelling sin versus the renewed person strengthened by the Holy Spirit, but the evil of the person himself and his activity against the Divine seed of the indwelling Spirit in the human spirit. Adopting many of the doctrinal aberrations of the Keswick continuationist leaders “Boardman, Smith, [and] Stockmayer,” who “decisively influenced . . . his doctrine of holiness and . . . his practical Christianity” as “[h]e remained in constant contact with the Holiness movement,” Murray testified: “I constantly followed what was happening in Oxford and Brighton, and [it] all helped me.”[325] He contributed greatly to the spread of Higher Life conferences throughout South Africa “under the stimulus of the Oxford Holiness Movement which is connected with the name of Pearsall Smith,”[326] despite dissent from the Higher Life theology by other Christian leaders.[327] Having adopted the Higher Life for both the soul and the body in the Faith Cure, he promulgated the companion teachings as the founder of “the South African Keswick” and lifelong leader in the “South Africa General Mission” through many other “Holiness Conventions” that were organized in South Africa to promote the Higher Life for soul and body.[328]

Murray was influenced by a large variety of men, from rationalists to mystical quietists and perfectionists to other Keswick leaders. He “acknowledged his indebtedness for valuable pedagogic principles . . . [to] Herbert Spencer,” studying Spencer “with a view to . . . writing . . . on the education of our children.”[329] Murray’s The Children for Christ was written strongly under Spencer’s influence, although the “High Priest of materialism”[330] and evolutionist “Spencer was the chief exponent of agnosticism in 19th-century England.”[331] Murray “delighted also in the writings of” men such as the theological liberals and idolaters P. T. Forsyth[332] and Adolf Harnack.[333] He also found much value in the writings of Stockmaier and other Keswick writers, and found the Quietist mystic “Tersteegen . . . beautiful and profitable,” so that he could “read Tersteegen over and over again.”[334] Murray averred, concerning the Oberlin Perfectionist leader and Keswick speaker Asa Mahan’s Baptism of the Spirit, with its second blessing perfectionist doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Ghost: “I have read [Mahan] with profit . . . the book does one good.”[335] The biography of George Fox was a favorite.[336] Murray also stated: “I approve of [the] books [of] . . . [Thomas] Upham and . . . and recommend them.”[337]

Shortly before preaching at Keswick, Murray “had fallen under the potent spell of William Law . . . the chief of the English mystics . . . [and] a quietist, who daily ‘prostrated himself body and soul, in abysmal silence, before the interior central throne of divine revelation’ . . . and it is the mystical element in his teaching which . . . proved to be such an irresistible influence to . . . Murray.”[338] Murray recognized that “[i]n Law . . . the deep truth . . . on which so much stress is laid in what is called Keswick teaching, stand[s] prominently out.”[339] Law’s teaching of the spiritual life, in Murray’s view, was that of Keswick. Law’s writings “occup[ied] a place of pre-eminence” for Murray after reading them. Murray wrote: “The more I read [Law’s] writings . . . the more I am impressed by his insight, range, and power . . . For fine observation of the human heart there is surely no one like him among English writers. . . . [Law] is one of the most powerful and suggesting writers on the Christian life[.]”[340] Works such as Law’s A Serious Call and Christian Perfection “were read, re-read, and underscored, in token of his appreciation of the inestimable worth of their teachings. This deep appreciation was even more strikingly proved by the fact that he edited no less than six volumes of selections from Law’s writings,”[341] despite the fact that Law was an opponent of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to the believer, received for justification by faith alone, and other essential doctrines,[342]and therefore was an enemy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through Law, Murray was also influenced by the German mystic, heretic, pantheist, and dualist Jacob Böhme.[343] The “mysticism [of] Böhme and Law . . . depreciates the value of Scripture, denies the imputation theory of the atonement, minimizes the worth of the Church as a visible divine institution . . . and reveals a marked pantheistic tendency,” among other abominable errors.[344] The influence of such authors shows up in Murray’s writings in a variety of ways, and contributed to his “books [being a] source of consolation and comfort to many . . . of many creeds.”[345]

Medieval Roman Catholic mysticism and quietism had a very influential and lifelong influence on Murray. The devout Mary worshipper, receiver of inspired oracles,[346] and Roman Catholic monk “Bernard of Clairvaux,” who taught that “it is necessary for the seeker to lose himself in God and merge his own individuality in that of the Eternal One,” and who also gave “a mighty stimulus to asceticism,” was “a favourite historical character with Andrew Murray, who called his home at Wellington after the famous abbey which Bernard founded.”[347] Throughout his life Murray was also greatly influenced by Madame Guyon. Murray stated: “I approve of [the] books [of] . . . Madame Guyon . . . and recommend them,” so that it was a great compliment for one in his family to recognize a fellow minister as “an exemplification of the doctrines of Quietism in action[.] . . . All those expressions of being dead to self and lost in God which one finds in Madame Guyon seem to be exemplified in his experience and life.”[348] Murray rated “Madame Guyon” and the Catholic monk “Rysbroeck” as “among his chief friends,” while also admiring the Roman Catholics “Catherine of Siena and Santa Teresa,” with their false gospel, idolatrous worship, whether of images, allegedly transubstantiated bread, or Mary, and demonic visions, mysticism, and continuationism.[349] It is perhaps not surprising that Murray’s “books of devotion . . . met with the highest commendation at the hands of the most High Church Anglican Bishops[.]”[350]

Murray was amenable to the Keswick continuationist theology because of “his inadequate theological training . . . [he was] a minister by the time he was twenty”[351] (cf. 1 Timothy 3:6), and the limited training he did receive was within a hotbed of rationalism and theological liberalism,[352] under professors with strong antipathy to evangelical piety and among unconverted denominational fellow-students with “scandalous morals.” Even the “orthodox and respectable” ones “profaned . . . the name of God,” and many were “intoxicated” on various occasions.[353] “Conversion was an antiquated word.”[354] It is perhaps not surprising that Murray’s view of conversion and advice to the unconverted contain serious confusion. Denying total depravity for the doctrine that the lost can truly love Jesus Christ, Murray wrote to the unconverted: “I write to you as those of whom I hope that it is in truth their earnest desire to find the Saviour, and of whom I really trust that they have truly declared before the Lord: Lord, Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee.”[355] Those unconverted persons who truly love Christ are not to consciously and instantly repent, and believe the gospel, and be justified by repentant faith alone, but are to confess that they accept Christian doctrine, worship Christ, and so insensibly and gradually become believers.[356] It is most unfortunate that Murray’s theologically liberal seminary education left him with such a confused view of evangelical conversion.

Indeed, Murray confessed that his seminary education was essentially useless,[357] although his interaction with religious apostasy likely contributed to Murray’s ecumenicalism, his “broad . . . charity” and “generous welcome” to men such as the Keswick leader, international Keswick spokesman, and annihilationist George Grubb, and the Higher Life and ecumenical leader John R. Mott, who became “one of the principal architects of the World Council of Churches,” was that body’s “honorary president,” and who received “the Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to the ecumenical movement.”[358] Murray was “among the first to bid them welcome, and to lend the weight of his influence and authority to their undertaking[s] . . . there can be no doubt that the sympathy [and] constant interest . . . of Mr. Murray formed . . . a large element in any success which may have attended their mission.”[359]

Despite his lack of a genuinely Christian theological education, Murray went on to influence many other important Keswick continuationist leaders, such as Jessie Penn-Lewis and Watchman Nee. He corresponded with Mrs. Penn-Lewis, contributed to her Overcomer magazine, and commended her writings. He even wrote an introduction to one of her works, which he was glad to have translated into Dutch and arranged to have distributed to all the ministers and elders of his denomination in South Africa for free.[360] “For twenty years he was president of the Holiness movement in South Africa,”[361] the country where he ministered. Among other theological errors,[362] Murray taught the classic Keswick form of Quietism, affirming that the Christian “soul becomes utterly passive, looking and resting on what Christ is to do,”[363] yielding to be “a passive instrument possessed by God,”[364] for “Scripture . . . speaks of our being still and doing nothing . . . [the Christian] yields himself a truly passive instrument in the hand of God . . . [to] perfect passivity.”[365] The believer is to be passive, rather than actively use his mind or will, since these are functions of his allegedly unregenerate soul, rather than his regenerate spirit, and “[t]he greatest danger the religion of the Church or the individual has to dread is the inordinate activity of the soul, with its power of mind and will.”[366] The “intellect . . . is . . . impotent and even dangerous” without a quietistic extra-Biblical and extra-mental revelation from God, a “wait[ing] for His teaching” within, “deeper than the soul, with all its life of feeling, and thought, and will.”[367] Murray also altered the previous practice of his church to permit women to lead the congregation, including the men, in prayer.[368] He further averred: “Perfection . . . is a Bible truth . . . and Perfectionism . . . may . . . be . . . truth.”[369] He “frequently deplored the fact that . . . Christians in general were ‘terribly afraid of perfectionism.’”[370]

In 1882—the year Murray’s first book, Abide in Christ,[371] appeared in English[372]—through the influence of Boardman and Stockmeyer,[373] and while “visiting England in search of health” and visiting “Keswick,”[374] Murray added the doctrine of the Higher Life for the body to his doctrine of the Higher Life for the soul, recognizing, as Boardman had before him, the one as the natural concomitant of the other.[375] The initial impetus to his adoption of the Faith Cure was reading Boardman’s The Lord thy Healer,[376] and study, not of the Bible, but of “the work of Dorothea Trüdel and Dr. Cullis . . . removed from [his] mind all doubts,”[377] while personal interaction with Stockmeyer and Boardman led him to open avowal and bold advocacy of the Faith Cure aspect of the Higher Life. Writing to his congregation in South Africa about his trip to Europe and his new public advocacy of the Faith Cure, Murray explained his recognition of healing by faith alone as an adjunct to sanctification by faith alone:

Let me now relate to you a few of my experiences in Europe. . . . I desired particularly to see Pastor Stockmaier . . . a truly spiritual man, of strong faith, and who now stood at the head of an institute for faith healing. . . . At . . . the Mildmay Conference[378] . . . Mr. Stockmaier was also present. I called on him . . . Mr. Stockmaier [taught me that the] body has been redeemed . . . and, for the believer who can accept it, the Lord is ready to reveal even in the case of the body His mighty power to deliver from the dominion of sin.

        Mr. Stockmaier invited me to attend, in the course of the following week, the meetings of Dr. Boardman, writer of The Higher Christian Life, on the subject of faith healing. Shortly before my departure from [South Africa] I had perused Dr. Boardman’s other work The Lord thy Healer . . . I now learnt that only a few months before an institute for faith healing had been opened in London under his supervision. This institute I visited in the following week, when everything became clearer to me and I decided to ask if I could not be received as an inmate. The reply was that . . . I would be welcome.

        I entered the institute . . . and remained in it for . . . three weeks. It would be difficult to describe how much instruction and blessing I obtained during those weeks. . . . But why was it necessary to enter a Home, and to remain there for so long a time? Is not the prayer of faith the matter of a moment, just like the imposition of hands or the anointing with oil of which James speaks? Quite true. . . . Yet in most cases time is needful . . . [t]he stay in such a Home . . . helps to . . . strengthen faith.[379] . . . Disease is a chastisement . . . [w]e ask the Lord truly to impart to the body the eternal youth of His heavenly life,[380] and . . . [acknowledge] our readiness to receive the Holy Spirit in order to infuse health into the body which He inhabits, and our readiness to live every day in complete dependence upon the Lord for our bodily welfare. We learn to understand . . . giving and preserving health by faith . . . a more complete union of the body with Him[.][381] . . .

        One of the first things that struck me as being in conflict with my expectations was that in most cases slow progress is made with the healing process. I thought, and others have expressed the same opinion, that if healing is an act of God’s almighty power, there can be no reason why it should not be perfected at once.[382] This point I discussed with Dr. Boardman and others, whose reply was somewhat as follows—

        “First of all, experience has taught that at the present time most cases of healing are subject to this rule; so that, even though we cannot understand why it should be so, we have merely to observe what God actually does.[”][383] . . . I subsequently discussed the subject with Mr. Stockmaier, who stands at the head of a faith healing establishment at Hauptwal in Switzerland. He told me how at one time he was wholly incapacitated . . . and that even after he had accepted the truth of healing by the exercise of faith, the trouble in no wise disappeared immediately. For more than two years the [problem] continued . . . [h]e counted it a great privilege that God . . . preserve[d] him . . . [in] the body [by] the daily bestowal upon it of supernatural power . . . [instead of] immediate cure[.] . . .

        At first I could not entirely assent to this view of the matter. I asked Dr. Boardman if it would not be a much more powerful proof . . . if the cure of disease were instantaneous and complete. . . . Would it not also be for the greater glory of God if I desired of Him this instantaneous restoration? His answer was, . . . “Your duty is to hold fast to Him as your Healer, in whom you already have the healing of your malady [even if your body still has all the symptoms of sickness.”][384] . . . In this point of view I was able, ultimately, wholly to acquiesce.

        So we see that in faith healing there is the same contrast as in the spiritual life[.] . . . In the well-known fifty-third of Isaiah sins and sicknesses are placed alongside of each other in a very remarkable way, and are borne together by Him in the suffering of which the chapter speaks. . . . We have severed the one from the other, and have accepted the redemption of the soul from sin as the fruit of Christ’s sufferings, but without regarding the deliverance of the body from disease as in like manner the fruit of His sufferings.[385] The faith which says, “He has borne my sins to free me from them,” must also learn to say, “He has carried my sicknesses in order to deliver me from them also.” . . . [F]rom the disease of the body there can be deliverance through the Spirit who dwells in the body as His temple. . . . Only yesterday I heard from a brother who has just arrived from Switzerland of a . . . girl who was . . . weak with consumption[.] . . . She heard from Mr. Stockmaier of the possibility of being cured by faith. One night she seemed to see very clearly how the Lord had given His body for her body, just as for her soul He had poured out His soul unto death. It seemed to her that she actually beheld the Lord[386] giving His body for her health and cure. Next morning . . . she got up out of bed[.] . . .

        [F]aith healing . . . points the road of holiness and full consecration[.] . . . The question has arisen in my mind whether I may not perhaps possess the gift, and have the vocation, to devote myself, for a time at least, to this work. I notice in those who are engaged in this labour that they must give almost all their time and strength to it.[387] . . . I spent last Sunday week at Männedorf, where Dorothea Trüdel labored with so much blessing. . . . I found the opportunity of discussing [these matters with] . . . Samuel Zeller . . . [h]er successor[.] . . . [H]e expressed the opinion that, if the Church were to flourish as in the earliest ages, and the leaders in the congregation were again to be characterized by true spirituality, the gift of healing would be found very much more frequently[.] . . . May the Lord in His own good time grant this![388]

“The subject of faith healing continued to engross Mr. Murray’s attention for several years after his return to South Africa”[389] from Boardman’s Bethshan Institute of Healing.[390] By 1884 he had published a book “in which he developed his teachings concerning healing by faith . . . he described [it] as ‘a personal testimony of my faith[.]’”[391] He published his book despite the fact that he “acknowledges in his preface that many objections can be leveled at the doctrine of faith healing to which no satisfactory answer can at present be found.”[392] Nevertheless, Murray argued:

Are not these glad tidings that reach us from different quarters, that the Lord is again making Himself known to His people, as of old, by the name The Lord thy Healer? The number of witnesses daily increases who can affirm [so] from their own experience[.][393] . . . The Church has grown so unaccustomed to this action of the Spirit in curing the body, she has for so long ascribed the loss of this gift to the counsel of God[394] rather than to her own unfaith . . . that the truth has remained hidden even from the eyes of many pious expositors and theologians. . . . The Grounds for [the] Faith [Cure include] . . . Mark xvi. 18 . . . [that] the Lord Jesus, our Surety, has borne our sicknesses as well as our sins in His body . . . [that] Jesus commanded and empowered His disciples[395] both to preach the Gospel and to heal the sick. . . . [that] this is part of the work for which the Holy Spirit was given and has come down from heaven . . . 1 Cor xii. 4, 9[396] . . . [that] the healing of the body and the hallowing of the soul are very closely connected, and because in union with each other they enable us fully to know and glorify Jesus . . . Exod. xv. 26 . . . [that] the Church must expect great outpourings of the Spirit in these days, and may reckon upon this gift likewise . . . Isa xliv. 3 . . . Pentecost was but a commencement . . . [n]ow that the Lord is beginning to bestow His Spirit, we may certainly expect a new manifestation of His wondrous power.[397] The rules for faith healing [include] . . . understand that sickness is a chastisement on account of sin . . . be assured . . . that it is the will of God to heal you . . . [since] the new life of the Holy Spirit . . . affect[s] the body not less than the soul . . . the healing power of Jesus will restore health to your body . . . claim healing for yourself . . . as . . . [a] sinner . . . claims by faith the forgiveness of sins . . . the sick one says . . . I have the healing . . . [although I] fee[l] no change and fin[d] no light . . . [and] feel no better[.] . . . Do not be astonished if the disease does not immediately take a turn for the better. And if after some improvement the disease grows worse, do not imagine that it is all a mistake . . . act as one who realizes that health is beginning to return . . . [t]hese trials are . . . a proof that God is willing to strengthen you to be healed wholly and solely by faith in Jesus . . . testify, as a witness to the faith who knows what he says.[398] . . .

        This new life is none other than the Holy Spirit in the body. . . . Healing and sanctification are closely united. . . . These are the main outlines of the doctrine of faith healing[.][399]

Murray with “fervency . . . [and] intensity of conviction . . . both preached and practiced the doctrines of healing by faith,”[400] so that many learned from Murray to “take no medicines for any disease.”[401] He “never receded from the position which he took up towards faith healing in . . . [his] book[,] [which] was circulated in America . . . in French . . . [and] Dutch,” although there were “cases in which all the conditions of healing seemed to be completely fulfilled, where yet the disease refused to yield to prayer, and the death of the sick one ensued.”[402] Nevertheless, “Murray continued for many years to follow the principles of faith healing,” teaching that “suffering, even in the believer, is due to some special sin,” avoiding doctors for decades, and suffering from various maladies, none of which was healed in the way that Christ healed in the Gospel records. Murray suffered, for example, from:

[T]hroat trouble . . . severe injuries to his arm and his back [so that] at first he had to be assisted into the pulpit . . . [and which left him] suffering from a weak back . . . [for] years [and] . . . permanen[t] injur[y] [to] his spine . . . later years [in which he became] exceedingly deaf . . . lameness and deafness [for] years . . . decreased . . . strength . . such feeble[ness] . . . increasing bodily infirmity . . . severe illness . . . serious [infirmity such that he] had to be conveyed to a hospital . . . positive ill-health [that left him unable to] fulfil preaching engagements . . . serious influenza and bronchitis [severe enough that] [h]e never really regained strength again[.][403]

He finally suffered from a “heavy cold with concomitant bronchitis, from which he never recovered[,] [but lingered in sickness for] . . .months,” until he finally died in delirium.[404] Despite believing in and promulgating widely the Higher Life of the body, he suffered sickness like other men. However, his doctrine did not, at least, lead to his own personal early death, as Murray lived a long life, although fellow ministers who believed in it saw it fail and died,[405] and even a minister in Murray’s own family died because of the Faith Cure:

Pieter F. Hugo, who was married to a niece of Mr. Murray, and was therefore the object of especial sympathy and prayer . . . developed symptoms of consumption, which compelled him to suspend his pastoral labours and threatened to terminate fatally. Leaving his congregation in the Eastern Province he proceeded to Paarl, where he could enjoy the rest and comfort of his mother’s home and also be within easy reach of Mr. Murray’s influence. . . . Mr. Murray’s bulletins on the state of the patient’s health show how carefully he was watching the case. . . . Mr. Hugo, who was a truly pious and devoted man, was firm in the faith that he would recover. Acting in accordance with the principle of considering himself as already healed, he undertook a long journey to Middleburg in the Central Karroo, in order to attend a ministerial conference, at which Mr. Murray was also to be present. . . . Mr. Hugo accomplished the return journey . . . and then began rapidly to weaken. One evening he complained of a feeling of utter weariness, retired to his room, and shortly afterwards breathed his last. His death occurred within a month of his visit to Middleburg . . . [h]is decease was a great blow to Mr. Murray, who had cherished the most confident expectation of his nephew’s recovery.[406]

Thus, a minister and member of Murray’s own family, foolishly pretending that he was already well when he was actually sick because of his adoption of the Faith Cure, died young in an unnecessary and tragic waste and a violation of the principles involved in the sixth commandment. Such were the closest relatives among the unnecessary and continual production of youthful corpses, widows, widowers, and orphans among the people of God that resulted from Mr. Murray’s espousal and fervent promulgation of the Higher Life for the body. Mr. Murray was also unable to heal his wife or prevent her from enduring great and continual suffering from disease for years, much less from dying,[407] although she “was like himself strongly convinced of the truth of faith healing.”[408] Nor could he prevent his eldest son from being so sickly that he had to abandon his further education, nor from dying at only twenty-three.[409] Believing that a believer’s suffering is a product of special sin is a very hard message to hold to through such suffering, grief and loss—thankfully, it is not one taught in Scripture.

Nevertheless, despite the failures of the Faith Cure, Murray believed that the gift of healing was not limited to the first century but was for the entire church age, influenced in his doctrine of healing by what he had himself “witnessed . . . [in] a Sunday evening service for the sick . . . [led by] the late Mr. W. E. Boardman.”[410] Murray wrote: “The Bible does not authorize us, either by the words of the Lord or of His apostles, to believe that the gifts of healing were granted only to the early times of the Church[.] . . . [I]t is the Church’s unbelief which has lost the gift of healing . . . salvation offers to us even now, healing and holiness[.] . . . The more we give ourselves to experience personally sanctification by faith, the more we shall also experience healing by faith. These two doctrines walk abreast. . . . [D]ivine healing is part of the life of faith. . . . Wherever the Spirit acts with power, there He works divine healings.”[411] Murray taught, as did John MacMillan,[412] A. B. Simpson,[413] and the Pentecostal movement, that physical healing in this life was part of Christ’s atonement:   “Jesus Christ has obtained for us the healing of our diseases, because He has borne our sicknesses. According to this promise, we have right to healing, because it is part of the salvation which we have in Christ.”[414] Job was sick, Murray affirmed, following Boardman, because the patriarch had not properly employed the Higher Life technique of surrender and faith to deal with “his hidden sins.”[415] It was best for believers to cease using medicine[416] and simply to employ Higher Life techniques when they were sick, for “setting aside all remedies [is better than] using remedies as believers do for the most part[.] . . . Renouncing remedies, [sic] strengthens faith in an extraordinary manner; healing becomes then, far more than sickness, a source of numberless spiritual blessings; . . . we commit ourselves to Him as our sovereign healer, counting solely on His invisible presence.”[417] Unfortunately, as with the spurious “healings” of modern charismatics, the generality of the “healings” Murray spoke of were radically different from those of the Lord Jesus and the Apostles. Biblical healings were all perfect and without any relapses, while such was not the case with the alleged healings Murray spoke of: “Sometimes also the first symptoms of healing are immediately manifest; but afterwards the progress is slow, and interrupted at times . . . [or entirely] arrested or . . . the evil returns.”[418] The tremendous difference between Murray’s Higher Life theology of healing and the healings of the Lord and His Apostles was connected to his Higher Life doctrine of sanctification. As the Keswick theology teaches that sanctification is only maintained by a moment-by-moment faith decision without any change or actual renewal of the inward nature, so physical healing is only maintained by a moment-by-moment faith decision, and any relapse in the faith decision leads to a loss of the healing: “[T]he return to health . . . is the fruit of giving up sin, of consecration to God. . . . [I]t is by healing that God confirms the reality of . . . sanctification[.] . . . When Jesus . . . cures . . . our body . . . miraculously . . . it follows that the health received must be maintained from day to day by an uninterrupted communion with Him.”[419] As the Higher Life theology generally takes elements of the perfection of spiritual sanctification that the historic Baptist and traditional Protestant theories of sanctification affirm belong to the future state of glory and affirms that they can be obtained here on earth at the present time, so Boardman and Murray, consistent with their Higher Life principles, took the perfect healing of the body that properly pertains to the future state of glory and affirmed it was to be obtained on earth now, in the same fashion as sanctification was to be obtained, namely, by a moment-by-moment faith decision. Certainly God is able to heal people today, and it is right for believers to pray for physical healing, but the Higher Life theology of healing espoused by Boardman and Murray is unscriptural, and the Biblical gift of healing—which involved no relapses and did not require any faith on the part of the recipient—was temporary and for the first century alone.

Indeed, according to Murray, none of the spiritual gifts were temporary, and they will appear to those who have discovered “the higher life”[420]: “Wherever the life more abundant of the Spirit is to be found, we may expect Him to manifest all His gifts . . . Divine healing accompanies the sanctification by the Spirit . . . the body . . . ought to be healed as soon as the sick believer receives by faith the working of the Holy Spirit, the very life of Jesus in him.”[421] Murray believed that not healing only, but “all [the Spirit’s] gifts,” including tongues, prophecy, and the rest of the phenomena claimed by the modern charismatic movement, should be expected for the entirety of the church age for those who have entered into the Higher Life[422]—indeed, Murray taught believers to “live in a holy expectation” for a restoration of the other gifts that accompanied the pouring out of the Spirit in Acts.[423] Keswick theology was the key to having all the sign gifts restored: “[M]en and women who live the life of faith and of the Holy Spirit, entirely consecrated to their God . . . would see again the manifestation of the same gifts as in former times.”[424]  He affirmed that God may lead believers today through “heavenly voices.”[425] Tongues, in particular, will be restored as Keswick theology spreads:

On the day of Pentecost the speaking “with other tongues” and the prophesying was the result of being filled with the Spirit. . . . We may reckon upon it that where the reception of the Holy Spirit and the possibility of being filled with Him are proclaimed and appropriated, the blessed life of the Pentecostal community will be restored in all its pristine power.[426]

Murray’s strong continuationism, associated with his teaching that “the intellect must follow,” not lead, “the heart and the life . . . [i]n all the experience of the blessings of the Gospel,”[427] were important in theological trajectory from Keswick to Pentecostalism.[428]

In light of Murray’s Higher Life continuationism, it is not surprising that he was a central figure in the rise of South African Pentecostalism. Certain of Murray’s books are “sold nowadays only by the Pentecostals.”[429] Murray requested that his own biography be written by J. DuPlessis, whose continuationism led him to became the General Secretary of the charismatic Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa.[430] Furthermore, Murray “acted as mentor for Pieter Le Roux, who was to be a key figure in the establishment of Pentecostalism in South Africa,”[431] as LeRoux was “one of the first propagandists” of the Keswick continuationist and essentially Pentecostal “Christian Catholic Church” of John Dowie. LeRoux went on to become, “for 29 years, President” of the “Pentecostal Apostolic Faith Mission”[432] which largely developed out of the Christian Catholic denomination.[433] The Christian Catholic Church and the Pentecostal Apostolic Faith Mission “provided the example that has been followed by the South African Pentecostal movement”[434] to this day, including the South African Pentecostal doctrine that “[m]edicine is rejected and . . . absolute reliance on the healing of the sick through prayer” is practiced instead.[435] In addition to the major Pentecostal denominations, numberless South African “independent Pentecostal churches . . . go back to men like Le Roux” as “offshoots of the Apostolic Faith Mission.”[436] Andrew Murray’s Keswick continuationism was key to the explosion of the apostasy, which is South African Pentecostalism.

Unlike many other central figures in the Keswick theology, Andrew Murray had a reasonable testimony of personal conversion and a confession that was consistent with the fundamentals of the Christian gospel. He was a sincere and pious man, and various Christian truths found in his writings have been a spiritual blessing to many. A sincere Pentecostal pastor may similarly make statements that could be of benefit to separatist Baptists. Nevertheless, the errors of Keswick continuationism and the influence of many unconverted religious figures in Christendom are bound inextricably into the fabric of Murray’s works. The spiritual truths that have blessed the people of God in his writings are also found in the works of many authors free from Murray’s errors, writers of unquestionable orthodoxy and fervent spirituality who pay far more attention to the careful and accurate exegesis of that instrument of the Spirit for the sanctification of the saint, the holy Scripture (John 17:17), than Murray does.

Applications from the Life and Teachings of Andrew Murray

Many of Andrew Murray’s writings should be avoided altogether by all Christians. Compositions such as his writings on the Faith Cure are certainly worthless settings forth of dangerous error. The remainder of his works, at the most, should only be read by those who, within the protection of a strong Bible-practicing Baptist church, have a comprehensive knowledge of his Keswick and continuationist errors and the spiritual wisdom to reject them, as well a firm grounding in the truth of Scripture on the doctrines and practices concerning which Murray has been led astray. Since such knowledge is absent in the vast majority of those who read Mr. Murray, the great majority of his readers should abstain from reading him. Countless Christians have been hindered in their sanctification and been spiritually confused by the Keswick errors in Murray’s writings, and many have been influenced toward charismatic apostasy by him. Even for the small minority that possesses the comprehensive knowledge and equipment to diagnose and handle his errors, one would expect greater spiritual refreshing from spending time in the Word itself, instead of Murray’s works, and from the reading of better devotional writers who handle the Scripture with more study and carefulness. A spirituality developed from the study of Andrew Murray will be withered and weak compared to a spirituality sustained by a deep study of God’s Word.

            Learn from Andrew Murray’s life the dangers of corrupt religious denominations. While Christian charity has a reasonable ground for hope that Murray himself was truly regenerate, the fact that he could already have determined to enter the ministry before his conversion illustrates the fact that vast numbers of spiritual leaders in the South African Dutch Reformed denomination of Murray’s day were unconverted—while God in His mercy appears to have saved Murray in seminary, many others who were studying for the ministry had never come to Christ, and never did come to Christ, but became spiritual wolves destroying the flock of God. It was imperative for any true believers among the Dutch Reformed in South Africa in Murray’s day to come out from among that corrupt denomination and unite themselves with truly Biblical and separatist assemblies. Unconverted members are an awful curse to any church—what disaster, then, is an unconverted minister?

Learn also from Andrew Murray’s life the danger of a corrupt seminary education. A Christian should be as likely to attend an apostate seminary as the Apostle Paul would have been to send one of his converts to the Judaizers for an education, or as Elijah would have been to send one in the school of the prophets to learn in the school of Baal. By the great mercy of God, a young and impressionable Murray was himself preserved from utter spiritual shipwreck while funding and attending an educational institution of the Antichrist to prepare for Christian ministry. Many others were not so preserved. Furthermore, Murray’s seminary education was both a waste of years of his life and a seed-bed for filling his mind and heart with errors that were never entirely extirpated—had he instead attended a school run by a true church, one that was whole-heartedly consecrated to God and whole-heartedly opposed to every form of error, the likelihood that Murray would have adopted an ecumenicalism that contributed to the destruction of whatever true Christianity remained in his denomination is small. Furthermore, God blessed Murray’s sincere desire to walk with Him despite all his errors—but how much the more could he have flourished spiritually had he not been pumped full of error for years in his youth? Who knows what blessings were available to Murray had he followed the preceptive will of God, and were lost because of a failure to practice separation (cf. 2 Chronicles 16:7; Psalm 81:16)? Such terrible evils as apostate institutions for the training of Christians should not be attended, but be abolished from the face of the earth, thrust down into that hell which belched them forth.

Learn also from Murray’s life the great spiritual danger in hearing and reading of corrupt false teachers. Although he had already been hopefully converted, and even in the ministry, for years, Murray fell under the spell of William Law, that enemy of the gospel of Christ, and allowed that false teacher to profoundly influence him. What is more, not only did Law influence Murray personally, but countless believers have been drawn towards error by the teachings of Law that they received mediated through Murray. It would have been better for Murray to have feared error more, and mistrusted his ability to discern error more, and avoided William Law altogether. “Be not deceived”—whether considering your denominational affiliation, or your educational choices, or your reading material—“evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33). The Scripture gives no exceptions. Whether you are in seminary, or in the ministry already, unscriptural associations will corrupt you.

Murray’s ecumenicalism and continuationism illustrate the experience-centered spiritual confusion engendered by the Keswick theology. His Faith Cure delusion, which was nothing but the physical concomitant of his Higher Life doctrine of sanctification, has led both to many an unnecessary physical death and to the rise of Pentecostalism, which has overwhelmed South Africa and brought many not only to physical death by a rejection of medicine, but to spiritual death also, as the saving gospel is confused with mystical experience. Reject experience-based hermeneutics, and cleave with all your heart and soul to the literal interpretation of Scripture, recognizing the Bible as your sole authority. In so doing, you will be preserved from much spiritual danger.

Rejoice that God promises you perfect physical healing in the future glory. Ponder His blessed promise: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4). Yes, healing is in the atonement—perfect bodily healing, freedom from all pain and suffering, crying, and the last enemy, death, is certain to come for you. Since God is your own God, and He has given you His Son, with Him you will certainly also be given all things. You will not need to worry that you will “lose your healing.” You will not need to pretend that you are healed when you are not. Your body will be perfectly whole in truth, and so forever and ever, for you will have a body like Christ’s glorious body. How wonderful is God’s real work of healing—how it infinitely exceeds the meager dregs promised by the Faith and Mind Cure! Fix your eye of faith on your God and His glorious promises to you, and, knowing that even in this life He works all things together for your good, you can traverse your earthly pilgrimage, with its trials and sorrows, with a joyful confidence in the ineffably blessed eternity that is your certain future, to the everlasting glory of your blessed Savior, Jesus Christ.

Andrew Murray sought for genuine spirituality—such a desire was highly commendable, and one that you must share—indeed, your very desire for a closer walk with God must undergird your rejection of the errors of Murray’s Keswick continuationism. Rejoice that a genuinely vibrant and Christ-centered spiritual life can truly be lived by the power of the Spirit through the Word in the context of a historic Baptist church. You are not left to a dichotomy of following Andrew Murray, adopting his errors, and having a heart-felt spiritual life, or rejecting Keswick’s errors for a cold and lifeless orthodoxy. No, you can have a glorious and living orthodoxy that undergirds and greatly contributes to a sweet and growing spiritual life in Christ. In fact, this is what you must have—nothing else can suffice but the passionate spiritual embrace of the orthodox Christ revealed fully and truly today only in the pages of the Holy Scripture. Reader, how is it with you?

IV. F. B. Meyer

F. B. Meyer, who had “attended and enjoyed the Broadlands Conference, Oxford Convention, and Brighton Convention,”[437] was a key figure in the spread of Keswick theology in Baptist churches. Meyer was a pastor who was “once, President of the Baptist Union,” at a time after C. H. Spurgeon had already pulled out of the Union because of the heresies that were filling it. Meyer was also “a prolific author . . . [although] [h]is books are not of a very scholarly nature.”[438] Nonetheless, he was a definitive Keswick writer.[439] “[R]aised by a Quaker grandmother, [he] was also much influenced by . . . Hannah Pearsall Smith.”[440] It “is doubtful whether any other Keswick leader ever did more than Dr. Meyer to make the distinctive Keswick message known throughout the world,”[441] as he “spoke at twenty-six Keswick conventions as well as at important regional conventions, and encouraged Keswick teaching within the Baptist denomination through a Prayer Union, which attracted wide ministerial support . . . [and] became Keswick’s leading international representative,” making nearly twenty visits to the United States and Canada, addressing meetings in South Africa, and engaging in tours in the Middle and Far East,[442] where he preached Keswick theology to the heathen. “F. B. Meyer . . . was Keswick’s best known international representative . . . h[e] travel[led] on behalf of the holiness movement . . . [in] South Africa, Bulgaria, Constantinople, Ceylon, China, Nigeria, and the United States” just between 1907-1910, being away “from Britain for several months at a time”[443] and traveling over twenty-five thousand miles spreading the Keswick teaching.[444] “He introduced Keswick teaching into the Baptist denomination,” so that, largely through him, “Keswick’s influence . . . sprea[d]”[445] beyond its largely Anglican and Quaker roots. Thus, Meyer, having followed the Keswick theology from the time of its origin at the Broadlands, Oxford, and Brighton Conventions,[446] contributed greatly to the spread of Keswick theology through his preaching tours, writing, ministry at specifically Keswick venues, and preaching at well-attended convocations from A. B. Simpson’s deeper life conferences to Moody’s Northfield conferences.[447] Meyer was key to the spread of the Keswick theology in Baptist churches and in many other places as he worked as an ecumenical conference speaker and Higher Life holiness evangelist.

Meyer held for years that “the saints alive on earth toward the end of the [first] century were rapt to heaven[,]” a view he mixed “with the historical interpretation of the Book of Revelation.” Concerning this view of a first century catching away, “Mr. Meyer said, ‘In the main I thoroughly accept [this] conclusion. It must be true.’” After all, “the theory is not so fantastic as it seems . . . the miracle it involved . . . account[ed] in great measure . . . for the rapid spread of Christianity in the next [the second] century. That there is no record of the event is . . . justified by the fact that there was nobody left to record it.” On “the first day of 1905 Mr. Meyer preached a sermon advocating this view, which attracted considerable attention, one of the London daily newspapers giving an extended report of it,” as a prominent minister affirming that all Christians were snatched away near the end of the first century as the explanation for the rapid spread of Christianity in the second century would surely sell quite a few newspapers.[448] Furthermore, in “1917 Meyer launched, with the support of several Keswick leaders, the Advent Testimony and Preparation Movement, which became a significant body,”[449] and of which Meyer “became [a] very pronounced” advocate. By this time, Meyer was suggesting that the world was going to end because of the First World War: “the Great War was . . . the Midnight Cry . . . he and some others suggested,”[450] an affirmation somewhat comparable to the prophetic proclamation of Evan Roberts and Jessie Penn-Lewis of the Translation and the end of the world about that time.

            Although Meyer did believe in baptism by immersion for believers, he was very far from being a strong defender of historic Baptist doctrine and practice. He was “less theological and didactic” than even the other speakers at the already extremely undogmatic Keswick convention[451]—indeed, his “relatively undogmatic approach was of crucial importance”[452] for his spread of Keswick doctrine worldwide—although he did defend a view of Spirit baptism as a post-conversion second blessing similar to the view of William Boardman instead of endorsing the historic Baptist view of Spirit baptism, as it was important to Meyer to put away denominational distinctions and seek post-conversion Spirit baptism.[453] Meyer denied that by means of believer’s baptism one was added to the Baptist church that authorized the ordinance (cf. Acts 2:41-47; 1 Corinthians 12:13). Rather, he taught not only that one could receive believer’s baptism and not be added to a Baptist church, but also that one could be immersed and remain a member of a paedobaptist religious organization, with no desire whatsoever to separate from it and join a Baptist congregation. Rather than a church ordinance in the Biblical sense, baptism was simply a personal matter: “[R]emember . . . that you may be baptized, as a believer, without becoming a member of the Baptist denomination. You may be baptized, and still continue in communion with that Christian body with which you have been accustomed to worship. This rite is a personal matter between the Lord and the individual believer.”[454] Since baptism did not add one to a Baptist church, in Meyer’s view, “[p]robably no man has baptized more members of other churches”—who remained in these other churches—“than he.”[455] Indeed, Meyer pastored a paedobaptist religious assembly, Christ’s Church, for twenty-one years—a longer period than he spent as the pastor of any Baptist church, and this paedobaptist assembly was both his last pastorate and the place where his funeral was held. Explaining why he was leaving a Baptist church for a paedobaptist religious organization, Meyer wrote: “I am less of a denominationalist than ever . . . I can best serve my generation from an undenominational standpoint,” although the Baptists he had previously pastored expressed “regret and dismay” once they found out Meyer’s plan, at the last minute—for he had neither “consulted the [Baptist] Church or even consulted with its officers” but “arrangements were carried through . . . [with] secrecy” and as he was “at the bottom a little ashamed of his desertion of Regent’s Park [Baptist Church] . . . he practically accepted the new church before he informed the old one.”[456] Not only did the fact that the members of Christ’s Church had no Biblical baptism, and so could not Biblically be church members or be a true church of Christ at all, stop Meyer from assuming its pastorate, the fact that his newly adopted religious organization had a “liturgy” did not stop him either.[457] He was happy to have Christ’s Church “mainly suppor[t] the L. M. S.,”[458] the paedobaptist London Missionary Society, founded as an ecumenical mix of Anglicans, Congregationalists, Wesleyans, and Presbyterians, Calvinists and Arminians, and numerous other forms of doctrinal divergence, such as acceptance of the idea that the heathen could be saved without knowing the name of Jesus Christ—thus, Meyer’s book advocating this heresy of a Christ-less salvation, The Wideness of God’s Mercy, was in substance delivered as the Annual Sermon of the L. M. S.[459] The previous pastor at Christ’s Church, Christopher Newman Hall, a divorced adulterer, annihilationist, and opponent of verbal inspiration, “was delighted to secure as his successor at Christ Church F. B. Meyer . . . a worthy heir.”[460] Meyer was willing to immerse the Anglican minister, Keswick leader, and annihilationist heretic George Grubb.[461] Indeed, faithful to Keswick ecumenicalism, Meyer refused to “declar[e] it impossible to receive those who accept a formula which implies baptismal regeneration,” thinking that this “would have been far from the unity in Christ . . . at the beginning and the end he rejoiced that we,” whether believing in baptismal regeneration or not, “are ‘all one in Christ Jesus,’” in the words of the Keswick motto.[462] Meyer presided over the Keswick Open Communion service where those who believed in the true gospel and false gospels united to celebrate, as they thought, the Lord’s Supper.[463] The Galatian false teachers that the Apostle Paul anathematized (Galatians 1:8-9) would have been welcomed as Christian brethren by Meyer, for he stated that he “hoped one day ‘to kneel before the Throne of God with a High Churchman on one side and a Quaker on the other,’”[464] despite the baptismal regeneration and sacramental false gospel of High Church Anglicanism and the rejection of justification by Christ’s imputed righteousness and other damnable heresies of Quakerism. He happily preached the Higher Life to those who went beyond even High Church Anglicanism in sacramentalist heresy, such as the Eastern Orthodox.[465] Meyer’s personal grounds for an eternal hope were most questionable in light of the lack of even a sentence or a single phrase about a personal conversion experience in Meyer’s authorized[466] biography of several hundred pages and his deep confusion about the nature of the gospel. Indeed, “Meyer didn’t know anything about conversion, or about the gathering of sinners around Christ” even during his first pastorate—he only picked up, in 1873, certain evangelistic practices, or perhaps certain promotion and marketing techniques, from D. L. Moody, who himself was sadly ecumenical—but even at that point there is no record of Meyer experiencing a personal conversion.[467] Since Meyer believed good Quakers were Christians, not people in a false religion in need of true salvation—a position that made it much easier to accept the doctrines of Quakers such as Hannah W. Smith—it is not surprising that he would invite “missionaries of . . . the Society of Friends to a yearly Conference.”[468] Furthermore, Meyer was “one of the very few outsiders who has been allowed, in the course of its 260 years’ history, to address the . . . executive committee . . . of the Society of Friends.”[469] Meyer’s understanding and proclamation of the Christian gospel was terribly deficient and grossly heretical.

In light of Meyer’s strong identification with Keswick, it is natural that he also encouraged Pentecostalism. “In the 1890s, F. B. Meyer was to be found assuring his Keswick audience that they could receive ‘a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost’ like ‘another Pentecost.’ It was an outlook which helped to create the emphasis on Spirit-baptism found in twentieth-century Pentecostalism. . . . Meyer embodied a spiritual power that was ‘literally Pentecostal.’”[470] He was a clear “Pentecostal predecessor,” who taught that even Jesus Christ “needed” a post-conversion “anoint[ing]” or second blessing before He could do the work of God.[471] In his international travels, Meyer was part of the “explicit . . . link between . . . holiness revivalism and Pentecostalism,” as he led people to “claim the promise and power of Pentecost” and reported that “Baptists . . . were speaking in tongues and casting out demons.”[472] Meyer contributed to the founding of the Welsh Keswick Convention at Llandrindod Wells in 1903, an important precursor to the work of the 1904-5 holiness revival associated with Evan Roberts and a place where the doctrines of Jessie Penn-Lewis were propagated.[473] Meyer taught that the Welsh holiness revival involved a restoration of the miraculous gifts of 1 Corinthians 12[474]—a chapter where tongues are included. It is not surprising that, “[f]ollowing the Welsh Revival of 1904–1905, Meyer reported in Los Angeles on what he had observed in Wales. His report encouraged future leaders of the Pentecostal movement, which was to spread from 1906.”[475] Meyer’s encouragement of Pentecostalism was perhaps furthered by the fact that he himself received revelations that added to Scripture. For example, he claimed to have a vision in which he engaged in conversation with Jesus Christ[476] and also received, apparently by revelation, information that in heaven angels were making “a new road, along the River Bank” since there had “been so many arrivals lately,” and that Meyer and his physician would have their “mansions . . . together”[477] along this new road overlooking this heavenly river.

            F. B. Meyer’s Keswick ecumenicalism, however, did not extend only to sacramentalists, Quakers, and Pentecostals within the broad pale of Christendom. In keeping with the teaching of the teaching of the Broadlands Conference, Meyer taught that pagans, idolaters who knew nothing of Jesus Christ and who—if one accepts the authority of Scripture alone (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 1)—are worshippers of the devil without hope or God in the world, could also be saved without ever hearing about or knowing the Lord Jesus, the Son of God and only Savior of the world. In India, following his practice in other countries, Meyer preached the Keswick theology to idolaters trapped in the darkness of Hinduism because he believed that God had already given Hindus “revelations” of himself, and that their “tears and prayers come up as a memorial before God,” although not offered to the Triune Jehovah, but to their abominable idols, so that they were in need only of “further revelations” through Christ. Meyer affirmed: “I [am] . . . deeply convinced that the prime work of our missionary societies is to discover the souls . . . the non-Christian natives . . . with whom the Divine Spirit has already been at work, ascertaining the stage which they have reached in the divine life, and endeavoring to lead them forward.”[478] The Keswick theology was important to pagan Hindus and other non-Christians, for many of them already possessed “the divine life” and just needed to move forward, and, of course, nothing could move idolatrous polytheistic Hindus forward to a deeper spiritual life than Keswick theology. Preaching Keswick doctrine to such people was, indeed, the prime work of missionary societies, and Keswick doctrine would strike a better cord with such Hindus than preaching the objective and finished work of Jesus Christ and justification by repentant faith alone in Him, since Hindu mysticism and quietism were like Keswick doctrine. Meyer testified:

At the close of an afternoon service in one of the public halls of Bombay, a number of intelligent and thoughtful men . . . non-Christian natives of India . . . gathered round me, who said that my teaching of the inner life, and especially of the negation of self, was not what they were generally accustomed to hear from the lips of a Christian teacher, though it was exactly in line with much that was taught in their own religious books. They told me that one objection which they had towards the religion of Jesus Christ was that, so far as it had been presented to them, it seemed so exclusively objective in its testimony, and gave so little room for those deeper teachings of the subjective discipline of the spirit which appeared to them so all-important. . . . It is interesting to recall the eagerness with which the non-Christian natives of India heard from my lips teaching as to those higher or deeper truths [of the Keswick theology] concerning the crucifixion of the self-life in order to the indwelling of the Son of God.[479]

Hindu idolaters were not the only ones who could be saved without knowing Jesus Christ, of course; pagan religious leaders “from all races” could lead one to heaven, since nature revealed all that was necessary for salvation. Meyer’s belief in “a kind of nature mysticism,” found very prominently and notably in his own oft-repeated testimony to his entrance into the Keswick experience, led Meyer to believe that “Wordsworth and all his followers were . . . students in the school of Jesus Christ. . . . Nature was being given greater emphasis at Keswick than had previously been the case in evangelicalism.”[480] Such nature mysticism led Meyer to “often” leave the “Keswick tent to breathe in both the Keswick air and the Holy Spirit,”[481] for Meyer would pray: “Father, as I breathe in this breath of the evening air, so I breathe in Thy gift of the Holy Spirit.”[482] After all, the initial impulse for the Broadlands Conference arose out of a discussion by the Pearsall Smiths with the Mount-Temples about the value of the “habit [of] go[ing] out into the woods for a week or ten days, and seek together in long breaths to draw in the influx of the Spirit,”[483] so breathing in the Spirit was a solid Keswick and Broadlands teaching from the very beginning, even if that Holy Ghost who dictated the Scriptures said nothing whatever about going into nature to breathe Him in. However, as Broadlands testified, with the Catholic mystic Bernard of Clairvaux as its support, “experience” demonstrated that there was “something greater in woods than in books,” so one could “tur[n] from the Bible to nature.”[484] Perhaps for F. B. Meyer, as for his Higher Life predecessors, it was not necessary to find support for his nature mysticism in Scripture, since the woods were better than the Book. In any case, Meyer had entered into the Higher Life himself originally by breathing God in after a meeting led by George Grubb at Keswick.[485] Thus, through nature mysticism, the heathen could be saved, breathing in the Holy Spirit with the evening air like Meyer did. Indeed, the heathen did not even need to live up the light that they had to be saved, since none of them do so (as is true, and which justifies their universal condemnation, according to the Apostle Paul in Romans 1-2, though not according to Mr. Meyer); some kind of vague faith in their pagan gods was enough for the heathen to be saved, just as in Christendom one does not need “accurate views of that redemption” wrought by Christ to be saved, but simply a faith that is the same in kind with that of the allegedly saved pagans: “[M]yriads of souls, who lived and died with no other teaching than that of natural reason, have entered into the Kingdom . . . and they have been admitted on precisely the same terms as those on which we [Christians] hope to be accepted.”[486] Accurate views of redemption were the more certainly unnecessary, since Meyer himself did not hold to them—for example, he rejected the doctrine that Christ’s cross-work was a propitiation (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10): “We must never think that our Lord stepped in to appease the otherwise implacable wrath of the Father.”[487] For a Keswick revival to come, the universal church must reject the work of Christ as a propitiation of the wrath of God for a doctrine of atonement by her own blood and self sacrifice: “[T]he Church . . . accounts that her blood is not too great a price to pay for an atonement through love and self-sacrifice—it is only under such circumstances that a work of lasting revival can be inaugurated.”[488] In light of these affirmations, clearly the old orthodox doctrine of Christ’s blood atonement was not necessary for salvation. Meyer received further support, as he supposed, for his doctrine that a vague faith in a deity was all that was necessary for salvation from his gross misunderstanding of Old Testament theology, seen in the alleged fact that throughout the Old Testament Israel believed the lie that the Lord was “God of the hills alone,” but not “of the valleys also”—the truth that God was the Omnipresent and Omnipotent One over the whole world, including the valleys and the hills, was allegedly only revealed in the New Testament. Furthermore, in keeping with weakness on the Trinity at the Broadlands Conferences,[489] Meyer thought that from the creation of the world until the day of Pentecost the Triune God was unknown, and the saints of Scripture accepted the blasphemy that the Holy Ghost of God was “an atmosphere,” not “a Person.”[490] If people who knew nothing of the Trinity, who thought God was only a local deity who controlled hills but was powerless in valleys, and who rejected the orthodox doctrine of Christ’s blood atonement, could have faith and be saved in the past, they could be saved in the same manner today also; people within Christendom who simply have the vague faith in a deity that one can have from natural revelation are saved, Meyer taught. After all, if accurate views of the atonement of Christ, the Trinity, and other fundamental Christian doctrines, are necessarily part of saving faith, the ecumenicalism of Keswick must fall to the ground, and the heretics that founded the Keswick theology and filled so many of the seats of Keswick conventions would be unconverted—a clearly unacceptable conclusion. Those “earnest brethren . . . [who] denounced [Meyer] as a heretic”[491] were certainly mistaken, and just were not ecumenical enough; neither was Naaman when he confessed to Elijah, “now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel” (2 Kings 10:15), nor Paul when he affirmed that pagans were without hope and without God (Ephesians 2:12). Meyer was not nearly as narrow as the Scripture and its Author:

Not from the Hebrew race alone, but from all races, God has called forth great souls . . . the great Prophets and Teachers of the Race . . . who have received His messages for their contemporaries and all after time. We utter their names with reverence, and acknowledge the important contributions that have been made to the religious history of the race by Confucius, Buddha, Zoroaster, Plato, and other prophetic souls, who have reared themselves like soaring Alps above their fellows, catching and reflecting the light of the Eternal.[492]

Zoroaster, Buddha, Plato, and other pagan devil-worshippers were actually prophets who received messages from God, just like those received by the Prophets of the Bible; their teachings, writings, and religious systems were not the proclamations of idolatry to be detested, but “sources of religious knowledge and inspiration,”[493] as the Bible is an inspired source of religious knowledge. Alongside of the Bible one may recognize the inspiration of the “Vedas . . . Krishna . . . Seneca” and other pagan writings and writers; “the founder of the Moslem faith” also gave a “noble witness,” and “Marcus Aurelius,” that “loftiest of pagan moralists,” was a righteous heathen although he “cruelly persecuted the Christians of the [Roman] empire,” so not only those ignorant of Christ, but those who put His people to death, can be saved and be vehicles of Divine revelation. From the message of pagan writings, the heathen receive “revelation of the truth” and “righteousness is imputed to them,” although they “know nothing of our Lord’s work on their behalf.”[494] Unsurprisingly, while uplifting the documents of pagan religion to the level of inspiration, Meyer downgraded the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible, accepting modernistic ideas such as a documentary hypothesis about the composition of the gospels comparable to the modern “Q” theory[495]—“Meyer was a late nineteenth/early twentieth-century Protestant liberal who took modern biblical criticism for granted, and was not a fundamentalist. . . . Fundamentalism . . . was a divisive force which . . . placed an overemphasis on doctrine and dogmas.”[496] He proclaimed that theologically liberal views of Scripture were by no means to be opposed—on the contrary, “the great need of the present hour is that leaders of religious thought should cease to concern themselves with the questions of Higher Criticism” and retreat to an alleged “essentially spiritual plane,” abandoning “the intellectual plane” to unbelief.[497] What is more, pagans, and their writings, Meyer affirmed, “are a striking comment on those great words of Malachi, ‘From the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same, God’s name is great among the nations, and in every place incense has been offered unto His name, and a pure offering; for His name is great among the Gentiles,’”[498] although Malachi actually was not affirming that pagans were worshipping the true God and making pure offerings as they served their idols through human sacrifice, temple prostitutes, and the like, but predicting the future Messianic kingdom when the Gentiles would reject all idolatry and purely worship Jehovah alone through Jesus Christ, as validated in the translation in the Authorized Version, which correctly has future tense verbs where Meyer employed the present tense: “For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.”[499] Phoenician Baal-worshippers in Tyre and Sidon, and even the sodomites who sought to gang-rape other men in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and who were destroyed by fire and brimstone from heaven (Genesis 19), could be saved—for God knew the faith that they had, and their real, fundamentally positive attitude toward Him: “God, who searches the heart, and knows what would have happened in Tyre and Sidon and the cities of the Plain, if they had heard of the mighty works of Christ, deals with them on the basis of the faith they have, anticipating the hour when that faith, which is an attitude towards God, and the embryo capacity for receiving God, shall no longer be an unfurled bud, but shall open to its full radiance and glory in the tropical atmosphere of heaven.”[500] Since Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, animists, and even idolatrous sodomites who practice gang-rape, could be saved without ever hearing the name of Jesus Christ, and certainly without a conscious conversion to Him, their problem was not that they were certain of hell in their religions—rather, it was that they lacked the power for service to God provided by the Keswick theology, just like the Jews did in the Old Testament dispensation. Meyer was Keswick’s great international ambassador because of his belief that heathen people could get eternal life through faith in their gods, but they needed the Higher Life only found in the Keswick doctrine to discover the secret of a happy life on earth. As in the Quakerism of Hannah W. Smith, Meyer believed men are not totally depraved, and religion ignorant of Jesus Christ can bring people to heaven, but Meyer thought non-Christian religions could not supply power for service—only Keswick could. “It is a mistake to suppose that the state of the world, as it is today, is due to the determined choice of man to be evil,” for men are not determined to evil, and it certainly is not the case that “there is none that seeketh after God” (Romans 3:11) or that “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [is] only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5)—rather, all men have a “better self,” so that even in “Heathenism . . . [m]en have seen and approved the better,” and “the heart of man never ceased to feel after God . . . the soul of man has ever cried out for God, for the Living God . . .[and] sighed with unutterable and insatiable desire for light and life and love.” Just like the world developed through long evolutionary ages, getting better and better over time, so the heathen are getting better and better over time. While heathens are not totally depraved, and many will be in heaven, nonetheless they do not have the power supplied by Keswick: “the state of the world . . . is due to inability to be and do the things which reason and conscience alike demand. . . . Natural Religion cannot supply power.”[501] Romans 7:14-25 is a description of both the righteous heathen who are headed to heaven without knowing of Christ, and of Jews in the Old Testament[502]—the heathen will be saved, just like many Jews before Christ were saved, but power for service was lacking to both—hence the need to preach to the heathen, not so much justification by the objective substitutionary work of Christ, but the Higher Life of Keswick theology. Keswick, not the gospel, was the need of the idolater.

            In light of Meyer’s belief that pagan devil-worshippers were really worshippers of the true God, and the spiritualism associated with the foundations of Keswick at the Broadlands Conference, it is not surprising that he was weak in his condemnation of spiritualism. “Not all Christians regarded paranormal manifestations as necessarily evil. The Baptist theologian F. B. Meyer . . . believed telepathy and clairvoyance to be natural capacities of the mind, endowed by God, analogous to wireless telegraphy.”[503] Furthermore, Meyer believed that those on earth received visitations from the dead; for example, while preaching the funeral of one Mr. Buckley, Meyer stated that while Buckley was dying he “saw his spirit relations, and even called them by name.”[504] Direct communication with the dead was possible, Meyer affirmed.[505] Meyer did not endorse spiritualism per se—it came in for general condemnation in his pamphlet The Modern Craze of Spiritualism. However, as a reviewer of his pamphlet noted, “[H]e deals too tenderly with clairvoyance, which . . . [is] an easy stepping-stone to the séance; and . . . he astonishes by saying that ‘in passing over, the soul may sometimes manifest itself to the beloved ere it is definitely withdrawn into the presence of God,’ . . . [a teaching which is] erroneous and dangerous.”[506] Thus, Meyer condemned what he recognized as spiritualism, but certain spiritualistic phenomena were not considered to truly be spiritualism. For F. B. Meyer, if not for Scripture, the dead did communicate with the living, and clairvoyance was an ability endowed by God—forms of what truly was spiritualism were acceptable.

F. B. Meyer did believe in the bare fact that believers should be immersed, and he performed a variety of ministries in and with Baptist churches, contributing to their being infected with his heresies, as well as serving as the leader of the Baptist Union during a period when it was capitulating to theological modernism and liberalism. While he contributed greatly to the infiltration of Keswick theology in Baptist churches, and contributed to the spread of continuationism and thus the rise of Pentecostalism, he was very far from an advocate of historic Baptist doctrine—he was a far better representative of the easy heterodoxy and ecumenical practice of Keswick.

Applications from the Life and Teachings of F. B. Meyer

            F. B. Meyer would be better classified as a wolf in sheep’s clothing than a Bible-believing, historic Baptist minister. His writings should be rejected, and he should be warned against. Why should God’s people read the writings of one who propagated the standard errors of the Keswick theology, and who also gave no evidence of personal conversion, who accepted absurd eschatological fictions, who refused to contend for Baptist distinctives, who found liturgy and baptismal regeneration acceptable but rejected the Regulative Principle of worship, who was grossly ecumenical, who radically watered down the demands of the gospel and taught that heathen did not need to hear about and consciously believe in Jesus Christ to be saved, who rejected the truth that Christ propitiated God’s wrath on the cross, who blasphemed Jehovah by claiming that Old Testament Israel thought He was only the God of the hills, not of the valleys, who blasphemed the Holy Spirit by claiming that He was thought of as an atmosphere, not a Person, for most of the history of the world, who rejected the verbal, plenary inspiration of Scripture for modernistic apostasy, and who spread continuationism, contributed to the rise of Pentecostalism, and was open to forms of spiritualism? Do not the writings of such a man have a better place in a fire than in the minds and hearts of the Triune Jehovah’s people? Are they not laced with the sulfurous stench of the fires of hell? F. B. Meyer was a heretic, and the Lord’s precious faithful ones should beware of both his pernicious personal influence and his baneful and continuing influence on the doctrines and practices of others. That such a man as he is hailed by the adherents of the Higher Life as Keswick’s leading international representative provides yet another reason why Keswick theology must be rejected by true churches and faithful Christians.

            While F. B. Meyer did not, you must treasure the power of the blessed gospel of Jesus Christ. Natural theology will only condemn, never save (Romans 1:18-32), but “the gospel of Christ . . . is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). There is no other name than that of Jesus Christ by which men must be saved (John 14:6; Acts 4:12), and no other way of salvation than by repentant faith in Him and His substitutionary death, as validated by His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). All who do not receive this gospel must necessarily perish eternally, but the Holy Spirit, through the Word, produces faith in countless of those who hear it (Romans 10:17; James 1:18), so that they are washed in Christ’s blood, adopted into the family of their infinitely loving, gracious, and tender heavenly Father, and are enabled to join the eternal song in grateful worship of their God and Lord, Jesus Christ: “Thou art worthy . . . for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. . . . Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Revelation 5:9-12)! Is not this gospel, this best of all Good News, worth proclaiming in all its purity to the ends of the earth, worth living in light of, and worth dying for? Where is the Christian who will not cry out, with his heart and soul, “Yes, it is so—Amen, Amen!” Then, dear reader, act upon this truth. Be part of reconciling the world to Christ by proclaiming His sweet name to all men unto the very ends of the earth. Furthermore, do not allow the truth of this gospel to be corrupted in the least part. View with horror the wounds F. B. Meyer sought to inflict upon the gospel, and inflicted in truth upon countless precious souls who followed him in his damnable errors. Rather than rejecting, or being the slightest bit ashamed of the precious doctrines of propitiation and of penal substitution, let the penal substitution of Christ on the cross, and His appeasement of the Father’s wrath thereon, be your only hope and confidence for a blessed eternity, and your joy and glory on earth even now. Treasure them in your heart. Meditate upon them in your mind. Speak of them everywhere, and be heartily thankful to God for them always. They are at the heart of that only saving gospel that is the undiluted power of God unto salvation.

            Hate the abominable error of F. B. Meyer of preaching Keswick theology to unconverted heathen instead of preaching the gospel. Only God knows the numbers who are in hell today because of this fearful error and dereliction of obvious duty by Mr. Meyer and those whom he influenced. Meyer’s practice in this regard is a clear example of how God is dishonored and people come to be eternally damned when cultural pressure is surrendered to, rather than resisted by, the Lord’s church and people. Telling people in India that their heathen ancestors were saved, not lost, was surely easier and much more culturally acceptable. Surely there was great pressure to lie to them in this manner, as F. B. Meyer did, or at least downplay or equivocate on the truth, as many others did. What was the result? God’s truth was not glorified, the gospel was corrupted, apostasy was furthered, and precious souls were deluded and lost. Reader, you must never under any circumstances surrender, be ashamed of, or water down anything taught in God’s holy Word because of cultural pressure. “[F]ear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25).

            Christians must practice the methodology of gospel proclamation taught in Scripture. The book of Acts clearly teaches and models by example aggressive evangelism for every church member; all should go “every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:4), with the goal of preaching to “every creature which is under heaven” (Ephesians 1:23; Mark 16:15), that is, giving clear presentations of the gospel to every single person on the face of the earth. God’s Word presents house-to-house evangelism as an explicit pattern of Scripture (Acts 5:42; 20:20-21). If Christians in the New Testament went out preaching “daily,” you can certainly go persistently. If they sought to reach large groups at one time by preaching in the temple and other places “publickly,” then Christian men should follow their pattern by preaching on the streets, and all Christians should follow their pattern by distributing literature and proclaiming the gospel wherever sizeable groups of people can be found. If they also went “house to house,” seeking to reach “every house,” then you also ought to specifically reach every single household in your area and send forth laborers from your church who will seek to do so likewise in communities that are further away, until “all men every where” have heard the gospel (Acts 21:28; 19:10; Mark 16:15). Are you part of a church that is following the Biblical pattern and preaching publicly and house to house? If not, it is time to either start obeying Scripture or time to leave that church for a faithful congregation. If so, are you participating in this blessed and holy work, with zeal and love for Jesus Christ, and love for and holy boldness towards sinners? If not, now is the time to repent—now is the time to beg God for a heart like His for the lost.

            Christian pastors and other spiritual leaders must by no means turn aside from the sufficient and God-glorifying Biblical methodology for gospel-proclamation to promotion and marketing techniques that violate Biblical principles. F. B. Meyer learned from D. L. Moody, and others, a variety of how-to methods that could draw large crowds and build a big church—but without a pure gospel, and without pure methods of proclaiming that gospel, the glory goes to man, not to God, and truly beneficial long-term results will not follow. A congregation may grow numerically as “an holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:21) filled with the blessings of Jehovah, or it may grow numerically utilizing unbiblical techniques and methodologies into a great mixed multitude of converted and unconverted people, filled with spiritual confusion and with the curse of the Lord. The latter sort of “growth” is more easily accomplished—it is within the potency of human might and power, while the former is solely through the power of God’s Spirit—but the eternal consequences will be evident when each stands before the Judge of all the earth.

            Believers must also exercise careful spiritual discernment about popular public speakers who are popular with the world and with broad Christendom. While God is certainly able to make a congregation large (cf. Acts 2:41), Christ also warned, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26). The size of a man’s congregation, or the worldly success associated with it, is by no means a reliable indicator of the presence of true and vital spirituality or Divine blessing. Popularity does not indicate orthodoxy and orthopraxy. F. B. Meyer had huge congregations and tremendous popularity in his day, although, as his many heresies validate, he did not have the blessing of God. The prophets of Baal in Elijah’s day had far larger congregations and far greater popularity than Elijah, and the Antichrist will command a greater following in the Tribulation period than any truly godly preacher in church history. What is more, the blessing of God and true faithfulness will not always lead to a large congregation—you can have Christ’s smile, keeping His Word and not denying His name, while yet having but “a little strength” (Revelation 3:8). Do not allow the desire for numerical growth to lead you to downplay, compromise on, or abandon one tittle of the truth. Far better to preserve the whole of the once-delivered and holy faith uncorrupted, yet be hated and rejected by the world, than to be a popular and accepted speaker but compromise it. For what is the eternal reward of the life to come in comparison to the temporal and fleeting reward of the praise of men of dust?

            Beware of allowing error into your church, or into your own mind and heart, in the name of missions. It is a clear Biblical imperative for congregations to send out church-planters worldwide (cf. Acts 13:1-4), and God’s people should be very desirous that God would call them, or their children, to such a blessed work. The reading of the biographies of great missionaries of the past to quicken a passion for missions is most commendable. However, false doctrine and practice must not be allowed in the name of missions. Sending an F. B. Meyer out worldwide to blaze abroad Keswick and modernistic heresies, or sending out a George Grubb to assail Christ’s teaching on hell, fills the world with pseudo-Christian heresies rather than the pure gospel message and sows terrible worldwide confusion concerning the character of true Christianity and the faith Christ delivered to His churches. Keswick errors, continuationist errors, and many other errors are spread through biographies, testimonials, and other narratives of events on mission fields, the people of God relaxing their guard against false teaching because of the sacrifice or suffering of those in foreign lands. This must not be. Highly esteem Biblical mission work while refusing to bypass God’s eternal truth in the name of foreign missions.

            You must also reject spiritualism in all its forms—even those that deny that they are spiritualism. The devil is very unlikely to openly admit that he wishes you to reject God and follow him to utter ruin. Rather, he will perpetrate a multiplicity of deceptions to make himself appear like an angel of light. There are far more people who worship the devil while thinking that they are worshipping God than there are who intentionally and knowingly worship the devil. Be careful—more careful than Meyer was—in recognizing all the workings of Satan in spiritism and avoiding them all.

            Reject theological modernism in all its forms—for, indeed, it is a form of the working of the devil. Reject rationalism and begin all your thinking with the only truly consistent logical foundation—the Word of God. Reject higher critical nonsense about the alleged evolutionary development of Biblical religion and the Hebrew Scriptures and accept the plain self-testimony of the Almighty to His own works in His Word. Reject the fictional “Q” document and all higher critical ideas about the origin of the New Testament. Reject evolutionary lower critical ideas that deny the preservation of God’s Word in the common Received Text and treat God’s Book like some secular document. Indeed, reject evolution entirely and accept the truth of the creation of the world ex nihilo in six twenty-four hour days thousands, and not millions, of years ago. Every jot and tittle of the Bible is God’s verbally, plenarily inspired Word, dictated by the Holy Ghost through holy men of old. Recognize this fact and oppose every idea and teaching that conflicts with it.

            Baptists must by no means accept what someone teaches simply because he claims to be a Baptist. Since all the first century churches were Baptist churches, Judas, along with the other eleven Apostles, was a Baptist. Ananias and Sapphira were Baptists. Diotrephes was a Baptist. F. B. Meyer was, after a sort, a Baptist also—he was even the president of a Baptist Union for a time, albeit one that was rapidly slipping into utter apostasy and theological liberalism. It is not enough that one claims that he is a Baptist—rather, his doctrine and practice must be tried by the Word of God.

            Learn also from Meyer the danger of Baptists forming Unions, Conventions, Associations, and other forms of “Baptist” hierarchicalism not found in Scripture. The pernicious influence of Meyer’s modernism, and of many modernists like him, was able to corrupt many more churches because of their position in the Baptist Union. The leaven in the Union spread throughout the organization, corrupting church after sound church, until all that did not separate was leavened. Not a scrap of Scripture supports the existence of any denominational hierarchy—all that the Lord Jesus has authorized in the New Testament is the local, visible, independent and autonomous congregation. All Conventions, Unions, and the like are certain to fall into false teaching, for the Lord Jesus has not promised to protect them, nor has He promised His special presence with them—such promises are only given to His church. Nor can hundreds of assemblies with diverse views on all sorts of doctrine and practice unite in a Union, Association, or any other formal structure without setting aside some of what the Bible teaches, violating from the very beginning the requirements of Scripture to contend for all of the faith. Within the church it is possible that “no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3) at all than the truth is advocated—in all forms of Baptist hierarchicalism such purity is impossible. Churches of like precious faith can work together as they see fit, but once they form parachurch or suprachurch organizations the seed of compromise has already been sown. Let the Lord’s churches learn from the destruction of the Baptist Union, and countless similar organizations—let them remain independent, unaffiliated, and truly autonomous, that they may be truly holy—as separation, both personal and ecclesiastical, is inherent in true holiness, so ecumenicalism of any kind is inherently unholy—so that they may be truly pleasing to their sole and sufficient Head and Husband, Jesus Christ.

            Learn from F. B. Meyer’s example the danger and damage unconverted church members can do—and how much the more danger there is in unconverted ministers. How much evil came to the Baptist churches of England through a failure to guard their baptisteries and membership roles! How many more congregations would be faithfully practicing the truth today had previous generations rigidly allowed none to be baptized into the membership of their churches who could not clearly testify to personal conversion and possessed a life that bore the evident marks of supernatural regeneration? Modernism and rationalism were able to spread like wildfire in late nineteenth century British nonconformity because many church members and ministers were already unconverted and were thus susceptible to the wanton embrace of any alluring heresy that came along. How much better it would have been for F. B. Meyer personally—and for Baptists in his country generally—had he been forbidden to submit to God’s holy baptismal ordinance because of his lack of anything like a clear conversion? How much the more evil was it to allow him to enter the Baptist ministry in the same state? Let no one today deceive himself into thinking that results the less pernicious will result from a similar practice. Only churches that carefully guard their membership role, doing all that is in their power to restrict their congregation to true saints both by great care in who they allow into the baptistery and by the consistent practice of church discipline, can expect to be preserved from apostasy in the long term.

            Unlike Meyer, you must cleave to and contend for a sound and robust Baptist polity. Love the Lord Jesus Christ, and, like your Master, be dogmatic and defend all the truths of the written Word. Defend, even unto death, believer’s immersion as a church ordinance and the door to membership in Christ’s congregation. Reject all liturgy and embrace the Regulative Principle of worship. Be jealous over the purity of Biblical worship, even as your God is jealous over it. Reject open communion; protect Christ’s precious Supper as Paul commanded in 1 Corinthians 11. Preach the Word—all of it, from the verbal inspiration of Scripture, to the necessity of faith in the Triune God for salvation, to the fire and brimstone in the lake of fire, to the restriction of Spirit baptism to the book of Acts and the cessation of the sign gifts to the first century, to the historic Baptist doctrine of sanctification.

            Are you a member of a Bible-believing and practicing historic Baptist church? Marvel, and be filled with humble and aweful amazement, at your glorious privilege—you have not only been chosen to be part of God’s spiritual and invisible kingdom through the new birth, but have been added by baptism to Christ’s own body, temple, and bride! What opportunities you have to walk closely with God! You are a living stone in God’s holy temple. Oh, how necessary it is for you to live like one!

IV. Evan Roberts and Jessie Penn-Lewis

Evan Roberts and Jessie Penn-Lewis were the central minister and the most influential expositor,[507] respectively, of the Welsh holiness revivalism concentrated from “December 1904 to May 1905,”[508] co-opting and eclipsing a genuine revival movement in Wales that had already been taking place. Roberts received infant “baptism a few weeks after his birth on June 8, 1878,”[509] and grew up in the Calvinistic Methodist denomination. His “name appears in the church roll for the first time in 1893-94” after taking a “preparation class,”[510] but evidence of his own personal conversion is very weak at best.[511] A minister claimed that he had been the instrument some time after 1898 of Roberts’ “conversion or consecration,”[512] but Roberts himself does not appear to have affirmed that he was born again at that time—indeed, Roberts testified that he was not a Christian until a number of months before the onset of the holiness revival.[513] The closest one can come from Roberts’ own words to a conversion testimony appears to be a time when he was “taking steps to enter ministerial training” and seeking to be “baptized with the Spirit.” Hearing a “voice . . . within his troubled heart” about willingness to receive the Spirit, “he went . . . to the chapel” where he was residing and at that meeting, affirmed:

What boiled in my bosom was the verse, “For God commendeth his love.” I fell on my knees with my arms outstretched on the seat before me. The perspiration poured down my face and my tears streamed quickly until I thought the blood came out. Mrs. Davies of Mona, Newquay, came to wipe my face, and Magdalen Phillips stood on my right and Maud Davies on my left. I cried, “Bend Me, Bend Me, Bend Me. . . . OH! OH! OH! . . . After I was bended, a wave of peace and joy filled my bosom.[514]

Roberts affirmed that “Living Energy” came and “invaded his soul, burst all his bonds, and overwhelmed him,” and he “gave his testimony at the afternoon service” about this experience “as if it were a kind of conversion or new birth”[515] through seeking and receiving Spirit baptism. Evan Roberts testified that a “living energy or force enter[ed] his bosom till it held his breath and made his legs tremble,”[516] which he took to be evidence that his sins were forgiven and that the spirit that entered him, hindering his breathing and making his legs wobbly, was the Holy Spirit. Such “bodily agitations . . . [and] convulsions were the natural and legitimate results of the new birth,”[517] in his view, although his landlady turned him out of the house, having “become afraid of him,” fearing “he was possessed or somewhat mad.”[518] Although there are not strong grounds to conclude that Roberts was, at whatever point, genuinely converted, and not just the subject of a variety of powerful religious experiences arising from his flesh or from the devil, at least “ever since he had been filled with the Spirit he had been physically conscious of the Spirit’s prohibitions and commands”[519] in voices and visions; he “began to have visions”[520] from the time of his Spirit baptism and alleged conversion, so that “it is evident that Evan Roberts [was] conscious that he ha[d] received a gift of prophecy through his baptism of the Spirit.”[521] Roberts’ experiences were comparable to those of “St. Teresa, Jakob Boehme, George Fox, [and] Ignatius Loyola,”[522] having the same sources in the spirit world as such Roman Catholic, theosophist, and Quaker luminaries. When “Dr. Williams, the phrenologist[,][523] . . . measured [his] cranium, deduced certain patterns,” and “told . . . the young miner, ‘You ought to be a preacher,’” an affirmation also confirmed by a minister who had heard Roberts pray publicly one time, Evan was guided no longer to be a miner but a minister.[524] However, his education for the ministry was extremely limited, as was his education in general, although he was “deeply influenced” by “C. R. Sheldon’s In His Steps.”[525] Roberts “left school at age twelve, laboured in coal mines for twelve years, undertook part-time study and a brief pre-college course . . . [and] had no pastoral or evangelistic experience”[526] when he became the center of the Welsh holiness revival in 1904, although a novice (1 Timothy 3:6), one whose “schooldays were few and irregular,”[527] and “an unqualified preacher with only six weeks of adult pre-college education.”[528] Incapable of careful exegesis of the Bible, he taught “experience-based doctrine” and held to “no dogmatic beliefs,” since he was “totally untrained” for “systematic theological instruction” or “expository preaching.”[529] “Evan Roberts was not intellectual . . . was moved more by his emotions than by his ideas . . . was more intuitive than inductive or deductive . . . had no fundamental doctrine, no system of theology, no distinctive ideal.”[530] He did not follow the pattern of Christ and the Apostles, as well as of earlier revival preachers such as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, or earlier instruments of revival in Wales,[531] by preaching boldly and specifically on sin, calling men to repentance, and strongly warning about hell and judgment to come (Matthew 5:22-30). Instead, Roberts set forth “no dies irae to terrify, but a dies caritas to win its way[.] . . . Sin—or at least vice—[was] seldom denounced[.]”[532] Indeed, Roberts stated: “What need have these people [in the Welsh holiness revival] to be told that they are sinners?”[533] Furthermore, “Roberts does not call his hearers to repentance . . . but speaks of having been called to fulfill the words of the prophet Joel. ‘Your old men shall dream dreams; your young men shall see visions.’” Rather than preaching repentance, Roberts “frequently describe[d] visions that had appeared to him.”[534] Surely describing visions will bring more to salvation than preaching repentance. He also “told his congregations that he had ‘not come to terrify them by preaching about the horrors of eternal damnation’” and “told reporters . . . ‘I preach nothing but Christ’s love,’” after the manner of the preaching of Hannah W. Smith.[535] Nevertheless, “his message was not so much Christocentric as pneuma-centric, a result of the influence of the Holiness movement, especially the teaching of Keswick;”[536] Roberts spoke at the Welsh Keswick Conference at Llandrindod Wells in 1905 at the height of the holiness revival excitement.[537] While Keswick proper was key for Roberts, Keswick antecedents, such as the “experience . . . called ‘perfect love’ or Christian perfection’ taught by J. Wesley and J. Fletcher . . . [were also] given attention in this revival.”[538] Thus, while earlier revivals had recognized that the Spirit of God did not speak of Himself, but of Christ (John 16:13-14), Evan Roberts stressed (as William Boardman had before him) that there “were thousands of believers in our churches who have received Christ, but had never received the Holy Ghost,” a change of emphasis from “[h]eretofore” when “the work of Christ ha[d] been the all-important truth.”[539] However, very often Roberts did not preach at all. Services became closer to the pattern, though not necessarily the volume, of the Quaker meeting, where everything was spontaneously enacted as led, allegedly, by the Holy Spirit.[540] Roberts’ meetings “remin[d] one of the Quakers . . . they would feel themselves thoroughly at home in [them].”[541] Earlier Welsh revival movements “exalted the preacher,” but this “feature . . . was missing in the Revival of 1904-5,”[542] which contributed to “the decline of the sermon.”[543] Indeed, the “pastor . . . was practically regarded as an alien in the Commonwealth of Israel. The prevailing sentiment was . . . [to] than[k] the Lord that He had shunted the ministers to the sideline. [One] never heard a word from the Revivalist in public in recognition of the Welsh ministry, nor saw a single act that showed appreciation of their position.”[544] Rather than emphasizing the study of and unquestioned obedience to Scripture, and exalting the preached Word, Roberts placed tremendous stress upon instant, immediate, and unquestioning obedience to the “voice from within,” that “voice” that drove him into public ministry and guided him in his work.[545] During significant portions of the Welsh holiness revival, “clergymen [noted that] [s]ince the revival began [Evan Roberts] has not taken a Bible verse and made comments as preachers do;”[546] indeed, “there was very little sermonizing of any kind,”[547] as frequently “sermons [are] put aside for testimony.”[548] “Those who came to hear a great sermon, or even a sermon, were disillusioned. [Roberts] was not an expositor or even a fluent speaker,” but rather gave forth “broken sentences” at intervals in his chaotic meetings.[549] People recognized that “[p]reaching is not generally acceptable at these spontaneous meetings.”[550] “Preaching, in the usual acceptation of the word, has . . . been entirely discarded,” as instead “services are throughout spontaneous, resembling a Quaker’s meeting.”[551] Indeed, “the Welsh revival might be regarded as a triumph for Quakerism.”[552] However, preaching the Word was not necessary, since Roberts had “no body of doctrine to present,” but instead gave out “prophetic messages and exhortations . . . in place of expository teaching.”[553] Following the pattern of the early Keswick conventions, Roberts declared that he never studied the Bible to prepare a message. “I never prepare what I shall speak, but leave that to Him,” he declared. This was possible because Roberts had no substantive doctrine to communicate: “There is no question of creed or of dogma in this movement . . . only the wonder and beauty of Christ’s love.”[554] Instead of rightly dividing the Word, Roberts gave inspired “prophetic message[s]”[555] to others. It was not necessary to preach the inspired Bible when “people called ‘inspiration’” Roberts’ own words and marvels.[556] After all, Roberts testified: “We now, like the prophets of old, have . . . . transmitt[ed] . . . ‘The Word of the Lord’ . . . to the Church.”[557] Thus, “[o]ne of the most striking things about the Revival of 1904-5 was the comparative absence of teaching,” for it employed “little theology of a definite and systematic kind,” preferring “visionary and ecstatic” experiences.[558] Observers noted:

[A meeting would] practically resolv[e] itself into a singing festival[.] . . . At times, while one section is singing a hymn, another section in the chapel starts off a wholly different one. This is interspersed with short, spasmodic addresses by Mr. Roberts, relating to visions he has witnessed. Singing is kept up hour after hour—the same tunes and words being interminably repeated—far into the early hours of the morning . . . young girls and women, fatigued with exertion, are strung up to a pitch of feverish excitement. Their emotions overpower them and they break out into wild cries and gesticulations . . . [which] are put down as a manifestation of the Spirit. Some participants have since been confined to their homes with nervous prostration.[559]

In the sharpest contrast to the revivals in the book of Acts, in the work of Evan Roberts singing was employed “rather than . . . the Gospel message . . . being . . . preached. . . . The sermon is a poor thing compared with the . . . song.”[560] While in the Bible preaching brought supernatural conviction and conversion (Acts 2:37-42), the work of Evan Roberts recognized that the Welsh were “taught to death, preached to insensibility.”[561] “Evan Roberts . . . makes no sermons . . . is . . . no[t] a preacher. . . . [P]reaching is emphatically not the note of this Revival[.] . . . If it has been by the foolishness of preaching men have been saved heretofore, that agency seems as if it were destined to take a back seat in the present movement.”[562] At least this was the case for the preaching of the Bible—but Roberts’s “inspired preaching,”[563] his “inspiration of the exalted and supernatural kind,”[564] was considered a sufficient replacement for the exposition of the Word. He asked, “Why should I teach [the Bible] when the Spirit is teaching?”[565] However, in places in Wales where “greater emphasis on preaching and teaching” was made, there were “more lasting and beneficial results” than there were from Roberts’ “lack of clear biblical teaching” and emphasis upon “what he claimed to be the immediate guidance of the Holy Spirit,”[566] at least among traditional denominational groups such as the Baptists and Calvinistic Methodists, although Roberts’ method of neglecting the Word for other revelations was central to the rise of Pentecostalism.

Evan Roberts “claimed to have received over twenty ecstatic visions during the earlier part of 1904, which left him elated but strangely perplexed.” He placed an “emphasis on direct and unmediated divine inspiration,” so that his “near clairvoyant tendency . . . bec[ame] such a marked feature of his ministry [and] was given full rein. He would claim regularly . . . that he knew by divine intuition of particular individuals’ specific sins and of their need to repent openly in order for his meetings to continue. These claims caused some consternation.”[567] Indeed, Roberts began his own ministry after he “claimed to have a vision”[568] authorizing the beginning of his revival work and “hear[ing] a voice bidding him go . . . and speak.”[569]  He felt “his whole body shaking and his sight also wavering,” after which “he seemed to see the people” of a certain city and “men sitting in rows” in a schoolroom, heard a “voice” telling him to go to them, and then saw the room where he was “filled with light [as] dazzling [as] . . . the glory as of the light of the sun in heaven,” and although he wondered if “this was a deceiving vision from Satan,” he concluded it was not, and left school to work for holiness revival because of “the vision and the voice calling him” with “his support—the God of visions.”[570] During “the few weeks”[571] of his training for the ministry he “claim[ed] that he was under the Spirit’s command when he missed a class or forgot a study period or failed to finish an essay”[572] and “he would open a book, only to find it flaming in his hands . . . [t]his experience increased daily until the awe that possessed him made it impossible to battle on . . . [and] Dr. Hughes, an American specialist . . . [affirmed] that Evan was suffering from religious mania,”[573] so that Evan “came under personal attack as a lunatic at worst and eccentric at best.”[574] Concerning one vision, Evan testified: “For the space of four hours I was privileged to speak face to face with Him as a man speaks face to face with a friend,” a privilege Moses alone had among the Old Testament prophets (Exodus 33:11; Numbers 12:8). However, Evan’s visions went beyond even what Moses experienced. The Bible states that nobody has seen God the Father at any time, but only the Son of God has been seen (John 1:18), but Roberts claimed to regularly see “God the Father Almighty . . . and the Holy Spirit,” rather than only “Jesus Christ” as did the prophets of the Bible;[575] his experiences were comparable to those of Teresa of Avila, who likewise claimed she conversed with God the Father rather than Jesus Christ.[576] Indeed, Roberts testified: “I . . . sp[oke] face to face with Him [the Father] as a man speaks face to face with a friend” for “hours” every night “for three or four months,” and then “again retur[ned] to earth.”[577] Unless Evan Roberts was a false prophet and under Satanic delusion, a greater than Moses was here, and so the possibility that “Roberts [was] . . . intending to set” a “notebook” with his writings “beside the writings of the New Testament” as a record of inspired revelations is explicable.[578] At times “a tremor ran through him, and his face and neck were observed to quiver in a remarkable way.”[579] His work in the Welsh holiness revival teemed with “experiences of visions, voices, and ecstasies.”[580] “His bodily agitations were awful to behold. They filled the hearts of children with fear, bewildered and astounded men of mature years, and caused hysterical women to faint.”[581] On at least one occasion he records in his diary: “I was commanded not to read my Bible”[582] for an entire day by a voice.[583] It was not necessary, however, for Roberts to get guidance by searching the Scriptures, for he “adopted the practice of writing down a problem, placing the paper on to an open Bible and leaving the room for the Holy Spirit to write down an answer,”[584] and in this way he could get solutions to his problems.

In 1906, the same year he went to the Keswick Convention and was invited to give a special address,[585] Roberts moved into the Penn-Lewis household after Jessie Penn-Lewis had visions about him,[586] leaving behind “the confusion of South Wales where there were disorderly meetings at Carmarthen, dancing and barking at Llannon, a prophesying curate at Llanelly, [and] a persuasive woman healer in Swansea,”[587] while by 1907 there were “many instances . . . [of] prostrations and trance visions and such manifestations as guiding lights and angelic helps.”[588] Indeed, Roberts experienced almost innumerable visitations from the spirit world and made “many statements about special guidance by vision and voices”[589] both before, during, and after the Welsh holiness revival. “[H]e claims as his guide . . . the inner voice . . . the Spirit tells him when to speak and when to be silent, to whom he may grant an audience and whom he must refuse, what places to visit and the places he must avoid.”[590] Thus, Roberts was directed by visions of Satan and sundry other spiritual beings concerning where he should go to hold meetings.[591] In one often-mentioned vision[592] he claimed he “was taken up into a great expanse without time or space—it was communion with God. Before this it was a far-off God that I had. . . . I was frightened that night . . . [s]o great was my shivering that I rocked the bed and my brother awakened [and] took hold of me, thinking I was ill. After that I was awakened every night a little after one” to experience similar communion, although without the same fear, “for about four hours. . . . About five I was allowed to sleep[.]”[593]   Frequently his visions “caused his body to shake.”[594] He had a “vision . . . [of] a kind of arm stretching out from the moon in the direction of earth,”[595] “many visions about the sufferings of Jesus,”[596] a “terrifying vision of hell,”[597] a “vision . . . [of] a great conflict between Satan and the Archangel of God,”[598] a “vision of a white horse and of a key which opened the Gate of Life,”[599] a vision of “a person dressed in white, with a glittering sword in his hand, striking the devil until he fled and vanished,”[600] various “visions of the devil and of the blessed Saviour,”[601] and “dreams . . . such as that of Satan’s face sneering at him in the midst of some garden shrubs”[602]—although Satan not only sneered at Roberts in gardens in dreams, but also appeared while Roberts was walking in a garden hedge, until a glorious figure in white—the Church—struck Satan and made him disappear.[603] Thus, “Evan Roberts . . . speaks of God and the devil with the assurance not only of one who has had communication with them, but who has actually seen them. The devil grins at him in his garden, he goes back into the house, and when he returns Jesus Christ is there smiling at him.”[604] After seeing a book called The Gospel in Art, he “experienced a new series of visions, each of which was centered upon biblical scenes,” although the pictures in the book “bore a striking resemblance to his visions” of the actual events.[605] Because of “visions and voices,” in his revival meetings he said, “I have to say strange things,”[606] and services, the large majority of the time, had “the scripture readings and . . . sermon” omitted for people getting up “to sing or speak” without any order.[607] In his meetings, “the din was tremendous . . . constant interruptions [of] the speakers [took place as] excited men and women [rose] to pray, testify, sing, ask questions, recite verses, etc. . . . formal preaching [was] an impossibility.”[608] “Pentecostal enthusiasm” required that there “was no preaching . . . for . . . months” in various congregations.[609] This de-emphasis upon preaching was accounted for by the conclusion that “Evan Roberts had a ‘ministry of gifts’ rather than a ‘ministry of the Word,’”[610] but while there was not much preaching of God’s Word, at least there appeared to be plenty of alleged gifts, as Roberts believed that all the spiritual gifts of the Apostolic age were to be present and active in his day. On those instances where Roberts did attempt to preach, he might be “interrupted about thirty times by pleas and excited comments,” as his meetings “sounded chaotic.”[611] “He made no preparation beforehand concerning what he should say” even when he did preach; “all was spontaneous response” to what was supposed to be the Holy Spirit.[612] “Well-structured expository preaching . . . was just unworkable . . . [since] each service was dominated by testimonies, prayers, pleadings, and songs,”[613] as indeed, his meetings had a veritable “Babel of voices . . . breaking forth simultaneously in prayer and song . . . [and] people . . . praying in several languages simultaneously,”[614] as at times people would sing “again and again” a handful of lines from a song “twenty times,”[615] or even hear a “chorus . . . sung, perhaps, a hundred times”[616] in a meeting. It “was a new experience” to many churchgoers “to hear a large crowd sing over and over again for 15 or 20 minutes, without a moment’s pause,” a one-line “refrain” from a song.[617] Such practices prepared the way for the “Pentecostal movements . . . [that] put their own seal on such worship”[618] soon after the end of Roberts’ ministry. Roberts also encouraged people to pray the same words “over and over together, or every one separately, as [they were] inspired by the Holy Spirit.”[619] In many of his meetings in southern Wales “Mr. Roberts gradually ceased to speak at his own meetings. He [rather would] . . . sit silently in the pulpit and take no part—a spectacle rather than a prophet.”[620] “Evan Roberts accepted everything,” all the people who “acted strangely,” with the sole exception of “loud shrieking and wild gestures.”[621] “[E]ven in the most orderly meetings confusion reigns . . . Roberts generally preaches but little, sometimes not at all.”[622] “[H]ysteria [was] . . . a sign and proof of the apprehension of spiritual truths . . . [e]verything was in confusion, without order, without purpose, and often without decency,” despite the fact that “[w]e have no record that such physical results followed the preaching of our Lord or the ministry of the apostles.”[623] No one must “reduce the interruption[s],” and Roberts forbade his helpers from trying to do so, because “the Spirit’s prompting . . . must never be ignored or questioned.”[624] In fact, “[s]ometimes he threatened to leave a meeting if anyone tried to interfere in any shape or form.”[625] “One day he was in a chapel where ninety percent were English speaking, yet he refused to speak in English, not because he was unused to this but because ‘the Spirit has forbidden me,’”[626] the spirit world leading Roberts to speak in what was an unknown tongue to the overwhelming majority of his hearers, despite the Pauline prohibition on such action in 1 Corinthians 12-14. Answering criticism for downplaying preaching and the reading of the Word, Roberts answered: “Why should I teach when the Spirit is teaching?”[627] After all, “the wonderful eloquence displayed by unlettered persons in prayer and speaking” was “proof of direct Divine inspiration,”[628] was it not?

Although Scripture states that the knowledge of men’s hearts is restricted to the omniscient God (1 Kings 8:39), Roberts could see into men’s hearts and “discern souls in conflict,” so that although “some called it telepathy,” his supernatural powers were “accepted as one more sign that Evan Roberts was being led continually by the Spirit,”[629] and charges that “the revival depended on his hypnotic skills and magnetism”[630] were rejected. After all, “in the midst of another mass meeting in [a] 6,000 seat [auditorium], Evan detected that a hypnotist had entered the meeting and was trying secretly to control him. . . . [T]he man confessed to a theatre audience that this was the truth,”[631] so Roberts was not using hypnotism himself but had clear power from the spirit world. Roberts knew “when anyone g[ot] up unmoved by the Spirit”[632] in one of his meetings and could “see . . . insincerity and hypocrisy.”[633] He “kn[ew]” when “people . . . [were] prompted by false motives . . . in their prayers” and would consequently interrupt them and stop them from praying.[634] He recognized when people had been truly converted, so that at times he would announce that someone had “decided” for Christ and the person would then reveal himself; for example, “at Saron, Evan predicted a dozen individual decisions to turn to Christ,” and “[e]ach time someone surrendered,” validating “his strange new powers.”[635] He “displayed a remarkable gift of detecting those souls who were secretly trying to come to Jesus.”[636] In another meeting, “he began to cry out: ‘There is a soul lost because someone has been disobedient to the promptings of the Spirit. . . . Too late! Too late!’ . . . Oh! Dear people, it is too late! . . . [H]e explained that he was prohibited from praying for the soul that was lost.”[637] In a different meeting, at the “peak moment, Evan stopped the meeting and announced that there was someone in the congregation who wouldn’t speak to his brother. He called for that person to confess his sin, threatening him with divine judgment and ordering him to leave. Because no one admitted this fault, the people had to remain on their feet a very long time. . . . Some accepted this kind of rebuke from a man whom they took to be a prophet; others felt it was a mistaken act done by an overtired young man,”[638] since Roberts continued “months . . . of serial meetings, all-night sessions, and crises.”[639] Others called Roberts “an unbalanced crow stirrer, an exhibitionist, a hypnotist, and even an occultist . . . a prophet of Baal calling down false fire by his incantations.”[640] Roberts, however, had an answer for those who said he lacked sleep. Such a lack was not a problem for him. He said: “God has made me strong and manly. . . . My body is full of electricity day and night and I have no sleep before I am back in meetings again.”[641] For months, as the holiness revival progressed in 1904 and 1905, “he ate and slept little,”[642] getting “two or three hours of sleep each night,”[643] but the electricity that filled his body kept him going—at least until he experienced one his several serious nervous breakdowns.[644] In meetings he would often have “nervous collapses” from which, however, he would usually “recover suddenly”[645] and continue the meeting in most cases—at least until he came to the point in 1906 where he was “unable to stand or walk for almost a twelvemonth,” remaining in “convalescence” in the Penn-Lewis household.[646] In another meeting “he called to a man to confess his sin” and said, “The Spirit has given me that man’s name and age,” and this fact was, Roberts said, to lead those who were “skeptical of the reality of this manifestation” to have “no doubt about it.”[647] On a different occasion “Evan Roberts became visibly upset and started to threaten someone with divine punishment for ‘making a mockery of what was so divine . . . [m]ocking what has cost God his life-blood.’ . . . After carefully scanning the congregation, again he urged someone to ask for forgiveness and then declared that the meeting could not proceed until the obstacle had been removed. . . . The remonstration went on for another ten minutes, but no one owned up.”[648] Later in a meeting he “lay a limp, inert mass on the reading desk, with outstretched arms as if pleading. Suddenly he straightened up . . . pointed to the gallery and declared that some person there possessed a heart full of scorn, skepticism, and sarcasm. That was an obstacle to the path of the Spirit, and the cause must be removed. He tearfully appealed to him to repent or quit the building,” and “continue[d] to sob, with his face buried in his hands,” but “[n]o response was made from the gallery.”[649] He would “place his hand on his neck, as if pressing something down. There was a jerking back of the head . . . as in persons whose nervous systems are somewhat deranged. . . . [T]hese . . . tremors . . . [are] attribute[d] . . . to Divine influence.”[650] Roberts also had a time when he was told to “remain in the house for six days in a silence which had been commanded by the Spirit” and “cancelled all mission engagements,”[651] after a fashion similar to what had taken place with the prophet Ezekiel,[652] while on various occasions he would “walk out of meetings after five minutes because he claimed to have discovered [spiritual] obstacles there.”[653] Surely such actions, and such abilities to see men’s hearts, were evidence of the powerful supernatural forces that were at work in Evan Roberts.

While Baptist church membership, and that of old-school evangelicalism, began to decline after Evan Roberts finished his revivalistic course, Pentecostalism boomed, as Roberts’s influence had led many others in the holiness revival to have supernatural encounters with the spirit world similar to those he had experienced. “It is impossible, and would be historically incorrect, to dissociate the Pentecostal Movement from . . . the Welsh Revival [through which] . . . the spiritual soil was prepared . . . for [its] rise.”[654] Jessie Penn-Lewis wrote:

[T]he Pentecostal character of the Awakening in Wales is unmistakably clear . . . the wider fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy [in chapter two about signs and wonders through Spirit baptism] is at hand. Undoubtedly we are in a new era of the world’s history, when we may expect supernatural workings of God such as have not been known since the days of the primitive Church. . . . [B]y [receiving] a baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire, “signs and wonders” w[ill] follow.[655]

Not Roberts only, but very many saw visions and heard voices.[656] Prominent ministers and witnesses testified that Wales was seeing what “was spoken by the prophet Joel . . . the promise [is] now evidently fulfilled in Wales”: “If you ask for proof of that assertion, I point to the signs. ‘Your young men shall see visions!’ That is exactly what is happening. . . . It does not at all matter that some regular people are objecting to the irregular doings. . . . If you ask me the meaning of the Welsh revival, I say—IT IS PENTECOST CONTINUED, without one single moment’s doubt.”[657] Consequently, throughout the holiness revival of 1904-5 there were “many stories of aerial lights, aerial choirs, flashes and visions.”[658] “Dreams, religious and otherwise, were registered by the score.”[659] “During the Revival many persons vowed that they had heard voices in the air calling them by name and speaking to them in distinct tones and words.”[660] The multiplication of such marvels from the spirit world was natural, since “[v]isions were looked upon as the gift of the Holy Spirit, a mark of Divine favour, and one of the concomitants of true conversion,” and with the neglect of the Word of God “there were many who appeared to know more about their visions than about their Bible.”[661] Thus, “Miss Florie Evans,” Evan Roberts’s coworker, “could speak of visions and messages . . . [and] prophesied.”[662] The marvels attending Roberts made it clear that women were to preach and teach men:

The old objection of many of the Welsh Churches to the equal ministry of women has gone by the board. . . . Women pray, sing, testify, and speak as freely as men . . . the toppling of the hateful . . . ascendency of the male. . . . Paul, it is true . . . found it necessary, while addressing the Church of Corinth, to draw a very hard and fast line limiting the sphere of female activity . . . Christianity, however, is at last sloughing the Corinthian limitation[.] . . . The Quakers began the good work. . . . Now in South Wales we see the fruit of this devoted testimony . . . [i]n the present Revival women are everywhere to the fore, singing, testifying, praying, and preaching.[663]

Indeed, the visions were innumerable, but unlike Biblical visions, where God revealed real, specific, and knowable truth, the visions of the holiness revival either set forth all sorts of meaningless foolishness or specifically taught unbiblical errors. “[P]arishoners . . . heard bells chiming . . . a thunder clap followed by lovely singing in the air . . . [others heard] strange music, similar to that caused by the vibration of telegraph wires, only much louder. . . . The Vicar[664] of a parish . . . heard voices singing . . . [g]radually the voices seemed to increase in volume until they became overpowering. . . . It was as real to his senses as anything he ever heard and the words were distinct, in Welsh.”[665] A “young girl, 18 years of age” who was “almost illiterate” was supernaturally enabled to pray with “the most refined and literary sentiments, couched in admirable phraseology[,]” and her “changed appearance” was very striking, becoming “much more gentle. Her face, previously course, has now quite a refined appearance . . . [becoming] a Madonna-like face” as she also has gained “contact with . . . her mother, though she has been dead about 15 years. . . . [S]he seems to feel her mother’s unseen influence, certainly seeing and perhaps helping her in her difficulties.”[666] Another woman “heard the voice of her dead son, and [affirmed] that the conversations that had repeatedly passed between them were as real to her as those that had passed between them in the days of his flesh.”[667] A “young man . . . heard a voice speaking distinctly. The Spirit said (in Welsh)” a variety of things, including a command that “in the most public place” the young man was to deliver the message: “Tell them that hypocrisy is the worst sin against Me . . . [t]he Spirit,”[668] a message contradicting what Christ said was the worst sin against the Spirit, to blaspheme Him (Matthew 12:31; Mark 3:29-30; Luke 12:10).[669] The man also testified: “I had a vision . . . a beautiful light, pure, and brighter than any light I have ever seen, and clusters of something very soft and white falling upon me gently and covering me all over. I called them blessings.” He also had other “dreams,” although he said, “I doubted whether it was the Holy Spirit.”[670] The minister Joseph Jenkins was “clothed with strength from above, and he knew it,” receiving power from the spirit world, after “a strange blue flame took hold of him until he was almost completely covered. It rose . . . from the floor of the room and billowed up, encircling him. It retreated and returned a second time, and then retreated and returned again.”[671] People professed conversion and were led to become members of congregations because of the marvels they experienced. In a “Revival service” at “St. Mary the Virgin’s Church,” a “young man . . . saw a lighted candle emerge from the font [for administering infant baptism and, according to Anglican dogma, regenerating infants thereby] and the figure of an angel shielding it with his wing[672] from the draught that came from the open door. The flame was very small, and the least breath of wind would have extinguished it but for the protecting wing. Before the service was ended he gave his adhesion to the Church.” He testified: “I did not believe in Christ before [the vision] that He was our God and my Saviour. I had always denied Him, but never again, for I believed then [at the time of the vision].”[673] A woman who was hostile to the holiness revival, but whose husband was part of “the Church Army,” “began to feel very queer,” saw “the room” where she was become “all dark,” and “it seemed as if the room was full, or like a swarm of bees around [her, and she] heard some sound . . . like the buzzing of bees,” and then saw her “four children [who] had died in infancy . . . singing the hymn, ‘O Paradise,’” and then “saw the children again and Jesus Christ . . . [a]s natural as you see Him on a picture[674] . . . behind them, and the children said, ‘Crown Him, Mam,’[675] and they disappeared.” As a consequence she “has been quite a different woman and is present in all the services.”[676] A boy whose father was far away testified: “I distinctly saw my father in the [revival] service [in a vision]. He knelt alongside of me and looked at me with a pitiful face and said, ‘My dear boy, pray for me.’ . . . I had never taken religion very seriously before, but I do now.”[677] Another man’s testimony was noteworthy:

[He saw] a faint light playing over his head. As it came nearer it increased in size . . . he saw . . . a man’s body in a shining robe. The figure had wings . . . every feather in the wings . . . was heavenly beyond description. . . . [I]t did not touch the ground. He looked at the hand and saw the prints of the wounds . . . recognized Him as Jesus . . . [and] shouted—“O my Jesus,” and the figure ascended . . . on His wing . . . out of sight.[678] He felt filled with love, and from that time he can love every one without difference.[679]

A lady felt that she had been cut off from God until she saw a “vision of Christ in his kingly robes . . . that had set all right.”[680] At another meeting people were filled with “agony . . . men and women jumping in their seats . . . others testifying that they had received the Holy Spirit, and one person said, ‘Don’t try to understand this, but throw yourself into it. It surpasseth all understanding.’” Here a person who “did not believe much in the Revival” was “caught in his hat and began walking down the staircase, when he was instantaneously knocked (as it were) unconscious. He ran down the stair, and he then jumped five of the steps to the floor[.] . . . He looked like a madman . . . and shouted out, ‘Here is reality to-night.’ . . . [H]e ran into the chapel, and on by the pulpit. He jumped on top of a seat, and he threw his hat with all his might up towards the ceiling of the church, and with a loud voice” gave out his experience. “It is above all understanding,” he said. He remained partly unconscious for a fortnight . . . and he saw a vision of a place beautifully white, and a voice came to him that God would be his refuge and strength. . . . He was moved by the Spirit twice after this fortnight to unconsciousness. How he escaped from injury while jumping and passing across seats was marvellous . . . he received such physical strength that he thought he could move away a tremendous weight.”[681] Another man, at a holiness revival meeting, testified:

I had a thrill through my body, causing great pain. I cried bitterly; why, I don’t know. . . . [For a few days] I felt great pain, and . . . I lost all appetite for food. . . . [at a] prayer meeting . . . there was great agony through my body. Why, I know not. But it remained through the week. . . . I prayed unto God to forgive my sins and reveal unto me Himself. I don’t remember the prayer. I lost all consciousness that night. . . . I perspired very much, so that I thought that water had been thrown over me. . . . A voice told me that [a particular person was] in the meeting to-night by the door. And I said, ‘No, he is not here[.’] . . . Then the voice told me the second time exactly the same words, and I answered him back[.] . . . I was astonished when I found [out that the voice was] true. Had the voice only told me once, I would [not] have believed . . . but when I heard the voice the second time, I was surprised [and found out what it said was true]. . . . [M]y body lost all its pain on that Saturday night . . . [and] I am happier than ever[.][682]

By means of such visions, voices, excitements, and marvels—rather than by means of clear preaching of the gospel—vast numbers were professedly converted.[683]

The “subject which has perhaps caused more excitement in the public mind than any other feature of the Revival” were the “mysterious lights . . . associated with the name of Mrs. Jones of Islawrffordd,” a woman preacher and a “homely farmer’s wife”[684] in the holiness revival.[685] After reading “Sheldon’s book, In His Steps,”[686] and “being much moved by it . . . she began her ministry early in December 1904” as an “evangelist” among the “Calvinistic Methodists” and others, receiving confirmation of her call to a preaching ministry “after seeing a strange light on her way from Islaw’r Ffordd to Egryn chapel.”[687] She affirmed that she had seen “quickly vibrating lights, as though full of eyes. She had seen light hovering over some hilltops. The light . . . frequently accompanied her, leading the way as she went.”[688] Witnesses stated that she “is attended by lights of various kinds wherever she goes,” which were well attested and seen by a great number of people. These lights are “tokens of heavenly approval of Mrs. Jones and the Revival.” Indeed, “Mrs. Jones solemnly stated . . . that [the planet] Venus . . . was a new star, had only appeared since the Revival, and was situated a short distance above her house.” One man saw a mysterious light “from the beginning of the Revival [in his area] six weeks ago. Sometimes it appears like a motor-car lamp flashing and going out . . . other times like two lamps and tongues of fire all round . . . other times a quick flash and going out immediately, and when the fire goes out a vapour of smoke comes in its place; also a rainbow of vapour and a very bright star.” Lights were seen both by those professedly converted in the Revival and those who were not, “Chapel members and non-members alike.” Another entire family saw lights “hovering above a certain farmhouse . . . as three lamps about three yards apart, in the shape of a Prince of Wales’s feathers, very brilliant and dazzling, moving and jumping like a sea-wave . . . continu[ing] so for ten minutes.” Others, “a few minutes afte[r] Mrs. Jones . . . pass[ed], on the main road, . . . [saw] a brilliant light twice, tinged with blue.” A woman “saw two very bright lights . . . one a big white light, the other smaller and red in colour. The latter flashed backwards and forwards, and finally seemed to become merged in the other.” Another saw a large light “and in the middle of it something like [a] bottle or black person, also some little lights scattering around the large light in many colours. Last of all the whole thing came to a large piece of fog, out of sight.” Another person saw a “pillar of fire, quite perpendicular, about two feet wide and three yards in height.” Others saw “a cross and two other crosses [of light] . . . [t]he two crosses came nearer . . . and stood not far [away], and dozens of small balls of fire [were dancing back and fro behind the crosses . . . [while they] heard a voice singing.” A “medical man” saw “a globe of light about the size of a cheese plate, or nearly the apparent diameter of the moon, over the chapel where Mrs. Jones was that evening preaching. . . . Mrs. Jones . . . declared that she had also seen it, but from within the chapel.” At another meeting where “Mrs. Jones” was preaching and many were “very much affected . . . religious fervour was intense and the service lasted until 1 a. m.,” people present saw “a ball of light about the size of the moon,” with a “slight mist over it. The stars began to shoot out around it, [and] the light rose higher and grew brighter but smaller.” Others saw a “block of fire” rising “from the mountain side and moving along for about 200 or 300 yards. It went upwards, a star” then “shot out to meet it, and they clapped together and formed into a ball of fire,” the appearance changing into “something like the helm of a ship.” Others present saw “a ball of fire, white, silvery, vibrating, stationary.” From the ball “two streamers of gray mist [were] emanating . . . in the space between them a number of stars.” A “meeting of the Salvation Army” in the same location was visited by “a black cloud from which emerged first a white light, then a yellow, and finally a brilliantly red triangle.”[689] Evan Roberts was very far from the only one experiencing marvels in the Welsh holiness revival. Indeed, “the revival in Wales under Evan Roberts” not only “produced [these] psychological and physical abnormalities” among others in Wales, but “sparked them also in other countries (California, Norway, Denmark, Hesse, Silesia),” leading to “speaking in tongues and similar phenomena as a renewal of the gifts of Pentecost and powerful evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit” that produced the Pentecostal and charismatic movement.[690] While such “tokens of heavenly approval” of women preachers “and the Revival” are radically different in character than Biblical miracles, possessing far greater similarity to pagan marvels and the marvels of medieval Romanism, they certainly proved that the religious excitement was not merely the work of men, but that the spirit world was powerfully at work in the Welsh holiness revival.

            It was important for Roberts to have supernatural abilities to discern true and false conversion, since the methodology he employed in the Welsh holiness revival to produce regeneration was not, as in the Bible, bold, powerful, and clear preaching of the gospel (Romans 10:17; 1 Peter 1:23-25), but getting people to stand up.[691] Those who stood up were assumed to have been converted. Roberts would “walk up and down the isles,” look at specific people, and ask them, “Are you ready to stand up now and confess Christ?”[692] People would think, “Why can’t I? I am religious!” and then “stand up to confess” when Roberts asked them to.[693] Roberts would, at times, call on “[a]ll who love Jesus to stand,” as well as “all church members” and “[a]ll who love Christ more than anything else,”[694] and was able to get great crowds to stand up in this way.[695] In an atmosphere charged with extreme emotion, but little careful preaching, Roberts called on unsaved people to stand,” and then “men” would “rise up and confes[s] Christ.”[696] “[A]midst prayers and exhortations in Welsh and English,” people “rose one by one” and were assumed to be converted because they did so, while the “press circulated stories about Evan Roberts’s irreverence, hysteria, mesmerism, and improper pressures upon impressionable females.”[697] Roberts’ coworkers described scenes of “feverish emotionalism” where “the air was electrical” as “young men, nerved by the sympathetic atmosphere . . . r[ose], from floor and gallery [of a chapel meeting house, and] followed the formula set by the first, ‘I get up to confess Christ.’”[698] Large groups would go to the front of church buildings, and, in the words of one of Roberts’ converts, be “asked . . . to confess Jesus Christ as our Saviour. . . . I did not understand it . . . [t]he thing was entirely new to me . . . but I accepted everything from him because I looked up to him . . . [by this confession] we had an interest in heaven.”[699] If not enough people stood up, Roberts would ask again. For example, “at the meeting in Van Road, Caerphilly . . . Evan asked, ‘Will everyone who will confess Christ rise?’ When only forty responded, Evan professed to be astonished. ‘What! Is this the number?’ he cried. . . . So the people were challenged again. They realized that they had not come to be entertained but to ‘show their side.’”[700] Sometimes, however, getting up one time would not work, and one would need to stand up more than once to go to heaven; for example, one man stood up twice because a spirit being told him in a vision that he had lost his salvation. “I could stand up to confess since I had been faithful to all the chapel meetings and was morally upright . . . I did stand up to confess Christ . . . [but a few days later] I saw . . . I felt Jesus coming to me and I was going to him . . . and as He came towards me—He was on the cross—He moved His hand and pushed me away. ‘If God has deserted me,’ [I thought], ‘only a lost state awaits me.’” The man therefore “stood up” again and said, “Dear friends, God has departed from me; I have no hope; only total loss awaits me; pray for me.” People responded, “[I]f you are lost, where are we others?”[701] At another meeting, Roberts exercised his supernatural powers to predict that “everybody present in that meeting was going to ‘come to Christ’ that day,”[702] indicating that all present, including ministers and Roberts himself, were unconverted and were going to be saved that day by standing up, or that equating standing up with conversion produces incredible confusion and many false professions—unless the prophecy was to be taken allegorically. However, at the end of the day, “all . . . had stood up to declare themselves followers of Christ,”[703] so it appears that Roberts’ prophecy was not simply an allegory. A very sympathetic eyewitness described Roberts’ procedure of producing conversions by putting pressure on people to stand up:

Mr. Evan Roberts, toward the close of the meeting, asks all who from their hearts believe and confess their Saviour to rise. At the meetings at which I was present nearly everybody was standing. Then for the sitting remnant the storm of prayer rises to the mercy seat. When one after another rises to his feet, glad strains of jubilant song burst from the watching multitude.[704]

Since getting people to stand up, repeating such calls to stand when not enough do so, putting pressure on the unconverted to stand up by having everyone watch them, and getting people to think that all who do not stand at Mr. Roberts’s call are at that instant claiming to be openly and actively against Christ, is radically different from Biblical evangelistic methodology and a horrible recipe for producing spurious salvation decisions—and it was even immediately apparent that often people would stand and “confess Chris[t] to escape notice” that would come on them were they to stay seated[705]—one must be a firm believer in Evan Roberts’s supernatural powers to accept the validity of such a procedure. Only the authority of the marvels surrounding Roberts’s work could validate what would otherwise be a very clearly anti-supernatural, fleshly, and devilish rejection of truly supernatural regeneration for the natural work of arising from a chair. For unless Roberts could do what no other man could, and see into everyone else’s heart, the overwhelming majority of people whom he deceived into thinking that standing up is a sure sign of supernatural conversion and the new birth were in fearful danger of remaining unconverted, being deceived, and being eternally damned, while churches would end up filled with religious but unregenerate people, to the destruction of Christianity and the glory of the devil. Supernatural conversion by the miraculous power of the Spirit through the preached Word would be replaced with supernatural marvels performed by Evan Roberts and a merely natural outward response erroneously equated with regeneration.

Roberts, however, was able to use his supernatural powers to detect when people stood up but were not born again on that account.

[On] one occasion Roberts refused to leave the building, when the service had been declared closed by the ministers, because he said that one man in an indicated gallery, a Welshman, he was certain had not confessed Christ as he ought to have done. The minister in charge of that gallery “tested” the people and reported that every one had confessed Christ. Roberts was not satisfied: six times was the appeal made during the next 25 minutes and not until the sixth test did a man come forward and admit that he had not been sincere in professing as a convert with the rest. Roberts directed the minister to speak to the man, and after a short talk he too gave in.[706]

In such a manner, false professions apparently could be avoided. Furthermore, visions from the spirit world confirmed that people had indeed been truly saved through the ministry of Evan Roberts. A man who became an evangelist after professing conversion through Roberts’s ministry recounted that he had felt “petrified . . . tossed about . . . puzzled . . . crushed . . . disturbed . . . and . . . mobbed,” but then saw “a panoramic vision of Jesus moving through a crowd and a blind, beseeching beggar, whom he recognized as himself, pleading, ‘Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.’” The man related, “A sweet voice spoke within my spirit so clearly, unmistakably, [and] audibly, that the voices of all creation could never succeed in drowning its message: ‘Be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee.’ Heaven came into my heart that very moment.”[707] Ministers also claimed to be converted because of visions. For instance, an elder testified: “I was led up to the great white throne, where the Father was seated in his eternal glory. The Holy Spirit came to me and dressed me in the Son’s righteousness. When He had clothed me in white raiment He introduced me to the Father. ‘Here he is for you,’ said He to the Father, ‘what do you think of him in the Son’s righteousness?’ . . . Thanks be to Him!”[708] While in Scripture people are not converted because they see visions telling them they have been saved, and in previous works of genuine revival concluding one was converted because of visions of such a kind was plainly warned against as soul-damning error,[709] under Evan Roberts such work was set forth as evidence that the spirit world was accomplishing its ends and many were being truly born again. Indeed, even the widespread circulation of the idea that 100,000 people were converted in the Welsh holiness revival was a product of a “mystical experience” of Evan Roberts where he “receive[d] from God a piece of paper on which the figure 100,000 was written—giving rise later to the belief that 100,000 would be converted during the revival.”[710] “Evan Roberts had asked the Lord for 100,000 for Jesus Christ, and . . . he had actually seen Jesus presenting a cheque to His Father, and on it the figure ‘100,000.’”[711] One who accepts Roberts’ prophetic status would be quite correct in promulgating this figure, while those who believe that the Apostles and prophets were the foundation of the church (Ephesians 2:20), and, in consequence, their offices have ceased, would want far better evidence for 100,000 people being regenerated than a vision of Evan Roberts—evidence which is, however, lacking.[712] Roberts himself, because of the lack of evidence of the new birth in many, eventually “saw that [many] had been touched emotionally but not truly convicted and converted during [many of his] revival meetings.”[713] He “lived to see many of his converts, some of them the most striking among the records of the Revival, go back, tired of their new home,” to the world, the flesh, and the devil.[714] However, this recognition came too late and did not affect the fundamental errors in his methodology during the holiness revival, as throughout he continued to employ techniques that were certain to produce many false professions. Consequently, “Evan Roberts grew more and more discouraged as he saw some groups of converts following after cults in which they barked at the devil, danced and swooned, or followed healers and prophetesses,”[715] and critics of Roberts affirmed that he erred greatly in “assuming that remorse and confession were the same as true regeneration” as it “became sadly evident that the Spirit of God had been quenched.”[716] Roberts’ practices contributed to laxity in guarding the membership of Calvinistic Methodist assemblies and other denominations influenced by his ministry, thus filling them with unregenerate members[717] and ministers. Indeed, Roberts did not merely confuse regeneration and Spirit-produced repentance and faith in the crucified Christ with an outward response in his methodology, but his message itself was confusing enough that it could well be considered—by those who rejected his prophetic status and went by Scripture alone—a very unclear gospel. Evan Roberts did not regularly preach with any kind of careful clarity the gospel of salvation for totally depraved sinners based on the substitutionary death of the crucified and resurrected Christ and applied through regeneration to sinners who, in supernaturally produced repentant faith, looked away from themselves to Him for redemption (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; John 3:1-21). Instead, Roberts taught that the unregenerate must both sympathize with and love Christ before they can come to Him for salvation, thus denying the Biblical depravity of man (Romans 3:11) and affirming Pelagianism.[718] It is not at all surprising that Roberts “did not at any time emphasize the necessity for the creation of a new will in and by the power of Christ.”[719] On the contrary, he commanded: “[Y]ou need to turn that sympathy . . . I know you . . . listeners [already have] . . . into a flame of love before you can embrace Him as Saviour.”[720]   Furthermore, he taught: “Christ . . . has a rope of three strands. First ask him to take you as you are. Then ask Him to forgive your sins. Then ask Him for strength for the future. This three-stranded rope of salvation is enough for the present, the past, and the future salvation of every sinner.”[721] Along these lines, Roberts counseled his helpers to find people who needed to stand up to be saved, and act as follows: “Put one hand on their shoulder, and the other hand in their hand. Ask them to pray God to forgive their sins for Jesus Christ’s sake. Then ask them, do they believe in God; and if they will say they do, ask them to thank God for that.”[722] However, the Biblical response to the gospel is not “ask,” but “believe,”[723] and belief in “God” is not enough (James 2:19); one must be supernaturally enabled to rest upon the crucified Christ and His substitutionary atonement (cf. John 3:1-21). Worst of all, Roberts’s salvation message was summarized by those who heard him as: “He says that if we would have Jesus save us, we must save ourselves first. He says that we must do all that we know is right, first. He says that we must leave off the drink and all that is bad; he says that we must pray and we must work, we must work hard. He says if Jesus Christ is to save us we must work along with Him, side by side, or, he says, the saving will never be done.”[724] The Welsh revivalism under Evan Roberts “is of a social and altruistic nature, and . . . differs from those [revivals] which have preceded it whe[re] the doctrine was one almost exclusively of faith rather than works.”[725] Jessie Penn-Lewis recounted:

Mr. Roberts would “test” the meeting, and put to it the four definite steps necessary to salvation . . . (1.) The past must be made clear by sin being confessed to God, and every wrong to man put right. (2.) Every doubtful thing in the life must be put away. (3.) Prompt and implicit obedience to the Holy Ghost. (4.) Public confession of Christ. Forgiveness of others as an essential to receiving the forgiveness of God was often emphasized, as well as the distinction between the Holy Spirit’s work in conversion, and in baptizing the believer with the Holy Ghost . . . the full Gospel as preached at Pentecost.[726]

Nevertheless, despite radical discontinuity between Roberts’s message and the Biblical gospel of free grace in Christ, by equating with the new birth people abandoning a sitting position to assume a standing one, and changing the preaching of repentance and faith to the spiritually dead to calling on unsaved men who somehow allegedly love Christ to ask Him to help them have strength for the future, work hard, and then receive forgiveness, “hundreds of souls would rise”[727] to receive salvation by standing up and be counted as converts every night.[728] In a poor meeting, “only 760 decisions had been recorded”[729]—in better ones, many, many more. Furthermore, believers did not obtain assurance of salvation by looking to Christ and also by seeing in the reflex act of faith[730] the evidences of regeneration recorded in 1 John; rather, the doctrine of Roberts and his followers was, “Believe you are saved, and then confess it” to obtain “assurance of faith.”[731] Nobody who does not possess the ability to see people’s hearts can rightly conclude that people standing up is the same thing as the supernatural production of repentance and faith within a dead sinner’s heart by the Spirit of God, enabling a sinner to spiritually come to the Lord Jesus Christ and trust in His work on the cross for justification, a new heart, and eternal life. Furthermore, Biblical assurance is not obtained by simply convincing oneself that he is saved and then saying to others that he is. Consequently, the practice of equating people standing up with conversion will produce horrific numbers of false professions and spurious conversion decisions when practiced by anyone who does not have the kind of insight into the heart claimed by Evan Roberts.

Evan Roberts believed and taught many other ideas denied in or absent from the Bible. Following, Boardman, Murray, and many other Keswick leaders and exponents, Roberts taught that believers could escape physical death and become immune to disease by faith. The “missionary who is in a district where there is malarial fever . . . becomes immune by recognizing that he must not be a victim to the enemy—death. . . . He goes into the midst of it, but in faith it cannot touch him.”[732]  While living with the Penn-Lewis household, Jessie and Evan practiced “binding Satan,”[733] while “Evan Roberts . . . spent about eighteen sleepless hours a day in prayer.”[734]  Mr. Roberts’s “prayers,” out of which were birthed the book The War On The Saints, “were Divinely inspired.”[735] The doctrines in War on the Saints show how a believer who has experienced post-conversion Spirit baptism “can have the authority to bind Satan,” and even “co-work with God in the last defeat of Satan and all his hosts.”[736] Thus, after Evan Roberts and Jessie Penn-Lewis had, they affirmed, bound Satan, and while practicing Throne Life prayer and experiencing a great mystic Higher Life, as Evan Roberts allegedly “entered into the sufferings of the Saviour/High Priest” and thus obtained a “position” from “which he could intercede continually for Christ’s servants and witnesses who were exposed to deception,”[737] Roberts received in a vision “the Translation Message given in October, 1913,”[738] in which he predicted “The Coming of Christ . . . the descent of the Lord to meet His Bride . . . the great procession of the King Bridegroom, the Son of the Most High, the Lord of Hosts . . . in 1914,”[739] after hearing Penn-Lewis preach that Revelation 12:4 was about “Satan’s all-out attack on the ‘Man-Child Church,’ which would occur just before Christ’s coming to rapture His people away from this last warfare.”[740] Or, more accurately, according to Jessie Penn-Lewis, Evan Roberts, Otto Stockmeyer, and other Keswick leaders, the Rapture would be partial, taking away only those who have taken the third step of conquering death by faith—those who only believed in justification by faith, and then sanctification by a special post-conversion act of faith, would be left behind, the Rapture only taking the “‘man-child’ born of the church”:

By the simple expectation that the Lord may come any day to take away the Church, whether ready or unready, we shall never come to be translated. That is not the way. Justification is by faith, and is received by faith; sanctification is by faith, and is received by faith; and equally TRANSLATION CAN BE OBTAINED BY FAITH. Believe then . . . [that] Christ . . . is able, by the Spirit, to form a group of those to whom the Lord can manifest His salvation, full and entire, and whom He may take away before others, without dying, to His throne.[741]

After all, at the heart of the Keswick theology is the idea the blessings of Christ’s death are inactive until they are especially appropriated by a distinct act of faith—so since “all the fruits of the sufferings of Christ ought to be obtained by faith,” the believer who has entered into the Highest Life of the Higher Life rises up and is “CONQUERING DEATH BY FAITH,” guaranteed not to suffer physical death but to be Raptured by a specific act of faith to that end.[742] Only when, being already justified, one exercises a specific act of faith to activate sanctification does one receive this second blessing—to affirm otherwise is to return to the despised orthodox, non-Higher Life doctrine—and in exactly the same fashion, one will not partake of the Rapture without a specific, post-sanctification act of faith toward that end. God is so unable to Rapture those who do not specifically exercise faith to that end that even after the first group is taken away, subsequently other little groups will go up during the Tribulation period as they finally enter into the Translation plane of the Throne Life. That is, at the Rapture those with the Highest Life will rise “in the air just above our planet,” where they will be judged while the Tribulation proceeded on earth. Those believers who were left behind will “ascend to Him” in little “after companies” as they finally grasped, as the Tribulation period went on, the truths taught in the inspired writings of Mrs. Penn-Lewis, and were purified enough to ascend to join their brethren in the air above the planet. A group would go here, and a group there; the “Parousia of Christ means His Presence in the air just above our planet, where His saints will gather unto Him,” as “in successive Translations during the period of Tribulation on earth which will culminate in Armageddon.”[743] As people enter into the Throne Life, “[f]rom time to time various companies of saints who were not ready for the first Rapture [will] disappear from the earth and join their fellows.”[744] Since it was essential to have the Translation Faith truths taught by Mrs. Penn-Lewis to be Raptured, and nobody could discover these truths simply by reading the Bible, Mrs. Penn-Lewis wrote an article describing how one was to enter into the blessing of Translation faith: “How to get it, use it, and keep it,” so that people do not fall back to the lower plain of the Christians who miss the Rapture.[745] It was also essential to note that the Translation Message was for those “who understood that, like Enoch,” Evan Roberts “walked daily with God,”[746] and them only. People like Jessie Penn-Lewis and other followers of the Higher Life “find the witness in their own spirit” to Evan Roberts’s prophecy, so that “they believe his message.”[747] When “his family [did] not believe his present messages,” he “did not want to meet [them] anymore,” and so he “rejected every attempt by [his] family” at restoration, recognizing that his “special vision and . . . burden message”[748] required “the absolute isolation of his spirit from those who do not believe his testimony.”[749] He refused “to meet or correspond with his closest relatives,” and when “his father went up to see him . . . Evan . . . would not talk.”[750] His “family [was] shown the door” so that he could, every moment, give himself to prayer.[751] He persisted in this rejection of his family to the extent that he did not even attend his mother’s funeral.[752] Recognizing the truth of the end of the world in 1914, Roberts and Penn-Lewis ceased to publish the Overcomer magazine in that year—there would be no more need of it once the return of Christ took place;[753] as Roberts and Penn-Lewis knew from the spirit world, “the End-Age of the Son of Man was dawning,”[754] and The Overcomer would no longer be necessary, for as Evan Roberts prophesied, “Translation is at hand! We know in the spirit that our ministration to the Church is ended! . . . WE AWAIT TRANSLATION.”[755] However, a permanent literature trust was set up, as Mrs. Penn-Lewis’s writings would be “needed by others after the departure of the watching believers,” that is, those Christians who missed the partial Rapture would need her works to find out what went wrong.[756] Penn-Lewis, Roberts, and others “were all in high spirits . . . and decided to celebrate the end of the spiritual warfare[.] . . . All went out in raincoats and galoshes to the rocks where Mrs. Penn-Lewis dashed a bottle of eau-de-cologne on the rock, saying, ‘In the Name of the Triune God I dash this bottle against the rocks in honour of the finished warfare with the Prince of Death.’”[757] The groundwork for the Translation message had been prepared for some time; in 1902 Mrs. Penn-Lewis had written Studies in Job, which described “the mystery of the suffering which will be a message for the church in its final stages on the eve of the ‘Translation.’”[758] Evan Roberts then received “a revelation by the Holy Spirit of . . . our Lord[’s] coming . . . in our life-time . . . the ‘translation’ . . . is at hand.”[759] Furthermore, “the Revival which broke out in Wales in 1904 had a dispensational significance, and was actually, speaking in a general sense, the beginning of the period in which God set His Hand to close up the Christian dispensation,” as the “issue of War On The Saints had a [similar] dispensational significance [which] can be seen if it be considered in relation to the Welsh Revival . . . because of the ‘Time of the End,’ in which it appeared,” namely, the few years before the end of the world which was to take place in 1914.[760] The “latter rain” spoken of by Joel, both Penn-Lewis and Pentecostalism knew, was not actually a prophecy about rain, as the context of Joel 2:23 would indicate, but an allegory about the Holy Spirit being poured out;[761] “the Revival in Wales” was the “beginning of the ‘latter rain’ which [would] prepare the Church of God for the Lord’s appearing.”[762] War on the Saints was written so that the Church could make the second coming of Christ take place, as Christian overcomers learned to bind the devil and “drive the forces of Satan from their place in the heavenlies” by warfare prayer, “making way for the Church to ascend to her place of triumph with the Lord. . . . The . . . greatest, ultimate result of the operation of the truths concerning the deceptive workings of Satan and the way of victory [brought to light in War on the Saints], is in connection with the dispensational position of the Church, in view of the closing days of the age, and the Millennial Appearing of the Ascended Lord.”[763] “The dispensational significance of the Revival in 1904 meant . . . the beginning of the decade allotted by God for the awakening, maturing and preparation of those who belonged to the Body of Christ—all in view of ultimate Translation . . . [and] the Coming Reign of Christ” ten years[764] after the 1904 Welsh holiness revival.[765] The fact that the “Translation” of the overcomers in the church to heaven was coming was evident because of signs: “The week of the Advent Message witnessed such events in the world that it was called the ‘Black Week,’” for that week “the following were some of the notable disasters which occurred. In Wales the Senhenydd Colliery disaster; the collapse of a Zeppelin in the North Sea; the burning of a liner in mid-ocean; the wreck of an express in Liverpool; a railway accident in London; and in Russia so many railway disasters that a special commission of enquiry was appointed—all occurring within the one week.”[766] Such were evident signs that the period of “fiery tribulation” had come and of the end of the world in 1914.[767] The Overcomer magazine “picked up its readers in 1909, drawing out, as with a magnet, from the midst of others, those who knew in any degree the two-fold message of the Cross, as taught in Romans vi., and then led them on, line upon line, precept upon precept, through the earlier stages of the Baptism of the Spirit, the experimental pathway of death with Christ, the life joined in spirit with Christ in God, and the war in the heavenlies, depicted in Ephesians vi. The culmination was reached in 1913 in the Translation message, which in 1914 has been amplified more in detail concerning experimental preparation for the imminent Coming of the Lord. . . . [T]he paper has been a Testimony committed to certain members of the Body of Christ, to declare to other members of the Body, for the specific leading of them on in the deep things of God in preparation for their reigning with Christ,” so that those who “were among the most spiritual of the Church six years ago, and . . . were then able to recognize the truths set forth as of God” in the paper, were by 1914 fully equipped by it for the reign of Christ which was to come in that year.[768] Indeed, at times even an exact day was pointed out. On April 16, 1914, Evan Roberts “entered the breakfast room dressed in his going-out suit. When he came back he told [all those present], ‘The Translation is very near. Prepare!’” All present “got tickets to mark everything and . . . went to [their] rooms to put all straight.”[769] However, the world did not end, neither on that day, nor in that year. Such a false prophecy (cf. Deuteronomy 18:20-22), however, was not really a false prophecy, nor were Roberts and Penn-Lewis false prophets for making, endorsing, promulgating, and defending it—on the contrary, it was evident—at least ex post facto—that the sin was not in Roberts and Penn-Lewis, but in the universal church. While at first this explanation for failure was not clear, since in late 1915 Penn-Lewis was still “striving ‘to hold fast the ‘Translation Faith’ . . . thinking of how near . . . was the ‘heavenly call,’”[770] it finally became apparent that the abysmal failure of the prophecy—which had been widely proclaimed in the secular press[771]—was not because of the sins of those who had made and propagated it. “[T]he delay factor [was] caused by lack of full spiritual unity,” Roberts and Penn-Lewis taught—“Divisions must cease, disunity must be confessed, hasty judgments must be canceled, warnings against each other destroyed, certain books withdrawn, and tears of repentance shed”[772] by others—though not, it appears, by them for their false prediction. In fact, part of the reason for the failure of Christ to return in 1914 was criticism of Evan Roberts for making such a prophecy.[773] Had the false prophecy been received rather than rejected, it would have come to pass. While it was therefore evident that those who rejected the supernatural visitations of Roberts and Penn-Lewis were the real problem, around this time there arose “deep depression in Evan’s spirit and new forms of pain in Jessie’s body,” and not only did publication of The Overcomer cease, but “the prayer watch was . . . moved elsewhere, and the book production slowed down and suspended.”[774] The Overcomer magazine did not return until 1920,[775] by which time, it seems, the fallout from Roberts’s and Penn-Lewis’s blatantly false prophecy had been mitigated.

Roberts’s “claims to special insights and divine orders and supernatural visitations” led critics to say that his “overheated imagination . . . [was] a fatal blow to real . . . religious movements,”[776] but the critics surely were not correct, although after Roberts’ ministry had run its course, in the areas where he had preached “the revival disappeared, and [Roberts’ work] has made those valleys in Wales almost inaccessible to any further divine intervention.”[777] “Many . . . voiced criticism of the revival for its failure to achieve any long-lasting results,”[778] and Roberts himself, some time later, “explained [as] tragic errors” a variety of his supernatural declarations, affirming that they were “evidence of Satan’s power to exercise control . . . by entering into the heart, influencing the mind, and troubling the spirit,”[779] so Evan Roberts himself affirmed that Satan had entered his heart, and affected his mind and spirit, in the Welsh holiness revival.[780] “Roberts later became very critical of the revival for its emphasis on emotional excess and what he saw as the influence of demonic powers.”[781] He declared: “[D]uring the revival in Wales, I, in my ignorance, did not escape the wiles of the enemy.”[782] Indeed, Evan Roberts confessed that he had not “escaped the wiles . . . [of] the arch-fiend,” but had “deep, varied, and awful experiences of the invisible powers of darkness.”[783] “In “later years . . . he . . . would question whether it was the Holy Spirit who commanded these things,”[784] and “he confessed to a fear that he had been tricked by Satan.”[785] In fact, he came to see that many of the “visions and voices he had known and all the examples of his strange power to look into people’s thoughts and feelings” were “proof that he . . . had been deceived” during the Welsh holiness revival, and he recognized that in important aspects of his holiness revival message also “he had been deceived by the father of lies,”[786] although not all of his encounters with spirits were evil, to be sure—only some of them were, and the “antidote to deception” was not sola Scriptura and cessationism, but the doctrine of the Cross that Jessie Penn-Lewis had herself learned by a vision in accordance with her belief in the Quaker Inner Light.[787] However, Roberts acknowledged that “he began to find it hard to distinguish Satanic suggestions from the Spirit’s promptings, and even harder to discern which ‘voices’ were only echoes of desires within his own mind.” He “could not always see when his visions and voices were . . . spiritual” and when they were not, saw that he needed help so that he could get to the place where he could “differentiate [the] voice [of the] Lord . . . from the cunning of the Evil One,”[788] and even “told . . . [an assembly of] students that he was not even sure whether the Spirit suggested things or actually spoke,”[789] although another time he contradicted himself and said: “I am as certain that the Spirit has spoken to me as I am of my own existence,” as he was “[a]t the time . . . hearing this actualized voice” as he was “heading for a bout of nervous prostration and depression and perplexity.”[790] Sometimes a spirit would speak to Evan in Welsh, sometimes in English, and sometimes in both.[791] He had such close connections with the spirit world that “a voice” even told him things as small as to “draw a fourth line” underneath a word he had underlined three times or to command: “[R]ise from your bed.”[792] A “voice” led Evan on the “journey which ended in a full acceptance of the doctrine of identification with the Crucified One”[793] learned by vision and then preached by Jessie Penn-Lewis. In any case, although Satan had entered his heart, many of Roberts’ visions “were truly inspired,” and these marvels validated that the statements in Joel 2:28-32 and Acts 2:17-21 about visions were being fulfilled in Wales,[794] as, after all, Roman Catholic “monks” and “Welsh heroes” had experienced similar supernatural guidance.[795] Since only some of his supernatural encounters were Satanic, when Roberts emerged briefly from two decades of seclusion in the Penn-Lewis household in the “Little Revival” of 1928-1930, which was “short-lived” and restricted to “the faithful ones in and near Gorseinon and Loughor” rather than being “a national awakening,”[796] he again employed his powers of seeing people’s hearts, and also was involved in “healings, exorcisms, and . . . prophesyings,” since all such “gifts of the Spirit were scriptural” for the present day, a view he had held since at least the time of the 1904 Welsh holiness revival on.[797] “It was hardly surprising that some thought that Evan Roberts had become an Apostolic or Pentecosta[l].”[798] However, it was “an unpleasant shock for” Roberts to discover that already in “1931” there were “few signs of the [1928-1930] revival’s lasting influence.”[799] “One year later he went into final retirement and vanished into the shadows of history,”[800] becoming “almost a forgotten man.”[801] Many considered his lack of attendance at prayer meetings and other church events in favor of discussions among poets and attendance at “theatres” a “proof of serious backsliding.”[802] Roberts “abandoned his rigorist ethics, went to football matches and smoked a pipe.”[803] In 1942, advising David Shepherd in a letter, Roberts “said nothing at all about praying” and wrote: “The only word I would have you receive from me is, ‘Use your commonsense. Revelation tends to undermine it. Harness your intellectual powers and drive hard.’” This advice was very “unlike the man who saw visions . . . and even more unlike the great intercessor and valued adviser of The Overcomer period. Surely some kind of personal declension had overtaken him.”[804] He lived a reclusive life in his old age, living off from the gifts of “Welsh friends . . . which supplemented his pension and the quarterly allowance from the Aged and Infirm Fund.”[805] He “show[ed] little enthusiasm . . when people began to talk about a fortieth year anniversary meeting of the revival . . . [in] 1944 . . . and he finally sent his excuses.”[806] After leaving the home of Jessie Penn-Lewis, he “spent most of the rest of his life in lodges in Cardiff. Although initially dedicating himself to a ministry of intercessory prayer,” he evidenced growing “dissatisfaction as he grew older. Notebooks in which he wrote during the last decade of his life reveal him as a lonely and somewhat bitter figure and are . . . almost totally devoid of religious zeal. Witness the following verse, written in English and dated 1 December 1944:

I’ve changed, I doubt it not, I’ve changed a lot,

I know I feel a change as great as odd,

To think I have come home and am forgot

As much by kin as I have been by God.[807]

He died in a Cardiff nursing home on 29 January 1951.”[808] Roberts’ final testimony was, sadly, far more like that of Demas (2 Timothy 4:10),[809] and like those who confused standing up with conversion and regeneration in Roberts’ holiness revival meetings, than that of the Apostle Paul: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

While Roberts’ testimony of the new birth is far from certain, he affirmed that during his work in the holiness revival Satan had entered his heart, and he died with scarcely a glimmer of Christian piety, throughout the Welsh holiness revival Roberts’ “spiritual input” was “through ministering the gifts of the Spirit,” leading Welsh Christendom to a “new respect for the possibilities of supernatural happenings, such as visions, guidances, and discerning of spirits . . . prophesyings and healings,” releasing “vital forces into chapels and churches of his day,” which were spread to “revival converts” and then “all over the world through the literature and conferences of The Overcomers,” so that “charismatic and other fellowships . . . have inherited his teaching.”[810] “Amongst the ‘children of the revival’ . . . from Wales speaking in tongues became very prominent in the early days of the Pentecostal movement,”[811] so that through them Pentecostalism spread all over Wales.[812]  The practices of Evan Roberts, and those influenced by him in the Welsh holiness revival, were almost identical with those of Pentecostalism. Higher Life leaders recognized that a “similar gracious work of the Spirit to that in Wales is in progress [in Los Angeles at Azuza Street],”[813] since “the Welsh revival . . . served as an inspiration and model for the Pentecostal revival.”[814] The only significant difference was that Roberts was a passionate continuationist who prepared the way for the restoration[815] of ecstatic jibber-jabber, but had not personally added that particular marvel to his roster, while the Pentecostals took over the marvels and continuationism of Roberts and added a gift of babbling to them. As Roberts’s revival was, so the Pentecostal Azuza Street revival was anti-doctrinal, anti-creedal, and ecumenical.[816] Both works were filled with marvels of healing of the Faith Cure variety,[817] visions of and encounters with what were affirmed to be the Lord Jesus, Satan, and other supernatural beings,[818] and supernatural lights.[819] Both works were characterized by disorganized meetings that went on for hours and hours and were led by supernatural powers, with total spontaneity as to what took place,[820] rather than organized meetings directed by preachers or other church officials,[821] people falling to the ground as “slain by the Spirit,”[822] a heavy emphasis upon testimonial as a validation of their work and a corresponding absence of careful exposition of Scripture,[823] predominant support from those not well-grounded in Scripture and opposition from church leadership,[824] a rejection of grammatical-historical interpretation of Scripture for experience-based interpretation and a downplaying of doctrine,[825] prophetic exhortations delivered not by men only, but also women and children, to the entire congregation,[826] and little preaching[827] or no preaching at all.[828] The sole difference of note in Pentecostalism was an increased amount of babbling,[829] the spawn of the spirits that produced identical babbling in many pagan religions as a result of demon possession.[830] A description of a meeting at Azuza Street, and one where Evan Roberts ministered marvel-working power, is almost identical. The following eyewitness description of the Pentecostal Azuza Street Mission could, with a change of a few minor details and with the removal of the specific added marvel of babbling as an alleged restoration of Biblical tongues, be a description of many a meeting with Evan Roberts:

Breathing strange utterances and mouthing a creed which it would seem no sane mortal could understand, the newest religious sect has started in Los Angeles. Meetings are held in a tumble-down shack on Azuza Street . . . and devotees of the weird doctrine practice the most fanatical rites, preach the wildest theories and work themselves into a state of mad excitement in their peculiar zeal. Colored people and a sprinkling of whites compose the congregation, and night is made hideous in the neighborhood by the howlings of the worshippers who spend hours swaying forth and back in a nerve-[w]racking attitude of prayer and supplication. They claim to have “the gift of tongues,” and to be able to comprehend the babel.

        Such a startling claim has never yet been made by any company of fanatics, even in Los Angeles, the home of almost numberless creeds. Sacred tenets, reverently mentioned by the orthodox believer, are dealt with in a familiar, if not irreverent, manner by these latest religionists.

        An old colored exhorter [William Seymour], blind in one eye, is the major-domo of the company. With his stony optic fixed on some luckless unbeliever, the old man yells his defiance and challenges an answer. Anathemas are heaped upon him who shall dare to gainsay the utterances of the preacher.

        Clasped in his big fist the colored brother holds a miniature Bible from which he reads at intervals one or two words—never more. After an hour of exhortation the breth[ren] present are invited to join in a “meeting of prayer, song, and testimony.” Then it is that pandemonium breaks loose, and the bounds of reason are passed by those who are “filled with the spirit,” whatever that may be.

        “You-oo-oo gou-loo-loo come under the bloo-oo-oo bloo-oo,” shouts an old colored “mammy,” in a frenzy of religious zeal. Swinging her arms wildly about her, she continues with the strangest harangue ever uttered. Few of her words are intelligible, and for the most part her testimony contained the most outrageous jumble of syllables, which are listened to with awe by the company.

        One of the wildest of the meetings was held last night, and the highest pitch of excitement was reached by the gathering, which continues to “worship” until nearly midnight. The old exhorter urged the “sisters” to let the “tongues come forth” and the women gave themselves over to a riot of religious fervor. As a result a [plump] dame was overcome with excitement and almost fainted.

        Undismayed by the fearful attitude of the colored worshipper, another black wom[an] jumped to the floor and began a wild gesticulation, which ended in a gurgle of wordless prayers which were nothing less than shocking.

        “She’s speakin’ in unknown tongues,” announced the leader, in [an] awed whisper, “keep on sister.” The sister continued until it was necessary to assist her to a seat because of the bodily fatigue. Among the “believers” is a man who . . . claims to have been miraculously healed and is a convert of the new sect. Another speaker had a vision in which he saw the people of Los Angeles flocking in a mighty stream to perdition. He prophesied awful destruction to this city unless its citizens are brought to a belief in the tenets of the new faith.[831]

Indeed, “the most enduring effect of the [Welsh] revival was the contribution it made to the development of Pentecostalism in Britain. . . . The revival . . . creat[ed] new, Pentecostal denominations. . . . it was the Pentecostals who would continue the revival emphases[.]”[832] It is very clear that the “origins of the British Pentecostal movement” are found “in the revival in Wales . . . which played such an important part in the origins of Pentecostalism”[833] as a whole, since the “British Pentecostal movement . . . [was of] decisive importance . . . for many European Pentecostal bodies,”[834] and so the Welsh holiness revival was truly at the root of European Pentecostalism in general. Donald Gee, a “very influential figure in the growth of the Assemblies of God,”[835] and, indeed, the “greatest teacher of the Pentecostal movement . . . was brought to the Pentecostal movement by the revival in Wales” after being “converted in 1905, during the revival in Wales.”[836] Gee went on to become the chairman of the British Assemblies of God and the president of the Bible School of the Assemblies of God in London. He took long worldwide journeys to spread the Pentecostal message everywhere.[837] Indeed, if “one looks through a year’s issues of almost any Pentecostal journal, it is virtually impossible not to come across an article by him.”[838] Keswick theology permeates the Assemblies of God and other Pentecostal denominations.[839] Gee “compares Evan Roberts with the healing evangelists of Pentecostalism.”[840] Daniel Powell Williams professed conversion through Roberts’ ministry and went on to found the Pentecostal Apostolic Church.[841] George Jeffreys, founder of the Elim Pentecostal Movement with his brother Stephen, were leading spiritual products of the holiness revival.[842] George Jeffries had “responded totally to Evan Roberts’s call to obey the Spirit in everything,” and was possessed by the “revival fire” along with his brother Stephen, so that they became the “evangelists and founders of great Pentecostal movements,”[843] as George Jeffries came to spread not only Pentecostal marvels and healings but also British Israelism.[844] After being “drawn into the revival in Wales . . . George and Stephen Jeffreys . . . brought into being . . . [t]he Elim Pentecostal churches.”[845] Stephen participated in “large . . . healing campaigns” that perpetuated within Pentecostalism the characteristics of Faith Cure healings, namely, “mechanical and auto-suggestive methods of healing . . . relatively small numbers healed, [and] the considerable difference [in number] between those who ‘professed conversion in the campaigns’ and those who later joined”[846] churches. Furthermore, the “father of the British Pentecostal movement . . . [and] a leading personality in the international Pentecostal movement . . . the Anglican priest A. A. Boddy, took part in the revival movement in Wales and worked with Evan Roberts. He was convinced that the Pentecostal movement was a direct continuation of the revival.”[847] Soon he was hosting “national and international Pentecostal conferences” in his Anglican church.[848] As an Anglican priest wanting to spread charismatic doctrine and practices, “Boddy . . . was fortunate in having a Bishop who was exceptionally lenient, and even sympathetic, [to] the notorious Pentecostal meetings” he held, namely, the great Keswick continuationist “Handley G. Moule,” who “raised . . . no ecclesiastical hindrances . . . to those remarkable scenes in connection with a Parish Church in his diocese” because of his sympathy for Boddy.[849] “Boddy . . .[also] brought the Keswick understanding of ‘baptism in the Spirit’ as an enduement of power into the British Pentecostal movement,”[850] so that “through his influence, a Keswickian understanding of ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’ became normative for most Pentecostal movements.”[851] The Anglican priest distributed thousands of copies of his charismatic promotional work Pentecost for England at the Keswick Convention in 1907, leading many into the experience of Pentecostal tongues,[852] for at the 1907 Keswick “[t]hose who [had] tongues [were] present, and unable and unwilling to control them when moved by the Spirit.”[853] Boddy went on to found the “Sunderland Conventions,” which from “the point of view of the early history of the Pentecostal Movement in the British Isles . . . must occupy the supreme place in importance. . . . From those early Sunderland Conventions the Pentecostal Flame was carried into practically every corner of the British Isles.”[854] Similarly, Pentecostals were engaged in prominent proselytizing at the 1908 Keswick.[855] Indubitably, the British “prominent Pentecostal streams were . . . deeply influenced by the revival in Wales”[856] and its Keswick continuationism.

The Welsh holiness revival was central to the spread of Pentecostalism on the European continent, as it was in Britain:

[G]lossolalia gained renewed attention through the phenomena that accompanied the revivals in Wales, Los Angeles, Christiania, Hamburg, Kassel, and other places. . . . [T]he revival in Wales under Evan Roberts produced . . . psychological and physical abnormalities . . . and sparked them also in other countries (California, Norway, Denmark, Hesse, Silesia)[.] . . . [O]pinions . . . strongly diverged. [Pentecostals] viewed speaking in tongues and similar phenomena as a renewal of the gifts of Pentecost and powerful evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit, but others . . . pronounced everything to be a work of the devil and a deception of the antichrist.[857]

News of the Welsh holiness revival brought “expectation . . . almost to a boiling point . . . [i]n Germany in 1904.”[858] The groundwork for Pentecostalism had been laid by Keswick continuationist “American Holiness evangelists”[859] such as Robert Pearsall Smith and the central German Higher Life advocate, the Lutheran Theodore Jellinghaus.[860] Jellinghaus recognized that “the ‘doctrine of the Keswick Conventions’ which he . . . taught for many years [was] the source [of] . . . the rise of the Pentecostal movement.”[861] Soon after 1904 “[e]very [German] Evangelical journal published enthusiastic reports of the beginnings of the Pentecostal Movement in Wales and India,”[862] and, through such testimonials, charismatic phenomena began to arise all through Germany in hearts prepared for Pentecostalism by Keswick theology. “Objections based on the Bible and systematic theology were insolently rejected,” for Pentecostals argued: “We do not need to investigate whether it is biblical to speak of a baptism of the Spirit and a new experience of Pentecost, for we can see all around us men and women, and not only individuals, who can testify from their own blessed experience that there is such a thing.”[863] In line with the Welsh holiness revival’s repudiation of the mind, logic, and systematic theology, Pentecostals taught: “We need no more theology or theory. Let the devil have them. . . . Away with such foolish bondage! Follow your Heart!”[864] Although Pentecostal founders knew that “many ‘winds of doctrine’ blew at Azuza Street” and there were “intrusion[s] of spiritualists and mediums into their midst,” nonetheless it was clear to the charismatics that the work was a real “revival [and] the beginning of a historic awakening.”[865] The international impact of the Welsh holiness revival, as the source of European Pentecostalism, was truly profound.

Not only was the Welsh holiness revival the spark of Pentecostalism in Britain and on the European continent, but it was central to the rise of American Pentecostalism also. The Azuza Street Mission, where “the Pentecostal movement ignited,”[866] was “regarded by Pentecostal publicists as the place of origin of the world-wide Pentecostal movements,” was established by W. J. Seymour, who had been seeing visions from his youth and had adopted the Faith Cure theology of the Higher Life for the body, after which he suffered from smallpox and became permanently blind in one eye.[867] “Seymour . . . in common with Evan Roberts’ leadership in the Welsh Revival . . . preached very little, and more or less allowed things to go their own way.”[868] Seymour’s work found fertile soil in Los Angeles because of the preparatory work of “Joseph Smale and Frank Bartleman . . . preachers who had been influenced by the revival in Wales.”[869] As the Higher Life continuationist foundation for Pentecostalism was being laid in Los Angeles, the “religious life of the city was dominated by Joseph Smale, whose large First Baptist Church had been transformed into the ‘New Testament Church’ due to the effects of the Welsh revival which were being felt in Los Angeles at the time.”[870] Smale’s transformation from a Baptist into a continuationist gift-seeker is paradigmatic of the type of influence the Welsh holiness revival under Evan Roberts exerted. The methodology and practices of Evan Roberts had swept into Los Angeles in 1905, being concentrated in Smale’s First Baptist Church.[871] “The revival in Smale’s church was sparked by news of the great Welsh revival of 1904-5 led by Evan Roberts. A trip to Wales by Smale and an exchange of letters between Bartleman and Evan Roberts demonstrate a direct spiritual link between the move of God[872] in Wales and the pentecostal outpouring in Los Angeles in 1906.”[873] After Smale “returned from Wales,” having “been in touch with the revival [there] and Evan Roberts, [he] was on fire to have the same visitation and blessing come to his own church in Los Angeles. . . . They were waiting on God for an outpouring of the Spirit there.”[874] Smale began to “preac[h] . . . on the revival in Wales,”[875] instead of preaching only the Bible. Meetings in his church were carried on in a manner identical to that of those with Evan Roberts.[876] Soon “Pastor Smale [was] prophesying of wonderful things to come. He prophesie[d] the speedy return of the apostolic ‘gifts’ to the church,” as others, prepared by the testimonials to the Higher Life and marvels worked in Wales, had “been expecting just such a display of . . . power for some time,” thinking that “it might break out any hour.”[877] After fifteen weeks of daily meetings, Smale and those he had led away from Baptist convictions separated themselves from those who wanted the old paths and organized the “New Testament Church” to continue to spread the innovations and strange fire from Wales.[878] As tongues began to break out at the Azuza Street Mission,[879] “Brother Smale had to come to ‘Azuza,’” for many of his church members were there, speaking in gibberish. Smale “invited them back home, promised them liberty in the Spirit,” and tongues were “wrought mightily at the New Testament Church also.”[880] “Brother Smale was God’s Moses, to lead the people as far as to the Jordan” in preparing them to speak in tongues by introducing the practices of Evan Roberts—then “Brother Seymour led them over” into the tongues experience.[881] Tongues were present “at Azusa Street [and] at the New Testament Church, where Joseph Smale is pastor; some of his people were among the first to speak with ‘tongues.’”[882] Not long afterwards “Brother Elmer Fisher” led the “baptized saints”—those who had spoken in tongues—“from the New Testament Church” to found “the ‘Upper Room’ mission,” which “became for a time the strongest mission in town” to spread the Pentecostal experience.[883]

Frank Bartleman[884] was likewise profoundly impacted by the Welsh holiness revival on his journey to becoming an Apostle of Pentecostalism. He was born to a Quaker mother, adopted the Gospel of Wealth form of pseudo-Christianity, a form of religion dependent on Social Darwinism[885] and with similarities to the Word of Faith doctrine that all believers should be rich, through the preaching of Russell Conwell, “author of the gospel of wealth classic, Acres of Diamonds.”[886] Conwell baptized Bartleman and licensed him to preach, at which time Bartleman “decided to ‘trust God’ for his body. A lifelong devotion to the doctrine of divine healing followed,”[887] although Bartleman was “in his own words . . . a ‘life-long semi-invalid’ who ‘always lived with death looking over my shoulder’”[888] and lived in “poor health to the end.”[889] Furthermore, as an unregenerate person, Bartleman was able to reject the Trinity and the true gospel by working with and accepting the modalism and works-salvation of the Oneness Pentecostal movement, becoming an important leader in the “Jesus-only” heresy shortly after it began.[890] Nevertheless, Bartleman, “[s]tirred by the revival in Wales in 1904 . . . quickly became part of the Azusa Street meetings and the new movement.”[891] After hearing F. B. Meyer testify to the marvels going on in Wales through the work of Evan Roberts—a work which Meyer associated with the presence of the miraculous gifts of 1 Corinthians 12,[892] where tongues are included—Bartleman’s heart was passionately stirred to see the same marvels take place in Los Angeles also. He read chronicles of the Welsh holiness revival and began to distribute many thousands of copies of such works, which were used to “spread the fire in the churches wonderfully.” He “spoke . . . on the revival in Wales” in religious organizations such as the “Friends Church” and other congregations committed to the Higher Life continuationism.[893] He also received the ability to prophecy from supernatural spirits, and he “prophesied continually of a mighty outpouring” that was to come.[894] Indeed, among those brought under the influence of Evan Roberts, the “spirit of prophecy began to work . . . on a large scale,” as people prayed for the gifts of “discernment of spirits, healing, [and] prophecy.”[895] Through testimonies about what was going on in the Welsh holiness revival, the expectation of a soon-coming mighty restoration of all the sign gifts spread rapidly through the already very sympathetic Higher Life assemblies. Evan Roberts and his holiness revivalism brought a widespread expectation of the restoration of all the sign gifts, including tongues.[896] Bartleman began to correspond with Evan Roberts, exchanging letters “which linked us [in Los Angeles] up with the revival there [in Wales].” Roberts and Bartleman rejoiced together that in Wales and Los Angeles many a “soul [was] finding its way to the White Throne.”[897] Roberts called the prophesying, marvel-working Bartleman “[m]y dear brother in the faith” and his “comrade” in the “terrible fight” with the “kingdom of evil,” as both engaged in the warfare with spirits described by Roberts and Penn-Lewis in War on the Saints. Following the pattern of Evan Roberts,[898] Bartleman plunged into “a constant conflict in prayer with the powers of darkness,” experienced much “Soul Travail,” was “deal[t] with . . . much also about the ‘blood,’” and learned much about “‘the fellowship of His sufferings’ in prayer,” with the result that, again following the pattern of Evan Roberts,[899] his “nerves were getting very worn.”[900] Roberts wrote to Bartleman concerning the marvels that were taking place in Los Angeles:[901] “I was exceedingly pleased to learn the good news of how you are beginning to experience wonderful things.”[902] A vision of a being that Bartleman and another wonder-worker thought was Jesus Christ confirmed that an outpouring was going to come.[903] “Slowly but surely the conviction is coming upon the saints of Southern California that God is going to pour out His Spirit here as in Wales. . . . Wales will not long stand alone in this glorious triumph . . . ‘Pentecost’ is knocking at our doors . . . in the very near future . . . a deluge . . . will sweep all before it.”[904] Although the Lord Jesus repeatedly warned: “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign,”[905] nonetheless, while working with Smale at the New Testament Church, where both men were charter members,[906] in February 1906 Bartleman began to “ask the Lord to pour out His Spirit speedily, with ‘signs following.’”[907] It became evident what was coming: “A final call, a world-wide Revival. Then judgment upon the whole world. Some tremendous event is about to transpire.”[908] “It was into this charged atmosphere that Seymour came, early in 1906. In his first sermon . . . he preached on Acts 2:4,” declaring that the initial evidence of Spirit baptism was speaking in tongues to those who already believed that tongues were “one of the gifts that were to be poured out upon sanctified believers”[909] because of Higher Life continuationism and the Welsh holiness revival. The soil was ripe. Very shortly thereafter tongues—or at least gibberish claiming to be tongues[910]—had broken out in Los Angeles. “Sunday Morning, April 15, [at] the New Testament Church . . . [a] colored sister was there and spoke in ‘tongues.’ . . . It seemed like Pentecostal ‘signs.’ . . . [A] few nights before, April 9,” at a “little cottage on Bonnie Brae Street . . . the Spirit had fallen” and a “number had spoken in ‘tongues.’ . . . The pioneers had broken through, for the multitude to follow.”[911] The spiritual warfare taught and modeled by Roberts and Penn-Lewis had come to its fructifying point. “Demons are being cast out, the sick healed, many blessedly saved, restored, and baptized with the Holy Ghost and power.”[912] The Power behind the marvels of the Welsh holiness Revival had moved into Los Angeles. The signs that had been sought for had come. The Welsh holiness revival had given birth—the world-wide Pentecostal movement had come forth in Los Angeles.

Pentecostal pioneers, having been brought by the influence of the Welsh holiness revival to the point where tongues had been restored, spread Pentecostalism from Azuza Street in Los Angeles, California onward to the rest of the world with an astonishing rapidity,[913] so that the spirits that authored the confusion of the Welsh meetings authored also the babbling that was allegedly a restoration of the gift of tongues and the many other heretical doctrines and practices found at Azuza Street and budding Pentecostalism.[914] British Israelism, the partial-Rapture theory,[915] modalism, and practices such as unmarried men and women kissing each other, all accompanied with many supernatural marvels, were blazed abroad everywhere.[916] Bartleman and Smale[917] were not by any means exceptional in their transition from Welsh holiness revival and Keswick influences into Pentecostalism; vast numbers of men in Higher Life and “holiness leadership . . . promptly took places of leadership in the pentecostal revival. It was the Kings, the Tomlinsons, the Seymours, the Bartlemans, the Barrats, the Pauls, the Parhams, the Masons, the Ebys—all of the holiness movement . . . that dominated the pentecostal revival’s formative years.”[918] Throughout the American “south . . . there were significant shifts of groups of holiness churches to the new movement . . . other holiness bodies were also affected.”[919] First in Los Angeles,[920] and then in the rest of the world, huge numbers of Higher Life churches and individuals moved into Pentecostalism. For example, all the members of the Southern Florida Holiness Association except three became Pentecostals in the Church of God, and their camp meeting became a pentecostal center, while all the Nazarene churches in Florida, except one, turned Pentecostal.[921] Entire Higher Life denominations, such as the Pentecostal Holiness Church, the Fire Baptized Holiness Church, the Church of God, the United Holy Church of America, and the Pentecostal Free Will Baptist Church, entered the charismatic fold wholesale after receiving the strange fire arising from Azuza Street. The majority of the Church of God in Christ turned Pentecostal after its leader became a charismatic at Azuza Street.[922] “Most important for the rapid dissemination of the Pentecostal message was its propagation at convocations of Holiness people gathered from all across the nation and around the world. . . . From these places the Pentecostal evangel was carried . . . back to the innumerable religious groups and locals from which they came. . . . Initially, the use of Holiness resources and institutions was of enormous, perhaps crucial, significance for spreading the Pentecostal movement.”[923] The supernatural spirits that led Evan Roberts throughout the Welsh holiness revival unleashed an incalculable impact on the United States and the rest of the world through the rise of worldwide Pentecostalism. As people came from all over the world to see the marvels in the work of Evan Roberts, and took from Wales the same strange fire to their own countries, so people came to Azuza Street from across American and from other continents, took the Pentecostal fire with them,[924] and returned home to bring countless others, especially those already prepared for Pentecostalism by the continuationism of Keswick and the Higher Life theology, into the Pentecostal fold.[925] “The Welsh Revival” was “the last ‘gap’ across which the latest sparks of the holiness enthusiasm leapt igniting the Pentecostal movement.”[926] Pentecostalism was the true child and heir of the Welsh holiness revival work of Evan Roberts. It is historically certain that the “world-wide . . . Pentecostal . . . revival was rocked in the cradle of little Wales . . . becoming full grown in Los Angeles.”[927]

In addition to his central role in the rise of Pentecostalism, Roberts also influenced Christendom to adopt the practice of women leading men in public congregational prayer[928]—something without example in Scripture,[929] although encouraged by Roberts’ Keswick forefather, Robert Pearsall Smith[930] in line with Quaker opposition to Biblical complementarian gender roles—and the holiness revival played a significant role in “chang[ing] attitudes towards the public role to be fulfilled by women” as women led in “speaking . . . giving testimony . . . and, occasionally, preaching” in the holiness revival meetings.[931] Furthermore, the holiness revival broke down denominational walls for an ecumenical setting aside of doctrinal differences.[932] Anglicans, with their false sacramental gospel, and many independent congregations of a tremendous variety of doctrinal persuasions, were united[933] in leading meetings in State-church facilities and free church chapels alike, teaching that there must be a united one-world church in preparation for the return of Christ.[934] All denominations celebrated united prayer meetings[935] and “sectarianism [was] almost annihilated,”[936] as Evan Roberts’s teaching led the many Biblical commands about ecclesiastical separation to be ignored. Rather, it was taught that “the Holy Ghost is no respecter of denominations.”[937] “Mr. Roberts said: ‘Don’t talk about denominations these days,’” pounding the pulpit as he spoke—“Away with all that.”[938] Evan Roberts and his revivalism taught Anglicans that they did not need “a new . . . Prayer Book, Creed, or Church,”[939] although Anglicanism taught baptismal regeneration. As the sayings of the Druids were acceptable at the Broadlands Conferences,[940] so one of Roberts’s “finer sermons” was “based upon the Archdruid’s call . . . [for] peace and unity at every level of life,”[941] for “Evan Roberts preached about the power of Pentecost to sweep away divisions of . . . denomination,”[942] as the spirit powers behind his preaching did not lead people to separate from false religion and join true churches, but to unite the false and true in one ecumenical unity. Thus, not only Pentecostalism and charismatic phenomena, but also feminism and ecumenicalism, were products of Roberts’s work.

While Pentecostals, feminists, and advocates of ecumenicalism had much to cherish from the work of Evan Roberts, his work had many critics among Baptists and other advocates of the older orthodoxy and theology of revival. Critics of Evan Roberts affirmed that his work was destroying a genuine revival movement in Wales that had already been taking place, “particularly, though not exclusively, among the Baptists . . . prior to Roberts beginning his mission.”[943] They thought that “[d]elusions and extravagances in various forms were countenanced and even fostered . . . the wave of inordinate emotionalism with its accompanying evils . . . undoubtedly was one of the causes that silenced the Spirit, and drove [Him] from among the people.”[944] They argued that “violent bodily exercises . . . contortions and prostrations . . . did not possess any specific spiritual value, and did not convey any moral lesson[,] [nor left any] salutary impression . . . behind[,] [but were] the weakness of man rather than the power of God.”[945] For example, Roberts’ opponents affirmed his work “sounded the death-knell of the Revival in the Avan Valley. The flame was there, but it was extinguished. The tide began to ebb, and ebb it did; and the last state of that Church is worse than the first.”[946] At “Zoar, Neath,” church leaders and congregants averred, “[Roberts] has spoilt our meeting,” as “people seemed to have turned their faces away from God, and were looking to the Revivalist.”[947] In “[n]umerous other instances . . . vast multitudes . . . [experienced] the Revival wave, feeling that they were face to face with the realities of life, conscious of the Divine presence in their midst, only to be told by Evan Roberts within five minutes of his appearance that the Holy Spirit was not there, because they had hindered His operations and refused to give obedience.”[948] The “Tabernacle Baptist Church on the Hayes, Cardiff” was a “case in point” of the fact that “in the majority of cases [Roberts’] appearances had a dispiriting effect. Many were converted who had neither seen nor heard Evan Roberts; and some of the most successful meetings were held in the districts and towns to which Evan Roberts had refused to go on the ground that the Holy Spirit had not given him any message for them.”[949] In those “Nonconformist places of worship where the ministers and elders were strong and wise enough to curb the . . . impulsive and excitable . . . and to keep the movement within due and proper limits[,] . . . [t]housands were converted, and the vast majority of them remain[ed] faithful[.]”[950] Roberts was influenced by “the Keswick movement and holiness teaching” and his theology of revival placed him “in the same camp as the American revivalist, Charles G. Finney;” his beliefs were, consequently, in contrast to and “beyond the tradition of the Welsh revivals” of the past, which had held a notably different theology of revival, affirming that it was “wholly dependent on the grace of God.”[951]

The evangelical Congregationalist minister Peter Price “believed a genuine revival was taking place apart from Roberts’ activities”[952] and “stated that Roberts’s emphasis on direct and unmediated divine inspiration denied the need for the objective preaching of the person and work of Christ and so created ‘a sham revival,’ which was hindering ‘the true revival’ that had long preceded Roberts’ work.”[953] For example, “for nearly two years the Revival flame was ablaze in Cardiganshire . . . before Evan Roberts was heard of . . . and it was a pure work of God in that county. That pure stream became impure under the hoof of the enemy” as Roberts’ methods took hold.[954] In Price’s important “letter to the Western Mail . . . he wrote that there were two revivals in Wales, one a true revival based on the substitutionary atonement of Christ and the other a sham revival based on emotionalism for which Evan Roberts was the major spokesman.”[955] Price wrote:

I write the following in the interest of the religion of Jesus Christ, and because I sympathize with visitors who come from long distances to see the Revival in South Wales.

        Now, I think I can claim that I have had as good an opportunity as most people to understand what is really going on in South Wales; and I have come to the conclusion that there are two so-called Revivals going on amongst us. The one, undoubtedly, from above—Divine, real, intense in nature, and Cymric[956] in its form. . . . the real Divine thing. . . .

        [But] people . . . may attempt to make the thing, and lo! there comes out a calf and not a God. . . . Those who will do this are the shallow ones, the noisy ones, those who think themselves filled the most with the Spirit, but who are the least. They are, in fact, the imitators, who say, “There’s something wrong here. The Spirit is not here. I have had a vision[”] . . . the stock sayings of Evan Roberts . . . [also] repeated . . . by . . . [his] imitators[.] . . . Others may be found imitating his bodily contortions, sighs, etc. This mimicry is . . . done by the would-be Evan Robertses quite as much for their own sakes as for the sake of their visitors. Breaking into song while another prays, or speaks, or preaches, is another form of the attempt to imitate Evan Roberts’s meetings.

        But these things are merely the accidents of the true Revival, and form no part of its kernel. For there is a kernel, which is overwhelming in its Divine power, and many thousands have experienced it, and there are ample signs that many thousands more will be touched by it.

        There is, then, a Revival which is of God—of God alone—yes, a most mighty—an Almighty Revival . . . due to the earnest prayers of godly men and women for many years, and also to the extremely earnest preaching of the Gospel, emphasizing especially the Atonement, meaning by the Atonement the substitutionary death of our Lord Jesus Christ for the sins of the world.

        Some preachers, again, laid great emphasis upon the Person and ministry of the Holy Ghost. Others, again, gave attention to the ethical aspect of our religion, but with less effect, in my opinion, as far as the present Revival is concerned. I have witnessed bursts of this real Revival as far back as two years ago. I understand that there are several would-be originators of the Revival; but I maintain that the human originator of the true Revival cannot be named. And this, to me, is one of the proofs that it is of Divine origin. I have witnessed indescribable scenes of this real Revival, effects that can never be put on paper. Hence, I have a right to say that the real Revival has not been and cannot be reported.

        But there is another Revival in South Wales—a sham Revival, a mockery, a blasphemous travesty of the real thing. The chief figure in this mock Revival is Evan Roberts, whose language is inconsistent with the character of anyone except that of a person endowed with the attributes of a Divine Being. If not, what is he? Are there four persons in the Godhead, and is Evan Roberts the fourth? If so, I would call him the Commander of the Third Person, or the Master of the Spirit, for the . . . words which I myself heard from him on Monday night last at Bethania Chapel, Dowlais. The Spirit being somewhat reluctant to obey him, he said, “He must come”; but the Spirit (of whom he talked most glibly, just as a child speaks of its toy, but somewhat more off-handedly) would not obey the orders. . . . [H]e spoke as if the Spirit was entirely in his grip . . . judging by his behaviour and talk, the Holy Spirit is led by Evan Roberts!

        My honest conviction is this; that the best thing that could happen to the cause of the true religious Revival amongst us would be for Evan Roberts and his girl-companions to withdraw into their respective homes, and there to examine themselves, and learn a little more of the meaning of Christianity, if they have the capacity for this, instead of going about the country pretending to show the Way of Life to people many of whom know a thousand times more about it than they do. Why, we have scores of young colliers in Dowlais with whom Evan Roberts is not to be compared either in intellectual capacity or spiritual power.

        But it is this mock Revival—this exhibition—this froth—this vain trumpery—which visitors see and which newspapers report. And it is harmful to the true Revival—very harmful. And I am horrified lest people who trust to what they see at Evan Roberts’s meetings and to newspaper reports should identify the two Revivals—the true and the false—the Heavenly fire and the ignis fatuus.

        Before Evan Roberts visited Dowlais, we had the holy fire burning brightly—at white heat; and at my own church alone we could count our converts during the last five or six months by the hundreds. But what happened when Evan Roberts visited the place? People came from all parts anxious to see the man, to understand something of the movement, and to get some of the fire to take home with them. I suppose that most of them did see the man; but I doubt whether they understood the movement—even the mock movement. They had no chance to understand the true movement, nor had they a chance of catching any of the true fire, for it wasn’t there. I will say that with much effort Evan Roberts, together with his co-operators (and, evidently, they understand one another thoroughly, and each knew his or her part well and where to come in), managed, by means of threats, complaints and incantations, which reminded me of the prophets of Baal, to create some of the false fire. But never in my life did I experience such agony—the whole procedure being utterly sacrilegious. I should say that Evan Roberts must have seen and felt that he was a failure at Dowlais; but to cover the circumstance of failure, there appeared in the paper, after he had proved himself so, a prophecy concerning certain misgivings of his as to whether he ought to have undertaken a mission to Dowlais.

        I should like to ask Evan Roberts a few questions; I have many more which I might ask; but I will be satisfied now with a few: . . . He said that there was someone in the lobby who was accepting Christ; but no one did. What Spirit told him this lie? . . . Why does he wait until the meetings attain the climax of enthusiasm before he enters? If help is valuable at any stage, is it not mostly so at the commencement, in order to kindle the fire? . . . Why does he visit places where the fire has been burning at maximum strength for weeks and months? Would it not be more reasonable for him to go to places which the fire has not reached? . . . What spirit makes him bad-tempered when things don’t come about exactly as he wishes? . . . What spirit makes him say, “Ask God to damn the people if you don’t ask anything else?”

        “Yes, but he has a lovely face and a beautiful smile,” so some women say. This is the last resort.

        May I repeat that I have written the above in the interest of the religion of Jesus Christ, and out of sympathy with visitors who come to see the Revival. I may have to suffer persecution for writing the above—even by Spirit-filled (!) men; but I don’t seek the renown of the martyr; still, if martyrdom for the truth be necessary, I am ready. To the true Revival—the gloriously real Revival—I will say and pray with all my soul,

“Cerdd ymlaen, nefol dân”

But to the bogus Revival I will say with all my soul,

“Cerdd yn ol, gnawdol dân.”

Peter Price, January 31, 1905[957]

Thus, in the view of Price and other advocates of the older theology of revival, a real “Revival, of which [Roberts] was not the originator, not the medium, and not the feeder,” had already been going on. “There had been for months and years—there were even then—influences at work that were independent of [Roberts’] initiative or control,”[958] but his revivalism was quenching this genuine work of God. “Evan Roberts had no controlling or constructive influence over the real Revival[,] . . . [but] was out of touch with [it]. . . . This [real Revival] . . . was the result of spiritual forces that had been quietly at work for years. . . . Evan Roberts was . . . the embodiment of the . . . rubbish . . . the waves of hysteria . . . [and] psychic manifestations . . . [that] were looked upon as necessary adjuncts to a successful meting, and became at last, in the estimation of the press and the public, the characteristic marks of the Revival.”[959] As fanaticism and revivalism displaced true revival produced by the Holy Ghost, “Evan Roberts” became “the central figure in the Revival of 1904-5; but he was not its originator, much less its conceiver.”[960] Price “by no means st[ood] alone in his attitude. . . . Many other ministers share[d] his opinions . . . [about] ‘the sham Revival’ . . . of which . . . Mr. Evan Roberts [was] the chief exponent,” hindering the “real Revival” that had been going on.[961] “[T]housands of sane, righteous people fully endorsed the opinions of Price . . . many eminent, spiritually-minded pastors and laymen agreed[.]”[962] The pastor of the Baptist church at Builth Wells wrote to Mr. Price:

Permit me to thank you for your frank and straightforward speaking . . . on the “Double Revival.” . . . For some time I have longed to see someone who resided in the zone of fire, to rise and repudiate the gross excrescences which are passing for the real thing in the Revival in Wales. It is something monstrously base to tolerate without protest the barbarous falsehoods that are being accepted in the name of Christianity. My Dear Sir, we are in for one of the greatest religious siftings that Wales ever experienced. . . . From all sane and thinking men, who love true Religion and who try to augment its forces with intelligent thought, you will only receive the gratitude you merit.

        God bless you for your stand and bravery. I shall . . . accumulate facts . . . and join you in your fight for true Christianity.[963]

Indeed, as time passed, not only those who had been critical of Roberts’ practices from the beginning, but “even sympathetic ministers felt the Word was being dethroned and the singing too exalted . . . [in] Evan Roberts’ work.”[964] “[G]ood men, and . . . godly . . . were seen looking very frowningly upon the . . . Revival, critically and reprovingly too[.]”[965] The “Baptist minister . . . Dr. Davies” thought much of Roberts’ ministry was “mass hysteria.”[966] Other ministers “object[ed] to the visions seen” and to “women” leading in “public prayer, exhortation, [and] testifying.”[967] “[O]fficial disapproval was not confined to the Baptists, and one c[ould] find strong words from . . . leaders in other denominations.”[968] Many objected when people would “burst into song, or prayer, or testimony in the middle of the sermon, or sometimes from the start of the service so that the preacher could only listen.”[969] “Many of the ministers did not preach for months,”[970] and many recognized that such a downgrade of the preached Word did not fit Scripture at all. Even “[g]rumblings about the inferior quality of the new revival hymns grew louder and louder.”[971] People warned that the “flippancy manifested, especially by the young and others who had just [adopted revivalistic ideas] . . . helped to kill the [real] Revival.”[972] Many noticed that “the conversions in the chapels attended by Evan Roberts were fewer than in the chapels where he was not present.”[973] The true “Revival . . . transfigured many individual souls . . . [who] never saw Evan Roberts . . . never had . . . tumultuous gatherings . . . [but] owe[d] all that [they were] to the agency of [their] own pastor.”[974] Criticism poured in, affirming: “In the present revival, the Bible is ignored, and it is claimed that visions and new revelations are received . . . the elders are condemned as heretics if they do not yield, and conform to the methods of the young [cf. 1 Peter 5:5]. The officers of the churches are at present ignored, although they have been set apart in office by the churches; thus, the Apostles of the Lamb are ignored; the hand of God is ignored; the Holy Spirit is ignored; and that by some other spirit that has possessed our young people.”[975] “Evan Roberts’s claims to direct Spirit guidance” were considered “profane, and his visions blasphemous, because he was not, as were the Apostles, endowed with Spirit gifts, [proven in] healing the sick, raising the dead, giving sight to the blind,”[976] and other Apostolic miracles (2 Corinthians 12:12). “Baptist leaders in Gwent” considered various practices of Roberts “unseemly and disorderly,” while “senior ministers and laymen in Pembrokeshire . . . were responsible for the early opposition of the Welsh Baptists there.”[977] One “fervent Baptist minister . . . split a revival meeting” by stating the obvious truth, clearly taught by the Holy Ghost in Scripture and patterned in the real revival in the book of Acts, that “baptism by the Spirit did not dispense with the need for water baptism. . . . [He] carried on his attack on the revivalists for preaching obedience to the Spirit yet not practicing that virtue by being baptized themselves.”[978] The newspaper “Y Celt Newydd . . . sounded a warning note about voices and visions and the danger they posed to true revival.”[979] Many “church leaders . . . disavow[ed]” the work of Roberts and “oppose[d] . . . signs and wonders . . . [v]isions, voices, spiritual promptings, [and] inspired prayers.”[980] They believed that it was a serious error to stress “signs rather than faith . . . psychic and bodily experiences rather than the Word of God . . . ecstasies in special meetings rather than . . . simple, quiet and consistent obedience to the Spirit of the One who is in us.”[981] In rural Wales, the “response of the Baptists . . . to the revival [work of Evan Roberts] was initially very cautious. The editor of the local Baptist journal, Y Piwritan Newydd (‘The New Puritan’) . . . stated that he could not go along with the mode of activity in some meetings[,]”[982] as various aspects of the revivalism were “sure to be working against Baptist principles.”[983] Indeed, Baptist church membership “had been increasing for many years prior to the revival [led by Evan Roberts],” with “Baptist membership increas[ing] by 24,000 in 1905,” the largest rate of increase; in 1905 “Independents increased by 12,000 . . . and the Calvinistic Methodists increased by just under 16,000.” Baptist critics of Roberts affirmed that genuine revival was overcome by the revivalism of Roberts and his followers. “[T]here c[ould] be no doubt . . . [t]hat Evan Roberts did repel, that he quenched rather than inflamed the Revival flame in many districts[.] Evidence of this fact abounds, and is indisputable.”[984] While the revivals in the book of Acts led to the continued multiplication of churches for many years, after the revivalism of Roberts had finished its course Independent and Calvinistic Methodist “membership began to decline in 1906,” followed by the beginning of membership decline in “1907 for the Baptists.”[985] With the ascendency of Keswick and continuationist doctrine and the revivalism of Evan Roberts and Jessie Penn-Lewis, “decline set in so quickly after the revival’s end”—a fact which “did not augur well for the future of Nonconformity in Wales,”[986] as, indeed, a decades-long decline set in almost immediately after Roberts finished his revivalistic course.

As the work of Evan Roberts filled congregations with false doctrine, filled church membership rolls with unregenerate people, and hardened Wales to a true work of the Holy Spirit, serious spiritual declension manifested itself as soon as the strange fire died down. Already by 1909 a very serious “decline of evangelical Christianity [was] most manifest” throughout Wales.[987] “All over the Principality there [was] not only a serious and general falling off in the number of adherents, but there is hardly any interest taken in fundamental theology.”[988] “Wesleyan Methodism [was] confronted with a serious decrease of membership” and the “spiritual state of the Wesleyan Church” was the matter of the “greatest apprehension.”[989] Losses also accrued to the other “Nonconforming bodies,” for these had “unquestionably lost their old grip upon the people.”[990] A “grave note of religious pessimism” came to “pervad[e] Welsh Nonconformity” as there was a “lamentable falling-off in Welsh Sunday schools, in the attendance, in the interest taken and in the registered results.”[991] Roberts’ revivalism failed to produce lasting results: “[T]he Welsh Revival of 1904-5 . . . has not been followed by any marked progress of either a political or religious character. . . . There has not sprung up in its track anything of a general and permanent character. . . . Vital religion has not been made more effective[.]”[992] This fact resulted in “a great change . . . in public opinion . . . and events justify the change. Ministers in general are distressed at the number of [alleged] converts who have cut themselves off from the way of His life. Their judgment is not a hasty one. People seem harder than ever—due to the effects of the Revival.”[993] In sharp contrast to the revivals in the Bible, and real revivals in church history, only four years after the ministry of Evan Roberts burned out nothing positive was evident “in the sense of curbing the passions of the great masses of the people, in the purifying of their common speech and in eradicating their criminal tendencies. If a plebiscite of the magistrates, solicitors, colliery owners, and prison officials, were taken [in 1909], their unanswerable reply would be in the negative. A disenchanted nation remains neither stimulated in thought nor enriched in character.”[994] Indeed, by 1909 historians could record:

[I]n looking back at the Welsh Revival of 1904-5 we find that its success is by no means commensurate with its proportion, with its excitement at the time, with its professed statistics of individual or collective results, or even with the money expended upon it. . . . [There was a] complete failure of the Revival to permanently regenerate churches and districts to any considerable degree. . . . [T]he Revival . . . . did not produce subsequent discipline of morals, but it was subversive of, and antagonistic to, the spirit that produces results in practical life. The religious disappointment of thousands of individuals in Wales today is such as to have made their ‘last state worse than the first.’ . . . The moral condition of the Welsh people . . . [i]n many ways . . . was better . . . before the Revival than it is today. . . . The whole attitude of the people has undergone a deplorable change, and the change is both rapid and widespread. No one conversant with the inner life of Wales can fail to observe the alarming spread of the personal and domestic disuse of the Bible. . . . There is an alarming ignorance of the contents of the Bible among the rising generation . . . [t]he Bible is becoming less and less the Book of the rank and file. The . . . preacher [engages in] less close study of the Bible. Preaching is more topical than expository. . . . [The] methods [of] . . . Evan Roberts . . . did undoubtedly repel not a few, and hardened rather than softened the hearts of some who longed for a higher life. . . . It is a fact within the knowledge of any and every man that football, the music-hall, and the public house, are the dominant interests of . . . the very thousands that thronged the various chapels during the Revival season. Sunday shows of various sorts, that were compelled to close their doors at that time, are now in the zenith of their popularity, and there is not power enough in the churches or among the ministers and clergy to check their progress. Since the Revival various socialistic organizations have invaded the valleys, and . . . thousands . . . hear the “socialistic gospel” . . . the social application of the “New Theology” [theological modernism]. If materialistic socialism, without a tinge of reverence for sacred things and sacred institutions, is either the direct or indirect result of the Revival of 1904-5, then it cannot but be a source of sorrow to God-fearing people that the Revival ever came. The reaction is on a large scale . . . and the reaction is still in progress. . . . Many—very many—of [the] . . . Free Churches . . . have been obliged to revise their roll of membership [downward], and are now lamenting over the deadly indifference that has overtaken the flock. The apathy, the levity, the decay of religious faith, the lapse in the habit of prayer, the disinclination to take part in religious work, the non-attendance of adherents, and the decline of the Sunday School, together with the prevalence of vice in its various aspects . . . have followed the Revival. The general condition of the churches is worse than it was in the days preceding the outbreak in 1904. There is a loss of appeal in the Gospel message, and an alarming disregard of sacred institutions. . . . The fall of the spiritual thermometer is very marked. . . . [I]n very many instances contributions towards foreign missions and the maintenance of the ministry have decreased . . . [so that they are] much less than they were two and four years previous to the Revival. . . . [T]he general condition of things among the churches in the Principality is worse since the Revival than before. . . . [T]here is a retrogression and a reversion to a more unsatisfactory type of religious life. . . . [The] mission . . . [of] Evan Roberts . . . did not produce a reversion to a higher type of reverence or moral life. The converse is true.[995]

The evils in the work of Evan Roberts, feared by many Baptists and other old-line evangelicals, who believed in the older and more Scriptural theology of revival, came to pass.

Jessie Penn-Lewis was, in her day, “Keswick’s leading female speaker . . . the woman destined to make the most impression at Keswick.”[996] “Only those who . . . kn[ew] her longest and most closely can fully appreciate how strongly [she] influenced . . . Evangelical life and thought of her time.”[997] Indeed, a condensation of her book The Warfare with Satan and the Way of Victory was even found among the volumes of the epoch-making series, The Fundamentals.[998] She came from a Quaker family, had significant “Quaker linkages,”[999] and, among other events in her notably limited education, went, as she affirmed, to “a school . . . opened by a Quaker lady,” along with receiving training from a “Quaker gentleman.”[1000] Her husband William Penn-Lewis had a strong Quaker background as “a follower of George Fox,[1001] a professed Quaker and descendent of . . . William Penn,”[1002] so that Jessie’s married name of Penn-Lewis[1003] pointed back to that extremely influential early anti-Trinitarian Quaker who founded the state of Pennsylvania. Throughout their long married life, “every Sunday, [Mr. Penn-Lewis] and his wife went to . . . a Society of Friends Meeting,” except on certain occasions when they attended “an Anglican service” or, “sometimes, a lively evangelical meeting.”[1004] She could justify the disorder and confusion of the meetings led by Evan Roberts through an appeal to the Quaker principal of worship: “By the immediate operations of the Holy spirit, [Christ] as the Head of the church, alone selects and qualifies those who are to present His messages or engage in other service for Him; and, hence, we cannot commit any formal arrangement to any one in our regular meetings for worship.”[1005]  Mrs. Penn-Lewis would, on various occasions, give the “message” at “the Friends’ Meeting House” up to the very end of her life.[1006]   Both Mr. and Mrs. Penn-Lewis were buried in a Quaker graveyard, “the Friends Burial Field at Reigate,”[1007] their funerals being held in Quaker meeting houses, thus identifying with the Quaker movement and its heresies in the choice of their final resting place.[1008] Furthermore, Mrs. Penn-Lewis’ “mother was one of the first to join . . . the Good Templar Movement” in her town, and Jessie “was keenly eager to be a Templar too,” so she followed her mother as a “Templar” in the demonic cult of Freemasonry.[1009] The “very first Lodge night after [her] twelfth birthday . . . [she was] initiated into the coveted circle.” She soon became “Chief Presiding Officer of the juveniles . . . [in the Minor] Lodge,” while her husband-to-be was “Treasurer of [that same] Lodge at th[at] time.”[1010] She “continued as secretary of the Lodge by re-election quarter after quarter until . . . compelled to give it up”[1011] because of her father’s death. Her Quaker and Masonic influences were connected, as a “Quaker . . . undertook to teach [her] the secretarial work [of the Lodge].”[1012] However, Mrs. Penn-Lewis’ parents and she did not stick exclusively to Quaker and Freemason meetings;   she had Calvinistic Methodism in her background also, since, for example, her grandfather was a minister in the “C. M. Connection,” and, what is more, was “said to be the most metaphysical preacher of his day” in that movement.[1013] Jessie’s devout mother consequently “had ideas that children could be brought up without the knowledge of sin.”[1014] Jessie also attended Anglican services. For instance, after marrying William,[1015] the Penn-Lewis family attended “the Church of the Annunciation . . . [where Mr. Penn-Lewis had been] attending [before their marriage],” an Anglican congregation where the “Vicar was an extreme High Churchman” who believed in a damnable sacramental salvation, the Papist confessional, and other “strong Anglo-Catholic views.”[1016] During the second year of her marriage, Jessie “began to feel very ill at ease about the Lord’s Return” and she was professedly converted to Christ,[1017] although she did not say a word to anyone about this professed conversion until a year and a half later, when, having moved to the Anglican parish where Evan Hopkins was the minister, she was simply “asked if she were ‘a Christian,’ and her . . . answer ‘Yes’ was her first open confession of Christ,”[1018] this response allegedly proving not merely her religiosity, but her supernatural true conversion and regeneration.[1019] She soon became “a fluent and powerful” woman preacher in “open air” meetings connected with Hopkins’ congregation,[1020] although because of a difficult ministry experience she “would have cracked” without the stabilizing influence of some other women.[1021] Also, opposition because of “her unorthodox views . . . caused [her great] pain.”[1022] Nonetheless, throughout her life she regularly preached in congregations, conventions, and settings of the most varied kinds to both men and women,[1023] despite “strong prejudice based upon misunderstanding of Paul’s” prohibitions in 1 Corinthians 14:34-40 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15,[1024] but in accordance with the Quaker practice of “encouraging women to be ministers.”[1025] Generally, “the pastors [were] strongly opposed,”[1026] but women were to reject pastoral counsel, receive women preachers anyway, and preach themselves; many did,[1027] being “faithful to the power of the Lord” against their “local clergym[e]n, who said women should not speak at meetings.”[1028] Penn-Lewis knew that Paul did not really mean to prohibit women preaching to men when he wrote: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church,” and “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” Rather, Penn-Lewis knew that “Psalm lxviii 11-12 (see R. V.) must surely have been a prophecy of these days in which we live,” proving that women in the New Testament dispensation are “to prophesy and preach”[1029] to men, although nothing of the sort is in view in the psalm if one adopts a grammatical-historical interpretation of the Hebrew text, the Authorized Version, or even the Revised Version to which Penn-Lewis refers.[1030] However, “God had given her the text of a ‘new translation’ of [the] Psalm.”[1031] Soon after beginning her public work, she “saw that [she] should know the Holy Spirit as a Person . . . through reading Andrew Murray’s Spirit of Christ,” leading her to a variety of special spiritual experiences, although she testified, “I could not understand why it made so little difference in my service . . . [i]n these respects [of serving Christ in different ways], I was just the same as before, until, some three years later,” she received a “Baptism of the Spirit for service.”[1032] She later was able to meet “Mr. Murray” and have “a long talk” with him, “the first contact of a fellowship in God which deepened into a bond in the Spirit between [their] two souls.”[1033] Penn-Lewis also discovered, after staying at Bethshan, Boardman’s faith-cure “House of Rest,”[1034] the doctrine of healing espoused by Mahan, Boardman, and Murray, learning “what it meant to take [Christ’s] life and strength for [the] body when needed for His service.”[1035] Shortly after adopting the Faith Cure doctrine, she began seeking a “Spirit baptism” of the sort “Finney and Asa Mahan”[1036] experienced, and, not able to figure out whether or not the Bible taught their doctrine,[1037] set aside Scripture and all “books” of theology to simply pray until God revealed directly to her what she could not figure out by means of that Word of God that is “more sure” than even His audible voice (2 Peter 1:16-21). She then, by means of a vision and “revelation” where she saw a “hand holding up in terrible light a handful of filthy rags” and heard what was allegedly God’s voice, adopted what became an influential Keswick doctrine of crucifixion with Christ and the central aspect of her later preaching and writing, based on a misinterpretation of Romans 6, and as a result of receiving that crucifixion doctrine by revelation also received the kind of baptism that Finney and Mahan had experienced.[1038] She further explained, in continuity with the Keswick healing doctrine stretching from Boardman through to Simpson, Murray, Nee, and many others, that she was “healed . . . when the Baptism of the Spirit came . . . in 1892 . . . when there came to me that revolution in Christian life which can only be described as a ‘Baptism of the Spirit’ . . . [and which] enabled [me], physically, to endure and to accomplish labour . . . beyond both natural and physical powers,”[1039] since the believer’s co-crucifixion with Christ gives him both spiritual victory over sin and Satan and physical healing. Penn-Lewis wrote:

If you have learned the inner life of victory . . . you . . . have in union with Christ . . . life and healing for soul and body. . . . [It is the weak Christian] who is not able to trust beyond the use of means for recovery[.] . . . Isaiah said, “By His stripes we are healed.” . . . I got the inside clue [when] . . . I saw this Hebrew rendering . . . “IN HIS HEALED WOUNDS THERE IS HEALING FOR US!” . . . [J]ust as we are “crucified together with Him,” and share in His victory over sin and Satan, so in a still deeper sense “crucified with Him” when we stand in victory over sin and Satan, the life of Jesus ministered by the Holy Spirit indwelling the spirit, can heal the bruised and broken bodies of all who thus by faith apprehend their identification and union with Him . . . as I stand in identification with His death, the VERY LIFE that healed Him, which comes to me as I am joined to Him in spirit, can heal my broken body . . . It is “identification” again, with Him in His death, and a deeper appropriation of His Risen and healing life. . . . [H]ealing . . . is all for each believer in the finished work of Calvary.[1040]

Thus, bodily healing is part of the Christian’s inheritance for today and also a product of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, so that the truly spiritual Christian will reject medicine for the Faith Cure; Penn-Lewis bore her “testimony to the truth of Matt. viii. 17, and Rom. viii. 11” and “st[ood] by faith upon these Divine facts,”[1041] for “[h]ealing is part of the finished work of Calvary[,] [and] ‘In His healed wounds there is healing for us[.]’ . . . The same life-power that healed and restored His broken body can heal and quicken my broken body.”[1042] Consequently, “on the basis of Romans Six you may put in your claim for the healing of any bodily disease.”[1043] One simply “definitively drop[s] [one’s] ‘body’ at the Cross” and then becomes “quite well” as Christ’s bodily life then begins to flow into the person who has entered the Higher Life;[1044] healing comes by “taking the Risen Life of the Crucified Christ to quicken the mortal body,”[1045] since “diseases spr[i]ng from inward soul sicknesses such as lust and anger . . . [and] deliverance and victory over the soul’s imprisoning passions was a part of Christ’s victory on the Cross.”[1046] Evan Roberts exercised this healing ability on himself, so that he was “bubbling over with joy and shouting about his wonderful new body that had become strong by faith,” delivered from “nine years” of sickness—delivered, that is, at least for a few hours, since “twenty four hours later he was knocked out completely with strain” and continued to be as ill as before.[1047] Similarly, “fellow-Welshman, Stephen Jeffries, in the early stages of his ‘Faith healing’ that caused scores of conversions in South Wales . . . became a celebrated figure in London,” at least until “some of the healed people testified that they had not been healed permanently.”[1048] Such a loss of the effectiveness of a Keswick healing had an explanation, however; just as the Higher Life will spiritually be lost by ceasing to maintain the decisive act of faith, so bodily healing is lost whenever one ceases to maintain faith,[1049] in radical discontinuity with the type of healing practiced by Christ and the Apostles. In further discontinuity with the truly miraculous healings recorded in the Bible, which brought about actual and perfect physical deliverance from disease, Mrs. Penn-Lewis’ “healing” at the time of her alleged Spirit baptism left her with “large cavities” in her lungs which were from thenceforth in perpetual danger of “active disease,”[1050] and she continued to endure terrible “ill-health and suffering”[1051] and “constant poor health and much pain”[1052] for the rest of her life as “the lung weakness” grew ever the “more manifest.”[1053] The poor woman suffered from “bouts of pleurisy and neurasthenia . . . weeks of asthmatic attacks and hypertension . . . weeks each year . . . plagued with chills, migraines, and bronchial attacks, which left her too exhausted to think . . . pneumonia [that left her] just a shadow of herself . . . pain and helpless weakness . . . over-straine[d] heart . . . recurrent flu . . . enforced convalescence . . . serious hemorrhage . . . almost fatal illness . . . [and other] sicknesses for forty years.”[1054] Her doctor told her, “Your lungs have been weak ever since I have known you—now 30 years or more,”[1055] and she lived in “constant expectation of a ‘final release’ from her pain-racked body.”[1056] Finally she died, with work she felt she still had left to do,[1057] although she had taught that, because of “the fifth to the eight [sic] of Romans,” she “expected to be enabled for full service in all the will of God until the Lord comes.”[1058] She did not, however, manage to live until the Lord came, or even until all the work she thought she was supposed to do was accomplished—instead, she died just like people who did not share her revelatory insight into Romans. However, there were other explanations for her continuing and severe illnesses, and for her death, than that her Keswick doctrine of healing was erroneous; for example, when she suffered three serious attacks of pneumonia in 1926-1927, each time being “brought very near the gates of death,” and each one leaving “her weaker in body,” until, at length, she actually died in 1927 at the age of 67, her ill health was not because of a false doctrine of healing, but because, in line with the teaching at the Broadlands Conference[1059] and later Keswick meetings, by getting pneumonia she was enduring “the ‘fellowship of the sufferings of Christ . . . for His Body’s sake, the Church,’ which made it difficult for the physical frame to respond to the life which the Risen Lord was ready to give.”[1060] Those who are skeptical of her extra-biblical revelations and doctrines, instead of accepting such an excuse as valid, would rather greatly pity both her severe bodily sufferings and her continuing Keswick Faith-Cure delusion.

While Mrs. Penn-Lewis’ Spirit baptism produced a kind of bodily healing that fell far short of the apostolic pattern, it produced a spiritual state that far exceeded what was experienced by the Apostles, for, she wrote, “I have never had to fight a battle of ‘surrender of will’ from that time,”[1061] having entered by Spirit baptism into a realm of spiritual experience higher than any promised in the Bible or experienced by men like the Apostle Paul in their lifetime (Galatians 5:17; Romans 7:14-25).[1062] However, while her entry into the Higher Life came to her, she affirms, directly by a revelation and mystical experience—one of the vast numbers of supernatural revelations and visions she received[1063]—she also had the help of “Madame Guyon,” who was most “influential”[1064] upon Mrs. Penn-Lewis when introduced to her by “Mrs. Evan Hopkins”[1065] as Jessie sought Spirit baptism and Higher Life sanctification in 1888. Penn-Lewis did not compare Guyon’s writings with Scripture to see if they were trustworthy (Acts 17:11; 2 Peter 1:16-21), but adopted Guyon’s spirituality because “the Lord spoke” to her and told her that “this is the path.”[1066] Having discovered by revelation from the spirit world the value of Guyon’s writings, Penn-Lewis testified: “I owe a great deal to the books of Madame Guyon, and the way she showed me the path to life ‘in God’ . . . her ‘Life’ . . . [led me to] clearly s[ee] the way of the Cross . . . [and the need for] ‘dying’ not ‘doing’ [to] produce spiritual fruit.”[1067] That is, Penn-Lewis learned from Guyon the alleged truth of Quietism, “an effortless spiritual life” that is “stripped of [even the] vestiges of self”[1068] by passing beyond “effort or feeling or even faith”[1069] to mystical union with the Divine, “the Christ-life,”[1070] where “your own personality as a separate identity [is] merged in Him,”[1071] and “God is—we are not.”[1072]  Connecting her Quietism to the teachings of the “old Quakers” and her peculiar view of the soul and spirit, Penn-Lewis taught that one must reject “creaturely activity . . . [which] is manifestly the energy of the creature being used in the service of God rather than the creature seeking in spirit to co-operate with the Holy Spirit given to him as the Gift of the Risen Son of God.”[1073] The Quietism learned from Guyon and the spirit world that produced her writings brought Penn-Lewis “into the stream of life at Keswick . . . in one spirit with . . . all” the ministers and spiritual teachings at the Keswick Convention of 1892,[1074] where speakers included the annihilationist George Grubb.[1075] Penn-Lewis also “prepared reprints of works by . . . Madame Guyon”[1076] to spread Guyon’s Roman Catholic mysticism to others.

Indeed, Jessie Penn-Lewis produced her writings under inspiration, she believed, just like Madame Guyon did, and the writers of the Bible did. Just like “Madame Guyon again and again describes how she wrote, under the hand of God, many things which it was not in her own mind and spirit to write . . . writing . . . treasures of knowledge and understanding that [she] did not know [her]self to possess . . . with incredible quickness, for the hand could hardly follow the Spirit,”[1077] writing, that is, under a supernatural inspiration, Penn-Lewis commented in her “heav[ily underscor[ed] . . . two-volume edition of Madame Guyon’s ‘Autobiography’” the “similarity of experience” between the two women, in that Jessie felt that Guyon’s description of her writing by inspiration was “exactly how I have always written.”[1078] The same spirit that moved Guyon to write by inspiration—which, unfortunately, was the very god of this world that worked in Hindu and other pagan mystics, and that authored Rome’s many wretched heresies, such as justification by imparted righteousness, salvation by works, transubstantiation, baptismal regeneration, image worship, and the acceptance of non-canonical Apocrypha as inspired—also moved Jessie Penn-Lewis, in accordance with the Quaker doctrine of the Inner Light, to write by inspiration. Penn-Lewis’ writings were thus nothing but “determined obedience to the ‘heavenly vision,’” and, she said, “I cannot write one sentence unless I receive it from God” by “inspiration,” thus producing her “Overcomer Literature” in this manner.[1079] For example, by means of a “special vision,” she described how she had one of her books revealed to her: “[A]s I was going to bed, there suddenly flashed upon me [the book] The Message of the Cross[1080] with every chapter marked—the whole scheme, every heading, chapter and title. Next morning I arose with every bit of it printed on my mind. I went to my study—locked the door—took each passage and wrote it as rapidly as it was possible. . . . Will the devil leave me alone over this?”[1081] In association with this book she also narrates: “In a dream I arose and went downstairs and sat alone far away in the vision. A voice came to me from the glory . . . [t]he knowledge was unspeakable.” She wrote:

I was suddenly within the veil. . . . It seemed as if I and the Lord were one. He stood before the Father holding out His pierced hands, but it was I who stood there, too, in Him. He was saying ‘Father I have died,’ but I was saying it, too. Calvary seemed far away down on the hillside.

        This was the Risen Lord with marks of the wounds, in the presence of the Father—and I was there. I saw Calvary within the veil. My whole being was melted.[1082]

These visions built upon her supernatural encounter earlier in the year:

I suddenly began to feel pressed and burdened. My head fell on my breast with heavy breathing and for some time I groaned heavily. Then God spoke, ‘He who knew no sin was made sin on our behalf.’ I felt as if part of myself or a member of my body was corrupt and loathsome. It was part of me and tied to me by life and I could not be separated from it.

        Thus I knew what it meant for Him who knew no sin to be made Sin, to have identified with Him and the accursed ones, corrupt with the fallen life and yet joined to Him their Redeemed. For a week I walked so strangely under ceaseless condemnation. All I did seemed wrong. My conscience void of offense seemed to become all offense without a cause. . . . The lesson was that it was all permitted of God to teach me how truly the Pure and Holy One suffered as He became SIN on our behalf.

        It was a fellowship of Christ’s sufferings in the one sense, that it lets one understand His agony as the sin-bearer. . . . This was the first deep knowledge of the Cross.[1083]

Thus, the material for her books came from the spirit world, visions, dreams, voices, experiences with heavy breathing, groaning, parts of her body feeling corrupt and loathsome, and so on. Her teaching on “those deeper aspects of Romans 6 and Colossians 2”[1084] were “revealed” to her in such a manner—rather than from the study of the Bible, which teaches, on the contrary, that while Christ endured the punishment of the sinful world in a vicarious way, sin being imputed to Him, He nevertheless was never personally sinful. Thus, by her visions and revelations, she gained that “deep knowledge of the Cross” which contradicts what Scripture teaches about the work of Christ on the cross. Writing to F. B. Meyer, she said, “I have been given by the Divine Spirit the interpretation of the Cross to the Christian.”[1085] She “was specially chosen . . . and equipped with deep spiritual truths in these last days for the Church, truths that no one else held,”[1086] since they are not in the Bible. Furthermore, the spirits that gave her revelations not only miraculously produced The Message of the Cross, “every bit of it,” although she did not delight in writing it,[1087] but enabled her to know the future by “reveal[ing] to her that the book would be greatly used”—and it was, in fact, “being studied more and more on the very eve of the Great Awakening” in the Welsh holiness revival “in 1904.”[1088] Nor was The Message of the Cross by any means her only book inspired in this manner—her other books were “God-inspired”[1089] as well. “God’s Hand was upon me . . . and I wrote . . . all He showed me,” she claimed, “chapter[s]” of her writings coming through “vision[s]”[1090] and “revelations,”[1091] “God . . . pouring light . . . and [her] pen running without halting,”[1092] as she “wr[ote] what He gave me . . . even as Moses in the Mount with God.”[1093] Likewise, her magazine articles were inspired. Even historical reports of events “were sounding like prophetic messages,” for “she simply refused to separate her reports from her burden messages given directly by the Lord.”[1094] She could also, free from the constraint of careful study of the Bible because of her inspiration, write “the actual matter [of a book] in one week”[1095] as “there poured from her pen . . . message[s] . . . so definitely given of God . . . truly prophetic . . words.”[1096] However, although she wrote every sentence and word of her writings under inspiration from the spirit world, she still needed to spend “ceaseless labour in proof correcting . . . and [other] details”[1097] that, it seems, supernatural inspiration did not get right at first. So great were the new revelations associated with her that she told others that the “Holy Ghost [could] tak[e] hold of” them also, “according to 1 Chron. xxviii:19,” a passage which describes how David received truth under the infallible inspiration of God, and “inspire” even those who “translate” her writings into other languages; “God will take hold of your mind and your pen,” she affirms of her translator-to-be[1098]—so one does not even need to learn English to read her inspired writings, but can read inspired translations of her works in foreign tongues. Nor was inspiration limited to her as a prophetess, and to those who translated her writings; inspiration was given to many who had entered into the highest levels of the Higher Life—all those, for example, who were to rise in the partial Rapture were the recipients of “revelation” and “inspiration” from God.[1099] Furthermore, not Mrs. Penn-Lewis’ writings alone, but sundry other books, inspired as were the books of the Bible, could be written in modern times. The process of 2 Peter 1:15-21, where “prophecy” and “scripture” came from “holy men of God . . . moved by the Holy Ghost,” was taking place in her day, she knew. Penn-Lewis described how one could write in the present day under the same kind of inspiration that was involved in the production of the Bible, both exalting modern writings to the level of Biblical inspiration and downgrading Biblical inspiration by affirming that it did not involve “dictation,” when every jot and tittle of Scripture was indeed dictated, although not mechanically, by the Holy Spirit through holy men of old. In her exaltation of modern “inspired” writings she also attacked the plenary character of Biblical inspiration, affirming that there were levels of inspiration in the Bible, some parts being from God and some parts being what the human writer simply felt like recording.[1100] Thus, Penn-Lewis—under inspiration herself, of course—wrote:

True writing under the hand of God [takes place today]. . . under Divine guidance . . . moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21) . . . writing under the guidance of God . . . by the movement of the Holy Spirit in the man’s spirit[.] . . . The Scriptures bear the marks of their having been written in this way. Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:21). They spake from God, but as men they received and uttered, or wrote the truth given in the spirit, but transmitted through the full use of their divinely enlightened faculties. Paul’s writings all show the fulfillment of the[se] . . . requirements[.] . . . In Paul, too, we see the clear discrimination possessed by a spiritual man, able to recognize what came from God in his spirit, and what was the product of his own thought. . . . Note the varying language in 1 Cor. 7:6, 8, 10, 12, 25, 40, “I say,” and “Not I but the Lord.” . . . [W]riting under the guidance of God . . . is not given by dictation[,] but] . . . “supernatural revelations” [are for] today[.][1101]

Thus, by means of the inspiration of her writings and their inspired translation, Jessie Penn-Lewis followed Madame Guyon and became “a teacher of the deep things of God.”[1102]

Indeed, Mrs. Penn-Lewis tied in her inspiration with her role as a woman preacher, for those “passages of the Apostle Paul’s writings” that plainly proclaimed the sinfulness of women preachers “were bound to be in harmony with the working of the Holy Spirit[1103] in the Nineteenth Century” during which she had “proved . . . in her own life” the propriety of woman preaching by her spiritual experiences and “God sp[eaking] with mighty power through His handmaiden.” Had not the preaching, teaching, counseling, public prayer, and other acts of female leadership over men in the Welsh Revival demonstrated that the Most High accepted such disobedience to Scripture,[1104] just as the marvels   Penn-Lewis further proclaimed: “The Lord has set a the seal of blessing on my messages at Keswick [and elsewhere],” and she knew that “the whole current of life moving through the spiritual Church is towards clear and open ground for women in the work of God,” so failing to preach would be “disobedience,”[1105] regardless of what the plain statements of the Bible might affirm to the contrary. As she wrote in her apologetic for women preachers, The Magna Carta of Women, “The Spirit of God has never been poured forth in any company in any part of the world without the ‘handmaids’[1106] prophesying”—at least in the types of alleged revival with which she was associated—and we “dare not quench the Spirit . . . by saying that only men were inspired by the Holy Spirit.”[1107] Her argument from Acts 2 for woman preachers anticipated the Pentecostal position exactly.[1108] Thus, “[w]omen could be entrusted with prophetic and teaching ministries of the highest kind.”[1109] If, by “a special vision . . . [her] sermon[s] [were] inspired,”[1110] and she was “God’s special messenger” who properly “asserted her special status as a messenger of God,”[1111] who would dare to question her preaching? She warned: “you will fear lest you touch His revealings to me in the least degree . . . given by Him directly to me.”[1112] When Jehovah spoke directly from heaven on Mount Sinai, or speaks in His Word the Bible, men must fear and tremble before Him: “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken” (Isaiah 1:2). But now hearken—Jessie Penn-Lewis has spoken. Who dares not fear? Indeed, she wrote that she received by revelation her special doctrine of the Cross and sanctification at the time “it pleased God to reveal His Son I me that I might preach Him.”[1113] After consulting with others who saw visions, and feeling “a strange prompting to sing and preach,” Penn-Lewis “was no longer reluctant to share her [own] visions with others,” and shortly thereafter “began her public preaching” in earnest, receiving supernatural ability to “speak to men’s meetings and fe[el] not a twinge of nerves.”[1114] Naturally, a “woman who is called to preach is likewise called to an understanding of the Word which will agree with that inward voice”[1115]—Quaker Inner Light and direct revelations must be used to interpret the Bible, which, therefore, must not be the sole and sufficient authority for faith and practice, despite 2 Timothy 3:16-17. For that matter, “there were times when she” did not “compose an address” but simply “appeal[ed] to the Holy Spirit to give her a message” to preach, or supernatural influences “told her to throw away her notes” or to simply “arise, nothing doubting, and speak,” bestowing upon her supernatural “power . . . and liberty” apart from study of the Scriptures; while sometimes a “minister was not pleased” by this preaching without study, “it matters not.”[1116] Her writings and messages thus reflected her “personal experience”[1117] and were “confirmed by numbers of letters in [her] possession, as well as by the witness of God to many another soul,” rather than by careful attention to sound principles of Biblical exegesis; she had “no desire to dogmatise or systematize,”[1118] and, for that reason, pressed upon Christian workers as a dogma not to be questioned: “Do not dogmatize over anything.”[1119] She “return[ed]” theological “books” when sent to her with “nothing to say about them” because she was “not concerned about ‘systems,’ . . . hav[ing] no time for” them,[1120] preferring what she could learn by mystical experiences, visions, and revelations.

Mrs. Penn-Lewis’s disregard for systematic theology was evident in her confusion and false doctrine about who God Himself even was. As at the Broadlands Conferences preaching that “Jesus Christ is . . . the Holy Spirit”[1121] was acceptable, so Mrs. Penn-Lewis could make modalistic affirmations about God as a single “Person manifested as Father, Son, or Holy Spirit.”[1122] She could deny the omnipresence of God the Father and God the Son, claiming that they were not on earth, and deny the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit by affirming that He was on earth, but not in heaven:

God the Father, as a Person, is in the highest heaven. His presence is manifested in men as the “Spirit of the Father.” Christ the Son is in heaven as a Person, His presence in men is by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of the Father, and of the Son, is on earth in the Church. . . . The Person of God [which, it seems, is again only modalistic and solitary, not Trinitarian] is in heaven, but the presence is manifested on earth, in and with believers; through and by the Holy Spirit; in, and to the human spirit, as the organ of the Holy Spirit for the manifested presence of God.[1123]

Scripture teaches that all three Persons of the Trinity are within the believer (John 14:23), not the Holy Spirit only (which is necessary, in any case, since the Divine essence is undivided), so that while the Spirit certainly is in the Christian (Romans 8:9), Christ is in the believer also: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:20). However, Penn-Lewis wrote: “The thought with many is that the Person of Christ is in them, but in truth, Christ as a Person is in no man,”[1124] an affirmation which, happily, is false, as then all would be reprobates. Nevertheless, she knew that it was necessary to adopt all this confusion and false doctrine on the Trinity and the Divine attributes in order to “understand the counterfeiting methods of evil spirits”[1125]—confusion about and blasphemy against the Triune God would certainly be of great help in resisting evil spirits, at least to those who think it is well to reject theology for mindless mysticism. Thus, while Penn-Lewis did not have time for theology, she had plenty of time to pour over the writings of Madame Guyon, be “influenced by . . . mystical treatises . . . by Fenelon,”[1126] and read other mystics and heretics,[1127] so that “[s]ome of her language . . . sounded like the mystic cults.”[1128] “It is the mind, not the heart, that is the trouble,” she wrote; “experience may easily be of God and yet the mind” can get in the way. “Christians . . . know too much[,] [and therefore are] sinking . . . further away from the true life in God.”[1129] Thus, her preaching and writing “c[ame] from, and appeal to, the heart rather than the intellect.”[1130] God “could not use me for writing,” Penn-Lewis wrote, when her “natural mental activities [were] aroused.”[1131] Thus, rather than carefully examining the context of passages of the Bible and recognizing the fact that a genuine work of God employs a “sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7), one could instead know one had the correct interpretation of Scripture by emptying one’s mind and having “the Holy Ghost commen[d] the message to every man’s conscience” through direct revelation.[1132] Penn-Lewis’ writings therefore do “not contain ‘mental’ matter, i. e., matter which is merely the product of the mind, even a spiritual mind,”[1133] but material gained by “fresh and living experience” that showed what the true meaning of the Bible was.[1134] It is, then, not unexpected that those who use their minds—as the Spirit that inspired the Scriptures commands (Isaiah 1:18; Romans 12:1; 2 Timothy 1:7)—come to reject both her claims of inspiration and the theology of sanctification she allegedly received by inspiration. To recognize the inspiration of the writings of a woman who plainly contradicts Scripture, exalts ignorance of theology, promulgates a doctrine of healing that does not actually heal, believes she has deep knowledge of the Cross because parts of her body begin to feel loathsome, and predicted the end of the world in 1914, one must truly set aside his mind.

Nonetheless, Mrs. Penn Lewis preached worldwide in Quaker, Anglican, Lutheran, Salvation Army, Y. W. C. A., China Inland Mission, and many other settings[1135] to audiences that readily adopted the theology of sanctification and healing she had received from the spirit world by inspiration. She “joined the staff of the women’s meetings . . . [at] Keswick . . . by the invitation of the Trustees” in 1899,[1136] having already “been present at the Convention . . . [y]ear after year”[1137] before this time, and continued her “service in the Women’s Meetings at Keswick . . . [until] 1909.”[1138] She preached “[a]t Keswick also, for many years, [at] open meetings . . . addressed on the Sundays preceding and concluding Convention week,”[1139] for she was as “an influential figure in the Keswick Convention,”[1140] being asked to deliver Bible Readings to mixed gender audiences at Keswick.[1141] Many people came to Keswick specifically to hear her preach.[1142] After 1909 “she still continued one of the Trustees of the Convention,” simply “retir[ing] from the leadership of the Women’s Meetings and from the heavy organizing work”[1143] to focus on her message of warfare with Satan and the coming end of the world. She remained closely associated with Keswick until her death; shortly before her passing she was found “at Keswick in July 1927 . . . [and] travelled to Llandrindod Wells [the Welsh Keswick] on July 29th, as one of the speakers of the Convention.”[1144] She was also “a standing member . . . [of] the Council of Reference” for the Welsh “Llandrindod Keswick Convention”[1145] that she helped to found,[1146] and it “was Jessie’s special task to introduce [Keswick-type] conventions to North Wales.”[1147] Indeed, she was the initiator of the process through which the Llandrindod Wells Convention began.[1148] She also “helped organize . . . many new Keswick-type local conventions.”[1149] She did, however, give up some of her responsibilities in 1909[1150] to focus on that “message of the Cross” she had received by direct revelation accompanied with feelings of corruption in her body parts, a message which needed to be “proclaimed anew” to prepare “the Church . . . for translation at the Lord’s appearing,”[1151] and to that end her booklet “The Word of the Cross” was printed in the millions of copies and translated into “no less than one hundred languages and dialects”[1152] as a result of a vision[1153] of “someone coming in shining armor covered with precious stones[,] and this being was filled with God”—Dr. Rudeshill, the printer of her works himself,[1154] although not long afterwards he “lost all his enthusiasm for her work.”[1155] At times a new book she had received by revelation would be “by far the most popular book at Keswick th[at] year.”[1156] Her works filled “Japan, China, . . . India[,] . . . Jamaica, Mexico . . . other Caribbean centers . . . Canada . . . the Australian States . . . Singapore . . . [and] Kenya . . . [were translated into] German, French . . . Swedish, Russian, and other Baltic languages . . . also into Yiddish . . . Italian . . . Hungarian, and other languages,” and influenced Christendom in many other nations. In short, her “message was reaching the whole world,” as distribution of her works was taken over by the “Christian Literature Crusade,” prominent publisher for Christian and Missionary Alliance literature.[1157] In America, “the name of Jessie Penn-Lewis had become a household word and . . . her books were in great demand.”[1158] Her doctrines spread so widely that they have “permeated the teaching of the Church of God, even in circles where her name is scarcely known.”[1159]

Penn-Lewis’ theology “of the Cross was the Lord’s preparation of a group of His servants who should carry the message to Wales,”[1160] just as her influence as a “founder of the ‘Welsh Keswick’ at Llandrindod Wells”[1161] and her influence in the continued development of the Welsh Keswick, the Llandrindod Wells Convention, which began in 1903,[1162] and her preaching at its meetings from the first, were central developments in the rise of the Methodist and Anglican aspects, especially, of the holiness revival[1163] of 1904 in Wales, a movement of which she also served as chronicler[1164] and doctrinal guide.[1165] She “was . . . a special correspondent to several of the men most deeply involved in the Revival. . . . Few were more intimate with the workings of revival, few were in such constant touch with the chief instruments and their prayer partners, and few were so well-known abroad that their reports of miraculous events would be believed and responded to.”[1166] She, herself Welsh,[1167] “founded Keswick in Wales, and was the inspiration behind many other conventions.”[1168] As the Keswick theology contributed to the work of the Welsh holiness revival under Evan Roberts, the holiness revival, in its turn, strongly influenced those worldwide who accepted the Keswick theology: “Keswick leaders helped to bring Keswick emphases to Wales and there was a determination to introduce the Welsh Revival to a wider audience.”[1169] It is not surprising, in light of her claims to miraculous gifts, supernatural visitations, and inspiration, that she put the Welsh Revival on a level with the religious excitement that birthed the Pentecostal movement in Los Angeles, California, from which the entire Pentecostal and charismatic movements have originated, since she believed, as did Evan Roberts,[1170] that people in their day were experiencing the “gifts of prophesy, tongues, healings, and other spiritual experiences, connected with the work of the Holy Ghost.”[1171] Just as the “heavens [were] opened” in a powerful “working of the Holy Spirit . . . [in] Revival . . . in Wales,” a like heavenly stream was at work in “the Pentecostal Movement in Los Angeles.”[1172] She found acceptable the teaching, coming from “Los Angeles, California . . . [of] many [Pentecostal] Azuza Street leaders and of the Pacific Apostolic Faith Movement” that set forth teachings on sanctification and miraculous gifts “[l]ike the Overcomer Testimony founded by Jessie Penn-Lewis”[1173] and Evan Roberts.[1174] Those “Americans who had visited each revival center in Wales, especially places where Evan Roberts could be seen,” returned home, and soon “new signs and wonders had begun in the United States,” as “the Spirit had come in power upon Los Angeles” and other places.[1175] Not only did people come from the Welsh holiness revival to America to raise up and support Pentecostalism, but the literature of the supernatural work in Wales through Evan Roberts circulated widely at Azuza Street[1176] and other roots of the Pentecostal movement as the worldwide influence of the Keswick continuationism so zealously promoted by Mrs. Penn-Lewis prepared the way for the rise of worldwide Pentecostalism. As the revivalism in Wales spread into India, “Pandita Ramabai, a high-caste widow . . . heard the news of the Welsh revival.”[1177] Ramabai, an avid supporter of women preachers like Mrs. Penn-Lewis,[1178] had spoken at Keswick in 1898 after learning the Keswick theology of receiving the Spirit from a missionary,[1179] and not long after the rise of the Welsh holiness revival “Pandita Ramabai’s witnessing and praising bands . . . adopted tongues.”[1180] By 1906 they both warmly welcomed Pentecostal leaders[1181] and were contributing to the spread of tongues internationally.[1182] “Jessie . . . commended the leaders of [her] group,”[1183] although “[c]onfusion reigned” there as people, “with shoulders and bodies twitching and jerking” experienced “extreme agony” as they “had been speaking in tongues,” while others experienced, based on a gross and blatant misinterpretation of Luke 12:49, a “baptism of fire” that involved a “flood of fire poured on [one’s] head, and . . . burning inside [that was] rather hard to bear.”[1184] Furthermore, “Vicar Alexander Boddy . . . had stood with Evan Roberts in revival meetings and been thrilled by the evidences of the Holy Spirit’s work in their midst,” and “by the following year . . . he heard with joy about [the] Azuza Street Mission in Los Angeles, California, and other places . . . sought the same blessing and found himself worshipping the Lord in ‘new tongues.’”[1185] Penn-Lewis’s “old frien[d] . . . Mrs. Groves . . . [was a] missionary who had joined in the [Pentecostal] Latter Rain experience,” and Jessie Penn-Lewis wrote to her that when one “reach[es] the very roots of faith down in the Cross, and from there ascend[s] into a life of purity and worship . . . ‘Tongues’ c[an] be one expression.”[1186] She printed “a long tribute to the [Lutheran] pastors who met at the Barmen Conference” in 1907 and stated: “We acknowledge that God might give all the gifts of the Spirit in our own day. The church should allow herself to be ready.”[1187] Mrs. Penn-Lewis was thus “[f]ar from denying the gift of tongues,” but “asked only that those who had no gifts would exercise patience, and that those who had received the gift would stay humble,”[1188] and, therefore, “was criticized by strict evangelicals as one who took too soft a line.”[1189] Her writings on Pentecostalism were “not written in a spirit of opposition or adverse criticism,”[1190] for, as a Quaker, she agreed with the fundamental continuationism of Pentecostalism. Indeed, Charles Parham, that key founder of the modern “tongues” movement, recognized the affinity of his fanaticism with that of Quakerism by affirming that extra-Biblical “Divine inspiration is the basic principle of Quakerism,” as it was central to his own theology, leading him to believe that the “Holy Spirit” by “inspiration” spoke through him in the various “language[s] of the world.”[1191] It is, therefore, not in the least surprising that Mrs. Penn-Lewis believed that “the best qualities of the Pentecostal movement could be accepted,”[1192] although she criticized certain of its more extreme aberrations.[1193] Her teachings also contained the seeds of a variety of Word of Faith heresies.[1194]

Not only did Penn-Lewis see the Welsh holiness revival as a phenomenon similar to the Pentecostal revival, but the movement in Wales led her also to the composition of The War On The Saints[1195]with Evan Roberts. This book, which was part of the preparation for the end of the world in 1914, was intended “[o]nly [for] those who have experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit,” as all others would not be able to “understand and benefit”[1196]—Christians who simply searched the Scriptures and therefore rejected the doctrine of a post-conversion Spirit baptism certainly would find no value in the book, as it was not based on grammatical-historical interpretation of the Bible, but upon “inquiries and testings . . . evidence . . . of counterfeit signs, visions, exercises, and manifestations . . . [and] testimonies.”[1197] Indeed, “Evan Roberts disclosed later that [the book] had included his spiritual autobiography because he had long since realized that he too had been deceived and harassed by Satan,” although by the time War on the Saints was written, he had now obtained “power to understand and discern,”[1198] so one did not need to fear that the book itself was a product of Satanic deception—after all, the book had cosmic dispensational significance in preparing for the end of the world in 1914, so no deception could possibly be involved. Roberts called “War on the Saints . . . my unnamed biography.”[1199] War on the Saints stated that believers, even those who have received the second blessing of the baptism of the Spirit, “devoted believers . . . honest and earnest believers . . . who have been baptized with the Holy Ghost . . . who sigh and cry over the powerlessness of the true Church of Christ, and who grieve that her witness is ineffective . . . can be deceived, and even possessed by deceiving spirits.”[1200] Deception is usually associated with possession: “Christians are as open to possession by evil spirits as other men, and become possessed . . . in most cases, unwittingly . . . apart from the cause of willful sin.”[1201] However, sometimes believers, without any known sin, and without even being deceived, may be possessed; through “unknown . . . sin . . . even by a believer, an evil spirit may take possession of the mind, or body, without there being any experience of deception.”[1202] Demons can not only possess ordinary believers without known sin, and who are not deceived, but even the most spiritual believers can be possessed. Indeed, “the most spiritual believers, baptized with the Holy Spirit, and most fitted to be used of God in Revival service, may become deceived and possessed by demons in their outer being through accepting the counterfeits of Satan.”[1203] In fact, War on the Saints teaches:

[S]ouls who are (a) not disobedient to light, or (b) living in any known sin, but the contrary . . . become possessed by evil spirits, through deception over absolute surrender to God (as they supposed), and whole‐hearted reckless abandonment to ‘supernatural power’ which they believed was of God, but through ignorance, were not able to discern as counterfeits by demons of the Spirit of God. . . . Evidence of believers wholly consecrated to God in spirit, soul and body, in will and fact, becoming possessed in mind and body by demons, is now available, having all the symptoms and manifestations . . . described in the Gospels. Multitudes of believers are possessed in various degrees[.]

Vast multitudes of believers were possessed, Mrs. Penn-Lewis knew, and possessed, not in some lesser sense, but to the fullest extent and in every way that people were indwelt and controlled by Satan and his demons recorded in Scripture:

Evidences are now available, proving that . . . possession in its fullest degree, has taken place in believers . . . such cases having all the symptoms and manifestations described in the gospel records. The demon answering questions in his own voice, and speaking words of blasphemy against God through the person . . . the demon, or demons, in the body, using the tongue, and throwing the body about at their will.”[1204]

Mrs. Penn-Lewis knew that the teaching that believers could be possessed to the uttermost extent by demons was extremely important, for: “IF THEY [demons] GET INSIDE THEY WILL MAKE HIM [the Christian or other possessed person] DO WHAT THEY WILL.”[1205] Unfortunately, nobody could know if he had sinned enough to allow demon possession to occur,[1206] so demons could be possessing and controlling Christians without their being the slightest bit aware of the situation. It was all the more necessary, then, to study War on the Saints to find out what to do in what could seem to be the almost inevitable onset of demon possession as one came under Mrs. Penn-Lewis’s influence.

In fact, as Mrs. Penn-Lewis’s teachings spread, it was “becoming more and more prominent . . . [for] CHRISTIAN[S] TO BE POSSESSED BY EVIL SPIRITS,”[1207] but this was certainly not because her teachings were themselves demonic. No, the recognition that the most spiritual believers, those who have drunk the deepest of the Higher Life Mrs. Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts were propagating, those who have risen to the level of perfection so that they do not have any known sin, may nevertheless be demon possessed, makes it clear how absolutely essential War on the Saints truly is—for with the Bible alone, nobody would be able to know such things as these, now brought to light under inspiration by Roberts and Penn-Lewis in preparation for the end of the world. Indeed, Scripture would indicate that believers cannot be demon possessed (1 John 4:4), so it is essential to read War on the Saints to discover, from “experience” and “evidences” and “fact” outside of the Bible, that the literal interpretation of God’s holy Word must be rejected[1208] on this subject:

The fact of the demon possession of Christians destroys the theory that only . . . persons deep in sin, can be “possessed” by evil spirits. This unexamined, unproved theory . . . serves the devil well[.] . . . But the veil is being stripped off the eyes of the children of God by the hard path of experience; and the knowledge is dawning upon the awakened section of the Church that a believer . . . can . . . be possessed.[1209]

Indeed, the “facts” Penn-Lewis speaks of made it so clear that Christians could be possessed that texts to the contrary—such as 1 John 4:4 & 5:18—are not only not exegeted anywhere in the course of the hundreds of pages of War on the Saints, but they are not even cited. What need is there of exegesis when one has experience? An exegetical and theological argument against believers being demon possessed, such as the following, could surely be simply rejected out of hand:

Christians cannot be possessed . . . [daimonidzomai]. This is true for the following four reasons.

1.) The believer has new life in Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, if Spirit indwelling means anything, it should mean that Christians cannot be victimized, indwelt, and/or possessed by demons. John seems to conclusively say this when speaking of false teachers in the lineage of the Antichrist who bring a “spirit” of false doctrine. He asserts, “You [believers] are from God … and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Likewise, believers are God’s temple. Thus, God promises that He “will dwell in them and walk among them; and … will be their God, and they shall be [His] people” (2 Cor 6:16). In short, while Satan and his minions unceasingly attempt to assail believers, it is unthinkable that they could come in and possess, control, or victimize the saints with the apparent benign acquiescence of the indwelling God.

2.) The believer also has the guarding protection and preservation of the Son of God. As John says, “We know that no one who is born of God sins [i.e., habitually sins; present tense]; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him” (1 John 5:18). Of course, no Christian can live without sin or without being attacked from Satan. Still, the believer here is promised that he will not be overcome by the devil and his forces. John’s verb for “touch” is hapto, which denotes to take hold of,[1210]not a mere superficial encounter but rather a fastening on[1211]or overpowering encounter. What John means is that Satan cannot finally overtake and possess the believer. Further, the believer is described as one “born of God,” a state of continuing eternal life (perfect passive of gennao); as such, he cannot practice sin (present tense of hamartano). The reason for this is the keeping power of another who has also been born of God in a similar, though infinitely greater, sense.

3.) Satan has been defeated through the cross work of Jesus Christ.[1212] This guarantees that a believer is forever freed from Satanic control and victimization. Jesus Himself, in view of His coming death, pronounced this defeat, saying, “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out” (John 12:31). Paul similarly speaks of Christ’s “disarm[ing] the rulers and authorities … [and] ma[king] public display of them, having triumphed over them through” the cross (Col 2:15). Christ, by His infinite atonement for sin forever broke the hold of evil angels[1213] on those who have been forgiven. In another place, Christ’s death is said to have rendered the devil “powerless” (Heb 2:14). Further, the believer’s union with Christ . . . assures him that the merit and validity of the Savior’s infinite and eternal cross work is forever efficacious against any hostile takeover attempt by Satan or any of His angels. The believer’s position of being in Christ, of being already judicially-seated in the heavenly places with Christ (Eph 2:6), makes Satan’s attempts to successfully dominate him futile.

4.) Demon possession requires complicity. Strong observes that “the power of evil spirits over men is not independent of the human will. This power cannot be exercised without at least the original consent of the human will.”[1214] For instance, when Satan desired to afflict Peter, it was within Peter’s power to pray for help in resisting the temptation (Luke 22:31, 40). Similarly, the expelled and wandering unclean spirit in Mark is said to be “seeking rest,” perhaps implying that he is looking for someone hospitable to his homeless plight (Matt 12:43). As such, the complicity would approximate an active availability for or exposure to demonic takeover. And, a true, Spirit-indwelt believer could not participate in such drastic accessibility. Granted, a Christian may be harassed by Satan and demons due to moral failure or willful sinning, but this sort of harassment is not coterminous with demonization.[1215]

While Scriptural exegesis and legitimate conclusions from literally interpreted Scripture—that is, God’s own self-testimony—could be rejected out of hand, what the demons themselves had testified was important. In fact, the demons had themselves taught that believers could be possessed, and that they could be cast out by the sign gift of exorcism and by the binding of Satan and his compatriots—that is, these affirmations were, in truth, the doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1)—so, clearly, it was a good idea not to listen to the Word of God, but set it aside and take heed, instead, to such seducing spirits and use what devils said through people who were possessed to figure out the truth.[1216] While Scripture teaches that the sign gift of exorcism has ceased and believers are not to command, talk to, or in any way dialogue with demons,[1217] Jessie Penn-Lewis knew better. The fact that believers could be possessed was validated by people who had the sign gift of “discerning of spirits” in modern times,[1218] as the sign gifts, whether exorcism, or “discerning of spirits . . . the gifts of healing . . . the working of miracles . . . tongues,” and the rest (1 Corinthians 12:9-10), did not pass away in the first century, but, in accordance with Penn-Lewis’s Quaker and Keswick continuationism, are for modern times also; through post-conversion Spirit baptism “the Holy Spirit. . . . is able to distribute to each the gifts of the Spirit, for effective witness to the Risen Head, ‘dividing to each one severally even as He will.’ (See 1 Cor. 12:4-11).”[1219] Furthermore, post-conversion Spirit baptism, with its distribution of miraculous gifts, is the essence of revival. In revival, as the gifts are distributed, not only can believers who are spiritual, not living in any known sin, and not disobedient to any light, be demon possessed, but revival, Spirit baptism, and the contemporary distribution of the gifts of 1 Corinthians 12 actually leads to demon possession. Few who are revived are not also deceived by Satan at that time, with vast numbers of the most spiritual believers becoming possessed and vast numbers of less spiritual believers simply being deceived, for revival is the hour of Satan’s power, and Satan’s most effective harvest time:

We have seen that the period in the believer’s life wherein he receives the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the special time of danger from the evil supernatural world, and the Baptism of the Spirit is THE ESSENCE OF REVIVAL. Revival dawn, is, therefore, the great moment for deceiving spirits to find entrance into the believer by deception through counterfeits, resulting sometimes in . . . possession[.] . . . Few go through the crisis without deception by the enemy in more or less degree[.] . . . If the believer does become deceived by evil spirits at the time that he is baptized with the Spirit . . . he begins through deception to descend into a pit which ultimately means depth of darkness, bondage and misery. . . . Those who do not discover the deceptions sink into deeper deception, and become practically useless to God and to the Church. Revival is the hour and power of God, and of the devil[.] . . . [T]he devil [is] . . . DOING HIS WORK, FROM THE DAWN OF REVIVAL. . . . Revival . . . is his greatest harvest time. He is netting his victims, mixing his workings with the workings of God, and beguiling the saints more effectively than he was ever able to do with his temptations to sin. Satan was never more active among the sons of God. . . . To put it in bluntest language, the Revival hour is the occasion for evil spirits to obtain ‘possession’ of spiritual believers[.] . . . Believers who are not so abandoned to the Spirit escape the acute ‘possession,’ but . . . are equally open to deception[.][1220]

Consequently, the “revival . . . in Wales . . . [was] followed [by] . . . evil spirit possession . . . under the guise of the Holy Spirit,”[1221] so that the “Awakening in Wales” led, by 1906, to “what may be called the ‘hour and power of darkness’ upon the Church of Christ.”[1222] The “outpouring of the Spirit of God in Wales” was followed by an “outbreak of demons upon the spiritual Church” in the country.[1223] Indeed, “since the Revival in Wales . . . almost without exception, in every land where revival [that is, revivalism of the sort experienced in Wales under Evan Roberts and promoted by Mrs. Penn-Lewis] has broken forth, within a very brief period of time the counterfeit stream has mingled with the true . . . [in] the Church of God.”[1224]  The rampant spread of demon possession and devilish counterfeits of true spirituality was not, however, evidence that something was terribly wrong with the theology and practice of Evan Roberts, Mrs. Penn-Lewis, and their followers in the Welsh holiness revival, nor did the fact that nothing like a horrific domination by Satan and his demons take place in connection with true revival in the book of Acts seem a cause for concern. The fact that those who adopt and practice the theories of consecration, revival, and Spirit baptism of Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts, and advance the farthest in the Higher Life, are especially in danger of demon possession is simply a corollary of truth about Christian sanctification[1225] received by Mrs. Penn-Lewis and Mr. Roberts through visions, voices and inspiration, and can therefore be trusted, although few things sound, to the ear of one who has not experienced the power of the spirits that have influenced Penn-Lewis and Roberts, more unbiblical and dangerous.

However, since “PURE Revival . . . has to do with the spirit, not the intellect,”[1226] the fact that one’s intellect cries out that War on the Saints is filled with unscriptural and irrational nonsense is not important. Rather, one can have hope, because “[t]he Church of Christ will reach its high water mark when it is able to deal with demon possession; when it knows how to ‘bind the strong man’ by prayer; ‘command’ the spirits of evil in the name of Christ, and deliver men from their power,”[1227] by practicing what War on the Saints teaches, including both a doctrine of “binding the strong man,” Satan, by a type of warfare prayer that is not found in the Bible,[1228] and a false doctrine of how to deal with demon possession, all of which were passed on to John A. MacMillan, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, Pentecostalism, and the Word of Faith movement.[1229] Indeed, the deity set forth by Evan Roberts and Mrs. Penn-Lewis is helpless and unable to defeat sin and Satan without people binding the devil.[1230] Binding Satan and evil spirits was even necessary to allow Jesus Christ to return and catch up His saints (or at least those saints who had passed beyond justification, and the second blessing of the Higher Life, and the third blessing of the Warfare with Satan Life, into the Highest Life, the Throne Life “far above” Satan[1231]); the Lord was helpless until the Higher Life practitioners had bound all the evil spirits so that the Rapture could take place,[1232] and even then He could only catch away those believers who had achieved the Throne Life and Translation Faith and consented to Him taking them—the rest God would have to leave behind: “We must first get what may be called the ‘translation’ spirit. . . . We have to put our wills for this. God must get the consent of our wills for everything that He does. . . . Just as you give your consent to your spirit being ‘far above,’ so you must say, ‘Lord I consent to translation.”[1233] Happily, the evil spirits had all been bound in 1913,[1234] brought down to a great extent by the almost omnipotent prayers of Evan Roberts,[1235] and people were learning through The Overcomer magazine that, as they had exercised a distinct act of faith for justification, another distinct act of faith for sanctification, a third distinct act of faith for bodily healing, a fourth distinct act of faith for the Throne Life of overcoming Satan, so now they could exercise a fifth distinct act faith to bring Christ back, allowing the Redeemer to catch them up—therefore, Christ could and would return in 1914. Penn-Lewis recounts how the Higher Life practitioner is to bind Satan:

In Matthew 12:29 the Lord said, “First bind the strong man,” and then “spoil his goods.” . . . The Church must learn this “binding” power of prayer for it is written, “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven” (Mat. 18:18). And what can this “binding” mean except restraining the working of the enemy by appealing to the conquering power of Him who was “manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil”? . . . Christians . . . [should] t[ake] Christ at His word, and aloud, with united hearts and voices . . . “bind” the adversary.[1236]

While, since her articles and books were received by inspiration, Penn-Lewis might appeal to her own authority as a prophetess and her experience as one who knew of the deep things of Satan to validate her doctrine of “binding the strong man,” she certainly could not appeal to anything in the Bible to support it, as neither Matthew 12:29, nor Matthew 18:18, nor any other text of Scripture supports her contention.[1237] In Matthew 12, Christ proved that He as the Messiah (v. 23) and the Son of God, by the Spirit of God was casting out devils that had possessed men, thus validating that He was stronger than Satan, the “strong man,” and all his fallen angels (v. 29), because He could “enter . . . [Satan’s] house” or kingdom and free those Satan had kept captive, “spoil his house,” by casting out demons. While it is perfectly appropriate for believers to pray that Satan and his devils would be hindered in their attempts to stop the work of God, Matthew 12 is specifically about Christ casting out demons and so validating His Messianic claims, not about the work of God going forward in a general sense, or an alleged “‘binding’ power of prayer.” None of the hundreds of prayers in Scripture mention believers binding Satan to advance the work of God in some general sense, nor, for that matter, is there the least hint that any Christian in the Bible thought that he was to bind Satan in prayer or in any other way at all. In fact, Scripture is very clear that when the Millennial kingdom begins “an angel [will] come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he [will lay] hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and b[i]nd him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled” (Revelation 20:1-3; cf. Revelation 9:14).[1238] Satan is not bound now (1 Peter 5:8; Job 2:2), and when he will be bound in the Millennium, a powerful angel, not a Christian, will bind him, and cast Satan into the bottomless pit. A Christian, who is far weaker than Satan, should also consider if it is wise to seek to bind that mighty angel when the devil is far more powerful than any fallen man—especially since he will not have the blessing of the Spirit in his endeavor, since God has never stated that men are to bind the devil in the dispensation of grace. The Lord Jesus, by contrast, both with His inherent power as God and the power of the omnipotent Spirit working in Him without measure as the Messiah and God-Man, has every right and ability to bind Satan according to His will. Furthermore, unless a Christian is praying for the coming of the Millennial kingdom when he prays for Satan to be bound, he is asking for something that is not going to happen, and if a Christian claims, or a group of Christians claim, that they can bind Satan, they are actually opening themselves up for Satanic delusion—at least if one goes only by the Bible, rather than by the inspired writings of Jessie Penn-Lewis. The fact that Christians cannot bind Satan explains why, although countless Pentecostals, Word of Faith advocates, and practitioners of Keswick continuationism claim, all over the world, to bind Satan all the time, so that every minute of the day someone somewhere in the world is praying that Satan would be bound, Satan remains the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and is as unbound and active as ever. The radical change that will take place in the world when Satan actually is bound—and stays bound—in the Millennial kingdom (Revelation 20:1-3) stands in the sharpest contrast with the total absence of any such change when Pentecostals follow Jessie Penn-Lewis and claim to bind Satan, since he somehow is loosed from their “binding” and as active as ever the second after they make their prayer, and even while, deluded by his lies, they are praying it.

Likewise, neither Matthew 18:15-20 nor Matthew 16:18-19 have anything to do with Christians binding Satan.[1239] The “binding” and “loosing” of Matthew 16:19; 18:18 refer to making decisions about what is right and wrong, about the regulation of right behavior and teaching, comparable to Jewish use of the terms “binding” and “loosing” to declare what was permissible or impermissible (cf. Matthew 23:4, 13; Luke 11:52).[1240] Peter, as one of the Apostles, possessing Divine authority as represented by the metaphor of the “keys” (Matthew 16:19; cf. Isaiah 22:22[1241]), declared, based on the coming of Christ, the abolition of Old Testament ceremonies such as circumcision, dietary laws, and festival days for the Gentiles (Acts 15:10, 19) and the end of the distinction between Jews and Gentiles in the church age (Acts 10:28; 11:2-3, 18), “binding” believers to New Testament worship and lifestyle and “loosing” them from Old Testament worship and lifestyle.[1242] Interpreting Matthew 16:19 in light of its Jewish background in this manner has been standard practice for centuries, while Mrs. Penn Lewis’s view that the verse refers to binding Satan by prayer does not appear to have existed before her lifetime.[1243] Similarly, Matthew 18:18 indicates that every one of Christ’s true churches[1244] has Divine authority to preach and teach God-given truth about doctrine and lifestyle, and consequently the ability to excommunicate members of the congregation (Matthew 18:15-17) who refuse to believe and practice the God-given truths of the Word that the church binds and looses (Matthew 18:18) by its preaching and discipline. The church has authority to declare God’s will and pronounce the actions of its wayward member as sin. Furthermore, Matthew 16:19 and 18:18 refer to teachings, issues, or actions, not to personal beings—not humans, and certainly not fallen angels—being bound or loosed; the passages refer to “whatsoever” is bound or loosed, not “whosoever” is bound or loosed (cf. also Matthew 5:19).[1245] If one were to insist, despite the “whatsoever,” that persons were in view, those being “loosed” by the church in Matthew 18 would be members of the assembly who had been “bound” by joining the congregation, so unless fallen angels or Satan himself had been immersed upon profession of faith into the membership of a New Testament church, nothing about binding Satan is contained in Matthew 18. No modern advocate of Keswick or Pentecostal theology is the Apostle Peter, so Matthew 16:19 does not help advance Jessie Penn-Lewis’ position. Nor does the binding and loosing take place in Matthew 18:18 through prayer; rather, the congregation receives Divine guidance in prayer (Matthew 18:19)[1246] so that its preaching and discipline, its binding and loosing, are in accordance with the will of Christ, who is God present in their midst (Matthew 18:20; 1:23), and in accordance with the preceding and directing antecedent will[1247] of the Father in heaven. Binding and loosing is practiced by a true church in conjunction with and as a result of prayer, but not by means of prayer. Furthermore, the verb tenses for “shall be bound” and “shall be loosed” indicate that the binding and loosing constitutes a continuing condition.[1248] The doctrine taught by the Apostles and promulgated by true churches is permanently binding on the people of God, who have also been permanently loosed from Old Testament ceremonial regulations.[1249] However, it seems that those who abuse Matthew 16:19 and 18:18 to support their doctrine of binding Satan—the large majority of whom are not members of Biblical Baptist churches, and thus people to whom Matthew 18:18, and 16:19 so much the more, do not apply in any case[1250]—fail to keep him bound for very long at all,[1251] although no other congregation or individual is likely to be praying for Satan to be loosed, since prayers to loose Satan appear to be vastly fewer in number than those to bind him. Scripture affirms that Satan will not be bound until the Millennial kingdom, and the texts Penn-Lewis employs to support her doctrine of Christians binding Satan are ripped out of context. Therefore, since the Bible gives no support to her view, her conclusions are only as sure as her claim to extra-Biblical inspiration. Only to the extent that the prophetic powers she and Evan Roberts possessed were validated by their prediction of the end of the world in 1914, to that extent, at best, can one rely on their advice for how to battle devils and bind Satan in War on the Saints.

Indeed, one need not fear that since War on the Saints records Evan Roberts’ own spiritual autobiography, while likewise affirming, in descriptions that speak of Roberts’ own experience, that even the most spiritual believers can be demon possessed, that Evan himself had been demon possessed—on his own admission—during the time of his preaching in the Welsh holiness revival. Nor need one fear when Jessie Penn-Lewis preached that “her chronic suffering” was a result of “possessions” and “the hold of the dark powers,” as she experientially “knew and proved,” for she had been delivered from such possession over “15 years” before the time of the production of War on the Saints.[1252] No, even if the authors of the book, both of whom had highly questionable testimonies of personal conversion, indicated that they had themselves been demon possessed,[1253] War on the Saints was excellent and wholesome material—and more. In fact, Penn-Lewis taught, “the only ones who will be able to stand as the influence of the Deceiver ensnares and engulfs the whole of the inhabitants of the earth”[1254] in the final days before the end of the world in 1914 will be those who accept the teaching of War on the Saints and the Satanic warfare doctrines set forth in the Overcomer magazine, so War on the Saints was the most necessary book on earth, as the Bible, by necessary consequence, was not sufficient on its own to protect people from the influence of the Deceiver. On the other hand, the “measure of hostility shown to [War on the Saints] by readers will be the measure of the deception by evil spirits into which he or she has fallen,” affirmed the “champions of the book.”[1255] The Bible alone was insufficient to deal with demons—instead of the Bible, one needed to learn things from familiar intercourse with the demons. However, Evan Roberts and Mrs. Penn-Lewis could “testify” that they had “no superficial experience” of the “deep things of Satan,” but could “fathom” those depths because they had themselves mined them through their “deep, varied, and awful experiences of the invisible powers of darkness . . . [h]ad we escaped the wiles, we could have written from conjecture and imagination about the arch-fiend, but then it would have been in the vital points essentially wide of the mark.”[1256] Since they had been deceived by the devil and had experienced the very darkest of the deep things of Satan, their writings were to be trusted in the way the teaching of those who had never been deceived by Satan and experienced his deep things—such as the sinless Author of the Bible, who had never been deceived by Satan, Jesus the Christ—could not. The reason that the teachings found in War on the Saints were “practically unknown, and unprepared for in the literature of the Church,” was not because the book was saturated with false doctrine, demonic apostasy, and fanaticism, but because the truths of the book could only be revealed after the “seven years [of] . . . dispensational warfare . . . [with] demons” that followed the 1904 Welsh holiness revival in “the Time of the End” shortly before the return of Christ in 1914.[1257] “Dispensationally the Book was in sequence to the Revival of 1904, and dispensationally it antedated the Translation Message given in October 1913, just one year after its issue.”[1258] Besides, the doctrines of War on the Saints led people such as the head of the Y. W. C. A. in Finland to experience supernatural healing,[1259] and victories over evil spirits took place by means of positive confessions that anticipated those of the Word-Faith movement,[1260] which was also anticipated in the book’s affirmation that prayer is more of a “manipulative ac[t]” than simply a “cooperative ac[t]” with God.[1261] For, while the Bible taught that sign gifts such as exorcism were miraculous powers possessed by Christ and given to the Apostles as one of the “signs of an apostle” (2 Corinthians 12:12) and as a confirmation of the Word proclaimed by them,[1262] as is evident from the fact that the generality of believers in Scripture never even claimed to have the ability to cast out demons at will, War on the Saints taught that every “believer” who has entered into the Higher Life has “power to wield [Christ’s] Name, and in His name to have authority to cast out demons.”[1263] Today “demons are cast out immediately after the simple prayer of faith by the Christians. . . . men [are] delivered from demon-possession after one prayer,” in the same way, allegedly, that demons were miraculously cast out in the first century, although, unlike when the Biblical gift of exorcism was truly and properly exercised, sometimes modern exorcists are unable to cast devils out.[1264] Similarly, today supernatural “[v]isions may have their source in . . . God . . . Divine ‘Visions’ [are] given . . . [d]reams can come from . . . God . . . [w]riting in its source may be from . . . God[.] . . . There is a true seeing and hearing . . . of supernatural things . . . of supernatural words . . . [and] of the revelations of God,”[1265] so cessationism is certainly false, and believers who adopt Keswick and Pentecostal continuationism can receive revelatory dreams and visions, and can produce inspired writings in this present age. By means of the truths of War on the Saints, “what happened when Christ was on earth, will happen again when the casting out of evil spirits will become a recognized part of all Christian and ministerial activity.”[1266] War on the Saints will lead men to practice exorcism and then lead to the restoration of all the first century sign gifts—it will destroy the cessationism believed and practiced by Christians and churches because of literal exegesis of the Bible and the acceptance of its sole authority for faith and practice. The spread of such Quaker, Pentecostal, and Word of Faith notions is certainly a great benefit to at least one side in the war between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Besides, Evan Roberts himself wrote: “Satan came to me but he was driven to flight,”[1267] so Roberts had tested the doctrine in War on the Saints in his own personal experiences with Satan—the book, and the teachings of Roberts and Penn-Lewis in general, were “precisely true according to experience.”[1268] Surely such apparent victories over evil spirits and powerful answers to prayer were not themselves part of a deeper Satanic deception, but validated the teaching of Roberts and Penn-Lewis on Satanic warfare and the book War on the Saints. Certainly in modern times demons would not pretend to be cast out or actually leave human victims in order to advance a deeper deception by validating unbiblical Keswick continuationism, although in Christ’s day devils worked in exactly this sort of way by allowing the sons of the Pharisees to cast them out (Luke 11:19) in order to validate anti-Christ Pharisaic doctrine as true. No, although God’s Word records exactly such deception, today this Biblical warning should be set aside or ignored, just as it was by Evan Roberts and Mrs. Penn-Lewis. Besides, neither Evan Roberts nor Jessie Penn-Lewis thought they were demon possessed while writing the book, although they confessed that they had been possessed earlier—at least while writing the book under inspiration they testified that they were possessed no longer. Although they also taught that one could be possessed and not know it, one clearly had nothing to fear. Furthermore, while literal exegesis of the Bible would indicate that true Christians could not be possessed, since War on the Saints could simply ignore texts that support such a truth (what need to allegorize Scripture when it can be ignored?) and affirm the contrary, and as nobody could possibly think that Mrs. Penn-Lewis was herself unconverted, her experiences being demon possessed were surely salutary, as being filled with demons also leads one to be filled, not with spiritual blindness and darkness, but with spiritual discernment. While Roberts and Penn-Lewis record in their book many curious statements which are totally impossible to prove from Scripture, happily, they could still appeal to the fact that they were themselves recipients and oracles of revelation from the spirit world that supplemented the Bible and brought them to different conclusions than they would have made had they followed Scripture alone. Thus, War on the Saints affirms that the “Bible throws much light upon the Satanic powers, which cannot fail to be discerned by all who search the Scriptures with open minds, but these will not obtain as much knowledge of the subject from the sacred record, as will those who have understanding by experience”; one is to gain “through experience . . . a personal witness to the . . . Scripture . . . testimony concerning the existence of supernatural beings, and their works, and the way they deceive, and mislead the children of men.”[1269] That is, the Bible is perhaps not to be entirely discounted, but its testimony is not able to give as much knowledge as one can obtain by personal interaction with and experiential fellowship with misleading demons. Experience must supplement searching the Scripture with an open mind, and grammatical-historical interpretation of the Word of God must give way to experience-oriented interpretation. Rejecting the total sufficiency of the Bible alone, and the literal interpretation of Scripture, to favor experience instead, will not open one up to Satanic deception, but will help one to successfully fight the devil, Penn-Lewis informs her readers. In fact, perhaps experience is really to entirely replace Scripture in knowing how to deal with demons: “Believers will be taught the truth about themselves only by experience, therefore God permits experience . . . God has permitted Satan to sift His people.”[1270] Believers will not be taught by the Bible alone about how to deal with demons—no, they will be taught by experience alone. Out with sola Scriptura, and in with sola experientia. In any case, whether the Bible is to be set aside or simply supplemented by experience, as both Evan Roberts and Mrs. Penn-Lewis knew experientially, a “purified ‘theology’ . . . and a true demonology” certainly came not from the study of Scripture alone,[1271] but by being demon possessed and then becoming free from demon possession by means of the unscriptural techniques described in War on the Saints. “[T]he believer understands the systematic workings of the forces of Satan . . .[t]hrough aggressive warfare against the foe . . . [t]hrough the knowledge gained by reading the symptoms of deception and possession in his own case, he is now able to read them in others, and see their need of deliverance, and finds himself compelled to pray for them, and work toward that goal.” Through experiencing “the methodical, planned and systematic attacks of the forces of the enemy” one discovers truth: “By these attacks, the knowledge of the active operations of the lying spirits” comes to light.[1272] Not grammatical-historical exegesis of a sufficient Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17), but being possessed, being systematically attacked by Satan, and having experiences with demons that make one think he is free from their power through utilizing the techniques of War on the Saints are the way to true theology and demonology. The teachings of War on the Saints are themselves a product of such personal interactions with demons by people who have been demon possessed, and as such, they are necessary additions to the Bible, for accepting doctrine from people who have been self-professedly demon possessed, and received teachings from their personal interactions with demons, is not the height of folly, but obviously the smart way to go.

After all, with the Bible alone, one could never discover such truths as those that War on the Saints describes as follows:

[E]vil spirits . . . bury themselves in the very structure of the human frame, some acting directly upon the organs or appetites of the body, others upon the mind or intellect, sensibilities, emotions and affections, and others more immediately upon the spirit. In the body they specially locate themselves in the spinal column, nervous system, and deepest nerve centers, through which they control the whole being; from the ganglionic nerve center located in the bowels, the emotional sensibilities, and all organs affected by them, to the cerebral nerve center in the head; the eyes, ears, neck, jaws, tongue, muscles of the face, the delicate nerve tissues of the brain. . . . Demons . . . are of various types, greater in diversity than human beings, and these demons always seek to possess a person congenial to them in some characteristic. The Bible tells us . . . of despotic demons, theological demons, screeching and yelling demons. There are demons that act more particularly on the body, or some organ or appetite of the body. There are others that act more directly upon the intellect, or the sensibilities, and emotions, and affections. There are others of a higher order that act directly on man’s spiritual nature, upon the conscience, or the spiritual perceptions. . . . Demons . . . seek out those whose make-up and temperament is most congenial to themselves and then seek to fasten themselves on to some part of the body, or brain, or some appetite, or some faculty of the mind, either the reason, or imagination, or perception; and when they get access, they bury themselves into the very structure of the person[.][1273]

Furthermore, with only the Bible, one would never know that “evil spirits want the body, and . . . so persistently work to gain access and possession . . . [b]ecause in it they find ‘rest’ (Matt. 12:43), and seem to find some relief for themselves,”[1274] for Matthew 12:43 actually states that unclean spirits seek rest, and find none, so one would need the inspired writings of Mrs. Penn-Lewis to know that, when they possess men, unclean spirits seek rest, and find some, the allegedly true, allegorical meaning of the text of Matthew, although one with no support whatever from the literal interpretation of the passage.[1275] Nor would one be able to discover the fact that there are degrees of demon possession,[1276] so that demons can possess one’s left arm, or right ear canal, or facial muscles, or nerves,[1277] or divide up portions of one’s soul, or mind, or sensibilities, and possess some portion of them, or any other portion of the person whatever—an affirmation fundamental to the entire system of War on the Saints—from the Bible alone, as there is not a shred of evidence for it in the Word. The Bible never teaches that a “buzzing in the ears” is caused by an “evil spirit locating in the nerves of the ear,” or that “shortsightedness” so that “things look misty and blurred” should lead a man to fear that “evil spirits control the physical eyes,” or that “talkativeness” could well be because [e]vil spirits may ‘possess’ [people] . . . only in the organs of speech.”[1278] Much less would anyone ever conclude simply from the Bible that one needs to know what portion of the body, or soul, and so on, is possessed before exorcism is possible, but War on the Saints revealed what is truly necessary to escape from possession: “When the believer is fighting free from possession, he . . . must know the place of the spirit, the soul, and the body, in the conflict, e.g., if evil spirits have a hold on the muscles of the bodily frame there must be effort, and use of the muscles to dislodge them, and so in every other part of the being.”[1279] None of the texts in the Bible that employ the verbs for demon possession or exorcism indicate that either possession or exorcism has degrees,[1280] nor is there the slightest evidence that one must find out that demons are, say, in one’s muscles and then wiggle those muscles to dislodge the demons. Nor does the Bible indicate that manifestations of sin by believers are sometimes caused by demons, so that when a believer acts or thinks sinfully he may not really have sinned, because the devil made him do it. However, in War on the Saints Mrs. Penn-Lewis not only discovered that the devil can make believers act sinfully—after all, there are “unclean demons . . . demons . . . of drunkenness, of gluttony, of idleness,”[1281] and so on—but that believers should not confess their sins when the devil makes them sin. If Christians confess the sins that the devil allegedly did through them, they will become demon possessed. A believer who only had 1 John 1:9, Luke 11:4, and related passages would simply confess all his sins and trust that God had cleansed him from all unrighteousness, and with the Bible alone he would never know that drunkenness, idleness, overeating, and so on, could actually be sins from demons rather than sins from himself—but War on the Saints shows that, after engaging in various sins, one should first be neutral towards them, not ashamed of them, and then one needs to find out what percentage among sins committed were actually the responsibility of the devil, and be careful to avoid confessing those sins, for even one mistake in confessing a sin that the devil really did through the believer opens the believer up to demon possession.[1282] Furthermore, while the Bible teaches that the true God is sovereign, self-sufficient, and does not need anything (Acts 17:25), the deity of War on the Saints needs prayer or it is unable to do what it wants to,[1283] and it is unable to overthrow and destroy sin and Satan without people helping out by binding the devil and utilizing the techniques in Roberts’ and Penn-Lewis’ work,[1284] affirmations that call to mind both Word of Faith doctrine and the myths about how the Greek gods became hungry if enough people did not offer them sacrifices. Indeed, the deity of Mrs. Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts is even helpless to initiate the second coming of Christ until people bind Satan and his demons and so clear the air—only then can the Rapture, the partial Rapture of the Overcomers, take place.[1285] However, the deity of War on the Saints is not the only being that has needs that only people can meet—demons can also need people to get a drink. “[F]acts gathered from experience [are] sufficient to prove that certain varieties of demons live on the juices in human blood.”[1286]  How necessary War on the Saints truly must be—filled to the brim, as it is, with affirmations about demons and their wiles that are entirely absent from Scripture! While critics[1287] would affirm that the Satanic warfare doctrines in War on the Saints and The Overcomer are themselves occasions for awful spiritual delusion, and for evil spirits to gain power over people, those who recognize the inspiration of the writings of Roberts and Penn-Lewis need not trouble themselves about the bizarre, unscriptural, and idolatrous features that burst forth on page after page of their writings, nor about the great grief and quenching of the Holy Spirit that their unscriptural nonsense produces in a Christian soul, but can rest in confidence in their prophets in these last hours before the parousia in 1914.

            Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts taught, by revelation from the spirit world, and in the company of Keswick founder Hannah W. Smith,[1288] that power over Satanic forces takes place when a believer claims a position in heavenly places, basing this conclusion on, among other texts, Ephesians 1-2, although these chapters never command believers to claim anything. The foundation was in this manner laid for the throne-life and spiritual warfare doctrines nourished and developed from within a Keswick context[1289] by John MacMillan, the Christian and Missionary Alliance in general,[1290] and the charismatic and Word-Faith movements. In 1897 Mrs. Penn-Lewis was preaching to the China Inland Mission about the “throne-life victory with Christ in God” possessed by that subcategory of believers who had entered the Overcoming Life, what her Quaker ancestors had called the Hidden Life. The elite believer who has entered into this “place of victory ‘far above’ all the principalities and powers . . . sits with Christ in His place of victory” with “Satan and all his hosts under his [the believer’s] feet,” able to exercise “authority over the nations.” Such believers experience Christ’s “throne life of victory,” and, now “encased in Christ, and wielding His authority . . . can command all the hosts of hell” and make them obey.[1291] Ephesians 1-2 are said to teach that “the Holy Spirit . . . will certainly impart to us the life of the Risen Lord. He will lift us in real experience into our place in Him, seated with Him in the heavens far above all principalities and powers . . . far above the powers of darkness.”[1292] Mrs. Penn-Lewis used her authority as a believer to effect, for example, “the dislodging of the hosts of darkness from the atmosphere” over Russia, an action that was key for “the Holy Spirit . . . to work unhindered”[1293] in that place. Her revelatory gift was important in the discovery of the Throne-Life and its power over evil spirits, as neither the Lord Jesus nor the Apostles ever gave Christians an example of removing demons from the atmosphere over a country or taught that such a removal was key for the Spirit’s unhindered work. Penn-Lewis taught that the believer can use his authority to influence world events, such as the first world war, and even change the “day of the rapture and perhaps the day of final judgment.” The believer’s authority can change “all . . . a teaching in Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science magazine, Active Service, sounded very [much] like this.”[1294] Furthermore, based on a misinterpretation of Luke 10:19 also picked up by MacMillan, Simpson,[1295] and Pentecostalism, Penn-Lewis wrote: “The soul hidden with Christ in God has authority over all the power of the enemy . . . he has power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and power to deliver and loose others from the bonds of the evil one.”[1296]

Mrs. Penn-Lewis taught further doctrines that differed greatly from those in the Bible. She denied central aspects of progressive sanctification,[1297] propagated the strange ideas that “the spirit . . . is severed or ‘disentangled’ . . . cut away . . . from the embrace of the soul” in sanctification,[1298] and taught that only the human spirit is regenerated, doctrines she passed on to Watchman Nee. Indeed, “[m]any of her teachings are echoed in the works of Watchman Nee, who acknowledged his many debts to Jessie Penn-Lewis.”[1299]  She also taught bizarre notions obviously absent from Scripture, possibly derived in part from her many books on psychology,[1300] and illustrated by her concept of “soul-force,”[1301] a concept, rooted in the Broadlands Conferences,[1302] that she passed on to John A. MacMillan,[1303] Watchman Nee, and others. Penn-Lewis wrote:

[M]an . . . [can] generate ‘soul-force’ [by] . . . so bring[ing] his body under the control of his own soul, that he can project his soul and spirit, and, while living on this earth, act as if he were a disembodied spirit. . . . The man who attains to this power is called an ‘adept’ and . . . can consciously see the minds of others.[1304] He can act by his ‘soul-force’ on external spirits. . . . He can subdue ferocious wild beasts and send his soul to a distance, and he can exhibit to his distant friends his spiritual body in the likeness of that of the flesh. . . . Soul-force . . . [is] latent in the human frame. . . . psychic power [is] latent in the human frame.[1305]

While Penn-Lewis denied that such a “force” should be cultivated, affirming rather that it was evil, she nonetheless believed that her extra-scriptural “force,” which is that of the chi of Eastern paganism and the New Age, is “very real . . . even when a man becomes regenerate.”[1306] It appears to be connected to nerves in the pit of the stomach, according to Penn-Lewis, for these nerves are the instrumentality for the performance of miracles. “[R]evelations and prophecies, speaking and singing with tongues, healing and miracles” come from the force through the “lower nerve-centers (the ganglionic system, or the ‘vegetative’ nerves, as they are called), which have their chief seat in the region round the pit of the stomach[.] . . . These nerves . . . display abilities which our ordinary organs of sense do not possess, and] they receive impressions from a realm usually closed to us, such as clairvoyance, presentiments, prophecy, speaking with tongues, etc.”[1307]  As already noted, Penn-Lewis affirmed that only the spirit of man is regenerated.[1308] Thus, the “converted man [is] one who has had his spirit regenerated . . . his renewed spirit [is] indwelt by the Spirit of God. . . . The believer . . . has been quickened in spirit, is born of the Spirit and the Spirit of God dwells in his spirit.”[1309] She connected her doctrine that only the spirit is regenerated with her doctrine that believers can be possessed by demons:

[W]hen the spirit of the man has been quickened into life and he has been delivered from the power of sin, the soulish life and elements in the physical body are open to evil powers. . . . [T]he soulish life [is used by] . . . evil spirits . . . to accomplish their plans[.] . . . This working of the enemy through the mind of a believer, when the heart and spirit may be true to God, is a most serious fact in the Church of God today[.] . . . In the physical body, the adversary can work upon the nervous system and use the animal magnetism which is inherent in every human frame, as well as many other elements open to the powers of evil, in addition to ‘the works of the flesh’ and what is generally called sin. These elements are in the very ‘makeup’ of the human vessel and . . . give . . . ground . . . to the spirits of evil to attack, or gain admittance to mind or body. . . . For full elucidation of this aspect of truth, see War on the Saints, a textbook on the work of deceiving spirits among the children of God.[1310]

As the quotation above demonstrates, Penn-Lewis assumed[1311] the reality of “animal magnetism,” a Satanic concept developed by “Franz Anton Mesmer (1734–1815)” with clear “historical ties to pagan worship and folklore . . . pagan and occultic rituals . . . [and] old cultic practices and superstitions.” Mesmer, whose ideas undergirded the Faith and Mind Cure doctrines that were precursors of Pentecostalism,[1312] was rightly “accused . . . of being a magician and charlatan,” but his ideas led to later demonic and cultic errors, as well as modern psychotherapy, as “the term magnetism . . . [was] dropped . . . and . . . hypnosis . . . introduced . . . [becoming key to the development of] the New Thought movement (a religious, metaphysical healing cult) . . . [the] Christian Science [cult of] Mary Baker Eddy . . . [and] Freud’s . . . creat[ion] [of] a new field of therapy, psychoanalysis, which soon became the new rage.”[1313] David MacLeod noted:

The now discredited Franz Anton Mesmer (1734–1815) was a French physician who has been called the father of psychotherapy, the discoverer of hypnosis, and the progenitor of clairvoyance, telepathy, and communication with the beyond. . . . He claimed that a magnetic force emanated from his hands that enabled him to direct the actions and thoughts of his subjects. The effects upon his patients included: convulsions, involuntary movements of the limbs, rapid blinking and crossing of eyes, and piercing cries, tears, hiccups and uncontrollable laughter. He performed healings using an indwelling force he called . . . animal magnetism[.][1314]

The recognition of animal magnetism was widespread in the early Higher Life and Keswick movement, as, for example, it was employed by many mediums whom the Mount-Temples knew and learned from at Broadlands, their home and center for Higher Life agitation and promotion.[1315] David Cloud wrote:

Mesmer . . . an astrologer and occultist, proposed a healing technique through hypnosis and the flow of “animal magnetism” from the practitioner to the patient. He held the occultic view that there are thousands of channels in our bodies through which an invisible life force flows and that illness is caused by blockages. The practitioner of animal magnetism could allegedly cure sicknesses by overcoming the obstacles and restoring the flow. The term “to mesmerize” is based on Mesmer’s hypnotic practices, and the field of modern hypnotism stemmed from his techniques. Mesmerization or hypnosis produced two occultic movements in the 19th century. One of these was the New Thought or Mind Science movement. Phineas Quimby (1802-66), a student of Mesmer, called his ‘mind healing’ theories the Science of Health and had a deep influence on Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science. The other occultic movement produced by hypnotism was spiritism. Another Mesmer student, Andrew Jackson Davis, published a book in 1847 which he said was dictated to him by spirits while he was in a mesmeric trance. The Encyclopedia of Psychic Science says, “The conquest by spiritualism soon began and the leading Mesmerists were absorbed into the rank of the spiritualists.”[1316]

Penn-Lewis’s acceptance of the reality of the myth of animal magnetism (even though she does not endorse it as good, but recognizes it as evil[1317]) is another false doctrine promulgated by her.

            Jessie Penn-Lewis’s attempt to prove that only the spirit is regenerated from verses that actually connect the new birth and the spirit consists of one sentence, containing one allusion to uncited Scripture: “It is the spirit that is regenerated—‘a new spirit will I give you.’”[1318] Perhaps the fact that the actual references with the words “a new spirit” also mention “a new heart,” and thus newness in the entirety of man’s inner being, including the soul, explain her slackness in giving actual verse references (Ezekiel 11:19; 18:31; 36:26); nor does she explain why her argument from her uncited Old Testament is not the elementary and obvious logical fallacy of concluding that only the spirit, not the soul or the entire man, is made new because of a text that refers to a new spirit but never states or hints at her conclusion concerning the soul and body; nor does she try to explain texts such as 2 Corinthians 5:17 which prove that in the believer “all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17)—such verses are simply ignored, as perhaps the force that moved her to write by inspiration did not inspire her to offer an explanation of why she was contradicting plain passages of the Bible. While she did not have the Bible, at least she had Andrew Murray on her side;[1319] in any case, it was necessary that only the spirit be regenerated, for without this doctrine central ideas in her spiritual warfare theories are obliterated,[1320] and the experiences she wrote so profusely about would need to bow before the higher authority of the infallible and all-sufficient Word of God.

Penn-Lewis was influenced to her concept of soul-force, as well as her date-setting about the end of the world, from an obscure and odd theological writer named Mrs. E. McHardie. Penn-Lewis wrote: “There is no writer who appears to have given such full information on the dispensational aspect of . . . ‘soul-force’ . . . as the late Mrs. McHardie [in] her valuable books.”[1321] However, Mrs. McHardie richly deserves her obscurity. Reviews of her works, such as The Midnight Cry: An Inquiry into the Evidence of the Near Approach of the Second Advent, have described her writing:

[Mrs. McHardie wrote] much . . . that is strained, fantastic, and absurd [to set forth] special signs that the end draweth nigh. . . . [S]he constructs a table of way-marks which leads up to the conclusion that three years hence [after 1883, thus, in 1886] ‘the times of the Gentiles’ will end, while seven years after the personal Anti-christ will be revealed and destroyed.’ . . . [She discusses] the significance of the Great Pyramid . . . [for] the great Pyramid of Egypt . . . is accepted as a witness to Jehovah, and is held to enshrine evidence of when ‘the appointed times’ will befall. . . . [She interprets] [t]he vision of Ezekiel . . . [as teaching that the] cherubim are . . . counterfeits of the seraphim—really representing the evil powers, the unclean spirits in the children of disobedience. . . . [T]he wheels . . . [and the rest of the vision of Ezekiel 1, 10 prophesy of the] [‘]electric batteries [of the nineteenth century] . . . [and give] a symbolic representation of the forces of heaven and the batteries of hell.’ . . . At great length this idea is supported by the vagaries connected with modern spiritualism, which is assigned a very prominent place in connection with the phenomena that betoken ‘the coming of the end.’ . . . [By] the closing . . . of the book . . . [o]ne almost begins to lose patience . . . when she proceeds to cull from obscure journals . . . accounts of remarkable sights in heaven and earth, in the sun, the moon, and the stars, which she insists upon regarding as signs and portents. Nobody will attach any weight to this portion of the treatise; and the general verdict upon it as a whole will be that . . . by a slight extension and exaggeration of its method, [one] might succeed in proving, after a fashion as satisfactory as it attains, positions very unlike those which it advances.[1322]

It is unfortunate that Penn-Lewis wasted her time studying works by Mrs. McHardie, Guyon, and Hannah W. Smith, instead of studying the Bible and the works of those who carefully and accurately expounded and explained Scripture.

Furthermore, Penn-Lewis’s extreme lack of discernment about Satan and his ways is clear in that she reproduced in print and accepted as truth what “the great plot of Satan, the Master Strategist,” really was, not by exegesis of Scripture alone, but by means of what “was made known by a medium under the direction of the evil spirits controlling her,”[1323] as though evil spirits would not lie about Satan’s strategies through a medium to get Penn-Lewis to print and distribute in Christendom the ideas of the devil. Nevertheless, it is appropriate that Mrs. Penn-Lewis published what were confessedly the affirmations of evil spirits, as so much of her writings were, though unconfessedly, the product of such beings.

The writings of Evan Roberts and Jessie Penn-Lewis have very large doses of heresy, Satanic influence, false prophecy, fanaticism, and plain foolishness. They should be avoided and warned against. Nonetheless, they were very influential in the unfolding trajectory of Keswick theology into Pentecostalism and the Word-Faith movement.

Applications from the Lives and Teachings of Evan Roberts and Jessie Penn-Lewis

            Beware of Evan Roberts and Jessie Penn-Lewis. They are two dangerous and very influential false teachers and exponents of grievous Keswick, continuationistic, and demonological errors. Their works should be avoided and their influence in the preaching, writing, and theologizing of others should be detected, warned about, and rejected. Their strong imprint upon the Keswick theology, and upon the Pentecostalism that arose from it, blackens these movements and provides all the more evidence that they are corruptions of Biblical Christianity. They plainly stated that they had endured demon possession, and claimed that being possessed was key to the content of their writings on demonology. Will you follow and learn from those possessed by demons? Or will you reject the doctrines of demons and cleave to the Bible, the perfect and sufficient revelation of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?

            Beware of revisionist history. All historians are fallible, and even their most accurate histories have no authority for Biblical faith and practice—the Bible alone is sufficient to make “the man of God perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). How much the less should historical errors influence the faith and practice of God’s people? But, unfortunately, writers who are more interested in hagiography than truth exercise a great influence over the saints, leading the Lord’s sheep to look up to and pattern themselves after wolves and devourers rather than fleeing from them. Following the writings of Jessie Penn-Lewis and patterning church practice after the person and methods of Evan Roberts will destroy sound Baptist churches and expose individual believers to extremely dangerous demonic deceptions, yet vast numbers of Christians have been exposed to this pair and spiritually weakened by them because of a mythical revision of events in Wales in 1904-1905. Recognize the truth—Evan Roberts and Jessie Penn-Lewis were powerful instruments in the hands of Satan to destroy a true work of revival in Wales, bring to an end many years of growth among the true churches of that land, inaugurate decades of decay and desolation, and hatch the fanaticism and demonism that fills the Pentecostal, charismatic, and Word of Faith movements and has contributed to the spiritual destruction of innumerable souls worldwide. Do not allow true revival to be corrupted to false revivalism in your own life and congregation because of the influence of these two demon-possessed fanatics. Do not perpetuate the revisionist history that makes them into great servants of God and the center of a true work of revival in Wales, and if you have perpetuated this lie in the past, immediately repent of it and then confess your error to those you have misled. It is high time that the truth about the real revival in Wales, and the Keswick continuationism and fanaticism of Evan Roberts and Mrs. Penn-Lewis that so widely infiltrated and destroyed it, replace the distortions of reality that find their place in the hearts of too many of the precious people of God. If you love and long for true revival, be discerning, cleave to the Spirit-breathed Word with all your heart and soul, and reject and reprove the theology, praxis, and historical revisionism surrounding peddlers of Satanic revivalism like Evan Roberts, Jessie Penn-Lewis, and other Keswick and Pentecostal continuationists and fanatics.

            One can glean numerous spiritual lessons from the negative examples of Mr. Roberts and Mrs. Penn-Lewis. They illustrate what spiritual dangers and destruction Keswick continuationism can lead to, and how important it is to reject it with all of its demonic delusions for a Scriptural cessationism. Evan Roberts also illustrates the danger of confusing true conversion and God-wrought regeneration with mere experiences of the supernatural (cf. Matthew 7:21-23). An unconverted Judas performed miracles (Matthew 10:4-8), an unconverted high priest Caiaphas prophesied (John 11:49-52; 18:14), nine unconverted lepers were miraculously healed by Christ (Luke 17:11-19), idolatrous Egyptian magicians performed miracles (Exodus 7:11, 22), an unconverted sorcerer named Simon did marvels and convinced many that he was the great power of God (Acts 8:9-10), unconverted men had supernatural dreams (Genesis 31:24; 41:7), and Evan Roberts experienced many visions, dreams, voices, and other marvels, but had no clear testimony of conversion and died with barely a glimmer of Christian piety. And if many genuinely supernatural occurrences—even those that are truly from God, not from Satan—are less than true conversion and regeneration, how much less than the new birth is simply having an emotionally charged experience—and how far, far less than the new birth is standing up or coming to the front of a church building? Such soul-damning acceptance of substitutes for regeneration filled the work of Evan Roberts in the Welsh holiness revival, causing immeasurable spiritual harm. Christians and spiritual leaders must learn from this disaster the extreme importance of clearly and without confusion preaching the gospel, recognizing true conversion, and cleaving to Biblical methods of evangelism rather than adopting methodology that, although it may appear effective in the short term, actually contributes to the everlasting damnation of eternal souls by confusing the nature and fruits of real salvation. Scripture is sufficient for both the doctrine and practice of evangelism. Your church should be preaching regularly in public places and seeking to reach large groups of people at once, while also preaching Christ house to house to systematically reach everyone in your community (Acts 5:42). You should be preaching the good news of Christ’s substitutionary death, His burial, and His resurrection, and salvation through repentant faith in Him. You should not be employing worldly promotion and marketing techniques or seeking to draw people to your church services with sensationalism. While providing people with spiritual counsel immediately after preaching is Biblically justifiable (Acts 2:37-38), including, for example, in an “inquiry room,” the elements of worship in the Lord’s church do not include the modern invitation system invented by Charles Finney. Furthermore, while Roman Catholic and liturgical Protestant religious organizations have altars at the front of their meeting places, true churches have no such altars, and so “altar calls” should be dispensed with. There is absolutely nothing sacred about the front of a church building, and there is no reason to conclude that because someone walks to the front of a church building, or is led to repeat the words of a “sinner’s prayer” after walking to the front of a church building, that he has been born again of the Holy Spirit of God. The replacement of true conversion with decisionism was central to bringing the time of Baptist church growth in Wales to an end as a result of the methods employed in the holiness revival under Evan Roberts, and its consequences have been inconceivably disastrous world-wide whenever they have been adopted. Nonetheless, there is hope—a rejection of unbiblical and nonbiblical doctrines and practices in evangelism, a recognition of the foundational importance of the Regulative Principle of worship, a wholehearted repentance for neglecting Biblical doctrine and praxis, and a return to Biblical and Spirit-empowered evangelism and preaching, both outside of and within the context of the instituted worship of the church, could be, in the hands of the sovereign God, the instrumentality for glorious and widespread true revival.

            Furthermore, learn from Evan Roberts’s destruction of true revival the fallacy of his practice of only preaching on God’s love. Reject this practice of Roberts, and instead preach boldly, pointedly, and with uncompromising conviction on specific sins, on hell with its fire and brimstone, on the wrath of God, and on the absolute necessity of the propitiatory work of Christ and the new birth to escape everlasting torment, as well as on God’s glorious love. If you truly love unconverted sinners, you will follow the practice of Christ and His Apostles in preaching the law and judgment as well as grace and love. It will not be easy to do so—if you preach so, you will need a true love for and trust in God, and a real love for the unconverted. Preaching that pricks and cuts men to the heart may, instead of seeing three thousand true conversions as did Peter (Acts 2), lead men to become so angry with you that they gnash on you with their teeth and seek to kill you, as they did Stephen (Acts 7), and as they sought to do to the Prophet of prophets and the perfect Pattern for all preachers, the Lord of love, Jesus Christ (Luke 4:29).

            Consider also that marvels are no substitute for Spirit-empowered preaching of the entire Word. The visions and ecstasy of the Welsh holiness revival did not produce revival, but destroyed it. It certainly is possible that searching preaching is used by the Holy Ghost to bring people under such tremendous conviction of sin that powerful emotional responses follow. However, the preacher must never aim only for emotional response, nor must such responses be allowed to overturn the apostolic command that all things be done “decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40). Furthermore, someone who is truly filled with the Spirit will not see visions, pretend to the gift of prophecy, or adopt other continuationist errors. Rather, he will manifest the fruit of the Spirit in a Christ-like life and in great progress in that true Christian sanctification that is impossible without the supernatural efficacy of the Spirit of God.

            Consider also the great importance of following Scripture alone in successfully resisting the devil and causing him to flee. Literal exegesis of the Bible will teach you all you need to know to overcome the wicked one, and its teachings are not to be changed in the least degree because of someone’s testimony to victory over Satan or experiences fighting demons. Your sufficient offensive weapon in your spiritual armor is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Ephesians 6:10-18); no uninspired book is necessary for successful wrestling with Satanic principalities and powers. With a grasp of God’s Word, apart from any uninspired book on demonology, you can say with first century Christians, “we are not ignorant of [Satan’s] devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11). Indeed, you should recognize that a frightful proportion of modern literature on demonology is not an exposition of Biblical teaching on withstanding demons, but has actually come from the devils themselves through extra-Biblical revelations or experiences where devils deluded people into thinking that they were gaining the victory over the powers of darkness while they were, in truth, falling to the cunning trickery of the devil. Lucifer and his fallen angels are too smart, and too powerful, for you to figure out on your own how to fight them and win. Only in the strength and with the guidance of Jehovah, wearing the whole armor He has provided His saints, can you successfully withstand demonic wiles. The battle-plan for victory is plainly set forth in the pages of His infallible Word—nowhere else.

            Since Scripture is sufficient for successful Christian resistance of Satan, accept the truths of Biblical demonology. Find the passages that speak of Satan or of demons in a concordance and study them in their context so that you can know how to successfully resist the wicked one. Spend your time studying God’s Word on how to deal with devils, rather than wasting your time and filling your mind with error by reading continuationist and experience-based demonology. The Scripture will lead you to truths such as the following. You should examine yourself to be sure you are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5), for if you have not been converted, you are still in Satan’s kingdom, not God’s, and are under the power of the devil, not under the protective power of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:1-9). You must submit to God and resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7). Be sober and vigilant in your resistance, and resist in faith (1 Peter 5:8-9), for through faith and God’s enabling grace, not through your own self-dependent might, you will defeat his temptations (Ephesians 6:16). Use the Word in your resistance (Matthew 4; Ephesians 6:17). Pray regularly for deliverance from temptation and the tempter (Matthew 6:13); watch and pray constantly (Ephesians 6:18), guard yourself (1 John 5:18), and fill yourself up with the evil of sin, the love of Christ, and the mercies of God to you, so that temptations lose their power (2 Corinthians 5:14; Genesis 39:9). Serve God in an assembly that both faithfully practices church discipline and lovingly restores disciplined members who repent (1 Corinthians 5; 2 Corinthians 2). Rejoice that Jesus Christ, your High Priest, effectually prays that you will be kept from evil and the evil one (John 17:15). Do not give an occasion, scope, or place for the devil to be active and tempt you by nursing sinful anger or other sins (Ephesians 4:26-27). Be honest and obey the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3). If you are married, regularly render to your spouse due physical benevolence (1 Corinthians 7:3-5). Forgive (2 Corinthians 4:10-11). Take to yourself righteousness and truth, fill yourself up with the knowledge of an assured salvation, and be devoted to proclaiming the gospel (Ephesians 6:10-18). Walk closely with God. Oh for greater fellowship with Him! And consider how spiritually refreshing, straight-forward, practical, and easily understood are Biblical instructions for dealing with demons. What a blessed contrast they form with the strange, obscure, and spiritually oppressive practices contended for in War on the Saints! Rejoice that by practicing what God has revealed about resisting the devil, you will be successful, for the Lord has not revealed the truth to His beloved people in vain.

            Since Scripture is sufficient for Christian resistance to Satan, do not adopt unbiblical ideas of the sort that fill books such as War on the Saints and the many later handbooks on demonology that rely on extra-biblical ideas and revelations, and flee in horror from all misinterpretations of Scripture. Do not try to bind Satan, and do not pray that Satan will be bound in this age. He will not be bound until the Millennium. If you pray that an entire country or region of the world will be freed from Satanic influence because of an alleged binding, you are self-deceived, for it is not God’s will that wicked people who reject the gospel and hate Him will be free from demonic control—Satan’s rule over them is a righteous judgment from He who is truly Sovereign over all nations. Only at the point of the new birth are any truly delivered from the power of darkness, for then, and only then, are they transferred into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13); indeed, Scripture is so far from indicating that an entire country or region of unconverted people can be free from Satan’s control that it records an inspired prayer, which is to be sung by the people of God (Ephesians 5:19) and which indicates the will of God, that Satan be at the right hand of the wicked (Psalm 109:6). Do not rail on or rebuke the devil—if even Michael the Archangel did not (Jude 9), why should you? Do not seek for a post-conversion Spirit baptism that will give you special powers against the forces of darkness—Spirit baptism was a completed historical event that took place in the first century and is not going to happen again in the church age. Do not think that the devil has the ability to make you sin—your flesh is sufficient for that, and all your sins are your own fault, not the devil’s. If you are a child of God, reject the idea that the devil has the ability to inject thoughts into your head—the Bible only indicates that demons have such abilities with the unregenerate. We cannot know exactly what powers demons can exert externally upon saints, by God’s permission—and we do not need to know, because Scripture does not declare it—but we can surmise that if parents of ordinary intelligence can become very familiar with their children and know them very well without direct access to their minds, extremely intelligent fallen angels can watch and know with a high degree of accuracy what mortal men are thinking without direct access to their minds. Nevertheless, they do not have the knowledge and the ability to exert internal power upon the people of God that is possessed by the Almighty and all-knowing Father of the children of God. Throw away books by continuationists that corrupt the teaching of the Bible on demonology by examining the subject based on experience-based hermeneutics or that in any other way deny sola Scriptura in practice. Do not adopt any ideas about Satan or the occult from any sources other than the Bible. Satan appears like an angel of light, not like a red creature with horns and a red forked tail, and witches do not fly around on brooms. For that matter, no angels in Scripture look like cute, baby-faced creatures—they all looked like men. The only possible exception is certain demonic creatures that have the faces of men and the hair of women (Revelation 9:7-8). Nor do angels have a pair of wings coming out of their back; only the cherubim and seraphim have wings. Do not seek for signs and wonders after the fashion of an evil and adulterous generation (Matthew 12:39). Do not practice charismatic “warfare prayer” or “territorial mapping.” Do not follow Jessie Penn-Lewis and Pentecostalism in attempting to use “throne power” to defeat Satan in prayer, but follow Jesus Christ and pray the way He told you to pray (Matthew 6:9-13). If, out of the many hundreds of prayers recorded in Scripture, not even one example of the sort of prayer you wish to engage in can be found, your type of prayer cannot possibly be key to spiritual victory, to defeating Satan, or to any other Christian goal whatsoever. The devil has sowed vast amounts of confusion concerning his character and workings, and the only way you can be free from the lies he has filled the world with, and filled largely unregenerate Christendom with, is by careful study of and submission to the sole authority of the Word of God. You cannot successfully resist the devil without the power of God, but you will not have His power if you are employing your own devices rather than the means and methods of successful spiritual wrestling He has revealed.

            Do not pretend that you have the sign gift of exorcism. Do not go around trying to cast out demons as if you were an Apostle. God did not record any procedure for normal Christians to practice exorcism in the New Testament epistles because the Lord’s people and churches were not to practice this sign gift. If an unconverted person appears to be possessed, you should pray and fast (Matthew 17:21), and preach the gospel to him so that he can be regenerated and freed from the control of the devil (Ephesians 2:1-4). Reject the idea that a regenerate person can be possessed—the temple of the Holy Spirit cannot be the dwelling place of devils, so the saints of God cannot be demon possessed, although they must certainly resist the devil and his temptations, looking to Christ in faith. Trying to do what the Lord Jesus did in validating His Messiahship by exorcising demons will lead you to give place to the devil in a terrible way. You should have no communication with demons whatsoever—only the Almighty and omniscient God (Job 1:8; Mark 5:9), or the head of the host of good angels, Michael the Archangel (Jude 9), is ever recorded as speaking to or conversing with Satan or devils in Scripture—no godly man is ever recorded as doing so. If not even the Apostles, who had the sign gift of exorcism, conversed with demons, how much the less should you? Indeed, even the Lord Jesus only spoke to demons in Scripture on very rare occasions and for very special purposes—the large majority of the time He “suffered not the devils to speak” (Mark 1:34), using His Divine power to force them to be silent and stop speaking (Mark 1:25; 3:11-12; Luke 4:35, 41). Recognize that the conversations with demons Keswick continuationists, Pentecostals, and other modern miracle-mongers engage in during their exorcism sessions and reproduce in their periodicals and books are nothing other than disobedience to Scripture and awful occasions to be both personally deceived by fallen angels and to spread demonic lies under the guise of Christian truth through the printed page. The demons are smarter than you are. Every time you converse with them you will lose, for God has told you, “I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils” (1 Corinthians 10:20).

            Beware of, avoid, and warn against “deliverance” ministries and modern exorcists. The techniques of Jessie Penn-Lewis, Evan Roberts, and Pentecostalism to deal with demons flourish in environments where the gospel is corrupted, as it was in the Quakerism of Mrs. Penn-Lewis, the Anglicanism of the Keswick Convention, and in other continuationist paedobaptist groups. When many professing Christians are unconverted and are consequently liable to being possessed by demons, and continuationism is adopted, exorcism ministries have room to flourish, while when people are truly converted, have the special protection Christ gives to the church He purchased with His own blood, and in fellowship with Him and His faithful people, they will be able to discern and reject the unbiblical heresies that permeate modern continuationistic demonology. What is more, people who are demon possessed, and then are “delivered” through unbiblical techniques by false teachers, as the sons of the Pharisees cast out demons (Luke 11:19), are in extreme danger of falling into even greater spiritual darkness, in accordance with the goals of the demons themselves. Such persons, even if the demons have decided to leave their bodies for a time to convince them to follow the religious delusions advocated by their wonder-working exorcist, will still be eternally damned unless they are born again—yet the supernatural wonder that they themselves have experienced is a tremendous roadblock to their coming to the knowledge of the truth and being truly converted. Truly, Satan has laid his deceit very deep, and the unraveling of his wiles and deliverance from his power is a work far above the strength of mere mortal men. Nevertheless, the believer has no grounds for despair; with the God of Jacob as his refuge, victory over the forces of hell is indubitably obtainable: “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27).

            Rejoice in true worship in the house of God—the holy angels rejoice in it (1 Corinthians 11:10). Recognize the glorious promise that the gates of hell cannot prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18). Christ exercises a special care over the members of His assemblies and over His congregations, protecting them from enemies as a man cares for and protects his bride. The church is Christ’s holy temple, but being removed from His house is being delivered to Satan (1 Corinthians 5:4-5). Special protection from the powers of the wicked one is therefore found in the assemblies of the saints that Christ started in the first century, and which have existed to this present time under many names, but are now found among historic Baptist churches. Godly worship and praise brings the special presence of Jehovah (cf. 2 Chronicles 5:13-14), and godly music makes evil spirits depart (1 Samuel 16:23). Let such worship, and such music, be found in your church and in your home. God’s saints should sing His inspired psalms, and uninspired hymns should be patterned after the Biblical content found in the psalter, as they regularly were in the age of hymnists from Faucett to Doddridge to Toplady. They should hold fast to the Regulative Principle of worship as the sole solid defense against the introduction of humanly or demonically designed corruptions in worship. On the other hand, false religious organizations are Satan’s hunting-ground (Revelation 18:2). God is not the source of all religious experience. The worship of all pagan and non-Christian religions is the realm of the devil (1 Corinthians 10:20). The gatherings of the church of Rome are filled with demons, demons that work through the idols, demons that work supernaturally to bring the unregenerate into ever greater darkness as bread is allegedly transubstantiated over altars that have occult relics of “saints” in them, demons that rejoice in their extrabiblical festival days, demons that are attracted to their unholy and Spirit-quenching liturgy, and all sorts of other demons. Assemblies of Protestant religious organizations that preach a corrupt gospel are likewise places where demons and demonic influence abounds. When charismatics turn off their minds and engage in ecstatic religious phenomena, they are often having a genuinely supernatural experience, but one that shares its source with that of the ecstatic worship of demonized idolaters in first century Corinth (1 Corinthians 12:2).[1324] When neo-evangelicals bring rock music or the rock beat into their assemblies, they are bringing in music that attracts demons, rather than leading them to leave.[1325] Do you, then, wish to avoid the presence of devils? Unite yourself to and worship faithfully in a historic Baptist church that cleaves to and contends for Biblical worship, including an uncompromised stand for traditional, classical-styled music that follows Biblical principles. Such a church can assault the gates of hell in the strength of Jesus Christ. Flee all other religious organizations—unholy angels, rather than holy ones, gather in them.

            Remember that the church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15)—the church, the local, visible, Baptist congregation, is the place of God’s special presence, His special protection from Satan and his kingdom, and His promises of perpetuity and blessing until the return of Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:18). No promises of Christ’s special presence or protection are made to the mythical universal, invisible church, Para church institutions, human denominations, or inter-denominational movements such as evangelicalism. Do you claim to be a fundamentalist? If, by this term, you mean that you seek to militantly defend all the truths of the Christian faith, and militantly stand against and separate from all error, well and good—you will then, if your confession is true, be a servant of Christ in a historic Baptist church. Do you think that such a line is too strict, for “historic fundamentalism” was a parachurch movement that only recognized a handful of “fundamentals” that were worthy of separation? If that is truly “historic fundamentalism,” then you should reject such fundamentalism for the God-honoring true separatism only possible within a Biblical Baptist church that is unaffiliated with denominationalism, associationism, and all other humanly devised denominational structures. However, you should also consider that there never was a unified “historic fundamentalism.” The Fundamentals, for example, printed an essay by George Sales Bishop, who believed in the dictation of the autographa and its perfect preservation—including the perfect preservation of not the Hebrew consonants alone, but also the vowels that were originally given by inspiration—in the Textus Receptus.[1326] Yet The Fundamentals also reprinted articles by Edwin J. Orr, who “was unconcerned to defend a literal interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis, and [who] took the view that an insistence on biblical inerrancy was actually ‘suicidal.’”[1327] So who represents “historic fundamentalism”—Bishop or Orr? Does “historic fundamentalism” defend an inerrant autographa, an inerrant autographa that is perfectly preserved in the Received Texts of Scripture, or errant autographs and apographs? Indeed, while cessationists are amply represented in early fundamentalism, the writings of Jessie Penn-Lewis appear also in The Fundamentals[1328]—so does “historic fundamentalism” follow Scriptural cessationism and the sole authority of Scripture, or Mrs. Penn-Lewis’s fanaticism, radical demonology, Quakerism, date-setting for Christ’s return, and allegedly “inspired” extra-Biblical writings—one of which is condensed in The Fundamentals? A unified “historic fundamentalism” is a chimera, and even if it had existed, it would possess no independent authority—the Christian’s sole authority is the Bible alone, and the Bible teaches that every religious organization on earth in this dispensation, if it wants to have the special presence of Jesus Christ, must be under the authority of one of His churches. Fundamentalist parachurch institutions are not churches. Do you value the Lord’s church in the way that One does who bought her with His blood (Ephesians 5:25)?[1329] If you do not, but are following some movement, whether evangelical, fundamental, or by any other name, your organization does not possess the promises Christ makes to His church alone. Beware lest Christ say to you, and to your organization, “cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?” (Luke 13:7).

            Furthermore, beware other settings that are naturally the haunts of Satan. If Paul warns about the places where idol worship takes place as the haunt of devils and a setting to avoid (1 Corinthians 10:14, 20), places that are haunts of devils today should be avoided also. Since idols are attractive to demons, do not bring any idols into your house, whether as symbols of foreign “culture,” or mementos of past tourism, or for any other reason. If you have such objects in your house, whether of an openly pagan god or an allegedly Christian semi-deity such as the allegedly perpetual Virgin Mary, destroy such idols immediately. Destroy other demonic objects, such as Ouija boards, and abhor the symbols of idolatry, whether crucifixes or Christmas trees.   Avoid the places where the medium and the psychic ply their trade. Do not seek to contact the dead. Do not let the practitioners of demonic and New Age alternative “medicine” deceive you, whether through the occult water of homeopathy, the traditional chiropractic of D. D. Palmer, or some other form of pagan energy medicine. Expect the modernist theological seminary, as a place of blasphemy against Jehovah, to be infested with demons. Assume that demons will delight themselves and congregate in the movie theater as its wide screens vomit forth violence, filthiness, occultism, and all kinds of ungodliness, just as they would at the rock concert or the bar. What concord is there between Christ and Belial?

            Maintain a Biblical balance in recognizing the power of Satan. First, while recognizing the real power of the devil and the unquestionable spiritual danger he poses to you, do not deify him or treat him as if he were God—do not displease and dishonor the only God by treating his creature and angel, Lucifer, as if he truly were like the Most High. Satan is not omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent. His power is not equal to that of God—indeed, it is infinitely inferior to that of El Shaddai. While a very powerful creature, he is nonetheless a defeated and doomed foe. Remember that he is so. Second, do not react against the fanaticism of works such as War on the Saints by turning to a rationalism that denies or denigrates the reality of the demonic. Doubtless many pagan marvels are simple impostures with as much reality to them as the body of Mary Baker Eddy’s Mind Cures or the fake healings of a Word of Faith wonder-peddler. However, in our Bibles we can hold infallible evidence in our hands that, although they cannot equal the miraculous power of the Almighty (Exodus 8:18-19; 9:11; Daniel 2:27-28), demons can perform real miracles (Revelation 16:14). Neither fear the devil as if he were God—reserve that reverential awe for your Creator and Redeemer alone—nor diminish the power of that roaring lion, who ferociously roams about seeking whom he may devour, as if he were a de-fanged and de-clawed pussycat.

V. A. B. Simpson

Albert B. Simpson (1843-1919), founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA) denomination, “an ecumenical and evangelical fellowship dedicated to promoting the deeper Christian life,”[1330] like so many other advocates of Keswick theology, believed that physical “healing [is] a great redemption right that we simply claim as our purchased inheritance through the blood of the cross,”[1331] just as, in the Keswick doctrine, the Higher spiritual Life is simply claimed by faith.[1332] He associated with Jessie Penn-Lewis, so that, for example, she preached at Simpson’s Gospel Tabernacle in New York and addressed the students at the CMA Missionary Training Institute at Nyack, which was founded by Simpson.[1333] His fellowship with Mrs. Penn-Lewis led him to adopt many of her doctrinal positions, such as a favorable view of woman preachers[1334] and the view that believers could be possessed by demons—indeed, according to Simpson, everyone who does not enter into the Higher Life will be demon possessed: “the Devil will surely possess every heart that is not constantly yielded to God.”[1335] Thus CMA was “[f]ounded by A. B. Simpson in 1887 as an . . . organization emphasizing missions, holiness, and healing.”[1336] “Simpson is considered by modern church historians to be one of the foremost leaders in the ‘faith cure’ movement, second only to Dr. Charles Cullis.”[1337] Indeed, “Dr. Simpson was a disciple of Dr. Cullis.”[1338]  “There is a spiritual law of choosing, believing, abiding, and holding steady in our walk with God, which is essential to the working of the Holy Ghost either in our sanctification or healing,”[1339] he taught. Thus, we “may expect to be ‘in health’ and prosper ‘even as our soul prospereth.’”[1340] “Simpson . . . in pre-Pentecostal days encouraged restoration of the supernatural gifts probably more than any other of his time”[1341]—he was a clear precursor of the charismatic movement. Indeed, shortly before engineering the outbreak of tongues, Pentecostal founder Charles Parham visited Simpson’s Bible Institute in Nyack.[1342] In light of Simpson’s commanding influence as the CMA’s first director, and his passionate advocacy of Keswick and Faith Cure theology, the Higher Life for the soul and for the body, it is not surprising that the “single most significant influence from the Keswick world which came upon the embryonic pentecostal revival was that of the Christian and Missionary Alliance.”[1343] Writing against cessationism in 1888, before the origin of the modern Pentecostal movement yet in preparation for it, and commenting on Mark 16:17-19, Simpson wrote:

A common objection is urged in this way: Christ’s last promise in Mark embraces much more than healing; but if you claim one, you must claim all. If you expect the healing of the sick, you must also include the gift of tongues and the power to overcome malignant poisons; and if the gift of tongues has ceased, so in the same way has the power over disease. We cheerfully accept the severe logic, we cannot afford to give up one of the promises. We admit our belief in the presence of the Healer in all the charismata of the Pentecostal Church. We see no reason why an humble servant of Christ, engaged in the Master’s work, may not claim in simple faith the power to resist malaria and other poisons and malignant dangers; and we believe the gift of tongues . . . will be repeated as soon as the Church will humbly claim it for the universal diffusion of the Gospel. Indeed, instances are not wanting now of its apparent restoration in missionary labors, both in India and Africa.[1344]

Contemporary believers were receiving “inward visions and revelations” and new “messsage[s],”[1345] Simpson knew, and tongues were sure to come: “We are to witness before the Lord’s return real missionary ‘tongues’ like those of Pentecost, through which the heathen world shall hear in their own language ‘the wonderful works of God,’ and this perhaps on a scale of whose vastness we have scarcely dreamed.”[1346] “Feeling increasingly dissatisfied with his own spiritual life, Simpson was drawn to the teachings of the holiness movement. After reading William Boardman’s The Higher Christian Life, he underwent a powerful experience, which he regarded as one of sanctification. . . . [Then,] Simpson, [who] never possessed of a sturdy constitution, experienced healing and soon became one of the leading exponents of the divine healing movement.”[1347] Based on the eisegesis of Scripture, Simpson avowed that Christians are healed by “receiving the personal life of Christ to be in [them] as the supernatural strength of [their] body, and the supply of [their] life.”[1348] Indeed, Simpson wrote: “There is no need that we should die of disease.”[1349]  Simpson, in addition to promulgating his healing doctrine in books such as The Gospel of Healing and Lord for the Body, established a healing center[1350] for those who were healed but still needed to recover from their sicknesses, following the pattern of William Boardman, the earlier Higher Life agitator and major Keswick precursor. Simpson, therefore, naturally followed the pattern set by Boardman in establishing a Faith-Cure home, Berachah,[1351] in New York. Simpson wrote: “[In] the resurrection of our Lord . . . the gospel of healing finds the fountain of its deepest life. . . . Not for Himself alone did Jesus receive the power of an endless life. He received it as our life. . . . This is the great, vital, precious principle of physical healing in the name of Jesus.”[1352] Healing is guaranteed for believers:

The Word of God is for evermore the standard of [God’s] will, and that Word has declared immutably that it is God’s greatest desire and unalterable principle of action and will to render to every man according as he will believe, and especially to save all who will receive Christ by faith, and to heal all who will receive healing by similar faith. No one thinks of asking for forgiveness “if the Lord will.” Nor should we throw any stronger doubt on His promise of physical redemption.[1353]

After all, “if God had wanted to guard us against the fanaticism of divine healing,” Scripture would have made it evident that the Faith Cure was false, which, Simpson averred, was not the case—on the contrary, “God’s Word does . . . not . . . prescribe . . . medicine . . . [or any other] human remedies.”[1354]

Furthermore, there was no need to fear that one will not be able to exercise faith for a miraculous healing, since Christ actually believes for the believer,[1355] just as Christ lives the believer’s spiritual and physical life for him. It is necessary to take Christ’s body for healing, just as it is necessary to take His holiness for sanctification—one who, recalling the prayer of the Apostle Paul recorded by inspiration in 2 Corinthians 7:9-11, consequently prayed for healing and “believed that I should be healed if it was His good pleasure” yet thought, “and if not, I am willing to have it otherwise,” was not submitting to the Lord’s sovereign good pleasure, but was engaged in “vexation and a mockery” of God.[1356] Galatians 2:20, after all, required both physical and spiritual healing. Simpson’s healing doctrine, based on his view of Galatians 2:20, can be summarized as follows:

[W]e . . . have Christ . . . in such a sense . . . that whatever Christ is becomes quite literally ours. Not only does Christ’s righteousness become our righteousness, and Christ’s holiness our holiness, and Christ’s wisdom our wisdom, and Christ’s strength our strength, but Christ’s spirit becomes our spirit, Christ’s mind our mind, Christ’s body our body . . . having Christ, we have bodily wholeness, not merely freedom from disease, but perfect bodily wholeness—for is not Christ’s body whole? . . . Christ [must be taken] for [the Christian’s] mind, for his memory, for his will also; and . . . he therefore no longer makes mistakes, no longer forgets things, and no longer is irresolute or stubborn at the wrong places. “Christ in him” has become the real agent in all his mental and moral activities. Even his faith is not his own, but Christ’s . . . [although] we must “take” Christ for all these things or else we do not get them, and . . . this “taking” is our own act, Christ becoming our life only subsequently and consequently to it. . . .You have to take His faith as well as His life and healing, and have simply to say, ‘I live by the faith of the Son of God.’ . . . It is simply Christ, Christ alone.” Christ thus does our very believing for us, and we live not by faith in Him but by His faith in us. We have, indeed, “to take His faith,” just as we have to take His life, and we do not quite understand what this “taking” is, if it is not already faith. As now, however, we take His faith and it becomes our faith, so we “take” His body and it becomes our body, and—as His body is now our body we are in a bodily sense, of course, whole. . . .You can “receive Christ” for your body’s welfare as well as for your soul’s; and when you do this, His body becomes your body. “His spirit is all that your spirit needs, and He just gives us Himself. His body possesses all that your body needs. He has a heart beating with the strength that your heart needs. He has organs and functions redundant with life, not for Himself but for humanity. He does not need strength for Himself. The energy which enabled Him to rise and ascend from the tomb, above all the forces of nature, was not for Himself. That marvelous body belongs to your body. You are a member of His body. Your heart has a right to draw from His heart all that it needs. Your physical life has a right to draw from His physical life its support and strength, and so it is not you, but it is just the precious life of the Son of God.” “Will you take Him thus to-day?” . . . Simpson . . . therefore pleads. And he promises: “And then you will not be merely healed, but you will have a new life for all you need, a flood of life that will sweep disease away, and then remain a fountain of life for all your future need.” . . . “Christ in you” . . . [is] for His bodily health too—and [one gets] not merely relief from suffering, not merely “simple healing,” but Christ “so gave me Himself [when I took Him for this] that I lost the painful consciousness of physical organs.” This is what “letting go and letting Christ” means, when it is taken “literally.”[1357]

Further paralleling the Keswick message of sanctification, Simpson affirmed that “physical redemption . . . is only kept by constant abiding in Jesus and receiving from Him. It is not a permanent deposit but a constant dependence . . . and continues only while we dwell in Him.”[1358] Thus, Simpson affirms that healing can be lost if one fails to abide—a doctrine contrary to all the examples of healing by the Lord Jesus and the Apostles, where no “relapses” took place, and all were healed, both unconverted and converted, and both strong believers and weak ones.

Contrary to the examples in Scripture, where healings were immediately perfect, Simpson also writes: “healing will often be gradual.”[1359] Indeed, as Charles Cullis, Andrew Murray, and other Faith Cure leaders taught, in common with Mary Baker Eddy and the Mind Cure,[1360] one who is “healed” may still have symptoms of his disease—it may appear in every way like his disease is still present, just the same way that it was before being healed—but when such difficulties appear to be the case, one “must ignore all symptoms”[1361] and recognize that symptoms may be from Satan, for “he has power even to simulate all symptoms,”[1362] affirmations that parallel Word-Faith doctrine.[1363] Simpson makes a stirring exhortation to those who have been healed to ignore, not his doctrine as a failure, but the still present and unchanged symptoms of their diseases, based on the accepted presupposition of the Keswick doctrine of sanctification, through which one is perfect, but one’s indwelling sin remains present and entirely unchanged:

Do not look always for the immediate removal of the symptoms. Do not think of them. Simply ignore them and press forward, claiming the reality, at the back of and below all symptoms. Remember the health you have claimed is not your own natural strength, but the life of Jesus manifested in your mortal flesh, and therefore the old natural life may still be encompassed with many infirmities, but at the back of it, beside it, and over against it, is the all-sufficient life of Christ to sustain your body. “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” But “Christ is your life;” and the life you now live in the flesh you live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved you and gave Himself for you. Do not, then, wonder if nature still will often fail you. His healing is not nature, it is grace, it is Christ, it is the bodily life of the risen Lord. It is the vital energy of the body that went up to the right hand of God; and it never faints and it never fails those who trust it. IT IS CHRIST WHO IS YOUR LIFE; Christ’s body for your body as His Spirit was for your spirit. Therefore do not wonder if there should be trials. . . . [T]o put on His strength in . . . weakness, and live in it moment by moment, is perfect healing . . . be the symptoms what they may . . . though our outward man perish.[1364]

Simpson likewise answered the following questions, posed by those who were perplexed by the fact that they were healed, but nothing in their bodies had changed:

31. If we are not immediately conscious of actual healing, after anointing, how should we act?

Keep your eyes off your symptoms and on Christ. He is your life. Your body must be reckoned as good as dead, and He depended upon for strength, moment by moment. Therefore look to Him, draw your strength from Him, and be not discouraged at any testing or seeming delay. . . .

32. How can I consider and call myself healed when there is no sign of it in my body? . . .

The healing is not in our own body at first—we consider it as good as dead, but in Christ’s body, and as we look to it, its strength keeps coming into ours, and we “wax strong through faith.”

33. But have we a right to call that real which is not real?

If God calls it so, we can echo His declaration. . . . And if we have not the faith to do this for Divine Healing, perhaps we have not the faith for anything.[1365]

Thus, Simpson writes, although writhing in pain from symptoms of disease, although one’s body is filled with infirmities and weaknesses, although nature fails, although without any natural strength, although one’s outward man perishes, indeed, even though people can say “ye are dead” and one’s body is as good as dead, although there is no sign of healing whatsoever—nonetheless, the truth is one has received “perfect healing”—perfect healing, not absolute and fantastic delusion, is the reality at the back of and below all these ravaging symptoms of disease and death. After all, is one not truly sanctified in the same manner, with a sanctification that likewise leaves the body of sin untouched? Is not the healing that leaves the physical body unchanged just as real as the sanctification that leaves indwelling sin unchanged? Does one not take Christ’s body for one’s own body, as one takes Christ’s holiness for one’s own holiness? Do not the same sorts of testimonials and allegorical exegesis of Scripture provide support for both? Yet somehow one suspects that the evidential value of the miracles of Christ and the Apostles would have been not a little decreased if they had healed in the manner described by Simpson, so that, for instance, those healed of leprosy (Matthew 11:5) were still leprous, those healed of blindness still had the symptom of not being able to see (John 9), and those whose body parts were reattached (Luke 22:50-51) still had the symptom of missing members—although since the CMA specializes in miraculous healings that are not evidently miraculous, but can be explained from natural causes, unlike reattached limbs,[1366] the problem of present symptoms in those healed is at least a little less obviously detached from reality. Perhaps the fact that those who were healed still so often had the symptoms of not being healed explains why “Dr. Simpson[’s] . . . co-pastor . . for years . . . and one of the leading officials of the Alliance . . . could furnish abundant evidence of the utter failure of the leaders of the movement to maintain their theories of healing.”[1367]

Simpson explained to those who trusted in the Faith Cure but were not yet healed[1368] the message of moment-by-moment bodily healing that did not heal the body but accessed Christ’s body, by faith alone. He gave testimony to his taking Christ’s body for his own health just like he took Christ’s holiness for his sanctification, explaining that he discovered this alleged truth through a direct revelation of what was allegedly Christ speaking to him directly, rather than through careful exegesis of Scripture, as Simpson’s doctrine is certainly nowhere to be found in the actual speech of God in the holy Bible. Nonetheless, by testimonial to the wonderful effects of taking Christ moment by moment for sanctification and healing, Simpson surely convinced countless others to similarly take Christ for their health as they had earlier taken him for sanctification. Simpson testified: “I had to learn . . . every second, to breathe Himself in as I breathed, and breathe myself out. So, moment by moment for the spirit, and moment by moment for the body[.]”[1369]  As Simpson breathed in Christ and breathed out himself, he experienced, moment by moment, the secret of spiritual and physical health. At the Broadlands Conference the Higher Life had a number of stages,[1370] and for Simpson the first blessing was justification, the second blessing was sanctification, and the third blessing healing.[1371] However, the blessings did not stop there. He testified:

Years ago I came to Him burdened with guilt and fear; I tried that simple secret, and it took away all my fear and sin. Years passed on, and I found sin overcoming me and my temptations too strong for me. I came to Him a second time, and He whispered to me, “Christ in you,” and I had victory, rest and blessing. Then the body broke away in every sort of way. . . . I heard of the Lord’s healing, but I struggled against it. I was afraid of it. I had been taught in theological seminaries that the age of the supernatural was past, and I could not go back from my early training. My head was in my way, but at last when I was brought to attend “the funeral of my dogmatics,” as Mr. Schrenck says, “the Lord whispered to me the little secret, ‘Christ in you’”; and from that hour I received Him for my body as I had done for my soul. I was made so strong and well . . . [i]t was more than simple healing. He so gave me Himself that I lost the painful consciousness of physical organs.[1372]

However, Simpson went yet further. Having taken Christ for justification, the first blessing, and then taken Christ for sanctification, the second blessing, and then taken Christ for healing, the third blessing, he was ready to go on even further.   Simpson explained that he went on to take Christ’s mind, the fourth blessing. Simpson recognized that he “had a poor sort of mind.” After taking Christ’s mind, however, the time when he “was always making mistakes” was over; now “the brain and head [was] right . . . [a]nd since then I have been kept free from . . . mental disability.” After all, Christ was not just perfectly holy and perfectly healthy, but perfectly wise. Having taken Christ’s mind for his own mind, perhaps Simpson did not feel like grammatical-historical exegesis of his doctrine was necessary to support his doctrine—he was no longer capable of making mistakes, and, besides, his further steps were simply good and necessary consequences of his broad and bright foundation of sand in the Keswick theology of sanctification. But the fourth blessing also was not enough. Having been justified, sanctified, healed, and now gone out of his mind to take Christ’s mind, Simpson went on to the fifth blessing—taking Christ’s will. “I asked, ‘Cannot you be a will to me?’ He said, ‘Yes, my child[.’”] As the second blessing of Keswick sanctification had left Simpson’s will entirely unaffected, the fifth blessing of taking Christ’s will hopefully would enable Simpson to will the right as fully as Christ did. However, there were surely more such takings yet to come. Simpson enjoined: “I feel I have only begun to learn how well it works. . . . May you make better use of it than I! . . . Take it and go on working it out[.]”[1373] And, truly, it was difficult to know where those who adopted Simpson’s doctrine from such a testimonial would take it next,[1374] although the antecedent teaching of Hannah W. Smith at the Broadlands Conferences provided some possibilities.[1375] At least it was difficult for those Christians who still had their own minds, and were not now free from all sin, all sickness, all mistakes, and all errors of the mind and will, as Simpson testified he now was. Such individuals, as they had not yet entered into the Higher Life, the Higher Body, the Higher Mind, and the Higher Will, would likely be best off going the old route of searching the Scriptures daily instead of following Simpson and passing out of their minds.

Simpson dangerously drew the parallel to the Keswick doctrine of sanctification by faith apart from works to conclude, as did Andrew Murray, early Pentecostalism, and the Word of Faith movement, that one who fully relies on the Lord for healing should not use doctors and other human means. While Christ or the Apostles never counseled people to reject medicine or avoid doctors, Simpson wrote:

There can be no works mingled with justifying faith. So our healing must be wholly of God, or not of grace at all. If Christ heals, He must do it alone. This principle ought to settle the question of using “means” in connection with faith for healing. The natural and the spiritual, the earthly and the heavenly, the works of man and the grace of God cannot be mixed any more than a person could expect to harness a tortoise with a locomotive. They cannot work together. . . . We must venture on Him wholly. If healing is to be sought by natural means, let us obtain all the best results of skill and experience. But if it is to be received through the name of Jesus, it must be by grace alone. . . . Is it an optional matter with us how we shall be healed—whether we shall trust God or look to man? . . . Is this not . . . a matter of simple obedience? . . . [I]s not the gospel of healing of equal authority . . . [to] the gospel of salvation[?] . . . Surely these questions answer themselves. They leave but one course open to every child of God.[1376]

Indeed, from the “moment [faith for healing is obtained] doubt should be regarded as absolutely out of the question, and even the very thought of retreating or resorting to old ‘means’ inadmissible. Of course, such a person will at once abandon all remedies and medical treatment.”[1377] Simpson made sure to answer the objections of those who believed that Scripture taught that medicine was appropriate for Christians, from the weakest to the strongest. In response to the question, “Why has God made all the remedies we find in nature if He does not intend us to use them?” Simpson responded:

Perhaps He did not make them any more than He made beer and whiskey. God made the barley, man made the alcohol. . . . [N]atural remedies . . . are not His way for His children. . . . They are not to be combined in the scriptures with divine healing. . . . All Christ’s redemption purchases must be free gifts, by grace without works, and so if divine healing be through Christ’s blood, it must be a gift of grace alone. We cannot mix our works with it [by using medicine] any more than our justification. . . . To combine the omnipotence of Jesus with a dose of mercury [or other medicine] is like trying to go up stairs by the elevator and the stairs at the same moment or harnessing an ox with a locomotive. . . . But cannot we ask God to bless the means? . . . [T]hat is not divine healing through the name of Jesus alone, as He has prescribed. That is Esau’s blessing.[1378]

Furthermore, faithful members of the CMA, Simpson taught, should withhold medicine from their own children—such was not ungodliness and poor stewardship of needy little lives, but godliness:

What should we do in the case of children? We may act for them [in withholding medicine] if they are our own, or if they are substantially laid upon us by the Lord, so that we are responsible for them. . . . But . . . [i]n the case of the children of others we should be most careful in assuming responsibility . . . in view of the law of the state requiring the care of an attending physician.[1379]

Simpson preached, as did the charismatic and Word of Faith movements, which succeeded him, that physical healing[1380] was guaranteed in Christ’s atonement.[1381] Since physical healing is in the atonement, “is a gift of grace, as all that Christ’s blood has purchased will ever be, and therefore cannot be mixed up with our own works or the use of human means,” such as the use of doctors and medicine; healing “must be by faith,”[1382] and as a convinced advocate of the Keswick theology, Simpson knew that healing by faith, just as sanctification by faith, was a healing and sanctification by faith alone, one that excluded all works and effort. One must simply “take Christ as your Healer” as “we took Him for our justification” and then “for our sanctification,”[1383] and, lo, the healing is accomplished, as the work of sanctification was earlier accomplished.

While Simpson successfully prepared the way for the Pentecostal and Word of Faith movements and also led many to an unnecessary and premature death, at least he sought to practice his beliefs himself. He “never resorted to medical care (except for cough drops and eyeglasses)[1384] for nearly forty years . . . even in the last two years of his life after suffering a stroke and depression.”[1385] Simpson taught and sought to convince himself that all those who seek healing by faith alone are promised “fullness of life and health and strength up to the measure of our natural life and until our life work is done,”[1386] despite the fact that such a view appears to have been rather different than what Paul taught and first century saints like Trophimus experienced (2 Timothy 4:20). Simpson, nonetheless, held “‘Friday Meetings’ on divine healing . . . for many years . . . [and had] made a written covenant that he would advance the gospel of healing as a part of his ministry from th[e] . . . time [when he experienced a] dramatic personal healing . . . forward.”[1387] Thus, Simpson adopted his healing doctrine because of an experience of alleged or real healing, not because of careful exegesis of Scripture. Simpson and his denomination continued to preach “the gospel of healing” at its “missionary and deeper life conventions,”[1388] and the Christian and Missionary Alliance joins Keswick sanctification, physical healing, and allegedly restored sign gifts in its doctrine and practice to the present day, leading many who could have been healed by God through the providential instrumentality of doctors and medicine to poor stewardship of their lives and early death through a form of unintentional suicide by their false healing doctrine.[1389]

            In the early twentieth century “many prominent members of the [Christian and Missionary] Alliance . . . provide[d] crucial early leadership for the newly emerging Pentecostal movement,”[1390] as the CMA doctrine that all the apostolic gifts were still for today was identical with the Pentecostal doctrine, with the sole substantial exception that Pentecostalism proper usually believed[1391] that tongues were the necessary initial evidence of Spirit baptism, while the CMA thought various sign gifts, including but not exclusively tongues, accompanied Spirit baptism.[1392] “As much as any other single body of American Christians, the Christian and Missionary Alliance nurtured a spirituality that made participants responsive to Pentecostal teaching.”[1393] Because of the preparatory advocacy of the Higher Life by Simpson, after the rise of the Azuza Street revivalism Pentecostalism spread like wildfire through CMA congregations, camp meetings, healing homes, and colleges, many of which became dominated by Pentecostals.[1394] “[A]t the Alliance’s Bible and Missionary Training Institute at Nyack, New York, when news of the Azusa Street revival was first received[,] [r]eports of people speaking in tongues . . . seemed a fulfillment of the promised restoration of the gifts of the Spirit which Simpson and the faculty at Nyack had led the students to expect. . . . A. B. Simpson, in a cover editorial for the Alliance’s official organ, rejoiced that the gift of tongues was apparently being restored to the Church.”[1395] After a number of students at the CMA training institute in Nyack, NY spoke in tongues, along with other workers and leaders such as his Superintendent for Canada, Simpson met with British Pentecostal champion Alexander Boddy and invited him to preach at Simpson’s famous Alliance Tabernacle.[1396] Prominent early Pentecostal leaders preached at countless CMA congregations and institutions, spreading the tongues doctrine to their sympathetic continuationist audiences:[1397]

The most influential [Pentecostal precursor] with Keswick leanings was A.B. Simpson . . . Simpson’s fourfold gospel of Christ as Saviour, Healer, Sanctifier and Coming King . . . [was] accepted wholeheartedly by the Pentecostal movement. . . . Simpson defined sanctification along Keswick lines. . . . Nearly forty-five early Pentecostal leaders came out of the Christian and Missionary Alliance church. Early Pentecostal Thomas B. Barrat had . . . met . . . Simpson in 1905-6 when they toured throughout the United States. Early Pentecostal George N. Elderidge had known Simpson personally and both Canadian Pentecostal A.H. Argue and Stanley H. Frodsham’s wife were healed through Simpson’s ministry. Agnes Ozman, the woman first credited with speaking in tongues at Parham’s watchnight service, was once a student at Simpson’s Bible School in Nyack, New York.[1398]

        Nineteen hundred and seven was the year of crisis for the Christian and Missionary Alliance and its relationship with the pentecostal movement. Entire congregations, some large and important, became pentecostal. Members of the Alliance across the nation, and particularly in the midwest and east, received the pentecostal experience in great numbers. . . . [While] Simpson . . . denied . . . that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is always accompanied by speaking in tongues . . . Simpson . . . advised Alliance leaders and members . . . no[t] to forbid . . . speaking in tongues . . . [he] refuse[d] to excommunicate pentecostals. . . . [The Alliance] provide[d] a fresh infusion of qualified leadership into the burgeoning pentecostal assemblies. . . . [M]en like Frank Boyd, William Evans, D. W. Kerr, J. Roswell Flower, Noel Perkin, A. G. Ward, and D. W. Myland, all former members of the Alliance, figure importantly in shaping the theology of the Assemblies of God. It is no happenstance [that] the Alliance doctrinal statement was adopted wholesale by the Assemblies—nor that the polity of the new pentecostal denomination showed a heavy reliance on Alliance structure and procedures, even to the extent of calling their places of worship by the same name, ‘Gospel Tabernacles.”[1399]

Indeed, “Simpson . . . sought a tongues experience for several years . . . [and] many Alliance people spoke in tongues.”[1400] “Paul Rader, who succeeded A. B. Simpson as president of the CMA, himself spoke in tongues and preached in Pentecostal circles.”[1401] “Simpson . . . had been vocal about the reality and validity of supernatural gifts today, including tongues . . . [just] not [as] the evidence of the baptism of the Spirit.”[1402] “The position of Simpson and the CMA is that . . . God is still bestowing all the gifts of the Spirit today and the baptism . . . of the Spirit is subsequent to conversion . . . [differing from Pentecostalism only in affirming that] the gift of tongues is not the evidence of the baptism with the Spirit.”[1403] The founder of the strongly charismatic International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, divorced[1404] woman preacher Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944), modeled her “Foursquare Gospel” of Christ as Savior, Baptizer, Healer, and Coming King after Simpson’s “higher life message of the fourfold gospel—Jesus Christ as Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King,”[1405] while a variety of CMA leaders preached for her in her church. In Britain, the “Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance” arose around the same “Foursquare Gospel” as preached by McPherson.[1406] “The origins of the Foursquare Gospel seem traceable through the Assemblies of God and at least as far back as A. B. Simpson.”[1407] Simpson’s false doctrine that God Himself has faith[1408] and that the believer’s faith has a creative force comparable to that which God exercised in the creation of the universe also anticipates these beliefs of the Word-Faith heresy,[1409] and Simpson was likewise a precursor of the Word-Faith doctrine of the power of positive thinking to create positive reality and negative thinking to create negative reality.[1410] The “prime influences upon . . . E. W. Kenyon . . . the chief originator” of the Word-Faith or Health and Wealth gospel movement by means of Kenneth Hagin,[1411] were “leaders of the Higher Life and Keswick movements, such as . . . A. B. Simpson,”[1412] as well as “metaphysical cults . . . in the tradition of Mary Baker Eddy . . . Christian Science, Swedenborgianism, Theosophy, Science of Mind, and New Thought,” which were themselves influential in the development of the Higher Life and Faith-Cure theology.[1413] Kenyon, to explain the abysmal failure of Pentecostal and Word-Faith ministers to actually heal people, appealed to Simpson’s doctrine that healing by faith alone, like sanctification by faith alone, could be lost by a decision to stop believing. Kenyon failed to heal people, not because he was a false teacher and his Word of Faith doctrine was a delusion and a heresy—rather, it was the fault of the “healed” people who were not healed:

For many years . . . I could not understand why people who had received their healing . . . should have the disease come back again. . . . They are instantly healed. In a little while they come back again and say, “I can’t understand it. That healing did not stand up. All the symptoms are back again.” Where was the difficulty? It lay in this: They had no faith in the Word of God. . . . They lost their healing[.] . . . I can pray for them again and again, but I get no results because they witness against the Word of God.[1414]

The Word-Faith woman preacher Kathryn Kuhlman (1907-1976)[1415] attended the CMA’s Simpson Bible Institute and McPherson’s college while also supporting the CMA denomination with funds from her healing crusades. She died at age sixty-nine from a heart condition contracted as a child through rheumatic fever, which grew progressively worse, unhealed, for years, her funeral being preached by her compatriot Word-Faith preacher, healer, and heretic, Oral Roberts, who himself had an unhealed heart condition, as did Word-Faith healer Kenneth Hagin. Thus, A. B. Simpson was a key advocate of Keswick or Higher Life theology and a significant link in the theological trajectory from Keswick healing doctrine and continuationism to the charismatic and Word-Faith errors associated closely with Simpson’s denomination.

Applications from the Life and Teachings of A. B. Simpson

            The writings of A. B. Simpson contain many dangerous spiritual errors and heresies. Historic Baptist churches should reject, reprove the errors in, and warn about Simpson’s writings, have no fellowship with the Christian and Missionary Alliance that he founded, and call truly converted people in the organization to separate from Simpson’s denomination. Nor should they have anything to do with the Pentecostal, charismatic, and Word of Faith apostasy that arose in such a large part from the CMA. Furthermore, they should recognize that Keswick continuationism is the root from which all these subsequent and enhanced corruptions have arisen, and reject the Higher Life root of all these subsequent errors for the spiritual safety and God-glorifying truth of the historic Baptist doctrine of sanctification and the cessationism associated with it.

            The tragic and unnecessary early death of many in the Christian and Missionary Alliance because of their rejection of medicine illustrates in a practical way the devastating consequences of the adoption of a corrupt theology. While Satan, who was a murderer from the beginning, was certainly delighted, as far as that infernal being can experience delight, in deceiving Christians to suffer such a form of unintended suicide, the name of Jesus Christ was dishonored and exposed to reproach because of the supposed failure of Christ’s promises and healing power. Twisting Scripture is a serious thing—let the weeping orphans and widows testify. But—alas! Such witnesses are generally excluded from the volumes of testimonials to nineteenth century Faith Cures and twentieth century Pentecostal healings. But when the witness of Scripture is not carefully weighed, is there cause for surprise if the witness of men is likewise weighed in unjust balances?

            Indeed, the historical trajectory from the nineteenth century Higher Life and Keswick continuationism, through the Christian and Missionary Alliance, into the modern tongues and Word of Faith movements illustrates how eisegesis and exegetical sloppiness, compounded over time, leads to an ever-expanding mass of infernal error. The Keswick doctrines that the believer uses God, and that God is helpless to work without the assistance of the human will, become the Word of Faith doctrines that Christians are themselves gods. Keswick’s downplaying of sola Scriptura, exaltation of experience, and openness to the restoration of the sign gifts becomes charismatic and Word of Faith ministers claiming to have revelations they can set alongside Scripture. Higher Life openness to deriving demonology from observation and experience, rather than from the Bible alone, leads to the Satanic playground of modern charismatic deliverance ministry. Only genuine and thorough repentance will prevent a slide into ever deeper apostasy—and for a true and effective deliverance, not particular branches only, but the Higher Life and continuationist root of all must be rent out and replaced with a vibrant Trinitarian spirituality truly based on Scripture alone.

            Only through profound inconsistency can one defend Scriptural cessationism and maintain Keswick theories of sanctification. Simpson, along with the concurrent loud and general testimony of the leading lights of the Higher Life make it clear that the Higher Life of the soul and body are deeply intertwined. Are you a cessationist who follows a Keswick doctrine of sanctification? Your position cannot long stand. Choose, then, this day, the one path or the other. Go all the way with your Higher Life position, abandon sola Scriptura and its corollaries, become a charismatic and continuationist fanatic, babble nonsense and flop around on the ground under the influence of demons, and incur the wrath of the Holy One of Israel for your indulgence in strange fire—or keep your cessationism, cleave to the Bible, reject your Keswick and Higher Life innovation for the orthodox Baptist doctrine of sanctification, and worship the Father in spirit and in truth, loving him with your actively involved mind along with all your soul and your strength. Choose this day whom you will serve.

            You should also take warning from Simpson’s life on the ease with which sincere men, and, indeed, Christians with a desire to follow God, can be deceived. A. B. Simpson’s theory of healing was contradicted by the very spectacles on his nose, yet he continued not only to maintain the theory himself but was able to build and lead an entire Christian denomination that emphasized his doctrine of healing and spiritual gifts while wearing those very same spectacles. Christian reader, you do not have an immunity against deception, even ones as foolish and evidently false as those that Mr. Simpson adopted. Only by continually nourishing your soul on the Bible, in the fellowship of a true church, and with the protection of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, can you escape from falling into a comparable or worse deception yourself.

            Learn also that it is not enough to be zealous for missions—only if true doctrine and practice are wedded to zeal for worldwide evangelistic zeal will any good be truly accomplished. The scribes and Pharisees compassed land and sea to make one proselyte, only to make him a twofold child of hell (Matthew 23:15). Many in heathen lands are deeply confused about who Jesus Christ is because of the spiritual tares sown by zealous missionaries in Christendom who spread much leaven with their light. Ecumenical missionary organizations, from the Christian and Missionary Alliance to the China Inland Mission, cannot long stand without their light becoming eclipsed. Zealous Keswick missionaries in the nineteenth century, through their continuationism and ecumenicalism, contributed greatly to the fact that Africa today is filled with charismatic religious organizations whose members are almost to a man unconverted. Only true and faithful congregations, sending out their own missionaries (Acts 13) without the entanglement of nonbiblical denominational structures, parachurch mission boards, and all other trappings devoid of authority from the Head of the church can expect to see their labor not be in vain in the long term—but such can rejoice in the hope that, by the grace of their Redeemer and His special presence with them and by His empowerment of them, a harvest of souls and new self-supporting, indigenous churches can be planted and continue to multiply until the Lord comes. Do you wish to stand before Christ’s judgment seat with such continuing fruit, or in shame, your labor counting for nothing because the seeds of compromise you tolerated blossomed into tares that choked out God’s good wheat? Then fellowship with a faithful and separated Baptist church that enjoys true unity in its body around all the truth (1 Corinthians 1:10), that fellowships only with likeminded congregations that allow “no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3), and that zealously sends forth and supports with prayer and finances worldwide evangelists of such a caliber. You do not need a great ecumenical missionary alliance. All you need—and all that Jesus Christ will recognize on that great Day—is the church.

VI. John A. MacMillan

The writings of Christian and Missionary Alliance minister John A. MacMillan (1873-1956), among which his book The Authority of the Believer[1416] was a key and very influential work,[1417] form an important link in the trajectory from Keswick theology and the development of the theme of “throne life, which permeated the Keswick, Higher Life, and overcomer movements”[1418] as expounded especially by Jessie Penn-Lewis and A. B. Simpson,[1419] although with other earlier Higher Life antecedents,[1420] to both Pentecostalism and the Word-Faith movement.[1421] “MacMillan’s teaching on the authority of the believer is . . . [a] compilation and expansion of the teachings of . . . holiness leaders, especially A. B. Simpson, A. T. Pierson, Jessie Penn-Lewis, Andrew Murray, and George Watson.”[1422] Paul King notes:

As a young man, John MacMillan would have had the opportunity to drink deeply of the preaching and teaching ministry of well-known [Keswick] leaders of his day . . . [such as] Andrew Murray and Presbyterian Keswick leader A. T. Pierson[.][1423] . . . MacMillan was actively involved with Presbyterian churches advocating higher-life teaching . . . he had been immersed in teaching about the believer’s redemption rights taught by A. B. Simpson[1424] and others in the CMA and the Higher Life movement . . . [he] recommended Murray’s writings along with A. B. Simpson’s as ‘among the best’ . . . [and] published articles by Murray on healing[.] . . . One of the strongest spiritual influences on MacMillan’s life was Jessie Penn-Lewis,[1425] a leader in the British Keswick movement and subsequently the overcomer movement . . . who had influenced his theology and practice of spiritual authority.[1426]

MacMillan, when associate editor of The Alliance Weekly, was “so impressed with . . . Penn-Lewis[’] . . . expl[anation of] how to exercise the authority of binding and loosing [demons] . . . [in her] booklet entitled Prayer and Evangelism[1427] . . . that twice . . . (1937 and 1941) he reproduced a portion of this booklet as articles [in the paper]. . . . Binding and loosing, taught and practiced by A. B. Simpson, Jessie Penn-Lewis . . . and others,[1428] was practiced on the mission field”[1429] by MacMillan,[1430] who also read The Overcomer, the magazine founded by Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts.[1431] Through Penn-Lewis’s influence “binding and loosing became a foundational understanding for . . . The Christian and Missionary Alliance.”[1432] MacMillan taught that the Christian can “fearlessly bin[d] the forces of darkness in any part of the world” since “all the powers of the air . . . are in subjection to” him,[1433] and consequently, as a continuationist minister, he maintained a “deliverance ministry . . . [and] frequently engaged in exorcism.”[1434] He was also “acquainted with the . . . healing ministry of CMA evangelists F. F. and B. B. Bosworth[1435] . . . [who] revitalized the floundering CMA work [where MacMillan lived in] Toronto,”[1436] while also demonstrating “a fondness for Finney,” writing a preface to one of that perfectionist’s books that was republished by the CMA.[1437] In addition to accepting the practice of the sign gifts of modern tongues and healing[1438] and engaging in “power encounters” comparable to those of third-wave charismatics,[1439] MacMillan taught,[1440] with Penn-Lewis and the modern charismatic movement, that believers can be demon possessed. Indeed, as Penn-Lewis affirmed that even consecrated believers can be possessed, so MacMillan affirmed that “[m]any earnest souls, who have been urged to entire surrender to God, open their beings with the utmost abandon to whatever spiritual power approached them . . . provid[ing] a channel for entrance of demons.”[1441] Thus, MacMillan recounts the story of “a sincere Christian [he says] . . . [out of whom] eighteen separate demons left the body of their victim. . . . At intervals covering a period of two months [further] spirits . . . revealed themselves. . . . The trouble was . . . attended by a sexual mania . . . [finally MacMillan’s techniques had] perhaps thirty . . . demons . . . expelled.”[1442] MacMillan would ask the demons what their names were, then ask them if Jesus Christ came in the flesh, based on 1 John 4:1-3, and then command the evil spirits to leave when the demons said that Christ did not come in the flesh.[1443] Devils want to possess people, MacMillan affirmed, because “demons . . . are disembodied spirits” who would rather have a body, but “the [holy] angels are clothed with spiritual bodies similar to those which the saints shall have after the resurrection.”[1444] Macmillan taught that believers could with an “authoritative rebuke . . . as servants and fellow-servants of Christ . . . [make] Satan . . . always flee. . . . [since] demon powers . . . all must yield to us as we take our place with Christ in the heavenlies (Ephesians 2:4-6) and exercise the authority of His throne which He shares with His believing and obedient people.”[1445] MacMillan explained what, in his view, provided Biblical support for his throne-power doctrine; explaining Ephesians 2:4-6, he wrote:

[T]he verb hath he quickened . . . [i]n the first verse of [Ephesians] chapter 2 . . . is not in the original . . . the verb that controls this passage is seen in verses 19 and 20 of chapter 1, [thus meaning]: “According to that working of the strength of His might when He raised HIM from the dead . . . and YOU when ye were dead[.”]. . . The same verb [in Ephesians 1:20] which expresses the reviving of Christ expresses also the reviving of His people. . . . the very act of God which raised the Lord from among the dead, raised also His body . . . the [universal, invisible] Church. . . . [Therefore, the] “elevation of His people with [Christ] to the heavenlies has no other meaning than that they are made sharers . . . of the authority which is His . . . they share His throne . . . [which] means without question to partake of the authority which it represents. Indeed, they have been thus elevated in the plan of God, for this very purpose, that they may even now exercise, to the extent of their spiritual apprehension, authority over the powers of the air and over the conditions which those powers have brought about on the earth.”[1446]

Consequently, the “completeness of His authority” has been given to believers so that they can exercise “this same authority . . . day by day.”[1447] Despite the fact that the universal, invisible church has the same authority as Christ, “more manifest progress” has not come because “a head is wholly dependent upon its body for the carrying out of its plan,”[1448] and the universal church has not recognized MacMillan’s doctrine, hindering Christ from working through the universal church, on which He is allegedly “wholly dependent.” Spiritual work will go forward when believers, “immersed in the omnipotence of God,” in “humble faith . . . take [their] seat in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus . . . [and find that] all the powers of the air . . . are in subjection to [them] . . . [so that they can] fearlessly bin[d] the forces of darkness in any part of the world” and “reac[h] out strong hands to bind and to restrain all that is contrary to Him.”[1449] God “share[s] with human hands the throttle of infinite power.”[1450] Moses held a rod when he led Israel through the Promised Land, and this “rod symbolizes the authority of God committed to human hands. By it the holder is made a co-ruler with his Lord, sharing His throne-power and reigning with Him.”[1451] This truth about “the rod of the authority of the Lord against the unseen powers of darkness . . . directing the throne power of Christ against Satan and his hosts” is confirmed by the Hebrew of Exodus 17:16,[1452] which is mistranslated and unclear in the Authorized Version so that MacMillan’s doctrine is not evident in the English,[1453] although it is in continuity with earlier Higher Life and Keswick proclamations.[1454] Believers must “abid[e] steadfastly by faith in this location”[1455] on Christ’s throne, or Satan can get them. Christians do “not have to fight against the foe but simply . . . hold over him an already accomplished triumph.”[1456] Without fighting the devil, but holding triumph over him, they can “bind the strong man,”[1457] Satan. Tyrannical governments can be made to allow missionaries into their nations when “in the Church believing groups . . . ‘agree’ that this state of affairs” will take place.[1458] Believers can “gain spiritual control . . . by . . . binding, by directed prayer, the powers of evil,” and, because of “Luke 10:17, 19 . . . [and] Mark 16:17 . . . he who believes and obeys [has] . . . ‘even the demons . . . subject unto [him] in [Christ’s] name.’”[1459] This ability to cast out devils will continue “throughout the age” until Christ returns.[1460]

Although MacMillan affirms that believers have the same authority to cast out demons that the Lord Jesus has, and “all . . . demon powers . . . must yield to us,”[1461] nevertheless “there are frequent cases . . . of demon possession . . . [where it] has been found impossible to [cast out the demon], the spirit apparently paying no attention to the prayers or commands” of the Alliance minister or other wonder-worker.[1462] While the Lord Jesus always immediately cast out demons, when Alliance ministers sought to do so “the work of freeing the sufferer . . . [from] the possessing spirit . . . may be protracted”[1463] even when it does not entirely fail.[1464] For example, MacMillan in “his book Encounter with Darkness . . . describes in great detail an extensive ministry of deliverance over several weeks in 1947 . . . at one point continuing for seven consecutive nights. . . . On another occasion in 1951, a series of exorcism sessions on behalf of a Nyack student [MacMillan taught at the CMA Bible college in Nyack, New York] lasted at least three months and involved more than 170 demons.”[1465] In this latter episode, a “woman who was [MacMillan affirms] converted when nineteen years of age” but did not begin to “seriously follow the Lord . . . for a number of years; in fact, not until she had begun to attend a Bible school” began to be “seriously trouble[d] . . . [by] spirits . . . [a]fter . . . she . . . was baptized.”[1466] Exorcism “sessions lasted late into the night,” accompanied with “cries and wailing,” as “MacMillan . . . gave students on-the-job training in the ministry of deliverance . . . [and] taught students how to pray and plead the blood according to Revelation 12:11.”[1467]   One exorcism session was “a struggle which lasted unbroken for eighteen hours . . . often artifical respiration had to be used . . . nurses feared for her life.”[1468] The “deliverance actually took about three months to accomplish . . . for the demons would stubbornly refuse to cooperate and would hide over and over again . . . it was a long and torturous process . . . groups of demons were expelled, the number totalling 171.”[1469] MacMillan considered this a great spiritual victory, and he “learned more from this case than [from] any other . . . in the past,”[1470] thus making this event a key episode in the development of his spiritual warfare doctrine. Indeed, “as a result of the exorcism on the Nyack campus in 1951, MacMillan initiated a course in the next school year on demonology and spiritual warfare—possibly the first of its kind in Christian higher education,”[1471] although “[n]ot all students viewed this [1951 exorcism, this] . . . drawn-out deliverance . . . as a positive experience . . . [considering it, rather, as] a ruse of Satan.”[1472] For example, Albert Runge, an Alliance pastor who was student at Nyack at the time, wrote about this exorcism process that MacMillan found more helpful than any other, and which he made key to his system of demonology and throne-power:

[M]any exorcisms are far more detrimental than beneficial. . . . Many power confrontations between Christians and demons are actually engineered by the demons themselves. As a student in Bible college I was informed that a fellow student was demon possessed, and that there was an exorcism going on. Being of a curious nature, I went to see what was happening. . . . Climbing the stairs . . . I could hear an eerie scream echoing down the hall[.] . . . When I got there the exorcist [John MacMillan] was praising God for the deliverance of the victim. Just after he said Amen, a second demon made himself known. After some time of struggling, arguing and pleading the blood, that demon screamed his way out of the room. Everyone was relieved until another demon made himself known. This process seemed to go on endlessly for days, weeks and months with the same results. There is serious question in my mind that the victim was every completely delivered.

        What went wrong? I have spent many years reflecting over that particular exorcism and researching God’s word, and I have become convinced that many exorcisms are power play setups by the demons themselves. . . . They choose an exorcist . . . [t]hey choose the timing as well as the audience. The whole process is under their control from the beginning to the end.

        One of the things that happened during the exorcism convinced me this is true. When I arrived at the scene of the exorcism, I bgan to pray out loud for the deliverance of the woman. . . . Suddenly the demons cried out from the victim, “Stop him from praying, stop him from praying.” The exorcist shouted to the students, “Stop him from praying.” The students around me told me to be quiet. . . . I am convinced the demons were controlling the exorcist, a good man who lacked understanding of the confrontation. . . . Another incident during that exorcism indicated that the demons were pulling the strings. A theological professor brought his agnostic daughter into the room so that she could see for herself that there was a supernatural realm. As a trained psychiatrist, she was convinced that we were all suffering some kind of mass delusion. While she was in the room the demons did not manifest themselves in any way no matter what the exorcist did to arouse them. However, as soon as she left, they acted up. I believe demons rarely manifest themselves in our culture unless they have a devious reason to do it.

        What did the demons accomplish through this demonstration? . . . They left . . . future missionaries and pastors . . . with a feeling of futility and helplessness before the power of the kingdom of darkness . . . [and made them] question their . . . spiritual authority.[1473] . . . Whatever demons say during an exorcism is completely unreliable. Therefore, holding a dialogue with them is not only unproductive, it is dangerous. The demons will attempt to intimidate, manipulate, disorientate and confuse the spectators of an exorcism to accomplish their own ends. All experience within the supernatural realm must be evaluated in light of the Scripture to avoid becoming excessively superstitious. . . . There are no magical formulas, incantations, or rituals by which demons can be controlled or exorcised. Thinking back on my experience at Bible college, it became apparent to me that the person doing the exorcism had developed a systematic ritual to expel demons, and it had proven ineffective. First, when the demon manifested itself through the glassy eyes of its victim, the exorcist asked the question, “Did Jesus Christ come in the flesh?” When the spirit answered “No!” the exorcist declared it a demon. The exorcist later admitted to me privately that he was greatly confused, because at subsequent exorcism attempts, when the students were not present, the demons were saying that Jesus Christ did come in the flesh. What was happening? Once the demons had lost their audience of curious and confused theological students they had no need to carry on their charade.

        Secondly, if the demon said, “no, Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh,” the exorcist would then proceed to ask the name of the demon. Interestingly, this procedure comes from an ancient pagan belief:

The Sumerians and the Semites of Babylon laid great stress on the belief in the magical power of names. If a demon was to be expelled properly it was necessary for the exorcist priest to know its name and use it properly in a spell . . .[1474]

To make matters more confusing to the exorcist, the demons could call themselves Jesus and the Holy Spirit and then laugh. . . . Asking the name of a demon serves only to open up dangerous and unnecessary dialogues with them. I have witnessed demons calling themselves by vicious names such as Hate, Fear, Murder, etc., that sent terror into the hearts of the spectators.

        Thirdly, once the name of the demon was given, the exorcist would then command the demon in the name of Jesus Christ to leave the victim. A struggle ensued that seesawed back and forth. Finally there would be a scream. Then what appeared to be a moment of true victory was followed by the manifestation of another demon in the victim. It should have been obvious to us all that as long as one demon possessed the victim they all had access to her. The approach of casting out one demon at a time is futile. . . . [T]he demons rarely manifest themselves unless it is to their advantage. They prefer to work secretly behind the scenes.[1475]

Despite the concerns of Runge and others like him, MacMillan was certain that he was truly exercising the supernatural gifts of the first century, that he was not deceived by Satan, and that deriving demonology from what the demons themselves taught and did in exorcism sessions was not “giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1). However, when MacMillan engaged in exorcisms, it “never seemed to be ‘quick and easy,’ for the demons would stubbornly refuse to cooperate and would hide over and over again. There were times in which he questioned why it took so long at times to see deliverance.”[1476] For that matter, “[n]ot all of MacMillan’s endeavors in exorcism were successful,” but at times, despite his throne power doctrine, exorcism simply failed entirely.[1477] While MacMillan’s exorcisms were radically different, and far, far more protracted affairs, even when he was not simply a failure, than those of the Lord Jesus and the Apostles, and nothing in the Bible supports his practices, he nevertheless was convinced that they were evidence of the miraculous power of God through the believer’s exercise of throne power, not a deceit of Satan.

MacMillan was also certain that the true children of God could be possessed by demons. As for those who say that “a true child of God cannot be brought under the power of the enemy,” MacMillan follows Jessie Penn-Lewis and replies: “Experience disproves this,”[1478] for many minsters and workers in MacMillan’s denomination and others in Christiandom fall under Satan’s power and “never com[e] to the place of complete deliverance.”[1479] Not only can “doubts [be] injected into the mind by lying spirits,”[1480] but it is an “important fact . . . that believers may become possessed,”[1481] although no Scripture whatsoever affirms such a doctrine; the experience of “actual cases of demon possession, where the evil spirits were in full control” prove that “sincere Christians” can be “possessed.”[1482] Devils can be defeated only by those “so few Christians . . . [who enter into] the victorious life of the ‘overcomer’ . . . Revelation 2-3 . . . [and by] an appropriation by faith . . . [bring Christ’s] ‘throne power’ into the earthly ministry of the believer.”[1483] Receving a post-conversion Spirit baptism also helps, since by it comes “a supreme confidence in the wisdom and omnipotence of the Lord of the harvest, and an inward assurance of the sharing of His authority over all the power of the enemy.”[1484]

            Many of MacMillan’s teachings—and those of the Pentecostal and radical charismatic Word-Faith movement that adopted them—are unscriptural and dangerous. MacMillan gives no Scripture to prove that believers can be demon possessed, nor does he attempt to refute the verses employed by those who reject his position—he simply gives “experience” as evidence. Experience is the best argument he has, since Scripture states concerning all who are “of God” that “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). The Holy Spirit is in the believer, and evil spirits are not—they are outside the believer in the world. This single sentence from the lips of the Almighty Jehovah has infinitely more doctrinal value than all of MacMillan’s experiences. Rather than concluding that true Christians can be demon possessed because, MacMillan affirms, various ministers and church members in his denomination have been possessed, from members of the CMA on world mission fields to students at CMA Bible colleges,[1485] he would have done well to consider whether demon possession in his denomination was a sign of its dangerous confusion about the work and power of the devil and evidence of the presence of large numbers of unregenerate church members and leaders, a product not only of CMA errors on demonology but of CMA confusion and weakness on the nature of the gospel itself, such as Arminianism,[1486] confusion on the nature of repentance,[1487] and acceptance of dangerously weak evangelistic methodology.[1488]

MacMillan also misinterprets and reads into too many of the passages of Scripture which he does not ignore. The reason that “there is very little grasp of [his doctrine] by the majority of even spiritual believers”[1489] is because it is not taught in the Bible. MacMillan never proves that fallen angels are disembodied but holy angels are embodied. He never proves that Satan or fallen angels have direct access to the mind and can directly inject thoughts into the regenerate—an affirmation that would be difficult to prove in light of the fact that only the Triune God can see the heart and mind[1490] and the entire absence of such an affirmation in Scripture.[1491] He never proves that believers need to adopt the pagan practice of asking demons what their names are as part of an exorcism process, or, for that matter, that believers should ever converse with demons at all.[1492] He never explains why 1 John 4:1-3, which when interpreted grammatically and historically has nothing whatsoever to do with asking demons questions in an exorcism ceremony,[1493] should be used in such a fashion, and overlooks the fact that demons themselves had spread this misinterpretation of 1 John 4 to further their deception of men and advance their Satanic purposes.[1494] MacMillan never proves that believers “do not have to fight against the [Satanic] foe” because of the truth that Christ has already defeated Satan on the cross and will bring to pass the devil’s final and ultimate defeat in the eschaton. MacMillan’s drawing of conclusions about throne power against Satan and his hosts from the fact that Moses had a rod and from a Hebrew idiom about lifting the hand in Exodus 17:16 is severe eisegesis. He must affirm that Exodus 17:16 was not only poorly rendered in the Authorized Version but also misunderstood by all the Jewish Targumim, which support the KJV. The verse must also have been misunderstood and mistranslated by the LXX, the Vulgate, and all other ancient witnesses, not a one of which support MacMillan’s position.[1495] Nor do Revelation 2-3 identify as overcomers only those “so few Christians . . . [which enter into] the victorious life of the ‘overcomer.’” The chapters identify as overcomers all true believers, all who will “eat of the tree of life,” who will “not be hurt of the second death,” who will be “clothed in white raiment” and be found “in the book of life,”[1496] who are the sons of God (Revelation 21:7), and who are born of God and believe in Jesus Christ (1 John 5:4-5). The Lord Jesus Christ binds the strong man, Satan, by casting out devils (Matthew 12:28-29)—believers are never said to bind Satan or any other demons, and Satan will not be ultimately bound and his power removed from the earth until the Millennial kingdom (Revelation 20:1-3). Luke 10:17-19 refers specifically to “the seventy,” not to all believers living in the first century—the overwhelming majority of whom were not given supernatural powers to heal everyone (10:9) and cast out demons that the seventy received from Christ.[1497] Much less does Luke 10:17-19 refer to all believers today. Mark 16:17 demonstrates that certain believers would do miracles, but it does not promise that all church members or all believers would do all the signs listed in 16:17-18; the gift of tongues is mentioned in 16:17-18, but the Bible elsewhere specifically affirms that even before the sign gifts ceased (1 Corinthians 13:8-13) not everyone had the power to heal or speak in tongues (1 Corinthians 12:30). Nor does Mark 16:17 indicate that the signs would follow Christians until the return of Christ. Furthermore, ministers in MacMillan’s denomination do not actually have the power to perform miracles like Christ and the Apostles did. Christ told the seventy in Luke 10:17-19, “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you,” while Mark 16:17-18 states: “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” However, neither Mr. MacMillan in particular, nor Christian and Missionary Alliance ministers and church members in general, can tread on or handle snakes with impunity, and they get hurt if they drink poison. They cannot do the kind of miracles that the Lord Jesus did when He was authenticating Himself as the Messiah (Luke 7:19-23) or the Apostles did in validating their office (2 Corinthians 12:12). Every single person on whom CMA ministers lay hands does not get healed, but perfect and certain healing was promised in the sign gift of Mark 16:18. CMA members get sick and die, but Christ promised the seventy during the mission of Luke 10:17-19 that “nothing shall by any means hurt you.” These facts devastate MacMillan’s demonology for adherents of Sola Scriptura.

MacMillan also held to the Faith Cure, Keswick, and Pentecostal doctrine of healing through the Higher Life of the body. That is, he taught that “divine healing [is] not a mere privilege but a command,”[1498] since Christ lives both the spiritual Higher Life of the believer for him and lives the bodily life of the believer also. Christians “should claim this gracious relationship . . . [of being] members of [Christ’s] body [in the universal, invisible church, as allegedly taught in Ephesians 5:30] for their own flesh and bones, and refuse the sicknesses that seek to fasten upon their physical frames,”[1499] and thus, by refusing to be sick, not get sick. As “the Atonement has made healing by divine power one of the abiding privileges of the redeemed,” MacMillan discovered and “shared with his students . . . [at the] Missionary Training Institute . . . one of his secrets[1500] of receiving healing and maintaing health[,] [namely, to] daily . . . lay hands on various parts of his body, praying for divine healing and health in each part.”[1501] Nonetheless, MacMillan had to “battl[e] physical illness,”[1502] which, indeed, “frequently and severely plagued him in China”[1503] on the mission field. “After visiting a colony of lepers” in China, MacMillan restated his belief that “healing power should not pass away, but rather that greater [healing] power should be manifest[1504] because [Christ] had ascended,” yet he had to admit, “[w]e do not see it.”[1505] Not a single leper was healed, the exact opposite effect of Christ’s genuine miraculous power which “healed all.”[1506] During a cholera epidemic, MacMillan and other CMA missionaries “claimed Psalm 91:3” for victory over “sickness and depression,” which were “satanic oppression requiring warfare,” but, nonetheless, “they endured . . . oppression of body and depression of mind.”[1507] MacMillan, his wife, and their son “were all prostrated by a serious influenza.”[1508] MacMillan had to endure the “slow and painful death . . . [of] his sister Lid[e].”[1509] Isabel MacMillan, his wife and co-preacher,[1510] suffered from tragic illnesses:

[She] contracted Dengue fever and malaria in 1926 and never fully recovered. It left her in a weakened condition and susceptible to other diseases. . . . [In] the last year of Isabel’s life . . . 1927 . . . [she] suffered the symptoms of appendicitis . . . an unusual skin problem that developed into an abcess on her leg . . . boils . . . a painful carbuncle on her face . . . flu . . . irregular and rapid heartbeat . . . intense headaches . . . nausea . . . weak[ness] . . . too [great] . . . to undergo [needed] . . . surgury . . . [until finally she became] comatose . . . [and] died.[1511]

During this painful time, MacMillan “prayed much for Divine [intervention] . . . [concluded that] [‘]What the Father is doing, I do[’] . . . [and wrote,] [‘]I am further sure that . . . the condition of my wife is a . . . maifestation of . . . demoniacal . . . power[’] . . . an [‘]infernal fiat[’] . . . because they were dislodging the spirits that held the territories of the Philippines in darkness.”[1512] Despite all night prayer vigils for her at the local CMA Bible college, Isabel’s pleading with her husband that “unless [he] broke the chains [of Satan] she would not last long,”[1513] and MacMillan’s regular and repeated exercise of his doctrine of throne-power over all evil spirits, his wife was not healed and the spirits allegedly causing the disease were not defeated, but she suffered a sad, drawn out, and painful sickness and death.[1514] MacMillan himself was not healed, but died from “cancer of the spine” after a significant period of “constant pain.”[1515] MacMillan also admits that “there are frequent cases . . . of demon possession” where CMA ministers find it “impossible” to cast out demons. MacMillan’s missionary ministry included many such failures, such as “a boy in the [CMA] school [who] manifested signs of demonization” yet for some time “defied deliverance,”[1516] or a woman who MacMillan and others “were not able to set . . . free.”[1517] Luke 10:17-19 and Mark 16:17-18 leave no room for such abject failures to heal and cast out devils. It is an abuse of Scripture to take passages that do not refer to all believers today and read into them what they do not promise. What is more, when CMA members claim they can work apostolic sign miracles but are then unable to do what God never promised, His holy name is blasphemed by those who do not recognize the CMA’s abuse of the Bible and consequently conclude that God can fail to keep His promises.[1518]

David Cloud effectively refutes MacMillan’s doctrine of the continuation of signs gifts and miracles throughout the church age:

The gift of healing was associated with the apostolic age, and God gave the apostles sign gifts to authenticate their calling (2 Cor. 12:12). See Mark 3:14-15; Acts 2:43; 4:33; 5:12, 15; 19:12. The apostles laid the foundation for the church (Eph. 2:20), and when they died their sign gifts ceased. If the sign miracles were operative throughout the church age, they could not have been effective as apostolic sign gifts. Even in the early churches, all Christians could not do the sign miracles of the apostles. The only exceptions were a few men upon whom the apostles had laid hands. There was no general miracle-working experience among the first churches. If there had been, Paul could not have pointed to his miracle-working ability as a special sign. His would have been just another miracle-working Christian ministry if all could have performed such things; but all could not. If all could have performed miracles as a matter of course, the Christians would not have called for Peter to come and raise Dorcas from the dead (Acts 9:36-42). Peter’s miracle that day was the “sign of an apostle.” . . . God does not always heal sicknesses. Timothy was not healed supernaturally of his often infirmities (1 Tim. 5:23). Trophimus was not healed when he was sick in Miletum (2 Tim. 4:20). Paul was not healed of the sickness described in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. The Greek word for “infirmities” (2 Cor. 12:10) is elsewhere translated “sickness” (Jn. 11:4) and “disease” (Acts 28:9; 1 Tim. 6:20). Three times Paul asked God to take away this affliction, but the Bible says He refused to do so. Paul was told that this infirmity was something God wanted him to have for his spiritual well-being. Upon learning this, Paul surrendered to God’s will and wisely said: “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Cor. 12:10). This is a perfect example for Christians today. We should pray for healing and release from other kinds of trials, but when God does not heal and does not release us, we must bow to His will and accept that situation as something from the hand of God. This is not lack of faith; it is wise obedience to the sovereignty of Almighty God.[1519]

MacMillan would have done well to embrace historic Baptist cessationism and reject as dangerous and unscriptural the Keswick doctrine that the sign gifts continue throughout the church age.

MacMillan also misinterprets Ephesians 1-2, the central passage for his throne-power concept that allegedly establishes his doctrine that Christians have all of Christ’s authority over evil spirits. His conclusions about Ephesians 1:19-20; 2:1 are erroneous. It is obvious that the “hath he quickened” in the Authorized Version of Ephesians 2:1 is properly supplied from the “quickened us together” in 2:5, as the parallelism and the continuity of 2:1-7 makes clear.[1520] Nothing is supplied in 2:1 because of a “verb” that is “seen in verses 19 and 20 [of chapter 1] . . . which expresses the reviving of Christ,”[1521] even apart from the fact that Ephesians 1:19 and 1:20 do not even share a verb, and the word rendered “raised” in v. 20[1522] is not a verb but a participle, a verbal adjective, with no related grammatical form in v. 19.[1523] In fact, Ephesians chapter two begins a new section of Paul’s epistle.[1524] Furthermore, Ephesians never states that believers can “exercise the authority of [Christ’s] throne”[1525] or that God “share[s] with human hands the throttle of infinite power.”[1526] Paul taught the members of the church at Ephesus that they were “in heavenly places”[1527] by virtue of their union with Christ. God dwells “in heavenly places” (1:3), Christ ascended to such heavenly places (1:20), and believers are, because of the marvelous grace and love of God, in union with Christ in them (1:20). However, MacMillan makes the dangerous error of equating the functions of being “at the right hand” of God and being “in heavenly places.” The former is a symbol of sovereignty (cf. Psalm 110:1) and is affirmed of Christ only, while the latter phrase is employed, not for believers only (Ephesians 2:6), but even for Satanic forces (6:12). Satan’s hosts are in the heavenlies, but they are certainly not at the right hand of God—that position is reserved only for Christ.[1528] If “in the heavenlies” proves that believers are at the right hand of God, in the position reserved only for the Messiah, the God-Man and Head of His mediatorial kingdom, then Satan’s forces are there, too, and they also can exercise all of God’s authority. Their longed-for goal of usurping God’s unique authority (cf. Isaiah 14; Genesis 3:5) would in such a situation have been achieved. Believers “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (2:6) because they are in union with that Christ who sits at the Father’s right hand, with all things under His feet, but Ephesians never states that they are themselves at the right hand of God and exercising Christ’s authority.[1529] Not only does Paul never make such a statement, but this idea would change the affirmation of the latter portion of Ephesians 1 from Christ’s exercising His Divine authority over and ruling the church to the church exercising Divine authority and ruling over herself (1:22). God’s power works gloriously in believers through Christ by the Holy Spirit, but it is God’s power, and remains His power, not the believer’s own power, and He exercises it, not the Christian. It is blessedly true that the Father’s supernatural power is working in the elect, but that is radically different from saying that believers can do everything that Christ did. Thus, none of MacMillan’s proof-texts for the doctrine that believers can exercise all of Christ’s power actually make such an assertion; on the contrary, the book of Ephesians refutes such a notion.

Furthermore, neither individual believers, nor the mythical universal, invisible church, are ever exhorted because of the truths in Ephesians 1-2 to “take [their] seat in the heavenly places” or “take [their] place with Christ” and then “authoritative[ly] rebuke” Satan. Believers are all already in the heavenly places in union with Christ;[1530] while they should grow in spiritual wisdom and understanding, see the greatness of God’s power towards them, and rejoice in the riches of the glory of His inheritance in them (Ephesians 1:17-20), there is no position mentioned in Ephesians 1-2 that only an elite minority of believers recognize and “take.” What is more, even when God willed the existence of the sign gifts, certain kinds of demons were only cast out, Christ stated, “by prayer and fasting.”[1531] The Lord Jesus never breathed a syllable (as Moses never dreamed of MacMillan’s doctrine because of his rod in Exodus 17) about an ability to cast out all demons by exercising throne-power, but, on the contrary, the Son of God specifically taught a method for casting out devils, when directly asked about how to perform this miracle (Matthew 17:19; Mark 9:28), that directly contradicts MacMillan’s position—and the Lord said that His prescribed method was the “only” one that worked for at least certain devils. Furthermore, the Son of God specifically gave the “twelve [apostles] . . . power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils,”[1532] which would be unnecessary if all believers throughout time already had such abilities and simply needed to claim throne-authority to exercise them. While MacMillan’s key verse, Ephesians 2:6, does indeed assert that Christians (all believers, not only a select few that “take” a seat) are in union with Christ and thus “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” Paul does not draw MacMillan’s conclusion from the wonderful truth of Ephesians 2:6. The inspired consequence drawn from Ephesians 2:6 is not a matter of speculation, but is stated in Ephesians 2:7: “That[1533] in the ages to come[1534] he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Similarly, the Apostle’s conclusion in Colossians 3:1-5 from the fact that saints are “risen with Christ” and their “life is hid with Christ in God” is that believers must “seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God[,] [s]et [their] affection on things above, not on things on the earth,” and “[m]ortify . . . [their] members which are upon the earth.” Scripture simply never draws from the blessed truth of the Christian’s union with Christ in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension MacMillan’s conclusions that believers can exercise all the authority of the Lord Jesus over demons when they employ proper techniques of accessing Christ’s “throne power.”[1535] Scripture concludes from the union of believers with Christ in His ascension that God will demonstrate His grace in them for all eternity to come, and also exhorts them to live holy lives, enabled by the Father’s mighty power that works in them.[1536] The inspired conclusion Paul draws in 2:7 (cf. 2:10) from the believer’s union with Christ of 2:6, that the Father’s empowerment sanctifies and eternally secures every Christian, and such a demonstration of saving grace and love redounds to the everlasting glory of the God of love and grace, is an infinitely more glorious conclusion than if the Apostle had merely averred that ability of the sort MacMillan claimed was bestowed on him and others who had discovered his spiritual secret, so that one could in this life follow CMA practices, cast out some demons here and there, and perform other marvels. MacMillan’s conclusion is a tragic disappointment when compared to the Apostle Paul’s. Thankfully, one cannot build doctrine from conclusions not made in Scripture, so Paul’s conclusions are true, and MacMillan’s are not. MacMillan’s position has about as much support in Ephesians 1-2 as the idea that believers can fly in the air by flapping their arms because they are in union with One who has ascended to heaven.

MacMillan’s affirmations that believers are “immersed in the omnipotence of God” and that “human hands [share] the throttle of infinite power” prepare the way for the Word-Faith heresy that Christians are “little gods.” After all, Christ does not just exercise authority over evil spirits—He sustains the entire universe and exercises authority over absolutely everything. MacMillan himself, in other writings, taught that believers can control “the fierce disturbance of nature” in storms and otherwise control the weather,[1537] exercise authority to make both domesticated and wild animals submit to their will,[1538] stop their houses from catching on fire,[1539] prevent diseases from infecting groups of people,[1540] change the actions of national governments,[1541] exercise authority over demons that cause anger and other sinful emotions,[1542] and exercise authority over the world to control the events that take place in it and prevent wars,[1543] a “belief [MacMillan] inherited from the Overcomer Movement in which Jessie Penn-Lewis . . . was involved.”[1544] Indeed, one who holds MacMillan’s doctrine becomes “a partner with his Lord in the government of the universe,” releasing “divine power” for “the control of the activities of the rulers of mankind” so that at the Christian’s “word . . . wars are hindered or delayed, calamities are averted, and national and individual blessings are bestowed”[1545] and by the “command of faith” a disciple of MacMillan can move “mountain[s] in the name of Christ . . .put[ting] his hand on the dynamic force that controls the universe . . . [h]eavenly energy is released, and his behest is obeyed,”[1546] for “the power and authority of the risen Head will come in due time to full development in the body . . . overcoming saints[.]”[1547] Indeed, MacMillan and his followers even claimed to exercise authority to “command [God] concerning the work of His hands” since “the Almighty . . . share[s] with human hands the throttle of divine power. . . . As . . . authoritative intercessors . . . speak the word of command, God obeys.”[1548] Scripture teaches that Christians must obey God, but MacMillan teaches that God must obey Christians. This is wretched and blasphemous idolatry.

MacMillan states that “cults have departed from the faith [by] . . . accept[ing] human guesses, which have been enlarged into more or less elaborated doctrines. There is in many of them a foundation of scriptural truth, to which has been added a superstructure of human reason, which adds to or takes away from the divine original.”[1549] Unfortunately, from the truths of the believer’s union with Christ, the fact that God works powerfully to sanctify and secure the believer, the reality of the evil work of Satan and his demons, and the fact that if Christians “resist the devil, he will flee” (James 4:7), MacMillan’s own superstructure adds and takes away from the truth of Scripture by affirming, among numbers of other grievous errors, that Keswick continuationism is true and so the sign gifts are operative today, that believers can be demon possessed, that believers can command God, and that believers have the same authority as Jesus Christ over evil spirits and over the world. His doctrine is cultic on his own definition, a ripe soil for the abominable heresies the Word-Faith cult[1550] and the charismatic movement in general developed from his works.[1551]

The Word-Faith or Health and Wealth Gospel movement has as its spiritual “‘father’ . . . the late Kenneth E. Hagin . . . [and its] leading living proponent [is] . . . Kenneth Copeland.”[1552] The “founding faither of the Faith movement,” through the influence of E. W. Kenyon[1553] on many doctrines and John A. MacMillan on others, “is commonly held to be Kenneth Erwin Hagin.”[1554] “Hagin’s influence is omnipresent in Faith circles. His mark is printed indeliby upon his countless disciples, such as Copeland, Price, and Capps . . . All of the major ministers of the Faith movement readily admit Hagin’s tutelage. He is universally recognized in the movement as both a teacher and a prophet.”[1555] “[C]ultic ideas . . . syncretized from metaphysics, of healing, positive confession, and prosperity . . . account for the success of the [Word-Faith] movement . . . distinguish it most, cause its amazing growth, and occupy center stage[.] . . . These cultic ideas are widely accepted in the independent charismatic movement and are even proclaimed to be a key to the progressive revelation of God being poured out in the end times.”[1556] Indeed, the Word of Faith system is “becom[ing] (if it is not already) [a] permanent fixtur[e] in the independent charismatic movement.”[1557] While Jesus is God and people must be born again, the Word of Faith heresy teaches “that Jesus was born again so that we might become little gods.”[1558] Word-Faith teachers also claim that the believer uses God, rather than God using the believer. “In the Word Faith system God is not Lord of all; he is not able to work until we release him to do so. He is dependent on human instruments, human faith, and above all human words to get his work done.”[1559] Since believers have God’s authority, “we are little gods and we [must] begin to act like little gods.”[1560] Indeed, as Hagin affirmed, believers “are Christ. That’s who they are. They are Christ.”[1561] Word-Faith teachers also affirm the idolatrous blasphemy that “Jesus gave up his deity and even took on Satan’s nature to die for our sins.”[1562] They adopt grossly heretical ideas of the atonement:[1563]

Christ’s death was a ransom paid to Satan . . . [Christ] accepted the sin nature of Satan into his own spirit . . . [and He] was dragged into hell by Satan and tormented for three days and three nights. . . . Jesus made himself [o]bedient to Satan . . . [and took on] his nature . . . allowed the devil to drag Him into the depths of hell . . . [Thus, Christ] need[ed] to be . . . born [again] [b]ecause He became like we were: separated from God. . . . Jesus is the first person that was ever born again. . . His spirit need[ed] to be born again . . . [b]ecause it was estranged from God.[1564]

Word-Faith teaching also denies the true gospel by affirming that one personally receives Christ’s righteousness, not by imputation, but by impartation, so that one is actually and personally as righteous as Christ (cf. 1 John 1:8, 10), denies very plain texts of Scripture by teaching that everyone is supposed to be rich and that being poor is a sin, claims that whatever one speaks out loud in faith one will receive (positive confession or “name it and claim it” doctrine),[1565] because of the creative power of one’s faith (as a little god, after all), and teaches many other abominable heresies. “Those in the Faith movement are now, and have been for years, preaching a different gospel.”[1566] David Cloud wrote:

The Word-Faith movement is a very influential part of the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement today. It is also known as “Positive Confession” or simply the “Faith” movement. It has no organizational or denominational structure or hierarchy but it is promoted by many prominent Pentecostal leaders who have large and prosperous ministries. The Word-Faith movement is powered by massive amounts of money that its teachers raise through their promise of healing and prosperity and power. It is represented by the Trinity Broadcasting Network, a half-billion dollar corporation that beams Word-Faith teaching throughout the world. In general it holds that healing is guaranteed to those who have faith, that Jesus was rich and that He desires for His followers to be financially prosperous, that faith is a creative force that can be used to shape one’s world, that when Adam fell he forfeited the nature of God and took the nature of Satan and that salvation requires removing Satan’s nature from mankind, that Jesus did not make the atonement for sin by His death and blood but by taking upon Himself the nature of Satan on the cross then going to hell and overcoming the devil there and being born again and thus erasing Satan’s nature from man, that Jesus is establishing a new race of little Christs that are equal to Him and that can do what He did.

While the Word-Faith teachers hold certain things in common and while all of them hold to most of the aforementioned doctrines, they are highly individualistic and do not necessarily hold to every single one. Some of the proponents of the Word-Faith doctrine are Kenneth Hagin, Sr., Kenneth Hagin, Jr., Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, David Yonggi Cho, Paul Crouch, John Avanzini, Robert Tilton, R.W. Shambach, Rod Parsley, Fred Price, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Marilyn Hickey, Charles Capps, Peter Popoff, Morris Cerullo, John Bevere, Markus Bishop, Juanita Bynum, Kim Clement, Paula White, and Rodney Howard-Browne. At its heart is the doctrine that whatever a believer claims by faith, he will have. The late Kenneth Hagin, Sr., said, “Your confession of faith in God’s Word will bring healing or whatever it is you need from God into the present tense and make it a reality in your life!” (Hagin, The Word of Faith, Dec. 1992).[1567]

Ken Sarles summarizes the doctrines of the Word-Faith movement:

Advocates of the prosperity gospel claim that it is God’s will for every believer to be prosperous. . . .Prosperity theology . . . seems to be a blending of the positive thinking emphasis of a Norman Vincent Peale or a Robert Schuller and the faith healing ministry of an Oral Roberts. It certainly has a charismatic flavoring to it but is by no means limited to Pentecostalism. . . . Some of the prominent personalities of prosperity include Kenneth Hagin, pastor of the Rhema Bible Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, founders of Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Fort Worth, Texas; Bob and Marte Tilton, founding pastors of the Word of Faith Church, Farmers Branch, Texas; John Osteen, pastor of the Lakewood Church, Houston, Texas; Jerry Savelle, evangelist and former associate of Kenneth Copeland; Charles and Frances Hunter, faith healers and founders of the City of Light, Kingwood, Texas; and Charles Capps, an Oklahoma pastor. . . . [T]he good news of the prosperity gospel is how to be healthy, wealthy, and demon-free. . . . The provision of healing, according to the prosperity gospel, is found in the Atonement . . . it is never God’s will for anyone to be sick. . . . The possession of healing is through the exercise of faith. The approach to faith can best be understood by the phrases “name it and claim it” or “believe and receive.” . . . [As] succinctly put by Hagin: “Faith’s confessions create reality.[1568] . . The confession of faith, it is believed, will cure any disease or physical handicap, since healing is always the will of God and has been provided for in the Atonement. . . .

The purpose of wealth is philanthropic. . . . When one gives to others, whether money or something else, more will be given by God in return. Soon a prosperity cycle begins, in which one gives and receives more in return, allowing him to give even more, meaning he will receive yet more in return; and so the cycle continues. . . . . The promise of wealth [is] the basis for the whole prosperity movement[.] . . .The provision of wealth centers on the application of the Abrahamic Covenant. The personal blessings God bestowed on Abraham by the covenant He made with him are extrapolated as benefits for believers today. . . . [T]he Law of Moses was given so that Abraham’s descendants could possess the same degree of prosperity Abraham enjoyed. Possession of the wealth provided through the Abrabamic Covenant is achieved by knowing, obeying, and believing. First there must be knowledge of the promise before the promise can be claimed. . . . Obedience is a second key to becoming prosperous. . . . The third element, faith, is exercised in the same way as in achieving divine health. Faith amounts to claiming authority over the financial resources already guaranteed by God. . . . No one need live in poverty. Wealth and riches are there for the asking—in faith. All that stands between a person and financial blessing is his decision to demand what he wants. . . . The prospects of wealth, according to some prosperity leaders, are truly astounding. The hundredfold return of Mark 10:30 is claimed as the basis of God’s financial dealings with His servants. “You give $1 for the gospel’s sake and $100 belongs to you, give $10 and receive $1,000; give $1,000 and receive $100,000…. Give one house and receive one hundred houses or one house worth one hundred times as much…. In short, Mark 10:30 is a very good deal.”[1569] . . . No wonder the motto of the prosperity movement is, “You can have what you say!” . . . The presence of demonic activity in the lives of Christians is an important plank in the prosperity platform. . . . [A]ll incurable diseases are caused by evil spirits. Demons inhabit not only people, but also homes, cars, and other mechanical devices. . . . The process of casting out demons solves the believer’s “demonic dilemma.” . . . Jesus has given him authority to cast out unclean spirits (Matt 10:1). This gives the individual believer authority over the world of evil spirits. . . . In the procedure for casting out demons Satan is bound by the authority of Jesus so that he cannot render aid to his evil associates. Then the demon is addressed, commanded to name himself, and cast out. Since demons can do such things as planting seeds of disease and stopping the flow of financial wealth, the casting out of demons is necessary to insure continued health and prosperity. . . .

        According to those in the movement, special, verbal revelation did not cease with the closing of the New Testament canon but continues today. Leaders frequently support their teachings with revelations, prophecies, dreams, and visions. The implication is that they share the same status with Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles as dispensers of progressively revealed truth. . . . Prosperity hermeneutics also leaves much to be desired. The method of interpreting the biblical text is highly subjective and arbitrary. Bible verses are quoted in abundance without attention to grammatical indicators, semantic nuances, or literary and historical context. The result is a set of ideas and principles based on distortion of textual meaning. . . . The proponents of prosperity have gone astray concerning the doctrine of God . . . [t]he sovereignty of God is . . . greatly undermined in the outworking of the prosperity gospel. Indeed what emerges is a new view of God. First, even God Himself has failed. “God hoped for things. He had a plan. He had desires. He hoped they would come to pass, but they failed.”[1570] . . . . Second, not only can God inspire man but man can inspire God. “When . . . you start believing it, God starts believing it . . . and things happen, praise God.”[1571] Third, God is bound by His own laws, such as the law of compensation, and man becomes the initiator, forcing God to comply by holding up His end of the bargain. . . . In the prosperity scheme of things what God’s sovereignty lacks human sovereignty supplies. Believers are considered to be “God-like creatures” and “supermen.”[1572] . . . The believer’s authority is delegated by God Himself, and not even God will interfere with it: “God is not going to override your authority . . . He has given you authority in the earth.”[1573] The absurd conclusion of this view of human authority is that a believer should be able to live perpetually in health and presumably youthfulness, and never die! Is it not strange that none of the prosperity leaders themselves have yet exercised their authority to that extent? Nonetheless these same leaders instruct others how to exercise their authority. Each Christian is considered a king in God’s kingdom. This means he can decide what he wants and then decree it just as a monarch would. . . . In the prosperity movement man has become the ruler and God the servant. In its shift away from theocentrism the prosperity gospel has reached the deadend of anthropocentrism, the deification of humanity. A striking illustration of deification at work can be found in the simple act of saying grace at mealtime. . . . According to Kenneth Copeland the human will “is actually a godlike will because man has the right to choose his own eternal destiny. Only a god has that kind of choice!”[1574] . . . In the prosperity gospel little is said about the curse of the Fall, the noetic effects of sin, or man’s constitutional depravity . . . the corruption of fallen human nature that remains even in the redeemed is totally ignored. By contrast the total freedom of the will is everywhere asserted, not only in salvation but also in claiming miracles leading to a healthy, wealthy lifestyle. The ability to decide what one wants and then to demand it from God goes beyond the most radical form of Pelagianism. Human sin has been replaced with human sovereignty. . . . The only sin given attention is doubt or unbelief that prevents the achievement of one’s full potential. Doubting of any kind is anathema to the person seeking prosperity because it produces “the power of negative thinking.” . . . In other words negative thinking creates a negative reality. . . .

        Without question the prosperity movement is characterized by an obsession with the demonic. The reality of God’s use of secondary means in the physical realm has been replaced with a sensational concept of demonic causation. . . . The prosperity movement seems to have reverted to a form of animism, which holds that evil spirits inhabit and control both animate and inanimate objects. Faith healers in the movement have more in common with witch doctors than medical doctors. . . . The archenemy in the prosperity pantheon of demons is Satan himself. He is virtually omnipresent, as he is considered the ultimate cause of all poverty and sickness. However, even Satan is limited in his activities by the believer’s authority. As Gloria Copeland has expressed it, “Satan can only do what you say. . . . He is bound by the law of God that says you can have whatsoever you say.”[1575] Satan can only work when the individual believer is ignorant of the Christian’s authority to bind him. The ignorant convert can experience satanic control of his thoughts and words so that he will believe and speak what the devil wants to come to pass. By contrast, the believer armed with prosperity teaching will bind Satan so that he can speak into existence whatever he wants. . . .

The biblical doctrine of Satan presents him as a far more crafty and subtle being than those in the prosperity movement admit. Since Satan is the great deceiver and the father of lies (John 8:44), he is probably promoting the prosperity caricature of his limitations. It is likely that those who believe they can demand financial success and that Satan is the only obstacle are themselves under satanic delusion. The prosperity belief that Satan can be easily bound actually gives the devil greater leverage and increases his opportunity to deceive. . . . The angelology of these “prophets of profit,” like the other divisions of theology studied thus far, rests more on wishful thinking than on accurate exegesis. . . .

        Perhaps the most difficult concept in the prosperity gospel to understand is human faith. It has been divested of its biblical foundation and given an entirely new meaning. Faith is defined as a positive force. . . . Faith becomes a power exerted by individuals . . . [Also,] [b]elief of the heart is tied to confession of the mouth to create a new reality . . . faith is a form of magic, with the spoken word as the incantation. The interior logic of prosperity thought argues that since man is a godlike creature, his words, when spoken in faith, have the same intrinsic creative power as God’s.[1576]

Truly, the “Word Faith movement may be the most dangerous false system that has grown out of the charismatic movement so far.”[1577]

            “[U]ndoubtedly the Pentecostal movement picked up the concept of the authority of the believer from MacMillan’s material,”[1578] as MacMillan’s doctrine of authority is just about identical to that of Pentecostalism and the Word of Faith movement.[1579] MacMillan also influenced the supporters of the anti-Trinitarian modalist heretic and faith-healer William Branham.[1580] MacMillan’s teaching that demons want to possess people because they are disembodied,[1581] which is related to Jessie Penn-Lewis’s earlier doctrine in War on the Saints, has been picked up by the charismatic Third Wave and other continuationist fanatics.[1582] MacMillan’s practice of naming demons as a prerequisite to casting them out mirrors Word-Faith practice,[1583] as does his belief that “doubts [can be] injected into the [Christian’s] mind by lying spirits”[1584] and his practice of “plead[ing] the blood according to Revelation 12:11”[1585] as a way to work miracles.[1586] MacMillan also anticipated a “favorite term in the Word Faith movement . . . positive confession . . . the teaching that words have creative power . . . [so that] [w]hat you say . . . determines everything that happens to you.”[1587] Indeed, “[p]ositive confession is, undoubtedly, the most distinctive doctrine of the [Word of] Faith movement[.] . . . The secret to confession is to know the nature and extent of the perfect redemption in Christ, to know one’s ‘identity’ and ‘rights’ in Christ, and to confess verbally the provision of Christ in every need and problem of life.”[1588] However, “those who began the practices of positive mental attitude and positive confession [as practiced in the Word of Faith movement] attributed their ability” to receive things from their positive confessions “to psychic and occult power.”[1589] MacMillan, nevertheless, affirmed the Word of Faith concept that words have creative power. He wrote:

The apostles [in Luke 17] . . . were stirred to ask the Lord . . . [“]Give us the power and . . . the same authority which thou dost manifest.[”] . . . [Such authority is exercised] by the word of the believer. It is a good exercise to “say” aloud to our difficulties, as we kneel in prayer, “Be thou removed.” The saying, if in faith in the name of the Lord, will cause a stirring at the roots . . . authority over the opposing powers . . . heal[ing] the sick . . . the accomplishment of impossibilities.”[1590]

From MacMillan’s doctrine that believers can “exercise the authority of [Christ’s] throne”[1591] because in Ephesians 1-2 “[t]he same verb . . . expresses the reviving of Christ [and allegedly] expresses also the reviving of His people. . . . the very act of God which raised the Lord from among the dead, raised also His body . . . the Church,”[1592] Word-Faith teachers have concluded that believers could have defeated Satan and done just what Jesus did in His life and redemptive work on earth. As Kenneth Copeland blaspemously affirmed: “The Spirit of God spoke to me, and He said . . . A twice-born man [Jesus Christ] whipped Satan in his own domain. . . . A born-again man defeated Satan. . . . And I said, ‘Well, now You don’t mean—You couldn’t dare mean that I could’ve done the same thing.’ He said, ‘Oh yeah! If you’d known that—had the knowledge of the Word of God that he did, you could’ve done the same thing. Because you’re a reborn man too. . . . The same power that I used to raise [Christ] from the dead I used to raise you from your death in trespasses and sins.”[1593] MacMillan’s doctrine that Christ is “wholly dependent” on the church, like a head needs a body to carry out its plans,[1594] matches the fact that in the Word-Faith movement “God is . . . not able to work until we release him to do so. He is dependent on human instruments, human faith, and above all human words to get his work done,”[1595] for “Jesus, according to Word-Faith theology, has no authority on earth, having delegated it all to the church. . . . [as] Kenneth E. Hagin develops . . . in his book The Authority of the Believer, long sections of which were taken verbatim”[1596] from MacMillan.[1597] Thus, the Word-Faith movement “makes wide use of the writings of . . . leaders affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, a twentieth-century denomination which grew out of the nineteenth-century Higher Life holiness movement . . . [in particular] The Authority of the Believer by J. A. MacMillan.”[1598] The “original source of” the charismatic and Word-Faith authority doctrine is “John A. MacMillan and his classic holiness roots in the Higher Life and Keswick movements.”[1599] Indeed:

By far the greatest popular dissemination of [Macmillan’s] teaching on the authority of the believer has been through the charismatic movement. . . . the influence of MacMillan’s writings . . . has [in fact] become the major impact on the charismatic movement . . . [through] the writings of Kenneth Hagin. . . . other Word of Faith leaders such as Kenneth Copeland and Charles Capps have further expanded upon Hagin’s teachings on the authority of the believer. . . . MacMillan’s basic principles furnish the foundation of contemporary charismatic understanding and practice of the concept.[1600]

Thus, “Kenneth E. Hagin . . . the most extensive propogator of [Word-Faith] teaching . . . [received his] teaching on the authority of the believer . . . most directly from CMA leader John MacMillan. He also acknowledges the influence of . . . Higher Life leaders . . . [such as] Simpson.”[1601] “In 1967 Hagin began teaching on the authority of the believer in churches and on radio. Also in that year, his booklet Authority of the Believer[1602] was published. Hagin quoted MacMillan’s writing [without citation, so] extensively so that some have accused him of plagiarism[.]”[1603] Indeed, it is obvious that “Hagin plagarized the writings of . . . Christian and Missionary Alliance minister . . . John A. MacMillan” since “Hagin lifted at least three-quarters of his book The Authority of the Believer from MacMillan’s . . . article[s] of the same title.”[1604] Hagin’s The Authority of the Believer has been “one of his best selling” works, and was “taken word-for-word from . . . John A. MacMillan[.] . . . In the content of Authority of the Believer, Hagin’s plagarism of MacMillan is word-for-word and where it is not word-for-word, it is thought-for-thought.[1605] Since “nearly every major figure in . . . the Word Faith . . . movement was mentored by Kenneth Hagin or one of his disciples[,] [and] [e]very doctrinal distinctive of the movement is traceable to Hagin,”[1606] but Hagin himself was very strongly impacted by MacMillan, John MacMillan’s influence is central to the development of the Word-Faith movement. It is consequently of no surprise that “Kenneth Copeland has [also] taught on the authority of the believer from the same passage of Scripture of MacMillan’s exposition, Ephesians 1. He also used the same police officer illustration used by MacMillan.[1607] . . . Charles Capps wrote a booklet Authority in Three Worlds[1608] on the authority of the believer.”[1609] MacMillan did not influence only Word-Faith heavyweights such as Hagin, Copeland, and Capps, but others also, in vast numbers:

[O]ther charismatic leaders have made use of MacMillan’s concepts and/or writings on the authority of the believer and spiritual warfare as well, including Michael Harper, Don Basham, Dick Leggatt, and New Wine magazine. In addition to [direct influence from] MacMillan’s writings . . . other . . . writers influenced by MacMillan have also impacted the charismatic movement. Paul Billheimer’s books and teachings, which . . . are founded in large part by MacMillan’s principles, have been popular among charismatics. Oral Roberts University has used [Billheimer’s] Destined for the Throne[1610] in a course on prayer for several years. Billheimer [has] also appeared . . . on the charismati[c] Trinity Broadcasting Network—TBN. Wayne Grudem, now associated with the [charismatic] Vineyard movement, has also been consulted by serious-minded charismatics. Because of the proliferation of current teaching on spiritual warfare, additional leaders could be cited ad infinitum.”[1611]

Hagin, Copeland, and other Word of Faith charismatics “extend teaching on the believer’s authority to include such doctrines as transfer and/or abdication of God’s authority, authority to be ‘little gods,’ and authority to command God.”[1612] Clearly, through the mediation of John A. MacMillan and the Christian and Missionary Alliance, Keswick continuationism in large part brought forth the Word of Faith theology.

Applications from the Life and Teachings of John A. MacMillan

The writings of John A. MacMillan contain toxic levels of Scripture twisting and dangerous false doctrine, and they undergird numerous charismatic heresies and the soul-damning doctrines of demons in the Word-Faith movement. Members of historic Baptist churches, which properly embrace the truth that sign gifts have ceased, abhor idolatry, and reject fanaticism for a Biblically Spirit-produced spirituality must avoid MacMillan’s writings, beware of his pernicious influence in the works of others, and mark, reprove, and avoid those who propogate his heresies. Reject MacMillan’s throne-power doctrine. Reject and abhor Word of Faith abominations. Reject the Keswick idea that all the blessings of sanctification are solely positional until they are specifically recognized and claimed. Reject the Higher Life for the soul and the body. Repent, humble yourself, and cry mightily to the Lord for mercy if you have adopted, practiced, or recommended to others the blasphemy that you can command God, either verbally or through the recommendation of literature that teaches this abomination. Submit to God instead of commanding Him, and submit to the Scriptural theocentrism and Bibliocentrism of genuine Christian spirituality—and in so doing reject the shackles that anthropocentric Keswick continuationism seeks to place on the Almighty. Reject MacMillan’s false ideas about spiritual warfare, from the idea of territorial spirits, to the idea that demons can directly place thoughts in your mind, to his dangerous and spiritually detrimental exorcism procedures, and embrace the whole armor of God revealed clearly and sufficiently in Scripture alone, so that you can stand in faith against the devil and his hosts.

The importance of recognizing and exposing MacMillan’s errors is made the more necessary from the fact that, while his influence is greatest in his tutelage of the charismatic and Word of Faith movements, it nevertheless casts its dark shadow far beyond the charismatic sphere. Many evangelicals, some fundamentalists, and some independent Baptists are propogating ideas derived from John A. MacMillan,[1613] although many of those spreading his errors have never read anything written by him and would not even recognize his name if asked about it. Misunderstanding and ignorance of Biblical spiritual warfare and Biblical demonology abounds, creating room for the false ideas of men such as MacMillan to take root. Scripture is clear that Satan is very subtle and a master-spreader of deceit. It is incumbent upon faithful under-shepherds to protect their flocks from the depredations of false teachers and the hellish fountain of their doctrines by both plainly warning of error and positively teaching all the truths of the absolutely sufficient Word.

Reject all unbiblical and extra-Scriptural demonology. MacMillan’s writings are teeming with such, since he deviated even further from the truth than his mother in error, Jessie Penn-Lewis. God’s Word is your sole offensive weapon against demons (Ephesians 6:17)—ideas derived from men or from the demons themselves, such as Keswick continuationistic throne-power, are not true offensive weapons, but Trojan horses. Indeed, the Triune God alone sits on His throne and exercises power from thence, so when you usurp His authority and seek to exercise it, you are guilty of idolatry and are doing Satan’s work. Do not employ MacMillan’s techniques of exorcism, or any continuationistic technique of exorcism. Do not ask demons for their names. Do not ask them for anything at all or commune with them in any way whatsoever. Scripture alone is sufficient to perfectly equip you to stand against Satan and his hosts (2 Timothy 3:16-17), so listen to and practice the Bible.

            Reject all accounts of missionaries in exotic places, and of all others in what places soever, who allegedly defeated devils utilizing methods that contradict Scriptural cessationistic demonology. The demons are actually in control of these situations, and they want you to adopt the errors they themselves have hatched and propogated through their faked defeat. From John MacMillan’s self-testimony in easily available resources, such as his book The Authority of the Believer, one would conclude that his throne-power teaching “works”—only by digging further, in a manner which the overwhelming majority of MacMillan’s readers will not do, does the practical failure of his doctrine and practice come to light. The simple in the flock of God, if exposed to a book by MacMillan, especially if recommended to them by a trusted source, will proceed to read him devotionally, hear him testify to the effectiveness of his techniques against demons, not even stop to wonder who the man is that they are reading, and adopt many of his errors—yet another reason why it is imperative to reject him and his writings and separate from those who unrepentantly promote his errors. If your only source of information about an encounter with demons is a hagiographical missionary biography, you should recognize that you have no idea what actually happened in the situation—a description by a MacMillan may in fact be the opposite of reality. What is more, you do not need to know, because Scripture is totally sufficient for a true demonology. Uninspired narratives have no authority whatsoever and must not affect your doctrine and practice of spiritual warfare in any way.

            Do not follow the CMA in its confusion on the doctrine and praxis of gospel preaching, lest you cross sea and land to make a prosylete who becomes simply a two-fold child of hell. Embrace the blessed truth of the eternal security of the believer and reject the CMA’s Arminianism and the perversion of the gospel that comes with Arminian error. Furthermore, rather than following MacMillan’s example and telling lost people that you are not asking them to repent, but to accept Jesus, follow the example of the Apostles and tell lost people that they need to repent and believe, while leaving out the “accept Jesus” terminology and related nonbiblical language, such as asking Jesus to come into one’s heart, and the equation of the repetition of a sinner’s prayer with conversion that only confuses the gospel. Do not assume that a lost person understands the gospel or is saved simply because he can answer “yes” to some leading questions that you ask him. Poor doctrine and careless personal work with unconverted seekers has filled evangelicalism with unregenerate people who have confused making an outward decision with the supernatural new birth. Do not perpetuate this tragedy yourself, and determine, with God’s help, that you would rather die than allow it to corrupt your church. Let there not be vast numbers of unregenerate people, people who would have been saved had you clearly preached the gospel, who will rise up against you in judgment when you stand before God—rather let those who the Father has saved through the blood of His Son, the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, and your concurrent faithful witness, be a crown of rejoicing to you in the presence of Jesus Christ at His coming (1 Thessalonians 2:19).

            Recognize that there are vast numbers of unconverted religious people in evangelical Higher Life and continuationist circles, in the fanaticism of “deliverance ministries,” in the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and in Pentecostalism. This fact explains the presence of widespread demon possession among “Christians” in such circles. Therefore, you must evangelize such people, giving them the true gospel in a clear and convicting way, and then call on them to repent, believe, be born again, and then separate from their false religion to be baptized into a true church of Jesus Christ—a historic Baptist church. By no means should you either endorse their doctrine and practice or be in fellowship with them. Do you want Christ to continue to reign as king over your congregation—a congregation of genuine saints, of those truly born of the Spirit—until He comes again, or do you want unconverted and demon possessed people filling your church also?

            You would do well to refrain from criticizing the Authorized Version, recognizing instead that it is a faithful translation of the perfectly preserved Greek and Hebrew Textus Receptus. However, if you really feel that you must criticize the KJV, beware lest you find out at the Judgment Seat, if not before, that you really had no idea what you were talking about, and that you not only were in error yourself, but that you led others who listened to you away from the truth conveyed in the holy oracles of God. Furthermore, while it is entirely appropriate to refer to the original languages of Scripture, as Christ authorized (Matthew 5:18) and the KJV itself does,[1614] if you refer to Greek and Hebrew you ought to know the languages well enough to avoid the commission of the hosts of exegetical fallacies so frequently and painfully committed by those who know just enough to be dangerous, but not enough to actually grasp the language. A greater respect for the Authorized Version might have prevented MacMillan from claiming that the Hebrew text describing Moses lifting his rod in Exodus 17 taught something that is by no means present in the chapter, and a greater knowledge of the original languages could have prevented him from claiming what was actually entirely imaginary support for throne-power from the Greek of Ephesians 1-2. Indeed, without these distortions of Scripture, it is possible that MacMillan’s throne-power error would never have arisen to corrupt countless unwary ones in Christendom, as it has done and is continuing to do today. Do not think that exegetical fallacies are a small matter—when you make them, you are sinning grievously against your Lord by perverting His Word. What is more, you have no idea how far your corruption of Scripture may spread and deceive others. Always exercise great care that your exposition of Scripture is in line with the mind of the Holy Ghost who dictated it. Such care will lead you to tremendous respect for the Authorized Version and to great diligence in the proper use of the original languages.

            Recognize that the true exercise of Divine power towards and in the believer is far superior to MacMillan’s doctrine of throne-power.   A holy life is far better than the gift of exorcism—Judas had the latter, while the vast majority of saints do not—but how infinitely blessed the holy people of God are on the day of judgment! Christ specifically told those to whom He had given miraculous gifts: “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:19-20). Christ has not given you miraculous sign gifts—but what need are they, if your name is written in heaven? “All things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28)—so all the works of God towards you, both His withholding of miraculous gifts and His positive providential guidance in your life, are for His glory and your good. What more can you desire than that your loving heavenly Father works everything together for your good? Has He not given you the greatest good of all—the very Son of His love—and with Him will He not surely give you all things? Will it not be your glory to all eternity to be conformed to the image of His Son? After billions of years in the New Jerusalem, after Satan has been cast into the lake of fire forever, it will not matter whether or not you had the gift of exorcism, but your use of the gifts God did give you in your earthly pilgrimage will have continuing, indeed, eternal value. You will have more or less reward to cast at Jesus’ feet, more or less glory you can return to your infinitely blessed and precious Redeemer, based on your faithfulness as a steward now. What, then, are the sign gifts in comparison to the inestimable blessing—and absolutely supernatural gift of grace—of holiness?

            Consider also Paul’s blessed words in his first epistle to the Corinthians:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. . . . Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. . . . And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 8, 13)

Rather than seeking to be filled with miraculous gifts that passed away in the first century, be filled with love, for love is greater than all the sign gifts. If you are full of love to God and man, you are infinitely better off than if you are filled with continuationist doctrines and go around babbling and trying to predict the future. Rather than seeking after gifts that God has never promised you, behold in the Word the eternal love of your Father, the love of the Son as your Mediator, and the love of the Spirit in revealing and applying to your heart the infinite Divine love of the Trinity. After all, a comlete Word is better than all sign gifts—they are the imperfect which passes away when the perfect has come, the childish things that are unneeded now that maturity and a completed canon has come (1 Corinthians 13:8-13). Sign gifts, alleged throne-power, and exorcism sessions may be more flashy and startling than day-by-day gradual growth in holiness through a complete Word, but the latter is indubitably superior—far, far superior—to the former. The supernatural efficacy of the Spirit in progressively eradicating indwelling sin and transforming you into the image of the Son of the Father’s love is a greater work, and one with vastly more eternal value, than the temporary benefits that accrue to one from his body being healed or some other temporal miracle taking place. Manifest, then, your love in practical acts of charity to the brethren and in sweet and intimate communion with your God. Show your love for the lost by proclaiming the dying love of Christ to them and passionately urging them to be reconciled to God. In so doing you will not only glorify God in a far greater way than you would by performing miraculous signs, but you will also be kept from temptation and the power of the devil in a way that a Keswick or charismatic doctrine of throne-power cannot—for if you are filled up with the love of Christ, your heart will be sweetly constrained towards Him and consecrated to Him, and you will walk in His ways, the wiles of the Tempter having but little power.

            Behold and rejoice in the glory of the God in the defeat of Satan and his hosts, and trust in He who has this victory so certainly in His hands. The destruction of the devil and his demons has been decreed by God from eternity, and is as certain as Jehovah is the Almighty—indeed, God always ultimately overrules the purposes of the devil to bring about His greater glory and the greater good. The defeat of Satan and the sin that entered the world through his temptation was proclaimed in the first promise of the Redeemer in the protoevangelium (Genesis 3:15). Every animal sacrifice offered in the Old Testament pointed forward to the cross and the victory over sin and Satan accomplished there. The book of Job demonstrates that whatever evil the Tempter wreaks is under the sovereign control and limitation of the Almighty and is to accomplish His ultimate purposes (Job 1:8, 12; 2:3, 6)—the creation belongs to Jehovah, not to Satan, and the rage of the prince of rebels is constrained within the bounds set by the Sovereign One. Whenever Satan tempts you, or his devils rage against you, remember that the worst of their actions is within the permitting providence of your heavenly Father, and, clad in the armor of God, trust in Him and stand fast against the evil one.

See the victory over the devil wrought out by the Son of God. See Jesus Christ overcoming temptation in the wilderness, the second Adam spotlessly overcoming temptations far more severe than those which brought the fall of the first. See Him casting out devils, demonstrating His Messiahship and His absolute and utter sovereignty over the kingdom of darkness as a stronger than that demonic strong man. See Satan’s hour and the power of darkness turned into glorious victory as you view the cross in light of the empty tomb. See Christ’s ascension into heaven, far above all the principalities and powers of darkness, and His rule over the church and the world from the Father’s right hand. See His tender care throughout the dispensation of grace for His bride, the church, and His protection of His spouse from the raging of that roaring lion who wishes, but in vain, to devour her. See His second coming to catch all His saints up to be with Him at the commencement of the seventieth week of Daniel—neither Satan, nor that last enemy, death, can stop the resurrection of even the least of Christ’s precious blood-bought ones. See His enactment of the judgments of the Tribulation period upon the wicked who are left behind, and recognize that the rise of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and the rule invested in these paragons of Satanic power, are only a result of the opening of the scroll of judgment by the crucified, risen, and reigning Lamb. See the return of Christ in glory upon a white horse to establish His Millennial kingdom, destroy the armies of the Antichrist, cast that wicked one into the lake of fire, and bind Satan and his hosts. Anticipate and savor the glory of the Millennial reign of Christ over a world free from the influence of fallen angels—a world where Satan is bound in truth. See Satan’s defeat at the time of his final loosing and gathering of the unregenerate against God, and Christ’s casting the devil and all his seed into the lake of fire to be tormented for ever and ever, and say in your heart, “Amen—even so, come, Lord Jesus!” From the perspective of the New Jerusalem, survey the entirety of redemptive history and see your God using the devil for His own ultimate good purpose, so that through it all He receives the more glory, and sing the praises of that glorious Victor over all the might of that fallen angel and his armies. Finally, rejoice also that the Triune Jehovah is your very own God, and as a perfectly strong refuge and Rock, He can, and will, keep His own ultimately safe from Satan’s power, as He is able to, without the least exertion or weariness, ultimately rout the strongest efforts of all the devils and their tyrannical king together. Recognize and hide all these things in your heart, oh child of God—and live for your Lord, fighting the good fight against sin and Satan, in light of these blessed, glorious, and exceedingly comforting realities.

VII. Watchman Nee

Watchman Nee[1615] was born on November 4, 1903, and died on c. June 1, 1972 in a Chinese communist prison camp. He founded the Little Flock, Local Church, or Church of the Recovery denomination[1616] and was an influential proponent of Keswick theology in China.[1617] His “name has become a household word among Christians all over the world”[1618] as millions have read his books, which have been translated into many languages,[1619] and he is among “the most influential Chinese Christians” that have ever lived.[1620] Nee learned most of his doctrine from woman preachers and authors of his day and earlier, since “close association with women evangelists and teachers was characteristic of his early career.”[1621] Nee’s professed conversion took place through the preaching of the “famous woman evangelist . . . Dora Yu,”[1622] after Miss Yu’s preaching in the Methodist Tien-An Chapel had led Nee’s mother, Nee Ho-P’ing, to conviction of sin about her failure in parenting him in a particular area. Nee’s mother went on to become “a well-known Methodist preacher, whose speaking tours included her native China” and abroad;[1623] Nee’s wife was the daughter of a Chinese Christian and Missionary Alliance pastor. Nee publicly proclaimed his profession of Christianity at one of Miss Yu’s services by going forward at the invitation. He then “longed to be trained by Dora Yu in Shanghai. His mother agreed, and Dora Yu accepted him into her Bible school,”[1624] since Miss Yu not only “traveled widely among missions in northern China and Korea” but, as a Methodist minister, had “establish[ed] her own Bible seminary in Shanghai.”[1625] He consequently attended the Bible school led by Miss Yu in Shanghai in 1920-21, although he was expelled because of disobedience to the school’s discipline. At Miss Yu’s suggestion, he then went to Miss Margaret E. Barber. She, along with Miss L. S. Ballord and the Chinese woman preacher Li Ai-ming, had a center where they preached to men and women and taught and prepared Chinese natives for church leadership.[1626] Nee there learned Keswick theology and was influenced by the literature of the Welsh holiness revival, writing to and reading the writings of Jessie Penn-Lewis[1627] and the Overcomer magazine which she edited, and through which Nee became familiar with Roman Catholic mystical quietists such as Madame Guyon, who “deeply influenced” and “greatly moved” Nee and “was to have a strong influence on his future thinking.”[1628] “The mystical leanings in . . . Lee [and] Nee . . . are traceable to . . . teachers such as Jessie Penn-Lewis . . . and Madame Guyon.”[1629] Keswick and mystical influences such as these were the more important in light of Nee’s “self-imposed limitation [on] formal studies.”[1630] Nee “testified publicly that he had learned many important spiritual truths from the Overcomer Movement via Jessie Penn-Lewis’s teachings. . . . Miss Barber . . . took back to China Jessie’s permission to publish the most useful Overcomer essays. The work was undertaken by Watchman Nee, who printed them in his Rising Again magazine, and expounded them and presented their essential teachings in his later books.”[1631] Indeed, “the format of . . . [the] four different Christian magazines . . . Nee edited . . . was by and large modeled after Jessie Penn-Lewis’s The Overcomer and T. Austin Sparks’s A Witness and A Testimony.”[1632] Nee quoted Penn-Lewis with some frequency;[1633] indeed, “The Spiritual Man was based mainly upon the writings and experience of Evan Roberts and Jessie Penn-Lewis,” whose works Nee had devoured when he wrote The Spiritual Man at the age of twenty-four,[1634] although Madame Guyon was also influential.[1635] Nee’s book, rejecting sola Scriptura for truth based on both “the Word and experience,”[1636] leans heavily upon Penn-Lewis and Roberts[1637] for its views on spiritual warfare and other topics,[1638] as he “delved into . . . Jessie Penn-Lewis on the questions of soul and spirit and of triumph over Satanic power.”[1639] The book Nee’s “Little Flock” denomination was thus birthed in connection with the ministry of Miss Barber, her students, and theology learned from other women.[1640] Nee continued to seek Miss Barber’s advice and counsel until shortly before her death in 1930, and he acknowledged her as a powerful influence in his own life. Her affection for him was evident in her leaving him her most prized possession, her Bible.[1641] “No single person is more responsible for the development of Nee’s theology than Miss Barber.”[1642] “[T]he main influences upon [Nee were] so often . . . women—Dora Yu, his mother, Margaret Barber, Ruth Lee, [and] Elizabeth Fischbacher[.]”[1643] In summary:

Whenever [Nee] had a problem or needed spiritual instruction or strengthening, he would go to . . . Margaret E. Barber . . . an Anglican missionary[.] . . . [He testified that] [e]very Saturday [he] went to Ma-Kiang, Fukien, to listen to Miss Margaret Barber’s preaching. . . . [H]e said that he scarcely found one person in the Western world who could compare with Margaret Barber. It was through this sister that he obtained the foundation of the spiritual life. He frequently told others that it was through a sister [Dora Yu] that he was saved and that it was also through a sister [Margaret Barber] that he was edified. . . . Through Margaret Barber he became familiar with the books of [writers such as] Jessie Penn-Lewis . . . [who taught him about] the subjective aspect of Christ’s death[,] . . . spiritual warfare[,] . . . [and] the three parts of man. . . . Watchman Nee received a clear vision of what it means to be an overcomer by . . . reading the writings of Jessie Penn-Lewis. . . . Madame Guyon’s biography . . . and the writings of other mystics helped him in the matter of life. . . . Mary McDonough’s book . . . was a great help . . . [c]oncerning God’s plan of redemption.[1644]

Under the influence of his mother and with the assistance of Miss Barber and Dora Yu, Nee rejected infant baptism for believer’s immersion.[1645] He consequently sought out Miss Barber to be baptized, receiving a heavenly sign at the time of the ceremony that indicated the smile of supernatural power upon these proceedings.[1646] Nee learned his evangelistic practices from “Miss Groves[,] Margaret Barber’s co-worker.”[1647] Women taught Nee his doctrines of Spirit filling, applying the blood of Christ, living without financial support, crucifixion with Christ, overcoming, spiritual life, and many of his other distinctive beliefs.[1648] “Four sisters were vital to Watchman Nee in his life and work. He was saved through the preaching of Dora Yu, perfected under Margaret Barber, and sustained by two elderly co-workers, Ruth Lee and Peace Wang,”[1649] who were themselves important woman preachers.[1650] Nee accepted the unscriptural[1651] ministry of the woman evangelist Ruth Lee because of a dream,[1652] and she became the acting editor of newsletters, papers, and books that Nee’s denomination put out.[1653] She also edited and prepared for the press works by Nee such as his The Spiritual Man, composed under Ruth Lee’s “literary tutelage.”[1654] As Nee’s new denomination was being born, the ordinance of communion was celebrated for the first time in Peace Wang’s home with Wang, Nee, Ruth Lee, and one other person present.[1655] Witness Lee also ascribed the greatest influence upon his life, after Nee, to Peace Wang, the woman minister whose “preaching was so convincing and prevailing that many denominations invited her to hold meetings.”[1656] Although Nee eventually came to a position that did not endorse women preachers of this sort,[1657] he continued to believe that women should sometimes lead the congregation in prayer in prayer meetings.[1658] Nee translated works by Jessie Penn-Lewis into Chinese, and had his co-workers translate works by Madame Guyon, Mrs. C. A. McDonough and Mrs. C. E. Cowman.[1659] In particular, Miss Barber not only “tutored Nee in the Keswick approach to spiritual dynamics, [but also] assuredly taught him a partial rapture theory,”[1660] since Miss Barber was sent out as an independent missionary from Surry Chapel, Norwich, England, where the founder of the partial Rapture theory, Robert Govett (1813-1901),[1661] was the minister. Nee admits that his exposition of the book of Revelation, Come Lord Jesus, is dependent upon Govett’s The Apocalypse Expounded (1920).[1662] Nee was teaching the partial Rapture error by at least 1924, confirmed not only by Miss Barber, but also by the Overcomer literature of Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts.[1663] He wrote:

There is evidence in the Bible to show that . . . believers will be Raptured after the Tribulation, [but] that does not mean that all believers will be Raptured after the Tribulation . . . some will be Raptured before the Tribulation. . . . [O]nly a small number (one-seventh) can be raptured before the tribulation[.] . . . [N]ot all, but only a portion, of the church will be raptured before the tribulation. . . . Not all those who are regenerated can be raptured. One must pray always. . . . Some believers will be raptured before the tribulation, and another group of believers will remain until after the tribulation. The latter will suffer the trial of the tribulation.[1664]

In 1935 Nee became involved with Pentecostalism through Miss Elizabeth Fischbacher of the China Inland Mission.[1665] He had “overcome his reservations about women preachers sufficiently to attend her meetings,” and, in line with his Keswick continuationism, “acknowledged the Holy Spirit’s . . . gifts to the church of healing and of speaking with and interpretation of tongues.”[1666] Nee “found peace and spiritual blessing in her message and some experiences associated with her Pentecostal theology.”[1667] Miss Fischbacher, who translated various items for the Little Flock into English,[1668] accompanied Nee to the 1938 Keswick convention;[1669] the addresses in Nee’s The Normal Christian Life were delivered on this trip to the West.[1670] On this trip Nee taught, after the manner of Pentecostalism, that “we must expect God to seal His Word with signs and wonders” such as “the gift of healing” and exorcism—indeed, Christians who do “not know how to cast out demons . . . avail . . .nothing,” Nee proclaimed.[1671] Watchman Nee was warmly received at Keswick, so that his leading the Convention in prayer was considered “the crowning moment of vision” for those present,[1672] although at various periods up to this time sundry Chinese missionaries had rather bluntly declared that Nee was “a devil and a deceiver of many.”[1673] Nee was not only already publicly promulgating the continuation of the Apostolic sign gifts, but also such errors as opposition to the classical doctrine of the Trinity and a rejection of the eternal generation of the Son of God.[1674] Into later periods Nee continued to be assaulted for “serious error.”[1675] Miss Fischbacher also recorded and translated into English Nee’s messages,[1676] as she made “gifted versions and transcriptions . . . of the best of his preaching and writing.”[1677] Moved by women preachers, Nee adopted his partial Rapture and pro-Pentecostal errors, as well as errors on sanctification, other corruptions of soteriology, and further false doctrines. Nevertheless, Keswick welcomed him with open arms.

            While Nee’s doctrine and practice were most heavily influenced by women preachers and teachers, he also, naturally, was influenced by some men. For example, Nee had compositions translated into Chinese of the Roman Catholic mystic Fenélon, the Catholic Carmelite hermit and mystic Brother Lawrence, and partial-Rapture promulgator Robert Govett.[1678] He “read . . . all he could of Charles G. Finney, and of Evan Roberts and the Welsh spiritual awakening of 1904-5.”[1679] Nee was also influenced by men such as Andrew Murray and F. B. Meyer, as well as John Darby and various other writers among the Plymouth Brethren, particularly a group of Brethren writers that held to serious Christological heresies.[1680] He did not sit at the feet of women alone to learn his distinctive errors.

Nee taught, following Jessie Penn-Lewis, that only the human spirit is regenerated, and many have been influenced towards this error by his writings. Nee wrote:

After Adam fell, his spirit became dead. . . . The death of Adam began from his spirit. . . . The death in the spirit of the first man gradually spread to the realm of the body. . . . It continued to work in him until his spirit, soul, and body all became dead. . . . From that time on the spirit of Adam (as well as that of all his descendants) was suppressed by the soul. Soon after, through the soul’s suppression, the spirit was merged into the soul, and the two parts became closely knit together. . . . Since the spirit became so closely knit to the soul, man began . . . to act according to his intellect or his feelings. At that time, the spirit had lost all its power and senses, and had become dormant . . . [that is, it had] fallen unconscious. Although it was still there, it was as if it were not there anymore. . . . The soul becomes subject to the demand of the senses and becomes their slave[.] . . . The flesh in the Bible refers to the life and nature of the soul and body of the unregenerated man. More often it refers to the sinful nature within the body. This flesh is the common nature which man shares with other animals. . . . The soul has replaced the spirit as the ruling [principle], and everything is independent and self-centered. . . . Not only are all the descendants of Adam dead in their spirits, but they are . . . fully under the control of the flesh and walk according to the soulish life and the carnal nature. Such people cannot have fellowship with God. . . . Now the spirit that was the highest, that ought to be joined to God, and that ought to rule over the soul and the body has become surrounded by the soul, whose motive and purpose are totally earthy. . . . This is why the Bible says that [the unregenerate] have no spirit. The result of such a fully soulish condition is to mock, to go on according to one’s own lusts, and to make divisions. . . . Such persons are controlled by their souls and are suppressing their spirits. They are the opposite to [sic] the spiritual man. . . . [W]hen man is fleshly, not only is he under the rule of the soul, but his soul is actually joined to his body. Many times, the soul is even directed by the body to commit the vilest sins. . . . The authority of this body is so great that it causes the soul to become powerless to withstand it[;] [it can] only be its obedient slave. Man is divided into three parts: the spirit, the soul, and the body. God’s original intention is that the spirit remain [sic] on top to rule over the soul. After man became soulish, the spirit was suppressed and became a servant to the soul. After man became carnal, the flesh, which occupied the lowest place, became the king. Man was changed from spirit-ruled to soul-ruled, and from soul-ruled to body-ruled. Step by step he became fallen, and the flesh took control. . . . Sin has killed the spirit, and now spiritual death has come to all men so that all men die in sin and transgressions. Sin has also caused the soul to become independent so that the soulish life now becomes an independent and selfish life. Furthermore, sin has empowered the body so that now the sinful nature reigns through the body. . . . Before man is regenerated, his spirit is far away from God and is dead. . . . The soul controls the whole man so that he lives either in his ideas or in excitement. The lusts and desires of the body bring the soul into subjection. Man’s spirit became deadened; therefore, there is the need for the spirit to be resurrected. The rebirth which the Lord Jesus spoke about to Nicodemus is the rebirth of the spirit. To be born again is not a matter related to our body . . . nor is it a matter related to our soul[.] . . . We ought to especially emphasize that regeneration is the impartation of God’s life into man’s spirit. . . . Our being one with Christ’s death and our initial step of obtaining His resurrection life are in our spirit. To be born again is completely a matter in the spirit; it has no relationship with the soul or the body. . . . According to the Bible, man’s soul alone cannot form any relationship with God. Man’s relationship with God is in his spirit. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must use their spirit. . . . only spirit can serve Spirit. . . . The regeneration in the Bible takes place in a part deeper than man’s body and soul. It is in his spirit that the Holy Spirit imparts God’s life to him. . . . Before regeneration, man’s soul ruled over his spirit. His “self” dominated his soul. His lust governed his body. The soul became the life of the spirit, the “self” became the life of the soul, and the lust became the life of the body. After man’s regeneration, the Holy Spirit rules his spirit, causing his spirit to govern his soul then through the soul to rule over his body. Now the Holy Spirit becomes the life of the spirit, and the spirit becomes the life of the entire being. At the time of regeneration the Holy Spirit revives the human spirit and renews it.[1681]

Both our body and our spirit were originally dead. But after we believed in the Lord Jesus, we received Him within us to be our life. Christ, by means of the Holy Spirit, now dwells within the believers. . . . This is the very Christ who is our life. At the moment He entered into our inward part, He enlivened our spirit. . . . Originally our body and spirit were dead. Because we have received the indwelling Christ, our spirit is alive. The spirit and body were previously dead, but now the spirit is revived; only the body remains dead. This is the common condition of every believer—the spirit is alive and the body is dead. . . . Although sin has been cast out from the spirit and the will, the redemption of the body is still something in the future. Therefore, sin has not been cast out from the body. Since sin is still in the body, the body is dead. . . . In the meantime, our spirit is living, or more accurately stated, our spirit is life[.][1682]

If a man’s spirit is dead before God, he is totally useless in the eyes of God. The spirit must be regenerated. Thank the Lord that our spirit today is a new spirit, a regenerated spirit. This regenerated spirit is our inner man. Every Christian has received the same life from God in his spirit; there is no difference between him and others. The same Spirit who dwells in a weak brother also dwelt in Paul. As long as we are the Lord’s, the new creation in our spirit is the same as in others. . . . The mind, emotion, and will are the original and natural faculties of man. The Holy Spirit is within him, and his regenerated spirit has become the new man, the inner man. Yet he still has an outward man, the old man, the original man outside of him. This outward man belongs to sin. The old man has been dealt with on the cross, but the life of the old creation still remains. . . . In order for a saved and regenerated believer to live out the Lord’s life, there are two steps that he has to take. The first is believing, which is receiving the new life. The second is consecrating himself, which means committing his outward man to the Lord to allow the new life within to be expressed. . . . Many believers . . . are saved, but their outward man has never been dealt with.[1683]

Throughout the ages God has been trying to give man His Spirit. However, man’s spirit was defiled, sin-ridden, dead, and fallen in the old creation. . . . Man has to receive a new spirit through regeneration before he can be in the position to receive God’s Spirit and before God can dwell in him. Once a new believer has a new spirit, the Spirit of God dwells in him.[1684]

Paul said, “He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit” (1 Cor 6:17), not one soul. The resurrected Lord is the life-giving Spirit (15:45); therefore, his union with the believers is His union with the believers’ spirit. The soul is only the personality of a man and is natural; it should only be used as a vessel to express the results of the union between the Lord and the spirit of the believer. In the believers’ soul there is nothing that matches the nature of the Lord’s life; only the spirit can have such union. Since the union is a union of the spirit, there is no place for the soul. If the soul and the spirit are still mixed, it will make the union impure. As long as our living has any trace of walking according to our own thoughts, of having our own opinion in anything, or of having our emotion stirred in any way, it is enough to weaken this union in our experience. . . . Mixture will not do. . . . This is a union of the spirit; anything of the soul cannot be allowed to be mixed in.[1685]

In addition to other errors evident in these quotations, such as erroneous views of the depravity of man and of the Fall, Quietism, and many doctrinal affirmations that are simply entirely absent from the Bible, Nee’s view that sanctification pertains only to the human spirit, that “new birth is something which happens entirely within the spirit; it has no relation to soul or body,”[1686] is connected with Nee’s adoption of anti-Trinitarian modalist idolatry. As at the Broadlands Conferences it was acceptable to preach that “Jesus Christ is . . . the Holy Spirit, Who will dwell in us,”[1687] likewise Nee affirmed that 1 Corinthians 15:45 teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ became the Holy Spirit, who then regenerates the human spirit.[1688] He wrote:

This is the ascension life. The believer is joined to the Lord who is at the right hand of God. . . . Just as a water hose connected to a fountain flows out living water, the believer’s spirit, which is joined to the Spirit of the Lord, also gushes out life. This is because the Lord [that is, He who is at the right hand of God, Jesus Christ] is not only the Spirit but the “life-giving Spirit.”[1689]

Not only is He the very Creator, He was also the Christ that put on the flesh. And now He is in us as the Holy Spirit. The Christ in the flesh is over! The Christ in the Spirit lives forever in us. . . . God has accomplished everything in Christ. He died and was resurrected, and He has been transformed into the Holy Spirit. He is now ready to come into you. All you need to do is believe. . . . After the Son of God passed through death and resurrection and became the Holy Spirit, He is no longer limited by time and space.[1690] 1 Corinthians 15:45b says, “The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.” This enables all those who have received Christ to obtain a new life. . . . God . . . put Christ into the Holy Spirit[.][1691]

Thou, Lord, the Father once wast called, [b]ut now the Holy Spirit art.[1692]

Thus, Nee believed, Jesus Christ became the Holy Spirit at the time of the resurrection, when He ceased to be the only begotten Son of God.[1693] Eyewitnesses and hearers of Watchman Nee made statements such as:

At the beginning of 1938 . . . [t]he word the Lord spoke to me through Watchman Nee made a revolutionary impact on my life. The evening I heard him say that Jesus became the Spirit to dwell in us . . . the Holy Spirit . . . light dawned.[1694]

Brother Watchman Nee . . . in Shanghai . . . was explaining . . . John 14:16-20 . . . to us, [and] he pointed out emphatically that “he” (the Holy Spirit) in verse 17 is the “I” (the Lord) in verse 18. The Lord said in effect, “When He comes I come. He is I; I am He.” The Holy Spirit is the Lord Jesus, and the Lord Jesus is the Holy Spirit. . . . the Son is the Father, and the Son is also the Spirit.[1695]

Nee’s teachings were summarized as including the following:

The crucified, resurrected, and ascended Christ is now . . . the Spirit of life . . [t]he Holy Spirit is . . . the Spirit of life . . . Christ is life . . . and this life is the Spirit of life . . . [t]he Son [is] the embodiment of the Father . . . [t]he Spirit is the realization of the Son . . . [t]he resurrection of Christ . . . ma[de] Christ the life-giving Spirit . . . [t]he [Holy] Spirit [is] [t]he consummation of the Triune God . . . [t]he . . . Spirit [is the] . . . application of the Father in the Son . . . [t]he incarnation [was] of the Triune God [that is, not of the Person of the Son alone, but of] . . . God the Father . . . God the Son . . . [and] God the Spirit . . . believers [are] transformed . . . by Christ as the Spirit.”[1696]

One would like to hope that Nee was simply sinfully and very dangerously careless in such modalistic language, or that he just didn’t know what he was talking about. One might perhaps also hope that Nee did not really believe or intend to teach that Jesus Christ was “transformed into the Holy Spirit” or that “the Son of God . . . became the Holy Spirit” and hope that those who heard him, including those closest to him, with whom he spent years, did not understand that Nee really did not mean what he said when they adopted modalist idolatry based on Nee’s teachings. Alternatively, one could perhaps hope that his writings have been severely altered or mistranslated.[1697] However, such suppositions are extremely unlikely, making it morally certain that the damnable heresy of modalist idolatry was Nee’s doctrine. It is certain that Watchman Nee’s “most faithful co-worker,”[1698] “senior worker in Shanghai and Taiwan,”[1699] and successor[1700] in the Little Flock movement, Witness Lee, did indeed reject Biblical Trinitarianism for a form of modalism that affirmed that the second Person in the Godhead became the third Person.[1701] Lee wrote: “Hence, to say that the Lord Jesus is also the Holy Spirit is according to the Bible’s clear revelation. Therefore, it is clear. The Lord Jesus is the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, the very God and the Lord.”[1702] Lee’s position is advocated by the Church of Recovery/Local Church cult that publishes and zealously promulgates both modalism and the writings of both Nee and Lee through its publishing arm, Living Stream Ministry. Tying sanctification in with the human spirit alone is also related to the strange error of Nee and Lee, developed from a trajectory of Jessie Penn-Lewis’s thought,[1703] that the Holy Spirit “mingles” with and so becomes indistinguishable from the human spirit,[1704] a false doctrine that is related to Lee’s heretical confusion about the fact that in the incarnation[1705] Jesus Christ united His true and distinct Divine nature with a true and distinct human nature in the unity of His single Person.[1706] Lee’s spirit-mingling heresy also lends itself to the heresy of deification—the Satanic blasphemy that man becomes God (Genesis 3:5)—strenuously promulgated by Lee and the Church of the Recovery cult as a legitimate trajectory of the teaching of Watchman Nee[1707] and in accordance with the position of the spiritualist originator of the Keswick movement, Lord Mount Temple.[1708] Watchman taught that the Church is Christ, and Christ is God, so the church is deified. Nee proclaimed:

[T]he church as the Body of Christ was simply the enlargement, expansion, and expression of the resurrected Christ. . . . Christ in resurrection was the . . . content of the church . . . [Nee] frequently emphasized that anything which is not Christ in resurrection is not the church . . . the church is Christ. . . . [t]he genuine oneness of the church . . . is the Spirit Himself. . . . [T]he Holy Spirit . . . reconstitute[s] us within with the divine element. . . . Christ is both the content of the church and the reality of the church. . . . the [idea that the] Body of Christ . . . express[es] Christ corporately in each locality . . . was the goal of [Nee’s] entire ministry, and he held to this goal to the day he died. . . . God and His redeemed . . . [will] express the processed Triune God forever. . . . [Salvation] bring[s] God into man, making God one with man as a God-man. . . . [T]he resurrection of Christ . . . [b]ring[s] man into God.”[1709]

Nee, as a natural development of his mysticism,[1710] regularly taught this heresy of deification, and affirmations concerning it fill his writings:

Christ the Head and the Church His body . . . Christ and His Church, make up together His one new Man—“the Christ.”[1711] The goal of God was to establish not just the individual Christ, but also the corporate Christ. This corporate Christ is the church.[1712] [T]he corporate Christ . . . is the composite of the personal Christ and the church. . . . [T]he term Christ . . . refers to the church.[1713] “The church is simultaneously fully Christ in its state and not fully Christ in its status. . . . The corporate Christ . . . is the personal Christ and the church . . . in the eschaton . . . the church [will] experience the full status of the personal exalted Christ.[1714] Everything of Eve was out of Adam, and everything of the church is out of Christ. . . . The fact that Eve was made from Adam signifies that the church is made from Christ. Eve was made with Adam’s rib. Since Eve came out from Adam, she was still Adam. Then what is the church? The church is another form of Christ, just as Eve was another form of Adam. The church is just Christ. . . . The church is . . . taken out of Christ. In other words, it is the man which God has made by using Christ as the material. . . . The material of the church is Christ. . . . Only that which is out of Christ can return to Christ. The material for the building of such a bride [as the church] is Christ Himself.[1715] There is a portion in us which is out of Christ and which is Christ Himself. . . . There is a life within us which has nothing to do with sin and which requires no redemption. That life in us is from Christ and it is Christ Himself.[1716] God is added to man. . . . [I]n the New Jerusalem . . . the Creator mingles with the creature . . . God and man will become one.[1717] When . . . a sinner, the old man, hears the gospel and believes in Christ and is saved, he becomes a new man. Not only has he become a new man individually; he is joined to all other Christians to become one corporate new man as well. . . . The church . . . is the new man . . . The new man is simply Christ. The nature of the new man is Christ. . . . We can even venture to say that Christ is the church and the church is Christ . . . [t]he constitution of the new man is nothing less than Christ Himself. Since the nature of the new man—the church—is Christ, we can say that the church is Christ. . . . The constitution of the new man is Christ Himself . . . the church is Christ. . . . He would release His life on the earth to all those who would believe in Him so that they would be regenerated and receive God’s life. . . . the church . . . is . . . the corporate Christ. . . . Formerly, Christ was expressed individually; now He is expressed corporately. . . . Only the church as the corporate Christ can fulfill God’s goal and plan.[1718]

Nee’s mystical doctrine of deification was faithfully expounded also in Witness Lee’s works and other writings in their denomination. Lee forthrightly taught modalism and deification:

[T]he Son must be the Father . . . the entire Godhead, the Triune God, became flesh. . . . The traditional explanation of the Trinity is grossly inadequate and borders on tritheism . . . the Son is the Father, and the Son is also the Spirit . . . Christ is of two natures, the human and the divine, and we are the same: we are of the human nature, but covered with the divine. He is the God-man, and we are the God-men. . . . In number we are different, but in nature we are exactly the same. . . . God’s economy and plan is to make Himself man and to make us, His created beings, “God,” so that He is “man-ized” and we are “God-ized.” In the end, He and we, we and He, all become God-men. . . . Because the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are all one with the Body of Christ, we may say that the Triune God is now the “‘four-in-one’ God.” These four are the Father, the Son, the Spirit, and the Body. [1719]

The denomination’s theological journal, Affirmation and Critique, a publication of Living Stream Ministry, had an issue entitled “Deification,”[1720] which included articles entitled: “Becoming God,” “Can Human Beings Become God?” “Deification by Participation in God’s Divinity,” “The Gospel of the Promised Seed: Deification according to the Organic Pattern in Romans 8 and Philippians 2,” “Creation, Sanctification, Regeneration, Deification,” “Regeneration for Deification, Regeneration as Deification,” “Deified to Be the Bride of Christ,” and “Aspects of the New Jerusalem: Deification.” The titles of the articles indicate all that must be said. Affirmations are made such as:

The time for silence and shrinking back out of fear of being labeled heretical, cultic, or unorthodox must come to an end . . . The believers in Christ become God in and through their organic union with Christ; the believers in Christ become God through regeneration; the believers in Christ become God through organic salvation; the believers in Christ become God by eating God; the believers in Christ become God by loving God; the believers in Christ become God through the function of the law of life.[1721]

Indeed, the modalistic “trinity” of the Church of the Recovery becomes, by faith and baptism, a quaternity—the Father, Son, Spirit, and the church: “[T]he three Persons of the Godhead . . . [which are not eternal in any case but simply] three [modalistic] stages . . . are now four in one: the Father, the Son, the Spirit, and the Body . . . by faith and baptism.”[1722] Nee and his denomination’s revolting and blasphemous dogma[1723] perpetuates the original lie of Satan: “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5).

The Church of the Recovery ties in closely the mingled-spirit doctrine developed by Watchman Nee with its affirmations of modalism and deification.[1724] Thus Lee and the Church of the Recovery followed Nee and taught:

Jesus is the everlasting Father. . . . the Son is the Father. . . [I]n resurrection this incarnate Christ became a life-giving Spirit. To say that this life-giving Spirit is not the Holy Spirit is wrong, because there is not another Spirit who gives life besides the Holy Spirit. Christ is the Spirit who gives life[.] . . . The Son would come as the Spirit to abide in the disciples. . . . Christ the Lord is the Spirit who gives life, the life-giving Spirit . . . [t]he Father, the Son, and the Spirit. . . . The Son prayed that all of us would be one, but what kind of oneness is this? It is the oneness of the Divine Trinity, a oneness of coinherence. . . . We are to be one as the Triune God is one. . . . [T]he oneness of the Divine Trinity [is] a oneness of coinherence which was meant for the believers’ participation. . . . [T]he Triune God c[ame] out of eternity into time, with His divinity into humanity, to pass through a marvelous human living, an all-inclusive death, and an all-surpassing resurrection to become the life-giving Spirit to enter into man . . . we become exactly like Him in life, nature, and appearance.[1725]

        After His resurrection the Spirit of God became the Spirit of the incarnated, crucified, and resurrected Christ. . . . the incarnate Christ died and resurrected to become the pneumatic Christ, the life-giving Spirit, so that He could dispense Himself into us to organically save us in His life[.] . . . The indwelling, pneumatic Christ is not for our objective study but for our subjective experience. This experience begins in our human spirit which is . . . regenerated by the divine Spirit. As such, our human spirit is now a mingled spirit . . . [o]ut from this mingled spirit, our experience of the pneumatic Christ will issue.[1726]

Watchman Nee and Witness Lee were not Christians. They were idolaters. Their worship was directed to the devil, not to true God. The Church of the Recovery they founded is an idolatrous cult, not a Christian denomination. Nevertheless, Watchman Nee is one of the leading writers in Keswick circles today.

            Watchman Nee (and Lee and the Church of the Recovery) also promulgated the existence of a kind of Protestant purgatory, an eschatological error associated with their partial Rapture heresy. Believers who died with any unconfessed sin would have to suffer the eternal fires of hell—Gehenna—during the Millennium until the fires purified them and they could get out. “[O]ver some Christians hell still has its threat,”[1727] Nee taught. Other Christians would be cast into outer darkness. Finally, some Christians who had been good enough and who died free of any sins for which confession and restitution needed to be made before God and men, would enter the Millennial kingdom and receive levels of rewards—these would be limited almost exclusively[1728] to those who were members of the religious organization founded by Nee and who had achieved a high enough spiritual plane. However, other Christians, those who sinned against too much light, would not have the opportunity to repent if they fell into sin—for such, temporary torment in hell was inevitable. Nee taught:

There are many places in the Bible that mention God’s punishment for the defeated Christians in the millennial kingdom. We will take a look at these places now. . . . The Lord shows us that if Christians tolerate sin, they will suffer either the casting into the eternal fire with both hands and both feet, or the entering into life with one hand or one foot. This shows us clearly that there are those who deal with their sins and lusts in this age and who will enter into the kingdom with one hand or one foot. There are also those who will leave their lusts unchecked and will be cast into the eternal fire. The fire is an eternal fire, but it does not say that they will remain in the eternal fire forever. What the Lord Jesus did not say is as significant as what He did say. If a person has become a Christian but his hands or feet sin all the time, he will suffer the punishment of the eternal fire in the kingdom of the heavens. He will not suffer this punishment eternally, but will suffer it only in the age of the kingdom. . . . [W]e have to realize . . . that the person spoken of here must be a Christian, for only a Christian is clean in his body as a whole and can thus enter into life after dealing with his lust in a single member of his body. It would not be enough for the unbelievers to cut off a hand or a foot. Even if they were to cut off both hands and both feet, they would still have to go to hell. In order to enter the kingdom of the heavens, it is better for a Christian to have an incomplete body than to go into eternal fire because of incomplete dealing. . . . [I]f a saved person does not deal with his lust, he will not be able to enter into life, but will go into eternal fire. The eternal fire here is the Gehenna of fire. The Bible shows us that a Christian has the possibility of suffering the Gehenna of fire. Although he can suffer the Gehenna of fire, he cannot suffer it forever. He can only suffer it during the age of the kingdom. . . . [A] saved person, a brother, [if] he has reviled his brother . . . is liable to the Gehenna of fire. . . . The kingdom is very strict. . . .

No two brothers or two sisters who are at odds with each other can appear in the kingdom together. . . . If I am involved in an argument with a brother, and if the matter is not dealt with in this age, then in the future, either both of us will be barred from the kingdom, or only one of us will get in. It cannot be that both of us will enter in. It is not possible for us to have a problem with each other and yet reign at the same time in the millennium in the future. In the kingdom all the believers are in one accord. There are absolutely no barriers between any two persons. If while we are on earth today, we have some friction with any brother or sister, or if we cause a hindrance to any brother or sister, we have to be careful. Either we will go in and the other will be excluded, or the other will go in and we will be excluded, or both will be excluded. The Lord says that while you are with him on the way you have to be reconciled to him. That means that while you and he are alive and before the Lord Jesus comes back, you have to be reconciled to him. . . . Today we may harbor complaints about others very easily; but these complaints will either keep us outside, keep others outside, or keep both us and others outside the kingdom. . . . We are clear that there is no possibility for a Christian to perish eternally, but if a Christian has any unrepented of and unconfessed sins, which are not forgiven, he will suffer the Gehenna of fire. Christ told those who belonged to Him . . . . [that if] they allow sin to develop in them, though they will not eternally perish, there is the possibility that they will “pass away into Gehenna.” . . . The Word of God is clear enough. It tells us, not once, but many times, that it is possible for a Christian to be “cast into Gehenna.” . . .

In the book of life the names of all the Christians are recorded. There will be many angels and many Christians. The Lord Jesus will also be there. One or more angels will then read off the names from the book of life, and the Lord Jesus will confess some of the names. Those whose names He confesses will then enter the kingdom. When the names of the others are read, the Lord will not say anything. In other words, He will not confess their names. The angels will then put a mark against these names. Hence, the overcomers’ names are clean in the book of life, while the defeated ones’ names are marked. As for the unsaved ones, their names do not appear in the book of life at all. One group does not have their names in the book. Another group has their names there, but their names are marked. And still a third group, by the time of the kingdom, has their names preserved in the same way as they were first written in the book. . . . [T]hose whose names are not recorded in the book of life will be eternally in the lake of fire. Those whose names do not appear in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire. This is at the beginning of the new heaven and new earth. [As for those whose] names have been marked . . . God will cast us “into Gehenna” so that we may be punished temporarily. . . . If we tolerate sin, if we do not forgive others, if we commit adultery, if we revile the brothers, if we are afraid to suffer, to be ashamed, to be persecuted, and to confess the Lord, we have to be careful[.] . . . [D]efeated ones will suffer the hurt of the second death. Although they will not suffer the second death itself, they will suffer the hurt of the second death. Once a person is saved, he will not suffer the second death. But this does not guarantee that he will not suffer the hurt of the second death. We know that the time of the lake of fire and brimstone is the time when the new heaven and the new earth begins. . . . [A]t that time a man will be cast into the lake of fire if his name is not recorded in the book of life. That will be the time when unbelievers are officially put into the lake of fire. However, during the millennium, the defeated Christians will suffer the hurt of the second death . . . [but] not for eternity. If a Christian is joined to the world and if he loves the world and the things of the world, the Lord will allow him to go into corruption, to suffer a little of what the unbelievers will suffer. This is what being hurt by the second death . . . means, and this word is spoken to Christians. . . . The second death will cause pain for some. From the time of the great white throne on, there is the second death itself, which is the suffering for eternity in the lake of fire and of brimstone. But in the millennium there is only the hurt of the second death. If some Christians have not dealt with their sins, they will still suffer the hurt and pain of the second death. . . .

A saved person [who] . . . has seen the revealed God, the Only Begotten of the Father[,] [and] has known the love of God, and he has tasted the heavenly gift, the unique gift, Jesus Christ[,] [and] . . . has also become a partaker of the Holy Spirit . . . [and] has tasted the good word of God and the powers of the coming age . . . [i]f such a person leaves the word of the beginning of Christ today and slips and falls, there is no repentance for him. . . . He will not perish forever, but he will suffer the hurt of the second death and will suffer the Gehenna of fire in the kingdom. . . . If a Christian receives all these wonderful things but does not bear good fruit to God, but rather thorns and thistles, he will be burned. However this burning will only be for a while. Even an elementary school boy knows that if you burn a piece of land, the burning will stop after all the thorns are burned up. The burning in the kingdom will go on at most for a thousand years. How long it will actually burn depends on you. If you have brought forth many thorns and thistles, then there will be more burning. If you have brought forth few thorns and thistles, then there will be less burning. How many things are there in us that are still not dealt with? How many things have not been cleansed away by the Lord’s blood, and how many things are not yet confessed, dealt with, and settled with the brothers and sisters? [O]ne cannot go out from [Gehenna] until every quadrans is paid. All the debts have to be paid. When everything is burned away, all the debts will be paid. . . .

In John 15 . . . look at verse 6 . . . [s]ome branches will be thrown into the fire and burned. Some branches have sprouted and have borne green leaves, but do not have fruit. Though they have life inwardly, they do not have fruit outwardly. The Lord Jesus said that they would be cast out, dried up, and burned in the fire. Here we see clearly that Christians may have to pass through the fire. . . . [I]f a Christian does not take care of his sins properly, there will be punishment waiting for him. The Bible shows us clearly what kind of punishment this will be. It is not an ordinary kind of punishment but the punishment of the “Gehenna of fire.” But it is the fire in the kingdom, not in eternity. . . .

What kind of sin will bring us into this state [of Gehenna]? Once a person is saved, it is important that he deal with his sins. . . . [T]here are many sins which will not be passed over. These are the sins that one regards in his heart. . . . Moreover, if we have a problem with another person that has not been solved, or if there are things that need to be forgiven but have not been forgiven, or if we have wronged others or the Lord, we have to deal with these things in a specific way . . . [or face] the coming judgment [of Gehenna].

        Now let us summarize what we have seen. . . . In the age of the kingdom, some Christians will receive a reward in the kingdom. Some will receive a great reward; others will receive a small reward. Those who will not receive a reward are also divided into a few categories. One group will not enter into the kingdom at all. The Bible does not tell us where they will go. It only says that they will be kept outside the kingdom in the outer darkness. They will be left outside the glory of God. Second, there will be many who, in addition to not having worked well, have specific sins not yet dealt with. They are saved, but when they die, they still have sins which they have not repented of and dealt with. They still have the problem of sin with them. These ones will be temporarily put into the fire. They will come out only after they have paid all their debts. This will last at most until the end of the kingdom. I do not know how long this period will actually be. There are still many things which we are not clear about concerning the future, but the Bible has shown us enough. Although there are details which we have not yet seen, we do know what the children of God will face. Some will receive a reward; some will go into corruption. Some will be put into prison, and still some will be cast into the fire and be burned. . . . [I]f we do not allow the Holy Spirit to work the Lord Jesus into us, God will have to chastise us that we may receive the benefit and be counted worthy to be with Him.

I am happy in my heart because I can preach the “heresy” of God’s Word and I can oppose the “truth” in man’s teaching. . . . [A]ll heresies are not pure heresy; they are the truth plus a little error. Heresy is to add wrong things to right things. Add a little of man’s thought to God’s thought, and you will have heresy. . . . Because Catholicism does not fully know the truth in the Bible, it preaches the doctrine of purgatory. . . . You can say that it is heresy. In the Bible we see that God’s discipline of the Christians happens in the millennium, but Catholics say that there is a purging going on today. . . . The Bible shows us that there will be the discipline in the kingdom in the future, but there is no purging in Hades today. . . . [O]nly after we know this will we be able to deal with the heresy in Protestantism. Today among the Protestants, two kinds of errors are being promulgated. First, one group of Protestant theologians proposes that since a man is “once saved, always saved,” he can get away with anything in his conduct.[1729] . . . There is another group of Protestants who say that after a man believes, there is still the possibility that he will not be saved. Perhaps he can be saved and unsaved again three or four times within a day. . . . Both of these groups are too extreme, even though both have their scriptural basis. The Bible shows us clearly that when a man is saved, he is eternally saved. The Bible also shows us clearly that it is possible for a Christian to be “cast into Gehenna” temporarily. But the problem is that some brothers hold onto one side, insisting that salvation is eternal and that there is no such thing as discipline in the kingdom, while other brothers hold onto the other side, insisting that if we can be “cast into Gehenna,” eternal life is shaky, and therefore we can go into eternal perdition. But if we see the difference between the age of the kingdom and the eternal age and the difference between the temporary punishment of the millennium and eternal punishment, we will be clear that a Christian can receive punishment in the future, but at the same time, God has given His sheep eternal life, and they can never lose it. . . . [T]he matter of eternal salvation is solved because of the work of Jesus of Nazareth, but as for one’s situation in the kingdom, it is determined by the person himself.[1730]

The doctrine developed by Nee and received by his followers of a Protestant purgatory, where some true believers will be tormented in purifying fires in hell, while others will suffer in outer darkness, is grossly heretical.

As, it seems, modalism, deification, and the belief that Christians who sin get purified in the fires of hell did not suffice as heresies, Watchman Nee and his successor Witness Lee also believed other false doctrines. They accepted the alleged tongues, visions, and binding and loosing[1731] doctrines of Pentecostalism and claimed to cast out demons from believers and unbelievers, as both the saved and unsaved could be possessed.[1732] Nee even adopted the characteristic Word-Faith heresy of commanding God—that is, the believer, based on Ephesians 1-2 as misinterpreted by John A. MacMillan,[1733] can employ “the prayer of command . . . [w]e may command God to do things.”[1734] Certainly, Nee taught, the believer can experience “supernatural revelations [and] visions . . . [that] arise from the Holy Spirit” today.[1735] While it cannot be proven that Nee personally spoke in tongues,[1736] he “found peace and spiritual blessing in [the] message and some experiences associated with [the] Pentecostal theology”[1737] under the influence of Miss Elizabeth Fischbacher, Pentecostal missionary associated with the China Inland Mission, and mentor to Nee, so that Nee taught that “to say that speaking in tongues is dispensationally over is . . . wrong.”[1738] Thus, when “Miss Elizabeth Fischbacher,” who was “much in demand as one of the C. I. M.’s [China Inland Mission’s] gifted missionary speakers, was holding revival meetings,” Nee “attend[ed] her Chefoo meetings. She herself shared the . . . [beliefs of the] Spiritual Gifts . . . Movement . . . with . . . its uncontrolled emotionalism and extravagant methods of arousal . . . [and] ecstatic accompaniment of preaching and prayer,” so that “she would pray and sing in the Spirit in other tongues.” Through her “preaching . . . Watchman [found] . . . a quite new discovery of divine blessing,” so that he “brought a message of the outpouring of the Spirit of God . . . [and] the Victorious Life” and a “fresh emphasis on experiences” among “assemblies . . . that hitherto had . . . never allowed the Christians to forget the Bible in favor of mere subjectivism.” However, under Nee’s new Pentecostal unction, “license was given to jumping, clapping, laughter, unknown tongues that conveyed no message to hearers or even speaker, and a flood of dramatic healings . . . not a few mistaken,” so that “the loss of restraint,” expanding upon an already extant practice of ending “prayer meetings with a brief period of simultaneous prayer” by all in the congregation, brought on a period where Nee observed that “the gain has been rather trivial, the loss quite large.”[1739] When Nee found out his disciple and successor Witness Lee “took the initiative to contact the Pentecostal movement in Peking and began to speak in tongues, at the same time helping others to do the same,” Nee did not speak a word against it but simply reminded Lee that not everyone must speak in tongues because of 1 Corinthians 12:30.[1740] Nee “certainly believed in . . . healing, and speaking with and interpretation of tongues.” He stated the belief he held from very early in his ministry, which he propagated throughout its course: “Some ask me if I oppose speaking with tongues. Certainly not.”[1741] Nee believed that “wonders . . . instantaneous divine healing . . . tongues . . . visions and dreams” were “real miracles” for today, and concerning such “miracles,” he wrote, “I value them highly.” Indeed, he related his own experience of these matters: “As to visions and dreams, I too have seen great light. . . . I do not oppose visions and dreams; I myself have had some experience of them.”[1742]

Furthermore, prepared by Keswick theology, Nee found so much validity in Pentecostal healing doctrine that he adopted the idea that believers can choose not to be sick and “claim healing over sickness,”[1743] although he himself endured very serious and chronic illnesses, such as fevers that incapacitated him and left him unable to write or even think, a chronic cough associated with wasting away of his body, sickness that left him unable to walk without a cane, heart trouble caused by “long illness,” “coronary ischemia” that left him unable to work and caused “great discomfort” as it became, he testified, “the chronic condition I have [that] is always with me. . . . The only variation is in its degree of activity, for there is no question of recovery.”[1744] Nonetheless, Nee taught that believers who live by faith will never experience any kind of debilitating sickness that hinders their ability to minister for God: “[T]he real meaning of the Holy Spirit giving life to our bodies is that: (1) He will restore us when we are sick and (2) He will preserve us if we are not sick. In a word, the Holy Spirit will strengthen our earthly tents so that we can meet the requirements of God’s work and walk in order that neither our life nor the kingdom of God will suffer through the weakness of the body. This is what God has provided for all His children.”[1745] In addition to the failure of Nee’s doctrine in his own life, the Apostle Paul’s coworker Trophimus, who had a debilitating sickness of such severity that Paul had to leave him behind so that they could no longer minister together (2 Timothy 4:20; cf. Philippians 2:25-30), does not seem to have been aware of the Higher Life for the body. Furthermore, in direct opposition to the miraculous healings by the Lord Jesus and the apostles in the Bible, where all symptoms and evils from sickness were immediately, completely, and permanently removed (Mark 6:56; Luke 6:19), the “healings” Nee endorsed had to overlook obvious evidence that disease was still present. In a manner reminiscent of charismatic Word-Faith teaching,[1746] and in line with the Higher Life healing leaders from Boardman to Simpson, Nee taught that someone could be “healed” but still have symptoms of his disease. However, if he simply denied that the symptom was really a symptom of the disease, everything would be fine. Nee commanded: “Do not accept the symptom,” for if “you continue to look at your sickness, God’s word loses its effectiveness” and the “healing” could then be lost. Thus, if one has been “healed” of a fever, he is to “laugh at the temperature. It doesn’t matter whether it is high or low.” If one is “healed” but continues to “vomi[t] blood,” or is in “acute pain,” this is not evidence that the “healing” is fake—rather, Nee commands: “Treat the symptom as a temptation and a lie.”[1747] It was very evident to Nee that if one had been “healed” but was vomiting blood and writhing in pain from disease, the problem was not that the healing was a lie, but that the symptoms were a lie.

Being consistent with his Keswick continuationism, Nee even taught, as did various Keswick writers before him,[1748] that believers do not need to die:

Since Christ has overcome death, believers need not feel that they must die, although they still may die. . . . Since it is a believer’s goal to be free from sin, it should also be his goal to be free from death. A believer should understand that as a consequence of the death and resurrection of Christ, his relationship with death is the same as his relationship with sin. He has overcome these completely in Christ; therefore, God is now calling him to overcome them in his experience. . . . Since the Lord Jesus has met and overcome death for us, He wants every one of us to overcome it in our present life. We should not ask God to grant us strength to bear the power of death; we should ask instead for the strength to overcome its authority. . . . Unless a believer is clear that his work is finished and that the Lord does not need him to remain on the earth any longer, he should not die; that is, he should always resist death. If the symptoms of death have gradually occurred in his body . . . a believer should completely deny these symptoms and refuse to die.[1749]

Obedient believers, it seems, will never die in accidents, and will never die at other times, no matter what disease is doing to them, unless they choose to do so—they simply need to deny that they are dying and refuse to die, and they will stay alive as long as they wish, at least until the age of seventy, at which time they may end up dying, despite all the alleged promises that would keep them alive until their seventieth birthday: “Since the Bible takes seventy as a general standard for human life, we can hope to live until that time if we have faith.”[1750] Nee’s view that one should live until at least seventy if he had faith was “a commonly accepted teaching in the Higher Life/Keswick movements, with their connecting of health and holiness. . . . Murray and Simpson exemplify the teaching that it was not necessary to die of sickness and that a person might live in health until age seventy or eighty.”[1751] Similarly, the Word of Faith movement affirms that the “bare minimum . . . should be 70 years . . . after 70 years of life, a Christian then ‘chooses’ his time to die. The believer who dies before his 70 . . . years could have lived longer had he exercised faith in the promises of the Bible.”[1752] Nee was sixty-nine when he died.

Nee also promulgated “blended evangelical and liberal views of revelation and Scripture”[1753] and the idea that irrational inner voices or intuitions should be followed rather than the Bible as interpreted using themind. He wrote:

Believers should not follow their soul, which means that they should not follow their thoughts, feelings, or preferences. These are all from the soul. God’s way for the believers is to walk according to the spirit. All other ways belong to the old creation and have no spiritual value at all. How, then, can we walk according to the spirit? Walking according to the spirit is walking according to the intuition in the spirit. . . intuition is also completely different from our mind. Our mind comes from our head and is rational. However, the intuition is not located in our head and quite frequently is irrational.[1754]

Matching up with this emphasis upon mysticism, what Nee “cared for was not doctrine, but the release of the spirit,”[1755] explicitly contradicting 1 Timothy 4:13, 16 and many other texts of Scripture, but following Jessie Penn-Lewis, who likewise taught the “priceless blessing of release [of the] spirit” but rejected the necessity of careful grammatical-historical interpretation of God’s Word.[1756] After all, Nee “was liable to make a telling point by pressing on beyond what was written” in his “excursions into allegory.”[1757] Nee testified: “After completing The Spiritual Man . . . I realized that the task of expounding the Scriptures was not for me. . . . [neither] expounding the Scriptures, preaching the ordinary gospel, [nor] paying attention to prophecies [was for me].” Indeed, expounding the Scriptures was dangerous to Nee, so that to do so was a “temptation” he had “frequently” needed to resist.[1758] Thus, not the entire Bible as the objective voice of God, but, in a manner that brings to mind the reduction of inspiration in the heretical neo-orthodoxy of Barth and Brunner, only the portion of Scripture in which one has a special encounter with God has value: “Only the word which the Lord speaks to us is of any use.”[1759] In fact, Nee thought, “[w]ords alone cannot be considered as God’s Word.”[1760] In line with the Quaker influence upon Keswick theology, Nee taught that neither the written Word nor the preached Word are sufficient to replace the mystical voice of God spoken directly to the heart: “[T]he written Scriptures . . . [and] the living human messenger . . . contribute to our Christian life . . . [b]ut . . . neither of these can take the place of the living voice of God to our hearts.”[1761] One needs a mystical experience, described in an incoherent and bizarre way by Nee,[1762] to transform the Bible into something that is useful and is God’s living Word. Nee’s deprecation of Scripture for mysticism led him to teach: “To the Christian there is no absolute right or wrong. . . . What is right or wrong depends upon the level of life [mystical experience] he has attained.”[1763] Would writing a book about the truly spiritual man lead to a rejection of absolute right and wrong and the exposition of Scripture (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-4:2; John 5:39; etc.)? Or is it rather true that if “any man teach otherwise” than “wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and . . . the doctrine which is according to godliness,” such a one is so far from being on a higher plane of spiritual life that he is “proud, knowing nothing,” and from such a one the godly must obey the command: “from such withdraw thyself” (1 Timothy 6:2-5)? Nevertheless, despite 1 Timothy 6, Nee taught:

We have said emphatically before that the right way to follow God’s leading is to depend on the intuition and not on the mind. This is very crucial, and we should not forget it. A believer should follow the revelation in the intuition and not the thoughts in the mind. Those who walk according to the mind are walking according to the flesh. This leads to the wrong way.[1764]

Nee wrote further:

To know things in our intuition is what the Bible calls revelation. Revelation has no other meaning than that the Holy Spirit enables a believer to apprehend a particular matter by indicating the reality of it to his spirit. There is but one kind of knowledge concerning either the Bible or God, which is valuable, and that is the truth revealed to our spirit by God’s spirit. . . . Revelation happens in the intuition—quietly, neither hastily nor slowly, soundless and yet with a message. . . . Searching with intellect never delivers men; revelation in the spirit alone gives true knowledge of God. . . . The Bible recognizes just one kind of knowledge, and that is the knowledge in the spirit’s intuition. . . . He reveals Himself solely to man’s spirit. . . . The revelation of God in our spirit is of two kinds: the direct and the sought. By direct revelation we mean that God, having a particular wish for the believer to do, draws nigh and reveals it to the latter’s spirit. Upon receiving such a revelation in his intuition the believer acts accordingly. By sought revelation we mean that a believer, having a special need, approaches God with that need and seeks and waits for an answer through God’s movement in his spirit. The revelation young believers receive is mostly the sought type; that of the more matured ones is chiefly the direct kind.[1765]

The dangerous error that following one’s mind is sinful, that God does not work through the believer’s mind, and that, instead, irrational intuitions which are Divine “revelation” should be followed, is directly contradicted by 2 Timothy 1:7; Romans 7:25; 12:1-2; and a host of other texts. However, if there is only one kind of valuable knowledge, and that is supernatural revelation to the human spirit that bypasses the mind, then the Bible cannot really be revelation at all, and its propositions are not valuable. Bible study, then, becomes a waste of time and should be given up, despite verses such as John 5:39 and Acts 17:11. Indeed, Nee’s doctrine of intuition led the Little Flock movement and Witness Lee to reject Bible study, as one could simply follow intuition. Lee wrote:

[S]criptural interpretation must . . . pass away for us. . . . we must learn to just turn to our spirit and say, O Lord![1766] This is the way to experience Him. . . . When I was young I did much searching and researching of the Bible. But, Hallelujah, today I have given it up[.][1767] [S]imply pick up the Word and pray-read a few verses in the morning and in the evening. There is no need for you to exercise your mind . . . it is unnecessary to think over that you read. . . . It is better for us to close our mind! . . . There is no need to explain or expound the Word! . . . Forget about reading, researching, understanding, and learning the Word.[1768]

Both the foundations of Pentecostalism in general, and Oneness Pentecostalism in particular,[1769] as well as the Word of Faith movement, likewise reject grammatical-historical interpretation of the Bible to get their messages by mystical “revelation knowledge,”[1770] a development of earlier Quaker, Higher Life, and Keswick hermeneutical subjectivism. Of course, if the mind is not involved in the discovery of any valuable knowledge, the fact that the Bible, interpreted grammatically and historically, actually denies Nee’s doctrine is irrelevant, as are contradictions in Nee’s own writings (such as his affirmations of the importance of activity in the mind elsewhere); such facts can be dismissed as the mere quibbles of an unspiritual intellect. One wonders, however, why those who follow Lee in Nee’s Little Flock movement read the works of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, for reading their books cannot provide any valuable knowledge to the mind if reading the Bible cannot do so—at least unless the writings of Nee and Lee are superior to the Bible and can convey truth in a way the Omnipotent cannot in His written revelation. In any case, if all that is of true value is directly and irrationally revealed to the human spirit, one wonders if valuable knowledge is conveyed by stop signs and other forms of writing that are utilized every day by members of the Little Flock movement, or if they follow irrational intuition to know when it is their turn to cross the street. Then again, perhaps such logical contradictions must themselves be dismissed in Nee and Lee’s exaltation of the irrational and intuitive.

As already noted, Nee also promulgated the idea, following Jessie Penn-Lewis, that believers can be demon possessed. He wrote:

[E]vil spirits will seize the opportunity to take over the believer’s mind. . . . If believers fulfill the condition for evil spirits to work, they will work [and] take over the believers. . . . Evil spirits rejoice exceedingly at all who fulfill [the spiritual] condition [that allows them entry] and immediately go to work. When a ‘heathen’ fulfills this condition, evil spirits will possess him; when a believer fulfills this condition, evil spirits will also come into him without any reservation. We need to realize that many believers are ignorant of the conditions whereby evil spirits work and the fact that once a person fulfills these conditions, evil spirits will work in an unrestricted way. Therefore, many have unconsciously become mediums for demons and have even become possessed by demons! . . . If we tell a believer that Christians can be possessed by demons (or evil spirits), he will be greatly surprised. An ordinary believer in China thinks that only heathens have the possibility of being possessed by demons and that it is not possible for Christians to have the same experience. . . . Believers realize that there is a possibility for them to be seduced, tempted, attacked, or deceived, but they do not realize that there is also a possibility for believers to be attached to—to be possessed—by demons. When they first believed, they received many wrong teachings; now they think that as long as a Christian has Christ, he will not be possessed by demons. . . . However, this teaching is not found in the Bible. Neither is it confirmed by the experience of the saints. God’s children are very unclear that evil spirits can change their appearance and attach themselves to the believers’ bodies. Today there is an unexpectedly great number of believers who are possessed by demons. The unalterable fact is that many believers are possessed by demons.[1771]

Nee also followed Penn-Lewis in the affirmation that even believers “who are entirely consecrated . . . can be possessed by evil spirits.”[1772] It should be of deep concern that “many believers” in the Little Flock denomination “are possessed by demons,” according to their own spiritual leader.

Nee adopted the idea that each city could only have one church in it—one associated with his own denomination, of course. All other churches, whether Baptist, Catholic, or Protestant, were schismatic and in severe error. Each city must have only one church, he taught—“one city, one church, worldwide”[1773]—and this assembly must simply be called “the church [in city X].” Nee adopted the idea that “to leave the denominations . . . require[s] our obedience” in the latter half of 1922, two years after his professed conversion in 1920 at the age of seventeen—from that point on, he viewed “the Presbyterian Church . . . the Methodist Church . . . the Baptist Church” and all other denominations are unscriptural. While Paul required a simple pastor not to be a novice (1 Timothy 3:6), only two years after Nee’s professed conversion he was able to found a new denomination, which he affirmed was not a denomination, but a recovery of the true church. The “church life . . . the truth of the Lord’s recovery . . . began to be practiced in Watchman’s home town in 1922,” and by “1926 he . . . established gatherings for the Lord’s recovery [his new denomination] in Amoy, Tung-An, and nearby places [in] . . . south Fukien.”[1774] For the rest of his life Nee continued to call on all men to leave Baptist churches and all Protestant groups to join his new denomination, as his religious organization made “unabashed efforts to prejudice members of established churches and divert even pastors if it could,” leading to “the rapid leakage of believers into their ranks from among the flourishing mission-related churches.”[1775]

Nee also came to believe many further ecclesiological doctrines that, while perhaps supported by his intuition, could not be found in Scripture. Pastors, as found in Baptist churches, are unscriptural. Rather, there must be a certain form of hierarchicalism employing Apostles,[1776] since “the work is a matter of region or district.”[1777] Leadership must be unquestioningly obeyed and blindly followed, even if it is in error; Nee affirmed that it is impossible to ever disobey any leader in the Church of the Recovery and please God. He wrote:

People will perhaps argue, “What if the authority is wrong?” The answer is, If God dares to entrust His authority to men, then we can dare to obey. Whether the authority is right or wrong does not concern us, since he has to be responsible directly to God. The obedient needs only to obey; the Lord will not hold us responsible for any mistaken obedience, rather will He hold the delegated authority responsible for his erroneous act. . . . [I]f . . . the delegated authority erred, God would surely deal with him . . . [t]he [one under authority] was not held responsible. . . . Insubordination, however, is rebellion, and for this the one under authority must answer to God. . . . It is absolutely impossible for us to reject delegated authority and yet be subject directly to God; rejecting the first is the same as rejecting the second.[1778]

Thus, one must obey human authorities unconditionally, a demonic idea both current in the Confucianism of Nee’s culture and acceptable to the depraved human hearts of powerful men. Even if what authorities command is sin, they must still be obeyed—the member of Nee’s cult will not be accountable if he sins in obeying his church authorities. Only those commanding the sin, not those performing it, will be liable, Nee explained; for one under authority, performing a commanded sin is not sinful, but disobeying the authority’s command to sin is sinful:

Whether or not the authority makes mistakes has nothing to do with us. In other words, whether the deputy authority is right or wrong is a matter for which he has to be responsible directly before the Lord. Those who submit to authority need only to submit absolutely. Even if they make a mistake through submission, the Lord will not reckon that as sin. The Lord will hold the deputy authority responsible for that sin. To disobey is to rebel. For this the submitting one has to be responsible before God. For this reason there is no human element involved in submission.[1779]

Nee explained further that people should never think about what is good or evil, for such thinking is rebellion. Rather, one must blindly obey those in the cult with authority:

With us there should never be right or wrong, good or evil. . . . Submission is the first lesson for those who work. . . . We should never try to differentiate between good and evil. Rather, we should submit to authority. . . . Man . . . feels that this is good and that is not good. . . . This, however, is a condition of foolishness and the fall. This must be removed from us, for this is nothing but rebellion.[1780]

The Church of the Recovery taught, consequently, that the greatest command is not to love God with all one’s heart, and soul, and mind, as Jesus Christ declared (Matthew 22:36-38), but to obey authority: “God’s greatest and highest demand in the entire Bible is the demand for submission to authority.”[1781] Blind and unconditional obedience to those in authority, whether they command righteousness or sin, is tied to the nature of the Deity worshipped in Nee’s cult. It was the Son’s subordination and obedience to the Father that led the Father to choose to reward the Son with Lordship:

[T]he Father takes the place of the Head, and the Son responds with obedience. God becomes the emblem of authority, while Christ assumes the symbol of obedience. . . . [S]ince Christ was obedient . . . God has highly exalted Him. . . . He was exalted and rewarded by God to be Lord only after He . . . maintained the perfect role of obedience. As regards Himself, He is God; as regards reward, He is Lord. His Lordship did not exist originally in the Godhead.[1782]

As, Nee claimed, the Son was not eternally Lord, but was rewarded by the Father with Lordship because of obedience, so those in Nee’s denomination must practice obedience to their human authorities with the same kind of perfect, instant, and blind obedience that was rendered by the allegedly subordinate Son to God, and such blind obedience will be rewarded. Blind and cultic obedience is important, since in Nee’s denomination communism or community of goods must be practiced. “[A]ll the believers in the Lord’s recovery [are] to hand over not only themselves but all their possessions to the work” of the Little Flock/Church of the Recovery denomination.[1783] One may suppose that the idea that one needs to blindly and unconditionally follow denominational authorities even if their commands are sinful is helpful if these same authorities are seeking to acquire all of one’s possessions and through tyranny to force on people other ecclesiological ideas absent from the Bible.

            One reason that Nee and Lee’s denomination could adopt so many grievous heresies and corruptions is that an extremely high percentage of those in it are unconverted—they are not truly sheep, so they do not hear the voice of Jesus Christ, the true Shepherd, speaking to them in Scripture, but follow false shepherds, thieves, and robbers, instead of fleeing from them (John 10:1-30). Nee and Lee, being unconverted themselves, were extremely confused about the nature of sin, the gospel, and salvation. Nee taught error about man’s pre-Fall state, denying that man was holy before the Fall, instead affirming that he was “morally neutral—neither sinful nor holy.”[1784] Happily, in fact neither the first nor the second Adam were morally neutral, but the first was created holy and the second is forever holy (1 Corinthians 15:22, 45; Romans 5:12-19). Nee based his unscriptural practice of open communion[1785] rather than close or closed communion on a more fundamental error in the doctrines of sin and grace, the idea that some “‘sins’ . . . hinder fellowship with God and [other] ‘sins’ do not. . . . [While committing these] other ‘sins’ . . . fellowship with God is not hindered.”[1786] Nee’s doctrine of justification was also heretical. He taught that “[j]ustification is . . . showing that we have no sin because God declares us to be without sin . . . God pronounces us as being without sin and He thus justifies us,”[1787] an insufficient and faulty view of justification, which is the doctrine that believers are declared, not merely without sin, but positively perfectly righteous, since not only does the blood of Christ remove all of a Christian’s sins, but the righteousness of Christ is imputed to him, and the believer is legally viewed as if he had perfectly obeyed the Law as Christ did because of the Lord Jesus’ substitutionary atonement. However, Nee also attacked the power of the blood of Christ,[1788] perhaps making it more easy for him to attack justification also. Nee also believed and taught workers in his denomination that “[t]he great weakness of the present preaching of the Gospel is that we try to make people understand the plan of salvation.”[1789] Nee’s astonishing affirmation that it is a great weakness to lead people to understand the gospel is based on his idea that “the sinner is not required,” if he is to receive salvation, “to believe, or to repent, or to be conscious of sin, or even to know that Christ died. He is required only to approach the Lord with an honest heart.”[1790] Despite 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and countless other texts, Nee taught that one simply needs to “touch” God in a mystical encounter to be saved, rather than believe the gospel; “it is clear . . . that salvation is not initially a question of knowledge but of ‘touch.’ All who touch the Lord receive life.”[1791] One can “touch” God without even knowing the name of Jesus Christ, not to mention His character and saving work, despite John 8:24. Nee illustrated receiving salvation with the story of a Chinese boy who thought an idol was “too ugly and too dirty to be worshipped” and so “looked up to heaven” and prayed to God. Thirty years later he met Nee, and this Chinese man who thought an idol was dirty decades earlier testified, “I have met the Lord Jesus for the first time to-day, but this is the second time that I have touched God.”[1792] The man had, Nee taught, been saved decades earlier by “touching” God apart from Jesus Christ, despite Acts 4:12 and John 14:6. “[W]e go for salvation not to the foot of the Cross but to the Throne” where we mystically “touch” and encounter “the living Lord,”[1793] for “salvation” is a “personal and subjective experience” which “may be said to rest rather upon the Lord’s resurrection than upon His death.”[1794] Those who do know who Jesus Christ is, as long as they pray and “touch” God, will be saved even if they do not want to repent and believe, as Nee illustrated with a man who “prayed, and told the Lord that he did not want to repent and be saved,” but still “cried to Him for help.” By means of this cry, Nee affirmed that the man repented even though he had said that he did not want to, “and he got up a saved man.”[1795] After all, “salvation is not . . . a question of understanding or will . . . [i]t does not matter if a man wants or does not want to be saved, it does not matter if he understands or does not understand,” since the “basic condition of a sinner’s salvation is not belief or repentance,”[1796] but mystically encountering the Deity with a “touch.” The “initial touch . . . saves the sinner” even without “the sinner’s understanding of . . . the Gospel.”[1797] Therefore, what the members of Nee’s denomination must do is “encourage every sinner to kneel down with an honest heart and pray,” and even “prayers which . . . are not uttered in the name of Jesus . . . God will hear”[1798] and save the lost, even if they do not know who Jesus is, know what the gospel is, and have no desire whatever to repent and believe in Him. In fact, even if people know and hate Jesus Christ they will be saved if they pray to God. Nee illustrates how a woman was allegedly saved who hated Jesus Christ and simply wanted to be happy, and so prayed and allegedly was born again:

A striking example of one who came to God without even wanting to be saved is afforded by the experience of an English lady . . . She flung herself down and said, “O God, I have everything I want, wealth, popularity, beauty, youth—and yet I am absolutely miserable and unsatisfied. Christians would tell me that this is a proof that the world is empty and hollow, and that Jesus could save me and give me peace and joy and satisfaction. But I don’t want the satisfaction that He could give. I don’t want to be saved. I hate You and I hate Your peace and joy. But, O God, give me what I don’t want, and if You can, make me happy!” . . . [S]he got up from her knees a saved woman[.][1799]

After all, since Romans 10:13 says that “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,”[1800] therefore “[l]et there be but a cry from the heart to God, and at that moment the Spirit will enter” and save the sinner, whether he knows who Jesus Christ is or not, and even if he hates Jesus Christ and hates the salvation He offers. Witness Lee understood Nee’s point very well:

We have seen that to reach the unbelievers, no preaching is necessary. If we help them say ‘O Lord’ three times, they will be saved. If they open the window, the air will get in. All they have to do is to open their mouths and say, ‘O Lord, O Lord.’ Even if they have no intention of believing, still they will be caught! Regardless of whether they have the intention or not, as long as they open the window, the air will get in. It is not a matter of teaching; it is a matter of touching the seven Spirits of God.[1801]

By methodology of this sort, Nee personally led to salvation “many” who “did not in the first place repent or believe, or consciously desire to be saved.” Those “who won’t repent . . . who cannot believe . . . who have no desire for salvation . . . who are confused and cannot understand the Gospel . . . and who understand but will not acknowledge the claim of God upon them . . . many of them have been saved on the spot,”[1802] Nee testified, by saying the magic incantation. Nee’s disciples followed their leader’s example and led countless others to say the sinner’s prayer and experience the mystical “touch,” and so filled up their denomination with the unconverted children of hell and wrath who were utterly destitute of the new birth. However, Nee taught that the power of the sinner’s prayer went even beyond saving those who hated God, those who knew nothing of Jesus Christ, those who had no desire to repent or believe, and those who hated the Son of God and the Gospel. Even atheists can be saved by saying the sinner’s prayer: “[T]hose who do not believe there is a God at all . . . do not need first to substitute theism for atheism. They can be saved as they are, even without any belief in God at all.”[1803] It is not surprising that Nee’s disciples claim that the true way of “salvation . . . never became adequately clear to the Chinese Christians until Watchman Nee’s ministry was raised up.”[1804] Following just the Bible alone, without the writings of Watchman Nee, who would ever have guessed the true way of salvation—one that comes by means of an omnipotent sinner’s prayer, rather than by faith in the Omnipotent God and the cross of His Son Jesus Christ?

Nee also adopted other very serious heresies, errors, and bizarre beliefs. For example, he promoted the error of the Gap Theory instead of the truth of a literal six day recent creation of all things.[1805] Examples of the bizarre include Nee’s affirmation that “we may not rate Adam’s power as being a billion times over ours, [but] we can nevertheless safely reckon it to be a million times over ours,”[1806] from which he concluded, in connection with the adoption of the “soul-force” concept of Jessie Penn-Lewis,[1807] that people today can exercise the soul-force that is latent and “frozen” in their bodies to do what is a million times over regular human ability, make sick people well, make healthy people sick, predict the future, read other people’s minds, know great political events weeks and months before they come to pass so that newspapers are unnecessary, see, hear, and smell things thousands of miles away, penetrate all physical barriers, accelerate the growth of plants and quench fire, overturn governments, make physical objects come to them, materialize to distant people in a spiritual body that looks just like [one’s] physical body, walk over fire for long distances without being scorched, and perform countless other wonders, as the “soul power” is “an almost unlimited power.”[1808] Nee also adopted the curious notion that after the Millennium, in the eternal state, people will live on the “new earth . . . marry . . . and multiply as Adam did of old.”[1809] Nee’s errors seem to multiply without end, after the manner of his notion of what will take place in the eternal state on the new earth. Whether believers receive or reject his writings will determine to what extent his pernicious influence will continue to corrupt Christianity.

Applications from the Life and Teachings of Watchman Nee

The writings of Watchman Nee are extremely dangerous and unreliable. Those of Nee’s successor, Witness Lee, are even worse.[1810] Believers should be warned against them, not encouraged to read them. They would be better used to kindle a fire in a wood stove than to kindle a fire for God in a believer’s soul—and they have been an instrument to lead many to the everlasting fires of hell. Do you want your church to reject the true God and join a modalistic cult that denies the gospel, banishes believers to a Protestant purgatory, confuses and hinders Biblical sanctification, and rejects the study of Scripture for demonically produced mystical experiences? Then acquire Watchman Nee’s writings and study them carefully, for by the study of his writings countless people have been brought into exactly this sort of apostasy. Vast numbers in China have rejected Christianity for the Church of the Recovery, and in the United States and elsewhere in the world the cult of Nee and Lee proselytizes by spreading the teachings and writings of their false prophets to as many in Christendom as show any interest. Is rejecting Jehovah for idolatry an intolerable and infinite evil? Then have nothing to do with Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, for they were not God’s watchmen, nor true witnesses to Him.

            Watchman Nee illustrates the danger of receiving teaching from women preachers. Since they are not God’s plan, and the Bible indicates that women are more easily deceived by Satan (1 Timothy 2:14), it is not surprising that women preachers, whether Hannah W. Smith, Jessie Penn-Lewis, Madame Guyon, Mary B. Eddy, or Jezebel (Revelation 2:20) are often the devil’s instrument to deceive mankind and to corrupt Divine truth. Nee should have learned his doctrine and practice through the faithful pulpit ministry of a sound Baptist church instead of sitting at the feet of unscriptural women preachers. Learn from Nee’s bad example, obey Scripture on the qualifications of the pastoral office, and recognize how Nee’s disobedient method of learning about God contributed to his being drowned in destruction and perdition.

            Reject the false mysticism of the view of guidance advocated by Nee and Lee. God does truly guide His people today,[1811] but He does not do so through extrabiblical and mystical revelations. While God may, in His mercy, lead you into right paths despite adopting unbiblical views of guidance, you are in danger of making decisions that will harm the rest of your life on earth, and your reward for all eternity, if you trust in alleged personal revelations and other forms of leading that are not for today. Do not be a cessationist in theory who seeks Divine guidance the way a charismatic would.

            Recognize the danger of Watchman Nee’s cultic doctrine that one ought always to obey those in authority, even if they are wrong. Recognize also that Nee and Lee are also promoting a cultic lie when they teach that God will not hold you accountable for what you do that is wrong if you are told to do so by authority. There is not the slightest doubt that the Holy One will hold you accountable. Many who have adopted this extremely dangerous error on authority have plumbed the depths of Satan. The unquestioning obedience Nee and Lee require of men belongs only to God and His Word, and absolute surrender to fallen men, to men who are still sinners, is a horrible recipe for the vilest sins. This teaching, on its own, is more than sufficient to prove that the Church of the Recovery is a cult, not a holy organization devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ.

            Rejoice in the pretribulational Rapture of all saints. If you are a true believer, Christ will keep you from the hour of temptation that will come on all the earth (Revelation 3:10). You do not need to worry that you will miss the Rapture to face the awful judgments of the Tribulation because you have not entered into the Higher Life or have failed to join Watchman Nee’s religious organization. You certainly do not need to fear being cast into outer darkness or going to a Protestant purgatory to be tortured until you are somehow purified by suffering. No, the Lord Jesus has fully quaffed the cup of wrath for you, and there is no wrath left for you to endure. God has not appointed you to wrath, but to obtain salvation by your Lord, Jesus Christ, who died for you so that, whether alive or at rest with Him, you should live perpetually with Him (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10). Your Redeemer has perfectly accomplished His saving work (John 19:30), and His blood and righteousness have been applied to your account before God, giving you a perfect legal standing in His sight. The Father loves you, although a poor wretched worm, as He loves His incarnate Son (John 17:23). Soon your precious Jesus will return for you and bring you to a mansion He has been preparing for you (John 14:1-3). He has brought you into an unbreakable and unspeakably intimate union with Himself, and He will perfectly shield you from eschatological wrath and judgment, caring for you as a man cares for the apple of his eye. What a blessed comfort the truth of the pretribulational Rapture is! Do you long and look for the soon return of your blessed Savior? Then apply to your heart the words of the Apostle John: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).

            Receive the true doctrine of your preconversion depravity and of your regenerated restoration. Before your conversion you were dead—not your spirit only, but your entire person in all your parts was separated from God. At the moment when you were supernaturally regenerated through the Almighty efficacy of the Spirit of God, you were made new in your entire being, body, soul, and spirit—your new birth was not limited to the spirit. Be amazed at the extent of your inherited corruption; no part of you was exempt from the awful ravages of sin. Glory in the extent of your regeneration; no part of you is left unchanged and unrenewed by the Holy Ghost. For you who were formerly entirely in darkness, the Sun of righteousness has arisen with healing in His wings, His light leaving no part of you unaffected, and, through His continuing transforming power in progressive sanctification, shining more and more until the future day of your perfection in glory. How far superior is the Biblical doctrine of regeneration to the arrested and limited doctrine of Watchman Nee and Jessie Penn-Lewis, who would limit regeneration to the human spirit alone!

Reject with abhorrence the blasphemy of deification as nothing other than the repetition of the first lying hiss of the serpent, “ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5). You never were God, you are not God now, and you never shall be God. If you think that you are God, you are an idolater, and you will curse your blasphemous folly for all eternity as you scream in everlasting punishment in the lake of fire. You will know, while you are being tormented with fire and brimstone, that you are not God. “Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee. . . .They shall bring thee down to the pit” (Ezekiel 28:8-9). You will join Lucifer in being “brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (Isaiah 14:15). The more a Christian knows intellectually and experientially of his union with Christ, his glorious renewal into the moral likeness of the second Adam, and of the inestimable blessing of partaking of ever greater measures of the communicable Divine attributes, of God’s holiness, of His love, His faithfulness, His purity, His mercy, and all the rest, the more full he will grow of the deepest humility, and the more abominable the blasphemy of deification will appear to him. Those who believe that they become gods will join their god, Satan, in the lowest parts of hell, while believers will find it their ineffable blessedness to be conformed morally to Christ and to enjoy, to the uttermost extent possible for their finite beings, fellowship with Him and His glorious Divine presence. Choose, then, what you will have this day. Will it be deification and damnation, or Christ-likeness and heaven?

            Rejoice in the Triune God, in the One who subsists eternally in the three eternal Persons of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Behold the beauty and glory of this Triune God, as revealed in Scripture, in His ontology and His economy. Entrust yourself fully to Him as your own Lord, God, and Savior, for He only is able to save you. His revelation of Himself in time is true—you can truly know the Father through the Son by the Spirit, for His economic manifestation provides real and substantial knowledge of His eternal being. Also, out of love for Him, reject the demonic deceit of modalism. The modalistic god of the Church of the Recovery does not exist and so is incapable of saving you from your sin, answering your prayers, or doing anything at all—any confidence you place in such a deity is only confidence in the devils who are behind all idols. What is more, even if this modalistic god did exist, you could never learn anything about him from Scripture, as the Bible reveals a God who is a real Triunity—were modalism true, the “revelation” of Scripture would truly be a deception, and the god that was hidden behind his modalistic masks would remain actually unknown and unknowable. Only in the contradictory and confusing writings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee could you hope to have any real knowledge of the modal deity hidden in the Bible—but since Nee and Lee contradict Scripture, God’s Word remains unshakably true, and the modalistic deity of Nee and Lee is nothing but a vanity among the almost innumerable vain idols of false religion.

            While the “sinner’s prayer” practice of Nee and Lee is a terrible evil that produces countless unconverted people who have passed through the requisite ritual of saying a prayer and are in this manner prepared to join their religious organization, it is nonetheless consistent with the misinterpretation of Romans 10:9-14 adopted by many outside the Church of the Recovery cult who are less consistent in accepting the terrible fruits of their eisegesis. The more consistent one is with the “sinner’s prayer” gospel, the more people will be damned; the further one veers away from the “sinner’s prayer” gospel to the truth of justification received by the instrumentality of repentant faith alone, rather than faith and prayer together or faith mediated through prayer, the more people will come to true conversion and everlasting life. After all, if Romans 10:13 really is a statement explaining to the lost how they are to become Christians, then “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” really does justify the Local Church doctrine that people who hate God, atheists, and whoever else can be manipulated into saying the magic prayer will be saved—are not they part of “whosoever”? And have they not “called” out in prayer—a hypocritical prayer rooted in a wicked heart, it is true, but is not the alleged promise truly to “whosoever shall call”? The qualifications made by many of those who are truly God’s people, and who thus hold to the true gospel along with a false view of Romans 10:9-14, are truly absent from the passage. The only truly safe route is a return to what the Apostle Paul really meant when he wrote Romans 10 by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The confession of Romans 10:9-10 is not the repetition of a sinner’s prayer, but public confession of Jesus Christ with one’s literal mouth before men (cf. Matthew 10:32), and it is not a prerequisite to justification but a mark of the regenerate, of those who will receive eschatological salvation (cf. Romans 5:9). “[W]ith the heart man believeth unto righteousness,” that is, instantly at the moment of saving faith Christ’s imputed righteousness is given, and then, after the moment of the new birth, “with the mouth confession is made unto salvation,” that is, public testimony for Christ is made as an evidence of prior regeneration and a sign of certain future glorification or salvation. Consequently, “whosoever believeth” on Christ “shall not be ashamed” (Romans 10:11; Isaiah 28:16; 49:23), for all who simply trust in Christ will not be ashamed in the future day of judgment. Those who believe in Christ and are born again, and consequently confess Him publicly as a mark of their regenerate lifestyle, will all receive ultimate salvation, whether Jew or Gentile, for their new hearts will also lead them all to be calling on the Lord, regularly seeking God in prayer because of their renewed hearts (Romans 10:12), and all those who do such will also receive eschatological salvation (Romans 10:13). That is, those who love prayer and enter God’s coming kingdom are those who are already born from above, and Romans 10:13 is a promise to such, not a promise to the unconverted that if they say and mean some special words they will be justified. As Joel 2:32 confirms, Romans 10:13 is not about the moment of justification or how to enter a justified state, but about the type of people who receive eschatological deliverance. Indeed, calling on the Lord, the prayer that is a mark of the regenerate, is impossible unless one has already exercised saving faith—people cannot call on the Lord until they have already believed (Romans 10:14).[1812] Scripture never promises that all who ask for salvation will be saved, nor that all who ask for it with certain added qualifications, such as “really meaning it” or other additions absent from Romans 10:13, will be saved. This fact explains the deafening silence of Christ and the Apostles in the Gospels and Acts about the “sinner’s prayer” bringing justification. Rather, the entire Bible testifies that one who will in repentance believe on the crucified and risen Christ will be justified, regenerated, transformed, and ultimately glorified. Perhaps you are not as consistent as Watchman Nee and Witness Lee in your misinterpretation of Romans 10:13, so fewer people are eternally deluded and damned by you than were by them. However, if you hold to the modern misinterpretation that the passage is about the lost receiving justification by saying a sinner’s prayer, it is time to abandon your eisegesis of the text. If the idea of presenting the gospel to the lost the way Christ and the Apostles did—not using Romans 10:13 and the “sinner’s prayer” as the door into the kingdom of God—seems inconceivable to you, it is time to unlearn your false methodology and learn from Scripture how to properly counsel the unconverted and direct them to receive Christ by faith alone, rather than by saying and meaning the sinner’s prayer.[1813] Furthermore, if you are resting your hopes for eternal salvation upon the fact that you have prayed and meant a sinner’s prayer or have asked Jesus to come into your heart, you will surely be damned unless you repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are a true believer, you should neither place your confidence for assurance of salvation upon the fact that you have said a sinner’s prayer nor doubt your salvation based on not saying a sinner’s prayer. Repetition of such a prayer, or lack thereof, has nothing to do with assurance in the Bible. Rather, Biblical assurance comes from the objective promises of God to save those who come to Him (John 6:37), the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16), and the evidences recorded in 1 John of the truly holy and spiritual life that are found in all genuine believers and in no others. The common misinterpretation of Romans 10:9-14 that makes the passage about the lost repeating a “sinner’s prayer” to enter the kingdom of God has done tremendous damage to the cause of Christ by misleading many unconverted people and so keeping them from salvation while also leading many of the Savior’s dear ones to doubt their salvation. The Church of the Recovery, by being more consistent in its abuse of Romans 10 and the “sinner’s prayer” than the large majority of evangelicals and fundamentalists, has effectively set in relief the ravages wrought by this perversion of the gospel and made all the more clear the necessity for returning to the meaning intended by the Holy Ghost as understood by proper contextual and grammatical-historical interpretation of the chapter.

The abominable heresies of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee illustrate where the Keswick continuationism can lead—their cult is Keswick theology gone to seed. The rejection of grammatical-historical exegesis and literal interpretation for mystical and experiential hermeneutics fundamentally undergirds Keswick, Pentecostal, and Church of the Recovery doctrine; all these movements fall away, and classical orthodoxy on sanctification and other areas of Christianity is restored, when literal hermeneutics are reinstated and their implications rigorously applied. A proper recognition of sola Scriptura, and its robust application to all areas of theology, is the end of all continuationisms and Higher Life systems and the restoration of historic Baptist cessationism and spirituality. On the other hand, a failure to recognize the sole authority of Scripture and its corollary of literal hermeneutics allows the tares of all sorts of continuationism, Higher Life systems, mysticism, and fanaticism the soil they need to sprout and multiply. Some continuationists may end up in the Church of the Recovery and others in the Word of Faith movement, but all end up in serious and deepening error, and the more consistently they employ their fundamental errors on authority and interpretation, the more error they descend into. For protection from sin and true holiness of life, it is essential that the truth of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is recognized and embraced in all its implications, as enabled by the Holy Spirit: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

[1]              First Corinthians 13:8-13 teaches that tongues would cease before the completion of the canon of Scripture (as verified by the middle voice of pau/sontai in v. 8), while the other gifts would cease by the time of the completion of the canon (as verified by the two uses of katarghqh/sontai in v. 8), “that which is perfect,” for “when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (1 Corinthians 13:10). The canon view of the “perfect” is ably demonstrated in “1 Corinthians 13:8-13 and the Cessation of Miraculous Gifts,” R. Bruce Compton. (Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 9 [2004] 97-144). In 1 Corinthians 13:8, pau/w is not a deponent middle but retains its middle force:

There are three arguments against the deponent view [of pau/w in the New Testament], however. First, if pau/sontai is deponent, then the second principal part (future form) should not occur in the active voice in Hellenistic Greek. But it does, and it does so frequently. [A search of the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae database revealed hundreds of such instances, normally bearing the meaning “stop something.” Further, the future middle of pau/w was consistently used in the same period with the meaning of “stop” or “cease.”] Hence, the verb cannot be considered deponent. Second, sometimes Luke 8:24 is brought into the discussion: Jesus rebuked the wind and sea and they ceased (e˙pau/santo, aorist middle) from their turbulence. [Again, the TLG database revealed that the third principal part, like the second principal part, was an active form in Koine Greek.] The argument is that inanimate objects cannot cease of their own accord; therefore, the middle of pau/w is equivalent to a passive. But this is a misunderstanding of the literary features of the passage: If the wind and sea cannot cease voluntarily, why does Jesus rebuke them? And why do the disciples speak of the wind and sea as having obeyed Jesus? The elements are personified in Luke 8 and their ceasing from turbulence is therefore presented as volitional obedience to Jesus. If anything, Luke 8:24 supports the indirect middle view. Third, the idea of a deponent verb is that it is middle in form, but active in meaning. But pau/sontai is surrounded by passives in 1 Corinthians 13:8, not actives. [Although it is true that the future middle is occasionally used in a passive sense (Smyth, Greek Grammar, 390 [§1715]; Winer-Moulton, 319), it is apparently so with certain verbs because of a set idiom. Such is not the case with pau/w.] The real force of pau/w in the middle is intransitive, while in the active it is transitive. In the active it has the force of stopping some other object; in the middle, it ceases from its own activity. (pgs. 422-423, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Daniel Wallace; two abbreviations expanded for clarity)

The New Testament contains further evidence for the cessation of tongues. One of the benefits of sign gifts was edification. Yet Ephesians 4:12-13 says the churches are edified by gifted ministers. Ephesians was written c. A. D. 64, five years after 1 Corinthians (A. D. 59). In A. D. 59 God was still getting the gospel to the whole world using sign gifts such as tongues (Mark 16:15-20), but no record of the continuing use of sign gifts appears in Ephesians (cf. Colossians 1:6, which, roughly contemporaneous with Ephesians, indicates that the gospel had by that time come to “all the world”). Hebrews 2:3-4, which was also written c. A. D. 64, indicates through the uses of the past tense verb “confirmed,” upon which the participle “bearing them witness . . . with signs and wonders . . . and with . . . miracles, and gifts” depends (e˙bebaiw¿qh . . . sunepimarturouvntoß), that the confirmatory value of the sign gifts was a past event. By that point in the dispensation of grace, tongues had completed their purpose of confirmation and authentication. The Jews, for whom signs were given (1 Corinthians 1:9), had received ample evidence that the church had replaced Israel for the time being as God’s institution, that Israel had fallen under judgment (1 Corinthians 14:21; Deuteronomy 28:49; Isaiah 28:11-12; Jeremiah 5:15), and that Gentiles were included.

[2]              After the Apostolic Age, tongues speaking cannot be historically verified among any group of orthodox Christians (cf. pgs. 87-92, Tongues in Biblical Perspective, Smith). Before the revival of what are called “tongues” in Pentecostalism near the beginning of the twentieth century, only various heretics and demon-possessed people, like the Shakers, Irvingites, and Mormons, laid claim to the Biblical gift of tongues (pgs. 16ff., ibid.), while pagans, practitioners of Voodoo, Buddhist and Shinto priests, and other worshippers of the devil practice “tongues” without affirming their continuity with the New Testament record (pgs. 20ff., ibid.). Meanwhile, “Christian Science, the Father Divine movement, and Spiritualism . . . [place] emphasis upon . . . divine healing and Spirit-inspired speech” (pg. 217, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson).

[3]              Cessationism is emphatically not, as it is sometimes represented by continuationists, a sort of modern Deism or rationalism that affirms that God no longer supernaturally interacts in the world. As strident a cessationist as B. B. Warfield affirms: “[N]o one who is a Christian in any clear sense doubts that God hears and answers prayer for the healing of the sick in a generally supernatural manner[,] [as taught by James 5:14-15.] . . . All Christians believe in healing in answer to prayer” (pgs. 214, 247, Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield). The dispute between the cessationist and the continuationist is one of the continuation of the specific sign gifts of the apostolic age. “[T]he question is not: 1.) Whether God is an answerer of prayer; nor 2.) Whether, in answer to prayer, he heals the sick; nor 3.) Whether his action in healing the sick is a supernatural act; nor 4.) Whether the supernaturalness of the act may be so apparent as to demonstrate God’s activity to all right-thinking minds conversant with the facts. All this we believe” (pg. 252, ibid). Other cessationists and anti-continuationists similarly embrance God’s continuing supernatural involvement in the world (cf. pg. 77, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007).

                It is noteworthy also that just as B. B. Warfield is likely the most influential single advocate for classical evangelical piety and opponent of Keswick theology, so likewise “[h]e more than any other single writer has shaped evangelicals’ negative attitude to Pentecostalism and charismatic renewal” (pg. 220, “Miracles, Charismata and Benjamin B. Warfield, Philip L. Barnes. Evangelical Quarterly 67:3 [1995] 219-43).

[4]              Other Keswick leaders not specifically examined below were continuationists. Keswick generally accepted that “[t]here may be . . . there are . . . supernatural manifestations made today . . . as were made 1800 years ago,” as evidenced by testimonials of “multitudes of people” (pg. 312, Keswick’s Authentic Voice, ed. Stevenson, in Canon Hay H. M. Aitken’s message “Thirsty Christians” from 1902). Supernatural visions were expounded upon at Keswick conferences (e. g. pg. 158, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall). Keswick historians testified that “we cannot do without a vision . . . if such souls as Joan [of Arc] and Socrates needed visions, and had them vouchsafed to them, how much more do we[?]” (pgs. 13-30, Visions; With Addresses on the First Epistle of John, J. B. Figgis. London: James Nisbet, 1911. Figgis is the author of the Keswick history Keswick from Within. London: Marshall Brothers, 1914.). Continuationism was the belief of all early Keswick leaders.

Evan Hopkins once “claims to have had . . . a vision of Charles Haddon Spurgeon conveying a comforting message to him” (pg. 47, Price and Randall, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present and Future). Although Spurgeon had died in 1892, and despite numerous and serious Biblical prohibitions on communicating with the dead, Spurgeon, it is said, knew Mr. Hopkins was feeling ill and came back from the dead to pay a visit in “January 1919[.] . . . [Evan Hopkins] told Mrs. Hopkins that Mr. Spurgeon had just visited him . . . and had repeated to him that great assurance of the New Testament, All things are yours[.] . . . ‘It was very solemn,’ he said, ‘but it was not sad. It was bright and a comfort. . . . It made me cry. . . . [I]t was so kind of him. . . . Spurgeon . . . knew I was weak . . . and so he came.’” (pg. 219, Evan Harry Hopkins: A Memoir, Alexander Smellie). No warnings against such visions were issued. On the contrary, Hopkins’s “vision of the strongly evangelical Baptist, C. H. Spurgeon . . . appearing to him with a message of comfort . . . was a sign for Hopkins and others of the solidity of Keswick’s evangelical heritage” (pg. 47, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall)!   It was clear that receiving visitations from the dead in visions validated Keswick’s orthodoxy, especially when the visitations were from men such as Spurgeon, who rejected the Keswick theology when they were actually alive. Hopkins would also travel about seeking to heal people (pgs. 190-195, Evan Harry Hopkins: A Memoir, Alexander Smellie. Note that some of what Hopkins did is justifiable in that God is able to heal people in answer to prayer). However, Hopkins’s healings, unlike those miraculous ones recorded in the Bible, would not always take effect right away (pg. 194). Indeed, at one point Hopkins was called to heal someone along with that great exponent of modern healing marvels, William Boardman, who was running the Faith-Cure Bethshan Faith Hospital at the time. Unfortunately, Boardman was not able to come to heal the person, as he could not heal himself, but died the very day he was to assist in the healing session with Hopkins (pg. 193).

G. Handley Moule, while expressing admirable cautions about signs and wonders (as, indeed, Evan Hopkins was also commendably more moderate than the body of later Pentecostalism), was nonetheless a continuationist: “I would not be mistaken, as if I meant to relegate off-hand to the apostolic age alone all manifestations of the presence and power of God through His people in the way of sign and wonder . . . [nor] deny a priori the possibility of signs and wonders in any age, our own or another, since the apostolic [time]” (pgs. 214-215, Veni Creator, Moule). As Evan Hopkins’s communications with the dead supported his continuationism, so likewise did Moule’s communications with the dead support his own continuationism. It was the Bishop’s “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” who had died. 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. As a result of such communications 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 had 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 supposedly experienced “veritable vision[s] of God” Himself coming to them and telling them things. He encouraged and supported those receiving such visions to trust in the visions’ veracity (pg. 287, ibid).

                Pastor “Theodore Monod, of Paris, and . . . Stockmayer, of Switzerland, were probably the best known” representatives of Keswick theology on the European mainland and were also pillars of the “early [Keswick] meetings in England” who “took a leading share in the Convention in early days” (pgs. viii, 107, 162, 186, 198, 225, 230, The Keswick Convention: Its Message, its Method, and its Men, ed. Harford; cf. pg. 58, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall). Both men were continuationists. Monod accepted the Higher Life continuationism of Robert P. Smith (cf. pg. 156, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874). He had entered the Higher Life only “a few weeks” before the Oxford Convention; pg. 215, ibid), having heard of it at the spiritualist and continuationist Broadlands Conference of 1874 (pgs. 53-54, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910).

Stockmayer, who received his post-conversion Spirit baptism at the Oxford Convention under Robert Smith’s leadership (pgs. 130-133, 208-209, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874), believed in and supported William Boardman in his Faith Cure practices, such as the idea that physical healing for every disease in this life was purchased by the atonement (pg. 45-46, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman). He likewise contributed to Andrew Murray’s adoption of the Faith Cure (pgs. 113, 115, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger) and influenced for Pentecostalism the leading early German Pentecostal, Pastor Jonathan Paul (pgs. 239, 243, ibid; cf. pgs. 42-43, The Pentecostal Movement, Donald Gee), and many others (cf. pg. 353, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger). Indeed, “Stockmayer . . . believed that sickness and death could be conquered in the life of a sanctified Christian” and proclaimed his views at special healing conferences (pg. 353, ibid). He was “one of the principal advocates of divine healing in Switzerland” (pg. 115, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis). Stockmeyer “opened a house in . . . Switzerland for the reception of those seeking healing through faith,” established an “institute for faith healing,” and published literature to spread the Faith Cure (pg. 90, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman; pg. 339, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis; pg. 143, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis). He was even recognized as the “theologian of faith-healing” (pg. 233, Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield). He promoted the Keswick “holiness” doctrine of “pardon, sanctification, and physical healing . . . in the death and resurrection of Christ” when “accepted personally by us” as individual and separate benefits (pg. 224, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman).

William Graham Scroggie, who became Keswick’s leading figure in the 1950s, “did not deny the possibility of contemporary speaking in tongues” (pgs. 593-594, “Scroggie, William Graham,” Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, pgs. 593-594). On the contrary, “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).

A. T. Pierson expected a restoration of the sign gifts, and, indeed, greater manifestations of signs than took place in the Apostolic Era, when Christians entered into the Higher Life. Knowledge about a “new endeument” of power could come through a revelatory “dream of the night,” for “God himself, in midnight vision, revealed” facts such as the causes and character of diseases in this present day (pgs. 73, 349, Forward Movements, Pierson). Had not the missionary to Greenland, Hans Egede, “sought with prayers and tears the gift of healing . . . then ventured in the name of Christ, to lay his hands upon the sick, and scores of them were made whole,” as in “the apostolic age” (pg. 392)? (Egede’s Lutheran sacramentalism and his utter failure to perform apostolic healings are set aside.) Clearly, then, the people of God could look for the coming “a new Pentecost” in which “new displays of divine power might surpass those of any previous period,” even the “supernatural signs” of “the apostolic age” (pg. 401). Continuationism was validated by the triumphs of the Faith Cure:

[“S]igns,” similar to those of primitive days[,] appear to have been wrought by devoted missionaries and their simple converts, where the gospel has been brought into contact with a people rude, unimpressible [and] ignorant[.] . . . These statements were not generally doubted by believer[s] until zeal to overthrow the “faith-cure delusion” led to rash attempts to prove that all supernatural signs long since answered their purpose and entirely ceased; and so, classed with miracles, they have been treated as impossible[.] . . . Hans Egede . . . [received] . . . the gift of healing . . . [i]n Pastor Blumhardt’s Prayer cure . . . both body and soul are restored to wholeness in answer to prayer, and the only remedy applied is that divine panacea, the Gospel. . . . Edward Irving and many other such saints have risen from the sick bed to undertake for God work that demanded the full strength of body[.] . . . If, therefore, supernatural signs have disappeared in consequence of the loss of primitive faith and holiness, a revival of these latter may bring new manifestations of the former. Supernatural signs appear to have survived the apostolic age . . . [i]f in these degenerate days, a new Pentecost should restore primitive faith, worship, unity and activity, new displays of divine power might surpass those of any previous period. (pgs. 398-408, Forward Movements of the Last Half Century, Arthur T. Pierson. New York, NY: Funk & Wagnalls, 1905. While a continuationist, Pierson also affirmed admirable notes of caution; e. g., pg. 400.)

Furthermore, Pierson “did not condemn tongues per se, . . . [nor] deny that the gift of tongues was possible or claim that it belonged only to the apostolic age. . . . Pierson advocated judging each case on its own merits. . . . Pierson agreed with the [P]entecostals that the days of miracles had not passed with the apostolic age . . . [he] believed in miracles such as divine healing and revelation[.] . . . Pierson drew parallels between empowerment for holy living and divine healing” (pgs. 344-346, Arthur Tappen Pierson and Forward Movements of Late-Nineteenth-Century Evangelicalism, Dana L. Robert. Ph. D. Diss., Yale University, 1984). In Pierson’s view, all the sign gifts were for the present day, a view he tied in closely to his Keswick theology.

W. H. Griffith Thomas believed that “the true position” was that the sign gifts have not ceased but that on “most of the foreign fields . . . repetition of the signs” had appeared, so that “[m]issionaries could duplicate almost every scene in the Acts of the Apostles.” God “gives the signs” today, he explained, and to describe the first century as “the age of miracles [which is now] past” is an error (pgs. vii, 66, 91 The Bible and the Body, R. V. Bingham (Toronto, Canada: Evangelical Publishers, 1921 [1st ed.]).

The magazines of the Higher Life were continuationist also; for example, Carrie Judd Montgomery’s Triumphs of Faith: A Monthly Journal Devoted to Faith-Healing, and to the Promotion of Christian Holiness, became “a primary vehicle for spreading the doctrines of divine healing.” The periodical argued “that the pathway to bodily health followed the same route as the road to spiritual sanctification” —by faith alone, the Keswick doctrine (pgs. 92-96, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis). Citing the works of Stockmeyer and “the American Holiness evangelists” as examples of the tendency to purge Pentecostal ideas from Keswick and Higher Life compositions, Walter Hollenweger notes that “the writings of the ancestors of the Pentecostal movement,” the Keswick writers, have experienced “revision . . . since the Pentecostal movement proper started” (pg. 113, The Pentecostals).

[5]              Pg. 86, “The Non-Wesleyan Origins of the Pentecostal Movement,” William W. Menzies, pgs. 81-98 of Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Vinson Synan. Menzies “is widely known as his church’s [the Assemblies of God] leading historian” (pg. 81).

[6]              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; cf. pgs. 97-98, 105-106, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. Boardman. The teachings of the Oxford Convention and “the Faith Houses of Dorothea Trudel, at Mannedorf, Switzerland” were one (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). People at Oxford were reported healed by the Faith Cure when hands were laid on them (pg. 190): the Faith Cure and the Higher Life as taught by Trudel and at Oxford were one (pg. 242). At Oxford, it was proclaimed that today “Jesus does give signs and wonders,” even as He “has given them to some here” (pg. 114), through healing disease (cf. pg. 231) and other methods. Of course, the physical thrills of the Bridal Baptism taught by Robert P. Smith would also, in his mind at least, constitute a miraculous sign and wonder.

[7]              Pg. 133, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton.

[8]              Pg. 28, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson; cf. pg. 228 for the continuationist background of “the vast majority of recruits to Pentecostalism” in the Holiness movement, emotionalistic revivalism, or continuationistic Catholicism.

Of course, even as Keswick itself was influenced by earlier perfectionisms, notably Wesleyan and Oberlin perfectionism, so Keswick was not the sole Higher Life or Holiness theological influence upon the rise of Pentecostalism; Methodist perfectionism and continuationism were likewise influential alongside Keswick perfectionism and continuationism. The “Finished Work” Pentecostal majority, who did not require an initial second blessing of consecration as a certain prerequisite to Spirit baptism and tongues, leaned more heavily upon the Keswick Holiness teaching. The “Second Work” minority, which required a second blessing of consecration before one could achieve the third blessing of Spirit baptism and tongues, was influenced more strongly by Methodist Holiness teaching (cf. pgs. 173-175, ibid.).

[9]              Compare pgs. 115ff., Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton.

[10]            Pg. 69, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

[11]            The sole exception mentioned by Anderson was Howard Goss, who converted to Pentecostalism from atheism and then went over to the Oneness Pentecostal movement.

[12]            Pgs. 110-112, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson. Anderson provides many lines of very convincing evidence. Bruner indicates that “A. J. Gordon, F. B. Meyer, A. B. Simpson, Andrew Murray, and . . . R. A. Torrey . . . formed a kind of theological fund from which the Pentecostal theology of the Spirit has drawn heavily to establish itself” (pg. 45, A Theology of the Holy Spirit: The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, Frederick Dale Bruner. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1970). Pentecostalism developed from the teachings of the “Walter Palmers, the R. Pearsall Smiths (Hannah Whitehall Smith), W. J. Boardman . . . Andrew Murray, F. B. Meyer, A. B. Simpson, A. J. Gordon, and . . . R. A. Torrey” (pg. 62, A Theology of the Holy Spirit: The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, Frederick Dale Bruner. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1970).

[13]            “Die Heiligungsbewegung,” Chapter 6, Perfectionism, B. B. Warfield, vol. 1. Warfield, in context, mentions also that such continuationism was found in the German Higher Life movement that spread through the preaching of Robert P. Smith in that country and which led, as might be expected, to the rise and spread of German Pentecostalism (see Chapters 6-7, ibid).

[14]            Pg. 367, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875.

[15]            Pg. 338, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875.

[16]            Pgs. 28-34, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875. Mrs. Smith’s words, in her eyes, are applicable to both physical and “spiritual diseases” (pg. 33), for the Higher Life for the soul and body are exactly parallel. The Apostle Paul would disagree with Mrs. Smith’s affirmation that Deuteronomy 28:58-60 is addressed to the saved, as a simple comparison of Galatians 3:10 with Deuteronomy 27:26-28:68 makes abundantly clear. He would also disagree with Mrs. Smith’s doctrine of the Higher Life for soul and body. Additionally, Luke 9:6 does not say “of Jesus, ‘he healed them that had need of healing.’” The verse, speaking of the Twelve Apostles reads: “And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.” Mrs. Smith must have meant Luke 9:11, but careful study of Scripture in context was not her strong point.

[17]            The Wesley brothers abandoned the dominant Protestant cessationism to adopt a continuationst doctrine, a view in which they were followed by the Methodist movement, and which explains much of the fanaticism that came to characterize Methodism (e. g., the bride mysticism that Hannah and Robert P. Smith learned from Methodists). Thus, nineteenth-century Methodists, writing to defend Keswick continuationism, noted:

[W]e dare to maintain that many of the phenomena of the Pentecostal times have been continued, are common, and ought to be expected in every age. . . . [Keswick] censors are exceedingly severe, [unjustly so, upon] the habitual reference made by the new [Keswick] teachers to the direct influence of the Holy Spirit . . . [as] a revealer as well as an interpreter of truth . . . speak[ing] to us not only by the written Word, but also by visions, or feelings, or aspirations, or impressions, independent of the Word; and extending even to what is sometimes claimed as a physical consciousness . . . [as by Keswick antecedent] Dr. Upham. (pg. 106, “The Brighton Convention and Its Opponents.” London Quarterly Review, October 1875)

Indeed, “much in Pentecostal teaching is a legacy from Anglicanism, [including the generally Anglican initial] Keswick Conventions . . . through the mediation of Wesley” (pg. 185, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger).

                John Wesley also rejected the doctrine of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness in justification, writing: “Does ‘the righteousness of God’ ever mean . . . ‘the merits of Christ’? . . . I believe not once in all the Scripture. . . . It often means, and particularly in the Epistle to the Romans, ‘God’s method of justifying sinners.’ . . . [Does] ‘the righteousness of God’ signif[y] the righteousness which the God-man wrought out[?] No. . . . It signifies ‘God’s method of justifying sinners.’” (pg. 217, Aspasio Vindicated, and the Scripture Doctrine of Imputed Righteousness Defended, in Eleven Letters from Mr. Hervey to Mr. Wesley, in Answer to that Gentleman’s Remarks on Theron and Aspasio, W. Hervey. Glasgow: J. & M. Robertson, 1762; & pg. 137, Eleven Letters from the Late Rev. Mr. Hervey, to the Rev. Mr. John Wesley, Containing an Answer to that Gentleman’s Remarks on Thereon and Aspasio, W. Hervey. 2nd ed. London: J. & F. & C. Rivinot, 1789. cf. pg. 497, The Doctrine of Justification, James Buchanan. Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1997 [orig. pub. 1867]). “Many Wesleyan Methodists, following the example of their founder, have . . . keenly opposed . . . the doctrine . . . of [Christ’s] imputed righteousness” (pg. 500, The Doctrine of Justification, Buchanan). Thus, “Wesley could not resist assimilating justification into sanctification—the latter being his preeminent and enduring interest. The . . . notion that the believer is simul justus et peccator (at once both righteous and a sinner) Wesley firmly rejected. Many Arminians [including Wesley] further assert that faith is not merely the instrument of justification but the ground on which justification rests. Thus Wesley wrote that ‘any righteousness created by the act of justification is real because of the ethical or moral dimension of faith’” (pg. 353, The Cross and Salvation: The Doctrine of Salvation, Bruce Demarest). Thus, Wesley wrote:

Least of all does justification imply that God is deceived in those whom he justifies; that he thinks them to be what, in fact, they are not; that he accounts them to be otherwise than they are. It does by no means imply that God . . . esteems us better than we really are, or believes us righteous when we are unrighteous. Surely no. . . . Neither can it ever consist with his unerring wisdom to think that I am innocent, to judge that I am righteous or holy, because another is so. He can no more, in this manner, confound me with Christ, than with David or Abraham. . . . [S]uch a notion of justification is neither reconcilable to reason nor Scripture. (pg. 47, The Works of the Reverend John Wesley, vol. 1. New York: Emory & Waugh, 1831—note that “reason” is mentioned before “Scripture” as a reason to oppose the Biblical doctrine of justification.)

John Wesley rejected key elements of the core gospel doctrine of justification.

The Wesley brothers and the Methodist denomination retained the Anglican belief in baptismal regeneration when they left the English state church to start their own religion (cf. “John Wesley’s View of Baptism,” John Chongnahm Cho, Wesleyan Theological Journal 7 (Spring 1972) 60-73). Commenting on John 3:5, Wesley affirmed, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit—Except he experience that great inward change by the Spirit, and be baptized (wherever baptism can be had) as the outward sign and means of it [he cannot enter into the kingdom of God].” Commenting on Acts 22:16, he wrote, “Baptism administered to real penitent[s] is both a means and seal of pardon. Nor did God ordinarily in the primitive Church bestow this on any, unless through this means.” On both texts John Wesley clearly affirmed that baptism is the means of the new birth. He also declared, “It is certain our Church supposes that all who are baptized in their infancy are at the same time born again; and it is allowed that the whole office for the baptism of infants proceeds upon this supposition” (Wesley, sermon, The New Birth). In his Doctrinal Tracts (pg. 246, 251) he wrote, “What are the benefits . . . we receive by baptism, is the next point to be considered. And the first of these is the washing away of original sin, by the application of Christ’s death. . . . [T]he merits of Christ’s life and deat[h] are applied to us in baptism. . . . [I]nfants are . . . proper subjects of baptism, seeing, in the ordinary way, they cannot be saved unless [sin] be washed away in baptism. Infants need to be washed from original sin. Therefore they are proper subjects for baptism” (cited in chapter 9, The Evils of Infant Baptism, Robert Boyt C. Howell, accessed in the Fundamental Baptist CD-ROM Library, Oak Harbor, WA: Way of Life Literature, 2003). He wrote elsewhere:

[T]he first of . . . the benefits we receive by baptism is . . . the washing away of the guilt of original sin by the application of the merits of Christ’s death. . . . [T]he merits of Christ’s life and death . . . are applied to us in baptism . . . baptism, the ordinary instrument of our justification. Agreeably to this, our Church prays in the baptismal office that the person to be baptized may be “washed and sanctified by the Holy Ghost, and being delivered from God’s wrath, receive remission of sins and enjoy the everlasting benediction of his heavenly washing” [A conflation of two prayers in The Ministration of Publick Baptism . . . Book of Common Prayer [BCP] (1662), sec. 375-376.]; and declares in the rubric at the end of the office, “It is certain, by God’s Word, that children who are baptized, dying before they commit actual sin, are saved” (BCP, pg. 388). And this is agreeable to the unanimous judgment of all the ancient Fathers. . . . By baptism we enter into . . . the new covenant which [God] promised to make with the spiritual Israel. . . [and our] sins and iniquities . . . [are] remember[ed] no more[.] . . . By baptism we are . . . united to Christ . . . [f]rom which spiritual, vital union with him proceeds the influence of his grace on those that are baptized[.] . . . By baptism, we who were “by nature children of wrath” are made the children of God. And this regeneration which our Church in so many places ascribes to baptism is more than barely being admitted into the Church, though commonly connected therewith. Being “grafted into the body of Christ’s Church, we are made the children of God by adoption and grace” [BCP, pgs. 398-399]. . . . By water, then, as a means (the water of baptism) we are regenerated or born again. Nor does . . . [o]ur Church . . . ascribe . . . [merely] the outward washing [to baptism], but the inward grace which, added thereto, makes it a sacrament. Herein a principle of grace is infused which will not be wholly taken away unless we quench the Holy Spirit of God by long-continued wickedness. . . . Baptism doth now save us . . . as it admits us into the Church here, so into glory hereafter. . . . In the ordinary way, there is no other means of entering into the Church or into heaven. . . . [Since] infants are guilty of original sin, then they are the proper subjects of baptism, seing [that], in the ordinary way, they cannot be saved unless this be washed away by baptism. . . . To sum up the evidence. If outward baptism be generally, in an ordinary way, necessary to salvation; and infants may be saved as well as adults . . . [we] ought . . . not to neglect . . . any means of saving them[.] (pgs. 321-328, On Baptism, John Wesley, in John Wesley, ed. Albert C. Outler. New York, NY: Oxford University Pres, 1964. Italics in original.)

John’s brother, the Methodist hymn-writer Charles Wesley, wrote against the Baptists, “Partisans of a narrow sect/ Your cruelty confess/ Nor still inhumanly reject/ Whom Jesus would embrace./ Your little ones preclude them not/ From the baptismal flood brought/ But let them now to Christ be saved/ And join the Church of God.” (Charles Wesley’s Journal, 18 October 1756, 2:128). Only their Arminian theology led the Wesleys to call adults who had been sprinkled in infancy to conversion. Since they rejected the Biblical truth that once one is saved, he is always saved (Romans 8:28-39), they held that one who was regenerated in infant baptism could fall away and become a child of the devil again, at which time he would need a second new birth. Wesley consequently preached as follows to Anglicans who were, as he thought and as he preached, born again through infant baptism but needed to be born again one more time because they had lost their salvation through sinning:

[That the] privileges . . . [of] being born again . . . being the son or a child of God, [and] having the Spirit of adoption . . . are ordinarily annexed to baptism (which is thence termed by our Lord [as] . . . being “born of water and of the Spirit”) we know[.] . . . The question is not, what you was [sic; also in the following] made in baptism, but, [‘]What are you now?[’] . . . I ask not, whether you was born of water and of the Spirit; but are you now the temple of the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in you? I allow you was “circumcised with the circumcision of Christ;” (As St. Paul emphatically terms baptism;) but does the Spirit of Christ and of glory now rest upon you? Else “your circumcision is become uncircumcision.” . . . Say not then in your heart, “I was once baptized, therefore I am now a child of God.” Alas, that consequence will by no means hold. How many are the baptized gluttons and drunkards, the baptized liars and common swearers, the baptized railers and evil-speakers, the baptized whoremongers, thieves, extortioners? What think you? Are these now the children of God? Verily, I say unto you, unto whom any of the preceding characters belongs, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the works of your father ye do.” . . . Unto you I call, in the name of Him whom you crucify afresh[.] . . . Lean no more on the staff of that broken reed, that ye were born again in baptism. Who denies that ye were then made children of God, and heirs of the kingdom of heaven? But notwithstanding this, ye are now children of the devil. Therefore ye must be born again. . . . To say, then, that ye cannot be born again, that there is no new birth but in baptism, is to seal you all under damnation, to consign you to hell, without help, without hope. . . . You will say, “But we are washed;” we were born again “of water and of the Spirit.” So were . . . these common harlots, adulterers, murderers. . . . This, therefore, hinders not at all, but that ye may now be even as they. . . . And if ye have been baptized, your only hope is this,—that those who were made the children of God by baptism, but are now the children of the devil, may yet again receive “power to become the sons of God;” that they may receive again what they have lost[.] (Sermon 18, “Marks of the New Birth,” John Wesley, Elec. Acc. Wesley Center Online, http://wesley.nnu.edu/john-wesley-the-sermons-of-john-wesley-1872-edition/sermon-18-the-marks-of-the-new-birth/)

Whoever would deny that Anglicans were born again in baptism, John Wesley was not among their number. However, Anglicans who became unsaved by sinning after being sprinkled as infants were again lost and needed to be re-saved as adults.

[18]            Mahan’s “publications were translated, wholly and in part, into various European languages. They were quite influential in the development of Holiness and Pentecostal thought throughout Europe. Mahan was also involved with the Bethshan Healing Centre and helped to awaken interest in divine healing throughout Europe” (pg. 405, “Mahan, Asa,” Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, ed. T. Larsen), since Mahan was a continuationist who wrote prominently in favor of the Faith Cure (pg. 134, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton).

[19]            It is not surprising that the papacy has endorsed the charismatic movement and that there are now millions of Roman Catholic charismatics (see, e. g., pg. xxiv, Azuza Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan)—Romanism has always accepted continuationism. Nor is it surprising that Pentecostals promoted Romanist mystics like Madame Guyon (see, e. g., pg. 24, The Latter Rain Evangel, September 1922).

[20]            “Luther, Calvin, and most of the Reformers rejected miracles, visions, and the like as no longer having any role to play in the life of the Church, [but] Catholic theology and piety have always acknowledged a place for them” (pg. 174, “The Hidden Roots of the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church,” Edward O’Connor, pgs. 169-191 in Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Vinson Synan). As Pope Pius XII wrote, “[M]embers gifted with miraculous powers will never be lacking in the Church” (paragraph 17 of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, 1943 ed., of the papal encyclical Acta Apostolicae Sedis 35 (1943) 193-248, cited on pg. 182, ibid). Expanding on the teaching of Pope Pius XII and other earlier Roman Catholic dogma, Vatican II indicated: “[C]harismatic gifts . . . are to be received with thanksgiving and consolation[,] for they are exceedingly suitable and useful for the needs of the Church” (pg. 185, ibid).

[21]            Indeed, marvels of healing of the sort manifested in the Faith and Mind Cures, and then in the Pentecostal, charismatic, and Word of Faith movements, were “for the greater part of Christian history . . . mainly centered in relics,” so that “the great majority of the [alleged] miracles of healing which have been wrought throughout the history of the Roman Church have been wrought through the agency of relics. Not merely the actual graves of the saints, but equally any places where fragments of their bodies, however minute, have been preserved, have become healing shrine[s] to many of which pilgrims have flocked in immense numbers[.] . . . We are here at the very center of the miracle-life of the Church of Rome” (pg. 137, Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield).

[22]            “The case for an Anglo-Catholic and Roman rootage of Pentecostal theology is perhaps strengthened in that these traditions have also tended to maintain a sense of continuation of the ‘miraculous’ into the present day, not only within their sacramental systems, but also by affirming certain miracles of healing (often in relation to their understanding of sainthood) and by preserving ancient rites of exorcism and the laying on of hands for the sick” (pgs. 36-37, pgs, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton).

[23]            Roman Catholic mysticism was key to the development of the perfectionism and continuationism of John Wesley. “John Wesley . . . says that he began his teaching on Perfection in 1725 . . . [although he] was not converted [on his own testimony] until 1738 . . . [h]ow did he come to teach it? His father and mother . . . had both been interested in . . . Roman Catholic mystical teaching . . . and had read a great deal of it. . . . John Wesley had read [in addition to other Romanist mystics such as] . . . Tauler . . . Thomas à Kempis . . .[and the] ‘Protestant mystic . . . [who] wrote a book on Perfection . . . William Law,’ but he was influenced “in particular [by]. . . Madame Guyon . . . [and] the Roman Catholic Archbishop Fénelon,” although the Romanist mystic “Marquis or Baron de Renty” was probably Wesley’s single “favorite author,” eclipsing even Guyon and Fénelon (pgs. 307-308, The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors, Lloyd-Jones). Thus, Wesley could speak of “that excellent man, the Marquis de Renty” although he knew the Catholic was infected with “many touches of superstition, and some of idolatry, in worshipping saints, the Virgin Mary in particular” (cf. Sermon 72, series 2, Sermon 133, series 4, Sermons, on Several Occasions, and to which reference is made in the trust-deeds of the Methodist Chapels, as constituting, with Mr. Wesley’s notes on the New Testament, the standard doctrines of the Methodist connexion, John Wesley. Orig. pub. 4 vol., 1771. Elec. acc. Logos Bible Software).

Wesley was also profoundly influenced by the ascetic, Romanist, and Eastern Orthodox “monastic piety of the fourth-century ‘desert fathers’” during his time in the “Holy Club” at Oxford University:

[T]he consideration of Macarius the Egyptian and Ephraem Syrus and their descriptions of “perfection” (teleiosis) as the goal (skopos) of the Christian in this life [were influential in] shaping . . . Wesley’s . . . doctrine of Christian perfection . . . John Wesley . . . was . . . in touch with Gregory of Nyssa, the greatest of all the Eastern [Catholic] teachers of the quest for perfection. Thus, in his early days, [Wesley] drank deep of this Byzantine tradition of spirituality at its source and assimilated its concept of devotion as the way and perfection as the goal of the Christian life. . . . The devotional works . . . of two Latin [Roman Catholic] traditions of mystical spirituality . . . [and] the traditions of Eastern Orthodoxy—Clement of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa, Macarius of Egypt, and others . . . introduced [important] factors of . . . [Wesley’s] understanding of perfection. . . . Wesley . . . was inclined to go beyond logical subsequence [in justification and sanctification] to experiential subsequence because of the deep influence of the Eastern Fathers on him in terms of the relation of perfection to process and goal. (pgs. 93-97, “‘Dialogue’ Within a Tradition: John Wesley and Gregory of Nyssa Discuss Christian Perfection,” John G. Merritt. Wesleyan Theological Journal 22:2 (Fall, 1987) 92-117)

Thus, Wesley received his idea of Christians’ entering into perfection or a second blessing from Catholic mysticism, and transferred his two-stage notions into the Higher Life movement and into Pentecostalism. “John Wesley . . . under the influence of Catholic works of edification, distinguished between the ordinary believer and those who were ‘sanctified’ or ‘baptized with the Spirit.’ . . . This view was adopted . . . by the evangelists and theologians of the American Holiness movement . . . such as Asa Mahan and C. G. Finney . . . [and] the early Pentecostal movement” (pgs. 21, 322, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger).

Along with perfectionism, Wesley also adopted the ancient and medieval Catholic continuationism (cf. pgs. 44-45, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton) that had provided key support in the Catholic apologetic for their doctrinal deviations from Scripture. Image worship in the iconoclastic controversy and at other times, as well as worship of the saints themselves, transubstantiation, and other idolatries, were regularly validated by the marvels performed by the graven images of and relics culled from the saints, transubstantiated bread, and so on (cf. pgs. 135ff., Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield).

                Interestingly, Dayton references Wesley’s statement: “[I]f the Quakers hold the same perceptible inspiration with me, I am glad” (“Letter to ‘John Smith,’ March 25, 1747; elec. acc. Wesley Center Online: Wesley’s Letters, 1747, http://wesley.nnu.edu/john-wesley/the-letters-of-john-wesley/wesleys-letters-1747. Compare pg. 43, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton. Note, however, that Wesley went on to guard this declaration from much of the fanaticism that could be derived from it, and he was discussing the meaning of Romans 8:16 and the question of the immediate testimony of the Spirit in assurance when he made it.).

[24]            Thus, for example, Robert and Hannah Smith could reference and promote Guyon and Fénelon at the Brighton Convention (cf. pgs. 140, 367, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875).

Partially through openness to Romanism and its miraculous relics, and partially through openness to other heresies and the inability to practice Biblical separation that were almost necessarily inherent in its nature as a State-church in a relatively free country, late eighteenth century Anglicanism, from which Keswick largely drew, was also not strongly cessationist but was open to continuationism (cf. pgs. 29-33, 62, Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield; pg. 41, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall).

[25]            For example, A. T. Pierson recognized that the “Mystics . . . deserve a very prominent place . . . [a]mong all the leaders of th[e] holiness movement . . . [it] is inseparable from this great current of thought that is associated with such as Jacob Böhme, St. Theresa, Catherine of Siena, Madame Guyon, Fénélon, Tauler, and William Law” (pgs. 11-12, Forward Movements of the Last Half Century, Pierson).

[26]            Pg. 114, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis.

[27]            E. g., when Azuza Street leader Frank Bartleman received his special Pentecostal baptism and its charismatic tongues, he testified to the necessity of quietistic passivity and rejection of mental activity (contrast 2 Timothy 1:7) for the receipt of the ability to babble in gibberish:

I was . . . ceasing from the works of my own natural mind fully. . . . The Spirit had gradually prepared me for this culmination in my experience . . . I had . . . my spirit greatly subdued. A place of utter abandonment of will had been reached . . . purified from natural self-activity. . . . My mind, the last fortress of man to yield, was taken possession of by the Spirit [or, on a cessationist view, by evil spirits]. . . . I was possessed . . . fully. My mind . . . had caused me most of my trouble in my Christian experience. . . . Nothing hinders faith and the operation of the Spirit so much as . . . the wisdom, strength and self-sufficiency of the human mind. . . . In the experience of “speaking in tongues” I had reached the climax in abandonment. . . . From that time the Spirit began to flow through me in a new way. . . . “[T]ongues” . . . necessarily violat[e] human reason. It means abandonment of this faculty for the time. The human mind is held in abeyance fully in this exercise. (pgs. 73-75, Azuza Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan)

Bartleman explained further that “[n]othing hinders God more . . . when waiting on Him for the ‘baptism’ [and receipt of tongues] . . . than . . . [having the] mind always at work” (pg. 126, ibid).

[28]            Pg. 103, “The Brighton Convention and Its Opponents.” London Quarterly Review, October 1875.

[29]            Pg. 62, Evan Harry Hopkins: A Memoir, Alexander Smellie. The Quaker influence was passed down to subsequent generations of Higher Life advocates; e. g., the Christian and Missionary Alliance can commend George Fox as an example of spiritual life and spiritual victory (“The Four Laws of Victory,” C. H. Chrisman. Alliance Weekly, June 14, 1919, 179).

[30]            Pgs. iv-v, Proposition 2, “Concerning Immediate Revelation,” Proposition 3, “Concerning the Scriptures,” An Apology for the True Christian Divinity: being an Explanation and Vindication of the Principles and Doctrines of the People called Quakers, Robert Barclay.

[31]            Pg. 325, Nature and the Supernatural, as together constituting the One System of God, Horace Bushnell. London: Richard D. Dickinson, 1880.

[32]            Pgs. 151-152, The Unselfishness of God, Hannah W. Smith.

[33]            Word of Faith leaders have, they aver, “inspired thoughts” that “are the Word of God” just as the “New Testament” is “inspired thoughts” (pg. 109, God’s Laws of Success, Robert Tilton).

[34]            Cf. pg. 418, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger; pg. 103, The Pentecostal Movement, Donald Gee.

[35]            Thus, for example, Quakers were students at Charles Parham’s Bethel Bible College when the modern tongues movement began (pg. 48, The Promise Fulfilled: A History of the Pentecostal Movement, Klaude Kendrick).

[36]            Pg. 126, Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Vinson Synan. “The early Quakers . . . had the Gift of Tongues” (pg. 3, The Apostolic Faith I:1 (Los Angeles, September 1906), reprinted on pg. 3, Like As of Fire: Newspapers from the Azusa Street World Wide Revival: A Reprint of “The Apostolic Faith” (1906-1908), coll. Fred T. Corum & Rachel A. Sizelove).

[37]            Pg. 101, Restoring the Faith: The Assemblies of God, Pentecostalism, and American Culture, ed. Edith L. Blumhofer. It is not in the least surprising that Pentecostal founder Charles Parham adopted second blessing theology and its companion the Faith Cure through the influence of a “holiness Quaker” whose daughter he married at a ceremony performed by a Quaker minister (pg. 49, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson). Parham also rejected hell for annihilationism and rejected the precept of water baptism through this same Holiness Quaker influence, while proceeding to open a Faith Cure home. “In short, he was a typical Holiness preacher of the Keswick variety” (pg. 50, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson; Parham later changed his mind on water baptism and affirmed that one should be immersed “in the name of Jesus, into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” (pg. 255, ibid)). Parham’s “College of Bethel,” which he opened only a few months before tongues broke out, also included students who had been ministers and religious workers in Quaker congregations (pg. 51, ibid).

                “Quaker Seth Cook Rees, a figure prominent in the founding of both the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene and the Pilgrim Holiness Church,” who argued that “signs and miracles have reappeared with every Holy Ghost revival,” is an example of a significant Quaker Pentecostal leader (cf. pgs. 91, 93, 174-175, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton).

[38]            “Keswick and the Higher Life,” http://www.seeking4truth.com/keswick.htm. The perfectionisms of Wesley, the Oberlin theology, and the Keswick theology together birthed the Pentecostal movement, even as they mutually influenced each other. However, the “Keswick view of sanctification started to dominate the Pentecostal movement in 1908,” overtaking the Wesleyan perfectionist influences that were initially stronger at Azuza Street (“Wesleyan and Reformed Impulses in the Keswick and Pentecostal Movements,” Peter Althouse. Pneuma Foundation. http://www.pneumafoundation.org). Althouse explains how the Keswick view of the second blessing came to dominate in the Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the United States. He likewise relates the manner in which the “Keswick understanding of sanctification had direct historical and theological influences upon the early Pentecostal movement,” both among those Pentecostal leaders who believed in two acts of grace (the second blessing) and those who believed in three acts of grace, an “issue [that] would fracture the fledgling movement. Nevertheless, the Keswick notions of sanctification not only influenced the more . . . Keswick [two acts of grace] Pentecostals, but Holiness [three acts of grace] Pentecostals as well” (ibid).

[39]            “The Bible school of the Fire-Baptized Holiness Church, Georgia, one of the earliest Pentecostal denominations, based its curriculum on . . . Keswick works[.] . . . The Pentecostal Holiness Advocate, an early Pentecostal periodical, advertised the works of . . . Keswick writers regularly. Furthermore, the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination with . . . Keswick leanings, was dominated by Christian and Missionary Alliance people such as Elderidge, J.W. Welch and D.W. Kerr. The Assemblies of God course for ministers also included works by . . . Simpson, Murray and Pierson” (“Wesleyan and Reformed Impulses in the Keswick and Pentecostal Movements,” Peter Althouse. Pneuma Foundation. http://www.pneumafoundation.org; cf. pgs. 110-112, 267, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson).

[40]            Pg. 81, Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Vinson Synan.

[41]            Pgs. 40-43, 46, 81, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson. It was the “fundamental and nearly universal notion during the first few years of the [Pentecostal] movement” that the coming of the Second Pentecost with the restoration of tongues was so that missionaries could go to the ends of the earth to preach without learning native languages in preparation for the end of the world: “[T]he primary purpose of speaking in tongues was to make possible the fulfillment of the last sign of the end—the miraculous propagation of the gospel in the languages of all the peoples of the world[.]” To that end many Pentecostal missionaries went to foreign fields expecting natives to understand their gibber-jabber, although they were not successful in even a single instance (pgs. 90-92, 139, ibid), leading later Pentecostals to revise their earlier almost universally held belief and leading Pentecostal apologists to downplay the evidence of history on their earlier view.

See also The Apostolic Faith I:1 (Los Angeles, September 1906) & I:2 (October 1906) reprinted on pgs. 1, 5, Like As of Fire: Newspapers from the Azusa Street World Wide Revival: A Reprint of “The Apostolic Faith” (1906-1908), coll. Fred T. Corum & Rachel A. Sizelove.

[42]            Pg. 108, 143, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton. Dayton explains:

[T]he rise of faith healing . . . may be seen largely as a radicalization of the Holiness doctrine of instantaneous sanctification in which the consequences of sin (i. e., disease) as well as sin itself are overcome in the Atonement and vanquished during this life. . . . [T]he whole network of popular “higher Christian life” institutions and movements constituted at the turn of the century a sort of pre-Pentecostal tinderbox awaiting the spark that would set it off. . . . [W]hen Pentecostalism emerged . . . leaders of the Holiness movement recognized that it was only the gift of tongues that set it apart from their own teachings. . . . [They were] at the time but a hairs-breadth from Pentecostalism. (pgs. 174-176, ibid)

[43]            There is no such tie between dispensationalism and Pentecostalism as there is between the Higher Life theology and Pentecostal continuationism. While Pentecostals may be dispensationalists, a consistent dispensationalism actually leads to cessationism, not continuationism (cf. pgs. 145-147, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton).

[44]            “The strong concern for the exact meaning of the printed word . . . is one of the principal things that distinguish fundamentalism from other less intellectual forms of American revivalism or from the more experientially oriented holiness tradition or . . . pentecostalism” (pg. 61, Fundamentalism and American Culture, George Marsden).

[45]            Pgs. 22-24, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton.

[46]            Pg. 183, Keswick’s Authentic Voice, ed. Stevenson. The quotation is from the famous and influential sermon “The Sufficiency of Grace” (pgs. 183-188, ibid) by the renowned Keswick leader and Faith Cure continuationist Otto Stockmayer and was preached at Keswick in 1896 (pg. 140, ibid). Stevenson’s compilation of Keswick messages in his Keswick’s Authentic Voice was, as validated and endorsed by many Keswick leaders, from the General Director of the China Inland Mission, J. Oswald Sanders, to the Chairman of the Keswick Convention Council, A. T. Houghton. The book, and Otto Stockmeyer’s sermon, does present “indeed ‘Keswick’s Authentic Voice’” through the “outstanding addresses” selected (pgs. 9, 11, ibid), including Stockmeyer’s.

[47]            Pgs. 90-92, “Glossolalia at Azuza Street: A Hidden Presupposition?” Charles S. Gaede. Westminster Theological Journal 51:1 (Spring 1989) 77-92. Gaede, a professor at the Southwestern Assemblies of God College in Waxahachie, Texas, explains, in more detail:

[T]he operative hermeneutical principle [was that] . . . “the literal Word could be temporarily overruled by the living Spirit.” . . . (1) there was an awareness of the scriptural regulations governing public glossolalia, and (2) [Azuza street leaders] were unwilling to apply the provisions of the written Word consistently. Why were they willing to let the inconsistency continue? . . . [“We] have seen over and over again during the past fifteen months, that where Christian workers have suppressed these manifestations [because of Scriptural teaching], the Holy Spirit has been grieved, the work has stopped. . . . Who are we to dictate to an all-wise God as to how He shall work in anyone?[”] . . . [I]n order to continue the revival, it was necessary for God to act independently of the regulating structure provided in the written Word . . . pragmatism was the method used to solve this problem[.] The existence of the third presupposition would explain the practice of the selective application of biblical authority. On certain issues biblical authority was asserted vehemently; on other issues it was viewed as antagonistic to the acts of God by his Spirit. That is particularly true with respect to their beliefs and practices of glossolalia. The three presuppositions would be implemented by the hermeneutical principle of pragmatism. . . . The desire and attempts to perpetuate the revival developed an unacknowledged presupposition that the imposition of any structure, including that set forth in the written Word, nullified the experiential activity of God. An implementing hermeneutical principle of pragmatism flowed from that presupposition. (pgs. 90-92, “Glossolalia at Azuza Street: A Hidden Presupposition?” Charles S. Gaede. Westminster Theological Journal 51:1 (Spring 1989) 77-92)

[48]            Pg. 146, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson. “Pentecostals . . . were not overly concerned with the problem of reconciling their experience with 1 Corinthians, chapter 12” (pg. 163, ibid).

[49]            Synan writes:

Pentecostal Christianity tends to find its rise in events . . . [and recognizes the] priority of “event.” . . . These events . . . giv[e] a distinct focus to one’s reading of Scripture. The focus is upon the realistic, even the empirical, results . . . a dramatic breakthrough of supernatural power, a display of charismatic phenomena. It is not the case of a teaching that gains a hearing, but events that attract a following. . . . [F]undamentalists have consistently criticized pentecostals for departing from a theological accent on God’s “propositional revelation” in the Scripture. (pgs. 25-27, 209, Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Vinson Synan)

[50]            Pg. 62, A Theology of the Holy Spirit: The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, F. D. Bruner, citing pg. 26, The Heavenly Gift: Studies in the Work of the Holy Spirit, Pearlman (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1935) and pg. 39, Systematic Theology, Williams, vol. 1.

[51]            “Under rational inquiry pentecostalism falters” (pg. 206, Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Vinson Synan), as does its Higher Life precursors.

[52]            Bruner notes:

The modern family-book of Pentecostalism has . . . the following main chapters: Wesley—revivalism—Finney—the holiness movement. In each chapter personal experience is given special stress . . . [and] in the Methodist and holiness movements, the personal experience most stressed was that which was subsequent to . . . conversion . . . the experience which came in the Pentecostal movement to be called the baptism in the Holy Spirit. (pg. 47, A Theology of the Holy Spirit: The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, Frederick Dale Bruner. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1970)

[53]            Compare pg. 6, “A Plea for Experience,” The Pentecostal Evangel: The Official Organ of the Assemblies of God, 448-449, June 10, 1922.

[54]            July 27-28, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter.

[55]            Pgs. 204-205, Another Gospel, D. R. McConnell. McConnell leaves out especially unsavory but prominent advocates of Faith Cure such as John H. Noyes, who joined the doctrine to extreme perfectionism, communism, and rampant sexual immorality or “free love” among the men and women who adhered to his principles, known by those whom he deluded as “complex marriage” (cf. “Socialism,” Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, Strong & McClintock). Compare pgs. 10, 20, 81-87, 107, 119, 159-160, 200 & 239, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis, for Carrie Judd Montgomery’s healing by an Adventist, cultist, and woman preacher, Sarah Mix. Curtis also documents Montgomery’s transition from preaching the Faith Cure and preaching against the Christian use of medicine with Cullis, Boardman, and Simpson into the Pentecostal movement.

[56]            As healing was the sign of the earlier Higher Life outpouring, so tongues were the sign of the later Pentecostal outpouring (pg. 161, Azuza Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan).

[57]            Pg. ix, Azuza Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan. Justification by faith and premillennialism were also said to be standard holiness teachings, to which could be added other items such as the inspiration of Scripture, monotheism, the resurrection of Christ, and so on. However, post-conversion crisis-sanctification and the Mind or Faith Cure were doubtless the two special doctrinal distinctives—the Higher Life of the spirit and the Higher Life of the body.

[58]            Pgs. ix-xi, xix, Azuza Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan. “Seymour . . . invited Parham, his ‘father in the gospel,’ to preach at Azusa Street[.] . . . Seymour and his Azusa Street leaders began publication of their own paper, entitled The Apostolic Faith . . . [a] name . . . taken from Charles Parham’s Apostolic Faith movement” (pg. xix, ibid.).

[59]            Pgs. 178-179, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.

[60]            Pgs. 178-179, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall. Even up to “1929 . . . [t]he hope was expressed by the Elim movement . . . that Keswick leaders would . . . be compelled to admit that Pentecostal teaching was correct” (pg. 179, ibid).

[61]            Pg. 253, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.

[62]            Pg. 43, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Mapes Anderson. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1979/1992.

[63]            “Wesleyan and Reformed Impulses in the Keswick and Pentecostal Movements,” Peter Althouse. Pneuma Foundation. http://www.pneumafoundation.org. “Of all the writers in the Assemblies of God who have written clearly on the doctrine of sanctification, none is more significant than William I. Evans. . . . Evans outlines a position on sanctification in the classic Keswickian language which reaches through the [Christian and Missionary] Alliance, through A. B. Simpson, all the way to A. J. Gordon, Robert Pearsall Smith, F. B. Meyer, and others who traveled the Keswick circuit” (pgs. 89-90, Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Vinson Synan).

[64]            Pg. 93, Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Vinson Synan. For example, the Fire-Baptized Holiness Church entered the Pentecostal movement wholesale (pg. 2, The Apostolic Faith I:8 (Los Angeles, May 1907), reprinted on pg. 34, Like As of Fire: Newspapers from the Azusa Street World Wide Revival: A Reprint of “The Apostolic Faith” (1906-1908), coll. Fred T. Corum & Rachel A. Sizelove).

[65]            Pg. 81, Azuza Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan.

[66]            Pgs. 51-52, 97, Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Vinson Synan. In more detail:

[C]entral to the whole [rise of] . . . the pentecostal movement . . . was the change in the evangelical mood created in large measure by the American holiness revival. . . . [T]he American holiness movement of the nineteenth century mediated Wesleyan theology and experience through American revivalism to almost the whole of evangelicalism around the world. It won broad acceptance of a “second blessing” . . . the common point [for] the holiness, Keswick, pentecostal, and charismatic movements . . . expectations of a new age of pentecostal power were aroused . . . and finally, in the nineteenth century holiness revival, the pentecostal movement found a large number of its founding leaders and organizations. . . . Out of the world-wide Holiness movements the Pentecostal movement was born. (pgs. 58-59, ibid)

[67]            Harry Ironside, having been delivered in the mercy of God from second-blessing perfectionism, wrote in 1912 of the connection between the Higher Life, false professions and pseudo-conversion, a lowering of the level of true holiness, Faith Cure, and Pentecostalism:

And now I began to see what a string of derelicts this holiness teaching left in its train. I could count scores of persons who had gone into utter infidelity because of it. They always gave the same reason: “I tried it all. I found it a failure. So I concluded the Bible teaching was all a delusion, and religion was a mere matter of the emotions.” Many more (and I knew several such intimately) lapsed into insanity after floundering in the morass of this emotional religion for years—and people said that studying the Bible had driven them crazy. How little they knew that it was lack of Bible knowledge that was accountable for their wretched mental state—an absolutely unscriptural use of isolated passages of Scripture! . . . I observed that the general state of “sanctified” people was as low, if not often lower, than that of those whom they contemptuously described as “only justified.” . . . Very few of our “converts” stood. “Backsliders” often outnumbered by far our “soldiers.” . . . One great reason for this . . . . [was] that the holiness doctrine had a most baneful influence upon the movement. People who professed conversion . . . struggled for months, even years, to reach a state of sinlessness which never was reached; and at last they gave up in despair and sank back in many instances to the dead level of the world around them.

        I saw that it was the same with all the holiness denominations, and the various “bands,” “Missions,” and other movements that were continually breaking off from them. The standard set was the unattainable. The result was, sooner or later, utter discouragement, cunningly concealed hypocrisy, or an unconscious lowering of the standard to suit the experience reached. . . . I went to the Home of Rest[.] . . . Closely allied to the Home were other institutions where holiness and faith-healing were largely dwelt upon. . . . [T]he manifestly carnal gloried in their experience of perfect love! Sick people testified to being healed by faith, and sinning people declared they had the blessing of holiness! . . .

        Since turning aside from the perfectionist societies, I have often been asked if I find as high a standard maintained among Christians generally who do not profess to have the “second blessing” as I have seen among those who do. My answer is that after carefully, and I trust without prejudice, considering both, I have found a far higher standard maintained by believers who reject [the second blessing] than among those who accept it . . . a far lower standard of Christian living is found among the so-called holiness people.

The reasons are not far to seek . . . the profession of holiness induces a subtle spiritual pride . . . and frequently leads to the most manifest self-confidence . . . tends to harden the conscience and to cause the one who professes it to lower the standard to his own poor experience. . . .

Superstition and fanaticism of the grossest character find a hotbed among holiness advocates. Witness the present disgusting “Tongues Movement,” with all its attendant delusions and insanities. An unhealthy craving for new and thrilling religious sensations, and emotional meetings of a most exciting character, readily account for these things. Because . . . people get to depend so much upon “blessings,” and “new baptisms of the Spirit,” as they call these experiences[,] . . . they readily fall a prey to the most absurd delusions. In the last few years hundreds of holiness meetings all over the world have been literally turned into pandemoniums where exhibitions worthy of a madhouse or of a collection of howling dervishes are held night after night. No wonder a heavy toll of lunacy and infidelity is the frequent result. . . . Holiness . . . doctrines . . . are the direct cause of the disgusting fruits I have been enumerating. Let a full Christ be preached, a finished work be proclaimed, the truth of the indwelling Spirit be scripturally taught, and all these excrescences disappear. (pgs. 24-40, Holiness: the False and the True, Harry Ironside)

[68]            “Wesleyan and Reformed Impulses in the Keswick and Pentecostal Movements,” Peter Althouse. Pneuma Foundation. http://www.pneumafoundation.org.

[69]            Pg. 100, Let Go and Let God? A Survey and Analysis of Keswick Theology, A. Naselli.

[70]            cf. pgs. 155ff., Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman; 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.

[71]            E. g., pg. 52, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.

[72]            Pg. 48, Only Believe, Paul L. King. The “re-discovery” of the Higher Life theology by “W. E. Boardman . . . was eagerly welcomed and widely disseminated—at meetings convened for the purpose, and through books; and among its most gifted exponents were Mr. and Mrs. Robert Pearsall Smith, a Quaker couple who had ‘come into the blessing’” (pg. 14, Keswick’s Authentic Voice, ed. Stevenson). Compare Robert P. Smith’s hagiographical commendation of Boardman at the Brighton Convention, coupled with an affirmation that the Brighton teaching was that of Mr. Boardman (pgs. 46-47, 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; at Brighton testimony was also given to how Boardman’s teaching brought people into the Higher Life; cf. pgs. 217, 462-463, ibid.).

[73]            Pgs. v-vi, Pg. 48, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[74]            Pg. 254, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[75]            Pg. 104, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. Boardman’s focus in his book on experience, rather than Scripture, enabled him to write quickly. He did not need to spend large amounts of time studying the Bible.

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

[77]            Pg. 215, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman. If the Higher Life only came “distinctly and prominently before the mind of the church” in Boardman’s day, how could he write a book of testimonials about people from Luther to Baxter to Edwards who supposedly experienced the Higher Life in in earlier eras? Perhaps Boardman justified the historical revisionism in his testimonials on the presupposition that godly men from earlier eras experienced his Higher Life doctrine without knowing about it. Consequently, historical records that did not actually affirm his doctrine could be revised so that those who secretly held his system could have the hidden Higher Life teaching not present in their conscious thought brought out. On the other hand, perhaps Boardman simply handled history in whatever way was most convenient for the support of his system without any conscious need to justify his mythmaking. A third and related possibility, and what appears to be the most probable, is that Boardman simply did not know how or care to take the time to learn what is involved in making historically accurate affirmations, especially since the truth of the Higher Life was already certain in his own mind because of his experiences and drawing pro-Higher Life conclusions from history was very desirable.

[78]            Pg. 13, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.

[79]            Pg. 248, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[80]            Pg. vii, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[81]            Pg. 249, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[82]            Pgs. 270-274, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman.

[83]            One who, nevertheless, wishes to read a balanced analysis and critique of Boardman’s work can examine “The ‘Higher Life’ Movement,” Chapter 4 in Perfectionism, vol. 2, B. B. Warfield.

[84]            Pg. 101, Let Go and Let God? A Survey and Analysis of Keswick Theology, A. Naselli.

[85]            Pg. 36, Holiness: The False and the True, Ironside, 15th printing.

[86]            Pgs. 520-523, Review of William E. Boardman’s The Higher Christian Life, Jacob J. Abbott. Bibliotheca Sacra (July 1860) 508-535. On pgs. 520-527, Abbott gives seven illustrations of Boardman’s shady manner of manufacturing Higher Life testimonies: 1.) Boardman’s claim, in his preface, that Jonathan Edwards wrote a book that is the “account of . . . remarkable cases of higher life attained after conversion,” although, in fact, the book “says not a single word about ‘cases of higher life attained after conversion,’ except in [one] sentence, in which [Edwards] speaks incidentally of the refreshing the church had received” from the conversion of many sinners. Boardman even changed the title of Edwards’s book. 2.) Boardman’s gives, as the first example of entering into the Higher Life, and one that “is entitled to great weight as an example,” the life of Martin Luther. Luther’s alleged “second conversion” is “the masterpiece of the whole work, developed at length, and often afterwards referred to.” Boardman’s narrative about the Reformer never directly quotes Luther’s writings even once, but is drawn from a secondary source, J. H. Merele D’Aubigné’s History. One who reads Boardman’s statements and then “[t]urn[s] . . . to D’Aubigné himself . . . will be . . . surprise[d] to see that he is totally misrepresented.” Simply reading the sentence immediately before Boardman’s quote of D’Aubigné, and even a sentence omitted from the middle of the quotation, “spoil[s] the whole” of Boardman’s argument. “What shall we say to such an expedient for getting the patronage of great names in support of an ISM, in direct opposition to the general belief of the church! What would Luther say to it, if he could speak for himself? —a doctrine that he never, in his life, thought of, and one most abhorrent to his cherished belief!” 3.) The testimonial Boardman gives after Luther is “the historian of Luther, D’Aubigné himself. The same use and abuse is made of him.” 4.) Boardman creates another testimony from Dr. Payson, but one who “will take the pains to turn to the Life of Dr. Payson . . . will see that there is no foundation for that representation of his . . . views on the subject of Christian sanctification” made by Boardman. 5.) Boardman, “as a climax of the absurdity and ridiculousness of building up his demonstration out of standard orthodox testimonies . . . crowns the pyramid with the [Westminster] Assembly’s Catechism,” with a “professed quotation . . . [that] is not found . . . in either the Confession or the Catechism of the assembly of divines.” 6.) Boardman then turns to alleged testimonials to the Higher Life in Scripture. “From the way in which the testimonies of men are handled, it can be readily inferred how those of the holy Scriptures would be handled also.” The Apostle Peter’s life and preaching are manhandled; for example, Acts 2:38 is quoted, but the phrase “for the remission of sins” is removed, without any indication that a phrase has been expunged from the Scripture, to make the verse into a testimony about entering into the Higher Life. 7.) Paul’s writings and testimony are also misused. In light of Boardman’s abuse of both Scripture and history, Abbott concludes: “Upon the whole, we would say, as a self-evident truth, the more the book is circulated, the less sanctification there will be in the world” (pg. 535).

[87]            Indeed, the presence of a reasonable conversion testimony in Mr. Boardman (cf. pgs. 1-24, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. New York, NY: D. Appleton, 1887) is a refreshing contrast to the absence of such a reasonable confession of genuine conversion in Hannah W. Smith and numerous other Keswick leaders.

[88]            Boardman longed and anticipated a time when “the church of the future . . . become[s] completely united” as the “grey prejudices of sect” are set aside to “cement all into one” based on the reception of the Higher Life theology (pgs. 226-235ff, The Higher Christian Life). The church age will not end in apostasy, as dispensationalism affirms (cf. 2 Timothy 4:1-7), but in a great ecumenical and apparently postmillennial “growing . . . incoming glory” (pgs. 306-307, ibid), culminating in a one-world church and an ecumenical union which was now “at hand” and which will “usher in the jubilee of Redemption” (pg. 315).

[89]            E. g., note the favorable references to Upham on pgs. 129-131 of The Higher Christian Life, where a lady discovers from Upham that, according to her view of the matter, although she had never “made an entire surrender of myself to [Christ], to do his will, but only to receive his salvation,” she was nonetheless saved, as surrender comes at some unknown point after forgiveness, and was not needed for justification, but only to enter into the Higher Life. Note the discussion of Upham above in the “Background and History of the Keswick Convention and Keswick Theology” within the section “An Analysis and Critique of Keswick Theology as Set Forth Particularly in So Great Salvation: The History and Message of the Keswick Convention, by Stephen Barabas.”

[90]            See The Doctrine of Justification: An Outline of its History in the Church and of its Exposition from Scripture, James Buchanan (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1997 (orig. pub. 1867)) for a fine exposition of the Biblical doctrine of justification.

[91]            In the words of the “Orthodox” Quaker Declaration of Faith Issued by the Richmond Conference in 1887, “justification is [the act] . . . through which, upon repentance and faith, [God] pardons our sins, and imparts to us a new life,” that is, justification is not simply and only by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, but by the impartation of new life—a false gospel (“Justification and Sanctification,” Elec. acc. http://www.quakerinfo.com/rdf.shtml).

[92]            That is, as defined by the Council of Trent, Rome affirms that justification is “[n]ot remission of sins merely, but also the sanctification and renewal of the inward man, through the voluntary reception of the grace and gifts by which an unrighteous man becomes righteous” (Session 6 Chapter 7). Demarest summarizes the Roman Catholic position:

The canons and decrees of the Council of Trent represent the authoritative statement of the Counter-Reformation. Session six of the Council (1546–47) stated that justification occurs in three stages. (1) The preparation for justification. Blessed by prevenient grace and addressed by the call of God, the individual “is able by his own free will … to move himself to justice in His sight” (chap. 5). In adults this preparation includes faith, repentance, and the intention to accept baptism. (2) The beginning of justification. Through the Spirit’s regenerating work, God infuses grace, hope, and love into the soul at baptism, thereby remitting past sins and making the person righteous. Thus justification “is not only a remission of sins but also the sanctification and renewal of the inward man through the voluntary reception of the grace and gifts whereby an unjust man becomes just” (chap. 7). (3) The increase of justification. Because Trent defined justification as the process of becoming righteous, justification must be augmented if the viator would attain heavenly glory. Thus, “through the observance of the commandments of God and the church, faith cooperating with good works,” believers “increase in that justice received through the grace of Christ and are further justified” (chap. 10). Justification can be forfeited by mortal sin, but also can be recovered by the sacrament of penance (chap. 14). Since justification can be lost, the pilgrim possesses no certainty of present and future pardon. “No one can know with the certitude of faith, which cannot admit of any error, that he has obtained God’s grace” (chap. 9). The realistic attitude of the pious person is hope mixed with “fear and apprehension” (chap. 9). Agreeable with tradition, Trent maintained that God regards the good works individuals perform (Matt 10:42; 16:27; Heb 6:10) as meritorious. Such God-enabled human efforts increase righteousness and facilitate the attainment of eternal life (chap. 16).

In the Canons that follow, Trent repudiated the Reformation tenet of justification by faith alone. “If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification … let him be anathema” (canon 9). The Council, moreover, placed the ban on Protestant Reformers who insisted that justification is not increased by good works. “If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works, but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of its increase, let him be anathema” (canon 24). Canon 32 added an anathema against the Reformers who denied that a person’s good works merit eternal life. In sum, according to Trent, justification is more a matter of spiritual and moral renewal than the judicial absolution of guilt and the forgiveness of sins. (pgs. 351-352, The Cross and Salvation: the Doctrine of Salvation, Bruce A. Demarest. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1997).

Romanism did not oppose justification partially by imputation and by impartation—it rejected the Biblical truth that justification was entirely and solely based on the imputed righteousness of Christ.

[93]            Pg. 55, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman. Italics in original. Naturally, Boardman never quotes Luther, as it would have been a great surprise to the Reformer and to Lutheranism to discover that the German Protestant leader denied what was at the core of Lutheran opposition to Rome, according to the actual historical data, so that he could favor Boardman’s doctrine of the Higher Life, a system which he never wrote or preached about, and of which there is no evidence that he even conceived. A brief examination of Luther’s doctrine of justification, that actually quotes Luther, is found in “A Survey of Luther’s Theology, Part II: Luther’s Doctrine of the Application of Salvation,” John Theodore Mueller. Bibliotheca Sacra 113:451 (July 1956) 227-238. For a more extensive discussion, see pgs. 218-247, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification, 3rd ed., Alister E. McGrath. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Unlike Boardman, Mueller and McGrath quote Luther and evidence an understanding of what the Reformer taught.

[94]            Pgs. 234-235, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman.

[95]            Pgs. 209-210, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification, McGrath. 3rd ed.

[96]            Pg. 56, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman.

[97]            Pgs. 97-98, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman. Note the discussion of Boardman’s dangerous error here and its connection to his erroneous view of sanctification on pgs. 268-269, “Means and Measure of Holiness,” Thomas Smith. The British and Foreign Evangelical Review (April 1876) 251-280.

[98]            Pg. 149, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[99]            Pgs. 205-206, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman.

[100]        Pgs. 203-4, The Higher Christian Life, 2nd ed. Boston, MA: Henry Hoyt, 1871.

[101]           Pg. 215, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman.

[102]           Pg. 206, The Higher Christian Life, 1859 ed., see pgs. 478-479, Warfield, Perfectionism, vol. 2.

[103]           E. g., at Broadlands Hannah Smith preached that “God wish[es] us [Christians] to have the Holy Spirit,” while some Christians “do . . . not” have Him (pg. 193, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910).

[104]           Pg. 153, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. Mr. Boardman’s book In the Power of the Spirit expounds on his idea that the Holy Spirit is only “in” some believers, but “with” them all, but believers would do better to read Romans 8:9 and Galatians 4:6, receive the plainly revealed fact that the Holy Spirit is “in” all true Christians, and not waste their time reading Mr. Boardman’s book. Boardman was not alone in his affirmation, however; Hannah W. Smith also believed that through “the baptism of the Holy Ghost” one received “the full indwelling of the Spirit, whereby we become, not judicially, but really and actually the temples of the Holy Ghost, filled with the Spirit!” (Journal, April 29, 1868, reproduced in the entry for April 15 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter).

[105]           Compare the dual doctrine of the Baptism of the Spirit in the work of modern Keswick advocate John R. Van Gelderen in Chapter 8 of his book The Revived Life and the very similar (although not absolutely identical) Pentecostal dual doctrine exposited on pgs. 60-61, A Theology of the Holy Spirit: The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, F. D. Bruner.

[106]           Pg. 70, A Theology of the Holy Spirit: The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, F. D. Bruner. Italics in original. Of course, Boardman and Murray would take the minority Pentecostal position that a variety of spiritual gifts, including but not including exclusively tongues, could accompany the post-conversion “Pentecostal baptism,” while the majority view in Pentecostalism requires that tongues will in every case be the initial evidence (pgs. 76-77, A Theology of the Holy Spirit: The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, F. D. Bruner).

[107]           Pg. 284, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman.

[108]           “In th[e] early days . . . [at] Keswick . . . there were many testimonies of a practical deliverance from the power of besetting sin . . . which formed so new and blessed an experience that many spoke of it as a ‘second conversion’” (pg. 76, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck).

[109]           Pg. 113, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman.

[110]           Pg. 319, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman.

[111]           Pg. 320, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman.

[112]           Pg. 48, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. Hannah W. Smith could likewise write: “I delight in Mahan’s book” (Letter to Mary, January 8, 1878, reproduced in the entry for August 15 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter).

[113]           Finney and his followers could also, of course, appeal to experience to validate their system; e. g., Finney’s doctrine of “praying through” was validated by a miraculous healing the Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier performed by its means (pg. 122, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton).

[114]           Pgs. 50-52, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[115]           Mrs. Boardman affirms that the lady was expelled “without sharing in th[e] errors” of the others. Unlike the rest, she was expelled for no reason, since she was doctrinally sound, Mrs. Boardman averred. Perhaps it was not easy for the church in Albany to know who was espousing and spreading antinomian perfectionism, communism, free love, and other abominable errors and who was orthodox, because orthodoxy is very easy to confuse with such vile errors; or, on the other hand, perhaps Mrs. Boardman was a gullible woman and was herself deceived, since differentiating orthodoxy from such heresy is about as easy as differentiating between Christianity and the worship of the devil.

[116]           Pgs. 53-54, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[117]           See chapter 2, Perfectionism, vol. 2, Warfield.

[118]           Pg. 56, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[119]           Pg. 44, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[120]           Pg. 54, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. Indeed, Boardman not only had no care for doctrine himself, but he also led others to abandon sound doctrine so that they could experience the Higher Life. For example, Boardman narrates: “One of the most singular instances of blessing [on a trip to Sweden to propagate the Higher Life, where he also preached in the Lutheran state churches] is that of Mr. W . . . a Baptist minister[.] . . . I felt constrained one morning to try and set two of the Bible women free about Baptism [that is, to view much of what God has commanded in the ordinance of believer’s immersion as a matter of indifference], and took the matter up freely . . . Mr. W came in . . .while I was talking and opening up the Scriptures . . . and overheard my talk about freedom, specially in the matter of baptism; and the Lord used it to set him at liberty and fill his soul. . . . [T]hat was the Lord’s way for giving him the fulness of blessing” (pgs. 207-212, ibid).

[121]           Pgs. 55-56, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. The two passages were the promise of church perpetuity in Matthew 28:20 and Matthew 1:21. Neither passage has anything to do with the doctrine Mr. Boardman adopted and began to promulgate—at least when grammatical-historical interpretation is employed, rather than mystical, experience-based, and allegorical interpretation.

[122]           Pgs. 239-240, 242, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[123]           See, e. g., pgs. 128, 132-134, 170, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple. London: Printed for private circulation, 1890.

[124]           E. g., Robert P. Smith came to see his need for Spirit baptism and the sensual thrills associated with it because those who had “this baptism . . . had something that I had not; something that made their faces shine.” He taught that those who come to this physical knowledge of the Bridegroom gain “an imparted radiance in the[ir] faces” (pgs. 252, 271, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874). What those first century Christians with holy lives would view as the deepest inward darkness—Robert P. Smith’s doctrine of an erotic bridal Baptism—gave those who entered into it shiny faces unknown to the believers of the apostolic era.

[125]           E. g., the key Keswick leader, Evan Hopkins, testified: “I watched [the] countenance [of one who already had received the Blessing.] . . . I felt that, in spite of the objections of good earnest Christians, which were my greatest difficulty, a faith which gave such inward rest could scarcely be wrong” (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). In other words, Hopkins rejected the Biblical objections to the Higher Life theology because of someone who had a happy face. Surely following the happy face instead of the Biblical text can scarcely be wrong.

[126]           Cf. pgs. 146-147, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. The “gentleman

with whom we [Mr. & Mrs. Boardman] were staying, who belonged to the ‘Friends,’ said, ‘You brethren must not expect to occupy much time, for there’ll be a crowd gathered to hear the ladies.’”

[127]           Pg. 158, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman.

[128]           Compare pgs. 25-26, 32, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.

[129]           Pgs. 160-161, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman. The importance of giving a public testimony to keeping the second blessing, which figured so prominently in the Faith and Mind Cure movements, Keswick, the Welsh holiness revival, and the Pentecostal and charismatic movements, developed from the theology of the woman preacher and perfectionist Phoebe Palmer (cf. pgs. 62-63, Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Vinson Synan).

[130]           Letter to Father and Mother, June 9, 1875, reproduced in the entry for July 25 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter.

[131]           Pg. 164, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman. Truly, “the last day will declare the sum total of the conversions which took place” in this manner (pg. 164, ibid)—but one fears that such methods of inducing regeneration may not produce the genuine fruit Mr. Boardman expected in the day of judgment.

[132]           Pg. 51, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

[133]           Pgs. 10-11, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[134]           Pgs. 62-63, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. There are a variety of parallels between Boardman’s idea of confession and the Word of Faith doctrine. Boardman recounts the same instance on pgs. 11-14 of The Lord that Healeth Thee, although he adds that he has “not . . . any decidedly convincing proof that [the man] had the disease he was supposed to have, or that if he had it was actually permanently cured. The facts could be accounted for in more ways than one” (pgs. 13-14, The Lord that Healeth Thee). This rather significant notation was not mentioned in Boardman’s autobiography, where the man is mentioned as a plain evidence of the truth of Faith Cure and as the recipient of a miracle.

[135]           Pg. 11, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[136]           Another logical consequence is freedom from physical death, but Boardman was not willing to go that far; some of his successors in Keswick, Pentecostal, and Word of Faith continuationism were, however, willing to do so. Boardman also sought to separate a healing continuationism from a continuationism of at least certain other sign gifts such as tongues (cf. pgs. 56-57, 140, The Lord that Healeth Thee), although his final conclusion was that other signs and wonders were very possibly being restored at that time also; “another great special period may . . . even now be opening before us, in which the Lord may have occasion once more for miracles as signs and wonders” (pg. 57, ibid). Furthermore, Boardman believed, practiced, and preached about the correct method of performing miracles of exorcism; through the laying on of hands, evil spirits are cast out (pgs. 124-126, 132, Record of the International Conference on Divine Healing and True Holiness held at the Agricultural Hall, London, June 1-5, 1885, ed. William Boardman. London: J. Snow & Co., 1885;  cf. pg. 127, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007).

[137]           Pg. 199, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman; cf. pg. 212, 242.

[138]           Pg. 243, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[139]           Pg. 48, Only Believe, Paul King. Boardman’s affirmation about the superiority of Faith Cure to medicine on pg. 54 of The Lord that Healeth Thee expresses Simpson’s position exactly.

[140]           Faith Work under Dr. Cullis in Boston, William Boardman. Boston, MA: Willard Tract Repository, 1874. Dr. Cullis believed that “the seal of the Spirit has been set upon the work by the conversion of all save one, who entered the Home unconverted out of the whole eight hundred and seventy-two,” and even this “one may have been brought to Jesus at last” (pg. 287, ibid). The manner in which people were assumed to be converted is recounted in the book. For example, a girl stated: “I prayed to Jesus to take away my pain and it went all away, and I fell asleep, and I dreamed that I was a little child in the arms of Jesus, and that he loved me and told me I should always be with him.” She was counseled that her dream meant “that Jesus does love you and you are his little child” (pg. 40), indicating that having a nice dream was assumed to be evidence of genuine conversion. On another occasion, Cullis, in a gathering in his Faith Home Chapel, “put the question to all present, whether they would like to be . . . filled with the Spirit, and asked them if so to express it by raising the hand. He thought all raised their hands. To make sure he asked all who desired it to rise, and instantly every one in the room rose, Catholics and Protestants side by side, those who had, and those who never before had confessed Christ, and when they were seated, the Doctor proposed prayer in faith, for the fulfillment of this universally expressed desire. They all bowed together. Several short prayers went up, one after another, in the fervor and confidence which asks and receives, and they arose and dispersed. . . . And who would dare, to say that the blessing was not, like the expressed desire, all embracing?” (pgs. 10-11). In this way, both those already professedly converted and those who were not, both Protestants and Roman Catholics, were led by Dr. Cullis to be filled with the Spirit—and nobody, certainly, would dare to say that such a blessing was not received by all—expect one who cleaves to Scripture alone as his authority, and thus recognizes that an unconverted Roman Catholic who worships the bread of the Mass, prays to Mary, and trusts in baptism for salvation could not possibly be filled with the Holy Spirit and that there was not the slightest reason to conclude that a room full of unsaved Catholics came to Jesus Christ in repentant faith alone for salvation simply because prayers were made that such people would be Spirit-filled. By means of such teaching about conversion and Spirit-filling in his chapel, and by means of his Faith Training College for “Christian workers in the higher life,” his tracts and articles, and other means, Cullis influenced great numbers of “[m]inisters of all denominations” and large numbers of other “Christian workers” (pg. 249, 294-295) to adopt the doctrines of the Higher Life and the Faith Cure.

[141]           The Episcopalian Cullis had a “Faith [healing] Home for consumptives in Boston” (The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith, ed. Melvin E. Dieter, entry for June 5), and he believed “all disease is from the devil” (ibid, entry for November 12; note, however, pg. 16, The Bible and the Body, Bingham, but cf. Boardman’s doctrine on the superiority of the Faith Cure to medicine). However, as Hannah W. Smith observed, by means of his methods “there are far more failures than successes, and I dread the reaction. For these failures are nearly always with the most devout Christians, and it is an awful strain on their faith” (ibid, entry for November 19). Hannah, having heard of “a great many cures by Dr. C[ullis] . . . finally . . . invited thirty invalids whom I knew to meet him at our house for him to pray with them, and, if possible, to heal them. He held a little meeting with them and pointed out that their faith must be added to his faith or nothing could be done, and he induced each one of that thirty to express the faith that they were healed, but I am sorry to say that as far as my knowledge went not a single one found any difference. Against this, I must put the fact that there were remarkable healings of nervous disorders, which, however, one could easily understand would be affected by a change of mind” (pgs. 262-263, Religious Fanaticism, Strachey).

[142]           “The ‘Higher Life’ Movement,” in Perfectionism, vol. 2, B. B. Warfield; pg. 17, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[143]           “Faith Healing, Christian Science, and Kindred Phenomena: Women and Healing in Late-Nineteenth-Century Boston,” Heather D. Curtis. Elec. acc.

http://www.hds.harvard.edu/cswr/resources/print/rhb/first/06.Curtis.pdf. See also pgs. 122ff., Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton; pgs. 59ff., Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

[144]           Pgs. 122-124, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton. Dayton effectively demonstrates the close connection between the Higher Life and the continuationist healing movements.

[145]           Pg. 63, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

[146]           Pg. 62,  Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

[147]           Pgs. 63-64, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

[148]           Pg. 223, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[149]           Pg. 63, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

[150]           Pg. 24, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[151]           Pg. 131, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton.

[152]           Pg. 223, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. Mr. Boardman had heard two testimonies of Faith Cure while in London; see pgs. 16-17, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[153]           Pg. 19, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman. Cullis noted that the marvel with Dr. Read’s son was the only one which he knew of through which a broken bone was healed by Faith Cure (pg. 157, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007); for, indeed, Cullis regularly refused to attempt to heal broken bones or restore amputated body parts (pg. 156, ibid), unlike Jesus Christ, who healed amputated body parts at will as easily as any other physical malady (Luke 22:50-51). Boardman, based on the testimony of the healing of Dr. Read’s son by Faith Cure, disagreed with Cullis and believed that the Cure healed broken bones also (pg. 157, ibid)—however, Dr. Read’s son was the only evident example that Boardman set forth also.

[154]           Pg. 249, Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield.

[155]           Boardman was followed by others, such as A. J. Gordon, who in his The Ministry of Healing, or Miracles of Cure in All Ages (2nd. rev. ed, 1883) references the instance reproduced by Boardman as a powerful support for the Faith Cure. “Gordon worked out his teachings on healing . . . in dialogue with the emerging Christian Science of Mary Baker Eddy,” was closely associated with Charles Cullis (pgs. 128-129, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton), and was happy to follow and quote the arguments of the father of American liberal theology, Horace Bushnell, in favor of continuationism (pgs. 117-118, New Dictionary of Theology, ed. Ferguson) and the presence today of the gifts of “[h]ealing, prophecy, and gifts of tongues” (pgs. 110-115, The Ministry of Healing: Miracles of Cure in All Ages, A. J. Gordon. New York, NY: Christian Alliance Publishing, 1882, citing Chapter 14, “Miracles and Supernatural Gifts are not Discontinued,” in Nature and the Supernatural, Bushnell). Thus, out of a mix of Mind Cure, Christian Science, theological liberalism, and Oberlin and Keswick perfectionism (pg. 106, ibid), “A. J. Gordon” was “identified . . . as a major figure on the way to Pentecostalism” (“Asa Mahan and the Development of American Holiness Theology,” Donald W. Dayton. Wesleyan Theological Journal 9:1 (Spring 1974): 60-69); “A. J. Gordon . . . had been [a] champio[n] of divine and miraculous healings. Gordon had even argued that just as the gift of healing should continue past the Apostolic age, so perhaps should the gift of tongues” (pg. 94, Fundamentalism and American Culture, George Marsden). Warfield discusses and refutes Gordon’s theology of the Faith Cure on pgs. 212ff. of Counterfeit Miracles.

[156]           Pgs. 18-20, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[157]           pgs. 54-55, Faith-Healing, Christian Science, and Kindred Phenomena, J. M. Buckley. New York, NY: The Century Co., 1892.

[158]           Pgs. 22-23, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[159]           Pgs. 24-25, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman. “[T]his book,” The Lord that Healeth Thee, “is the result” of these efforts, Boardman stated (pg. 25).

[160]           “Green stick fracture . . . a bone fracture in a young individual in which the bone is partly broken and partly bent” Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed., 2003), Mirriam-Webster.

[161]           Pg. 250, Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield, citing The Century Magazine, XI, 784. See also pgs. 54-55, Faith-Healing, Christian Science, and Kindred Phenomena, J. M. Buckley. New York, NY: The Century Co., 1892.

[162]           Writing of Faith and Mind Cure testimonials in 1891, Votaw noted:

Current reports of cures are untrustworthy; the strong presumption is, that one has not all the facts in the case, and also that such facts as one has are perverted, either purposely or inadvertently. . . . In the second place, the number of cures published by practitioners cannot be trusted at all; partly because many of the practitioners carry on the business solely for money, and have become unscrupulous in advertising themselves and their cures; and partly because such a list, even when kept in good faith, contains the names of all who have ever acknowledged a cure, and takes no note of those who, again burdened with their disease, find themselves to have been deceived or mistaken. The relapses all pass for complete cures yet we venture the assertion that they are in the large majority. The patients are worked upo[n] and induced to profess themselves cured . . . the cure, honestly enough credited at the time, [is] afterwards seen to have been illusory and unavailing. In the third place, when a bone fide case is found, three questions about it are always pertinent: Was there really anything the matter with the patient? If so, was it the disease which the person supposed he had? And, was the cure actually the result of the treatment, or would it have come about anyway, by natural restorative processes? (pgs. 255-256, “Christian Science and Faith Healing,” Clyde W. Votaw. New Englander and Yale Review. New Haven, CT: Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor, 1891)

[163]           Pg. 248, Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield.

[164]           Pg. 224, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[165]           Pg. 48, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[166]           Pg. 49, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman, citing Matthew 9:35.

[167]           Pg. 58, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[168]           Wilhelmus à Brakel properly noted:

[T]he means whereby man is regenerated . . . is the Word of God alone, be it read or heard—or whatever the way may be whereby one comes to the knowledge of the truths which are revealed only in the Word. “Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth” (James 1:18); “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pet 1:23).

God does indeed use external means which cause man to be disturbed and to come to himself—such as poverty, extraordinary judgments upon the nation, the home, or oneself; fear for and being in danger of death; dreams and unrealistic imaginations as if they saw visions; extraordinary deliverances and temporal prosperity; the observation of the godliness of others and their mutual love, as well as other incidents. These, however, are not means unto conversion, but only means to bring them to the Word, to subdue them, and to make them pliable. The Word of God, however, is the only means. The conversion of those who do not attain to the knowledge of the way of salvation is not true conversion. (pgs. 237-238, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, vol. 2, Wilhelmus á Brakel)

[169]           Pg. 82, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[170]           Pgs. 83-84, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[171]           Pg. 224, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[172]           Pgs. 117-118, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[173]           Pg. 118, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman. Cures had been taking place at Boston since at least 1871, notes Boardman (pgs. 135-138, ibid); after all, Mary Baker Eddy had been cured in 1866.

[174]           It is noteworthy that Mary Baker Eddy, who was herself greatly “influenced by Spiritualism, participated in séances, and shared some basic assumptions with Spiritualism” (pg. 61, New Age and Neopagan Religions in America, Sarah M. Pike. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2004), published Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures, her main work, in 1875 in Boston. The Faith and Mind Cure were a united idea in the second half of the nineteenth century, with common origins. Modern Pentecostal attempts to separate Faith Cure from Mind Cure are historical revisionism.

[175]           Pg. 111, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[176]           Mrs. Baxter was a preacher of the Higher Life and the Faith Cure from the late 1870’s; cf. pgs. 98, 105-106, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[177]           Pgs. 234ff., Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[178]           “The ‘Higher Life’ Movement,” in Perfectionism, vol. 2, B. B. Warfield.

[179]           Pg. 237, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. Cf. pgs. 124-125, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton; pgs. 144-145, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis.

[180]           Pg. 234, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[181]           Pg. 212, Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield.

[182]           Pg. 23, The Bible and the Body, Bingham. See pgs. 142ff., Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis, for the rise and development of the Faith Home movement. As soon as 1885, A. B. Simpson reported, there were already approximately thirty Faith Homes in the United States and numerous similar resorts abroad.

[183]           Pg. 154, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis.

[184]           Pg. 23, The Bible and the Body, Bingham.

[185]           Thus, at Cullis’ facility, those with the faith of the Higher Life were “to abstain from medicine, having faith that [their] healing had been accomplished, whether or not [their] body actually bore witness to the miracle. In other words, any lingering physical pain or signs of disease should be interpreted as ‘trials of faith’ to be prayed about rather than treated. [T]here would be no more visits to physicians, who used their senses and instruments to probe and observe and attempt to classify . . . symptoms. Instead, [one] was to think of h[is] flesh as a field upon which the contest between faith and doubt would be played out” (“Faith Healing, Christian Science, and Kindred Phenomena: Women and Healing in Late-Nineteenth-Century Boston,” Heather D. Curtis. Elec. acc.

http://www.hds.harvard.edu/cswr/resources/print/rhb/first/06.Curtis.pdf). Thus, Cullis anticipated the later Word of Faith doctrine that one who is “healed” is to ignore the symptoms of disease: “You may have the symptoms of your disease, but count the work as done and . . . take this stand—I am healed” (pg. 90, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis, citing Other Faith Cures, Cullis, pgs. 4 & 9 verify this).

[186]           Pg. 73, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman. However, medicine could be used for those who lacked faith (cf. pg. 74), although Christ healed everyone who came to Him regardless of faith and thus never needed to send anyone, believer or unbeliever, to a doctor for help. Any medical remedies used, Boardman taught, required specific Divine direction (pg. 103), so simply following what medical science had determined was the most likely method of obtaining restoration to health would not acceptable nor be living by faith. One needed specific Divine direction to know whether or not to employ a medicine that was 95% likely to work or one that was 5% likely to work; such a requirement of specific direction was not tempting God or sinfully putting one’s life at risk—although, in fact, employing medicine at all was truly a lack of faith.

[187]           Pgs. 231-233, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. New York, NY: D. Appleton, 1887. Italics in original.

[188]           “Jesus saves me now” was the famous catchphrase that Robert P. Smith adopted and proclaimed in the years during and after his preaching with Boardman in the meetings that led to the establishment of the Keswick convention. As Hannah W. Smith wrote, describing the Brighton Convention:

The watchword of the whole meeting was “Jesus saves me now.” And finally we got a chorus all to sing together, in our different tongues[:]

     Jesus saves me now,

     Jesus saves me now,

     Yes, Jesus saves me all the time,

     Jesus saves me now.

You cannot think how lovely it was to sing it all together in our own languages. The words were on everybody’s lips. The Earl of Center made me write my name in his Bible and underneath it this sentence, “Jesus saves me now.” (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)

The phrase came from a hymn by E. Gebhardt of Zurich which was entitled “Jesus saves me now” when translated into English from German (pgs. 18, 368, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875.).

[189]           Boardman taught that men must have their health “preserved through faith just as they have been healed through faith” (pg. 110, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman). A cessation of moment-by-moment faith can make one’s health also go away in a moment, just as one’s sanctification instantly departs.

[190]           Pg. 111, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[191]           Pg. 55, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[192]        Pgs. 235-236, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. New York, NY: D. Appleton, 1887.

[193]           Pg. 77, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[194]           Pg. 78, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[195]           Pg. 25, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman. A. B. Simpson, who adopted the continuationist doctrine of healing from Boardman, held either an almost or an entirely identical position on the question of medical means. Cf. also pgs. 69-71.

[196]           Pg. 26, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[197]           Pg. 82, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[198]           In addition to those in his own experience and those of Dr. Cullis, Boardman refers, first, to Dorothea Trüdel and the Lutheran Blumhardt (pgs. 85-89, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman; cf. the testimonials on pgs. 90-138). Trudel was a leading testimony for the Faith Cure, although her health remained “very feeble” her whole life, she died at age forty-eight of typhus fever, and there was no evidence that organic disease was ever cured at her Faith Cure home (pg. 243, Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield). Boardman indicated that “Pastor Blumhardt” is “a highly-esteemed Lutheran minister” (pg. 86, The Lord that Healeth Thee), and healer, refraining from mentioning or ignorant of the fact that Blumhardt was an advocate of “radical Christian socialism” (pg. 77, New Dictionary of Theology, S. B. Ferguson & J. I. Packer. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000) who “influenced . . . [an] important group of pastors and theologians” who were also apostates and heretics, “including Barth, Thurneysen, Brunner, Bonhoeffer, Ellul and Moltmann” (pg. 76, The Dictionary of Historical Theology, T. A. Hart. Carlisle, United Kingdom: Paternoster, 2000; cf. Blumhardt, Johann Christoph & Blumhardt, Christoph Frederick, New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, J. D. Douglas, gen. ed.). In addition to influencing heretics, he also practiced exorcisms (pg. 76, The Dictionary of Historical Theology, Hart), his works on demonic activity being cited favorably by Jessie Penn-Lewis (cf. “Symptoms of Demon Possession” in War on the Saints, Penn-Lewis). He could not, however, get the devil out of Barth, Brunner, and the rest (see also pgs. 120-121, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton).

Of course, the reason people needed to live in a Faith Cure home, such as that of Trudel, was that they actually were not miraculously and instantly healed—the very existence of such homes evidences that healing like that of Christ and the Apostles was not taking place.

[199]           Pg. 84, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[200]           Pg. 28, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman; see also pg. 49. Note that Jessie Penn-Lewis, John A. MacMillan, and others followed Boardman in his allegorical interpretation of Moses and his staff; the allegorization of Moses’ “uplifted hands” as “not the hands of prayer, but the hands of authority and power” was proclaimed at the Brighton Convention also (pg. 155, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875).

[201]           Pgs. 50, 53, 78, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[202]           Pgs. 29-32, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[203]           Pg. 64, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[204]           Pgs. 32ff, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[205]           Pgs. 39-41, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[206]           Pg. 139, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[207]           Pgs. 234-235, Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield.

[208]           Ephesians 1:11; Isaiah 14:27; 45:7; Amos 3:6; Genesis 50:20.

[209]           Pgs. 50-51, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman. James 5:14-15 was the favorite Faith Cure text of Dr. Cullis, while Boardman’s favorite was Psalm 103:3b (pg. 17, ibid).

[210]     14 aÓsqenei√ tiß e˙n uJmi√n; proskalesa¿sqw tou\ß presbute÷rouß thvß e˙kklhsi÷aß, kai« proseuxa¿sqwsan e˙p∆ aujto/n, aÓlei÷yanteß aujto\n e˙lai÷wˆ e˙n twˆ◊ ojno/mati touv Kuri÷ou: 15 kai« hJ eujch\ thvß pi÷stewß sw¿sei to\n ka¿mnonta, kai« e˙gerei√ aujto\n oJ Ku/rioß: ka·n aJmarti÷aß hØ™ pepoihkw¿ß, aÓfeqh/setai aujtwˆ◊. 16 e˙xomologei√sqe aÓllh/loiß ta» paraptw¿mata, kai« eu¡cesqe uJpe«r aÓllh/lwn, o¢pwß i˙aqhvte. polu\ i˙scu/ei de÷hsiß dikai÷ou e˙nergoume÷nh. 17 ∆Hli÷aß a‡nqrwpoß h™n oJmoiopaqh\ß hJmi√n, kai« proseuchØv proshu/xato touv mh\ bre÷xai: kai« oujk e¶brexen e˙pi« thvß ghvß e˙niautou\ß trei√ß kai« mhvnaß eºx, 18 kai« pa¿lin proshu/xato, kai« oJ oujrano\ß uJeto\n e¶dwke, kai« hJ ghv e˙bla¿sthse to\n karpo\n aujthvß.

[211]           Merrill Unger comments:

Is the practice of the early Hebrew Christian church reflected in James 5:14–16 identical with divine healing as it should be practiced in the church today or does the rest of the New Testament warrant, and does human experience necessitate, making a careful differentiation? . . . The following reasons are offered to show why this of necessity is so, and why modern “faith healers” who ignore the historical context and time setting of the passage fall into fanaticism or the unwitting practice of magic.

First, James 5:14–16 was never addressed to the Gentile Church. It was written to “the twelve tribes” in the dispersion (James 1:1), that is, to the very earliest Jewish converts to Christ during the transition period (Acts 1:1—9:43), before the gospel had been released to the Gentiles and the first Gentiles were added to the church and before God’s purpose for the new age to visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people had been announced at the first church council A.D. 48 or 49 (Acts 15:14–15). Internal evidence places this epistle as one of the earliest of all New Testament books to be dated, possibly as early as A.D. 45. . . . Believers still assembled in the “synagogue” (James 2:2).

        The Epistle is also shown to be very early by the exceedingly elementary character of its doctrinal content. There is a silence with regard to the relation of the church to the non-Jewish world. No evidence appears of the church as the Body of Christ, nor of the distinctive teachings of grace revealed in Paul’s letters. Indeed the question of the incorporation of Gentile believers does not appear to have been broached, indicating a date of authorship before the Jerusalem council in A.D. 48 or 49. There is no more Jewish book in the New Testament. Indeed, if the several passages referring to Christ were eliminated, the whole Epistle would be as proper in the canon of the Old Testament, as in the New Testament. The Epistle could be described as an interpretation of the Mosaic law and the Sermon on the Mount in the light of the gospel of Christ.

        Second, James 5:14–16 is based on the healing covenant made with Israel. . . . This healing covenant concerned Israel only, the people of the covenants (Rom 9:5). . . . As a healing covenant it was operative upon Israel from its constitution as God’s chosen nation at the Exodus to the nation’s setting aside in unbelief (Acts 28:23–29), the Epistle of James being written before this climactic event.

        When the nation Israel will be saved and restored to national blessings at the second advent (Isa 53:1–12) the healing covenant will be reinstated, accompanied by the restoration of miracles of healing and other supernatural powers (Isa 35:5–6; Heb 6:5). . . . [T]he healing covenant with Israel guaranteed early Hebrew Christians instantaneous and complete healing in response to faith in Christ. Healing “in the name” and “through faith in the name” brought such miraculous deliverance as was manifested in the cripple at the Gate Beautiful (Acts 3:6, 16). Such healings among Hebrew Christians were the order of the day until the setting aside of Israel in unbelief and with this event, the abrogation of the healing covenant with the nation (Acts 4:30; 5:12–16; 6:8; 8:7–8).

        The use of oil also connects with the Jewish setting of James 5:14–16. Such anointing with oil was a general Jewish practice, as shown by the Talmud. The Lord and His disciples adopted this custom (Mark 6:13). . . . [E]fficacious faith for healing was divinely imparted to the Apostolic Jewish Christian elders as they claimed the promises of Israel’s healing covenant (Exod 15:26). But the all-important point for the correctly instructed Christian minister to see, now that the nation Israel and her healing covenant have been set aside while the great “Gentile” church is being called out, is that such “prayer of faith” is divinely given and divinely operative in the established Gentile church only when it is God’s will to heal. The great Epistles addressed to the church clearly teach that it is not always God’s will to heal, nor is it always for the believer’s highest good to be healed. Chastening, testing, molding into Christlikeness and other factors condition the Lord’s healing of a Christian’s sicknesses (1 Cor 5:1–5; 11:30–32; 2 Cor 12:7–9; 1 Tim 5:23; 2 Tim 4:20).

        This is the reason why nowhere in any of the church Epistles is anything said about anointing the sick with oil (cf. 2 Cor 5:7) and the prayer of faith saving (healing) them. “The prayer of faith,” however, does save (heal) them, but it is only given when God’s purpose is determined in each case, and such prayer is offered in God’s will. For so-called “faith healing” to teach that it is always God’s will to heal believers and to command “God in Jesus’ name” is a Satanic snare, into which so many modern faith healers have fallen. It is an open door to “white magic,” where despite the use of God’s name and religious pretentions, the creature dares to make the Creator his lackey. By so doing he captures the very essence of “magic,” which is Satanic opposition to God’s will and desire to be like God and use His power independent of Him (Isa 14:12–14; 2 Tim 2:26). To accomplish such a misguided purpose, however, innocent or sincere as it may be, is an open invitation for demonic deception and operation, and it is high time for all who seek physical healing to realize this peril. (“Divine Healing,” Bibliotheca Sacra 128:511 (July 1971) 234-244. Note, contrary to Unger, that Acts 15 is not a church council in the later sense of the term.)

Unger’s comments are worthy of consideration, especially in connection with the Jewish practice of using oil for healing. The view that the promise of James 5:14-15 “applied only those miraculous days [of the first century], and is no longer to be claimed . . . seems to have never been without advocates among leading Protestants” (pg. 229, Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield). Nonetheless, even if James 5:14-15 is valid for the entirety of the dispensation of grace, it does not even come close to proving the Faith Cure theology, as demonstrated in the text below.

[212]          The passage speaks of pastors engaging in hospital visits, as it were, not going to help those who have the sniffles.

[213]           Only true churches really have church leaders such as elders. Thus, those not associated with true churches—historic Baptist churches—do not really follow the practice of James 5:13-18, for the leaders of their religious organizations are not truly church elders any more than the leaders of any secular corporation, such as leaders in a restaurant chain or a department store, are church elders. However, God in His great mercy can grant answers to prayer for healing to those not members of true churches, especially since in James 5:13-18 the emphasis is not upon the office of elder, but the elders are simply representatives of the congregation; thus, in 5:16, all the congregation is commanded to pray, so that healing may come.

[214]           James’ emphasis upon prayer, rather than upon the anointing with oil, is seen in both the fact that the imperative in v. 14 is to pray, while anointing is a dependent participle (proseuxa¿sqwsan e˙p∆ aujto/n, aÓlei÷yanteß aujto\n e˙lai÷wˆ), and in the fact that v. 15 mentions hJ eujch\ thvß pi÷stewß, “the prayer of faith,” without any mention of anointing. That the main subject of James 5:13-18 is prayer appears from the occurrence of the word prayer in each verse of 5:13-18; indeed, only in this section of James’ epistle is prayer mentioned at all. The shift from the present tense verbs afflicted, pray, merry, sing psalms (Kakopaqei√ . . . proseuce÷sqw . . . eujqumei√ . . . yalle÷tw) of 5:13 and sick (aÓsqenei√) of 5:14 to the aorists call, pray, anointing (proskalesa¿sqw . . . proseuxa¿sqwsan . . . aÓlei÷yanteß) in 5:14 and then back to the present imperatives confess and pray (e˙xomologei√sqe . . . eu¡cesqe) in 5:16 indicates that the call for the elders and the anointing with oil is to take place only on irregular seasons or infrequently, while the confession and prayer of 5:16 is to be the normal and continuing practice of events.

[215]           It should be noted that just as Satan, to advance his overall plan, can allow unconverted false teachers who are under his control to cast out demons (Luke 11:19), so he can allow false teachers to supernaturally heal diseases that were Satanically caused in the first place, so that, by means of these supernatural exorcisms and healings, people come to follow the false teachers as if they are proclaiming the truth (cf. Revelation 16:14) and come into a worse place of deception than before the “good” of the demonic healing wonders took place.

[216]           ka·n aJmarti÷aß hØ™ pepoihkw¿ß, aÓfeqh/setai aujtwˆ◊.ka·n is kai÷ + e˙a¿n, and so the statement presents a third class condition, not a first class condition. Sin causing the sickness is only a possibility, not a presumed reality. Similarly the subjunctive mood in the perfect periphrastic hØ™ pepoihkw¿ß indicates the possibility, but only the possibility, not the certainty, that the sick person committed sin in the past with results that continued into the present (that is, the sin was not confessed and repented of), so that sin was the cause of the sickness.

[217]           In 5:16, “healed” is from i˙a¿omai and is clearly used for physical healing, in accordance with the large majority, but not the totality, of its uses in the New Testament (Matthew 8:8, 13; 13:15; 15:28; Mark 5:29; Luke 4:18; 5:17; 6:17, 19; 7:7; 8:47; 9:2, 11, 42; 14:4; 17:15; 22:51; John 4:47; 5:13; 12:40; Acts 3:11; 9:34; 10:38; 28:8, 27; Hebrews 12:13; James 5:16; 1 Peter 2:24). The verb always refers to physical healing in the New Testament when it is not in a quotation. James moves from the specific case of sickness in 5:14-15 into the general principle, enunciated in 5:16, that being right with God will keep believers free from sickness as Divine chastisement.

[218]           The truth that a believer’s backsliding can bring him to an early death is clearly the teaching of Scripture in general (2 Chronicles 16:12-13; Hebrews 12:5-10; 1 Corinthians 11:30). One could argue that it is also the teaching of James 5:19-20. On this view, James considers the one who errs from the truth a backslidden but born-again believer, and he uses the verb convert (e˙pistre÷fw) in the same sense as Luke 22:32 for the restoration of a backslider. The sins of the backslider will be forgiven, and he will not suffer physical death as chastisement for continued impenitence (James 5:20), including physical death as a result of sickness decreed by the Father as chastening (5:14-20).

                On the other hand, in favor of the view that James 5:19-20 refers to the conversion of a lost person, only the lost are clearly designated by God as “sinners” using the Greek word in James 5:20 (aJmartwlo/ß; Matthew 9:10–11, 13; 11:19; 26:45; Mark 2:15–17; 8:38; 14:41; Luke 5:8 (Peter’s self-designation in a moment of great emotion, not Christ’s designation of Peter), 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). The use of “brethren” (∆Adelfoi÷) in 5:19 is not conclusive; James is not necessarily referring to fellow true believers, but could be speaking of fellow Jews (James 1:2, 9, 16, 19; 2:1, 5, 14–15; 3:1, 10, 12; 4:11; 5:7, 9–10, 12, 19; cf. Acts 15:13), and, in any case, the one who needs to be converted is not necessarily specified as a brother but only as one who is among the brethren (tiß e˙n uJmi√n). The phrases to “err from the truth” (planhqhØv aÓpo\ thvß aÓlhqei÷aß), “convert him” (e˙pistre÷yhØ . . . aujto/n) and “he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death” (oJ e˙pistre÷yaß aJmartwlo\n e˙k pla¿nhß oJdouv aujtouv sw¿sei yuch\n e˙k qana¿tou) are more easily interpreted of the conversion of a lost man, and the salvation of his soul from eternal death, than of the backsliding of a believer and his consequent premature physical death. Thus, it appears that James 5:19-20 refers to the conversion of a lost sinner, and his being saved from spiritual and eternal death, rather than the restoration of a backsliding true believer and his deliverance from premature physical death.

[219]           hJ eujch\ thvß pi÷stewß. Note the use of the article.

[220]           The use of the words eujch/ and eu¡comai for prayer in 5:15-16 supports the character of the prayer in question as a specific petition, here for healing (cf. the use of the words for a specific vow). Other words for prayer are much more common. The noun eujch/ appears in the New Testament only in Acts 18:18; 21:23 & James 5:15. It appears in the LXX in Genesis 28:20; 31:13; Leviticus 7:16; 22:21, 23, 29; 23:38; 27:2; Numbers 6:2, 4–9, 12–13, 18–19, 21; 15:3, 8; 21:2; 29:39; 30:3–15; Deuteronomy 12:6, 17, 26; 23:19, 22; Judges 11:30, 39; 1 Samuel 1:11, 21; 2:9; 2 Samuel 15:7–8; Job 11:17; 16:17; 22:27; Psalm 21:26; 49:14; 55:13; 60:6, 9; 64:2; 65:13; 115:9; Proverbs 7:14; 15:8, 29; 19:13; 31:2; Ecclesiastes 5:3; Isaiah 19:21; Jeremiah 11:15; Daniel 6:6, 8, 13; Jonah 1:16; Nahum 2:1; Malachi 1:14; 1 Esdras 2:4, 6; 4:43, 46; 5:52; 8:57; Judith 4:14; 2 Maccabees 3:35; 15:26; Ode 3:9; Sirach 18:22; Baruch 6:34. The verb eu¡comai appears in the New Testament in Acts 26:29; 27:29; Romans 9:3; 2 Corinthians 13:7, 9; James 5:16 & 3 John 1:2, and in the LXX in Genesis 28:20; 31:13; Exodus 8:4–5, 24–26; 9:28; 10:18; Leviticus 27:2, 8; Numbers 6:2, 5, 13, 18–21; 11:2; 21:2, 7; 30:3–4, 10; Deuteronomy 9:20, 26; 12:11, 17; 23:22–24; Judges 11:30, 39; 1 Samuel 1:11; 2:9; 2 Samuel 15:7–8; 2 Kings 20:2; Job 22:27; 33:26; 42:8, 10; Psalm 75:12; 131:2; Proverbs 20:25; Ecclesiastes 5:3–4; Isaiah 19:21; Jeremiah 7:16; 22:27; Daniel 6:6, 8, 12–14; Jonah 1:16; 2:10; 1 Esdras 4:43–46; 5:43, 52; 8:13, 49; 2 Maccabees 3:35; 9:13; 12:44; 15:27; 4 Maccabees 4:13; Ode 3:9; 6:10; Wisdom 7:7; Sirach 18:23; 34:24; 38:9 Baruch 1:5; 6:34. The usage in the New Testament, the canonical Greek Old Testament, and the Apocrypha supports the sense of a specific petition in James 5:15-16.

                Furthermore, hJ eujch\ thvß pi÷stewß is characterized at the end of James 5:16 as a de÷hsiß, an “urgent request to meet a need, exclusively addressed to God, prayer,” used “to denote a more specific supplication” than “proseuch/, the more general term” (BDAG). “proseuch/ [is] . . . prayer in general, de÷hsiß [is] . . . prayer for particular benefits” (pg. 188, Synonyms of the New Testament, Trench).

[221]           That is, in 5:16 e˙nergoume÷nh is passive, referring to a prayer the believer is enabled to pray by the Holy Spirit, a de÷hsiß . . . e˙nergoume÷nh, v. 16. Compare e˙nerge÷w in Philippians 2:13; Colossians 1:29.

[222]           hJ eujch\ thvß pi÷stewß sw¿sei to\n ka¿mnonta, kai« e˙gerei√ aujto\n oJ Ku/rioß. sw¿sei is here used for physical salvation or deliverance of the sick one (to\n ka¿mnonta), and e˙gerei√ refers to being “raised up” from the sickbed (cf. Mark 1:31; Luke 5:24-25; Proverbs 6:9, LXX).

[223]           That is, since “anointing” (aÓlei÷yanteß)is a participle dependent upon the imperative “let them pray” (proseuxa¿sqwsan), the use of medicine, as the oil is here used as a medical instrument, is required. Faith Cure advocates and Pentecostals who contend that one must follow the procedure of James 5:14-15 in healing, but who either reject the use of medicine or affirm that its use is only optional, disobey James 5. Nobody has been led by the Holy Spirit to reject the use of the best medical means available for healing because of James 5:14-15, since the Spirit required the use of medicine in the passage. Nonetheless, while both prayer and medicine are enjoined, the emphasis of James is on prayer rather than upon the medical anointing with oil, since “let them pray” is the specific command and “anointing” is a subordinate participle. Sometimes good medical means are not available, but the believer always can and should pray.

[224]           Such medicinal oil as is commended in James chapter five had been in use in Israel for centuries, made by men such as the godly apothecaries who helped rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 3:8).

[225]           “The word aleipsantes (‘anoint’) is not the usual word for sacramental or ritualistic anointing. James could have used the verb chrio if that had been what he had in mind. The distinction is still observed in modern Greek, with aleipho meaning ‘to daub,’ ‘to smear,’ and chrio meaning ‘to anoint.’ Furthermore, it is a well-documented fact that oil was one of the most common medicines of biblical times. See Isaiah 1:6 and Luke 10:34. Josephus (Antiq. XVII, 172 [vi. 5]) reports that during his last illness Herod the Great was given a bath in oil in hopes of effecting a cure. The papyri, Philo, Pliny, and the physician Galen all refer to the medicinal use of oil. Galen described it as ‘the best of all remedies for paralysis’ (De Simplicium Medicamentorum Temperamentis 2.10ff). It is evident, then, that James is prescribing prayer and medicine. . . . In answer to ‘the prayer offered in faith,’ God uses the medicine to cure the malady” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, gen. ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, on James 5:14-15).

                “The oil specified was olive oil (elaion) which was freely available . . . [and] was used for dietetic, toilet and medical purposes. There is no indication that the oil needed to be specially consecrated for its use in anointing the sick. Two different words are used for the application of oil in the New Testament. Aleipho is the humbler one and usually means to apply oil for toilet purposes (Matt. 6.17, Luke 7.46). Chrio is the ritual and official word for anointing and is used only in the figurative sense of anointing by God. Here in James the humbler word is used. . . . [A]n analysis of the usage of the verb aleipho in the New Testament appears to support the medical view [of James 5:14] rather than the religious one. . . . It is never used in the gospels of anointing for a religious purpose, but only for toilet or medical purposes. . . . Anointing with oil . . . was used only for the healing of physical disease in the New Testament. . . . James was saying that normal medical methods should be used in the name of the Lord and based on prayer . . . we may translate [the relevant] clause in verse 14 as ‘Giving him his medicine in the name of the Lord.’ . . . James held that healing should be a combination of medical and non-medical methods, and in illustration referred to a contemporary medical method of anointing with oil which he said should be used in the name of the Lord and with prayer. . . . [In] James’ reference to anointing with oil . . . he is here recommending the employment of both physical and non-physical methods of healing. . . . [Methods of] medical healing . . . are God’s gifts to suffering humanity and are to be used in healing the sick” (pgs. 338-339, 343, “Healing in the Epistle of James,” John Wilkinson. Scottish Journal of Theology 24 (1971) 326–45).

[226]           Thus, when Faith Cure advocates generally, from Boardman to Charles Cullis to A. B. Simpson, argued that the anointing in James 5 is ceremonial, and that ceremonial anointing “is the divine prescription for disease; and no obedient Christian can safely dispense with it” (pgs. 118-125, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis), they were clearly in error.

[227]           aÓlei÷fw. The verb appears in Matt 6:17; Mark 6:13; 16:1; Luke 7:38, 46; John 11:2; 12:3; James 5:14. In all of these texts, the anointing is not ceremonial, with the sole possible exception of Mark 6:13; but note even on that verse: “Oil was used medicinally in OT times (Is. 1:6; Jer. 8:22; 51:8) as in other ancient societies, and the action of the Samaritan in pouring oil and wine on the wounds of the traveller in Jesus’ parable (Lk. 10:34) was probably common practice. It may be, therefore, that the disciples’ use of oil was purely a pragmatic, medical measure” (The Gospel of Mark : A Commentary on the Greek Text, R. T. France, on Mark 6:13). Note also in the LXX Ruth 3:3; 2 Samuel 12:20; 14:2; 2 Kings 4:2; 2 Chronicles 28:15; Esther 2:12; Daniel 10:3; Micah 6:15; Judith 16:8 (however, note also Genesis 31:13; Exodus 40:15 (yet also note cri√sma later in the verse); Numbers 3:3). Contrast the ceremonial emphasis in the New Testament uses of cri÷w: Luke 4:18; Acts 4:27; 10:38; 2 Corinthians 1:21; Hebrews 1:9, an emphasis which is the strongly dominant use in the LXX (Exodus 28:41; 29:2, 7, 29, 36; 30:26, 30, 32; 40:9–10, 13; Leviticus 4:3; 6:13; 7:36; 8:11–12; 16:32; Numbers 6:15; 7:1, 10, 84, 88; 35:25; Deuteronomy 28:40; Judges 9:8, 15; 1 Samuel 9:16; 10:1; 11:15; 15:1, 17; 16:3, 12–13; 2 Samuel 1:21; 2:4, 7; 5:3, 17; 12:7; 19:11; 1 Kings 1:34, 39, 45; 5:15; 19:15–16; 2 Kings 9:3, 6, 12; 11:12; 23:30; 1 Chronicles 11:3; 14:8; 29:22; 2 Chronicles 23:11; 36:1 Psalm 26:1; 44:8; 88:21; 151:4; Hosea 8:10; Amos 6:6; Isaiah 25:6; 61:1; Jeremiah 22:14; Ezekiel 16:9; 43:3; Sirach 45:15; 46:13; 48:8), although there are a few exceptions, and possible exceptions, or alternative uses (such as painting a house, Jeremiah 22:14; cf. also Deuteronomy 28:40; Isaiah 25:6; Jeremiah 22:14; Ezekiel 16:9; 44:3; Judith 10:3). Thus, while it is true that anointing with oil at times is used to represent the Holy Spirit, one would expect cri÷w rather than aÓlei÷fw in James 5:14 if pneumatic typology was the intended emphasis.

[228]          “The good Samaritan used oil and wine to treat the wounds of the injured man (Lk 10:34). Because of its alcoholic content, the wine would have an antiseptic action, but at the same time would tend to coagulate the surface of the raw wound and permit bacteria to thrive under the coagulum. The oil, by its emollient effect, would tend to nullify this latter undesirable side effect of wine and would also be soothing due to its coating action. A dressing was then applied, and the patient was taken to a resting place” (pg. 1430, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, W. A. Elwell & B. J. Beitzel. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1988). “[O]live oil and wine . . . were the provender that the Samaritan had with him on his journey. A mixture of them for medicinal purposes is known from Theophrastus, Hist. plant. 9.11, and from the later rabbinic tradition (m. Šabb. 19:2). In the OT olive oil is said to be a softener of wounds (Isa 1:6); elsewhere in the NT it is used to anoint the sick (Mark 6:13; Jas 5:14). The acidic nature of wine would serve as an antiseptic” (pgs. 887-888, The Gospel According to Luke X-XXIV, J. A. Fitzmyer, on Luke 10:24).

[229]           NRmRv.

[230]           For example, Josephus wrote concerning the death of Herod:

After this, the distemper seized upon his whole body, and greatly disordered all its parts with various symptoms; for there was a gentle fever upon him, and an intolerable itching over all the surface of his body, and continual pains in his colon, and dropsical tumors about his feet and an inflammation of the abdomen,—and a putrefication of his privy member, that produced worms. Besides which he had a difficulty of breathing upon him, and could not breathe but when he sat upright, and had a convulsion of all his members; insomuch that the diviners said those diseases were a punishment upon him for what he had done to the rabbis. Yet did he struggle with his numerous disorders, and still had a desire to live, and hoped for recovery, and considered of several methods of cure. Accordingly, he went over Jordan, and made use of those hot baths at Callirrhoe, which run into the lake Asphaltitis, but are themselves sweet enough to be drank. And here the physicians thought proper to bathe his whole body in warm oil, by letting it down into a large vessel full of oil; whereupon his eyes failed him, and he came and went as if he were dying, and as a tumult was then made by his servants, at their voice he revived again. Yet did he after this despair of recovery, and gave orders that each soldier should have fifty drachmae apiece, and that his commanders and friends should have great sums of money given them.

656 ⁄Enqen aujtouv to\ sw◊ma pa◊n hJ no/soß dialabouvsa poiki÷loiß pa¿qesin e˙meri÷zeto pureto\ß me«n ga»r h™n ouj la¿broß knhsmo\ß de« aÓfo/rhtoß thvß e˙pifanei÷aß o¢lhß kai« ko/lou sunecei√ß aÓlghdo/neß peri÷ te tou\ß po/daß wJ/sper uJdrwpiw◊ntoß oi˙dh/mata touv te h¡trou flegmonh\ kai« dh\ ai˙doi÷ou shpedw»n skw¿lhkaß gennw◊sa pro\ß tou/toiß ojrqo/pnoia kai« du/spnoia kai« spasmoi« pa¿ntwn tw◊n melw◊n wJ/ste tou\ß e˙piqeia¿zontaß poinh\n ei•nai tw◊n sofistw◊n ta» nosh/mata le÷gein 657 oJ de« palai÷wn tosou/toiß pa¿qesin o¢mwß touv zhvn aÓntei÷ceto swthri÷an te h¡lpizen kai« qerapei÷aß e˙peno/ei diaba»ß gouvn to\n ∆Iorda¿nhn toi√ß kata» Kallirro/hn e˙crhvto qermoi√ß tauvta d∆ e¶xeisi me«n ei˙ß th\n ∆Asfalti√tin li÷mnhn uJpo\ gluku/thtoß d∆ e˙sti« kai« po/tima do/xan de« e˙ntauvqa toi√ß i˙atroi√ß e˙lai÷wˆ qermwˆ◊ pa◊n aÓnaqa¿lyai to\ sw◊ma calasqe«n ei˙ß plh/rh pu/elon e˙klu/ei kai« tou\ß ojfqalmou\ß wJß teqnew»ß aÓne÷streyen 658 qoru/bou de« tw◊n qerapeuo/ntwn genome÷nou pro\ß me«n th\n fwnh\n aÓnh/negken ei˙ß de« to\ loipo\n aÓpognou\ß th\n swthri÷an toi√ß te stratiw¿taiß aÓna» penth/konta dracma»ß e˙ke÷leusen dianei√mai kai« polla» crh/mata toi√ß hJgemo/si kai« toi√ß fi÷loiß. (War 1:656-658; cf. Antiquities 17:168-173)

                Philo wrote:

Again: why need we seek for more in the way of ointment than the juice pressed out of the fruit of the olive? For that softens the limbs, and relieves the labour of the body, and produces a good condition of the flesh; and if anything has got relaxed or flabby, it binds it again, and makes it firm and solid, and it fills us with vigour and strength of muscle, no less than any other unguent.

ti÷ de« touv aÓpo\ thvß e˙lai÷aß e˙kqlibome÷nou karpouv ple÷on e¶dei zhtei√n pro\ß aÓlei÷mmata; kai« ga»r leai÷nei kai« ka¿maton sw¿matoß lu/ei kai« eujsarki÷an e˙mpoiei√, ka·n ei¶ ti kecalasme÷non ei¶h, sfi÷ggei pukno/thti kai« oujdeno\ß h∞tton e˚te÷rou ÔRw¿mhn kai« eujtoni÷an e˙nti÷qhsin. (Dreams 2:58)

                Pliny, in his Natural History 23:39-53 discusses in detail the “medicinal properties of the various kinds of oil,” commenting on olive oil, green oil, castor oil, almond oil, laurel oil, myrtle oil, cypress oil, citrus oil, walnut oil, oil of balsamum, radish oil, sesame oil, palm oil, and many other types of oil, whether fresh or aged. His discussion underscores the very significant medicinal use of oil in ancient times—sometimes in accordance with what God has enabled science to verify experimentally today, and sometimes not.

Patristic references to the medicinal use of oil include: “Antony, the great monk . . . rejected the practice of anointing with oil, and the use of baths and of similar luxuries likely to relax the tension of the body by moisture.” (Ecclesiastical History, Sozomen, Book 1:13); “Or what castle or house is beautiful and serviceable when it has not been anointed? And what man, when he enters into this life or into the gymnasium, is not anointed with oil? And what work has either ornament or beauty unless it be anointed and burnished?” (Theophilus of Antioch, Theophilus to Autolychus Book 1:12). Compare also the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Kittel, on aÓlei÷fw.

Lightfoot records the following material concerning medical anointing with oil from Jewish sources:

R. Simeon, the son of Eleazar, permitted R. Meir to mingle wine and oil, and to anoint the sick on the sabbath. And he was once sick, and we sought to do so to him, but he suffered us not.” [Talm. Jerus. In Berachoth, fol. 3, col. 1]

        “A tradition. Anointing on the sabbath is permitted. If his head ache, or if a scall come upon it, he anoints with oil.” [Id. In Maazar Sheni, fol. 53, col. 3

        “If he be sick, or a scall be upon his head, he anoints according to the manner.” [Talm. Bab. In Joma, fol. 77, 2.]

Lightfoot then comments:

[A]nointing with oil was an ordinary medical application to the sick. . . . Now if we take the apostle’s counsel, as referring to this medical practice, we may construe it, that he would have this physical administration to be improved to the best advantage; namely, that whereas “anointing with oil” was ordinarily used to the sick, by way of physic—he adviseth that they should send for the elders of the church to do it; not that the anointing was any more in their hand, than in another’s, as to the thing itself, for it was still but a physical application—but that they, with the applying of this corporal phsyic, might also pray with and for the patient, and apply the spiritual physic of good admonition and comforts to him. Which is much the same, as if . . . . a sick person should send for the minister at taking of any physic, that he might pray with him, and counsel and comfort him. . . . [The] [A]postle, seeing anointing was an ordinary and good physic . . . directs them . . . to get the elders, or ministers of the church, to come to the sick, and to add, to the medical anointing of him, their godly and fervent prayers for him[.] (Pg. 316, The Whole Works of John Lightfoot, vol. 3, John Lightfoot, ed. John Rodgers Pitman. London: J. F. Dove, 1832)

A search of the Talmuds of Jerusalem and Babylon will provide further evidence of the sort set forth by Lightfoot.

                It is also noteworthy that the recorded and commended uses of oil for medicinal purposes in the Bible are those for which there is a rational scientific purpose (Luke 10:34; Isaiah 1:6, etc.). The medically questionable or harmful uses that are mixed into discussions such as that of Pliny are not commended in God’s Word.

[231]           Ben Sira refers to Exodus 15:25, following the Jewish tradition that “supposedly, the water passed through the porous wood, which filtered out enough of the impurities to make it potable” (pg. 84, Exodus: The JPS Torah Commentary, N. M. Sarna, on Exodus 15:25). Indeed, the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Exodus 15:25 specifies that Moses used the “bitter oleander tree” (ynpdrad ryrm Nlya), since “Palestinian tradition accords the power of sweetening brackish water . . . [to] bitter oleander” (pg. 577, Exodus 1-18: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, W. H. Propp, on Exodus 15:25). Likewise, Philo wrote:

181 And when they had departed from the sea they went on for some time travelling, and no longer feeling any apprehension of their enemies. But when water failed them, so that for three days they had nothing to drink, they were again reduced to despondency by thirst, and again began to blame their fate as if they had not enjoyed any good fortune previously; for it always happens that the presence of an existing and present evil takes away the recollection of the pleasure which was caused by former good. 182 At last, when they beheld some fountains, they ran up full of joy with the idea that they were going to drink, being deceived by ignorance of the truth; for the springs were bitter. Then when they had tasted them they were bowed down by the unexpected disappointment, and fainted, and yielded both in body and soul, lamenting not so much for themselves as for their helpless children, whom they could not endure without tears to behold imploring drink; 183 and some of those who were of more careless dispositions, and of no settled notions of piety, blamed all that had gone before, as if it had turned out not so as to do them any good, but rather so as to lead them to a suffering of more grievous calamities than ever; saying that it was better for them to die, not only once but three times over, by the hands of their enemies, than to perish with thirst; for they affirmed that a quick and painless departure from life did in no respect differ from freedom from death in the opinion of wise men, but that that was real death which was slow and accompanied by pain; that what was fearful was not to be dead but only to be dying. 184 When they were lamenting and bewailing themselves in this manner, Moses again besought God, who knew the weakness of all creatures, and especially of men, and the necessary wants of the body which depends for its existence on food, and which is enslaved by those severe task-mistresses, eating and drinking, to pardon his desponding people, and to relieve their want of everything, and that too not after a long interval of time, but by a prompt and undeferred liberality, since by reason of the natural impotency of their mortal nature, they required a very speedy measure of assistance and deliverance. 185 But he, by his bountiful and merciful power, anticipated their wishes, sending forth and opening the watchful, anxious eye of the soul of his suppliant, and showed him a piece of wood which he bade him take up and throw into the water, which indeed had been made by nature with such a power for that purpose, and which perhaps had a quality which was previously unknown, or perhaps was then first endowed with it, for the purpose of effecting the service which it was then about to perform: 186 and when he had done that which he was commanded to do, the fountains became changed and sweet and drinkable, so that no one was able to recognize the fact of their having been bitter previously, because there was not the slightest trace or spark of their ancient bitterness left to excite the recollection. 181 a‡ranteß d∆ aÓpo\ qala¿tthß me÷cri me÷n tinoß wJdoipo/roun mhke÷ti to\n aÓpo\ tw◊n e˙cqrw◊n ojrrwdouvnteß fo/bon. e˙pilipo/ntoß de« touv potouv trisi«n hJme÷raiß, au™qiß e˙n aÓqumi÷aiß h™san uJpo\ di÷youß kai« pa¿lin h¡rxanto memyimoirei√n wJß mhde«n eu™ propeponqo/teß: aÓei« ga»r hJ touv paro/ntoß prosbolh\ deinouv ta»ß e˙pi« toi√ß prote÷roiß aÓgaqoi√ß hJdona»ß aÓfairei√tai. 182 qeasa¿menoi de« phga»ß e˙pitre÷cousin wJß aÓruso/menoi cara◊ß uJpo/plewˆ, di∆ a‡gnoian taÓlhqouvß aÓpathqe÷nteß: pikrai« ga»r h™san: ei¶ta geusa¿menoi gnamfqe÷nteß twˆ◊ par∆ e˙lpi÷da ta¿ te sw¿mata parei√nto kai« ta»ß yuca»ß aÓnapeptw¿kesan oujc ou¢twß e˙f∆ e˚autoi√ß wJß e˙pi« toi√ß nhpi÷oiß paisi« ste÷nonteß, ou§ß aÓdakruti« poto\n ai˙touvntaß oJra◊n oujc uJpe÷menon. 183 e¶nioi de« tw◊n ojligwrote÷rwn kai« pro\ß eujse÷beian aÓbebai÷wn kai« ta» progegono/ta hØjtiw◊nto wJß oujk e˙p∆ eujergesi÷aˆ sumba¿nta ma◊llon h£ dia» metousi÷an aÓrgalewte÷rwn sumforw◊n, a‡meinon ei•nai le÷gonteß tri÷ß, oujc a‚pax, uJp∆ e˙cqrw◊n aÓpoqanei√n h£ di÷yei parapole÷sqai: th\n me«n ga»r a‡ponon kai« tacei√an touv bi÷ou meta¿stasin oujde«n aÓqanasi÷aß diafe÷rein toi√ß eu™ fronouvsi, qa¿naton d∆ wJß aÓlhqw◊ß ei•nai to\n bradu\n kai« met∆ aÓlghdo/nwn, oujk e˙n twˆ◊ teqna¿nai to\ fobero\n aÓll∆ e˙n mo/nwˆ twˆ◊ aÓpoqnhØ/skein e˙pideiknu/menon 184 toiau/taiß crwme÷nwn ojlofu/rsesi, pa¿lin i˚keteu/ei to\n qeo\n Mwushvß e˙pista¿menon th\n zwˆ¿wn kai« ma¿lista th\n aÓnqrw¿pwn aÓsqe÷neian kai« ta»ß touv sw¿matoß aÓna¿gkaß e˙k trofhvß hjrthme÷nou kai« despoi÷naiß calepai√ß sunezeugme÷nou, brw¿sei kai« po/sei, suggnw◊nai me«n toi√ß aÓqumouvsi, th\n de« pa¿ntwn e¶ndeian e˙kplhvsai, mh\ cro/nou mh/kei, dwrea◊ˆ d∆ aÓnuperqe÷twˆ kai« tacei÷aˆ, dia» th\n touv qnhtouv fusikh\n ojligwri÷an ojxu\n kairo\n thvß bohqei÷aß e˙pipoqouvntoß. 185 oJ de« th\n iºlewn auJtouv du/namin fqa¿nei proekpe÷myaß kai« dioi÷xaß to\ touv i˚ke÷tou thvß yuchvß aÓkoi÷mhton o¡mma xu/lon dei÷knusin, o§ prose÷taxen aÓra¿menon ei˙ß ta»ß phga»ß kaqei√nai, ta¿ca me«n kateskeuasme÷non e˙k fu/sewß poiouvn du/namin, h£ ta¿ca hjgno/hto, ta¿ca de« kai« to/te prw◊ton poihqe«n ei˙ß h§n e¶mellen uJphretei√n crei÷an. 186 genome÷nou de« touv keleusqe÷ntoß, ai˚ me«n phgai« glukai÷nontai metabalouvsai pro\ß to\ po/timon, wJß mhd∆ ei˙ th\n aÓrch\n e˙ge÷nonto/ pote pikrai« du/nasqai diagnw◊nai, dia» to\ mhde« i¶cnoß h£ zw¿puron thvß aÓrcai÷aß kaki÷aß ei˙ß mnh/mhn uJpolelei√fqai. (Moses 1:181-186)

While Exodus 15:24-27 likely records an actual miracle, so that Jewish tradition to the contrary is erroneous—although the statement in Exodus 15:25 that the Lord “taught” Moses a tree (X$Eo ‹hOÎwh◊y …whôérwø¥yÅw) to use for the healing in response to prayeris suggestive—the Jewish tradition that the passage records an event where the Lord healed Israel, not by direct miracle, but through natural means, the purification of the bitter water by Divinely and providentially ordered properties in the tree that Moses employed, illustrates the Jewish view that healing through the employment of medicine and properties the Creator placed within His creation was by no means despised or looked down upon, as in Boardman’s Faith Cure doctrine. The Jews believed that the power of God was declared and His glory manifested through the use of medicine in healing. Boardman’s allegorical doctrinal extrapolations from Exodus 15:24-27, and his wild claim that Israel’s “national faith” was his own doctrine of the Faith Cure (pgs. 29-32, 39-41, The Lord that Healeth Thee) are not a little different from what Israel’s national faith about the use of medicine actually was.

[232]           Compare Sirach 38:10 with James 4:8, “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” kaqari÷sate cei√raß, aJmartwloi÷, kai« aJgni÷sate kardi÷aß, di÷yucoi.

[233]        Sirach 38:1 ti÷ma i˙atro\n pro\ß ta»ß crei÷aß aujtouv timai√ß aujtouv kai« ga»r aujto\n e¶ktisen ku/rioß 2 para» ga»r uJyi÷stou e˙sti«n i¶asiß kai« para» basile÷wß lh/myetai do/ma 3 e˙pisth/mh i˙atrouv aÓnuyw¿sei kefalh\n aujtouv kai« e¶nanti megista¿nwn qaumasqh/setai 4 ku/rioß e¶ktisen e˙k ghvß fa¿rmaka kai« aÓnh\r fro/nimoß ouj prosocqiei√ aujtoi√ß 5 oujk aÓpo\ xu/lou e˙gluka¿nqh u¢dwr ei˙ß to\ gnwsqhvnai th\n i˙scu\n aujtouv 6 kai« aujto\ß e¶dwken aÓnqrw¿poiß e˙pisth/mhn e˙ndoxa¿zesqai e˙n toi√ß qaumasi÷oiß aujtouv 7 e˙n aujtoi√ß e˙qera¿peusen kai« h™ren to\n po/non aujtouv mureyo\ß e˙n tou/toiß poih/sei mei√gma 8 kai« ouj mh\ suntelesqhvØ e¶rga aujtouv kai« ei˙rh/nh par∆ aujtouv e˙stin e˙pi« prosw¿pou thvß ghvß 9 te÷knon e˙n aÓrrwsth/mati÷ sou mh\ para¿blepe aÓll∆ eu™xai kuri÷wˆ kai« aujto\ß i˙a¿setai÷ se 10 aÓpo/sthson plhmme÷leian kai« eu¡qunon cei√raß kai« aÓpo\ pa¿shß aJmarti÷aß kaqa¿rison kardi÷an. 11 do\ß eujwdi÷an kai« mnhmo/sunon semida¿lewß kai« li÷panon prosfora»n wJß mh\ uJpa¿rcwn 12 kai« i˙atrw◊ˆ do\ß to/pon kai« ga»r aujto\n e¶ktisen ku/rioß kai« mh\ aÓposth/tw sou kai« ga»r aujtouv crei÷a 13 e¶stin kairo\ß o¢te kai« e˙n cersi«n aujtw◊n eujodi÷a 14 kai« ga»r aujtoi« kuri÷ou dehqh/sontai iºna eujodw¿shØ aujtoi√ß aÓna¿pausin kai« i¶asin ca¿rin e˙mbiw¿sewß 15 oJ aJmarta¿nwn e¶nanti touv poih/santoß aujto\n e˙mpe÷soi ei˙ß cei√raß i˙atrouv.

Translation from pgs. 438-439, The Wisdom of Ben Sira: A New Translation with Notes, Introduction and Commentary, P. W. Skehan, & A. A. Di Lella (2008). New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008. Note also their commentary on the passage.

[234]           Indeed, the Higher Life theology in general neglects the fact that faith is a gift from God, rather than an autonomously generated product of man.

[235]           Jeremiah certainly also makes it clear that when disease is caused by personal sin, and one is unwilling to repent of that sin, or when a nation is rebellious and unwilling to repent, personal or national sickness can come as a Divine judgment, and the use of doctors and medicine to eliminate disease in such instances can then fail. Furthermore, Jeremiah certainly recognizes that God, not medicine, is the ultimate cause of healing; physicians and treatments are merely a subordinate cause. Such facts are recognized by Baptist and Protestant cessationists and are entirely consistent with their position, while Jeremiah’s assumption that the use of medicine is normal and proper is highly problematic for one who advocates abandoning medicine for a Higher Life of the body.

[236]           E. g., the positive reference to physicians that were Joseph’s servants in Genesis 50:2—another text ignored by Boardman.

[237]           Pg. 75, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[238]           The complete list of New Testament texts employing aÓsqe÷neia is: Matthew 8:17; Luke 5:15; 8:2; 13:11–12; John 5:5; 11:4; Acts 28:9; Romans 6:19; 8:26; 1 Corinthians 2:3; 15:43; 2 Corinthians 11:30; 12:5, 9–10; 13:4; Galatians 4:13; 1 Timothy 5:23; Hebrews 4:15; 5:2; 7:28; 11:34.

[239]           aÓsqene÷w. The complete list of New Testament texts with the verb is: Matthew 10:8; 25:36; Mark 6:56; Luke 4:40; 7:10; 9:2; John 4:46; 5:3, 7; 6:2; 11:1–3, 6; Acts 9:37; 19:12; 20:35; Romans 4:19; 8:3; 14:1–2, 21; 1 Corinthians 8:9, 11–12; 2 Corinthians 11:21, 29; 12:10; 13:3–4, 9; Philippians 2:26–27; 2 Timothy 4:20; James 5:14.

[240]           Pg. 75, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman. Boardman does not give any indication that he is even aware that the Greek noun astheneia and verb astheneo are employed in 1 Timothy 5:23 and 2 Timothy 4:20, texts which he seeks to deal with so differently; nor is there any evidence that he was aware that James 5:13 employs the verb astheneo also.

[241]           Pg. 55, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[242]           Pg. 76, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[243]           Pgs. 73-75, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[244]           Pg. 55, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[245]           Note the explanation of this “thorn in the flesh” including both aÓsqe÷neia and aÓsqene÷w in the passage, as well as kolafi÷zw, meaning “to cause physical impairment, torment . . . of painful attacks of an illness” (BDAG).

[246]           Pg. 80, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[247]           The fact that faith was not required when Christ or the Apostles healed men does not mean that, at times, those with faith were blessed with the receipt of miracles of healing over others (cf. Matthew 8:13; 9:29; 15:28; Acts 14:9), and that at times, as the just Judge who must punish sin, Christ refused to remain in an area or to heal those there who refused to believe in Him and come to Him for healing (Matthew 13:58; Mark 6:5-6). In such situations, Christ “could there do no mighty work” (Mark 6:5) not because He lacked ability, or because He was dependent upon men rather than being the Sovereign King of Kings, but because to do so was not in accordance with His wisdom, goodness, and His holy justice. He was unable to deny His attributes and fail to punish unbelief and transgression, just as Jeremiah recorded, “the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings” (Jeremiah 44:22). Christ cannot deny His justice and leave sin unpunished, for He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13), just as He cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18). Christ’s omnipotent power was regulated by His Divine wisdom, which recognized that healing unbelieving and rebellious people who would not even come to Him for healing would have no positive spiritual effect on them. He would not deny His goodness by healing these people who refused to come to Him and receive Him and the gospel, for being physically healed and seeing miracles while refusing spiritual salvation would have greatly aggravated their judgment (Matthew 11:23-24). There is no record in Mark 6:5 that people actually came to the Lord and asked for healing—rather, because they did not believe, they did not come to Him for healing at all. If, when Christ did a miracle in a particular area, the people who lived there did not bring their sick to Him, but came to Him and told Him to leave, He did not perform further miracles, but left (Mark 5:15-17), just as He avoided areas where the people came to hate Him and sought to kill Him (John 7:1; Luke 4:16-30).

Comparably, immediately after the rejection of Mark 6:5 (see v. 7-11), Christ commanded the Apostles to go into Jewish villages and “[h]eal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). However, if those in a particular house or village refused to receive them (Matthew 10:14), they were to depart and shake off the dust on their feet, and nobody would then be healed in that house or village. The fact that Christ limited the miracles He performed in specific situations and left people unhealed in regions where they did not come to Him for healing but tried to kill him instead does not change the fact that, over and over again throughout the whole of His earthly ministry, Christ healed absolutely everyone who came to Him (Matthew 4:23-25; Luke 4:40) from every disease (Matthew 9:35), just like the Apostle Peter healed everyone that came to him of every disease (Acts 5:15-16). The fact that Christ did not heal people who refused to ask Him for healing but told Him to leave or who tried to kill Him does not help the purveyors of the Faith Cure or of Pentecostalism explain away their abysmal failure to duplicate Biblical miracle healing. Pentecostal marvel-peddlers do not run away from people who try to kill them but heal everybody who asks them for healing. Rather, they fail to heal those who come to them for healing and kill those who trust in them by encouraging them to forsake life-saving medicine.

[248]           When the King James Bible records Christ telling people, “Thy faith hath made thee whole” (hJ pi÷stiß sou se÷swke÷ se, Mattthew 9:22; Mark 5:34; 10:52; Luke 8:48, 50; 17:19), He addressed people who were spiritually saved from their sin; the same Greek phrase is translated “thy faith hath saved thee” (Luke 7:50; 18:42), for “whole” is the Greek word usually translated “saved,” swˆ¿zw, signifying “salvation from sin” (compare the use of i˙a¿omai for solely physical healing in Matthew 15:28, and the swˆ¿zw/i˙a¿omai contrast in Mark 5:34). Christ equally healed ten lepers, but only to the one who was spiritually saved did He say, “thy faith hath made thee whole” (Luke 17:12-19). The other nine were just as physically healed, but they were not spiritually made whole or saved by faith. Those who believed in Christ were both physically and spiritually made whole (Matthew 9:22), and could consequently “be of good comfort” and “go in peace” as the children of God (Luke 8:48), while those who did not believe in Him were physically healed if they came to the Lord to get well, but they were not truly made whole or saved in the deepest and most necessary way.

[249]           Indeed, the very existence of a Faith Cure home or hospital where people who were still sick were left to recover is proof positive that the Faith Cure does not heal like Christ and the Apostles healed. The Lord Jesus did not need to send anyone to a hospital because He healed everyone of everything by simple and immediate acts of Divine power.

[250]           One could affirm that Mark 7:33-35 constitutes an exception to Christ’s pattern of instant healing, but such an affirmation would be false. The Lord did what is recorded in v. 33 to help the man to understand that his hearing and speech were to be restored, and then Christ healed him immediately by simply speaking (v. 34-35).

                The New Testament does, however, record one exception to Christ’s pattern of instant healing in Mark 8:23-26. However, in this episode Christ healed the man in two stages because, as validated by the context of Mark 8:14-22, His healing paralleled His illumination of the spiritual sight of His disciples. The Lord healed by two distinct and deliberate acts of miraculous power to illustrate a spiritual point, while those who affirm that they have the gift of healing like Christ fail to either heal instantly, as the Lord chose to do the overwhelming majority of the time, or to heal with two distinct acts of miraculous power, as Christ chose to do in this solitary instance for a specific spiritual purpose—rather, moderns who claim Apostolic healing abilities “heal” in a manner that is consistent with natural causes the overwhelming majority of the time, and neither heal instantly in one supernatural act of power nor in two distinct and deliberate acts of miraculous power.

In Mark’s account of the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida not only the climax of the story but the entire narrative is constructed on the motif of “seeing.” In English translations several of the words used for sight are the same, but in the original Greek there are eight different words used for nine instances of seeing in 8:23–25! The redundancy of references to sight and seeing provides a counterbalance to the redundancy of accusations of blindness and misunderstanding in the previous story. Yet another link between this miracle and the previous story occurs in the speech of Jesus to the blind man. At a miracle Jesus normally speaks an authoritative word or makes a pronouncement. Here, however, he asks a question, “Do you see anything?” (v. 23). That unusual question looks like an echo of Jesus’ pleading questions of the disciples in the previous story, the first of which was “Do you still not see?” (8:17). The blind man’s response that he can see people who “look like trees walking around” (v. 24) is a clue that the disciples themselves will be enabled by Jesus to begin the process of moving from blindness to sight.

The healing of the blind man of Bethsaida is the only miracle in the Gospels that proceeds in stages rather than being instantly effected. . . . The . . . repeated touches cannot imply for Mark insufficiency on Jesus’ part . . . since elsewhere Jesus performs more difficult miracles (from a human perspective) without fail, such as healing the Gerasene demoniac (5:1–20) or raising a dead girl (5:35–43). The two-stage cure in the present miracle thus suggests a process of revelation — as much for the disciples . . . as for the blind man at Bethsaida. (The Gospel according to Mark. The Pillar New Testament Commentary, J. R. Edwards, on Mark 8:23-25)

[251]           See also Matthew 9:27-30; Mark 8:22-25.

[252]           Cf. pgs. 62-63, 222-223, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. New York, NY: D. Appleton, 1887. On pg. 62, The Lord that Health Thee, W. Boardman indicates that skeptics could mock at and deny the reality of the Faith Cures—something that the enemies of the gospel could not do when Christ and the Apostles healed.

[253]        Pg. 236, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. New York, NY: D. Appleton, 1887.

[254]           Pg. 17, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[255]           Pg. 21, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[256]           Pg. 62, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.