Excursus X: An Excerpt from “A Warning Exhortation Against Pietists, Quietists, and all Who in a Similar Manner have Deviated to a Natural and Spiritless Religion under the Guise of Spirituality,” by Wilhelmus à Brakel[1]

Among those who espouse blind popery—whose religion does not differ much from paganism—there have always been those who have rejected creature-worship and who have written much about internal religion, elevating this as highly as their natural intellect would permit them. These persons are referred to as mystical writers (that is, hidden writers) since the general public did not achieve such a level of contemplation, such elevation of spirit having been concealed from them. Today many are very fond of the word mystical, as if it implies a high level of spirituality. . . . [Such]have little to say about the Lord Jesus as being the ransom and righteousness of sinners—about how He, by a true faith, must be used unto justification and in approaching unto God, beholding in His countenance the glory of God, and practicing true holiness as originating in Him and in union with Him. . . . Numerous imaginations originating in empty minds, natural speculations, deceptions of Satan, dreams, and zealotry go under the name of mysticism . . . [including] the Quakers[.] . . .

[The Roman Catholic] Michael de Molinos . . . rejected all external exercises of religion and proposed that one need only be in a quiet and introverted frame God-ward in order to be irradiated by Him. . . . [He sought] the elimination of all external activity, including the activity of the intellect and any spiritual elation. This would consist in being totally divorced from self, being elevated above all things, being fully united with God, and in passive reflection to lose one’s self fully in God, thus worshiping Him in pure love. This is how far the illusions and vain speculations of the natural man—who is void of the Spirit and ignorant of God—can go. Since he excluded all external and spiritual motions and promoted quietness in both areas, his followers, many of whom are to be found among Papists and various sects, are called Quietists, that is, those who are quiet or at rest.

Some years after Molinos, François de Salignac de Lamothe Fenelon, [Roman Catholic] Archbishop of Cambrai, published . . . The Exposition of the Fundamental Propositions of the Saints, or, Inner [Spiritual] Life). It is truly not a spiritual book. Fabricated spiritual matters—which are neither to be found in Holy Writ, nor in the practice of the saints—are elevated in a natural manner to as high a level as natural reflection can possibly bring them. He is of the same mold as Molinos and the previous mystical writers among the Papists. They teach a love (or lovelessness), a beholding of God and union with God to consist in some nonessential fancy contrary to the Word of God. This Word teaches us to behold God in the face of Christ as He reveals Himself in the work of redemption. As such God is known and believed by the truly regenerate and true believers. This renders them joy in, and love for, God, causing them to glorify God.

The difference between the self-denial, love, beholding of God, etc., of the mystics and of the truly godly consists in this: The mystics comprehend, say, and do everything according to their natural intellect, fantasy, and imagination, doing so without the Spirit. They do not make use of the Lord Jesus (that is, as a ransom, and righteousness unto justification and peace), as being the only way of approach unto God, and unto true and genuine sanctification. Such exercises and this way are hidden from them. Those, however, who are truly godly, regenerate, and who truly believe, live by faith and not by sight. In all things they make use of the Lord Jesus. They come to the Father by Him, accustom themselves to behold God in the face of Jesus Christ, do everything as in the presence of God, and walk before God’s countenance in humility, fear, love, and obedience. These are the old paths. From this you can observe that the difference between the mystics and the truly godly is as the difference between imagination and truth; between being natural and without the Spirit and being led by the Spirit; between worldly and heavenly; between seeking an unknown God and serving the true God; and between being engaged without, and contrary to, the Holy Scriptures (dabbling with invisible things), and living according to the written Word of God. A truly godly person remains humble and serves God in Spirit and truth, and is thus kept from the temptation of entertaining high-minded and fabricated imaginations. . . .

            I shall state and defend some propositions whereby the errors will be evident and whereby a believer, holding fast to those truths, will be delivered from their temptations.

PROPOSITION 1: A Christian must have a great love for the truth; all splendid pretense void of love for the truth is deceit. . . . [T]his truth is the seed of regeneration; that is, it is the means whereby man is drawn out of darkness into marvelous light. “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). He who therefore neither knows nor has the truth cannot be regenerated. If he is not regenerated, however, all his speaking about spiritual things is but the work of nature and he is entirely devoid of the truth. . . . [T]he truth is the means, fountain, and rule from which holiness issues forth and according to which it must be regulated. Holiness is the loving observance of truth. “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Eph 4:14-15). The Lord Jesus when praying for holiness for His own, beseeches that it may come about by the truth. “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). If the heart is to be purified, it must occur by means of the truth. “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit” (1 Pet 1:22). He who lives in sin is a slave and servant of sin. He who is set free from sin is set free by the truth—a truth comprehended and known well. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). To live holily is to walk in the truth. “… even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 3-4). Someone who neither knows nor has the truth cannot be holy. Whatever he manifests is but the natural work of an unconverted person. Every step which deviates from the truth is impure and causes impurity in the way of holiness. . . . If we love the truth, we shall hate all that is opposed to the truth, however insignificant it may be[.] . . . One cannot trifle with the truth. It is too precious a gift from God[,] and God takes notice of how we deal with it. . . . [N]ot only is it contrary to God’s will to have fellowship with error, but also with those who espouse error. . . . Thus, every [church] member must be on guard against intermingling with those who espouse false doctrine. Hear what the command is: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (2 Cor 6:14-15,17). If you stand in awe of God’s majesty, if you tremble at His Word, and if the truth is precious to you, be on guard against false doctrine, false teachers, and for men who are mired in error, however attractive they may appear to be. Let your heart be governed by the exhortation of the apostle: “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed” (2 John 1:10); that is, have no fellowship with him and avoid him so that you will not be drawn away from the truth by him in the least. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom 16:17-18).

How necessary it is to carefully heed this proposition! Compare yourself to this. Do you have such a tender love for the truth? Is it that precious to you? Do you joyfully give thanks to God for it? Do you live according to it? Do you engage in battle on its behalf? Do you indeed abhor all error and those who espouse it? Are you fearful and concerned about associating with such persons? If such is the case with you, then you are not in danger of being misled by the elevated language of [false teachers such as mystical quietists], for you will immediately perceive whether they have and promote either the truth or error, and whether they have love for the truth. . . .

PROPOSITION 2: A Christian must have great love and esteem for the church. . . . He who . . . view[s] the church from every dimension with a spiritual eye and heart, will not only be ignited with love for the congregation and, with ecstasy, stand in awe of the glory of the church, but he will also be provoked to holy wrath against all those who would dare to undertake anything which is detrimental to the church. The [comments] above will give sufficient reasons to be on guard against the delusions of [mystical quietists]. They exert every effort to ruin the church—if this were possible. They reject the church, church order, the divine commission of ministers, the ministry of the Word . . . [t]hey thus make themselves guilty of the abominable sin of despising the congregation of God. “ . . . or despise ye the church of God” (1 Cor 11:22). He who despises the church of God despises God Himself and the riches of His goodness, and will not escape the judgment of God. Even though the one [Quietist] espouses this and another person again different heresies and errors, all of them holding to opinions of their own, they agree in this respect that their religion consists in stripping themselves as being nothing (in reference to God, that is), and in the contemplation upon an imaginary and fabricated God. They ascend in this as far as their natural perception will enable them, which to such darkened individuals appears as wondrous light and as being wondrously spiritual. Occasionally they come together to listen to someone speak of these matters. Their religion furthermore consists in manifesting an indiscriminate love for people of various sects—even as far as the wallet is concerned. He who has no love for the church has no love for God. He who is engaged in battling the church is battling God and will endure His judgment. . . . [T]hey make a great display of spirituality and thereby gain entrance with the upright. They thus lead them away from the church and from true religion. Therefore you must, first of all, keep in mind what their objective is, and from that perspective judge their fair speeches. However, do not permit yourself to be ensnared by these fair speeches, nor to be tempted to the commission of the dreadful sin of leaving the church and engaging in battle against her. “He that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matt 12:30).

PROPOSITION 3: The Holy Scriptures are the only rule for doctrine and life. In the first proposition we have demonstrated how precious and lovely the truth is, and that he who loves the truth, hating all who deviate therefrom, will withdraw himself from all who depart from the truth—and thus also from the Pietists. In the second proposition we have discussed the esteem and love which all lovers of the church have for the people or congregation of God from which the [quietists] are separated. To this we shall now add the preciousness and loveliness of the Word of God, in which all saving truth is comprehended, upon which the church is built, and which God has given to the church for the purpose of preserving and spreading it. This the [quietists] either reject or minimize.

God has caused the way of salvation (there being but one, which is hidden from the natural man) to be recorded so that His people would have a steadfast rule of doctrine and life, and be protected against the deceits of Satan. . . . God has furthermore given such a record in order that the church be protected against the deceits of men who make use of craftiness, causing people to err in a subtle manner. He has also done so in order that everyone would be protected against his own heart which carries within it the seed of all heresy and error. This way of salvation, having thus been recorded, has been entrusted to the church in order that she would preserve it in its purity, transmit it from generation to generation and from nation to nation, proclaiming it everywhere unto the conversion of men, to lead the converted to the church, and to govern the faith and life of the members of the church.

The Word of God is the foundation upon which the church is built (Eph 2:19-20), the insignia of the true church, the nourishment of the church, the only rule of faith and life, and the sword against the enemies who err and battle against the truth—it is everything to the church. There is no church without the Word and there is no Word without the church. . . . The Spirit who has inspired the Word and causes believers to perceive, taste, and experience those matters contained in the Word, assures them of the divinity of that Word. He does this not only by means of its inherent evidences of divinity, but also by way of immediate operation in their hearts. . . . Even though a natural man reads and hears of the mysteries of the Word of God, he does not understand them unless God by His Spirit makes them known to his soul by immediate revelation. . . . [Quietists]lack this spiritual light. They have natural light concerning God’s majesty and the insignificance of the creature. They perceive that man’s felicity consists in the beholding of God; and by means of the Holy Scriptures their natural light becomes increasingly clear. Since these persons do not understand the spiritual mysteries, they occupy themselves with a natural beholding of God, imagining that their natural perceptions are wondrously spiritual, and far exceed the Word and that of those who are truly illuminated. Yet such perceptions are nothing but fabrications and illusions which deprive them of salvation.

Not only do the Holy Scriptures contain mysteries, but they also contain all mysteries which God wills His children to know, and which are needful for their spiritual functioning here and the enjoyment of felicity hereafter. Therefore, to teach spiritual matters or spiritual exercises which have neither been revealed nor prescribed in God’s Word is deceit. . . .There is nothing lacking in the Word—neither small nor great, low nor high. “The law of the Lord is perfect” (Ps 19:7). He who either adds to or subtracts from it shall have no part in all the promises recorded in the Word. Rather, all the curses which are declared in the Word will come upon them (Deut 4:2; Rev 22:18-19). . . .The Word of God is “able to make thee wise unto salvation … and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim 3:15-17). One cannot desire anything beyond this; he who fabricates something else accuses God’s Word of being deficient. God demands nothing beyond this; he who demands, seeks, and does something apart from Scripture cannot please God with his will-worship. . . .

The Holy Scriptures are the only rule for doctrine and life. He who wishes to live godly and desires to be saved must regulate his intellect, will, affections, words, deeds, and entire religion according to this Word. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa 8:20); “Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all Thy commandments. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word” (Ps 119:6,9); “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Pet 4:11). Therefore—whoever you may be—if you love godliness and salvation, if you have esteem and reverence for God, you ought also to have respect and esteem for the revealed will of God which, by the goodness of God, has been given to us unto salvation. Let this Word be your only rule . . . and you will walk surely. . . .

If the Word of God is so precious to you, if you love it so, and if you make it your rule for faith and life, you will be immune to the delusion of the [Quietists]. If you are taken in and shaken by their speech—having the appearance of spirituality—and you turn to the Word of God, you will immediately perceive that it is not according to the Word, that the Word of God does not speak in that fashion, and that God does not lead His children in such a manner; the Word of God will be a shield to you.

When you encounter them, you must investigate first of all what knowledge of, esteem for, and study they make of the Word. You will then perceive that some reject it entirely, ignore it, and will not respond to your investigation. Others will perceive it as a primer, from which little ones and beginners derive benefit; they contend that one must ascend beyond the Word and engage in more elevated contemplations. However, they will either deny or be silent about the fact that the Word has been inspired by God and has been appointed to be the only and eternal rule—which you may interpret as a denial. Others, who do not perceive the spirituality of the Word with their natural eyes, will deem it to be of little value and will view it as a dead letter, having neither spirit nor life. They maintain that those who hold to the Word will never become spiritual. Others, in order not to give the appearance of casting aside the Word, and your being frightened by them, will make use of it in their conversation and will quote such Scripture passages which speak of light, beholding, and spirituality. Investigate them more carefully, however, as to whether they believe the Word of God to be inspired in its entirety, and whether they acknowledge it as the only rule for faith and life. You will then experience that things are not in order here. . . . You thus have sufficient reason to reject them, and to consider all their doings to be but natural (which they truly are), thinking of this passage: “Lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?” (Jer 8:9). . . .

PROPOSITION 4: Regeneration is the originating cause of spiritual life, and of all spiritual thoughts and deeds. . . . However, the point in question is this: What is regeneration and what change does it bring about in man? . . . Many pagans have . . . excelled in conquering their corruptions and in practicing virtue . . . [h]e who reads Cicero, Seneca, Marcus Antonius, Epictus, and other pagan writers will stand amazed.

Regeneration does also not consist in losing sight of yourself; it does not consist in abstaining from aiming at or seeking prosperity and salvation, or your joy and delight for yourself, and instead lose yourself in nothing else but the beholding of God alone. It does not consist in the reflection upon and beholding of God, in sinking away in God, and in continually bringing yourself in the presence of God. All of that can also be the work of nature; pagans, idolatrous Papists, and other proponents of error do likewise.

It does not consist in the increase of natural light and virtuousness, as if man would be regenerated were light to exceed darkness or virtuousness sin. For,

(1) growth is of the same nature as the principle from which it originates. The principle of light and virtuousness is natural, and thus also the increase in both—regardless of how far it may go.

(2) The natural man, however illuminated, virtuous, humble, and exalted he may be in his beholding of God, is and remains a fool (Rom 1:22), without God and without hope (Eph 2:12), and blind (Eph 4:18; 1 Cor 2:14). Thus, regeneration does not consist in the increase of the matters [here] mentioned.

(3) If this were so, man would not need to be regenerated; however, he does stand in need of this. Growth is the continuation of a principle which already exists, and not the receiving of a principle of life which did not exist previously. Regeneration is, however, the generation of a principle of a life which did not exist previously, and thus a translation from one state—death, into another state—life.

(4) Regeneration proceeds from the Holy Spirit by means of the gospel; it causes a person to behold God in the face of Jesus Christ, generates spiritual life by union with Christ, and culminates in felicity. None of these things are true for natural light and virtuousness, and they thus differ in their essential nature.

            Regeneration is a complete change of man wrought by the Holy Spirit through the Word. This change is both internal and external. It is from death to life, from natural to spiritual, from an earthly disposition to a heavenly disposition, from self and all creatures to Christ, and through Him to God. Regeneration begins in the heart and in the innermost recesses of the soul. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh” (Ezek 36:26). The heart encompasses the intellect, will, and affections.

When someone comes under conviction and receives a desire toward God, he will then initially be in danger of striving for great things. Since natural religion is easier—having the cooperation of nature (true regeneration being contrary to man’s nature)—he will very readily be drawn away to [Quietism], which is nothing else but a natural religion. He will thus be in danger of remaining in a natural state and of perishing. . . . When you are in the company of these people (however, I counsel you to avoid them and to stay with the church and the godly in the church), do not be taken back by highly elevated matters which have a great appearance of spirituality and thus are very attractive to beginning Christians. If, however, you ask them to speak about regeneration, you will find them to be ignorant in that respect or to be entirely in error. This will be sufficient for you to see that all their activity is but natural and thus draws away from true holiness and communion with God, and consequently from salvation itself. And if there is someone among them who was truly a partaker of the principle of regeneration prior to joining with them, and thus is able to speak soundly about this, do not allow yourself to be deceived along with him who is deceived. The principle of his life is indeed true and he will be saved, but the hay, straw, and stubble which he has built upon it will be burned. Regeneration is imperfect and we must therefore not follow them in all that they do; they also still sin. They, possessing a spiritual principle, can nevertheless yield somewhat to their nature which is yet in them, and thus can practice self-denial and behold God in a natural sense. This will cause them to be a Christian of small stature where true growth is absent. Therefore, take heed.

PROPOSITION 5: A Christian continually avails himself of faith. . . . In order for someone to be a partaker of [the] Savior, he must respond to [the] offer [in Scripture], go to Christ, receive Him, and entrust himself entirely to Him. This act of faith is not the cause of a person becoming a partaker of Jesus, but only the means. Therefore, whether faith is weak or strong, whether it is exercised with clarity or be it in darkness, whether it is exercised with much ease or much strife, is not of the essence, but rather, whether it is done in truth with the heart. . . .

Faith is the beginning point of whatever believers undertake. Faith is the soul of their activity and permeates everything. By faith they take hold of His strength and thereby are active as though it were their strength. By faith they overcome the world, are united with the fullness of Christ, and become partakers of all His benefits. . . . If you are upon this way and exercise faith in the manner here delineated, see to it that you persevere in the same way. Do not ever depart from this way, for it will safely bring you to the end of your faith . . . [y]ou will be safeguarded against the errors of . . . all . . . who are in error as far as the practice of godliness is concerned. . . .

There are also those who at one time have received Jesus as their Savior. This task having been accomplished, they might as well proceed to perfection and pursue more lofty things. Poor people—as if it were possible to grow, apart from Christ; as if we could live, except by faith and the continual, actual beholding of Christ and being in union with Him; and as if we could bear fruit without continually drawing sap and nourishment from Christ! He who conducts himself in such (or even stranger) fashion, let him be convinced of his error and turn to Christ, in order to make use of Him continually unto . . . sanctification[.] . . . If someone is upright in the exercise of faith, but yet small in grace, let that which has been said be as a beacon. Let him flee from all who do not enter upon this way of faith and who with a great show of spirituality fail to encounter Jesus.

PROPOSITION 6: All of man’s felicity, here and hereafter, consists in communion with and the beholding of God. . . . This is the most excellent promise: “I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him” (John 14:23); “We will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). Their seeing of God agrees with the manner in which God reveals Himself from His side. “And hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true” (1 John 5:20); “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord” (2 Cor 3:18); “For God . . . hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). Such is the activity and the exercise of the godly: “I have set the Lord always before me” (Ps 16:8); “ . . . they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance” (Ps 89:15); “My meditation of Him shall be sweet” (Ps 104:34); “How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! . . . when I awake, I am still with Thee” (Ps 139:17-18). This is sufficient to conclude that the beholding of God is reserved for God’s children only. . . . God does not reveal Himself to the world; that is, to the unconverted, to natural men, to those who do not have the Spirit. This is evident in John 14:22, 17, “Lord, how is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world . . . the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him.” . . . Therefore, whatever the natural man writes or speaks concerning reflecting upon, beholding of, and being united to God in love, is nothing more than an illusion.

Although a natural man cannot ascend to the right knowledge and beholding of God, and since God does not reveal Himself to such, he nevertheless knows from nature that God is, and that his felicity consists in communion with God. This is further reinforced by the natural knowledge of the Word of God. As a result, many have engaged themselves in beholding God, so that the beholding of God and the discussion thereof is no evidence of spirituality.

I repeat, many unconverted do engage themselves in beholding God by means of their natural light, or by means of their knowledge of the Word of God.

(1) This is very evident among the heathen, who speak concerning this in their writings, doing so with such lofty expressions that a Christian must be amazed and astonished about it.

(2) This is also evident among the popish mystics and thinkers. They are obviously idolaters, for they worship a piece of bread as their God. They pray to angels and deceased persons and render religious honor to images. They destroy the atonement of the Lord Jesus by their abominable mass and in other ways. They wish to be justified by their own works, and thereby merit heaven. They acknowledge the antichrist to be their head and hate true believers. They are persecutors of the church of the Lord Jesus; and they, either by their contribution or by having pleasure in this, are guilty of the blood of the martyrs, and are thus much more abominable than the heathen and others who function only in the realm of the natural. They write and speak much about divine meditations, doing so with expressions which are as lofty as their imagination can devise—yes, their words even exceed imagination, and if they cannot understand them, others may understand them. If they cannot, they may be amazed about these incomprehensible expressions.

(3) This is also evident among many others (not of the popish religion) who also engage themselves in meditation and reflection about divine things. It is evident that they neither have a knowledge of nor a love for the truth. They neither have a love for the Word of God nor do they establish it as their only rule for doctrine, thoughts, and life. There is no love for the church (from which they depart), and there is neither love for nor union with the truly godly. They can unite themselves with all manner of devoted people, but cannot tolerate the truly godly who rebuke them by means of their light. They are unacquainted with the nature of true conversion. This is also true for saving faith, they being total strangers of its exercise. . . . [T]hey speak about great things, about being drawn up, about ascending above themselves and above all creatures—yes, dreadful though it be, above God Himself. The language of Balaam is heard among them: “The man whose eyes are open . . . which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance” (Num 24:3-4).

From that which has been said, it is very evident that unconverted persons also engage themselves in beholding God. You therefore ought not to be immediately inclined to think that those who speak thus—that is, who in a charming manner speak of extraordinary illumination—are true recipients of grace and are truly spiritual. The blind can also speak of light, the unspiritual of the spiritual, and those who are alienated from God about communion with God, and the loveless about love—doing so not feignedly, but from a heart that thinks to have and speak the truth. You must therefore investigate whether that which they say about beholding God is truly spiritual. Follow the advice of the apostle John: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

In order not to be hastily inclined by word or spirit, attentively take note of what has been said thus far: There is a twofold beholding of God—a natural and a spiritual.

(1) The natural beholding of God is practiced by the unconverted; the spiritual beholding of God by those who are true recipients of grace, have truly been regenerated, and truly believe.

(2) The natural beholding of God occurs by the light of nature and the external illumination of the Word, by one’s own spirit, imagination, and mental powers, and by the drawing of rational conclusions; the spiritual beholding of God occurs by the illumination of the Holy Spirit who has drawn believers out of darkness into His marvelous light.

(3) The natural beholding of God has God as its object as He reveals Himself in nature as the eternal, exalted, and glorious One, etc. In the spiritual beholding of God a person beholds Him in the face of Jesus Christ; that is, in the manifestation of all the perfections of God in the work of redemption. In such spiritual beholding He reveals Himself at times in an immediate sense as their reconciled God and Father, doing so occasionally with such light, glory, sweetness, and bliss that it cannot be expressed, and at other times with such expressions as: “I, God, am your God; I am your salvation; I have loved thee with an everlasting love; thou art Mine.”

(4) The natural beholding of God leaves a man alienated from God; the separation remains. The illusion of being united with God is but a union according to their own imagination, for true union occurs only by way of faith—something they do not possess. The spiritual beholding of God brings the soul near to God—yes, unites her with God as belonging to Him. “. . . that they also may be one in us” (John 17:21). Oh, blessed unity! Oh, blessed appropriation!

(5) The natural beholding of God leaves man unchanged, that is, in the state of nature—even though through the knowledge of God they may flee from the excessive pollutions of the world. The spiritual beholding of God causes the soul to become increasingly a partaker of the divine nature, and to become holy as He is holy. By the Spirit of the Lord, the soul is transformed through such beholding—in harmony with the object being beheld—from glory to glory. See to it that you do not immediately deem all beholding of God to be spiritual in nature.

It is evident from the nature of their reflection, that the beholding by God of such persons—which in reality consists more in elevated words than in substance—is the result of natural illumination and imagination. Such beholding varies greatly according to everyone’s physical constitution, inclinations, and power of imagination. What follows represents the common manner in which this transpires; if someone is not exercised in the manner as we shall now delineate, he should know that we do not have him in view.

(1) Some, as they undertake such reflection, meditate upon what they know about God in a natural sense, and have read or heard of God. They do not consider at that moment that they have read or heard this. While thus meditating, they ascend from one thing to the next, having conceptions about God in accordance with what their heart and imagination suggest. They then think about what they imagine, and all that is engendered by such thoughts. God must then be as such reflections project Him to be, and in this manner God has then revealed Himself to the soul. It is immaterial whether such thoughts of God are suitable and in harmony with the Holy Scriptures; this revelation is sufficient assurance for them that it is true and spiritual.

(2) Some will mentally withdraw from all creatures, themselves, and God. They are occupied with nothing except with expelling those mental objects which present themselves time and again. They thus endeavor to be without thoughts, as if nothing existed, and they thus enter and sink away into thick darkness. If a ray of light then falls upon their mind in this thick darkness, without the discovery of anything objective, they consider this to be of the Spirit. They allow themselves to be illuminated and guided by this light, and as this light increases, God is unveiled to them as being such and such. This they observe passively—as being the recipient of it, allowing themselves to be illuminated thereby. The soul is thus ignited in love and receives such motions and stirrings, until they again come to themselves and desist for the time being.

(3) Some, having a desire to approach unto God and to behold Him, divest themselves of all reason, memory, affections, and even of those thoughts which initially ignited the inclination to contemplate upon God as having served their purpose. Having thus been emptied of everything, the soul turns to God, considering Him to be her God, and continually thinks: “Oh God, Thou art my God, and I am Thine.” The soul then listens to what God will subsequently reveal of Himself, and thus, in an infatuated manner, focuses upon God as being present. Here she reposes, tastes more than she sees, worships, exults, is in subjection, and exercises love. The only things missing here are the Spirit, spiritual life, the exercises of faith, the going to God through Christ, and the beholding of God in the face of Christ. Since these things are absent, they are all the work and imaginations of a person’s own doing. They are but natural exercises and thus of no value.

(4) Some remain quiet and in a disposition wherein which they are turned unto God, and do nothing but wait upon the Spirit. If nothing comes to mind, then they again proceed, being well satisfied. If something occurs to them, they deem this to be of the Spirit; then this is truth, and is more certain and infallible than the Word of God which they consider to be but a dead letter, a primer for beginners, and of no benefit whatsoever. If the thought which occurs to them gives direction to do or not to do something, it is considered to be the leading of the Spirit and they give heed to it. They do not pray, speak, or do anything unless they are motivated by such an idea coming to mind; they thus, quietly and with delight, live on. When they are stirred up by an idea which occurred to them, they depend on this, irrespective of whether it either agrees with or is contrary to God’s Word. This they do not investigate; it is a matter of indifference to them. They are thus carried away by their own spirit to abominable practices from which even the natural man recoils. This is borne out by the witness of those whom God in His goodness has converted from the error of their ways, and is also taught by daily experience. Some go further than that and play prophet. When thoughts about future events occur to their empty minds, they are deemed to be revelations which will either occur or not occur. Poor, misguided people! They desire to seek God and to do His pleasure, but completely miss the way itself. With all their ideas and the adamant passion of their own spirit they perish.

It behooves all Christians to live in the presence of God, to examine themselves as to what is the good will of God in which He delights, to esteem the Word of God as the revealed will of God and as an infallible rule, and continually to give heed to the leading of the Spirit. It behooves them to give careful heed to their well-illuminated conscience and to be desirous not to act contrary to it. To follow one’s own spirit and ideas, however, as if they were from the Holy Spirit, is to run to one’s own destruction.

In order to be safeguarded against such fanaticism, we must keep the following in mind:

(1) Man has his own spirit; there are many seducing spirits, and the evil spirit can transform himself into an angel of light. He, with the intent to deceive, can give thoughts which are essentially good, but stir man up to use them in an erroneous manner. We must therefore give heed and know by which spirit we are being moved.

(2) The Holy Spirit convinces man of sin and causes him to grieve, be perplexed, and in many ways be troubled about his sin.

(3) The man who is conquered by the Holy Spirit will be regenerated and translated from darkness to light, from death to life, and from being earthly minded to being heavenly minded.

(4) The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of faith who brings God’s children to Christ, causing them to receive Jesus by a true faith as their ransom and righteousness.

(5) The Holy Spirit unites His children and keeps them united to the church, for by one Spirit are they all baptized into one body (1 Cor 12:13).

(6) The Holy Spirit leads believers in all things according to the Word of God; He leads them into all truth. The Word of God is truth, however, and the only rule by which we shall not err. By that Word He regenerates, sanctifies, leads, and comforts them.

Know then with certainty that where these matters are not found, there God’s Spirit is not present. Be assured that whatever is deemed to be spiritual but which does not harmonize with the above, is nothing but illusionary and are seductions of a man’s own spirit. Regardless of how greatly one may boast of spirituality, be instructed and warned. Know that the Holy Spirit is given only to the children of God and that only those who are led by the Spirit do indeed have the Spirit of Christ. The natural man, however, does not have the Spirit (Jude 19); the world cannot receive the Spirit; it neither sees nor knows Him.

It is evident to the truly godly, when considering these ways of beholding God, that they are all but a natural work. This can especially be concluded from the fact that such persons consider the greatest mark of spirituality to be the measure by which a person is stripped of himself and loses sight of himself so completely as if he did not exist. This is not due to a shameful view of their sins, but the result of comparing themselves to God, or it is without reason, or because of the opinion that thus it must be. This is foolish spirituality, which is nothing but the fruit of nature! Why do you delight yourself in such contemplation wherein you utterly lose sight of yourself and do not think about yourself? Is not self your focus in this and do you not deem this to be your salvation? Why then do you engage in this? You neither need to nor are able to do it by virtue of it being God’s will, as it is certainly of no benefit to Him. You thus do it for your own sake, since this reflection upon your nothingness is your delight. Therefore, while thinking that you do not have yourself in view at all, and to be rid of self completely, you are nevertheless seeking yourself. Only if such exclusion and deprecation of self were spiritual in nature (while in reality it is natural and sinful), it would not be a sinful seeking of self, but rather a holy seeking of self.

There can be either a sinful or a holy seeking of self. A sinful seeking of self is when one seeks honor, esteem, love, respect, advantage, etc. in order that all men and everything would end in them. A holy seeking of self is to promote one’s own physical welfare for the purpose of being fit to serve God in whatever capacity that may be. In our seeking after God, it is not sinful to have the welfare of your soul, and thus light, life, love, joy, delight, and salvation in view. Rather, it is evidence of being engaged spiritually in the right way. This is a holy seeking of self, for:

First, God has created this spiritual seeking of self within man. Did not Adam need to be careful to refrain from eating of the forbidden tree in view of the threat, “The day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”? Did he not have to be in fear of losing his blessed state? Was he not obligated to seek his felicity in communion with God?

Secondly, God commands His children to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). This they must therefore strive for.

Thirdly, God continually confronts man with threats in order to save him with fear (Jude 23). Observe this in Luke 13:3, “… except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

Fourthly, God uses many inducements to persuade man to seek his own salvation. “Come unto Me … and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. . . . For My yoke is easy” (Matt 11:28-30).

Fifthly, if man should not seek himself and his own well-being, it would be a matter of indifference to him how he fared according to body and soul; and being thus indifferent, all prayers would cease. Then there would be nothing for him to desire or request. God, however, wills that “in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil 4:6). Then all thanksgiving for received benefits would also cease; God, however, wills that we give thanks in everything (1 Thess 5:18). “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col 1:12).

It is evident from all this that spirituality does not consist in disregarding our welfare, utterly deprecating ourself, utterly losing sight of ourself as far as salvation is concerned, and excluding ourself from everything. Rather, this is a fabricated religion which is contrary to God’s commandment, serving no other purpose but the satisfaction of the flesh and our own imagination.

            Objection #1: Ought not God be the focus of all things and ought not all things end in God? By seeking self, however, man makes himself the focus and ends in self.          Answer: When a godly person focuses upon himself in spiritual matters, he acts according to the command and will of God. It would be impossible for him to end in himself and to remain focused on his felicity only, for that is not the highest level of his felicity. Being a recipient of grace, however, and while enjoying the goodness of God, he will time and again turn to God as the cause of his salvation. He will thus end in Him, thank Him, give honor and glory to Him, and praise Him, because by reason of His essence, all praise must be unto Him, He being worthy thereof. The more pure the manner is in which a spiritual person ends in glorifying God, the more felicity he will enjoy; and the more felicity he enjoys, the more he will end in God. This is not to suggest that he contributes something to God, but rather, that the benefit is man’s. Thus, having his felicity in view and ending in God must go together; the godly person cannot seek the one without exercising the other. As all the godly end in God upon receiving and enjoying the benefits of God, they (especially the fathers in Christ) likewise have the glory of God in view when they begin to undertake something.

            Objection #2: A Christian must deny himself (Matt 16:24), not seek himself (1 Cor 10:24), is nothing (Gal 6:3), and must be lowly of heart (Matt 11:29). Therefore, man must remain outside of everything and neither seek nor have himself in mind in anything.

            Answer: There is a threefold self. First, there is a sinful self; that is, pride, maliciousness, vengefulness, envy, miserliness, immorality, and all the sinful lusts of the heart, along with the deeds which issue forth therefrom, whereby he seeks to satisfy his lusts and to attain to the fulfillment of his desire. These a Christian must not seek, but he must abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. He must mortify . . . them.

Secondly, there is also a natural self; that is, to desire and seek all that pertains to the welfare of the body, such as food, drink, sleep, clothing, housing, goods, peaceful association with people, and whatever else pertains to human existence. One may and must seek these things, for no one has ever hated his flesh, but rather, cherishes it. However, a Christian does not set his heart upon them, and it is his objective to serve God in the use of these things. He is resigned to the divine dispensation, and he must be satisfied with either much or little, since these are not his portion. If, however, these matters run counter to the Lord Jesus, His cause, the truth, and godliness, and one is obligated to abstain from one or the other thing, then a Christian will readily deny himself, willingly let go of everything, view the disappearance of his goods with joy, and not even hold his life dear. This is the denial which Christ requires.

Thirdly, there is a spiritual self; that is, the desire for the salvation and welfare of our soul, consisting in reconciliation with God through the blood of Christ, union with God, and a life in the enjoyment of His fellowship, love, light, and holiness—and thus eternal glory. A Christian may not deny himself these spiritual things. He must always seek them with all his might. It is the life of the soul, the will of God, the command of God, and it pleases God. To neither seek nor pursue this is sin. Man, in having fellowship with and beholding God, may not utterly put self aside and keep himself entirely outside of this. Rather, he must strive for and seek to find pleasure in spiritual delight, joy, love, and holiness.

Matt 16:24 refers to the natural self; 1 Cor 10:24 refers to the sinful self; Gal 6:3 spreaks of such people who have great thoughts of themselves, despise others, and who in the meantime have no grace, or have but a very small measure.

Let us consider Matt 11:29. Humility does not exclude self; instead, it does relate to self, for it acknowledges what a person is and what graces and benefits are his. He does not boast of this, since he acknowledges that he does not have them of himself, but that they have been granted to him of God by reason of His goodness alone. He sees his sinfulness and that he is therefore not worthy of anything. He sees virtues and capabilities in other persons which he does not have, and thus exalts them above himself. Having the Lord Jesus as his example, he knows that this lowly and yet noble disposition as a Christian, is pleasing to God. He therefore seeks to walk humbly with his God as a weaned child and in a becoming disposition-one of submission and being obliged toward man. It is hereby very evident that the exclusion of self in beholding God is a sign of something that purely proceeds from nature, is of one’s own choosing, and is a sinful act toward the majestic and holy God.

There are three things which cause the godly to be troubled more than anything else. It first of all troubles them that [certain mystics and quietists] speak of these lofty contemplations also speak of their union with God, of belonging to God, and that in such contemplation they view God as their God. Secondly, such persons, in an exceptional manner, are able to speak of love for God and of sinking away in the love of God, and, so to speak, being consumed by it. Thirdly, there are some who speak of the beauty and glory of the Lord Jesus in a most extraordinary manner. These three matters, they think, are indeed spiritual and evidences of extraordinary grace. Who would not be enamored by these matters? Who would not desire always to hear this discussed? My response to this is that it cannot but be that truly gracious persons, when hearing others speak of beholding God, of belonging to God, of love to God, and of the beauty and glory of the Lord Jesus, will find love and desire stirring within to be in such a condition. This is due to their acquaintance with these matters in their spiritual nature, and they thus perceive them as such when they hear them being discussed. If those who speak thus would know and possess these matters in their true, spiritual nature, far be it from us to warn them in any way; rather, we would embrace them in love. Since we know, however, that these three matters can issue forth from natural illumination and can be expressed by persons who neither possess true grace nor derive these lofty views from a love for the truth, the Word, the church of the Lord Jesus, conversion, and the exercise of true saving faith, we must of necessity demonstrate how the unconverted can be occupied with these three matters.

As far as the first matter is concerned, it is common knowledge that temporal believers, those who are externally religious in the state of nature-yes, even heathens-view God as their God and call Him their God. Everyone knows this. Why is it that those who occupy themselves in contemplating God would also not be able to do so? However, just because they imagine this to be so, does not therefore imply that this is indeed the case. God is only the God of true believers who, through Christ, having received His ransom and righteousness, come to God for reconciliation. Those who are therefore strangers of this way, and do not come in truth unto God in this way, do not have God as their portion. God is not their God, and their imaginations are vain and without foundation. . . . In this illusion they proceed to be amazed, to be delighted in, and to rejoice in God as He is, in the fact that this God is their God, and in all that this God is for them. These are great matters indeed. Many who thus contemplate upon God, however, endeavor to rid themselves of all spiritual motions which pertain to themselves, be divorced from self, and neither think of self nor reflect upon themselves. They only wish to contemplate God, be illuminated by Him, and be drawn up on high, into glory, and into eternity. Yes, though it be dreadful to say, they even endeavor to ascend to God in their reflections. Who would then be offened by the claim of such persons that God is their portion and that He is their God?

Secondly, their love for God is consistent with the manner in which He is their portion. Man has a loving nature, and if he finds or imagines a desirable object, his love goes out toward it. The imagination can have a remarkable effect here, for vain man can imagine something or somebody which or whom he has never seen. He dwells upon this with his thoughts; he delights himself in imaginary conversation, and rejoices in love, as if it were in truth. When a natural man focuses his thoughts upon God, he can also have natural inclinations of love toward God. When in addition he reflects upon the perfections of God—be it through the light of nature or external illumination of the Word—a love issues forth which is not of a spiritual, but of a natural sort. This love is commensurate with their knowledge. It is thus that the heathen delight in God. It is in this manner that idolaters and those who have strayed from saving truth speak of the love of God, the wondrous motions of love, and the kiss of love upon awakening. And thus, by all the motions of natural love which one man can have toward another, they ascend unto God, so that the nature of love does not change, but only the object. They thus dishonor God with their so-called love for Him.

            Objection: Are not all natural men haters of God? “Let them also that hate Him flee before Him” (Ps 68:1); “ . . . haters of God” (Rom 1:30); “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Rom 8:7). Since many who meditate upon God delight in Him in doing so, is this not proof that they are spiritually illuminated and truly regenerate? “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19); “But if any man love God, the same is known of Him” (1 Cor 8:3).

            Answer: Not all that bears the name of love is love. There is a love which is natural and a love which is holy. Natural men—such as the heathen and all the unconverted—have natural love, this being of the same nature as he from whom it proceeds; however, “they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom 8:8). From this natural love we can only conclude that such people are in the state of nature, and not at all that they are spiritual and regenerate. We completely agree that a natural man in beholding the perfections of God as He reveals Himself in nature in His majesty, glory, power, and goodness, etc., can with his natural heart love God in a natural manner. Pagans and other unconverted men have loved Him in this manner. Those who love God in such situations, can hate Him in other respects, demonstrating this by the rejection of His Word, by not receiving His Son, and in hating and persecuting His children. Those who thus meditate upon God in a natural sense are able to associate with all manner of men, but they detest God’s children who truly manifest the image of God. They hate the light because it exposes them, and because they are rebuked by the light in true believers. They show that they hate God by being unwilling to live according to His laws, instead desiring to live according to their own imaginations. They hate His rebukes, and their entire life demonstrates that they do not delight in God.

            If we compare this natural love with the purely spiritual love of God in Christ Jesus—which we shall briefly discuss further on—then we shall perceive that the smallest spark and the tiniest ray of this love is incomparably superior and more pure than all the pretended love of such who meditate upon God, regardless of how they adorn it with beautiful words. The difference is not only one of degree, but of very essence. Oh, how far does this divine spark—that heavenly fire—excel all those dead coals!

The third matter pertains to the extraordinary manner in which they speak of the glory and beauty of the Lord Jesus. Should it come as a surprise that someone who has the Scriptures, who reads godly literature describing the Lord Jesus in His beauty and glory, and who furthermore has an eloquent tongue, can speak in a most excellent manner about Jesus? Does someone therefore know Jesus Himself? Is this proof that he himself experientially beholds and relishes the Lord Jesus? He who draws conclusions merely on the basis of such eloquent speech is naive, and too little skilled in the matters of Christianity. Take time to observe a person who speaks thus as far as his sentiments are concerned, the company he keeps, his love to the godly in the church, and in reference to the first five propositions of this chapter. You will readily perceive how you must judge such a person. Take particular note, however, of how he speaks concerning the manner in which the soul is led to Jesus as Surety, how the soul is exercised in receiving the Lord Jesus as his ransom and righteousness, as well as its engagement in spiritual wrestlings. You will then perceive that all this lofty speech only relates to the Lord Jesus as King, or as an example for imitation, but not as High Priest in order to find reconciliation and peace with God in His atonement, doing so by a continual and frequently repeated exercise of faith, which is the marrow and essence of true Christianity.

Some little children in Christ, who are easily driven about by every wind of doctrine, hearing someone speak eloquently about lofty reflections and not being conscious of the thorn hidden in it, become enamored with such a condition as a result of the spiritual life and light which is within them. They may also engage in meditation upon God as the [quietists] do; that is, in a natural manner—however, with different results.

(1) Some, when they begin, perceive inner strife and have an aversion for this way, although a heartfelt desire for the matter itself remains. They condemn themselves for such resistance and aversion, being of the opinion that this is engendered by their corrupt nature—thinking that it is but laziness and a lack of spirituality. They resume and strive all the more earnestly, but the resistance and aversion remain and increase. Having thus wrestled for some time, they begin to see that their objective—to behold God—is indeed good and spiritual, but that the method is but a natural one, so that this resistance and aversion were not sinful, but an activity of the regenerated nature. They perceive that there is a spiritual way to walk in the light of God’s countenance. They thus escape this snare and desist from pursuing this natural method.

(2) Others, having the principle of spiritual life, are careless as far as preserving and strengthening it. They are inclined to err in seeking to be someone special. They, when perceiving the appearance of spirituality in such lofty reflections, pursue this method recklessly. When God gives them over to themselves, they err by pursuing their fantasy and natural imaginations—and thus, upon that good foundation which is within them they build wood, hay, and stubble, which will be burned. They will nevertheless be saved since the gifts of God’s grace are without repentance. In the meantime, they make themselves guilty of giving offense and are at times the cause of the damnation of other people who, not possessing grace, have followed them in this work of nature due to the esteem they have for them. It only occurs very rarely that such persons are exercised again in a unadulterated manner and come to the simplicity which is in Christ, since pride—which comes naturally to those who pretend to have such lofty reflections—has also overtaken their heart. Since those that are truly converted can fall and err greatly, we must therefore be careful in judging the deeds of the godly, as not all that they do is good. We may not imitate them just because they are godly, but only inasmuch as they are followers of Christ and walk according to the Word of God. “Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all Thy commandments” (Ps 119:6). . . .

Truly spiritual persons do not make a distinction between meditation and beholding: they are both considered to be human activities. He does make a distinction, however, between the activity of the soul in meditating upon divine things, and the extraordinary revelations of God to the soul engaged in such meditation upon divine things, which the soul—upon receiving them—acknowledges, feels and tastes.

A believer, however much he may humble himself, will never arrive at beholding God as a result of the measure in which he waits, longs, exerts himself, and lifts up his heart. His duty is to meditate so that he may gain more and more insight into what he knows of God by means of the Word, faith, and experience—in order that he may delight himself in, rejoice in, and adore God, while bowing down before Him to worship Him reverently. He must endeavor to acquaint himself with God, become holier by virtue of having fellowship with Him, and serve God in a manner more pleasing to Him.

Objection: All of this is self-love and therefore must be rejected.

            Answer: This sort of self-love is holy, commanded by God, pleasing to Him, and a proof of the spirituality of the meditation. Sinful self-love—which manifests itself in the seeking of esteem, honor, love, respect, to be served by others, and to cause all things to end in self—is hated, despised, and avoided by the person who meditates in a godly manner. In seeking his own spiritual welfare in spiritual meditation, he does not end in self, but rather acknowledges all things to be from God and through God. In love and joy he returns all this again to God, giving Him the honor and glory.

Occasionally God, according to His promise (John 14:21,23), meets such who meditate spiritually with extraordinary and more immediate revelations of Himself, and causes them to behold God in more immediate proximity, and to taste who He is and what He is to them in Christ Jesus. . . . Since God does not reveal Himself to the world and the unconverted, and since they cannot attain to a seeing and beholding of God by their own activity, all their speaking of such beholding, and all their beholding of God is nothing but fantasy, is not in truth, and only a reflection of their thoughts upon the illusions of their own making. . . .

A believer, who engages himself in meditation upon divine things and seeking fellowship with God, withdraws himself from all things and considers there to be no one but God and himself. He acknowledges himself as a creature of God, as having an immortal soul, and as having been created with a human nature in Adam, excelling in holiness and glory. He also acknowledges that in all things he is miserably distorted, deformed, and abominable—being sinful within and without. He occasionally will focus upon his condition in order to gain a deeper insight about himself and thus acknowledge himself to be unworthy that God would look upon him, or would bestow any grace or benefits upon him. He acknowledges himself to be entirely unfit and unworthy to approach unto this majestic and holy God, although he cannot enjoy light, life, peace, rest, satisfaction, and felicity except in communion with God.

While thus maintaining this humble frame, he turns his eye to the Mediator, wholeheartedly approving of this holy way to come and to be permitted to approach unto God through Him. . . .

The soul may also be in a sinful condition. The corruption of the heart may manifest itself; she cannot resist vain thoughts; the lusts of the flesh are exceptionally strong and hold her captive; besetting sins are lively—be it due to disposition, physical condition, or incidents which she either desires, cannot avoid, or may not avoid—and she has little strength against them. She is then perplexed by this; sin is a heavy burden and she is bowed down by it. There is no peace; communion with God has been disturbed, God hides Himself, and faith is assaulted. What now? Any personal initiative does not result in progress; to stay away from God causes more regression. The soul dares not approach unto God due to being too sinful; and to remain in this condition is equivalent to dying continually, whereas there is life and faith in the soul. She makes the resolution to approach unto God, being convinced of her sincerity—not only to be delivered from guilt and punishment, but also from corruption and all the sin which proceeds from this. Such a soul then presents herself to the Lord as sinful and as miserable as she is, together with her grief related to this and her desire to be delivered from it. She meditates upon the free grace of God, that God neither considers anyone’s virtue (which is not naturally present anyway), nor sin, but is gracious because He wills to be gracious to her, and is merciful to whomever He wills. While meditating, she will focus upon the depth of this free grace, approve of it with her whole heart, be enamored with it, and adore it. From this she proceeds to eternal and sovereign election, to eternal love, and while reflecting upon herself and the grace which the soul perceives to be in herself, she is astonished and sinks away in adoration. “I, I sinful man have been known! I have been loved by Thee! I have been eternally appointed to be a recipient of salvation! To Thee, to Thee alone, oh Lord, be the glory for Thy free grace and for Thy unsearchable love for humanity.” From this she proceeds to the Mediator Jesus Christ. In meditating upon Him she can find neither beginning nor end due to the manifestation of all the perfections of God, such as love, righteousness, wisdom, omnipotence, mercy, etc. She acknowledges this holy way as the way whereby the sinner is reconciled with God and which gives her liberty to approach unto God. This way she approves of. She becomes enamored with it and chooses it for herself. She observes in this way the fullness of the satisfaction and is absorbed by the unsearchableness of this way. She meditates upon the immutability of God, that God remains the same in His purpose and love toward the elect, even though they, time and again, spoil everything before Him. Christ’s satisfaction cannot be abolished; the covenant of grace is unbreakable; God remains faithful, and always restores His own. When the soul in a negative frame occupies herself with such meditations, she will experience a wondrous change. The conscience perceives peace with God through the blood of Jesus, the estrangement is transformed into intimacy, and the soul—being washed and cleansed—goes her way rejoicing.

Occasionally the soul of a godly person has a desire for holiness which is more than ordinary. She is enamored with self-denial as far as honor, esteem, the love of men, comfort, earthly delight, and the riches or goods of this world are concerned. She does this neither for self nor for the rest and welfare of the soul, but for the Lord’s sake, doing so to the degree and in those circumstances in which the Lord requires such from her. She is enamored with being continually in the presence of God, as well as with obeying, fearing, loving, and walking humbly with God. She greatly desires humility and meekness of heart, as well as wisdom, love, forbearance, and friendly dignity. She furthermore yearns for the image of her Jesus, and to give expression to His life in her life. She does not desire this in an earthly, lifeless, and natural manner as the unconverted do. Rather, she desires that this be so in a living and truly spiritual manner in union with the Lord Jesus by faith—and through Him with God—and by the influence of the Lord’s Spirit to the glory of her God, the honor of the church, and the salvation and stirring up of other people. With this desire she comes before the Lord and continues to focus upon His holiness. While continually cleaving to Christ, however, a view of God’s holiness causes her to sink away in shame due to her insignificance and sinfulness, saying with Job, “Now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6). With Isaiah she may cry out, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips” (Isa 6:5). She nevertheless, being in Christ, continues in her beholding of this pure holiness, and allows herself to be illuminated and enlivened by this holiness; in that respect she becomes holier and holier. This is according to the testimony of the apostle: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor 3:18). Thus, the soul who is enamored with holiness acquaints herself with the Lord, cleaves to Him as seeing the invisible, and continually focuses upon the exhortation: “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” . . .

At times the soul beholds the Lord’s perfections in the work of creation and meditates upon them in an orderly and attentive fashion. Sometimes she occupies herself by meditating upon the providence of the Lord, and learns from this to rightly know God’s sovereignty, wisdom, righteousness, and goodness, so that all the power, evil, and goodness of the creature disappears. She views God as being the only one who is operative, executing all things irresistibly according to His purpose and good pleasure. Then again, the soul who attentively meditates selects other matter for reflection and thus acquaints herself with the Lord. The heart thus increases its steadfast confidence in the Lord, loves Him, fears Him, serves Him, and due to continual fellowship with God, the soul begins to shine forth as the countenance of Moses did when he had communed with God for forty days upon the mountain.

The Lord can also lead a longing soul to a more immediate beholding of Himself, at which time she neither brings before the Lord her conditions, nor is occupied with the works of God—be it in nature or in grace. Instead, she immediately approaches unto God, be it in a general sense or as far as each individual perfection is concerned. This is not done in a barren and lifeless manner by merely beholding and acknowledging them. Rather, the Lord occasionally permits her to taste the efficacy and salvation to be found, and at times gives her a foretaste of the beholding of God in heaven. The soul who beholds God in a lively and spiritual manner always cleaves to Christ, and in that frame she beholds God’s all-sufficiency, goodness, love, holiness, sovereignty, majesty, glory, and omnipotence, doing all this while considering that this God is her God and that He is her all. This brings forth adoration, joy, love, and praise. In thus beholding God, the soul maintains a humble, quiet, and approving frame that is void of earthly concerns—and also is believing, meditating, going out in love, characterized by intimate communion, dependent, desirous for counsel, and making use of His strength and benefits as her own. . . .

The conclusion of all that we have stated as a warning against the [Quietists] is as follows: There is natural and spiritual religion, a natural and spiritual denial of self, a natural belonging to God as Creator and Preserver and a spiritual and true belonging to God as a reconciled Father in Christ, a natural and spiritual love to God and to man, and a natural and spiritual reflection upon and beholding of God. This is the crux of the matter; everything depends upon this, and salvation or condemnation is contingent upon this. We have made as clear a distinction as possible between the natural and the spiritual, and wish that every one to whom salvation is dear would know this distinction, reject that which is natural, and practice what is spiritual, rather than embrace immediately whatever has the appearance of spirituality.

            Objection: Religion, self-denial, belonging to God, love for God and man, the beholding of God, etc., are indeed good things, and if a person is engaged in that which is good, we ought to love such a person. Is it necessary to be so careful in investigating the difference between the natural and the spiritual, and to weigh it upon the scale of a goldsmith? We ought not to judge each other in these matters, but tolerate one another. The one may do it in this manner and the other in that manner, but we must overlook the manner itself, considering it to be insignificant.

Answer: However, must we not have a heartfelt love for our fellow man? Is it love if we, in order to maintain peace and unity, allow our neighbor to run to his destruction in hell? Is it not love if we wish to lead him by the hand unto salvation and warn him about the way which leads to hell? And even if he becomes difficult and views you as dealing lovelessly with him and as being desirous to lord over him, is it therefore not love if we nevertheless wish to pull him away from his destruction? What I did in this chapter I have done out of love, in order to deliver souls from destruction and to direct them in the holy way unto salvation. If you do not wish to hear me, it will grieve me that you are intent on running to your destruction.

            You are saying that the actions of all parties are one and the same; the manner in which they are done is a matter of insignificance, and therefore, we must allow everyone to proceed according to his own opinion. If, however, everything depends on the manner in which one proceeds, and if this determines whether something is either natural or spiritual, and leads either to damnation or salvation, then this is not a matter of insignificance. Love demands that we point this out to each other, and warn, protect, and correct each other. For example, in the realm of the natural, is it a matter of indifference to you whether you have a clear diamond in your ring or a piece of glass of the same size and appearance? It also glitters. Is it a matter of indifference to you if a coin has but the proper imprint, regardless of whether it is copper or gold—as long as it is red? You do search out the difference in the natural realm—either choosing or rejecting it—and will not allow yourself to be fooled by external appearance, and would you yet be careless in the spiritual realm upon which everything depends? If there are two rich persons, the one owning his goods righteously and the other unrighteously, will you consider them to be of equal status and say, “Rich is rich, and the matter of ‘how’ is not important; that should not be so strictly investigated or distinguished”? Should one not give consideration as to the “how” in spiritual matters, since everything depends on it? If there are two horses and the one is clean, vigorous, and fast, whereas the other is full of stinking abscesses, stiff, and halting miserably, would you then say, “A horse is a horse, life is life, and progress is progress”? Are there differences in the physical realm and must we yet approve of everything in the spiritual realm? Is it the same to you whether a dead horse teems with living worms, or whether it is alive? Is it the same to you whether you have your father, child, husband, or wife represented on a painting, or whether they are present in very person? Would you say, “It is all the same”? This is likewise true in the spiritual realm. Is it a matter of indifference as to whether a clock indicates the hour by her chime or whether this is indicated by a human voice? If some people wish to go to the same city and some travel upon the right way, whereas others enter upon a way which does not lead to the city, but to the land of the enemy, would you then say that they all have good intentions, and one must thus leave them alone in their choice of direction? Must we not warn those who have strayed?

I have presented an abundance of examples to convince everyone forcefully that everything does depend upon the “how” or the manner, and that primary attention must be given to this. Scripture says that we must take heed how we hear, and we must speak and act accordingly. Natural men who behold spiritual matters in a natural sense remain natural and unregenerate in the flesh, and the light they have only changes them as far as the degree of virtuousness is concerned—with which they cannot please God (Rom 8:8). They remain without Christ, without true saving faith, and therefore without spiritual life; all their reflections, self-denial, and love for God and men are but dead works. With all their illusions, spirituality (as they call it), and delightful daydreaming they will perish if they do not repent. Be warned, and may the Lord convict such persons and bring them to the right place. Take note of the following texts: “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24), since they are not upon the right way and do not seek to enter in the right manner. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov 16:25). Since they are of the opinion that they are correct, believing that the hidden and spiritual way to heaven has been found by them, there is but little possibility that they can be convinced of their error. “Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you … but the publicans and the harlots believed Him” (Matt 21:31-32). Therefore, I warn you in love; do not stray any further, lest you perish. And you who are beginners in grace, and have been enticed by such natural beholding of God, self-denial, and love, I call out after you, “Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee” (Song 6:13). May the Lord hear my prayer on your behalf.bbb            I have indeed anticipated that some of the godly in reading this warning would become concerned and doubt their state, thinking as follows: “If the unconverted also can come this far—that is, live in the beholding of God, in the denial of self, loving God and man, are determined to have God as their portion, and to commune with God as their God—do I even resemble them? How can I think to possess grace if I do not, so to speak, resemble them at all—neither in their activity, nor in their ecstatic speaking about those matters and about the Lord Jesus? I truly ask myself: “Do I have grace indeed?”

To this I answer that whatever they do in a natural manner, you do in a spiritual manner by the principle of spiritual knowledge and life which is within you. Even if they acted and spoke as you perceive they do (although they do not do so), you nevertheless have no reason to doubt your spiritual state, for a small, weak child is just as much a human being as the strongest man. In the church there are indeed men and fathers in Christ, and there are also weak children. Due to the faint resemblance to others, one may not draw the conclusion that one is neither gracious nor possessing grace. Rather, one must acknowledge that which he possesses and be desirous for growth.

Furthermore, your understanding of God and Christ, your prayers, your desires after God, your seeking after the Lord Jesus, your focusing upon God, and your deeds and exercises—all proceeding from this principle of life—exceed all their beholding of God, reflections, sinking away in God, losing themselves in God, and similar expressions. The difference is as great as the difference between a dead and a living person; it is incomparable. The difference is not one of degree but of very essence. The one is natural and the other spiritual; the one is but an illusion, a fabrication. They are but self-made images which you can observe as frequently as you wish, whereas the other is truth, Spirit, and a life emanating from the Holy Spirit. If you were familiar with their activity and the manner in which they behold God—however, they do not come to God, but imagine a God who is according to their wishes—and the manner in which they deny themselves, love, and speak, you would not desire such spirituality, but would reject it. You are also able to create natural images of God and mentally ascend higher and higher. If you yield to such natural imagination, however, you will readily perceive that this cannot delight you; it makes you colder and you will reject it. However, the least ray of God in the face of Christ, the least fleeing to Jesus and leaning upon Him will be incomparably sweeter to you than all that lifeless meditation. Therefore, rejoice quietly in your portion—however small it may seem to you—since it consists in light, life, truth, union with Christ, and love, and allow all those who have such elevated natural notions to go their way. Out of love for communion with Jesus and for His children, continue to be exercised with that spiritual principle which is according to the Word of God, and thank the Lord for your portion, which incomparably exceeds all their natural motions. Your spiritual principle cannot coalesce with theirs, since they are the very opposite of each other. To be but acquainted with their activities is sufficient to reject their principle and to flee from it. Consider but this one example: You love the godly because they love the Lord Jesus and are loved by Him, whereas you love other people in an entirely different manner from the children of God. You cannot be in agreement with all manner of false doctrine. They love indiscriminately, regardless of which religion a person may belong to. It is only the truly godly who stand firm in the faith, who are established in the truth, and who have intimate fellowship with God in the Spirit, whom they do not love. Rather, they abhor them and flee from them since their works, which are not upright but only of a natural disposition, are made manifest by the light of such. By this you can discern the rest of their doings. Be on your guard against this, and let your dealings between God and your soul be in simplicity and in truth. Let your eye continually be focused upon the Word of God whereby you have received spiritual light and life, which is also your continual nourishment and the rule for your life. Then you will proceed safely.

We have thus presented to you the fundamentals to which you must adhere in order to be safeguarded against the temptation of the [Quietists], which simultaneously serve as marks whereby they are discovered. We have therefore considered the following from two perspectives: love to God and man, the denial of self, belonging and being united to God, and the beholding of God. We have done so both from the side of the [Quietists] and the side of the godly, having demonstrated from the Word of God that their activity is but the natural activity of the unconverted by which they will perish; and that the activity in which the godly engage is rooted in God, is by the Holy Spirit, is according to the Word of God, and leads them to salvation.

That which has been said is sufficient to convince those poor misguided people who, desiring to approach unto God and become partakers of salvation, instead depart from God and enter upon the broad way of destruction. Oh, that the Lord would open their eyes and change their hearts so that they would forsake their foolishness and walk in the way of understanding!

That which has been said ought also to suffice as a warning for those who are inclined toward the ways of the [Quietists]. That is an easy way which agrees with man’s nature and in which Satan leaves them alone, being able to safely lead them to hell in this way—for the truly godly have both their nature and the devil against them. Therefore, withdraw your foot from them, depart from them, and remove yourself from their snares. If you desire pure light and true godliness, remain with the church, follow the Word, and walk in straight paths.

It also ought to suffice to stir up the truly godly to walk in the way of the Lord with new courage and lifting up of the heart, and to let their light shine—to let it shine in demonstration of what truth is, what the efficacy of truth is, and what is the way of uprightness and holiness, so that the [Quietists] and their illusions may be put to shame. “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 3:18). May the Lord send out His light and truth; may they lead and bring you unto His holy hill, and to His tabernacles (Ps 43:3).

I. Excursus XI: Hannah Whitall Smith:

Higher Life Writer, Speaker on Sanctification, Developer of the Keswick Theology, Quaker Quietist and Universalist Heretic

Mrs. Hannah Whitall Smith, author of The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life and other devotional books, was in her day, and remains at this time, a very influential—indeed, probably the most influential—Higher Life writer on sanctification. Her views undergird and powerfully influence and mold the entire subsequent history of the Higher Life theology. She published The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life in 1875, a capstone of her and her husband’s preaching of the Higher Life as “lay evangelists of the National Assocation for the Promotion of Holiness”[2] at the Conventions at Broadlands, Oxford, and Brighton that constituted the birth of the Keswick theology. The publication of her best-selling book coincided with the tremendous impact her preaching was having at that time in Britain.[3] Robert and Hannah were spreading the Higher Life not only “in London, but [also] in other cities such as Manchester, Nottingham, Leicester and Dublin, as well as various Continental European centers. Additionally, strategic doors were opening to them, such as being invited to meet dons and other senior members of Cambridge University to share their message.”[4] As thousands of ministers assembled from not the British Isles only, but also France, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Italy, Spain, India, Russia, Persia, China, Australia, Israel, South Africa, and North America to learn the Higher Life from the Smiths at the Brighton Convention, Robert declared: “All Europe is at my feet!” There was much truth to his declaration,[5] although in leading venues such as the Oxford Convention[6] and “at Brighton . . . Hannah Smith[’s] . . . daily Bible Readings were the main focus of interest and she was widely recognised as the leading spirit at the conference. Never shy about publicity, she observed that . . . she had a congregation larger than that of C. H. Spurgeon.”[7] Her preaching brought many into the Higher Life.[8] Describing this period of time, Hannah wrote in her diary:

In January 1874 I went over with our four children and joined my husband in England. . . . [T]he Lord gave us . . . wonderful openings . . . for preaching the Higher Christian Life to rich and poor. My inward experience continues, through it all, to be one of perfect rest and peace. My husband’s health was mercifully restored, and the strain of my earthly sorrow was removed. The Lord saw that I had learned the lesson and He delivered me. And my earthly happiness has been unclouded since[.] . . . We returned last Sept. 1874 to America and this winter has been a time of busy work in Philadelphia for me. In March 1875, my husband went back to England, and in a week, I sail with the children to join him. A great work is opening before us there for this summer in large conventions calling for the promotion of Scriptural Holiness [the Keswick precursor Conventions], at which I have to take a prominent part, both in holding ladies meetings, and in giving “Bible readings,” as they are called to save the feelings of the dear brethren who are afraid to call it preaching.[9]

Her preaching and her person were very well received at these conferences, and her book The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, which was really “old Quaker doctrine,”[10] was likewise positively received by those who adopted the Keswick teaching, leading, throughout the rest of her life, to “numberless calls . . . for preaching or giving Bible readings” all over America[11] and abroad. Mrs. Smith was regularly “preach[ing] in Quaker and other churches in England” in high demand, while also publishing further influential books.[12] Indeed, “H. W. Smith[’s] The Christians Secret of a Happy Life . . . is regarded as the classic presentation of Keswick teaching and was instrumental in the spread of the ‘victorious life’ movement that began at the first annual Convention for the Deepening of the Spiritual Life held at Keswick, England, in 1875.”[13] “[I]t may be confidently said that . . . The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life . . . has never been superseded . . . [in] its teaching . . . by anything which has appeared since. This book has had a remarkable influence in connection with the Holiness Movement.”[14] Indeed, Hannah came to teach the Keswick doctrine of her Christian’s Secret as the “Superintendent of the Evangelistic and Bible Reading work” of the “Women’s Christian Temperance Union,” so that she had “direct influence over 60,000 Christian women, and indirect influence over all their congregations.” She testified: “[T]he Lord has given me my parish among them.”[15] Indeed, she wrote: “ever so many of [these women were] saying that they had learned the secret from my book “The Christian’s Secret.” It is perfectly wonderful how that book has gone over this whole country. Wherever I go I am met with stories of its value and blessing. So many people even here have told me that it is ‘next to their Bibles.’”[16] While it was reckoned by many as of great enough value to be always next to one’s Bible, Hannah’s book was most selective in its presentation of Biblical teaching, never citing verses such as Philippians 2:12,[17] for the Apostolic command to act with fear and trembling, and the mention of working, did not fit Mrs. Smith’s emphasis upon personal happiness, ease, and sanctification by faith alone. In any case, her book is properly recognized as foundational and paradigmatic for the Keswick doctrine of sanctification, so much so that her “book . . . for many years, was the most-read devotional book in the world.”[18] The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life “had not only a phenomenal sale all through [Mrs. Smith’s] lifetime . . . [and] was reissued again and again, and translated not only into all the major languages of the world, but even into obscure dialects of half-civilized tribes . . . [in] every part of the globe.”[19] Hannah W. Smith’s writings “have done [m]ore than any publications ever written to extend,” in the eyes of advocates of the Higher Life, “the knowledge of the truth of sanctification.”[20] Her preaching and writing have had an inestimably great impact on the ideas of many millions in worldwide Christendom.

Hannah wrote her book out of a conviction that Higher Life or Keswick doctrine was solid Quaker teaching. She was convinced that “the early leaders of her own society of Friends [Quakers] had been preaching the same” Higher Life theology “which she was hearing about from . . . Methodist writers such as John Wesley” and “the Holiness advocates of her day.”[21] Certainly the classic Quaker doctrine of sanctification is either extremely similar or entirely identical to the doctrine taught by the Keswick convention.[22] Hannah was confident that her Higher Life teaching was simply classic, unreformed Quakerism.

How, then, did Mrs. Smith come to write her bestselling and extremely influential Quaker and Keswick classic? She explained:

[M]y book, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life . . . was written simply and only to oblige my husband, who was editing a monthly religious paper at the time, and who begged me each month for an article. I had no feeling whatever of being “called” to write it, nor that I was being “guided” in any way. . . . I said . . . that I would only write one [article], and that he need not expect me to continue. For some reason, however, my article excited more interest than anything else in the paper, and he begged me so much to go on writing that I finally consented to give him an article every month. . . . [T]hese articles, collected in a book, made the Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life[.] . . . But these articles were dragged from me, so to speak, at the point of the bayonet, for I never wrote them in any month until the printers were clamoring for their copy. I could not be said, therefore, to have had any great feeling or sense of being called to write them, beyond the fact that I did it to oblige my husband[.] . . . [T]he book was not written under any special feeling of being called to write it, nor with any idea that it was in the least an especially religious service. I did it simply and only to oblige my husband, and that was all there was to it. I didn’t even pray much about it, nor had I any thought that I was doing a work for the Lord[.][23]

Indeed, Hannah was yet more candid in writing to her daughter:

[M]y most successful book [The Christian’s Secret] was written so to speak at the point of the bayonet, without one ray of enthusiasm, and hating to do it all the time. . . . I must repeat that I did write “The Christian’s Secret” at the point of the bayonet, as it were. I did not want to write it at all, and only did it at father’s earnest entreaties. . . . [H]e begged me so hard that at last I said I would write one article and no more, if he would give up drinking wine at dinner. Then when that article was published everyone clamoured for another, and father begged, and I was good-natured and went on, but under a continual protest. And the best chapter of all was written . . . when I was . . . as near cursing as a person who had experienced the “blessings of holiness” could dare to be! So . . . books can be successful even if they are ground out with groans and curses[.][24]

Thus, Hannah W. Smith did not pray much about her bestseller, nor think that she was doing a work for the Lord by writing it, but simply wanted her husband, at the pinnacle of his work as a Higher Life preacher, to stop drinking alcohol at dinner. She had not a ray of enthusiasm for the book, but emphatically hated writing it, and even ground out the best chapter with groans and curses. Nevertheless, with what appears to be assistance from the supernatural realm, her book, and its Higher Life theology, spread like wildfire and was received with overwhelming acclaim. So wonderful, she came to conclude, was the Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life that she wrote concerning it: “Every line I write is a pure favor to the world[.]”[25] The book was her doing—it was marvelous in her eyes.

Nevertheless, even as she wrote her bestselling and paradigmatic Keswick book without much prayer and without thinking about doing any work for God by composing it, but filled with hatred, groans, and curses, Hannah recognized that the kind of religion she led others to adopt could be preached and promulgated by ungodly people who, without any blessing from God, simply were putting on a religious show. After the downfall of her husband Robert P. Smith on account of his promulgation of erotic bride mysticism during the Keswick precursor Conventions,[26] the Smiths returned to America. Upon their arrival, Dr. Charles Cullis, who “had stood by Robert more nobly and grandly than any other human being”[27] when Mr. Smith was exposed for his erotic mysticism, sought to restore Robert by having him and his wife preach some meetings. The “sole object [of the meetings] was to reinstate Robert in the eyes of the church and the world. . . . [I]t ought not to have been called a ‘Convention for the promotion of holiness,’ but a ‘Convention for the promotion of Pearsall Smith.’”[28] Hannah Smith wrote to a friend about these meetings:

I felt utterly indifferent to the meeting in every way . . . I f[ound] no pleasure in it whatever. So we made no preparations for the meeting, we neither studied, nor prayed, nor meditated, nor in fact thought about it at all. . . . We both of us hated it cordially, and felt we should be only too thankful when it was over.

It was in no sense a religious or “pious” undertaking on our parts. We were neither fervent, nor prayerful, nor concerned, nor anything that we ought to have been. Thou sees[29] I am telling the honest truth. And I really cannot imagine a meeting begun in a worse frame of mind that [sic] ours was, according to all one’s preconceived notions of what is the right and suitable thing. And in precisely the same frame of mind we went through the meeting. It was all a wearisome performance to us. We did it as if we had crossed over an impassable gulf. The flood had come since the last time [when Higher Life meetings were held], and changed everything for us. There was no interest, no enthusiasm. The meetings were a bore; the work was like a treadmill. We counted the hours until we could get away, and hailed the moment of emancipation with unspeakable joy. . . . [We knew we had] indifference and want of every sort of proper qualification for Christian work, which I have described before[.] . . . I was utterly unmoved; and both Robert and I came away more confirmed than ever in our feeling of entire relief from everything of the kind. We are done! Somebody else may do it now.

However, despite the fact that neither Robert nor Hannah Smith could stand being at the meetings, the power from the spirit world that was evident in their earlier ministry was more abundant than ever:

I . . . am compelled to record that the meeting was a perfect success. There was just the same power and blessing as at Oxford or Brighton, only on a smaller scale because of the meeting being smaller. There was every sign of the continual presence of the Spirit. Souls were converted, backsliders restored, Christians sanctified, and all present seemed to receive definite blessings. Dr. Cullis and many others say that it was the best meeting ever held in this country. And it really was a good meeting, even I, uninterested as I was, could see that. There was just the same apparent wave of blessing that swept over our English meetings. And Robert and I never worked more effectually. He had all his old power in preaching and leading meetings, and the very self-same atmosphere of the Spirit was with him as used to be in England. As for me, thee knows I am not much given to tell of my own successes, but in this case, in order that thee may have all the facts, I have to tell thee that I was decidedly “favored” as Friends say. In fact I don’t believe I ever was as good. All who had heard me before said so.

The fuss that was made over me was a little more than even in England. The preachers fairly sat at my feet, figuratively speaking, and constantly there kept coming to me testimonies of definite blessings received while I spoke. The second time I spoke a Democratic Editor was converted and consecrated on the spot; and I could scarcely get a minute to myself for the enquirers who fairly overwhelmed me. . . . I had to write all this, and thee must tear it right up, but how could thee know it unless I told thee[.] . . . For who would have dreamed of such an outcome to the indifference and want of every sort of proper qualification for [Christian] work, which I have described beforehand? . . . They all talked to me most solemnly about how dreadful it was in me to think of giving up public work[.] . . . We had to refuse lots of urgent invitations to hold meetings in various places, but we did it without a longing thought, only too thankful to be released. . . .

The one satisfaction of the meeting to us was this, and it was a satisfaction, that Robert was treated with all the old deference and respect, and that no one even seemed to think of or remember the English scandals, and Robert felt that it was a complete reinstatement of himself in the eyes of the church and the world. Our object in going to the meeting was accomplished . . . it will wipe out all the wretched English blot, and put him right once more. And then henceforth home and home life for us.

Personal holiness and genuine blessing from the Holy Spirit were not required for the type of religion spread by Hannah and Robert Smith. Their Higher Life doctrine could be spread by both knowingly unconsecrated Christians who were just putting on a weary performance and by unconverted persons. Hannah continued:

And now, WHAT does thee think of it all? I think one of two things, but which one I think, I don’t know. Perhaps thee can tell me. Either I was awfully wicked in the whole matter, and God was not in it anywhere, and all the success was by force of natural gifts and talents. Or else I was awfully good, so good as to have lost sight of self to such a degree as to be only a straw wafted on the wind of the Spirit, and so consecrated as not to be able to form a desire even, except that the will of God might be fully done.

I waver about myself continually. Sometimes I feel sure I have progressed wonderfully, and that my present sphinx-like calm and indifference to everything whether inward or outward except the will of God, is very grand. . . . I really don’t much care what His will is. . . . And then again I think I am an utterly irreligious and lazy fatalist, with not a spark of the divine in me.[30] I do wish I could find out which I am. But at all events my orthodoxy has fled to the winds. I am Broad, Broader, Broadest! So broad that I believe everything is good, or has a germ of good in it, and “nothing to be refused,” if it be received with thankfulness.

I agree with everybody, and always think it likely everybody’s “view” is better than my own. I hold all sorts of heresies, and feel myself to have got out into a limitless ocean of the love of God that overflows all things. My theology is complete, if you but grant me an omnipotent and just Creator. I need nothing more.[31] All the tempests in the various religious teapots around me do seem so far off, so young, so green, so petty! I know I was there once, it must have been ages ago, and it seems impossible. “God is love,” comprises my whole system of ethics. And, as thou says, it seems to take in all. . . . I guess He means us to be good human beings in this world, and nothing more. . . . There is certainly a very grave defect in any doctrine that universally makes its holders narrow and uncharitable, and this is always the case with strict so-called orthodoxy. Whereas, as soon as Christian love comes in, the bounds widen infinitely. I find that everyone who has travelled this highway of holiness for any length of time, has invariably cut loose from its old moorings.[32] I bring out my heresies to such, expecting reproof, when lo! I find sympathy. We are “out on the ocean sailing,” that is certain. And if it is the ocean of God’s love, as I believe, it is grand.

But, enough! Now, what will thee do with it all?[33]

Hannah saw that her Higher Life doctrine did not require the blessing of the Spirit of God and that it led people to reject Christian orthodoxy for ever greater heresy. While she was not willing to commit to the truth because of her unwillingless to evaluate everything by Scripture alone, she was correct when she opined: “I was awfully wicked in the whole matter, and God was not in it anywhere and all the success was because of our natural gifts and talents.” Both Mrs. Smith and her husband possessed tremendous natural powers and salesmanship abilities which they used to great success.[34] Mrs. Smith was also correct that her sphinxlike indifference was pagan fatalism,[35] irreligious, and evidence that she had nothing of God in her. Describing the powers that brought her to be leading meetings and services continually, Hannah wrote: “There seems to be something occult about it.”[36] Nonetheless, she continued on her path without care or concern, feeling happy. Mr. Smith recognized the overwhelming evidence provided by his last “successful” meeting that the Holy Spirit was not in his work at all, but that his success was simply natural; his apostasy from the profession of Christianity to agnosticism following in due course.[37] Mrs. Smith, on the other hand, was not willing to recongize that all her Higher Life agitation had been done without any real blessing by God, and so she retained her belief in the Higher Life and in a deity, while her orthodoxy, such as it was, went to the winds. She could be satisfied without the incarnate Christ,[38] considering dotrines such as His Deity, crucifixion, and resurrection as mere tempests in a religious teapot. She could be satisfied also without the church.[39] She could even be satisfied with the piety of mystical Hindu syncretism or Buddhism,[40] as long as she had a simple Creator. When Mrs. Smith could dilute the whole counsel of God contained in the complete Bible to a simple and mushy “God is love”[41]—whoever and whatever God is—and when those who “travelled on this highway” of the Higher Life with her “for any length of time” ended up jettisoning orthodoxy also, it should have been glaringly and horribly obvious to her upon self-examination (2 Corinthians 13:5) that her religion was earthly, sensual, and devilish.

Hannah was able, in part, to continue to preach the Higher Life even after facing the evidence that all her work was unspiritual and devoid of the smiles of heaven because she flatly rejected self-examination. In direct contradiction to the command of 2 Corinthians 13:5[42] and other Biblical passages, Mrs. Smith proclaimed that “self-examination . . . seems to be spiritual” but in reality causes “injury and harm”—indeed, it is “about as disastrous as anything.”[43] Consequently, as she learned from “Fenelon,” she counselled others: “[G]ive up all future self-reflective acts,” for this was a key to spiritual “liberty.”[44] At the Brighton Convention, for example, she boldly preached against self-examination, distorting 2 Corithians 13:5 in a major way.[45]

After all, she had “suffered so much from” self-examination that she wrote: “I have at last given it up forever. Do the same, dear friend[.]”[46] Rather than practicing self-examination, one is to “lear[n] the precious lesso[n] . . . of knowing the inward Voice, and following it without reserve. . . . For myself, I find that the sweetness of a life of obedience to this inward Voice is greater than I can express,” as confirmed by her feelings of happiness and by the Quaker “Isaac Pennington.”[47] Hannah sought to come to a “more complete surrender to . . . the inward voice . . . than ever” as she plunged ever deeper into the Higher Life; her “great hunger” was for this “voice.”[48] Thus, by rejecting self-examination, she could remain deluded and happy despite in the devilish nature of her religion, as its terribly unsound character was only obvious to those who recognized human depravity, rejected the Inward Voice, cleaved to sola Scriptura, and carefully applied the Bible to their own spiritual experience, because of their own personal regeneration. Hannah W. Smith rejected such a careful and watchful attitude, since the conflict between the Bible and her experience hindered her feelings of happiness and made her feel like she was suffering; following the Inward Voice instead made her feel very happy, at least at the time—whether she was happy upon her death is another question.

As well as the paradigmatic Higher Life or Keswick writer, Mrs. Smith and her husband were Quakers, “birthright member[s] of the Society of Friends”[49] who sought to lead her children into the Quaker way.[50] The Smiths had Quaker ancestors reaching back to the days of William Penn.[51] Hannah’s “father . . . was . . . a very strict Quaker . . . Robert’s family were also of good Quaker stock.”[52] Indeed, Hannah, her “parents, and [even her] grandparents” were “birthright Friend[s],”[53] and Hannah was raised in “traditional Quaker mysticism.”[54] While, Mr. Smith was for a portion of his life a member of the Presbyterian denomination,[55] even in his most theologically orthodox years he was close enough to Quakerism that, for example, around the time of his leadership of the Keswick precursor Conventions he could send his “children and their nurse . . . to stay for the whole summer with the Barclays, a wealthy Quaker family, at Monkhams, their home in Essex . . . [where] the girls shared the Barclay children’s governess and tutors.”[56] Furthermore, Mrs. Smith “could not follow . . . Robert . . . [in joining] the Presbyterians . . . as she found their views against the preaching of women unacceptable.”[57] Indeed, Hannah was too heretical even for many Quakers: “In 1867 . . . Hannah . . . tried to start a little Quaker Meeting in Millville, which, not surprisingly, turned out too heretical to be approved, and she searched the Scriptures to support her strong feeling that she was called upon to preach.”[58] Nevertheless, by “the 1870s Hannah had no church affiliation and . . . had begun to attend Friend’s Meeting again,”[59] as she “had become more or less reconciled . . . [with] the Quakers.”[60] During some periods of their married life when, in the words of Hannah, “Robert [was] enthusiastic over [men such as a local] Baptist clergyman . . . because he preaches such a pure gospel,” Hannah nonetheless noted, “I cannot enjoy close contact with such people”;[61] Quaker ministers, who did not preach a pure gospel, were better.[62] The teachings of the Pearsall Smiths cannot be understood properly without a consideration of the Quakerism that permeated their religious background.

Hannah believed that the “Friends . . . were especially raised up by the Lord to teach this truth” of the Higher Life, and she “long[ed] to see Quakerism the formost in the great battlefield” for it. She wrote: “More and more I am convinced that Quakerism was in its first founding pure, unadulterated Christianity. Every advanced truth that the Lord teaches me, I find is only a return to pure Quakerism.”[63] Before her rise as a preacher of the Higher Life, at the pinnacle of her preaching work with Robert that led to the founding of the Keswick Convention, and throughout the rest of her life, she remained a devoted Quaker.[64]

Mrs. Smith . . . remained essentially a Quaker throughout life, or, as it would be more accurate to say, grew steadily more and more Quaker. There is scarcely a distinctively Quaker conception which does not find expression at some time or other in her writings. . . . [E]ven the fundamental mystical [Quaker heresy of] the “divine seed” is quite clearly enunciated and the characteristic Higher Life teaching developed out of it. . . . Mrs. Smith became perfectly well aware, then, that her teaching was in its essence genuinely Quaker teaching: and she delighted to present it in its organic relation with Quaker teaching.[65]

The Higher Life theology she founded was simply the theology of Quakerism.

Since she did not have to examine herself by the teaching of Scripture, Mrs. Smith could set Biblical doctrine and practice against each other, reject the former, exalt the latter, and feel happy in her deluded state. Hannah wrote:

How true the old Friends were when they used to tell us that it was not what we believed but how we lived that was the real test of salvation, and how little we understood them! . . . And as thee says, my opinions about God may all be wrong, but if my loyalty to Him is real it will not matter. It seems as if it would be enough just to say, “God is,” and, “Be good,” and then all would be said. [That is, even Deism combined with mere morality would be acceptable.] It is the practical things that interest me now[.][66]

She did not know whether what she taught people was sound, or whether it was true—but she knew that it made people feel comfortable, and this was enough.[67] Indeed, she wrote that her first duty in life was not to glorify God, but to be comfortable: “I consider it my first duty in life to make myself as comfortable as is possible[.]”[68] After all, as Hannah explained at the Brighton Convention, the Holy Spirit is not “one to make us unhappy”—thoughts that make one unhappy “always come from Satan.”[69] She did not seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), but sought first the secret of a happy life. Feeling happy—eudemonism—was what was truly important. Her son Logan narrated:

When in her later life [Mrs. Smith] came to be a sort of mother-confessor to the many people who used to come to her for advice in their perplexities, her advice was always, she told us, for them to do the thing they really and seriously wanted to do. . . . “But surely, Mother,” [her children] sometimes protested, “this is dangerous advice to give to people!” “Well,” she would answer, “our Heavenly Father knows the kind of advice I give, so if He sends people to me it must be because He wants them given this advice. Besides, children,” she would add, “people always in the end do what they want to do, and they might as well do it with a good conscience.”[70]

Based on this view that people should do whatever they wanted, Hannah taught: “[D]on’t be too unselfish.”[71] Logan Pearsall Smith explained what he learned from his parents about sanctification from the time he experienced his second blessing as an unregenerate seven year old:

Sanctification . . . renders us immune from sin. . . . [I] renounced . . . Pelagian attempts to conquer Sin and Satan by [my] own carnal struggles, and realized that only by Grace, and unmerited Grace alone, and by no “deadly doing,” could [I] attain the conquest that [I] sought. . . . [Those who receive the second blessing receive] [t]he glorious certainty that they are sanctified . . . they rejoice—as all my life I have rejoiced—in the consciousness that they can commit no wrong. I may do, I have undoubtedly done, things that were foolish, tactless, and dishonest, and what the world would consider wrong, but since I attained the state of Sanctification at the age of seven I have never felt the slightest twinge of conscience, never experienced for one second the sense of sin.[72]

Logan achieved the goal of his mother’s theology of sanctification—happiness in a perpetual freedom from a sense of sin and guilt—the secret of a happy life. To Hannah W. Smith, feeling happy, and having no pangs of conscience because of sin, were more important than the glory of God and obedience to the Bible.

In line with the Quaker background she shared with her husband, both Mrs. and Mr. Smith were believers in the continuation of miraculous gifts for the present day as opposed to being cessationists, advocates of the Biblical truth that the sign gifts ceased with the completion of the canon of the Scripture and the death of the Apostles in the first century. The Smiths were consequently involved in the Faith or Mind Cure movement which advocated miraculous and non-medical means for healing and laid the foundation for Keswick continuationism and Pentecostalism. Mrs. Smith knew Quakers who had received Faith Cures.[73] She was the instrument through which various people received such Cures herself,[74] healing several who were “close to hysteria,” although she “tried her powers, in vain, on a victim of cancer,”[75] since cancer is clearly a physical disease that is not removed when someone is no longer hysterical. She stated: “With Faith Healing I have had a great deal of experience.”[76] Hannah wrote concerning a sick friend: “I wish she could get hold of faith healing[.]”[77] She herself used a “Mind Cure for sea-sickness[.]”[78] She was acquainted with that prominent evangelist of the Faith Cure,[79] Dr. Charles Cullis, from at least 1871,[80] and ministered with Cullis on various occasions,[81] since “Dr. Cullis of Boston [was] a friend and fellow evangelist” of the Smiths.[82] After all, Cullis surely had miraculous powers; he healed Mrs. Smith’s daughter of indigestion through the techniques of the Faith Cure,[83] although he was unable to heal himself—ever—of a serious heart condition he endured for decades.[84] Indeed, Cullis was such a firm supporter of Mr. and Mrs. Smith and their Higher Life preaching that he sought to restore Robert after Mr. Smith’s fall due to his preaching of erotic Spirit baptism.[85] As a Quaker, Hannah W. Smith was naturally an advocate for the continuationism of the Faith or Mind Cure.

Mrs. Smith was likewise a “friend” of the “New Thought teacher . . . Mrs. Caldwell,”[86] illustrating the close relationship between the nineteenth century New Thought or Mind Cure movements from which arose the Christian Science of Mary B. Eddy, with its spiritualism and laws of healing, and the Faith Cure.[87] Hannah noted:

I find that spiritualists have all the “baptisms” and “leadings” and “manifestations” that [non-spiritualistic but continuationist] Christians have, with precisely similar symptoms. The same “thrills,” the same “waves” or currents of life, the same spiritual uplifts, the same interior illuminations; they even see similar visions of Christ, and hear similar interior voices . . . taken in themselves, it is utterly impossible to distinguish between them.[88]

Mrs. Smith’s daughter also “visited . . . with the intention of studying her doctrine, the famous female prophet, Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy.”[89] Indeed, Hannah Smith’s description of the Faith Cure makes its identity with the Mind Cure of New Thought evident:

[O]ur faith lays hold of spiritual forces which are superior to natural forces and which therefore can overpower them. . . . [W]e become able to avail ourselves of powers that He has put at our disposal in the spiritual realm. I expect His real will for us is health always, but if we disobey natural laws His will is thwarted, and it is only by bringing in spiritual laws that we can overcome the evil tendencies caused by sin[.] . . . [J]ust as a wire does not create the electric current but only draws it down in certain directions so our faith does not create health but only draws the vitality of the spiritual realm down into our vessel. It is wonderful what faith will do.[90]

Thus, the Faith or Mind Cure works based on “law,” and prayer is not, as it is in the Bible, a means of healing through the petitioning of a personal, sovereign, and loving God in Christ for His gracious physical mercies—rather, prayer is the instrument of healing insofar as by it people are “brought into harmony with those laws” of healing.[91] Anticipating the Word of Faith doctrine of positive confession creating positive realities and negative confessions creating negative realities, Mrs. Smith consequently counselled: “[L]et me advise thee not to talk of thyself as being old. There is something in Mind Cure, after all, and, if thee continually talks of thyself as being old, thee may perhaps bring on some of the infirmities of age.”[92] She wrote: “[T]he mind cure . . . is only the science by which the faith cure works,”[93] a fact generally recognized by objective writers of her day.[94] No objective disjunction and sharp division between an allegedly Christian Faith Cure movement and a clearly pagan and evil Mind Cure movement can be established by objective historiography—Hannah W. Smith and other early continuationist Higher Life leaders certainly made no such division.

Indeed, the Mind or Faith Cure was simply the application to the body of the Higher Life or Keswick doctrine of sanctification by faith alone: “[T]he mind cure . . . [or] faith cure . . . is simply doing on the plane of physical health what we did on the plane of sin when we reckoned ourselves dead to it and alive only to God. If the atonement covers sickness as well as sin this [is] all . . . true.”[95] Hannah’s rejection of self-examination was helpful as a support for the Faith and Mind Cure, for not only should one refrain from spiritual self-examination, but from physical self-examination also, so symptoms that were “cured” by the Faith Cure but were still present could be ignored: “Self examination of one’s physical symptoms or spiritual symptoms is about as disastrous as anything.”[96] Unfortunately, the adoption of the Faith and Mind Cure in Hannah’s family led to unnecessary and tragic early death. Hannah Whitall Smith’s sister Mary Thomas died of breast cancer at the age of fifty-three in 1887, leaving behind her husband and eight children. Mary believed she was cured by the Faith Cure, consequently refused to go to a doctor to deal with her cancer, and consequently died. In the words of Hannah W. Smith:

The one great grief to all of us is that six months [earlier] she could have been cured [by conventional medicine], when she first began to think she had the trouble, but then she trusted the Lord for healing and fully believed it was done and went on believing this all summer so fully that she never said anything to anyone about it.[97] And all the while [her cancer] was growing as rapidly as it was possible for it to do . . . my sister is simply the victim of the faith cure teaching.[98]

Hannah’s preaching at a camp meeting exemplified the union of the Faith Cure and the Higher Life in her theology:

In our hotel I found one of the housekeepers who was a devoted adherent of mine and who told me of a Holiness Camp Meeting in progress in the country outside of the city. . . . Just as I neared the ground . . . I saw a Philadelphia lady whom I used to see at meetings there long ago coming to the pump for water! I spoke to her and she recognized me at once, gave me a hearty welcome, and then introduced me to the leaders of the meeting and to all the dear saints right and left. I received a perfect ovation! They had all apparently read my book “The Christian’s Secret,” and were full of it, and of the blessing it had been to them “next to their Bibles” [as] the “constant companion of their devotions,” the “greatest help of their lives” etc. etc. And they fairly overwhelmed me with their delight at seeing me, dear souls.

They would hear nothing but that I should stay and preach for them in their evening meeting, which I did, under a large tent. It was altogether quite a refreshing experience. . . . They had a meeting for faith healing, and insisted on my going to it to teach them! . . . I told them . . . I would give them Dr. Cullis’ teaching, and that seemed to satisfy them.[99]

Mrs. Smith was far from being alone in combining the Faith or Mind Cure and the Higher Life; rather, preparing the way for Pentecostalism, “belief in and the witness to miraculous divine healings attended the holiness movement at every turn.”[100] Her Quaker continuationism was by no means restricted to a belief in continued Apostolic healings; she noted that “speaking with tongues . . . is . . . apt to come to [Higher Life] Revivals, [and] I have known a great many instances.”[101] She likewise thought: “[It is] the privilege of Christians to receive the same Baptism now . . . [as was received] on the day of Pentecost. . . . There is nothing in the Bible which suggests that this gift [of Spirit baptism as experienced on Pentecost] should cease[.] . . . [T]he early Friends must have known and experienced it, and . . . this accounts for their wonderful success.”[102] After all, for Mrs. Smith, if not for Scripture, only elite believers—those only who have entered into the Higher Life—have the Holy Spirit,[103] so a post-conversion second blessing comparable to Pentecost was obviously of tremendous importance. Mrs. Smith was a committed continuationst because of her Higher Life Quakerism, and was consequently very important Pentecostal precursor.

Hannah, as a natural concommitant of her continuationism and Quakerism, believed in the Inner Light heresy and was consequently an opponent of the sole authority of Scripture. W. H. Griffith Thomas effectively summarizes the character of the Quaker Inner Light heresy:

In the Mysticism of the Quakers we find the tendency to emphasise the doctrine of the “inner light” as something either independent of, or superior to the written Word. This position is set forth by Barclay, the leading theologian of the Society of Friends. “We may not call them (the Scriptures) the principal fountain of all truth and knowledge, nor yet the first adequate rule of faith and manners, because the principal fountain of truth must be the truth itself; i.e. that whose authority and certainty depends not upon another.”[104] Again, “God hath committed and given unto every man a measure of light of His own Son—a measure of grace, or a measure of the Spirit. This, as it is received, and not resisted, works the salvation of all, even of those who are ignorant of the death and sufferings of Christ.”[105] . . . [Contrary to Quakerism,] it is not true to say that every man, as such, has the Spirit of God, nor can we call the same thing “light,” “reason,” “grace,” “the Spirit,” “the Word of God,” “Christ within,” and “God in us.” Such a procedure would create untold confusion and lead to almost endless trouble. . . . According to the early Quakers a man of their time might be as truly inspired of God as were the Prophets and Apostles of the Bible. Against the imposition of dogma by authority George Fox said that “though he read of Christ and God,” he knew them only through a [“]like spirit in his own soul.” And to refer to Barclay again, he taught that “God hath placed His Spirit in every man, to inform him of his duty and to enable him to do it.”[106]

The Inner Light was key to Quaker devotional writing and practice:

The most obvious theological distinction [in] Quakerism which makes an impact on devotional pratice is the doctrine of the ‘inner light.’ . . . [E]very individual was born with the light of Christ within. Though the light (which is often identified with the Holy Spirit) is darkened by sin, it can be rekindled through quietness and spiritual listening. Christ, therefore, shines anew on the heart apart from the normal means of grace such as preaching and reading the Scriptures.[107]

Rejection of the sole authority of Scripture was a necessary corollary to the Inner Light doctrine—consequently, Hannah W. Smith, along with Quakerism in general, opposed the truth of sola Scriptura. For the “Society of Friends . . . [the] ultimate and final authority for religious life and faith resides within each individual. Many . . . seek for this truth through the guidance of the inner light.”[108] Thus:

[George] Fox and others stressed [that] the contemporary believer has the same or clearer experience of God as the biblical prophets. . . . [T]he scripture is . . . like a record of ancient men who had their own ‘showings’ of the divine light, experiences recorded in order to prompt us to do the same. The Bible is a guidebook only in this way[.] . . . “Quakerism is better off emphasizing pantheistic and universalist perspectives. Our [Quaker] mode of worship is especially well-suited to this theology. Other denominations probably better serve people who are looking for strict adherence to doctrine . . . or Christ crucified as a personal Savior[.]”[109]

Hannah Smith, a universalist who came to rest satisfied in a mystical “bare God,”[110] rather than the Triune Father, Son, and Holy Spirit revealed in Scripture,[111] received many great revelations as a Quaker—unfortunately, they were far, far too often not illumination that came from the study of the Scripture, but additional revelations or Quaker “openings” that arose from other sources. For example, she wrote: “One of my greatest ‘openings’ into the mystery of religion came from something I heard . . . Oscar Wilde . . . say in Philadelphia, dressed in shorts with a big sunflower in his buttonhole.”[112] Statements of the serial pedophile Oscar Wilde, with the assistance of the Inner Light, were, for Hannah, a fine substitute for the sole authority of the infallible Word of God, the Bible.[113]

Naturally, Mrs. Smith opposed literal or grammatical-historical interpretation of Scripture, and the truly authoritative character of Scripture in general. She affirmed: “I am afraid of too much literalness”[114] in interpreting the Bible, preferring rather “the spiritual meaning” that is “often so much deeper than appears on the surface, as even to seem almost in contrast”[115] to the literal meaning. After all, literal interpretation was the death-knell of Quaker continuationism and the destruction of the foundation of the Higher Life theology—it was, therefore, better when at meetings like the Broadlands Conferences Mrs. Smith, her husband, and others could minister in a “wonderfully inspired way,” testifying to notions validated not by literal exegesis of Scripture, but by “their personal experience,” as they “tarried . . . not . . . in the letter of the Word, but . . . discerned everywhere beneath it the living Word.”[116]

Mrs. Smith could likewise rejoice when a modernist like “Newman Smyth” wrote “a grand book on Christian evolution,”[117] or when the modernist “Canon Farrar . . . dealt forcibly with all timid holding on to old errors” and set forth the necessity for “revision of the Bible.”[118] Indeed, because of the preeminence of the Inner Light, the Bible was normally not used in the Friends meeting.[119] Mrs. Smith certainly had no patience for a dispensational and literal view of Biblical prophecy; indeed, while Biblical holiness leads saints to long for Christ’s second coming,[120] Hannah Smith testified: “[S]ince Christ has come to me in my heart I cannot care so much for His outward coming.”[121] What need did she have for the Bible and its literal meaning when she had mysticism and a Quaker inward divinity, a “Christ within,” to lead her and teach her?

Mrs. Smith, contrary to 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-37, spoke frequently to mixed audiences and taught adult men. Although Paul, under inspiration, stated: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak. . . it is a shame for women to speak in the church. . . . If any man think himself to be . . . spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord,” Mrs. Smith preached to men about how to be spiritual. At their meetings, both “Mr. and Mrs. Pearsall Smith . . . took a leading part in the speaking.”[122] She “supported the right of women to preach as Quakers always had done,”[123] defending “women’s preaching” after “an experience of revolt from the traditional views”[124] found in Scripture, a revolt in which she was followed by many, such as Mrs. Boardman, who was similarly “led” to address mixed audiences under Quaker influence,[125] and Hannah’s Quaker and Keswick successor Jessie Penn-Lewis. Mrs. Smith explained at the Brighton Convention, where vast crowds of men thronged to hear her preaching,[126] that she had asked the Lord to show her whether women should preach or not, and “He . . . gave me such a strong feeling that it was His mind, that now, whatever is said against it, it makes no difference.”[127] Experience validated woman preachers in a way that Scripture could not. However, the unscriptural experiental validation of women preachers was most comparable to the validation of the Mind and Faith Cures by experience—the marvels performed by women validated both their leadership ministries and the value of their Cures. After all, students of the early decades of the Mind and Faith Cure movements noted: “[N]inety-five percent of [the] adherents [of] . . . ‘Christian Science’ . . . are women . . . [and] ‘Faith Healing’ . . . too . . . has a largely feminine constituency.”[128] Thus, experience on her side, arguments from Scripture could by no means move Mrs. Smith from her position, although she was willing to assent to the views of other Quaker women preachers who justified their disobedience by proclaiming at the pre-Keswick Conventions a misinterpretation of Joel 2:28’s promise about the prophesying of daughters.[129] While the committee backing their Higher Life conventions allowed both Hannah and Robert to preach, she made “the members of the committee . . . uneasy[.] . . . It was bad enough for a woman to preach; many, in particular the Germans, found it extremely shocking; but for her to preach Restitution, or the denial of Hell, was dangerously heretical.”[130] Nonetheless, Hannah wrote to Robert: “I quite enjoy the thought of your pow-wow over me . . . and of . . . condolences . . . on the possession of such a dangerous article as a heretical, preaching wife. . . . I do not in the least mind being a heretic. In fact I think it rather suits my cast of mind.”[131] Indeed, it was precisely her denial of hell for the universalist heresy that brought her and her husband to fame, for her universalist confession lead to her receipt, “at a time when the universal hope was deemed a heresy . . . an invitation to hold [the] series of [Higher Life] meetings at Broadlands.”[132] Consequently, on the authority of her feelings and subjective impressions and backed by her heretical opinions, Mrs. Smith began her career as a woman preacher in Quaker meetings and continued preaching regularly to mixed audiences of men and women for the rest of her life.[133]

Mrs. Smith was also passionately opposed to the Biblical pattern of leadership by the huband in marriage (Ephesians 5:22-33), stating that it made women into slaves, and looking to woman’s sufferage as the key to the destruction of all the Biblical patriarchy (Isaiah 3:12) that existed in the society of her day.[134] Concerning the Biblical roles in marriage, she said: “‘No’ emphatically . . . a thousand times ‘No.’ . . . I know nothing more absolutely unjust in itself nor more productive of misery to the woman than the assumption of the place of authority on the part of men. It reduces women at once in principle to the position of slaves . . . [a]ny amount of anarchy and confusion would be better.”[135] Nothing, Hannah W. Smith knew, could be more unjust than what the Holy and Just One, the good and loving God, commanded about the roles of men and women in the marriage relationship.

Judging by her unhappy and un-Christian marriage[136] and the fact that none of her children who survived to adulthood were born again or honored the Lord,[137] Mrs. Smith neither had the true “secret” of a happy Christian life nor the spiritual power to affect others for Christ. Her son Logan Pearsall Smith rejected Christ and Christianity. He wrote:

The old doctrines of the corruption of man and his inevitable doom unless he finds salvation in the conviction of sin, the gift of grace, and a sudden catastrophic, miraculous conversion—this evangelical theology . . . has now become utterly alien and strange to me. . . . I rejoiced in . . . ridicule of the evangelical religion . . . I gave . . . serious attention to the literature of Theosophy, and was inclined to believe that the key to the problem of existence was to be found, if only I could grasp it, in a little book of Rosicrucian doctrine over which I used to pore for hours. . . . We are indeed leaves that perish . . . I do not find that a fate to be regretted . . . for any other form of being I feel no longing. All that I have read about what happens in a future existence makes the life beyond the grave seem an uncomfortable adventure. I have no desire for eternal bliss. . . . [I]f there is a struggle in the mind . . . between God and Mammon, I advise that the service of the god of money should be followed.[138]

One of Hannah’s two daughters abandoned her Roman Catholic husband and her children to pursue an adulterous relationship, while the other daughter married atheist Bertrand Russell; both daughters rejected Christianity.[139] Indeed, Hannah’s persistently adulterous daughter Mary wrote the following to her mother: “I have (I think) no orthodox standards of any kind. Thee, who is such a rebel against orthodoxy in religion, cannot be surprised or shocked if I am a rebel against orthodoxy in conduct. . . . [O]ne heresy leads to another, in the next generation at least.”[140] As Hannah’s children rejected Christianity, so her husband Robert evidenced his unregenerate state by his rejection of Christianity for agnosticism and Buddhism accompanied by his own persistent adultery. More importantly than her lack of the “secret” of happiness or spiritual power, Mrs. Smith did not have the “secret” of a God-honoring Christian life, or even, based on her heresies, a Christian life at all. Nonetheless, “[m]any today who know her only through her writings know very little about . . . Hannah’s heresies . . . or, if they do, like those who knew her best, they still accept her spiritual insights as valid . . . loyal to . . . [the] doctrine . . . that life not doctrine was the true test of pure Christianity.”[141] However, one wonders if many of those advocates of a doctrineless false pietism who embrace Mrs. Smith are aware that, while not living an outwardly profligate life, she nonetheless disliked united prayer,[142] went to casinos,[143] and hated her household servants.[144] She wrote a note to her daughter about her “belated birthday present—a telescope Cigarette holder. Thee need not advertise that it is a present from the author of the ‘Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life’!”[145] She also wrote her daughter concerning her grandchildren: “The girls decided to play Demon in my sitting-room, and asked if I would let them say ‘Da[-]n’ now and then, and what could a poor foolish grandmother say but, ‘Yes’! (But do not put this in my Memoirs, I beg of thee!).”[146] Along with allowing her grandchildren to play Demon and employ curse words, Mrs. Smith also fellowshiped with spiritualists[147] and received prophecies from occult palm readers.[148] Her life was not a little different from that of a consistent pietist, even one who cared little for Biblically orthodox doctrine. Neither Mrs. Smith’s beliefs nor her life indicated that she knew the alleged “secret” to a happy or holy Christian life.

Mrs. Smith was a committed universalist.[149] She was passionately and zealously wedded to the heresy that everyone would go to heaven and nobody would suffer eternally in hell. After a period of time during which she blasphemously thought God was selfish for not saving everyone and that she was more loving than God, and consistent with her Quaker background, Mrs. Smith adopted universalism because of a grossly unscriptural “revelation” given to her while she was expressing her displeasure with God. While feeling justified in her “upbraiding” of the Holy One, she adopted universalism because of an “inward voice” that she “knew” gave her the truth because of the testimony of her “heart” before she even looked at the Bible.[150] She was open to such “revelations” because she rejected the total depravity of man in favor of the Inner Light: “Just as we inherit natural life from the first Adam, so do we inherit spiritual life from the second Adam. There is . . . in every man a seed of the divine life, a Christ-germ as it were. The old Quakers called it ‘the witness for God in the soul,’ ‘that which responds to the divine inspeaking. . . . There is a divine seed in every man[.]”[151] After all, for Mrs. Smith, the law is not the externally objective testimony of Scripture, but the Inner Light, the Divine Seed—“Our law of life is within; we must love to follow it.”[152] She would have done well to consider God’s testimony that “he that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26; cf. Jeremiah 17:9). Instead, Mrs. Smith taught that one should follow “God’s four especial voices, i. e. the voice of the Bible, the voice of circumstances, the voice of one’s highest reason, and the voice of one’s inward impressions.”[153] She had learned from the Quakers that personal “revelations” were superior to the Scriptures:

A Quaker “concern” [alleged revelation] was to my mind clothed with even more authority than the Bible, for the Bible was God’s voice of long ago, while the “concern” was His voice at the present moment and, as such, was of far greater present importance . . . the preaching I hear[d] was certainly calculated to exalt the “inward voice” and its communications above all other voices . . . since God spoke to us directly[.][154]

She received such revelations throughout her life, leading her to all kinds of conclusions that could not be found in the Bible.[155] Mrs. Smith persisted in believing in and preaching[156] the universalism she had learned from the spirit world through the Inner Voice until her death,[157] for the Inner Voice was the necessary corollary of the Quaker and Gnostic[158]rejection of human depravity for the doctrine of the Divine Seed in every man. Every man had a Divine Seed, so every man would be saved; thus Hannah had learned from the Inner Voice. Hannah came to teach religious pluralism as a corollary of her universalism, that “a good Creator can be got at through all sorts of religious beliefs and all sorts of religious ceremonies, and that it does not matter what they are.” Indeed people who are “fundamentally good . . . can be so content without any real link with God,” or even “without any certainty that there is a God to be linked to.”[159] Thus, not just the false gospel of High Church Anglicans[160] and Roman Catholic priests,[161] or the polytheism and blasphemy of Mormons[162] within the realm of what might in the very loosest sense be termed Christiandom, but also the worship of various gods, whether Allah, Baal, or Satan, is fine; indeed, even atheists and agnostics can be fundamentally good, and everyone is going to heaven at the end, in any case. One may trust in Jehovah and hate the devil, and another may trust in the devil and hate the living God, but although “on exactly opposite pathways . . . we all meet God at last.”[163] People who do not care in the least about the “saving of the soul,” and who are “unconsciou[s] . . . [of] the Christianity of Christ,” are still “serving, though it may be unconsciously . . . the Divine Master,”[164] regardless of whatever the Bible might say to the contrary (e. g., Ephesians 2:1-13). God receives the worship and brings to heaven those who worship in spirit and in truth and serve Him in a Bible-practicing church, and He also allegedly receives the worship and brings to heaven those who offer the gore of human sacrifices to Moloch. It thus becomes clear why it was necessary for Hannah to preach the Higher Life—all already have eternal life, but not all have the happiness and rest that comes from the Keswick theology.[165]

Hannah W. Smith wrote My Spiritual Autobiography: How I Discovered The Unselfishness of God[166] specifically because she loved being a heretic, and because she wanted to convince others to adopt heresies and become heretics:

[M]y autobiography . . . “How I discovered God” . . . is the story of my soul life from my early Quaker days, on through all the progressive steps of my experience . . . I am putting all my heresies into my story, and am trying to show the steps that have led to them; and I flatter myself that it is going to be very convincing! So if you feel afraid of becoming heretics, I advise you not to read it. For my part, I always did love being a heretic as some of you know. What fun it was[!][167]

The book documents Mrs. Smith’s universalist and Quaker heresies, as well as the fact that her universalism, which she spread in her writings, antedated her and her husband’s public proclamation of the “Higher Life” theology from which the Keswick movement originated. She explained her adoption of the universalist heresy as follows:

Neither could I see how a Creator could be just . . . in consigning some of the creatures He Himself, and no other, had created, to the eternal torment of hell, let them be as great sinners as they might be. I felt that if this doctrine were true, I should be woefully disappointed in the God whom I had . . . discovered. . . . As an escape from the doctrine of eternal torment, I at first embraced the doctrine of annihilation for the wicked, and for a little while tried to comfort myself with the belief that this life ended all for them. But the more I thought of it, the more it seemed to me that it would be a confession of serious failure on the part of the Creator, if He could find no way out of the problem of His creation, but to annihilate the creatures whom He had created. . . . I could not believe He would torment them forever; and neither could I rest in the thought of annihilation as His best remedy for sin. . . . I set myself to discover my mistakes. . . . [O]ne day a revelation came to me that vindicated Him, and that settled the whole question forever. . . . I seemed to have a revelation . . . not of His [Christ’s] sufferings because of sin, but of ours. . . . I had been used to hear a great deal about the awfulness of our sins against God, but now I asked myself, what about the awfulness of our fate in having been made sinners? Would I not infinitely rather that a sin should be committed against myself, than that I should commit a sin against any one else? Was it not a far more dreadful thing to be made a sinner than to be merely sinned against? . . . I saw that, when weighted in a balance of wrong done, we, who had been created sinners, had infinitely more to forgive than any one against whom we might have sinned.[168]

The vividness with which all this came to me can never be expressed. . . . I saw it. It was a revelation . . . it could not be gainsaid. . . . How long it lasted I cannot remember, but, while it lasted, it almost crushed me. And as it always came afresh at the sight of a strange face, I found myself obliged to wear a thick veil whenever I went into the streets[.] . . . One day I was riding on a tram-car along Market Street, Philadelphia, when I saw two men . . . dimly through my veil . . . [but when the] conductor came for his fare . . . I was obliged to raise my veil in order to count it out. As I raised it, I got a sight of the faces of those two men, and with an overwhelming flood of anguish, I seemed to catch a fresh and clearer revelation of the depths of the misery that had been caused to human beings by sin. It was more than I could bear. . . . I upbraided God. And I felt I was justified in doing so. Then suddenly . . . [a]n inward voice said . . . “He shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied.” “Satisfied!” I cried in my heart . . . . [“]If I were Christ, nothing could satisfy me but that every human being should in the end be saved, and therefore I am sure that nothing less will satisfy Him.” And with this a veil seemed to be withdrawn from before the plans of the universe . . . I saw therefore that the remedy must necessarily be equal to the disease, the salvation must be as universal as the fall.

I saw all this that day on the tram-car . . . not only thought it, or hoped it, or even believed it—but knew it. It was a Divine fact. And from that moment I have never had one questioning thought as to the final destiny of the human race. . . . However great the ignorance therefore, or however grievous the sin, the promise of salvation is positive and without limitations . . . somewhere and somehow God was going to make everything right for all the creatures He had created. My heart was at rest about it forever.

I hurried home to get hold of my Bible, to see if the magnificent fact I had discovered could possibly have been all this time in the Bible . . . my Bible fairly shone with a new meaning. . . . the true [universalist] meaning, hidden behind the outward form of words . . . rightly interpreted, not by the letter, but by the spirit . . . the denunciations of God’s wrath, which had once seemed so cruel and so unjust, were transformed into declarations of His loving determination to make us good enough to live in Heaven with Himself forever.[169] . . . [A]t this time my real discovery of the unselfishness of God began. Up to then . . . I had been secretly beset from time to time with a torturing feeling that, after all, it was rather a selfish salvation, both for Him and for me. . . . always there had been at the bottom of my mind this secret feeling that His love could not stand the test of comparison with the ideal of love in my own heart. . . . I still had often felt as if after all the God I worshipped was a selfish God, who cared more for His own comfort and His own glory that He did for the poor suffering beings He had made. . . . [M]ost of my ideas of the love and goodness of God have come from my own experience as a mother . . . since this discovery of the mother-heart of God I have always been able to answer every doubt that may have arisen in my mind . . . by simply looking at my own feelings as a mother. . . . I had in short such an overwhelming revelation . . . that nothing since has been able to shake it. . . . [W]hen I had that revelation on the tram-car in Philadelphia that day, a light on the character of God began to shine. . . . The amazing thing is that I, in company with so many other Christians, had failed, with the open Bible before me, to see this [“truth” of universalism.] . . .

[Opposition to my new belief in universal salvation] became at this time well-nigh intolerable. I could listen patiently, and even with interest, to any sort of strange or heretical ideas . . . but the one thing I could not endure, and could not sit still to listen to, was anything that contained, even under a show of great piety, the least hint of [opposition to universalism]. . . . [A] celebrated Preacher . . . was visiting us. . . . his object was to combat my views on Restitution [that is, universalism.] [A]lthough the speaker was my guest, I broke forth into a perfect passion of indignation, and declaring that I would not sit at the table with any one who held such libelous ideas of God, I burst into tears and left the room, and entirely declined to see my guest again. I do not say that this was right or courteous, or at all Christ-like, but it only illustrates how overwhelmingly I felt on the subject. . . . As was to be expected . . . my views on Restitution, which of course I had speedily announced, met with a great deal of disapproval from the Plymouth Brethren, and my other orthodox friends . . . I have always rather enjoyed being considered a heretic . . . the discovery I had made . . . was considered by many to be . . . a grave heresy . . . but the revelation I had had was too glorious for me to withhold it whenever I found an open door; and . . . I was never willing to sail under false colours, nor speak anywhere without it being perfectly well known beforehand what a heretic I was[.] . . . And, as a fact, these very views, and the frank confession of them . . . were the means of opening the way for some of our most important and successful work. . . . In 1873 my husband had come over to England to hold some meetings in the interests of the Higher Life, or, what I prefer to call it, the Life of Faith. I soon followed him, and upon my arrival in London I was invited to meet a company of leading Evangelical[170] ladies, who were to decide as to whether it would be safe for them to endorse me, and lend their influence to the work. . . . I [declared my belief in] the universal hope . . . the moment I ceased speaking . . . [I was invited to] come and have some meetings . . . not a word of disapproval was uttered, and . . . [the way] was thrown open to us for our first conference, which was a time of wonderful blessing, and proved to be the entering door for all the future conferences, and for our whole after work in England and elsewhere. . . . I believe in Restitution more and more. . . . When in 1874 there was to be one of these conferences . . . some of the committee who were helping to organize it, got frightened about my heresies . . . [but] as it was felt important to have me at the meetings, the committee . . . decided to take me as I was, with all my heresies. . . . I am a thousand times stronger in my view of restitution every day I live. . . . I . . . know that never for one single moment in all my work in England was I made to feel that my views on restitution in the slightest degree hindered the entrance of the message I had to give, or closed any door for my work. In fact I believe they made the way for me in many places that would otherwise not have been open. . . . [Concerning] my [universalist] . . . belief . . . without it I should have been shorn of half my power.”[171]

Mrs. Smith then proceeds to explain that she came to her position about “the life of faith”—although her view of faith was always extremely weak and unscriptural—only after she had adopted the universalist heresy. She called “the life of faith” the “fourth epoch in my religious life,”[172] while the universalist heresy was “the third epoch in my religious life.”[173] Her universalism, she affirmed, opened up avenues for her spread of the “Higher Life” doctrine, and without universalism, she stated, “I should have been shorn of half my power.” Universalism was essential for Mrs. Smith’s development and promulgation of the Higher Life or Keswick doctrine of sanctification.

As already noted, Mrs. Smith declared that her universalist heresy and other heresies were key to her work as a Higher Life preacher and Keswick founder:

[T]hese very views, and the frank confession of them . . . were the means of opening the way for some of our most important and successful work. . . . [the] meetings in the interests of the Higher Life, or, what I prefer to call it, the Life of Faith. . . . [A] company of leading Evangelical[174] ladies . . . were to decide as to whether it would be safe for them to endorse me, and lend their influence to the work. . . . I [declared my belief in] the universal hope . . . the moment I ceased speaking . . . [I was invited to] come and have some meetings . . . not a word of disapproval was uttered, and . . . [the way] was thrown open to us for our first conference, which . . . proved to be the entering door for all the future conferences, and for our whole after work in England and elsewhere. . . . [M]y views on restitution . . . made the way for me in many places that would otherwise not have been open . . . without it I should have been shorn of half my power.”[175]

Hannah elsewhere explained her rise to Higher Life preacher in England in more detail, revealing that not universalism only, but spiritualism also—familiar intercourse with demons—was key to her exaltation as a famous Higher Life preacher and the founder of the Keswick theology. First, before beginning to preach the Higher Life, she sought Quaker approval for her teaching:

Robert [Smith] . . . seems to expect nothing else but that I will plunge into the work [of Higher Life agitation] with equal zeal, but I have not felt any guidance as yet in reference to it, except in the direction of the Friends [Quakers]. . . . I really could not consent to do it unless the Friends had first heard me, and were fully alive to the purport of my message. [A Quaker leader] therefore proposed, and we agreed, to invite a number of Friends to come to our house . . . to hear one of my lessons[.] . . . I burn to see this glorious life of faith becoming once more the realized experience of my dearly loved [Quaker] Society.[176]

At this meeting, the critical incident was Hannah’s declaration of her belief in universalism, which brought her the support of the famous noblewoman and spiritualist Mrs. Mount-Temple, also known as Mrs. Cowper-Temple,[177] who attended both Quaker meetings and spiritualist séances with her husband. Mrs. Mount-Temple narrated:

[T]he critical . . . incident at this meeting [took place while] Hannah was sitting in a little circle of excellent orthodox friends [Quakers], who had assembled to hear some of the good things that she had to impart, and she was there on examination.

She happened to have seen a funeral in the street, and as she spoke of it, we all put on the conventional look of sadness. “Oh,” she said, “when I meet a funeral I always give thanks for the brother or sister delivered from the trials and pains of this mortal state.” “How wonderful,” I thought, and I could not help exclaiming, “Is that possible? Do you feel this about everybody?” . . . She stopped and looked around. . . . [It was] a time when the universal hope was deemed a heresy, and she was on her trial. She owns that she went through a few moments of conflict. But truth prevailed, and looking up, with her bright glance, she said, “Yes, about everybody, for I trust in the love of God.” I yielded my heart at once to this manifestation of trust and love and candour.[178]

Logan Pearsall Smith described his mother’s critical confession of universalism in more detail:

[S]he could not, she avowed to the assembled company, believe that the God she worshipped as a God of love was capable of such awful cruelty [as not to take every single person to heaven]; sinners, of course, He punished, but that He had decreed that their torments should be unending was to her a horrible belief. . . . [T]he company was on the point of breaking up in confusion when from the depths of the great drawing-room there floated forward, swathed in rich Victorian draperies and laces, a tall and stately lady, [Mrs. Cowper-Temple,] who kissed my mother, and said, “My dear, I don’t believe it either.”

This dramatic moment was . . . a turning point . . . since, if it had not occurred, our family would no doubt have soon returned to America[.] . . . For this lady who thus intervened and took my mother under her protection was, as it were, the queen of evangelical Christians;[179] and her acceptance . . . [and] corroborat[ion] of [Mrs. Smith’s] view of Hell . . . afterwards confirmed by that of her husband, William Cowper Temple, silenced all opposition and no further objections were suggested . . . [since the] Cowper Temples, owing to their great wealth and high position, were by far the most important people in the world in which [Mr. and Mrs. Smith] were, so to speak, on trial.[180]

Mrs. Mount-Temple was delighted in Hannah W. Smith’s confession of universalism—she declared that it was “what strongly drew me to her that day”[181]—as was Mr. Mount-Temple, who “partly believe[d] in Mahomed, Vishna, Buddha, the Pope, the Patriarch . . . [and] love[d] high, low and Broad Church.”[182] The couple were of one mind in religious matters.[183] Thus, because of Hannah W. Smith’s frank confession of universalism, the Mount-Temples threw their powerful influence behind her and her husband. With such patronage, and the help of the demons conjured in the Cowper-Temples’s séances, the Pearsall Smiths were exalted to their position as leading Higher Life preachers, and the founding of the Keswick theology became possible.

The Mount-Temples were the owners of the Broadlands estate where the foundational precursor Conference to the Keswick Conventions was held, and the fundamental innovations of the Keswick theology on the older orthodoxy were set forth.[184] Broadlands was a receptacle for amalgamating many mystical heresies and spreading such newly minted concoctions onward; for instance, both the Catholic “Bernard of Clairvaux” and “profound saying[s] . . . of Druidic philosophy,” uttered, perhaps, between Druidic acts of human sacrifice,[185] were welcome at Broadlands.[186] As Hannah W. Smith saw her doctrine of the Higher Life in the ideas of Buddhism[187] and Hinduism,[188] so the Higher Life proclaimed at Broadlands and affirmed by the Mount-Temples was not that only of Roman Catholic mysticism, and other unregenerate mystics within the Judaeo-Christian tradition, but even that of overtly pagan Eastern mysticism:

From very early times, and especially in the countries of the East, there have been men and women who have sought . . . [to] ponder the nature and duties of true life, to be alone with God, and learn to know and worship Him.

Buddha and his followers in India, the Essenes among the Jews, and the early Christians of the third and fourth centuries, who from Rome and many other cities fled to the deserts of Egpyt . . . [medieval] anchorite[s] . . . [dwellers in] monastic settlements . . . [h]ermits . . . perfect m[e]n . . . [possessed] spiritual power . . . [that] gave them force and initiative[.] . . . Men and women who lived thus were revered, trusted, and consulted during their lifetime, and honoured, and sometimes worshipped, after their death. . . . The Roman Catholics have their “Retreats” under a spiritual director, the . . . Anglicans of the English Church have their “quiet days,” the Quakers their Conferences[.] . . . Surely these practices, during so many ages and amongst such diverse peoples . . . point to a true instinct rooted deeply in human nature, one which is referred to and sanctioned in the Holy Scriptures . . . the felt need . . . [to] reach after the highest possibilities of life. . . . The Conferences at Broadlands came about this way.[189]

Indeed, for Mr. Mount Temple, a poem praising the Muslim Allah, including the confession “La Allah, illa Allah![190] . . . expressed better than anything he knew his own thoughts and feelings.”[191] Universalism and religious syncretism were the foundation of the close friendship of Hannah Smith with Mrs. Mount-Temple and her husband.

The Mount-Temples also found enchanting and attractive the Quaker rejection of a judicial justification solely by the imputed righteousness of Christ and the associated Quaker Higher Life doctrine of sanctification by faith alone preached by the Smiths. Mrs. Cowper-Temple narrated:

William [Cowper-Temple] was deeply interested in the experiences of which [Hannah W. Smith] and her husband had to tell us. We had been brought up to try to hold the forensic view of justification by faith; but of sanctification by faith we had never heard, and it seemed to us that, though the meaning of the two terms [justification and sanctification] might be identical, it enabled us to look at the doctrine in a new light . . . for who could really care about being merely accounted righteous? [W]hile to be made righteous . . . seemed something worth hearing about.[192]

Mr. and Mrs. Cowper-Temple’s support for Mrs. Smith and her husband, because of Hannah’s universalism and the Smiths’ Quaker repudiation of the gospel by confusing justification and sanctification, led to Hannah and Robert’s exaltation to the central position as Higher Life preachers—their “fame spread from Broadlands.”[193] The 1874 Conference at Broadlands that came about because of Hannah’s confession of universalism and repudation of justification and the gospel was the “initiatory [Higher Life] Conference . . . [and] the starting-point for those that followed . . . and which, but for this one at Broadlands, would never have been held.”[194] That is:

[B]ut for this spectacular intervention, [the Smiths] might never have taken to preaching in England . . . [I]t was the worldly greatness of [Hannah’s] new friend which saved H. W. S. . . . Lady Mount Temple . . . [was] a hospitable leader of the evangelicals[195] (Broadlands became almost a second home to the Pearsall Smiths)[.] . . . The religious conferences at Broadlands, where H. W. S. often preached, became famous. . . . [T]he house . . . was filled to the attics and many of the guests overflowed into the inns . . . [f]amous people attended, in the company of others less famous.[196]

Along with the weighty patronage of Mrs. Cowper-Temple, “the Friends . . . were unanimous in wishing [her] . . . to give them a series”[197] of Higher Life lessons, and Mrs. Smith’s fame as a Higher Life preacher had consequently begun, with the “Mount Temples [as] ardent supporters of the Smiths.”[198] As a result, “the good Cowper Temples . . . inaugurate[d] a series of such [Higher Life] meetings,” the first and following, Broadlands Conferences, those key initial precursors and supports of the Keswick Conventions. “Lady Mount-Temple . . . initiated the Broadlands Conferences in 1874 where one might find, at the same gathering, a preaching Negress, a Quaker, a Shaker, an atheist, a spiritualist, an East End Socialist, and a prophet of any sort at all.”[199] At these Broadlands meetings Mr. Smith “was an acceptable preacher . . . but [Mrs. Smith], beautiful in her Quaker dress, with her candid gaze and golden hair, was given the name of ‘the Angel of the Churches,’ and her expositions . . . attracted the largest audiences, and made these gatherings famous in the religious world.”[200] Hannah W. Smith, who was present at the first, the last, and most of the Broadlands Conferences in-between,[201] truly epitomized the Higher Life as presented at Broadlands and its successor Conventions at Oxford, Brighton, and Keswick.[202] From the first Conference in 1874, the root of all the subsequent Higher Life and Keswick movement[203] and a pinnacle of Higher Life teaching,[204] participants generally recognized that they “received the clearest and most definite teaching” from Mrs. Smith’s preaching there,[205] just as she set forth the Broadlands and Keswick doctrines in her “books, which are well known.”[206] Many at Broadlands could testify: “She was to me the most inspiring . . . figure . . . amongst those who addressed us.”[207] She led countless multitudes of unregenerate individuals at Broadlands to feel happy, “sunny, and joyful” as she pointed them to the ease and rest of the Higher Life.[208] The Cowper-Temples kept up the Broadlands Higher Life Conferences annually, spreading the Higher Life with Hannah W. Smith, as well as supporting the Oxford Convention[209] and other subsequent Higher Life gatherings, until “Lord Mount Temple’s death at Keswick.”[210] Truly, through the work of the Pearsall Smiths and Mount Temples in the birthing of the Higher Life theology proclaimed at Keswick and in other ways, “[t]he results that followed on the Broadlands Conferences were widespread and various”—indeed, “it is difficult to measure them,” for they are truly incalculable.[211]

Mrs. Mount-Temple was not only Mrs. Smith’s patron in her Higher Life preaching, but the two became very close friends—so much so that Mrs. Mount-Temple mentions Mrs. Smith first in a list of “[f]riends whom we [the Mount-Temples] loved.”[212] During their time as Higher Life evangelists in Britain, the Smiths would often leave their children “at Broadlands in Hampshire, the home of [Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s] friends, the Cowper Temples . . . Broadlands became . . . almost [the family] home in England,”[213] where “innumerable guests . . . were gathered . . . to listen to the glad tidings” of the Higher Life.[214] Hannah called her rich patron “our sweet Lady Mount Temple,”[215] since their “friendship lasted till [Mrs. Mount Temple’s] death in extreme old age,”[216] when Mrs. Smith was one of a few very close friends granted entrance to Mrs. Mount Temple on her deathbed.[217] They spoke together at various functions to large crowds.[218]

Lord Mount-Temple was not merely the owner of the Broadlands property but the active leader and director of the Higher Life Conferences on his estate; they were the highlight of their year.[219] He “was eminently fitted to preside over such an assembly . . . [and] occup[ied] the position of President at these Conferences,”[220] while “Lady Mount-Temple . . . was the sun and soul of all that . . . company.”[221] Mr. Mount-Temple’s spiritual guidance and leadership were crucial, unforgettable, and a model for Broadlands spirituality.[222] He opened and closed the meetings, presided over them, introduced and specified the topics Conference participants were to address, set and maintained the tone and direction of the speeches, and regularly spoke himself.[223] Broadlands spirituality and Higher Life theology are inextricably united to the spiritual system of the Mount-Temples—indeed, the spirituality of the Conferences and that of their hosts were indubitably one and the same.

Mr. and Mrs. Mount-Temple were unregenerate people who were drawn into spiritualism, the Higher Life theology, and many other grievous false teachings, and their devilish errors were blatent and obvious to any who had a modicrum of Biblical discernment. In Mr. Mount-Temple’s “childhood[,] religion was at a very low ebb . . . religious instruction did not come within the scope of recognized maternal duties,” and he received “no religious training,” so his ideas were very “vague.”[224] He never came to a point of conscious conviction of sin and of his lost estate, followed by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, and to the new birth. Instead, as he thought, he felt “the first strivings within him of an unexpressed God-consciousness . . . in his cradle,” and from that time he was a “spotless youth” who was, apart from Biblical conversion, “growing spiritually”[225] (contrast Luke 5:31-32). Similarly, Lady Mount-Temple “as a child . . . had learned to pray but had never undergone a ‘conversion’” to Christ; instead, “search[ing] for . . . a higher life,” she turned to spiritualism in 1861.[226] She testified: “[C]onversion never came to me. Instead of it I was early beset by doubts of all kinds.”[227] However, at least each of the Mount-Temples could testify: “I am enrolled in [the] holy army [of] . . . the Lord Jesus. . . . I have been signed with the sign of the cross in Baptism.”[228] After all, the sacrament of “Christening . . . was the ingathering of [infant] lambs into [their] Master’s Fold.”[229] Surely a baptismal regeneration could substitute for a Biblical conversion.

While unconverted, the couple nevertheless desired spirituality. Seeking the Higher Life, Mr. and Mrs. Mount-Temple “learned to take a much wider view of the Church as a single body of all baptized Christians, including Nonconformists and members of the Roman and Greek Churches.”[230] For example, a picture of Christ bestowing the stigmata on the hands and feet of Francis of Assisi was a wonderful positive in the spirituality of Broadlands,[231] for such a receipt of stigmata was certainly not a devilish deceit, but a glorious and positive event. Mr. Mount-Temple testified:

I . . . always felt an interest in the opinions of different denominations . . . and have attended the worship of all which have been within my reach . . . I have been able to enjoy the privilege of prayer with them all.

I have prayed fervently in the . . . Romish churches, and have lifted up my heart in their solemn litanies and pealing music[.] . . . I have learnt much in the Unitarian services in Liverpool; I have profited by the sermons and prayers of the Independents, Wesleyans, and Baptists; I have joined with Quakers and Plymouth Brethren . . . worshipping the same God . . . [by] Unitarian [writings] . . . I am drawn nearer to my heavenly Father[.] . . . I found myself edified by . . . Papists and Greeks [Eastern Orthodox], as well as with Calvinists and Lutherans[.] . . . In [a] . . . Unitarian Chapel . . . [i]t is delightful to . . . join in prayer and praise, and to carry away some good thoughts. . . . I have never become acquainted with any religious body in which there were not to be found persons full of love to our Lord.[232]

Preachers of the Trinity and preachers of a non-Trinitarian deity,[233] advocates of justification by faith alone and of justification by works, worshippers of Jehovah and worshippers of Mary, and all religious bodies whatever, contained people who were full of love to the Lord, Mr. Mount-Temple knew. “From the first he combined the opinions of the Broad Church with . . . fervour and warmth.”[234] Similarly, Mrs. Mount-Temple did not view Roman Catholics or other advocates of false gospels as people to “proselytize, believing they had all they needed to make them good Christians.”[235] Naturally, medieval Romanist mystics such as “Fénelon . . . were . . . men of exalted and angelic nature.”[236] “Catholic[s] of the mystic school” were present and preaching at the Broadlands Conferences from the first.[237] The place of worship at the Mount-Temples’s Broadlands residence contained a special crucifix, kept low to the ground so that not adults only, but children also could reach its feet to kiss the graven image of the Catholic “Christ,” and poems about the crucifix and prayers to be like it were celebrated parts of Broadlands spirituality.[238] Radically different and contradictory beliefs were to be united around Higher Life mysticism: “High Church, Broad Church, Low Church were . . . submerged in the Deep Church.”[239] Hannah W. Smith likewise rejoiced in the ecumenical unity and the “absolute oneness” she felt with those who believed and preached false gospels at the Broadlands Conferences, a oneness she recognized as greatly facilitated by and manifested in Mr. Mount-Temple.[240] “All shades of religious opinion” were represented at Broadlands,[241] and Mr. Mount-Temple’s command was embraced: “[D]on’t be too critical.”[242] “None of those who took part . . . at Broadlands . . . could be spared”[243]—every single one of the false views and heresies represented there were necessary, and every single speaker and visitor was a positive influence and helped raise others to the Higher Life, no matter how abominable his false doctrines and practices were when compared to Scripture.

Having come to doubt the doctrine of the Fall,[244] the Mount-Temples came to adopt a “broader view of Christian truth and of the universal hope,” that is, the universalism that made Hannah Smith so appealing to them. Many universalists in addition to Mrs. Smith were among their religious teachers, facilitating both the ecumenicalism of both the Pearsall Smith and Cowper Temple families. “Dr. Baylee” was a dear “religious . . . . friend . . . for many years” who “helped indeed,” and he “was rejoicing in the universal hope” when he “visited [the Mount Temples] in later years at Broadlands.”[245] They testified: “[H]elp and enlargement through the great Christian prophet of our day, Frederick Maurice. We used to wander on Sunday afternoons to [his] . . . Chapel[,] [where we] heard the broader view of Christian truth and of the universal hope[.]”[246] They testified that their “best friends” included Maurice’s “disciple[s],”[247] and proclaimed that “the blessed George MacDonald,” that famous universalist, “has been one of our dearest friends and teachers,”[248] indeed, a “special teacher or prophet” at Broadlands. Despite the plain words of Jesus Christ (John 8:44), Broadlands affirmed that “all [are] children of God,” with the “actual, living, inspiring presence of the Holy Spirit in each heart.”[249] The rejection of Christ’s teaching about hell in favor of the universalist heresy was important to the great Higher Life lived by the Cowper-Temples and proclaimed at Broadlands, and the promotion of universalists such as Hannah W. Smith was consequently near to their heart.

Broadlands ecumenicalism was held together, not by universalism only, but by the Quaker doctrine of the Divine Seed also:

[Mr. Mount-Temple] discern[ed] far more quickly than most the Divine seed in every man. . . . He was in very truth, as George Fox was, the “friend” of all men. He believed, with George Fox, that every soul of man was a visited soul . . . therefore differences of creed . . . were no hinderances to his loving fellowship[.] . . . This deep sense of the solidarity of mankind [in the Divine seed] led Lord and Lady Mount Temple to seek to gather the leaders of wholly differing schools of thought together in their home at Broadlands, that they might all be drawn closer together[.] . . . All sects . . . were represented at these Conferences. High Church, Low Church, Broad Church, Dissenters, Quakers, Plymouth Brethren, Salvation Army officers, [and so on] . . . were all at [Broadlands] bound together into one common brotherhood[.] . . . Each [speaker] agreed immensely with the last speaker, and then proceeded to offer quite another Gospel.[250]

Since the Divine Seed was in every man, Lord Mount Temple prayed for a mystical Deification: “My Lord Jesus, as Thou didst take my humanity, I pray Thee impart to me Thy Divinity.”[251] Employing the language of the truth affirmed at the Council of Chalcedon of Jesus Christ’s character as one Person with two natures, a true Divine nature and a true human nature, Mr. Mount Temple affirmed the sickening idolatrous error that all men are, like Christ, likewise single Persons with a Divine and human nature: “I have to record my thanks . . . for deep Churchism at our Conferences . . . for the knowledge that we are all two in one—two natures in one person . . . the Divine and human.”[252] Likewise, as Christ had preexisted his incarnation, so all men had preexistent souls—“We were not created when we were born; that was not the beginning—‘Trailing clouds of glory do we come/From God, Who is our home’; we were put here for a term, for our education, enwrapped in a fleshly nature, that the inner nature might grow by overcoming it.”[253] Consequently, as one enters the Higher Life of mystical union with God, one comes to “nothing short of interpenetration, oneness with God,” patterned after Christ, for “[i]n Him the human is the Divine.”[254] Passing beyond a simple knowledge of Jesus leads to “the ideal life, the life of man as Son of God.”[255] The preexistent soul becomes the Divine Seed in man, so that he can enter into the Higher Life and be finally divinized. Speakers at Broadlands tied in deification and preexistent souls with universalism and the Divine Seed in every man, for the Biblical doctrine of total depravity was set aside: “Awake to the knowledge that every fellow-creature is a member of Christ. Gordon found it useful in dealing with men, whether heathen or others, to say to himself, ‘Here is one in whom God is, I will speak to the God in him.’ . . . We must be dead to the sin in others, alive to the God in them.”[256] Certainly if, in accordance with Satan’s primordial lie (Genesis 3:5) and consistent with Quaker doctrine, all people are God and man, the possibility that some men are “heretick[s]” to be “reject[ed]” after admonition (Titus 3:10), or that the true Christian was to have “no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11), would the farthest thing from Mr. Mount Temple’s supposedly Divine but actually depraved and idolatrous mind.

The ecumenicalism and universalism derived from the Divine Seed doctrine were at the heart of the Broadlands Conferences, as they were exceedingly dear to Hannah W. Smith and the Mount Temples, and passed into the Higher Life and Keswick movement through them. Unregenerate false teachers were treated as the objects, not of evangelism, but of hearty fellowship as the children of God,[257] so that their ideas could be imbibed:

Almost every shade of Christian thought was represented there; there were those who belonged to the High Church, Low Church, Broad Church, Dissenters, Salvationists, Quakers, Swedenborgians, all able . . . to meet as one brotherhood . . . in the real union apparent at these Conferences . . . learn[ing] from one another . . . [as] His children.[258]

Indeed, ecumenicalism was one of the greatest and most marked results of the Broadlands Conferences:

But perhaps the most marked of the results of the Conferences, the one which has had the widest influence, even amongst those who were never at Broadlands, but have caught something of its spirit, was the breaking down of barriers between brethren; . . . between those of whatever creed . . . the increased desire for union, that seems everywhere to be leavening the churches. . . . People met together at Broadlands who certainly would not have met elsewhere . . . [and] found their differences were of less importance than they had thought, and that they were one in the deepest aspiratons of their souls. . . . Evangelicals saw that Ritualists were not necessarily slaves of the husks and the letter; more important still, the eyes of orthodox religionists were opened to the mysterious workings of the spirit of truth in regions far beyond the precincts of recognized Christianity . . . a sign of what is coming upon Christendom.[259] . . . Those hours were a prophecy and promise of . . . what is long[ed] for, “the corporate union[.]” . . . [T]he Broadlands Conferences were the starting-point of . . . [t]he great Conferences at Oxford in 1874, and at Brighton in 1875 . . . leading on to those held annually at Keswick[.] . . .

Two men were heard talking together outside one of the great meetings at the first Oxford Conference. “What does it all mean?” said one. “Oh, don’t you know,” replied the other, “it’s all the Christian people in the world are going to be one sect.”[260]

Ecumenicalism, both through the direct position of the leaven at Broadlands and through the leaven of the ecumenical Conferences it birthed at Oxford, Brighton, and Keswick, was a central result of the meetings started by Lord and Lady Mount-Temple. Furthermore, the alleged workings of God in saving and blessing people outside of Christianity and among all the groups in Christendom, which formed the foundation of Broadlands ecumenicalism, arose from the Broadlands emphasis upon universalism. At Conference after Conference Hannah W. Smith, Andrew Jukes, George MacDonald, and many others passionately set forth the universalist heresy;[261] since all men have the Divine Seed within them, “the awakening touch will come, the life will be quickened and manifest itself,” so that all will come to salvation.[262] Not regenerate man only, but each and every “man is the child of God,”[263] without any qualification of any kind, so that “the ordinary work to be wrought by evangelical preaching . . . [s]udden and effectual conversion . . . is not in”[264] MacDonald’s writings or those of his fellow universalists. Evidence for universalism was culled, not from the Bible alone—for it was very difficult to find it there—but from many other sources, such as pagan religions and modern poets. After all, since “[a]ll the poets believe in a golden age,” so should we:[265]

[T]he restitution of all things . . . [is something] which mankind in almost every age and in many countries seem to have had some kind of dim intimation[.] . . . I still have an impression of the reverent, serious attitude, the bowed head and almost breathless awe, in which the subject was approached, and the contributions, not only from our own Scriptures, but from the sacred writings of the East, from old philosophies, and from modern poets, which were brought forward to show how deep-seated was this great hope in the hearts of mankind generally. . . . “There is no evil,” says the old Druidic philosophy, “that is not a greater good than it is an evil[.”] . . . Dante surely had something of the same idea . . . [as did] Browning . . . [and] Tennyso[n] . . . [and] Trench[.] . . . Quotations were of course made from the Scriptures [also]. . . . Much was spoken that might be summed up in Walt Whitman’s words[.] . . . [A] prayer from Lord Mount-Temple . . . would fitly close the meeting. . . . Referring to possibilities for individual souls after death, George MacDonald said one day: “The Roman Catholics believe in three stages after death. At the Reformation the Protestants gave up one, but they gave up the wrong one.”[266]

Consequently, the Broadlands Conferences stood for the position that “a desire to proselytize . . . has been the cause of all the religious tyranny and persecution that has been the disgrace of the Christian Church, and . . . is entirely opposed to the spirit and teaching of Jesus.”[267] Indeed:

[O]utside . . . the Christian temple . . . there are beautiful, preeminently beautiful souls adorned with all Christian graces. . . . These noble, beautiful souls . . . are the “other sheep, not of this fold,” are guided by the “true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” . . . Proselytising is wrong. There was, perhaps, nothing our Lord condemned more strongly. . . . The desire to proselytize is generally from selfishness or pride. . . . We should never take from any man, not even from a heathen, that [spiritual truth] which he has, without giving him something better. . . . The world is helping the churches. There is an island in the South Sea, where, it is said, the people are never dishonest and never untruthful. A missionary is going out there. It makes one almost tremble to think of it.[268]

Lord and Lady Mount-Temple were very successful in working at Broadlands with Hannah W. Smith and others in spreading their Higher Life ecumenicalism and universalism throughout Christendom.

The Inner Light, with its concomitant heresies of the Divine Seed and universalism, were exalted in the anti-cessationist Higher Life atmosphere of Broadlands. The “higher and deeper Christian life” was a development of “the inner light, which is variously manifested by human souls, each contributing in the measure it has received ‘of the fullness of Him that filleth all in all,’” that is, of the Divine Seed in every man,[269] the presence of which was intimately tied in with the affirmation of universalism and the rejection of an eternal hell.[270] Experience and many world religions validated such ideas—had not the Druids believed in the Inner Light?[271] A belief in the Biblical doctrine of human depravity, which denies that man has anything remotely close to a Divine Seed in him, was a tremendous roadblock to the Higher Life, for “only as . . . man . . . yields himself to this highest within him, can he know his true life, the spiritual life . . . self-surrender to the highest life within”[272] is what is necessary. People can obey without grace, Biblically defined, since virtues are “latent in all men.”[273] Broadlands testified: “Whenever I meet a man, I know the germ of the Christ-life is there. . . . Christ is the life of men, the Divine seed in every one.” Consequently, “[t]here is something to learn from every one,” for “revelation” comes to all men through the Inner Light based on the Divine Seed.[274] Monergistic regeneration of the spiritually dead sinner is the opposite of the Broadlands message; on the contrary, “[W]hat we call conversion [is] the potential spiritual life becoming the actual,”[275] the Divine Seed beginning to flourish as those who already have Divinity within enter into the Higher Life.

The advance of “Christian Socialism”[276] was also part of the Mount-Temples’s spirituality. They “loved heartily” their “dear friends” and fellow leaders in “Christian Socialism,” such as “Charles Kingsley” and “Tom Hughes,”[277] who first met Mr. Mount-Temple at the first Broadlands Conference in 1874. However, Mr. Mount-Temple outshone them all in the battle for socialism: “[I]n the early days of Christian Socialism, . . . [the] movement [was] so vehemently and widely denounced, [but Mr. Mount-Temple] was from the first an advocate and liberal supporter, and, from his social and public position, risked more than all the rest of [its leaders] put together.”[278] Attacks on freedom and the spread of socialism under the guise of Christianity were important parts of the Cowper-Temples’s religion.

When the Cowper-Temples declared that they received alleged truths from “all sects” and “schools of thought,”[279] their “all” was no exaggeration—as strong continuationists because of their belief in the Quaker doctrine of the Divine Seed, they happily received the allegedly inspired teachings of the most twisted cultists and vilest fanatics, as they exalted, listening to, and obeyed their heart’s voice (cf. Jeremiah 17:9).[280] They warmly held the “belief in the revival of the prophetic gifts which Christ had bestowed on his apostles for all men with a living faith.”[281] The couple consequently rejoiced in the demonically-manipulated perfectionist and cult leader Edward Irving and his Apostle, Henry Drummond. Irving founded of the Catholic Apostolic Church,[282] predicted the end of the world in 1868, affirmed that Christ had adopted man’s fallen nature, claimed that the gift of tongues and other first century miraculous gifts had been restored among his followers, and vigorously maintained other heresies, which Drummond faithfully supported and promulgated. Mrs. Mount-Temple narrated:

Mr. Henry Drummond . . . [was] a very special influence which affected [Mr. Mount-Temple’s] religious views[.] . . . At Albury, Mr. Drummond and Lady Harriet, the Duchess of Northumberland (then Lady Lovaine), and Lady Gage, the other daughter, were all very kind to us, and hoped perhaps that we should join the Apostolic Church, of which Mr. Drummond was an Apostle.

It was all very interesting and hope-giving, and opened a new region to us. All we heard of the birth and development of this Church was thrilling. . . . Haldane Stewart had instituted . . . a system of prayer . . . for a special outpouring of the Spirit. He and other devout friends assembled at Albury, and there was, they believed, such a miraculous answer, that it was to them as a second Pentecost. Some began to speak under spiritual influences, and through these persons, endued, they believed, with the prophetic gift, a most beautiful Church system was organized, not, they said, by their own will or wisdom, but by the Spirit of God.

They believed the Lord was soon to return [that is, in 1868], and that a new body of apostles and faithful disciples were called out to receive Him. They called this the Elias ministry. . . . They believed apostles were appointed supernaturally to rule the Church universal. Prophets were inspired to teach and evangelists sent forth with power [now that these offices had been restored in their religious organization; before that time] the prophetic gift was unknown, and the apostolic universal ministry had been lost. . . . [T]his [was a] really splendid ideal of a Church. . . . [It greatly influenced] my husband’s religious development.

The kindled hope of the Lord’s speedy approach, the calling out of Apostles, and of an elect body to meet Him, greatly quickened our spiritual life. We attended their beautiful services, we listenened to [their] eloquent and fervent appeals[.] . . .

We hung on Mr. Drummond’s words for hours, while he described to us this wonderful ideal[.] . . . He was indeed one of the last men . . . whom one could suspect of any fanaticism or spiritual aberration.[283] . . . Imagine such a man an Apostle . . . bringing in the Kingdom of God. . . . This was the new world in which we found ourselves, and very kindling and entrancing it was!

I was carried away by it[.] . . . It deeply moved William, but he did not feel called to leave the place and the duties to which he was attached. . . . [W]hat remained to us of the teaching and blessing of this time [was,] [f]irst of all, the revival of spiritual life [that is, the Higher Life]; then, a much wider view of the Church . . . includ[ing] all who have been baptized . . . comprising therefore the members of the Roman and Greek Churches, and all Nonconformists [as well as] Quakers [as] the descendants of those within the covenant of baptism. . . . [S]pecial truth [was] confided to . . . the Unitarians . . . [while] the Friends [received the] . . . special truth . . . [of] the Inner Light . . . the Wesleyans [of] . . . perfection, etc. All one body . . . [Drummond] taught us also the meaning of Symbols, and of Ritual . . . [t]he members of the Apostolic Church hold that the Lord is truly present in Holy Communion[.] . . . So it was, that without joining the Apostolic Church, William always felt much indebted to the teaching we received [from them] at Albury[.][284]

Thus, from Irving’s Catholic Apostolic cult, the Cowper-Temples were encouraged in ecumenicalism, continuationism, post-conversion Spirit baptism with miraculous results, the Inner Light, the Real Presence, perfectionism, and the Higher Life, all of which flourished at their Broadlands Conferences and at the Keswick Conventions which developed from them.

Spiritualism was at the root of the Higher Life beliefs of Mr. and Mrs. Mount-Temple.[285] Mrs. Cowper-Temple explained that, having first heard of spiritualism in 1857 and becoming fully initiated by 1861, she led her husband also to embrace the occult,[286] so that Mr. Mount-Temple “gathered all the good he could from spiritualism, and was helped . . . leading us to a higher life.”[287] The couple attended a vast number of séances,[288] seeing there great marvels performed by, as they thought, the dead who had been conjured up. They learned, contrary to 1 Corinthians 15, that the true resurrection is not that of the body, but the rising into the realm of the spirits—the Higher Life.[289] They not only were spiritualists themselves, but sought—successfully—to lead others into their fellowship with devils,[290] as they were “always ready to introduce” their friends, such as Hannah W. Smith, “to influential people among the spiritualists.”[291] They greatly advanced the careers of self-professed “Christian spiritualist” ministers such as H. R. Haweis.[292] They “studied the . . . writings of Swedenborg,”[293] “the great spiritualist of the eighteenth century,”[294] and Swedenborg’s writings and friends were continued influences at Broadlands and its Conferences.[295] Indeed, spiritualism was promoted at the Broadlands Conferences, where it fit well with the doctrine of the erotic spiritual Baptism: “Each meeting included discussions on the uses of Spiritualism, the role of entrancement, the role of prayer, and the mission of God in the world.”[296] The Mount Temples’s longing for restored miracles and a Higher Life was satisfied by the spirits with whom they became familiar through séances.[297] For example, they conversed with the spirit of Frederick Lamb, a Viscount, who told Mr. Mount-Temple where he could find assorted letters and speeches and commanded that they be published.[298] Lord Palmerston, who had been dead for 13 months, similarly told Mr. Mount-Temple where important memoranda could be found.[299] They worked with mediums who “engaged in extensive automatic writing . . . and . . . often left [their] body to traverse the spheres,” while also working wonderful cures [of sickness].”[300] At various séances, and in the company of other spiritualists, including those they had proselyted into spiritualism, the Mount-Temples experienced the supernatural signs and wonders that they had been seeking:

[Prophetic] message[s] . . . [were given through using] a ouija board[.] . . . [A] wonderous demonstration [took place] of a table dancing in tune with music played on a piano apparently by invisible hands [for a while until they] heard departing footsteps and the [spirit’s] farewell, “Dear earthly friends, good night.” . . . [T]able rapping and spiritual music . . . table tilting and levitation . . . psychical responses sent through clairvoyant visions or spirit writing moving [one’s] fingers when . . . in a state of trance [were experienced]. . . . [G]uests pressing their fingers lightly to the tops of two tables, [Mr. Temple recorded,] “the large table danced in time to a country dance & the little table rose & being suspended in the air the feet be[in]g about 1 foot from the ground & it rapped against the edge of a sofa . . . it also heaved as if at the top of a wave & tilted to the side.” . . . [Séances were discussed where] fresh eggs, fruit, and flowers would descend from the ceiling . . . [although some were] amazed with the triviality of the manifestations.[301] . . . [S]pirits moving about the room [caused] ferns [to] shake[.] . . . [A medium] elongating his body by some six to eight inches in a trance [was also] summoning luminous forms visible to guests. . . . [O]bjects materiali[zed] without the aid of a medium[.] . . . [Many] messages from the dead [were delivered.][302]

While the Mount-Temples led many to adopt spiritualism, some of their converts came to suspect the true source of the manifestations. For example, one who had been converted to spiritualism by the Mount-Temples and attended numerous séances with them wrote to Mrs. Mount-Temple in April 1868:

Could anything more perfectly answer the description of a “familiar or household spirit” [Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27, etc.]—than that thing—if a true thing—that came . . . and answered the question—“Have you any News?[”]—“I haven’t got any”? Think of it! [If the Testament is true,] I have no doubt that it is your duty at once to abstain from all these things . . . [and] to receive what you have seen of them [the spirits] as an awful sign of the now active presence of the Fiend among us.[303]

The manifestations, this more discerning convert recognized, were “beneath the dignity of an intelligent God”—therefore, “have done with ‘Mediums.’”[304] However, the Mount-Temples, despite being confronted with the plain warnings of Scripture, did not take heed to this advice. Mr. Mount-Temple continued to be so enchanted with spiritualism that he was even nursed by a medium in his last illness.[305] He never decided to reject them as Satanic, for they were among “the great cloud of witnesses encircling the world.”[306] Besides, “the presence of unseen heavenly ones added to the deep gladness that was felt”[307] at the Broadlands Conventions, so the spirits of the dead must have been good because they made people feel the happiness of the Higher Life. Likewise, Mrs. Mount-Temple, even to the end of her life, was never freed from the influence of mediums.[308] After all, as she had learned from them, “Spiritualism [was] . . . the handmaid of Christianity.”[309] Mrs. Mount-Temple even exercised supernatural powers herself; for example, one day when a man was suffering from a sickness, she threw a lady into a trance so that the cure for the disease could be obtained by prophecy, and then brought the lady out of the trace—“another bit of witchery.”[310] In the 1870s, when the Higher Life meetings at Broadlands were founded and Mr. and Mrs. Mount-Temple were promoting Robert and Hannah Pearsall Smith, as well as cultists like Laurence Oliphant, the “Cowper-Temples . . . met the best-known mediums of this decade,” bringing “the greatest of the English mediums, with whom they had been attending séances . . . to Broadlands . . . [b]y 1874,”[311] the very year Mr. Mount-Temple asked the spirits during a séance for permission to become a medium himself to further his spiritual growth.[312] Thus, in 1874 Mr. Mount-Temple, seeking the Higher Life, both asked for permission to become a medium and thrust the Pearsall Smiths into the limelight in that fateful Higher Life Conference on their property. Indeed, the Mount-Temples were “one of the earliest” to explore “spiritualism” in England.[313] Broadlands truly was a very spiritual place—mediums validated that “all manners of ghosts [were] about the house,”[314] since “[c]ontact with ghosts helped shape both Lady and Lord Mount Temple’s futures and day-to-day living.”[315] The day after the 1874 Broadlands Conference that germinated the Keswick theology, Mrs. Cowper-Temple had reached such a spiritual height in her Higher Life that she attended a séance to see if more of the spirit of a dead man, John King, would materialize than in the last attempt to contact him—previously, only his head had materialized, and Mrs. Cowper-Temple was hoping for more in her post-Conference séance.[316] Truly, Mr. and Mrs. Cowper-Temple lived a supernatural and spiritual life, and the spirits that gathered there contributed to the supernatural and spiritual Higher Life that so many led at Broadlands. Such was the place, and such were the promoters, of the Broadlands Conference for the promotion of the Higher Life that hatched the Keswick system.

Scriptural cessationism, consequently, was rejected at the Broadlands Conferences for continuationism. Pentecost, with its signs and wonders, was not a completed dispensational event, but “a sample of that dispensation of the Spirit, which was the gift of God to the Church in all generations.”[317] Indeed, because of the Divine Seed in every man, “[a]ny hour may be a miracle hour”—such miraculous visions as “the young Isaiah” had of Jehovah on His throne (Isaiah 6), as “Moses” had on “Mount Horeb,” and as “Paul” had on the road to “Damascus,” “such hours of visio[n] come to all . . . [h]ow many, in all ages . . . have known these sacred experiences[.] . . . Such special, memorable hours, came to us, not seldom, at Broadlands.”[318] Many “hours of vision” and “dreams . . . came to the worshippers at Broadlands.”[319] In fact, even the poet Wordsworth[320] had received visions like those of Isaiah, Moses, Paul, and the participants at the Broadlands Conferences.[321] While Scripture testifies that “God . . . spake . . . at sundry times and in divers manners . . . in time past” before the coming of Christ (Hebrews 1:1-4), Broadlands testifies that “At sundry times and in divers manners God [still] speaks and manifests Himself.”[322] Sola Scriptura and cessationism were out, while spiritualism and continuationism were in.

Those at Broadlands desired the presence of the sign gifts and healing powers, practiced the Faith and Mind Cure, and received inspiration from those demons that directed the Mount-Temples and promulgated through them the corruptions of the Higher Life theology. Supernatural beings from the angelic realm gave commands, so that voices, with music accompanying them, were heard at Broadlands Conferences.[323] When Mr. Mount-Temple was, sick, through the Faith and Mind Cure he was restored again; both he and his wife “tried the ‘mind cure’” at times.[324] They were conversant with homeopaths.[325] Mr. Mount Temple’s “witness to others in the matter of healing by the prayer of faith was unceasing . . . [‘]I am anxious[,] [he said,] [‘that] . . . this form of Divine Healing . . . should be tried . . . it seems to me to be unfaithful not to have recourse to it . . . showers of healing are so plentifully falling around us . . . this valuable life should be [within] reach.[’]” During his sickness, in a manner consistent with his spiritualism, he was even able to join in prayer “with words of fervor and power as though his spirit were using his body whilst the mind remained dormant.”[326] Dormant minds allegedly disjoined from actions on the spirit were most helpful in affecting Faith Cures.

Contrary to the truth that inspiration was complete with the canon of Scripture, but in accordance with its embrace of the Quaker doctrine of the Inner Light, Broadlands was a place where allegedly post-canonical inspiration was as plentiful as fog in London. At Broadlands, “[n]ot only . . . pastors and teachers” were present, but “prophets” also.[327] Mrs. Mount-Temple stated that the “impulse” through which Mr. Mount-Temple offered his Broadlands estate to Hannah and Robert Smith for the foundational Conference “seemed . . . like . . . inspiration”; “thus our first Conference was initiated,”[328] Mrs. Mount Temple declared, by a revelation and by inspiration. The Conference was then “led by Mr. Pearsall Smith” in a “wonderfully inspired way,”[329] even as Mr. Mount Temple’s speeches were “so inspired in utterance”[330] both at that first Conference and at other times. Mrs. Pearsall Smith had reached such a height of spirituality that “inspiration” even “came from her shining face.”[331] Indeed, women preachers—“inspired wom[e]n”—gave “inspired addresses,”[332] and continuationism in general, and in particular a rejection of sola Scriptura for the Quaker doctrine of authoritative continuing revelations and inspiration because of the Divine Seed in every man, were insisted upon as of primary importance and as the core of Broadlands teaching:

It was insisted on first of all, that God does actually communicate with each one[333] of the spirits He had made: not only did He speak to human beings in the past, but does still, here and now. This fact is referred to in the Bible . . . as the light . . . as a voice . . . as a guide . . . [in] individual guidance . . . [and] also as inspiration. . . . [T]his Divine communion is not only . . . the light (that which reveals), not only . . . a voice (which lets us know from Whom the word comes), or . . . a guide (which indicates our course), but is even as the breath or life of God within our life, to inspire us[.] . . . The power to discern this Divine guidance is given to all in some measure . . . it is a gift, a faculty common to all . . . God’s voice is of the heart[.] . . . Surely this is . . . the Quaker doctrine of the Inner Light, which is the corner-stone of their belief. . . . Intuitions come at such times . . . [w]e feel within us “the breath of God, that warrenteth the utmost, inmost things of faith”[334] . . . The vision br[ings] supreme joy . . . visionary hours may be as the steps in a rocky path, by which we climb to the pure air of the mountain-top.

Dream, vision, prophecy, spiritual imagination, call them what we will, are an essential element of human life. . . . [W]ithout the inspired spiritual element in life, man can never be truly man. . . . the highest powers of his being remain unused.[335] . . . Every age[336] has its seers, its dreamers of dreams, its men of [supernatural] insight . . . [such men] are needed. . . . The seer brings us new knowledge[337] . . . as vision opens beyond vision into the depths of being and of love. . . . The seer rejoices . . . and the worker is glad of the inspiration . . . [t]hey are not disobedient to the heavenly vision.[338]

After all, the Incarnation was not necessary so that Christ could satisfy the Law of God and shed His blood as a propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of men,[339] but He came to lead people to listen to the Inner Light: “He came in the flesh, that He might get at us from the outside, because we do not listen to the inward voice.”[340] Despite multitudes of texts like Isaiah 53:4-6 and 1 John 2:2, Hannah Smith and the Mount Temples knew that “Christ” was “not in any sense . . . appeasing the wrath of God”[341] by His work on the cross, so having His redemptive blood personally applied through a new birth was, without a doubt, not necessary for salvation. Further revelations are necessary, because “Christianity has never yet been fully preached,” not even by the Apostles and the first century churches—the “chuches have to learn that.” Consequently, “what a power there is in vision”![342] Thus, at that first Broadlands Conference, as at subsequent ones, the universalist Andrew Jukes proclaimed his heresies with “inspired wisdom.”[343] Antoinette Sterling, consistent with “her Quaker upbringing . . . seemed as much inspired in the choice of her songs as in the rendering of them,”[344] for “she was one of the few to whom God . . . [w]hispers in the ear,” so she could “guid[e] . . . the assembly . . . to a higher, nobler plane” with her “spontaneous outpourings which seemed inspired.”[345] After all, “the highest music is itself a revelation, a manifestation of something divine” as it “prophesies of . . . predestined good . . . [and] salvation universal,” and “[t]here is no truer truth obtainable than comes of music,”[346] including the propositions of Scripture, which flatly deny that salvation is universal. By entering into the Higher Life “the soul . . . receives more inspiration than it can hold.”[347] The supernatural spirits that worked so greatly in Mr. and Mrs. Mount-Temple’s lives, as they did in the Quakers to give them Inner Light, and gave them and others present at Broadlands wonders and marvels, were the source of what Mrs. Mount-Temple called “the God-inspired . . . Conferences which [Mr. Mount-Temple] inaugurated and carried through for so many years . . . at Broadlands.”[348]

The broadness of the Mount-Temples’s views embraced not only Irvingism, continuationism, and broader spiritualism, but even and especially the filthy religion of the occult perfectionists and free-love practicioners Thomas Harris and Laurence Oliphant,[349] since spiritualism and sexual immorality were the natural handmaids of each other.[350] As Hannah and Robert P. Smith adopted the doctrine that the baptism of the Spirit was associated with erotic thrills, so the only way to receive the true Spirit Baptism was through sexual immorality, taught Oliphant as Harris’s disciple. “Laurence Oliphant, together with his disciples, actually carried out, to the utmost possible extent, the practices of which Robert Pearsall Smith was suspected.”[351] However, only those initiated into the Higher Life were brought into these depths of Satan; publicly Harris and Oliphant were more vague, as were the Smiths. Nevertheless, Oliphant held that “sexual passion was the only real spiritual life.”[352] Oliphant explained to Mrs. Smith, and to many others, at the invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Cowper-Temple, his unspeakable abominations. Hannah W. Smith explained:

[T]he Baptism of the Holy Ghost, [which we were to] seek the experience [of] for ourselves. . . . was to be the aim of our desires. . . . Mr. Oliphant . . . told me that he believed my husband was called to enter into and propogate the views he held, and he urged me to beg him not to stop short of the full consummation. . . . “Come and get into bed with me.” . . . I asked him if it were not possible to lead people into this glorious experience he spoke of without personal contact. He said no, it was not.[353]

Such was the Higher Life Harris and Oliphant spread with the patronage of Mr. and Mrs. Mount-Temple.

It was Mr. Mount-Temple’s seeking to “gathe[r] all the good he could from spiritualism” that led him to make the acquaintance, his wife explained, of Harris and Oliphant.[354] Mrs. Cowper-Temple, who was especially attracted to Oliphant[355] because of his turn from materialism to spiritualism after necromantic contact with his dead father,[356]narrated concerning the dirty duo:

[N]o one . . . ever attracted William [Mount-Temple] more . . . [than] Mr. Harris. . . . It was through him we became much allied with Laurence Oliphant, whom we first met at Broadlands . . . All there were interested in him. [Oliphant had] turned his back upon all and went off . . . to find God under the guidance of Mr. Harris. . . . [H]e always said he owed everything to Mr. Harris. . . . [Laurence] married [one from] our house [that is, one from the Cowper-Temple household], who was of one mind with himself . . . upheld by the hope of bringing others [by sexual contact] into the new and higher life . . . [They resided] with us at Broadlands [among other places].[357]

The Mount-Temples “considered joining . . . Harris [and] his cult in New York State,” but they decided instead to simply make their “home at Broadlands a haven for . . . Harris,”[358] from whence they “might help in [the] unfolding”[359] of the spiritual Kingdom of which Harris was the messenger. From Broadlands Harris and Oliphant could propogate their ideas and seduce others into the Higher Life of sexual immorality and the thrills of the erotic Spirit Baptism, for Mr. Mount-Temple was zealous to promote such spiritual growth in all those whom he could influence from Broadlands.[360] The Mount-Temples founded the Broadlands Conferences, the root of the Keswick Conventions and the capstone of their personal spiritual quest,[361] for the purpose of promoting such Higher Life theology as that of Harris and Oliphant, and the special spiritual Baptism that accompanied it:

These [Broadlands] Conferences were established . . . to seek the outpouring of the Spirit[.] . . . A meeting . . . of universal character, all speaking as the Spirit moved them, not of doctrines or of systems, but of the wonderful things of God. . . . In 1874 a few persons were led together on this new basis . . . their participation in the same desire to lead a higher and deeper Christian life.[362]

People sought “a tangible sign of the Spirit,” and received “ten times more [than they] expected” in his “felt presence.”[363] Mr. and Mrs. Smith were consequently invited by the Cowper-Temples to lead that first fateful conference at Broadlands in 1874, that others also might enter into that same Higher Life and Spirit baptism that they four had experienced with all its physical thrills.[364]

Hannah W. Smith was well aware of the spiritualism and the immoral abominations practiced and propounded by the Mount-Temples. She wrote: “Lady Mount Temple is about as sweet as a human being can be. But she is a spiritualist, and told me that nothing had saved her from absolute infidelity but the proofs she had seen in spiritualism of a life in another region . . . she . . . had so much Scripture on her side[.]”[365] Hannah Smith believed “so much Scripture” was on the side of Mrs. Mount-Temple’s spiritualism despite the clearest and direst warnings against this demonic practice in texts such as Deuteronomy 18:11 and Isaiah 8:19. Thus, Hannah Smith allowed Mrs. Mount-Temple to introduce her to numerous spiritualists and mediums, and they sat under their teaching together.[366] Was it not good that Mrs. Mount-Temple had been kept from agnosticism[367] and atheism through the close communion with Satan and his devils into which she was brought as she engaged in familiar intercourse with demons pretending to be dead people who had come back from the grave? However, notwithstanding her preservation from agnosticism and atheism at the time, at a later time “Lady Mount Temple” began to “rav[e] against God one minute, and d[id] not believe there is any God the next minute.”[368] Furthermore, “Lady Mount Temple could never grasp the difference between right and wrong; when no cruelty was involved she couldn’t see why people should not do what they like”[369]—why they could not, as Hannah advised, “always . . . do the thing they really and seriously wanted to do . . . and . . . with a good conscience.”[370] That such advice could lead to the most monstrous iniquities, and extreme lasciviousness, was apparent. Indeed, Mrs. Mount Temple’s “family, the Tollemaches, were a wild family, much given to misbehavior” that led many of them into “disgrace,” as a result of which they would be invited to stay with Mr. and Mrs. Mount Temple for a while.[371] Mrs. Mount-Temple’s “only answer” when confronted with the fact that a servant of hers named Sarah, “under the almost intolerable domination” of whom she had fallen, “was the mother of a large family of illegitimate children,” was: “‘I am so glad poor Sarah has had some fun.’ . . . [A] charge of misconduct made no impression.”[372] Indeed, Lady Mount Temple even “wrote . . . a friendly letter . . . [to] Oscar Wilde [while he] was out on bail between his two trials . . . inviting him to pay her a visit,”[373] although Wilde was a notorious and serial pedophile, and his two trials were connected to his despicable sodomizing of countless boys and men. Lady Mount Temple also thought—as her conection with Laurence Oliphant makes most unsurprising—that it was “incomprehensible and silly” that Mr. Smith was removed from his leadership of the Keswick Convention[374] after the Brighton meetings because of his espousal of erotic bridal mysticism: “If these good people wanted to kiss each other, what, she wondered, could be the harm in that?”[375]

Despite, or perhaps because of, Mrs. Mount-Temple’s spiritualism, damnable heresies, immorality, and rejection of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Mrs. Smith could write to her: “I think of you as . . . sitting in a bower of heavenly love . . . our true and only [l]and is the beloved and beautiful will of God, which environs us all everywhere and in everything.”[376] Indeed, Mrs. Smith was happy to have fellowship with a variety of other spiritualists also,[377] as well as receiving prophecies from occult palm readers.[378] It is unsurprising that Hannah felt that there was “something occult about”[379] the powers that assisted her preaching ministry. She was certainly not an enemy of the Satanic spiritualism of her great Higher Life patrons.

With the Mount-Temples,[380] Mrs. Smith fellowshipped with Laurence Oliphant, that spiritualist, perfectionist cult leader, and free-love practicioner.[381] Oliphant taught the doctrine which had already been adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Smith some years earlier, and was publicly proclaimed at the Keswick precursor Convention at Oxford, that Spirit baptism brought erotic sexual sensations,[382] although Mr. Oliphant affirmed with greater clarity[383] that the actual entertainment of lustful and vile passions in acts of shameful immorality was the key and the only way to receive Spirit baptism. It was essential, Hannah knew, to receive a post-conversion Spirit baptism,[384] for only after the Baptism does one really become a temple of the Holy Spirit and have His indwelling.[385] And, in truth, it certainly would not be surprising if a supernatural spirit made the body of someone who received the erotic bridal Baptism his dwellingplace.[386] In any case, Mr. and Mrs. Smith were not alone in receiving patronage from the Mount-Temples; Oliphant also was received in the like manner and given a stage upon which to proclaim his filthy abominations.[387] Mrs. Smith wrote about their meeting:

I went to Dorking to join Lord and Lady Mount Temple at a friend’s house there to meet Laurence Oliphant. . . . He . . . has come over to England on a mission to propogate a sort of mystic spiritualism of a most peculiar kind. . . . After dinner Laurence Oliphant read us a long paper . . . [t]he next morning, however, he unfolded his ideas to me . . . similar teaching had [been adopted by] a great many good people[388] in America.[389]

Her letter dramatically understated matters; as other writings of hers, which she would not allow to be published until after her death, and the deaths of all those involved in the events, indicated: “Readers of her [Hannah Smith’s] Religious Fanaticism will recognize the moderation of this letter, for, as she there frankly reveals, Laurence Oliphant, together with his disciples, actually carried out, to the utmost possible extent, the practices of which Robert Pearsall Smith was suspected,”[390] speaking of the doctrine that Spirit baptism was associated with sexual thrills, and engaging in practices suitable to such a confession; for Oliphant held that “sexual passion was the only real spiritual life.”[391] In her more forthright and posthumous description of her visit with the Mount-Temples to sit at the feet of Oliphant, Mrs. Smith wrote:

On one occasion I was invited to go with two friends of mine . . . to meet Mr. Oliphant. In the evening, after dinner, Mr. Oliphant read us a paper about some mysterious experience that he declared was the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, and was the birthright of everyone; urging us to seek the experience for ourselves. . . . I scented out what he meant;[392] but one of my friends did not, and she was profoundly impressed with the mysterious reference to some wonderful “it” that was to be the aim of our desires. When he closed the paper, she said in her sweet, childlike way, “What would’st thou have me to do in order to gain this?” Immediately he coloured up to the roots of his hair, and said, “I could not tell you in this company.” It flashed into my mind that if he had answered her what was really in his mind, he would have said, “Come and get into bed with me.” However, nothing more was said then, and we separated for the night, but I was convinced from the behaviour of our hostess and her daughters that they had been more or less initiated into the mystic rites of this new religion. The next morning Mr. Oliphant asked for a private interview with me, in which he told me that he believed my husband was called to enter into and propogate the views he held, and he urged me to beg him not to stop short of the full consummation. I asked what the full consummation was. He said, “You noticed the question that was asked me last night? Do you know what I would have answered? I did not tell him what I had thought, but asked him, “What would you have answered? His reply was, “If I dared to I would have said, ‘Come and get into bed with me.’” . . . I asked him if it were not possible to lead people into this glorious experience he spoke of without personal contact. He said no, it was not.[393]

In addition to contact with Oliphant through the Mount-Temples, Hannah Smith had contact with the sect of Oliphant’s father in his filthy faith, Thomas Harris,[394] although she professed, at least in public, that she did not adopt either of their views. However, it is clear that she sought out, learned, and “knew personally about” Oliphant’s sect and Harris’s sect,[395] while reading some of Harris’s writings and lending them to others.[396] On Mrs. Mount-Temple’s request, Hannah even visited Harris’s colony in California.[397] Since Mr. and Mrs. Mount-Temple made their “home at Broadlands a haven for all sorts of prophets of new religious and utopian experiements, including the American Thomas Lake Harris . . . [and] his cult in New York State” and they seem to have “considered joining [his] American group,”[398] Mrs. Smith’s exposure to and fellowship with Harris and Oliphant is not surprising in the least. Indeed, although he may be difficult for her to understand, “Harris” is definitely “in his senses,” as Hannah knew, a fact validated to her by her friend, the New Thought teacher Mrs. Caldwell, who considered his writings “very advanced truth”—and Hannah knew that Mrs. Caldwell was also certainly “in her senses,” with “plenty more people, too” who found Harris and his abominations attractive.[399] Filthy fanatics like Oliphant were some of the people[400] Mrs. Mount-Temple introduced to Mrs. Smith. Through Mr. and Mrs. Mount-Temple, Hannah W. Smith was both influenced by spiritualism and other forms of demonic activity, encouraged in the doctrine of erotic bride mysticism being promulgated by her husband and adopted, for a time, by herself also, and exalted to be the most important leader of the Higher Life movement, so as to become the founder of the Keswick theology.

The Mount-Temples’s Broadlands Conference was the launching point for the Keswick movement; all the key Keswick theological distinctives were there in place.[401] The distinctive pattern of the later Keswick meetings of beginning with an explication of the evil of known sin, progressing through the provision made in the Higher Life for victory, and a call to the embrace of the Higher Life and its practical consequences, was pioneered at Broadlands.[402] The positive Keswick emphases, retained from the older classical orthodox doctrine of sanctification, on the necessity of surrender to Christ, a rejection of self-dependence, and the importance of faith, were set forth. What was truly new, the deviations from classical orthodoxy among Keswick speakers and writers, was also taught. For example, Broadlands taught the Keswick idea that Christ Himself lives the Christian life for the believer.[403] Broadlands rejected Christ’s Lordship and Biblical repentance in conversion, teaching that one receives Christ with the attitude of “some of self, and some of Thee” and only later comes to a real surrender.[404] Broadlands taught the standard Keswick Quietism and its associated continuationism.[405] The standard pattern of progressive daily topics at the Keswick Convention was that of Broadlands.[406] Broadlands taught the distinctive Keswick model of sanctification. Keswick theology was consequently molded by the corruption of the gospel, confusion of Biblical sanctification, spiritualism, continuationism, ecumenicalism, the Inner Light, New Thought, the Mind and Faith Cure, feminism, Quakerism, syncretism, quietism, antinomianism, universalism, erotic sensations as Spirit baptism, and the other heresies of the Smiths and their fellow teachers of the Higher Life as taught at Broadlands. It is difficult to underestimate the influence of the teaching of Hannah W. Smith and others at Broadlands on the subsequent history and development of the Keswick movement, as the Oxford and Brighton Conventions were simply Broadlands writ large,[407] and Keswick theology is the permanent establishment of the promulgations of these Conventions.

Thus, Mr. Mount-Temple was by no means a passive host who simply lent his Broadlands property to others for their use—on the contrary, he was the mainspring and heart of the Broadlands Conference and consequently a prime initiator of Keswick. Those who knew Broadlands best testified:

Lord Mount Temple . . . was th[e] mainspring, th[e] very heart . . . of the Broadlands Conferences[.] . . . He was the preparer and the almost hidden ruler of the feast. . . . [T]he aim of his life express[ed] itself and t[ook] visible form in these Conferences . . . it was in these that the sap of his inner ideal life . . . found issue[.] . . . I attribute . . . the felt presence of the Spirit [at the Conferences] . . . not a little, I may say mainly, to the tone and spirit of him who [was] the lord of those broad lands[.] . . . I believe the main channel of all this blessing at Broadlands was dear Lord Mount Temple himself. . . . [I]t was his heart which . . . first conceived the possibility of such meetings . . . it was his personal influence, also, . . . which kept . . . opposite elements in peace[.] . . . Broadlands . . . [was under] the . . . leadership of Lord Mount Temple.[408]

Lord Mount Temple led the way in spiritual things, Hannah Smith testified, and called through the Broadlands message for others to follow him to his eternal dwelling place.[409] He received rhapsodic and hagiographical praise from key Keswick men such as Charles Fox,[410] the poet of Keswick and its closing preacher for two decades.[411] He developed the practice of “open[ing] every meeting”[412] at the Broadlands Conferences, where he “urged upon his hearers the need of a higher spiritual life” and promoted Quietism.[413] Furthermore, his influence was by no means limited to Broadlands, but “he often preached”[414] in various venues. By leading the Broadlands Conference, he was the source of the Oxford, Brighton, and Keswick Conventions that patterned themselves after and developed from it. As Hannah Whitall Smith explained out of her personal experience as a fixture and leader among the Broadlands preachers:[415]

Mr. and Mrs. Cowper Temple . . . were among the first to open their hearts and their home to the teaching concerning the life of faith that was at that time beginning to attract attention among English Christians. The great Conferences at Oxford, later, in 1874, and at Brighton in 1875, and the long series of similar, though somewhat smaller Conferences since held for the “deepening of the spiritual life,” were all the outcome of that first Conference gathered by Mr. and Mrs. Cowper Temple at Broadlands . . . in the summer of 1874; and probably without this brave initiatory Conference of theirs those which followed, filled as they have been and still are with [Higher Life] blessings to thousands, would never have been held. This fact is not generally known, but in the great day of accounts, when the secrets of all hears are revealed . . . thousands will [recognize] these . . . pioneers for having thus opened to Christians a wide door into . . . the life hid with Christ in God.[416]

Broadlands led directly to Keswick:

[O]n July 17, 1874, the first Broadlands Conference met. About 200 persons assembled[.] . . . After this a Conference was held at Broadlands nearly every summer till 1888, and soon after the last one, in August of that year, Lord Mount-Temple died.

Many who attended the first Conference in 1874 felt it would be well if similar meetings, open to larger numbers, could be held elsewhere, and, at the suggestion of Stevenson Blackwood, Oxford was selected as a suitable spot[.] . . . Accordingly a Conference was held in September in the lovely old city, and about 1000 men and women of all ranks of society and of various religious denominations were present.

A fortnight later a crowded meeting was held under the Dome of Brighton, to hear about the Oxford Conference, and as a result of the interest awakened, a Conference was held at Brighton in the following spring, which was largely attended. There were about 8000 strangers in Brighton, as many as 6000 attending services at the same time. . . .

The same year as the Brighton Conference, 1875 . . . the Keswick Conventions . . . [were] inaugurated . . . which have drawn great numbers . . . year after year ever since[.][417]

Both persons who attended and written works about Broadlands and its teaching were key in the formation of the Higher Life movement encapsulated at Keswick.[418] Thus, “the Broadlands Conferences were the starting-point of many important movements. The great Conferences at Oxford in 1874, and at Brighton in 1875, for the deepening of the spiritual life, leading on to those held annually at Keswick and elsewhere . . . were the outcome of those at Broadlands[.]”[419] The 1874 Broadlands Conference, at which the Smiths were key speakers, was “the germ from which Keswick was to grow, and out of which the memorable gatherings at Oxford and Brighton sprang more immediately.”[420] The Keswick Conventions are indubitably the product of Broadlands. What is more, “the fruits of these . . . Broadlands Conferences . . . even now are seen, [even] among those who never were at Broadlands, but who have caught something of its spirit.”[421] The deviations from orthodox spirituality in the Keswick movement developed from the foundation of the movement in the federation between the Mount Temples, the Pearsall Smiths, and other false teachers at Broadlands.

Hannah Smith’s Higher Life theology, promulgated in the Keswick movement, that sanctification produces a sort of perfection of acts,[422] follows the teaching of the leading Quaker theologian Robert Barclay.[423] However, Mrs. Smith came to her view of “the life of faith” in association not only with the “Quaker examples and influences” that from her youth led her to seek for entire sanctification,[424] but also the Catholic heretics and mystical quietists “Fénelon and Madame Guyon.”[425] Hannah described her love for a collection of their writings and its influence upon her, and her father before her, in leading them towards the Higher Life, as follows:

I knew I was not what I ought to be. My life was full of failure and sin. . . . I was continually sinning and repenting, making good resolutions and breaking them . . . longing for victory . . . but more often failing. . . . From the peaceful, restful lives of the Quakers, among whom I had been brought up . . . I had supposed of course that becoming a Christian meant necessarily becoming peaceful and good, and I had as much expected to have victory over sin and over worries as I had expected the sun to shine. But I was forced to confess in the secret depths of my soul that I had been disappointed. . . . Nothing could have described my condition better than the Apostle’s account of his own condition in Romans 7:14-23.[426] I had entered into the salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, and yet I knew no such triumphant deliverance from the “body of death” within me[.] . . . This feeling became especially strong after my discovery of the unlimited love of God.[427] . . . The Quaker examples and influences around me seemed to say there must be a deliverance somewhere, for they declared that they had experienced it[.] . . . There was also another influence in my life that seemed to tell the same story. I possessed a book which distinctly taught that God’s children were not only commanded to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, but also that they could do so;[428] and which seemed to reveal the mystical pathway towards it. It was called “Spiritual Progress,” and was a collection of extracts from the writings of Fénelon and Madame Guyon. This book was very dear to me, for it had been a gift from my adored father, and always lay on my desk beside my Bible. . . . [Concerning it, my father also testified,] “This book proved to be of the greatest comfort to me. I carried it in my pocket, and at leisure moments read it to my everlasting profit, I trust. And I cannot but thank a kind Providence for giving me this blessed book.” . . . He valued the book so highly that, as fast as his children grew old enough, he presented each one of us with a copy, and asked us to read it carefully. Our father was so dear to us that we always wanted to please him, and I for one had made the book my special companion . . . its teachings had made a profound impression upon me[.] . . . After . . . the discovery I had made of the wideness of God’s love [universalism], I began to feel more and more uneasy. . . . And more and more I felt the inconsistency of having a salvation, which was in the end to be so magnificently complete [as every single person would be in heaven], but which failed now and here so conspiculously in giving that victory over sin and over worry . . . [until I discovered] the Methodist “blessing of holiness.”[429]

Thus, not only Quakerism, universalism, and a self-centered eudemonism that was focused upon being free from worry and having a life of ease and rest, but also Roman Catholic mysticism was key in Hannah’s discovery of the Higher Life. In her youth Hannah had wished to “get perfectly good, just like Mme. Guyon,”[430] and even to the limits of her old age she found various affirmations of Fénelon “everlastingly true.”[431] She further wrote: “Fenelon’s whole teaching is to show us how to let the lower life die, and the higher life take its place[,] [that is,] . . . the ‘Higher Life’ . . . [taught in my] ‘Christian’s Secret[.]’”[432] Likewise, Hannah Smith found “the true meaning of self abandonment” in Madame Guyon’s Commentary on the Song of Solomon,[433] found confirmation on “the subject of guidance” by the Inner “Voice” from “Madame Guyon,”[434] discovered her quietistic doctrine of resting on God in “naked faith” from “Madame Guyon” and “Fenelon,”[435] and developed her doctrine of being “one with God” from them also.[436] Indeed, she made many discoveries from this pair of Catholic mystics, who were central to her doctrine of sanctification,[437] although other Roman Catholics were also important.[438] Indeed, she found that not only Romanist mystics, but “[a]ll the writers on the advancing life say that a renunciation of all the activities of the soul must come before God can be all in all.”[439] That is, quietism is the necessary prerequisite for mystical union and deification. [440] The Higher Life “may make us lazy on the line of ‘creaturely activity,’ for all our restless strivings and agonizings will be over, and our souls will dwell in ‘peaceable habitations’ continually,”[441] but quietism is the truth, at least in the view of the writers on the advanced life, if not in the view of the Bible.

Both the Roman Catholic Archbishop Fénelon and the mystical Quietist and panentheist Madame Guyon, who in “all that concerns the distinction between Protestantism [and the Baptists] and Romanism . . . is wholly Romanist,”[442] were enemies of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Madame Guyon began her last will as follows: “I protest that I die in the faith of the Catholic, apostolical, Roman Church; having no other doctrines than hers; believing all that she believes, and condemning, without restriction, all that she condemns.”[443] She was “an outstanding proponent” of “quietism,” that “manifestation of Roman Catholic mysticism in the seveneenth and eighteenth centuries,” having adopted it from “Miguel de Molinos, a Spanish priest”[444] who was “founder of the Quietists.”[445] Packer describes the error of Quietism:

Quietism . . . holds that all initiatives on our part, of any sort, are the energy of the flesh; that God will move us, if at all, by inner promptings and constraints that are recognizably not thoughts and impulses of our own; and that we should always be seeking the annihilation of our selfhood so that divine life may flow freely through our physical frames. . . . by biblical standards this passiv[e] frame of reference is altogether wrong, for the Holy Spirit’s ordinary way of working in us is through the working of our minds and wills. . . . Thus, our conscious, rational selfhood, so far from being annihilated, is strengthened . . . Philippians 2:13. This is holiness, and in the process of perfecting it there is, properly speaking, no passivity at all.[446]

David Cloud explained:

The school of mysticism that Guyon adhered to, sometimes called Quietism, was an extreme form of Roman Catholic mysticism that emphasized the cleansing of one’s inner life and included the belief that one could see Christ visibly. Before Guyon’s day, in the Middle Ages, this took strange forms in erotic “bride mysticism” with some visionaries believing they were married to Jesus. Guyon and the Quietists went further, into something called essence mysticism. They believed that their being was merged with God’s being and the two became one. This unbiblical idea survives today in the New Age and other non-Christian religions. . . . She taught that we can know of God by “passing forward into God,” going into a mindless, meditative state where we can get in touch with the Christ within the self, merge with that Christ and be lifted into ecstasy.[447]

Guyon “won many converts,” resulting in a “belief in a vague pantheism which is closer to the South Asian religions than to Christianity,” but, nevertheless, she “felt herself so close to God that she received visions and revelations,”[448] as did so many of her Higher Life successors who devoured her writings. Madame Guyon also, with other medieval Roman Catholic mystics, believed in the abominable heresy of deification, which was also transferred into the Higher Life and Keswick milieu.[449] Fenélon, who “admired and defended [Guyon’s] ideas,”[450] had many converts also—he became the Catholic “Superior of a house for recent converts from Protestantism and then led a mission to the Huguenots,”[451] seeking to bring those French Protestants back to the fold of that religious system, centered in Rome, that the Apostle John called the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth (Revelation 17). Concerning these Quietists, Hannah W. Smith wrote: “By my Quaker education, I was exceedingly inclined towards mysticism, and the books I had read—such as Madame Guyon, Fénelon, Isaac Pennington[452] and others, all of which lead to a life of introspection and self-abandonment—had greatly strengthened me in this, so that I honestly believed that wonderful spiritual light would come, and did come, to souls that gave themselves up to the control of their interior emotions and followed impressional guidance.”[453] She stated: “[B]ecause of my education in the Quaker Society . . . [m]y idea of guidance . . . was of having impressed upon my mind in some miraculous way the will of God; and the teaching I received was that instant, unquestioning obedience to these impressions was the only way[.]”[454] Quaker and Roman Catholic mysticism were at the heart of Hannah W. Smith’s Higher Life and Keswick theology.

Mrs. Smith also rejoiced in her “dear Quaker friend[s] and the Catholic Saints” who “exalted James with his justification by works.”[455] After the death of her daughter’s Roman Catholic husband, she “covenanted that” her grandchildren from that marriage would “be educated as Roman Catholics, and she kept . . . strictly to her promise.”[456] She wrote: “My two little grandchildren are . . . devout little Catholics, and seem to enjoy their religion, and I am glad of it. I daresay they will be saved a good many of the perplexities and difficulties that so often beset Protestant children.”[457] She led them to celebrate Lent,[458] to “la[y] up treasure in Heaven by giving candlesticks to a Roman Catholic High Altar” and by going to Mass[459] and the Confessional.[460] Hannah used the methods in “The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life” to lead “a Roman Catholic lady, a convert who was vexed by doubts about some dogma of the Church” of Rome, to an unshaken confidence in the dogma of transubstantiation. “H. W. S. wrote out on a piece of paper, ‘I undertake never to have any more doubts about the Real Presence’ (or whatever it was), and brought it to her, and made her sign it. After that the troubled spirit was utterly at rest”[461] in the bosom of the Whore of Babylon. After all, nothing was wrong with Romanism, since because of a Quaker “opening,” one of the special revelations she received that supplemented or contradicted the Bible, Mrs. Smith came to realize that Roman Catholics were all one in God with other Christians.[462] In any case, a Christian does not need to be justified by Christ’s imputed righteousness, nor believe what the Bible says about Jesus Christ—rather, “to be a good human being is to be the best Christian that can be made.”[463] Mrs. Smith documents how she turned away from the doctrine she had learned from the Plymouth Brethren of judicial and forensic justification by faith alone (cf. Romans 3:28), “[a]fter . . . the discovery [she] had made of the wideness of God’s love [universalism],”[464] adopting instead the heresy and works-gospel that justification means that “the life of Christ in our souls is a righteous life.”[465] She thus denied the Biblical doctrine of justification, as well as holding to other corruptions of the gospel, both before and during the time when she began her influence as a Higher Life teacher and preacher, and she cleaved to a false gospel the rest of her life.

In addition to rejecting the core Biblical doctrine of justification, Mrs. Smith was very confused on the instrumental means for the receipt of the gospel. Denying that repentant faith alone was the instrumentality for the receipt of salvation, Hannah taught that “we cannot be saved until after we confess,” so that it was necessary to “make an apology” after doing wrong.[466] Her view of faith was dangerous and heretical. She wrote: “Faith, then, is not a grace . . . Neither are there different kinds of faith. Men talk about a . . . living faith, and a saving faith, and an intellectual faith, and an historical faith, and a dead faith; but God talks about believing what He says, and this is the only kind of faith the Bible mentions.”[467] Thus, to Mrs. Smith, saving faith was merely intellectual assent, believing facts. Furthermore, Mrs. Smith anticipated the Word-Faith heresy[468] that positive confessions create positive realities:

Put your will then over on to the believing side. Say, “Lord I will believe, I do believe,” and continue to say it. . . . I began to say, over and over, “The Lord does love me. He is my present and my perfect Saviour; Jesus saves me, Jesus saves me now!” . . . Those three little words, repeated over and over, — “Jesus saves me, Jesus saves me,” — will put to flight the greatest army of doubts that ever assaulted any soul. I have tried it times without number, and have never known it to fail. Do not stop to argue the matter out with your doubts, nor try to prove that they are wrong. Pay no attention to them whatever; treat them with the utmost contempt. Shut your door in their faces, and emphatically deny every word they say to you. . . . Cultivate the habit of expressing your faith in definite words . . . repeat often.[469]

Further anticipating Word of Faith error, she wrote elsewhere: “Faith, we are told, ‘calleth those things which be not as though they were.’ Calling them brings them into being,” so that exercising faith is “the law of creation[,]”[470] misinterpreting Romans 4:17, which states that the personal, omnipotent God, not faith, calls those things which are not as though they were. Thus, Hannah believed she could do what Romans 4:17 affirms God, not the Christian, does: “[I]t is like the pangs of creation to have ‘the faith of God’ and ‘call those things which be not as though they were.’ Is not that a grand definition of faith? It is in Romans 4:17.”[471] Nevertheless, Hannah admitted: “I see the difficulty you speak of, and I confess it does seem an odd sort of thing to do, to become satisfied by saying one is satisfied, when one is not. But is it not just what faith is described to be ‘calling those things which be not as though they were.’ And what else can we do?”[472] She recognized that it was, indeed, very odd to simply say that things were a certain way when they were not so, but such was her view of faith, and she did not know what else to do. Her view, applied to feelings, might have had some effect as a psychological gimmick, but when applied to physical healing in the nineteenth century Faith and Mind Cure movements, and the modern Word of Faith movement, it has caused vast numbers of early deaths, while when applied to conversion and assurance of salvation, it has led to vast numbers of eternal, spiritual deaths.

As Mrs. Smith’s view of faith was heretical, so her view of conversion was terribly deficient and dangerous. Her counsel to the unconverted was:

If you are unconverted, take His message to sinners in 2 Corinthians 5:19, for instance, and make up your mind to believe it, irrespective of your feelings, or of your reasonings or of any other thing whatever. Say to yourself, “God says that He ‘was reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.’ I do not see how this can be. I do not feel as if it were so. But God says it, and I know He cannot lie; and I choose to believe Him. He is reconciled to me in Christ, and He does not impute my trespasses unto me; I was saved through the death of Christ.” Repeat it over and over, putting all the power of will you possess into it. “I will believe; I choose to believe; I do believe; I am saved.” “How do you know it?” says Satan; “do you feel it?” “No I do not feel it at all; but I know it, because God says so; and I would far rather trust His word than my own feelings, let them be ever so delightful.”[473]

Henry Boardman[474] rightly comments on this false view of faith by Mrs. Smith: “Can this grossly unscriptural advice be followed without deadly peril of self deception?”[475] Saving faith is a Spirit-worked trust in the Person and cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. It possesses intellectual, volitional, and emotional elements. Repeating to oneself over and over that since Christ died for the sins of the world, one has received spiritual life, is a fearful error and a false gospel. Describing, on another occasion, how she would bring someone to “conversion,” although conversion to “a different sort of God altogether” than that of Christian orthodoxy, that is, the god of universalism, Hannah explained that the sinner does not need to recognize that he is a child of the devil (John 8:44) who is dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1-3) and then come to repentance (Luke 13:3); rather, he should simply mentally assent to the fact that he is, allegedly, already a child of God and already forgiven, just like all other sinners in the world, and then enter into the Higher Life and feel happy and free from trouble. Hannah and Robert Smith were happy to give assurance and the peace and comfort that comes with it to those without any testimony of real conversion or the life associated with it; for example, they publicly proclaimed that all their children were saved, although none of them were.[476] She wrote:

[C]onversion comes . . . at the moment of belief, only it is belief in a different sort of God altogether. I go to a sinner now and say, “Poor soul, God loves you; God is your Father; He is on your side. He came down to this world in a human body, just to take your lot upon Him and to bear your sins and sorrows. He met your enemy and conquered him, so that you need not fear him any more. He is not angry with you. He took your sins upon Him and made your cause His own. He is reconciled to you. He declared that He forgave you when He was on earth, and He declares it still in the Record He left behind Him. He says if you will only trust Him He will get you out of all your troubles. He will beget His own spiritual life in you, and make you a partaker of the Divine nature. You shall be born of the spirit, and be filled with the spirit[.][477]

In light of Mrs. Smith’s confusion on the nature of saving conversion—errors in which she was followed by her husband[478] and in which she stood with other Higher Life leaders[479]—it is not surprising that Mrs. Smith’s son Logan could remember little about his own alleged conversion at the age of four. He had to find out what happened at the time of his professed conversion by reading a tract his father Robert P. Smith had written about it. His alleged conversion did not change his life—for such a change needed to await the second blessing, sanctification, Logan related—and he was never truly born again and so was able to apostatize from, renounce, and come to hate evangelical Christianity and the Christ set forth by it,[480] just as his father and mother came to do, and all the other Smith children that lived to adulthood.

Mrs. Smith was able to adopt all her heresies because she was never truly born again. At the time of her alleged evangelical conversion Mrs. Smith noted that she thought that she simply “had found out something delightful about God” and the idea “that I personally was different in any way from what I had been before, never entered my head.”[481] A member of the Plymouth Brethren, however, hearing her change in doctrinal views, told her: “Thank God, Mrs. Smith, that you have at last become a Christian,” to which she “promptly replied, ‘Oh no, I am not a Christian at all.’”[482] However, Mrs. Smith allowed this member of the Plymouth Brethren to convice her that her doctrinal assent was equivalent to becoming a Christian, so that she came to conclude: “‘I must be born of God. Well, I am glad.’ From that moment the matter was settled, and not a doubt as to my being a child of God and the possessor of eternal life, has ever had the slightest power over me since.”[483] Unfortunately, since she had never through repentant faith come into saving union with the crucified Christ, but had simply assented to certain Biblical truths, she never was regenerated, and thus was able to apostatize from even the evangelical doctrinal beliefs that had, for a time, captivated her interest. She refers, in her later life, to her “very evangelical days” as a time in the past that had come to an end,[484] and she “had afterwards to discard” even the trappings of Christian orthodoxy that she held in her “extreme evangelical days.”[485] At the time of her evangelical influence, she stated that she had not embraced the Person of the crucified and risen Christ through a repentant faith, but “what I got at was the fact of God’s forgiveness,” and since all she “got” was a “fact,” not a Person, she stated that the evangelical gospel was “a hook [about God’s forgiveness] that I had afterwards to discard. . . . The various hooks upon which I hung this fact at the different stages of my progress were entirely immaterial after all.”[486] She could apostatize from even the evangelical truths she temporaily held to because they were simply facts assented to mentally—she had never embraced Jesus Christ as her own Lord and Savior on gospel terms. Consequently, as years passed, “[s]he found that, after all her searching and all her experimenting, she had come back very close to the position of the old Quakers from which she had started, and in her later days she was more mystical, more quietist, and at the same time less positive,” that is, more relativistic, than ever,[487] since the “time has not yet arrived in the history of the human race when in this world we can have any absolute standard of right and wrong.”[488] Mrs. Smith’s universalism led her to reject the necessity of the new birth and of conversion, truths to which she had intellectually assented for a short period:

[As Quakers,] [w]e were never told we had to be “converted” or “born again,” and my own impression was that these were things . . . [which] were entirely unnecessary for us, who were birthright members of the Society of Friends, and were already born into the kingdom of God, and only needed to be exhorted to live up to our high calling. I believe this was because of one of the fundamental principles of Quakerism, which was a belief in the universal fatherhood of God, and a recognition of the fact that Christ had linked Himself on to humanity, and had embraced the whole world in His divine brotherhood, so that every soul that was born belonged to Him, and could claim sonship with the same Father. . . . [T]he early Friends accepted this as true, and would have thought it misleading to urge us to become [converted or born again, since] we . . . already belonged . . . [to] the Good Shepherd. For a little time, in my Plymouth Brethren days, I looked upon this [Quaker doctrine] as a dreadful heresy; but later on I learned the blessed fact . . . that we are all, the heathen . . . heathen idolators . . . even included, “God’s offspring;” and I realized that, since He is our creator, He is of course our Father, and we equally of course are his children. And I learned to thank and bless the grand old Quakers who had made this discovery, since their teaching made it easy for me to throw aside the limiting, narrowing ideas I had first adopted [of the necessity of the new birth and conversion], and helped me to comprehend . . . that no one can shut another out [universalism].[489]

Mrs. Smith was an unregenerate woman who professed and preached a false gospel.

Having rejected justification by faith and the new birth and having become a universalist, in association with what she learned “among the Methodists . . . [of] the ‘Doctrine of Holiness’ . . . [Hannah Smith learned about] an experience called ‘sanctification’ or the ‘second blessing’ which brought you into a place of victory.”[490]

She explains what she learned by means of Methodist meetings on the second blessing:

[I] found . . . what Paul meant when he said, “Not I, but Christ,” and that the victory I sought, was to come by ceasing to live my own life[.] . . . I find there are some Christians who say that [we] receiv[e] Christ by faith for our sanctification, just as we received Him by faith for our justification . . . a Methodist doctrine . . . but it seems to be the only thing that can supply my needs . . . this is the Methodist “blessing of holiness.”[491]

She wrote:

This new life I had entered upon has been called by several different names. The Methodists called it “The Second Blessing,” or “The Blessing of Sanctification;” the Presbyterians[492] called it “The Higher Life,” or “The Life of Faith;” the Friends [Quakers] called it “The Life hid with Christ in God.” . . . I have most fully set it forth . . . [in my book] the “Secret of a Happy Life” . . . [where the teaching is expounded that] practical sanctification was to be obtained, like justification, by simple faith; and that, like justification, it was to be realized in any moment in which our faith should be able to grasp it.[493]

The Higher Life “is what the Quakers have always taught. Their preaching is almost altogether about it.”[494] Quaker men and women “receiv[ed] the blessing of full salvation or death to sin” in Quaker meetings and went on to become “very successful in holding Holiness meetings.”[495] Indeed, Mrs. Smith thus noted that the Quakers, Methodists, and Catholics all taught the Higher Life doctrine she also embraced:

[T]his discovery, which I have tried to set forth, was the beginning of a great revival in the spiritual life of the Church everywhere . . . the life of faith [was found] not only among the Methodists, but among the Quakers and among the Catholics as well, and in fact it is I believe at the bottom of the creeds of every Church . . . The Life of Faith [is] . . . what the Quakers had always taught. . . . They were in short “Higher Life” people[.][496]

Hannah W. Smith refined the Higher Life perfectionism that was her Quaker birthright, not only from Roman Catholic influences, but from Methodist perfectionism also.

Mrs. Smith further developed her doctrine of sanctification by faith and the Higher Life through a discovery she stated was “more fundamental”[497] than any other. She received this Higher Life truth through the influence of a Methodist minister who experienced demonic revelations and was a sexual predator. She explained why she was open to his twisted ideas:

[I]n my search after the deep things of God . . . I think all the fanatics in the United States must have found their way to my presence to try and draw me into their especial net, and . . . I was always ready to listen sympathetically, hoping that among them all I might at last find the truth[.] . . . I [could] be completely taken in by anyone who professed to be “guided by the Lord.” This was owing, I expect, to my early Quaker teaching about Divine Guidance. People had only to say to me that the Lord had led them into such or such a course, for me to bow down before them in profound reverence. . . . I was made to believe that . . . I should be able to understand the Divine reasons for what seemed to me violations of good sense and even of simple morality.[498]

In contrast, concerning a local “Baptist clergyman . . . [who] preaches such a pure gospel,” Hannah affirmed, “I cannot enjoy close contact with such people,”[499] finding preachers of a pure gospel repulsive,[500] but fanatics of all sorts much more attractive, in keeping with her background, associations, and unrenewed nature. She stated: “My first introduction to fanaticism, if I leave out all that I got from the Quakers to start with, which was a good deal, came through the Methodist doctrine of entire sanctification. That doctrine has been one of the greatest blessings of my life[.]”[501] This blessing came in association with Dr. Henry Foster and his Clifton Springs sanitarium; the Pearsall Smith family had known Dr. Foster since at least 1871 when Robert had stayed at the sanitarium and learned from the spiritual doctor the doctrine of erotic Sprit baptism. Hannah described her association with this Methodist minister and his family, the insight into the Higher Life she received, and evidenced her incredible spiritual blindness,[502] as follows:

In the year 1879[503] we took a furnished house in Coulter Street, Germantown,[504] for the summer. A lady who lived next door to us had lent her house to some friends who had the reputation of being wonderful Christians, and of having great revelations and marvelous experiences. As I was at that time in search of remarkable experiences, I was exceedingly interested in these people, and very soon made their acquaintance. The head of the household was a Methodist minister named J. L., and I found him to be a most impressive and interesting man. He had a way of suddenly turning to you when conversation was going on and saying that he had a message for you from the Lord[.] . . . There were also in the house two sisters named W., whose father, Dr. W., was a man of position and authority in the Methodist Church, with a great reputation for piety. . . .

From the first I was profoundly impressed by the apparent holiness and devotedness of this household, and felt that they must have been brought there on purpose to help me onward in my earnest search for a realised oneness with Christ, a oneness which they seemed to have attained in a very marvellous degree.

The thing which interested me at first was the remarkable way in which they seemed to understand the guidance of the Holy Spirit in all the little daily affairs of life. . . . I must say here that their way of looking continually, moment by moment, to the Lord for His Guidance, and their perfect certainty that He did indeed, according to His promise, direct their every step, seemed to invest them with an atmosphere of holiness and to surround them with the conscious presence of the Lord. . . . They seemed literally to live and move and have their being in God . . . hungering . . . to know the utmost possibilities of the life hid with Christ in God, [so that] it seemed [to me] that it ought to be almost like entering the very gates of Heaven to be in their presence, and I threw myself with intense eagerness into their teaching and their influence.

No one could associate with them and not believe that they thought themselves special Divine favourites. They professed to be so minutely guided in life that I was very anxious to attain the same experience, so finally I got Miss W. to give me a sample of the way in which she was guided. She said it was like this: that when she was awakened in the morning her first conscious thought was to consecrate the day to the Lord, and to ask Him to guide her every step of the way throughout the whole day. She would then ask Him whether she was to get up or not; and very often, although it was apparently very important that she should get up, the Lord told her to stay in bed. Then, perhaps, in a few minutes the voice would order her to get up. Then she would proceed to get up. As she put on each article she asked the Lord whether she was to put it on, and very often the Lord would tell her to put on the right shoe and leave off the other; sometimes she was to put on one stocking and leave off the other; sometimes she was to put on both stockings and no shoes; and sometimes both shoes and no stockings; it was the same with all articles of dress. She also said that often during the day, when she was seated at work, the Lord would tell her to get up and go out of the room, and when she got out would tell her to come back. And often she would be told to move from one chair to another, or to go and stand on the front doorstep, or to do all sorts of erratic things. She said that the object of this was to make her pliable so that she would be ready to follow the guidance of the Lord on the instant. I immediately thought that I would like to live this way, so the next morning after this conversation I began the process, and it was with the greatest difficulty that I got dressed or downstairs to my duties, as the voice kept telling me all sorts of things. Then when I did get downstairs I could hardly get through my breakfast, for the voice would suggest, just as I would get a mouthful nearly into my mouth, that I must not take it. I spent the morning running about from one chair to another, going out to the steps and coming back again, and running from one room to the other, and even going so far as to take off my shoes and stockings, and then to put them on again without any apparent cause.

I kept this up until about twelve o’clock, and then . . . I said to myself . . . [“]I have just got the ideas from what Miss W. told me, and I am making it up all out of my own head,” and I was forced sorrowfully to conclude that I had not fathomed the secret of Divine guidance yet.[505] This did not, however, weaken my desire to know the inner depths of the experience of which I heard[.] . . .

In spite of all their evident holiness, I had been conscious all the while of something mysterious about the whole household, an intangible atmosphere of something wrong which seemed to fill the house, and to look out of the eyes of its inmates, and to be heard in the tones of their voices. There was nothing I could lay my hands upon, or could even formulate in my thoughts, and whenever the feeling forced itself upon me I blamed myself as being as yet too unspiritual fully to enter into their heights of spirituality and set myself more determinedly than ever to attain to their divine level. Believing, as they taught, that human reason must be laid aside in spiritual matters, and only the interior voice of the Spirit obeyed,[506] I . . . tried to convice myself that I was in this way being uplifted more and more into the secret things of God’s immediate presence.

I must confess it was all very fascinating. . . . in many respects their teaching was exceedingly valuable. And I did receive during the course of the summer a real revelation of God that has made my life to me a different thing ever since [that is, the Higher Life doctrine of sanctification in greater fulness]. . . . It was the continual habit of this strange household to refer everything to God. . . . Their one universal reply to everything was simple, the words, “Yes; but then there is God”; and no arguments or questionings could turn them from this by so much as a hair’s-breadth.

As may be imagined, during my intercourse with them, because of all the unexplainable mystery accompanied by the apparent wonderful holiness that seemed to surround them, I often found myself in a good deal of spiritual perplexity, and, as I looked upon them as religious teachers deserving the highest confidence, I continually went to one or other of them with my difficulties, chiefly, however, to the oldest of the W. sisters, Miss Caroline W., who was a woman of great culture and intelligence and unusual spiritual power.[507] I would pour out to her all my interior perplexities and difficulties and temptations, to which I must say she always listened very patiently, but when I would pause for some comforting or helpful reply, there would always ensue a moment or two of silence, and then she would always say in a tone that seemed utterly to conclude the matter, “Yes, that may all be true, but then, there is God.” . . . [M]y most impassioned or despairing stories of my spiritual woes could never elicit anything more than this. “Yes, yes,” she would say; “I know it all. But then, there is God.” . . .

Towards the end of their stay, one night, a friend who had come to sit at their feet and I had gone to be in great perplexity, full of questioning as to how it could be that God would permit people who wanted to follow Him, and were trying to walk in His paths, to wander into error. We went to sleep in this perplexity, unable to see any light; but somehow, in the morning when we met, we turned to each other and said, in the sense that we had never said it before, the single word, “God!” and with that word came to us a recognition of the all sufficiency of God in a way that has never left us. . . . It would be impossible to put into words just what seemed to come to us that morning, but it certainly was a satisfying revelation of the all-sufficiency of God, just the bare God[508] . . . for all our needs. . . . I shall never cease to feel real gratitude to this strange household for having brought me to this, although I very soon found out some dreadful things about them. . . .

One day . . . I received a telegram from Mrs. C. in Boston, begging me to come and see her at once on a matter of vital importance. The message was so urgent that I took a night train, and arrived there the next morning. Immediately Mrs. C. told me that she thought I ought to know the state of things in this household, and she had sent for me to tell me about it. She brought in a highly respectable woman doctor, who told me the following facts.

The doctor said that she had two very intimate friends in Boston, who were ladies of very good standing, and, in fact, one of them was at the head of a large school or college, and was considered an authority on education . . . and were, in fact, devoted Christians. They had become acquainted with Mr. L., the Methodist minister, who was the head of the mysterious household next door to me . . . and had seemed to find great spiritual uplifiting from his teachings. This doctor was at that time in charge of a hospital, and these ladies would often come to see her. She noticed that one of them seemed to be losing her spirits, and to be greatly depressed, with so far as she knew no apparent reason. She seemed to be on the verge all the time of saying something to the doctor which she appeared afraid to continue, and the doctor felt that her friend had a confidence to make to her which for some reason she was reluctant to make.

One night this friend came to stay all night at the hospital and slept in the room with the doctor. As she was standing by the looking-glass arranging her hair, the doctor noticed something peculiar in her appearance, and it flashed across her mind that her friend was in the family way. She explained, “Oh, darling, what is the matter?” and her friend burst into tears. Nothing more was said; the doctor was too shocked to speak; she would as soon have expected to find the Angel Gabriel in such a plight as her friend; and they spent the night both weeping, but saying nothing till towards the morning. Then her friend opened her heart and confided in the doctor. She told her that she and her companion had been greatly impressed by the teaching of this Mr. L., to whom they had been introduced by Miss –—, a religious teacher of a great deal of spirituality, living in Boston.[509] They had both become greatly influenced by Mr. L’s teaching, and gradually he had unfolded to them that it had been revealed to him that he was to be the father of a race of children that were to be born into the world as Christ was, and that the Lord had shown him that they themselves were to be the favoured mothers of these children. . . . Mr. L. . . . not only believed that he was Christ, but thought that he was destined to be the father of “Christ’s children,” who were to found a race that was to revolutionize the world. These children, according to him, were to be begotten in a spiritual way, without bodily contact, but his practice did not bear out his assumption. . . . [H]e succeeded in completely deluding these ladies, and in carrying out his purposes, and this poor thing was now expecting to be the mother of one of those children. The agonies of mind that she had gone through could not be described. She dared not admit the idea that it was a delusion, for her whole spiritual life seemed to depend upon believing that she had been rightly guided; for if she could think that in the most solemn moments of consecration the Lord could allow her to be so deceived, she would feel that she could never trust Him again.[510] She clung with a deathlike grip to the belief that it was Divine guidance, and that she was greatly favoured to be allowed to be the mother of one of these wonderful children. How to get through the earthly part of it, however, was the great difficulty. But her doctor friend stepped in to the rescue; she took a house out of the city, brought her friend there, took care of her until the time came, carried her safely through her confinement and kept the facts hidden from everybody. The lady told her mother, who had been anxious about her health, that she was broken down by so much teaching, and was going to the country for a complete rest, and there was no exposure.

Mr. L. was a constant visitor at the house, as the doctor had not the heart to plunge her friend into the abyss of despair which would have been her portion if she had lost faith in him. The doctor did not like his ways at all, and herself believed that it was pure human lust. However, the thing was carried through; the doctor adopted the baby, and her friend went back to her usual avocations. She never lost her [faith in Mr. L.] during my knowledge of her. Mr. L. married the other lady, the companion who had shared in her delusion, and, soon after the birth of the baby the mother went to live with him and his wife, and for many years they formed one household.

The dear sister who had lent Mr. L. the house . . . a wealthy widow . . . came so much under his influence . . . [that] she was tempted to go away with him. . . . [He] had almost succeeded in persuading her to put all her private property into his hands, and go and live with him. We at once, in his presence, told her the whole story as we had heard it, and while he acknowledged the facts, he stuck to his position that he was commissioned of the Lord to bring forth these children, and that they were not begotten according to any natural process. We succeeded, however, in frightening him so much as to our revelations that might be made, that he himself told our friend he did not believe she was called to go with him[.] . . . How many poor souls were beguiled during that strange summer I do not know.

Of course, from that time my intercourse with these dear misguided Christians[511] ceased, but about a year after I received a very impressive and solemn note from one of them saying that the way was still open for me to return to the Lord if I would give up my self-will and consent to be guided as the Lord led. . . . Since then, I have never seen nor heard about them.. . .

[Nonetheless, from Mr. L and his household] I did discover one truth, more important to Christians than any warnings about dangers in this world . . . and that truth was God. . . . [In] the summer . . . [of] 1879 . . . when the L. household lived next door to me[,] The Lord . . . t[aught] me very blessed lessons about the interior life[.] . . . He [had] sent some of His children to spend the summer in a house [next door].[512] One of them especially [was] helpful to me. She is what I call a “mystic”—one of those who know the Spirit’s voice, and who walk alone with God. . . . At last I begin to understand what this means, and I believe I am beginning to live it. . . . Definitely and forever I consent now to die as to any recognized self-life. It shall be henceforth no more I, but Christ. . . . [I]n spite of . . . [their] frightful fanaticism . . . [which made me question if I ought to be] content to know but little of the inward voice . . . [since] they have tried so faithfully to find it, and have been deluded . . . [yet] I know the truth about it must exist[,] . . . [and] I had gained from the summer’s experience a knowledge of God . . that . . . brought me into a peaceful resting in Him that has never been seriously disturbed since. . . . It may seem strange that such an acquaintance with God could have come to me out of such a hotbed of fanaticism, but there is the fact, and there is no getting around it. Whatever else these dear deluded fanatics may have been or have done they did live in the presence of God in a most unusual sense[.][513] . . . “Pure religion,” says Fénelon, “resides in the will alone.”[514] And again, “the will to love God is the whole of religion.” I . . . am thankful beyond words that . . . I was brought at last to see that a quiet stedfast holding of the human will to the will of God and a peaceful resting in His love and care is of . . . great[est] value[515] in the religious life.[516]

Thus, Hannah Whitall Smith learned what she considered her greatest spiritual discovery, not from the study of the Scriptures, which would have prevented her from adopting such a sort of pagan spirituality, but from the demonic revelations of a Methodist minister who was a sexual predator, to whose ideas she was open because of her background in Quaker and Romanist mysticism, Methodist fanaticism, and her expectation of Quaker revelations from the Inner Voice.

The Methodist predator from whom Mrs. Smith made her most fundamental discovery of the spiritual life also believed in the doctrine, developed out of medieval and counter-Reformation Roman Catholic mysticism, that Spirit baptism brought physical sexual thrills. Visiting “the lady who had been largely instrumental in starting people . . . on the career which led them to L. [the Methodist sexual predator mentioned above],” Hannah W. Smith narrated the following:

I found her to be a quiet refined lady rather past middle age, evidently very intelligent and a Christian worker who was highly esteemed by all who knew her. I told her what I knew about the L. household [the Methodist minister and sexual predator]. . . . She said . . . that the Lord’s dealings were often very mysterious and such as the natural man could not understand, but that what God had pronouced clean no one might dare to call unclean, and that these dear saints had been most manifestly led by Him. . . . [S]he had been led into these courses and . . . she could do nothing but obey[.] . . . During the course of my conversation with this lady she said: “You may think it strange, Mrs. Smith, but I speak from experience; there have been times when, in order to help my friends to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, I have been distinctly led of the Lord to have them get into bed with me and lie back to back without any nightgown between. And,” she added, “it has always brought them to the conscious Baptism.” . . . [S]he has been the means of leading a great many young women into the same line of things.

Another friend of mine . . . whom I had told about Dr. R., received while I was talking to her, what she believed was the Baptism, and began to experience right there thrills of rapture from head to foot, which completely carried her away. . . . [S]he [came] to spend most of her time lying on the sofa trying to induce [the thrills] to come. She also . . . felt it her duty to kiss several men, with the idea that through that means God would bestow either great blessings upon them or greater blessings upon herself. She had felt led to kiss Mr. L. [the Methodist sexual predator]. . . . [Indeed,] a great many saintly women . . . one after another . . . would in some mysterious way begin to “feel led” to give him a kiss . . . the called for kiss bestowed . . . floods of joy and peace would fill their souls.[517] . . . She was impressed with the idea that through this performance God would bestow the Baptism of the Spirit upon the receipient of her kisses. . . . [She] was so good and pure minded that we all called her “Saint Sarah[.]” . . . At one of our meetings at Brighton [when Mr. and Mrs. Smith were preaching the Higher Life] . . . there was a great deal of talk about the Baptism of the Spirit, and many souls were hungering for it[.] . . . My friend, “Saint Sarah”[518] . . . confided to me that she felt led to kiss . . . a refined and cultured gentleman . . . herself as a means of imparting to him the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. . . . She was in the greatest trouble about it . . . and she felt sure that she would be making herself ridiculous. . . . Days went on and she became really ill with the conflict; and at last, seeing that there was no way out of it[519] but for her to do it, I said, “It won’t hurt; I’ll explain it to him. So just go and kiss him and be done with it!” My taking of it in this way greatly relieved her mind. I told our host what she wanted to do, and he said he wouldn’t object in the least . . . she was able to perform what she thought was her religious duty. This kiss was given[.] . . . In two or three other instances the same process was repeated [with other men]. . . .

This dear Saint was so enmoured of what she called “The Touch of God,” that she spent a large part of her time seeking for it and enjoying it, until it finally became a sort of possession . . . a very good Christian lady . . . said . . . [she] was possessed of the devil. . . . I made up my mind that she must be freed from this somehow, so I . . . went to the woman who had plunged her into the trouble [by stating “Saint Sarah” was demon possessed] and told her the dreadful effects of her former words, and said to her, “And now you must give me in writing the assurance that the devil has gone out of her,” and I bullied her into doing it. I then went back to my friend armed with this assurance, and said to her: “Now the devil has gone out of thee, and here is the proof.” She believed it, and from that moment began to recover, and has since lived a peaceful and normal Christian life.[520]

Mrs. Smith narrates other similar and awful instances of people who were seeking Spirit baptism and the Higher Life of entire sanctification:

[Another] young woman . . . had been seeking the Baptism of the Spirit as a result of the fervent preaching of a Methodist minister in the town where she lived, and had found great spiritual help from her conversations with him. They found, she said, that when they were together they seemed to feel an especial nearness to the Lord, and the closer they sat together the more they felt it. They constantly, when in one another’s company, had wonderful waves of divine thrills going through them, especially when there was any personal contact, which thrills the preacher told her were the conscious Baptism of the Holy Spirit for which she was seeking. Of course, if this was the case, the more of these waves of delicious thrills they had the more truly filled with the Spirit they were, and they had consequently sought every opportunity of being together, and had encouraged a closer and closer personal contact, never dreaming of evil, until at last she found herself in the midst of a criminal connection with the preacher who was already a married man. . . .

[A] dear beloved saint . . . who had given up everything in life to follow the Lord, and who was considered by everybody who knew her to be one of the saints of the earth . . . had all the Quaker scruples with regard to dress, and looked as she walked about like the embodiement of ascetic piety. I greatly revered her and sat at her feet to be taught. . . . [A] friend [and I] . . . asked her to tell us her last experience. She said that . . . she had told the Lord that she wanted to make Him some New Year’s gift, and that as she had given Him everything that she possessed and everything she was, she could not think of anything new to give. Then, she said, the Lord told her that there was one thing, and that was her virginity, and that He would send a man whom she must be willing to receive in His name and surrender herself to Him. She told us that she had said, “Thy will be done,” and was now awaiting the ringing of the bell and the advent of the promised man . . . whether the man came or not, I do not know. I have heard, however, that at one of the camp meeting grounds, where she . . . held meetings, the authorities had been obliged to close her meetings on account of the dangerous tendency of her teaching.[521]

The heresy that Spirit baptism was associated with physical sexual thrills was thus widespread in the religious background of Hannah and Robert Smith, and it is thus not surprising that they both adopted it.[522]

Robert maintained and propogated the erotic Baptism heresy throughout his time as a preacher of the Higher Life—his promulgation of his beloved mystical abomination ended only with his fall because of scandal associated with it—while he influenced many others to adopt and practice it as a key aspect of the Higher Life theology.[523] For example, “Miss Bonnicastle sp[oke] on this subject . . . [of] conscious union of the believer and Christ as the Heavenly Bridegroom . . . at the Oxford Ladies meetings . . . [which] quite shocked a good many.”[524] In “the Christ-life,” another minister proclaimed, one is to “let the thrill . . . surge and thrill through all your being.”[525] Thus, the doctrine of the sexual Baptism as a key portion of the Higher Life experience was proclaimed publicly at the Oxford Convention, that key precursor to the Keswick Conventions. Indeed, many of Robert and Hannah W. Smith’s Higher Life “evangelical and especially their Quaker friends . . . condoned . . . [Robert’s] adventures with his feminine disciples.”[526] Nonetheless, after convincing many to adopt the heresy, Robert eventually rejected erotic bride mysticism, and “in rejecting what he himself had experienced, he could not help turning his back on all religion,”[527] so that he turned away from his profession of Christianity to agnosticism,[528] and then moved from agnosticism to Buddhism. Robert could not retain his profession of Christianity without his erotic bride mysticism. Robert testified at the Oxford Convention: “There has been no period since . . . [my] baptism of the Spirit . . . when God has not been more or less in my consciousness as the living Being unto Whom I looked.”[529] At the time of his Baptism a Power came to be present with him that always accompanied him afterwards, a Power that directed all his actions as a minister of the Higher Life and was at the heart of his spiritual experience. If his erotic Baptism was a delusion, so was all of his Christianity, and agnosticism appeared to him to be a necessary consequence. The possibility that he was possessed by demons through his erotic Baptism, demons that then directed him in his subsequent Higher Life ministry, does not seem to have been given serious consideration. Hannah also eventually came to reject erotic bride mysticism later in her life[530] after some time propogating it near the years of the zenith of her and her husband’s work as Higher Life agitators.

Describing the incident that led to Robert P. Smith’s withdrawal from public work shortly before the first Keswick convention, a headline in the Brighton Weekly stated: “Famous Evangelist Found in Bedroom of Adoring Female Follower.”[531] In the bedroom of his disciple, Miss Hattie Hamilton, Mr. Smith had explained to her the abhorrant doctrine he had learned in 1871 while institutionalized, on account of a total nervous breakdown he had suffered,[532] in a hydropathic and homeopathic sanatorium from the head of the facility, Dr. Henry Foster, that the baptism of the Holy Ghost was accompanied by physical sexual thrills because of the esoteric union of Christ with His people as Bridegroom and Bride, as described in the Song of Solomon.[533] Robert Smith’s explanation of the erotic Baptism doctrine in one bedroom too many brought about the rapid fall of his previously rising star in the Higher Life movement.

Dr. Foster, while “a lifelong Methodist,” was “interdenominational” in his religious spirit.[534] Thus:

Dr. Foster insisted upon . . . [the] chapel [at his sanitarium] . . . be[ing] purely interdenominational spirit and life. . . . He established the custom that the Holy Sacrament should be administered every month, the form for one month being that used by Episcopalians and Methodists, and alternating the next time with the form observed by Presbyterians and others. [People] counted one Sabbath morning when . . . the kneeling form [was administered, and] twenty-six religious bodies [were] represented by those partaking. Following the public service the Chaplain always administered the rite privately in their rooms to those requesting it.[535]

Indeed, Foster’s sanatarium “ha[d] always been noted for its prevailing fairness and charity towards different types of religious belief, [so that] all grades from the highest ritualism to the simplicity of the society of Friends, have felt perfectly at home. . . . [F]requently . . . Roman Catholic Priests and Bishops . . . seemed to appreciate the place and enjoy it.”[536] Nobody was warned about his false religion, whether the Catholic sacramental and ritualistic false gospel or the rejection of justification by faith alone based on the imputed righteousness of Christ alone taught by the Quakers. Foster “was never happier than when sharing or promoting interdenominational fellowship.”[537] Indeed:

All the churches of the village received from [Mr. Foster] substantial help at various times. . . . When the Roman Catholics erected their new Church edifice in 1895, the Doctor made a substantial contribution, and rented a pew in it each year thereafter, which custom is continued to the present. Annual offerings were made by him to all the Protestant churches and that custom is continued to the present.[538]

Mr. Foster loved ecumenical fellowship with false teachers of all sorts.

Dr. Foster’s religious ecumenicalism extended to an ecumenicalism of healing praxis:

“Allopathy,” “Water Cure,” “Homeopathy,” “Mind Cure,” “Faith Cure,” were to him members of a group in the therapeutic family. He . . . look[ed] for the higher unity, treating each as a segment in the full circle . . . allopathy, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, mental therapy, and the prayer of faith . . . belong[ed] to one great healing family.[539]

Thus, Foster believed in homeopathy, although it was obviously demonic in its origin and practice,[540] in hydropathy, although it was intimately associated with spiritualism and demonism,[541] and in Mind Cure—which was, indeed, associated with Faith Cure—although it was likewise essentially a form of pagan and demonic medicine based upon untestable mystical energies.[542] The nineteenth century Mind and Faith Cure movements, which were part of the warp and woof of the Keswick theology and at the root of the Pentecostal and charismatic movement, developed out of a common background in mesmerism, vitalism, homeopathy, and other pagan and demonic ideas, and cannot be separated into distinct and unrelated phenomena.[543] Thus, despite its demonic origin, at Foster’s sanitarium “[t]he prevailing method of administering medicines was homeopathic.”[544] Dr. Foster “became a hydropathic practitioner, then he saw in homeopathy special adaptation to chronic cases, then he awoke to the large realm of mental therapy.” He “was profoundly impressed with the effect of mind over matter. The relation of the mind or the spirit to disease, he concluded, was a subject of prime importance. . . . [T]his led to his seeking for a new place where he could establish his practice and work out his ideas unmolested,” that is, his sanitarium, where “he came with a protest and also with a purpose. . . . his highest thought was in relation to the effect of the mind over the body in disease.[545] Discovery of the power of Mind Cure was “the greatest event in his life.”[546] Thus, Dr. Foster taught the doctrine of Mary Baker Eddy’s cult of “Christian Science,” which “aligns itself with . . . pantheistic idea[s] . . . [and teaches that] [s]in is like sickness and death, and these are errors of the mind and can therefore be completely overcome by ‘mind cure,’” so that “thoughts are things, thoughts are forces, and therefore as a man thinks, so is he.”[547] Dr. Foster, as an important part of the basis for the later Keswick healing theology, combined Mind and Faith Cure, saying:

Take this law and power of faith, and take the law of the influence of mind over the body, and put them together and see what you get. You get something that will work . . . It was the acceptance of this truth that decided me to try and establish a house where these truths . . . the power of the mind over the body, and the salutary effects of a constant religious faith upon the sick . . . should be enforced.[548]

Foster “was a firm believer in the effect of mind over matter—over disease. . . . [This belief] pervaded the whole institution. . . . Whatever good there is in Christian Science [the cult of Mary B. Eddy], in the Emmanuel Movement, and in modern faith healing he brought to bear in his therapeutics[.]”[549] Thus, “prayer to God was a force in nature, as real as the law of gravitation,”[550] rather than simply a petitioning of that God who was above nature and does, in accordance with His will, intervene in nature. In this way, practicing “[m]ental hygiene and mental therapy . . . as well as the great therapeutic value of religious faith . . . the ‘Emmanuel Movement’ at Boston, of which so much has been said with its slogan ‘Religion and Medicine,’ was anticipated by Henry Foster.”[551] Although the Bible taught that much of Dr. Foster’s practice was demonic in origin, his practices were confirmed to him by a vision. He stated:

I presented my whole life again to God; the entire interests of the Sanitarium, and my relations with it. While thus contemplating the work, the Holy Spirit came upon me, filling me with His presence, and I saw what seemed to be a rainbow. The base of it was there on [a] mountain inclosing me; it went up to the mercy seat; the other base came down and rested here in Clifton Springs, over the house [sanitarium]. . . . I looked at it, and I saw there were streams going up, and then there were streams going down, and resting upon me. I was re-energized, and so much so that I became astonished . . . that settled me, strengthened me, proved to me that the teaching was from God, and from God alone[.][552]

Surely such a vision was sufficient proof that his pagan and demonic philosophies and practices were acceptable to God.

As a result of Foster’s vision, received at the time of his “pentecostal baptism of the Holy Spirit”—physical sexual thrills because of erotic bride mysticism—he founded his Water Cure:

[He] saw that his pentecost was not for its own sake, but was given to prepare him for such a work. He prayed, and light came. He had a vision of the institution God would give him,—just as definite a vision as Moses had of the Tabernacle in the Mount; and as Moses was to make all things according to the pattern showed him in the Mount, so God had in vision outlined the work he was to do, and he must follow the pattern.[553]

When Mr. Foster experienced his “real baptism of the Holy Spirit and of power” he also gained “a vision like Paul’s when he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, a call and a commission like that of the prophet Jeremiah, or of Isaiah in the temple—an imperative call when his whole soul was filled and thrilled,” and in this manner the spirit world led him to “the beginnings of the Sanitarium and of this pentecostal baptism” that was both its its erotic origination and an element of its religious proclamation.[554] At his hydropathic and homeopathic healing house, he sought to bring especially “Christian workers, such as clergymen, teachers, and missionaries who are peculiarly liable to physical and nervous breakdown . . . [that they might] come to his institution and remain long enough for a cure.”[555] Consequently, “at least seventy or eighty thousand” patients came to the sanitarium, including “presidents of colleges, professors, lawyers, judges, ministers, bishops, all classes of men, literary men and literary women, some of the most renowned in the land. There have been [there] thousands of the foremost cultivated men and women of America, and some from other lands,” so that a vast “spiritual influence,” more, in the mind of some, than from “any institution” else, went out to influence the “intellectual and moral” climate of America,[556] and, indeed, the world, as the sanitarium “bec[a]me a center of missionary interest and activity. Dr. Foster’s invitation to foreign Missionaries of all Mission Boards to come to the Sanitarium for needed rest and treatment, and his concessions as to cost . . . brought hundreds of them.”[557] Note the Pearsall Smiths alone, but other Keswick leaders, such as A. T. Pierson, could praise “Dr. Henry Foster, of Clifton Springs, N. Y.[,]” for “all who came in contact with him bear testimony to the elevating effect of his spirituality of life” and his “benevolence . . . [to] the cause of missions.” After all, “for some years the International Missionary Union . . . held . . . [at] Clifton Springs . . . its annual sessions.”[558]Many came, and, like Robert and Hannah Smith, also left with both Dr. Foster’s love for Faith and Mind Cure and his vile doctrine of physical bridal-union in mystical Spirit baptism.

Hannah W. Smith chronicled Dr. Foster’s communication of his views to herself and another lady as follows:

Never shall I forget that interview. He began by telling us that “The Baptism of the Holy Spirit” was a physical thing, felt by deligthful thrills going through you from head to foot . . . and that this had been revealed to him in the following manner. He had been praying to the Lord to give him the Baptism . . . and he found that whenever he prayed especially earnestly he had physical thrills which he had thought belonged to earthly passions. He blamed himself exceedingly for this, and thought what a sensual man he must be, that in his most sacred moments such feelings should come. . . . One day . . . an inward voice seemed to say “These sensations you so much condemn are really the divine touch of the Holy Spirit in your body.” . . . Immediately, he said, he began to receive them with thankfulness and the result was that they had become so continuous that there was scarcely a moment in his life without them. . . . My friend and I had not dared to say a word while this revelation was being made to us, and when Dr. Foster left us we sat for a long while in dumbfounded silence.[559]

Hannah Whitall Smith described how their family adopted Mr. Foster’s abominable doctrine and communicated it to others:

I was seeking to know all that could be known of the “life hid with Christ in God,” and was hungering and thirsting after an expression of entire consecration and perfect trust. . . . I had also a very mystical side to my nature which longed for direct revelations from God . . . and for many years I sought in every direction to find a satisfaction for this craving. . . . The beginning of it was was in the year 1871 or ’72, when my husband needed a course of treatment for a nervous breakdown. We took our family to a Hydropathic Sanatorium in New York State, and we stayed there for three or four months. . . . A very dear friend of mine was staying in the Sanatorium at the same time; and as we were both hungering and thirsting to know the deep things of God, we very often had long conversations about it. One day she said to me, “Hannah, I believe that Dr. [Henry Foster] knows some secrets of the divine life that thee and I ought to know: he has hinted as much to me when he has been seeing me about my health. Wouldn’t thee like to have him tell us?” Of course I agreed to this with all my heart, and she decided to ask him. When I next saw her she said she had asked him, and he had told her that he would ask the Lord whether he was to reveal the secret to us or not. A few days later he told my friend that he had received permission from the Lord to tell us the secret, and he fixed a time when were were to meet to hear it. . . . Never shall I forget that interview. He began by telling us that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was a physical thing, felt by delightful thrills going through you from head to foot, and that no one could really know what the Baptism of the Spirit was who did not experience these thrills. He said that this had been revealed to him in the following manner. He had been praying the Lord to give him the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and he found that whenever he prayed especially earnestly he had physical thrills which he thought belonged to earthly passions. He blamed himself exceedingly for this, and thought what a sensual man he must be that in his most sacred moments such feelings should come. By fasting and prayer he would get deliverance, as he thought, and would then begin to pray again for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, but invariably, after a short time of prayer, the sensations would return, and the same process of fasting and prayer would have to be gone through. As this happened over and over he was at last almost in despair. One day, however, when, during an earnest season of prayer, these sensations were particularly strong, an inward voice seemed to say, “These sensations which you so much condemn are really the divine touch of the Holy Spirit in your body.” He said it was very hard for him to believe this, but it seemed to come with such divine authority that he dared not reject it. He asked specially for a sign that if it really were that Baptism of the Spirit for which he had been praying it might be made so plain to him that there could be no mistake. And this prayer, he said, had been unmistakably answered, and he had been convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that these very sensations, which he had condemned as being of the flesh, were actually the very Baptism of Spirit that he had longed for. Immediately, he said, he began to receive them with thankfulness, and the result was that they had become so continuous that there was hardly a moment in his life without them, and that he had found the greatest spiritual enlightenment and uplifting from the moment that he allowed himself to receive these sensations as being the touch of the Lord. This he told us was the divine secret which had been revealed to him, and which he was permitted to tell chosen souls. He urged us to take the subject before the Lord in prayer, and ask Him to enlighten us, and he warned us not to let carnal thoughts concerning this blessed experience come in to blind our eyes to the divine realities it embodied. My friend and I had not dared to say a word while this revelation was being made to us, and when Dr. [Foster] left we sat for a long while in dumbfounded silence. . . . [W]e had such absolute confidence in the holiness of this saint of God, as he seemed to us, that we were afraid our horror at what he had told us must be because we were too carnally minded, as he had said, to be able to see the deep spiritual purity of it all, and we felt that we dared not reject it without further prayer and consideration. We had several further talks with Dr. [Foster] about it, and he told us these “baptisms” were really the fulfilment of the union between Christ and His people as the Bridegroom and the bride, described in Ephesians v, 25-32, and typified in the Song of Solomon, and declared in many parts of Scripture, and that to reject it was to reject union with the Lord Himself. And he described this spiritual union as being so enrapturing and uplifting, and so full of the Lord’s actual presence, that at last we began to believe there must be something in it, and to long to know for ourselves the reality of this wonderful consecration. We could not accept all the details of the experience that Dr. [Foster] gave us,[560] but we did begin to believe that there was a physical “touch” of God, that manifested itself in a bewildering delicious sensation of a sort of magnetic thrill of divine life pouring through both soul and body, which lifted one up into an enrapturing realization of oneness with Christ and that this was the true ‘Baptism of the Holy Ghost.’ We came to the conclusion that it must be what all the old mystics had known, and that it was the true inner meaning of that Union with Christ for which saints of all ages had longed, and into the realization of which so many of them seemed to have entered. And we both began earnestly to seek to know it for ourselves. . . . I [thought] that now at last I had found the key that would open to me the door of this mystic region of divine union. As usual, when I was interested in anything, my friends had to become interested too, and to all with whom I dared to touch on such a sacred, yet delicate, subject, I tried to tell what Dr. [Foster] had told us. And in several instances, both in England and America, those I told of it receved the baptism I described, and in each case this very baptism was the opening up for them of a life of union and communion with God far beyond anything they had ever known before. . . . In many instances the receiving of it by preachers was the beginning of great revivals in their churches, and was, in fact, the initiation of a great deal of the “Holiness” movement of thirty years ago [that is, the time when the Keswick and Higher Life theology was originated and promulgated]. This movement took hold of the upper classes, and the meetings were largely composed of the aristocracy and the rich and influential people in English Society. There was nothing sectarian in the whole [Keswick] movement; no one was asked, or in any way influenced, to leave the Church to which they belonged . . . one of the marvellous features of it was the union of people of all forms of belief, and of all denominational relationships[.] . . . Dogmas and doctrines were of no account, and were never referred to, for they were not needed in the region in which this movement was carried on. It was the region of personal experience[.] . . . But while great spiritual blesings have seemed often to be the result of this experience of union with God, very disastrous outward falls from purity and righteousness have sometimes followed[.][561]

Hannah Smith, thus, both adopted and promulgated the erotic Baptism doctrine and explained that it was at the root of the Holiness, Higher Life, or Keswick movement.

Hannah Whitall Smith further explained, through a representative example, how she spread Dr. Foster’s filthy doctrine to others, and its effects upon them:

One day, not long after our [Mr. & Mrs. Smith’s] stay at the New York sanatarium, I [met] . . . a very strict Friend [Quaker] . . . a most successful Christian worker, but rather self-absorbed. She . . . dressed in the strictest fashion of sugar-scoop bonnets, crossed handkerchiefs, with a dainty three-cornered shawl over her shoulders. We became very intimate[.] . . . She was very religious, and we soon discovered that we were both seekers after the mystic life, and especially after the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and we embraced every opportunity we could find of seeking for it together.

At that time some Methodists who believed in sanctification by faith were in the habit of holding in the summer what were called Holiness Camp Meetings . . . led by prominent religious preachers and teachers who believed in the doctrine of Holiness, or, in other words, of “sanctification by faith.” . . . [T]he friend of whom I speak and I myself, with a large company of congenial friends, attended one of these Camp Meetings, all of us hungering and thirsting . . . to know experimentally the conscious baptism of the Holy Spirit. The whole camp ground was exercised on this subject, and in almost every meeting wonderful testimonies would be given by those who had, as they believed, consciously received it.

Our expectations and our longings were wrought up to the highest ptich of enthusiasim, and one evening, after the public meeting under the trees was over, a few of us gathered in one tent for a special prayer meeting on the subject, determined to wrestle and agonize until the answer came. We knelt in the dark, and poured out our prayers and supplications . . . for two or three hours. . . . As the company passed out of the tent, I noticed my friend did not pass out with them, and I wondered whether she had slipped out silently before the meeting closed and gone back to her own tent. I lighted a candle to go to bed, when, to my astonishment, I found her lying across the foot of my bed in what appeared to be a swoon. I spoke to her, and immediately she began to praise God in the most rapturous way: “Oh, how wonderful! Oh, how glorious! Oh, this is the Baptism! Oh, what a blessing; ’tis more than I can bear! Oh, Lord, stay Thy hand! Flesh and blood cannot bear this glory!”[562] And similar exclamations burst from her lips in tones of ecstasy. As may be imagined, I was overwhelmed with awe and delight, and I immediately rushed out to call in my friends to see the wonderful answer to our prayers, for I could not doubt that my friend had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit for which we were all longing. Why she had been picked out, I could not imagine, for she was not, as far as I knew, a bit better or a bit more earnest than any of the rest of us. However, there it was . . . [a] little awestruck company gathered round the bed, and eagerly drank in all her rapturous exclamations, afraid almost to breathe for fear that we should disturb the heavenly visitation. After a while she seemed to recover from her swoon sufficiently to go to her own tent, and, although very tottering and scarcely able to walk, we managed to take her there and get her undressed and into bed. . . . [E]arly in the morning I sent word to the early Prayer Meeting of the great blessing that had come to the camp ground. Immediately a deputation of the leaders of the meeting came to the tent to ask my friend whether she would not come to their large meeting and bear testimony to the blessing that had been bestowed upon her. . . . It was one of the foundation principles among believers in the definite baptism of the Holy Spirit that if you did not confess it when you had received it, it might be lost[.][563] . . . [The baptism] seemed to have been what the Swedenborgians[564] call “her opening into the spiritual world,” for from that time she began to have very strange and wonderous experiences . . . [which made] ordinary religious life very humdrum and uninteresting[.] . . . I told her of my experience at the water-cure [Henry Foster’s hydropathic sanitarium], and of the secret that had there been revealed to me[.] [S]he immediatley seized upon it . . . and went to this same water-cure, and put herself under the teaching of the doctor there[.] . . . She embraced all his views, and felt led, as she fully believed by the Holy Spirit, to great lengths in the lines he taught. Among other things, she felt her duty to ask him to stand naked before her, and also to do the same thing herself before him. To what other lengths she went I have never known, but she was fully imbued with the idea that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was physical as well as spiritual, and that the great aim of religious teachers should be to excite in themselves and in others those physical thrills which accompany passion, and which she had come to believe were the manifest token of union with Christ. She took the Song of Solomon to be the exposition of the relation between the soul and Christ as the Bride and Bridegroom, and she confessed to me with great awe that she really believed that Christ had often come to her at night when in bed as the real Bridegroom, and had actually had a bridegroom’s connextion with her. She taught this doctrine to a choice circle of friends, and even tried by personal contact to produce in them those physical thrills which she believed were the actual contact of the Holy Ghost. She overawed these friends by the tremendous force of her own convictions, and in many cases obtained . . . control over them, so that they were not surprised or shocked at anything she did or said, but accepted it all as from God, and as being the avenue through which the Holy Ghost was to be poured out upon them . . . [although] the person who was acknowledged by all to be the most full of self was my friend [herself], who had apparently received the Baptism. [565]

Hannah had written to her husband: “There does seem to be a truth in it [Dr. Foster’s doctrine], and I feel as if it would be a great means of restoration to health to thee if thee could get fully into it. Do try.”[566] With the leading of Dr. Foster and the encouragement of Hannah his wife, then, Robert P. Smith received such an erotic baptism, and having “received the baptism of the Spirit . . . he began to teach, preach, and propogate”[567] the Higher Life theology publicly and the mystic baptism privately, leading many[568] into a post-conversion Spirit baptism and the thrills of the marriage-bed that allegedly accompanied it. For example, one of Robert’s first English disciples, a woman called Lizzie Lumb, wrote Robert a series of letters between 1873 and 1875 describing the physical sensations of her “Betrothal with [a false] Christ”:

The thrill commences in the love nerves, with a great throbbing, as though a heart beat there, and rises to the regions of the chest, with a thrill and sweet confusion of union[.] . . . Most earnestly do I thank you for revealing such treasures to me, as you have in this mystery of the heavenly marriage.[569]

Hannah Smith recognized that adoption of the Bridal Baptism doctrine led to the free acceptance and practice of sexual debauchery, or at least something very close to it.[570] For instance, as a consequence of Robert’s preaching at one meeting, Hannah W. Smith narrated: “Boole got a great Baptism during the meeting, the unmentionable kind, and was so completely carried away by it . . . that he came near to making love to me, and actually did get into a deep and spiritual flirtation with a lady there who had left her husband because of his ill usage.”[571] Likewise, Hannah W. Smith recounts:

I knew one dear lady who began in the purest and simplest way to give herself up to these emotions, and gradually came to spending most of her time allowing these waves of thrills to flow through her from head to foot, believing that she was in this way realizing more and more the presence of the Lord, and coming more and more into actual union with Him. And the result was most disastrous in destroying her moral nature, and launching her into a course of impurity from which in the beginning she would have shrunk with horror.[572]

One must not be surprised that the infinitely holy and pure Holy Ghost would give over to their lusts (Romans 1:26) those who would defile His Holy Name by associating such things with His baptism. Certainly such supernatural manifestations as the erotic Baptism were manifestations of the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that works in and energizes the children of disobedience, the infernal Power behind Robert and Hannah W. Smith’s theology of sanctification and “Christian” living. Robert believed in his erotic Baptism “as late as 1878,”[573] that is, until he gave up Christianity entirely, for he “thought that it was a very precious truth.”[574]

While Mr. Smith most clearly spread Foster’s filthy doctrine in private to a variety of his followers, usually women, he did publicly proclaim with clarity the necessity of a post-conversion Spirit baptism as the climax of the Higher Life, while pointing publicly to its sexual nature only in a guarded way. Unsurprisingly, he also warned that those who entered the Higher Life should “expect revelations of the world of darkness”[575] far greater than those experienced by those who were merely normal, uninitiated Christians. While many women, and some men, knew what Robert Smith meant when he spoke of the “phenomena of the coming of the Spirit upon individuals,”[576] not all understood the significance of his public proclamation at the Oxford Convention:

[H]as the Baptism of the Spirit been duly pressed upon the believer? . . . Beloved Christian, let me ask you, have you had this baptism[?] . . . [M]any Christians seem to forget that this happened again and again. It was not the characteristic of the beginning only, but of the continuance of the dispensation in which we live. . . . [There are] phenomena [accompanying] the coming of the Spirit upon individuals[577] . . . [We ought to] expect this baptism[,] [which has] been so long lost to the Church. . . . [It brings] a thrill, an intense emotion . . . [although] [y]ou may have special temptations of Satan after this time of baptism . . . [and] the highest elevations of experience involve the most fearful dangers.[578]

Those who already had experienced the physical thrills of Baptism by the spiritual Bridegroom understood what was involved in the Higher Life doctrine of the Smiths—others were only pointed towards it by their public proclamation:[579]

[T]here is a point in our spiritual life, in which all self-imposed barriers break down . . . [j]ust so . . . there is a certain point at which a true woman breaks through all the reserve of her nature, and lets her heart go . . . the time of the soul’s espousals, when it realises its union to the heavenly Lover. . . . [T]here will spring up a sweet soul-intercourse between your soul and Him such as you have never conceived the thought of. Often has my whole being thrilled . . . I could not understand this when I was contentious about doctrine[.] . . . Will you yield yourself to Him in this the day of your espousals? . . . [I]f earthly love be so sweet, shall not Divine love satisfy our whole being[?] . . . Earthly relationships are created but to reveal heavenly realities of union with our Lord. . . . Faith contradicts even our moral sense[.] . . . [B]reak down every barrier in your nature . . . and let your heart go[.] . . .[E]very need of a woman’s heart could be met and satisfied with the love of Christ . . . [when] the Lord reveal[s] Himself . . . as the heavenly Bridegroom, who would henceforth carry [her] in the arms of love[.] . . . [C]laim the Lord as [your] heavenly Bridegroom . . . a thrilling message [that] stirred the meeting so deeply that it seemed a necessity to give some expression to our feelings[.] . . . [Women] followed, testifiying to the same blessed experience [of the] . . . wonderous secrets of His love[.] . . . [A]s we had learned deeply the lessons of entire consecration and simple trust, we needed now to go on to consider more fully the blessed secret . . . only the soul that had entered into rest could understand . . . passages [such as] Eph v. 22-32; Isaiah lxii. 4, 5, liv. 5; Hosea ii. 16, 19, 20; Song of Sol. iv. 7-12[.] . . . The Song of Songs [contains a] blessed secret . . . that the soul is slow to understand . . . the actings of the love of espousals. . . . The believer does not fully know what Christ is until he comes to this . . . [and surrenders] throughout the whole range of our being [including the physical organism.] . . . For the consecration we have been pressing in these meetings, and the full and childlike trust, are only stepping-stones to this glorious consummation of soul-union with the Beloved[.] . . . [O]ur souls have not reached their highest destiny until it is known and rejoiced in . . . absolute abandonment . . . overmastering love. . . . Several [more] ladies followed, testifying to the joy and rest their souls had found in thus knowing Christ as the Heavenly Bridegroom . . . far more than earthly friend or husband[.] . . . Many hearts were melted . . . in view of such glorious privileges as were opened up before us. The feeling was so great, that at the close of the meeting several met more privately[580] . . . that to each one of them this wonderous soul-union . . . might become an experimental reality. . . . [As] Boaz . . . called the claim . . . that Ruth . . . had made “showing kindness,”[581] . . . [the] Lord delights in every claim we make upon Him for union with Himself, and calls it kindness—“the kindness of thine espousals.” . . . [Let us] make our claim for this realized union . . . [with Christ] more than any earthly friend or lover ever could be. . . . This is the consummation of all Christian experience . . . the wonderous secret . . . [to be] learned by each one experimentally for herself . . . thrilled with the sweetness of His love.[582]

While the Smiths were somewhat reserved in public, others were more open in their proclaimation of the Bridal Baptism teaching. For example, “Miss Bonnicastle sp[oke] on this subject . . . [of] conscious union of the believer and Christ as the Heavenly Bridegroom . . . at the Oxford Ladies meetings . . . [which] quite shocked a good many,”[583] but led many also into the knowledge of that Bridal Baptism. It was common knowledge that “the “object of the . . . Meeting at Oxford . . . was to lead Christians to . . . [be] baptised with the Holy Ghost,”[584] and as a result of that Convention “there was so much” of “the Baptism of the Holy Ghost”[585] that vast multitudes received physical thrills. Nevertheless, the full depths of Satan hidden in Robert Smith’s doctrine were not clearly revealed to all, but only to those fully initiated into the Higher Life. Thus, experience of erotic thrills in the Baptism was the culminating and highest point to which the Higher Life led, and many, through coming to “lie passive in His hands,” came to know “the baptism of the Spirit” as allegedly set forth in the Song of Solomon and as taught by Smith.[586]

While Mr. Smith successfully proclaimed and led others to the erotic Baptism at Oxford and Brighton, divulgence of this Higher Life secret to Miss Hamilton in her bedroom shortly before the first Higher Life Convention at Keswick proved his public downfall[587]—although even through this, the Smiths did not cut off contact with Mr. Foster or Clifton Springs.[588] “Hannah found [Robert] huddled in despair in a Paris hotel room where he had fled in his collapse.”[589] Concerning his father’s exposure, and the attempt—which was quite successful during Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s lifetime[590]—to cover up the true reason for Mr. Smith’s downfall in his promulgation of erotic bride mysticism, Logan Pearsall Smith wrote:

“All Europe is at my feet,” . . . my poor father . . . exclaim[ed] when he stood on the platform [at the Brighton Convention]. But almost immediately an announcement appeared in the papers that he had been compelled to cancel all his engagements and to return almost at once to America. It was suggested that a fall from a horse some years before had led to the return of certain distressing symptoms which rendered absolute rest necessary. I must say that in the family we didn’t believe in that horse; at least I am certain that my mother didn’t. I don’t think she ever referred to it at all, which made people suspicious, and so universal became the gossip that my father’s friends felt it necessary to issue a further explanation. It had come to their ears, they stated, that my father had inculcated doctrines that were most dangerous and unscriptural, and that there had been conduct on his part which, though it was free, they were convinced, from all evil intention,[591] had rendered it necessary to abstain from public work, and take the complete rest rendered necessary by the fall from his horse. That the doctrine of Sanctification and Deadness to Sin might lead to dangerous forms of Antinomianism was well known from the history of the past . . . [b]ut this was not the doctrinal quadreped from which my father slipped at Brighton. It was a much more mysterious beast which he had also brought from America, so mysterious that even the learned and profound Professor Warfield seems never to have guessed at its existence.[592] But my mother knew it well[.] . . . What exactly was the nature of this doctrine? I cannot find that it has a name, so for convenience I shall call it the doctrine of “Loving-kindness.” It is . . . based . . . on the fact . . . that nature, in one of her grossest economies, has placed the seats of spiritual and amorous rapture so close to each other that one of them is very likely to arouse the other . . . so exactly do these two forms of ecstasy feel alike [that] . . . sometimes . . . it [is] extremely difficult to distinguish between them.[593] From this fact it was only too easy to form the heretical belief that this heightening of religious experience, due to the mingling of the sexes, was God’s own way (and His ways were mysterious and not to be questioned by carnal reason) of bestowing His blessing upon them. When a holy preacher sat near a sanctified sister, or a female penitent close to her confessor, they became more conscious of the Baptism of the Spirit; and, as my mother sardonically expressed it, the nearer to each other they sat, the deeper and richer the consciousness became. . . . [I]t has taken . . . centuries to eliminate . . . this holy kiss—if indeed [Christianity] has succeeded in doing so completely. Certainly in my father’s time this exquisite, secret doctrine was extremely prevalent in America; and my father, in spite of my mother’s . . . warnings,[594] would expound it to select gatherings mostly composed of spinsters of a certain age.[595] Unluckily one of these grew jealous of another,[596] and let the great beautiful cat out of the bag, to the scandal of the righteous, and the extreme joy of the unholy, whose jokes about the “Higher Life,” as it was called, made my father feel that it would be wise for him to cease his ministrations. . . . As people grow old, it becomes very hard for them to keep clear in their minds the important distinction beteen Right and Wrong—outlines become dim and one thing fades into another. . . . At the time, however, my father found it wise, as I have said, to cease his ministrations; though to the Cowper Temples, I think—certainly to Mrs. Cowper Temple—all this fuss seemed incomprehensible and silly. If these good people wanted to kiss each other, what, she wondered, could be the harm in that?[597]

After the scandal in England, and the outward success of the Higher Life meetings conducted in America under the impulse of Dr. Cullis by Mr. and Mrs. Smith, despite utter lack of concern and consecration,[598] “Robert gave up preaching, [although] his wife continued.”[599] “Robert Pearsall Smith lost more than his occupation; he lost his faith as well. . . . [T]his disbelieving and disillusioned preacher [would have] believing disciples . . . still come for guidance . . . leav[ing] him to the awkward task of giving advice and encouragement of which he himself hardly believed a word.”[600] Robert “went back to America and to selling glass. His spiritual life degenerated. He never again had a heart for ministry or for God. He retreated to a world of Buddhist meditation and died in 1899 a broken man.”[601] He “began to lose his faith [more completely in] 1875-1876 . . . [by] . . . 1877 he was . . . in the process of losing his faith altogether,”[602] so that he become an agnostic by 1883[603] as his “religious beliefs [were] gradually dwinding into an interest in Psychical Research.”[604] Thus, “he gradually gave up all his Christian commitments and died alienated, but not separated, from his family. Plagued by a manic depressive nature for most of his life, he [came to be] happiest when engaged in his Buddhist meditations in his spacious tree house at the family’s home at Friday’s Hill, south of London.”[605] As with vast numbers of Higher Life advocates, Robert Smith’s ultimate recognition that his merely fleshly and natural emotion-driven religion had nothing in it that was truly from God led him to apostatize from Christianity.[606] A significant part of his familial alienation derived from his years of unrepentant adultery,[607] evidencing, like his doctrinal apostasy, his unregenerate state, until he finally died in 1898 and went to his own place, where his wife joined him some years later.

Mrs. Hannah Whitall Smith was a false teacher who was deluded by Satan and her own unrenewed heart. Robert P. Smith was an unconverted false teacher also. Their writings are filled to the brim with dangerous theological errors and heresies. Alongside of the Higher Life of Keswick theology, one finds within the compositions and proclamations of Mr. and Mrs. Smith a false gospel, the Inner Light, New Thought, the Mind and Faith Cure, feminism, Quakerism, syncretism, quietism, fatalism, eudemonism, allegorical hermeneutics, passivity in sanctification, continuationism, antinomianism, universalism, works salvation, erotic sensations as Spirit baptism, and extra-biblical revelations. Hannah rejected sola Scriptura, total depravity, substitutionary atonement, justification by imputed righteousness, saving faith, the new birth, supernatural conversion, and self-examination. Mrs. Smith plainly testified that she rejected the evangelical gospel, detested Christian orthodoxy, and delighted in both being a heretic and in making others into heretics. She thought that man’s chief end was not to glorify God, but to feel happy, doing whatever one wants without any pangs from the conscience. Her exaltation as the leading teacher of the Higher Life took place in connection with spiritists and the working of demons. She testified that she gained her chief spritual insight into the “Christian” life from a sexual predator who taught, practiced, and led others into unspeakable debauchery. She was an enemy of Christ, His Word, and of true holiness of life.

As an unregenerate false teacher, Hannah Whitall Smith is someone to mark, reject, and avoid (Romans 16:17; Titus 3:10). Her heresies and writings, and those of her husband Robert, should be abhorred and detested by the godly. She is by no means someone to embrace as a font of truth on Christian living, and adoption of her ideas by others evidences a tremendous lack of spiritual discernment and the certain presence of doctrinal error.

Applications from the Life and Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith and her Husband

As believers can learn much from the life and teachings of the wicked recorded in Scripture, whether Ahab, Judas, or Diotrephes, so the negative example of the life and writings of Hannah W. Smith can teach the Lord’s people a number of important lessons.

Mrs. Smith’s false teachings—all of them—must be discerned, rejected, guarded against, exposed, and warned about. Believers should not read her writings. Christian leaders should plainly preach and teach against her heresies and warn of her by name. Churches should separate from those who have been influenced to adopt her heresies and are unwilling to repent. Her confusion on the gospel has led precious souls into the fires of hell. Her confusion on sanctification has hindered countless Christians in their spiritual walk. There is no reason to try to pick out a little spiritual good from the veritable mass of errors in her works, but a clear Biblical basis for rejecting her, root and branch.

Many lessons can be learned from the deluded career and miserable end of Robert Pearsall Smith. His life exemplifies the extreme spiritual danger of rejecting sola Scriptura in practice, even if one accepts it in theory. His abandonment of literal, grammatical-historical interpretation for experience-driven hermeneutics is also seen to be extremely dangerous. Had Mr. Smith studied Scripture more carefully and recognized it alone as the authority by which he needed to judge all experience, he could have been freed from the delusions of the devil and of his own sinful heart and come to a true saving conversion to Jesus Christ, instead of being an unconverted preacher who was both “deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13). Furthermore, he illustrates the danger when religious experience is derived from a false fanaticism rather than genuine Christian and Trinitarian spirituality. When he finally saw through his fanaticism, instead of turning to the true Christ in true faith arising from Scripture alone, he rejected Christianity altogether. What dangers and proclivities to all evil are wrapped within the depraved human heart! No one will escape from that “desperately wicked” seat of corruption or escape delusion from that fountain of lies that is “deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9), without cleaving to the Scriptures and receiving the protection of the Holy Spirit as a consequence of the union with Christ brought about through true conversion. Reader, do you view your heart as God does? Do you meditate on its horrible and desperate depravity and, as a result, flee to the Christ revealed in the Scriptures as your only refuge? Learn your need so to do from the deluded life and everlasting damnation of the Higher Life preacher-turned-Buddhist, Robert Pearsall Smith.

Learn also from the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Pearsall Smith life that unconverted false teachers can put on a great show of godliness and exert a tremendous influence on the spiritually unwary among the true people of God. The ideas Hanhah and Robert Smith propogated influence many millions today—millions who, in large part, have no idea that their confusion on and false doctrine of sanctification are derived from an unregenerate Quaker couple. Be sure that your beliefs and practices are truly “the faith which was once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) and the product of Scripture alone. It does not matter whether or not men who are exalted by Christendom have taught them, for such are not your authority for faith and practice. Robert P. Smith was extremely popular in the Christendom of his day—all Europe was at his feet. There are many extremely popular false teachers in Christendom today. The Antichrist will be even more popular in the post-Rapture Christendom of the future than any of his anti-christian predecessors. Place no confidence in men because of their popularity, but, within the protection of a strong independent Baptist church, let all you believe and do arise only from the Spirit-illuminated teaching of the literally interpreted Word of God.

Furthermore, since Hannah W. Smith founded the Keswick theology with her husband, and Keswick has never dreamed of repudiating and repenting of their false teachings and pernicious influence, Keswick theology should be rejected. Keswick is saturated with the ideas of Hannah W. Smith. This is not a good, but a great and fearful evil.

The tremendous influence Mrs. Smith has exerted on Christendom, so that very large numbers of true churches and Christians have been unintentionally infected with her errors, illustrates the dangers of failing to issue plain warnings, avoid ecumenicalism, and exercise a watchful and strict separatist position. Mrs. Smith has influenced millions. She created a new, and very influential, doctrine of sanctification—the Keswick theology. Through both her direct influence and her stamp upon the Keswick movement, she has precipitated the rise of the Pentecostal, charismatic, and Word of Faith heresies. How greatly the leaven of error has spread because so many preachers have refused to give plain warnings! How essential it is for pastors to be well informed about and very careful concerning what writings they recommend to the flocks over which the Holy Ghost has made them overseers! Reader, do not follow the bad example of those who blew an uncertain sound on their gospel trumpets—determine that you will, by God’s grace, for His glory, and out of love for Him, contend against all error, and for all the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). Do not fear man—you will be called “uncharitable,” “too negative,” “narrowminded,” and all sorts of other names (Luke 6:22, 26). Instead, consider that the Apostle Paul commanded the marking and avoidance of false teachers in the context of his love for large numbers of God’s dear people.[608] Think on the love for the Father, for His people, and for the truth that filled the soul of the Lord Jesus, and led Him to boldly and pointedly denounce error (Matthew 23). Be Christlike—go, and do likewise.

Consider also what dangers there are that yet lie buried within your fallen heart. How Mrs. Smith was led astray by trusting in her own heart, in the Inner Light delusion, and in her continuationist Quakerism! While she was totally blind because of her unregenerate state, you, oh Christian, still have the serpent of indwelling sin lying within your own bosom. How essential it is that you reject all extra-Biblical revelation, and carefully study the Bible, cleave to its every precept, and prize it as your sole authority! The Sword of the Spirit is the only offensive weapon in your spiritual armor, and the only means through which you can stand against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:10-17). How important it is for you to carefully and accurately exegete Scripture, put in practice all it says with holy fear and trembling, and walk humbly with your God, trusting in Jesus only!

Consider how essential it is for you to be a functioning member of a strong, separated, independent Baptist church. Only in the Lord’s church is His special presence manifested, and the special protection Christ gives to His holy temple and beloved bride is lost to those who are not members of Biblical Baptist churches. Mrs. Smith, being without the protection afforded by a true church, and without a true pastor for spiritual protection (Hebrews 13:7, 17), was influenced by hordes of false teachers and fanatics in her spiritual journey on the broad road to destruction. Spiritual guides may be very popular in the eyes of the broad and undiscerning world of Christiandom, and may possess a great appearance of piety, and yet be vipers and wolves—but Christ’s true congregations have the spiritual equipment to discern and reject such. Had Mrs. Smith been aware of and adopted the historic Baptist doctrine of Spirit baptism, she would never have believed in the filthy perversion that led to her husband’s public disgrace and contributed to his continuing adultery and the unhappiness of her marriage. Had she accepted the clear Biblical teachings of sola Scriptura and the cessation of the sign gifts, she would not have accepted the “miraculous” validation that led her into false teaching and led her sister Mary Thomas to an early grave through the false wonders of the Faith Cure. Had she rejected feminism for the loving and God-ordained patriarchy of family and church practiced in Biblical assemblies, she would have recognized that she could, as a lady, be more easily deceived (1 Timothy 2:14), and that she needed godly, Bible-believing men at home and church to protect her from error. Had she treasured Baptist ministers who preached a pure gospel, instead of finding them repulsive because they would not allow her to feel happy in her delusion, so that she preferred as a consequence the company of heretics and fanatics, she could have been saved herself, and her family with her, from both the earthly vanity of their false religion and the inconceivably horrible eternal consequences of the unpropitiated wrath of God.

Learn from Mrs. Smith’s failures the necessity for a genuine vital piety, one which arises out of a true conversion and issues in a close walk with God. Mrs. Smith’s false piety did not convince her family—her husband and all her surviving children rejected Christianity. People read her books and looked up to her, but those who knew Mrs. Smith best rejected godliness for rebellion against Jehovah, and received eternal retribution for their sins. Have you been led by Mrs. Smith’s confusing views of faith, conversion, and salvation to settle for anything less than the supernatural new birth without which no one will enter the kingdom of God? Do you only have assurance of salvation if you compare yourself to the standard set by Hannah W. Smith, but not if you compare yourself to the standard set forth by the Apostle John in his first inspired epistle? Do not follow into hell the demons who misled Hannah W. Smith. Be satisfied with nothing less than the Biblical gospel and true conversion.

Do you want a godly seed—do you want your family, for whatever generations may be left until the return of Christ, to know and serve your Redeemer in spirit and in truth? The sham spirituality of Hannah W. Smith will never suffice. But if you reject such pseudo-Christianity and sincerely and uprightly walk with God your Father, through Christ your Redeemer, as empowered by the Holy Spirit, you can claim the promise of Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Do not turn aside to the idol of Hannah W. Smith’s “bare God.” An unconverted person who does so will be eternally damned, and to whatever extent a regenerate person turns from the God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to Mrs. Smith’s deity he will find his spiritual life much darkened and his holy Father much displeased. Genuine Christian spirituality arises out of the love of the Father, the purchase of the Son, and the applicatory work of the Holy Spirit. How sweet and precious to the saint is his dear adopted Father! How glorious is the redemptive work of Christ! How heart-melting it is to behold Him in the glory of His essential Deity, to marvel at the preciousness of His sinless humanity, and to be moved by the infinite condescension and love shown in the cross! How ineffably wonderful it is to know experientially the communion of the Holy Ghost! Do not, oh saint of God, turn aside from your own Redeemer, your own personal God who has come to you in Jesus Christ, who has supernaturally revealed Himself to you through His Word by His Spirit. What are the dregs of Mrs. Smith’s idolatry to the overflowing cup of infinite blessing found in Jehovah, the living God?

Furthermore, you should examine yourself to see if you find Mrs. Smith’s errors unbearable, horrible, and exceedingly grievous, or if you find her abominations titillating and exciting, as many ungodly people find gossip. Is it necessary to expose Hannah W. Smith’s lies and unmask her pernicious character? Yes—certainly. Should such an expose be examined as a mere intellectual exercise, a curiosity comparable to some strange gene-spliced monster that might be on display at a circus or a fair for people to gawk at? By no means.

Indeed, how sweet—how precious, glorious, and soul-refreshing it is to turn with disgust from Hannah W. Smith to behold the Lord Jesus! Here is One who is spotless in purity. Here is one who mixes, not secret corruptions with false teachings, but perfect holiness with infallibly sure guidance. Here is a perfect Prophet, a spotless Priest, a matchless King, an all-sufficient Redeemer, one who is fairer than the children of men, whose lips are full of grace. How blessed it is to see Him in His holy Word, and find in Him a true Shepherd who properly and perfectly cares for, protects, and gives His life for His beloved sheep. Let the works of Hannah W. Smith, and all her fellow false-shepherds, be put in the trash where they belong, and listen instead to the voice of this true and unerring Pastor. Hearken to His voice as you read every line of His Word in your personal Bible study—hearken to His voice as He is preached by a true man of God in the church of the living God—meditate upon His law day and night. So shall you have a truly blessed life during your earthly pilgrimage, and a rich reward in the coming life of sight for all eternity.

J. Excursus XI: An Analysis and Critique of Keswick Theology as Set Forth Particularly In So Great Salvation: The History and Message of the Keswick Convention, by Steven Barabas[609]

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

Stephen Barabas’s So Great Salvation is widely considered the standard interpretation of Keswick theology. In a preface to the book by Fred Mitchell, “Chairman of the Keswick Convention Council, 1948-1951,” Mitchell states that Barabas’s book is “faithful and accurate; it is well annotated with sources of his information; it is saturated with an appreciative spirit, for he himself has been so much helped by Keswick. The book will form a text-book and a reference book on this unique movement.”[610] Thus, its contents accurately represent the theology of the original Keswick movement. Indeed, “Steven Barabas[’s] . . . book So Great Salvation is perhaps the single best interpretation of the message of Keswick.”[611] “The most objective account and appraisement of the . . . Keswick . . . movement is So Great Salvation: The History and Message of The Keswick Convention—an extraordinarily exact account . . . [written] after exhaustive research.”[612] Keswick’s “standard interpretation is Steven Barabas, So Great Salvation.”[613]Consequently, the analysis of the Keswick system below will engage Barabas’s book in detail while also evaluating other Keswick classics.

Barabas notes that in “the early 1870s . . . the Keswick movement had its rise in England.”[614] The “friends [Quakers] introduced the subject”[615] of the Higher Life, although there were also very significant background influences of Roman Catholic mystics and heretics such as the monks “Thomas á Kempis[616] [and] Brother Lawrence,”[617] and especially the Catholic mystical quietist “Madame Guyon.”[618] Catholics and Quakers were essential theological background for the rise for the rise of the Keswick movement.

The “Higher Life teaching . . . [in] the books of the American religious leaders, T. C. Upham and Asa Mahan. . . [and] W. E. Boardman’s The Higher Christian Life”[619] are also undisputed theological background for the development of the Keswick theology; Barabas thus recognizes Thomas C. Upham as a Keswick antecedent.[620] He notes without a hint of criticism that Upham wrote Life and Religious Experience of Madame Guyon, a book which Barabas affirms contributed to “the interest of the Church in the subject of sanctification and the Spirit-filled life,” as did other works of Upham.[621] What, then, was Upham’s theology? Upham “experienced [entire] sanctification under Phoebe Palmer’s influence and gave popular expression to the doctrine in a series of books drawing . . . explicitly on Catholic mysticism and Quietism.”[622] Upham taught, in addition to his Quietistic and Romanist Higher Life doctrine of sanctification associated with Wesleyan perfectionism and Pelagianism, that God was a duality of Father and Mother instead of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. However, this Duality became a Trinity through the appearance of a Son, who is identified with the created order itself. Upham saught to prove this gross idolatry from sources ranging from ancient Gnostics such as Valentinus and Heracleon, to the Jewish Cabala, to assorted other later heretics and perfectionists. He blasphemously wrote:

God is both Fatherhood and Motherhood . . . from the eternal Fatherhood and Motherhood . . . all things proceed. [A] Maternal Principle . . . Sophia . . . [exists] in the Divine nature[.] . . . [T]he Jewish Cabala . . . [speaks of] a feminine deity . . . called Sophia. . . . John’s Gospel . . . identif[ies] the Logos and the Sophia. . . . Sophia . . . was God; not only with God, but was God. . . . [T]he somewhat mystic words of the Apostle John . . . [are] the announcement of the infinite Paternity and the infinite Motherhood. . . . Valentinus . . . speaks of the Aeon Sophia . . . [T]he mystics and Quietists . . . recognized . . . the divine Sophia[.] . . . [T]he Sophia . . . or Maternal Essentia or Personality of the Godhead . . . incarnated itself in Christ . . . caused him, in a mother’s Spirit though in a male form, to endure his great sufferings[.] . . . [T]he Familists . . . recognize the Maternal Principle as a true and distinct Personality in the Godhead. . . . [The] Shakers . . . [and] Bible Communists . . . [recognize] that the Divine Nature is dual in its personalities . . . and includes the fact of a divine maternity[.] . . . [T]he Catholic Church is often regarded . . . as embodying the idea of the Motherhood element which exists in the Infinite, in its recognition of the holy or deific nature of Mary . . . and in the high honors, and even worship, which it is understood to render to her. . . . [U]nder the influence of inward suggestions, which I will not stop to explain and define . . . [and to] the thoughtful mind . . . the duality of the Divine Existence, written everywhere in the book of nature, necessitates a Trinity. . . . we must supplement the eternal Fatherhood and Motherhood by the eternal Son . . . the great and unceasing out-birth of the Divine Duality. . . . Generically, or considered in the whole of its extent, the trinal out-birth, otherwise called the Son of God, without which the eternal Fatherhood and Motherhood could have neither name nor power nor meaning, is the whole of creation from its lowest to its highest form. . . . [N]ot an insect that floats in the air, nor a fish that swims in the sea, nor a bird that sings in the forests, nor a wild beast that roams on the mountains; not one is or by any possibility can be shut out and excluded from the meaning and the fact of the divine Sonship[.] . . . All living nature then . . . constitutes the Son of God.[623]

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

Upham . . . became a Methodist holiness leader after contact with Phoebe Palmer. He studied Fenelon and Guyon, writing a biography of the latter entitled Life, Religious Opinions, and Experience of Madame Guyon. His [works] . . . influenced much of nineteenth and early twentieth century thinking on faith, including A. B. Simpson . . . leade[r] of [the] CMA [Christian & Missionary Alliance].[624]

Like many other Higher Life writers, Upham also emphasized ecumenicalism and sought to prepare for the one-world religious system of Revelation 17. “On the basis of his experience of the baptism of the Spirit, T. C. Upham proposed the foundation of a League of Nations.”[625] Such a man was Keswick antecedent Thomas Upham.

Barabas also recognizes Asa Mahan, leader of the Oberlin perfectionism, as a Keswick antecedent.[626] The Oberlin perfectionism of Asa Mahan and his mentor Charles Finney were indeed important to the rise of the Keswick system,[627] and were recognized by Keswick as essential historical background for the genesis of their doctrine. “In 1872, [Mahan] moved to England and directly influenced the Keswick movement by his leadership in the Oxford and Brighton Conferences that immediately preceded the first Keswick Convention.”[628] Mahan’s books were widely propogated in Higher Life circles, so that “Keswick writers . . . often mention or quote Asa Mahan . . . and Charles G. Finney.”[629] Indeed, “none . . . of . . . the ‘conversational meetings’ at Oxford . . . . was of more interest than that . . . under the guidance of Asa Mahan,” who strongly taught orally the necessity of Christians receiving Spirit baptism, as he had already proclaimed in his book The Baptism of the Holy Ghost.[630] As a consequence of Mahan’s “pressing upon” people, “[d]ay after day,” the necessity of Christians receiving Spirit baptism, “a[n] . . . experience we should not and must not be without,” “many . . . realised in his conversational meetings the baptism” and entered into Mahan’s experience.[631] Likewise, at “the Brighton Convention (of which he was one of the conveners) Mahan directed a series of sectional meetings . . . crowded to overflowing . . . [e]ach afternoon,”[632] proclaiming post-conversion Spirit baptism. “Mahan carried the message” of the necessity of a post-conversion “Baptism of the Holy Ghost . . . to the Oxford (1874) and Brighton (1875) meetings from which the Keswick movements emerged . . . he spoke and led very popular seminars on the subject,”[633] leading many into his second blessing Baptism experience,[634] as Robert P. Smith and others led many to adopt the doctrine of the “physical thrills” of a post-conversion erotic Spirit baptism through the propogation of this doctrine at Oxford and elsewhere. Indeed, as Mahan and Robert P. Smith explained, the “object of the . . . Meeting at Oxford . . . was to lead Christians to . . . [be] baptised with the Holy Ghost.”[635] William “Boardman . . . link[ed] up with Mahan to conduct revivals in both America and Britain, and both were to have a direct influence on the spiritual and theological direction of the Keswick Conferences.”[636]

Mahan, as “the major architect . . . of the controversial ‘Oberlin Perfectionism,’”[637] in addition to teaching “the immediate attainment of entire sanctification by a special act of faith directed to this end,”[638] denied the doctrine of original sin[639] and promulgated other heresies along with the perfectionism of his mentor and colleague Charles Finney at Oberlin College.[640] Mahan’s development of the post-conversion crisis of sanctification and Spirit baptism contributed greatly to the “rise of modern Pentecostalism . . . [i]t is not surprising that modern Pentecostalism should sprout in th[e] well prepared ground” of the heterodox Oberlin holiness and pneumatological doctrines powerfully promulgated by Mahan, and, through his influence, “there seem to be several instances of this experience [of tongues] in holiness circles between 1870 and the outbreak of Pentecostalism in 1900.”[641]

Finney, whose theology helped to destroy the Second Great Awakening and hinder subsequent revival,[642] likewise taught at Oberlin a Pelagian view of sin while denying substitutionary atonement in favor of the governmental atonement heresy,[643] among other damnable heresies. For Finney, the “atonement . . . was not a commercial transaction . . . [not] the payment of a debt . . . [but] was intended as a satisfaction of public justice.”[644] He also wrote:

Moral depravity . . . cannot consist . . . in a sinful constitution . . . [or] an attribute of human nature . . . [m]oral depravity is not then to be accounted for by ascribing it to a nature or constitution sinful in itself. To talk of a sinful nature, or sinful constitution, in the sense of physical sinfulness, is to ascribe sinfulness to the Creator, who is the author of nature. . . . What ground is there for the assertion that Adam’s nature became in itself sinful by the fall? This is a groundless, not to say ridiculous, assumption, and an absurdity. . . . This doctrine is . . . an abomination alike to God and the human intellect.[645]

Furthermore, Finney’s denial of substitutionary atonement led him to reject justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ to teach salvation by personal obedience: “If [Christ] obeyed the law as our substitute, then why should our own return to personal obedience be insisted upon as a sine qua non of our salvation?”[646] Finney plainly stated that the truth of justification by faith alone based on the imputed righteousness of Christ (Romans 3:19-28) was a different gospel from the one he believed and taught. By rejecting the true gospel, Finney indicated that he was an accursed false teacher who suffered eternal damnation (Galatians 1:8-9). In his Systematic Theology, Finney accurately summarized the true gospel and then plainly rejected it:

Those who hold that justification by imputed righteousness is a forensic proceeding, take a view of final or ultimate justification, according with their view of the transaction. With them, faith receives an imputed righteousness, and a judicial justification. The first act of faith, according to them, introduces the sinner into this relation, and obtains for him a perpetual justification. They maintain that after this first act of faith it is impossible for the sinner to come into condemnation; that, being once justified, he is always thereafter justified, whatever he may do; indeed that he is never justified by grace, as to sins that are past, upon condition that he ceases to sin; that Christ’s righteousness is the ground, and that his own present obedience is not even a condition of his justification, so that, in fact, his own present or future obedience to the law of God is, in no case, and in no sense, a sine qua non[647] of his justification, present or ultimate. Now this is certainly another gospel from the one I am inculcating. It is not a difference merely upon some speculative or theoretic point. It is a point fundamental to the gospel and to salvation, if any one can be. Let us therefore see which of these is the true gospel. I object to this view of justification[.] . . . The doctrine of a literal imputation of Adam’s sin to all his posterity . . . [and] of the literal imputation of Christ’s righteousness or obedience to the elect, and the consequent perpetual justification of all that are converted from the first exercise of faith, whatever their subsequent life may be—I say I regard these dogmas as fabulous, and better befitting a romance than a system of theology.[648]

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

We shall see that perseverance in obedience to the end of life is also a condition of justification . . . present, full, and entire consecration of heart and life to God and His service, is an unalterable condition of present pardon of past sin, and of present acceptance with God. . . . [T]he penitent soul remains justified no longer than this full-hearted consecration continues.[649]

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

The links between Keswick and New School revivalism [Oberlin perfectionism] were many. Both Mahan and Boardman’s involvement in the Oxford and Brighton conferences helped unify the higher life aspirations arising from the “Oberlizing of England.” Furthermore, the Reverend John Moore was close friends with Charles Finney, a relationship which no doubt had influence on his son, C. G. Moore, one of the early Keswick speakers.[650]

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

Old School advocates . . . opposed the “second blessing” heresy [of Finney and Mahan] because [they] believed it not only violated the . . . doctrine of depravity, but that it adopted the modernist reliance of human ability. The concern of Old School advocates was that New School proponents were being unduly influenced by German liberal theology, particularly in the elevation of humanist philosophy. . . . New School theology was not only influenced by the rational pragmatism of the nineteenth century, particularly in the new measure procedures, but . . . the emphasis upon human responsibility in [the] New School . . .was the direct result of modernist thought.[651]

Indeed, “[f]rom . . . the person and work of Charles Finney . . . the line is a straight one that leads through the holiness movement directly into Pentecostalism.”[652] Such were Asa Mahan and Charles Finney, architects of the Oberlin perfectionism and antecedents to the Keswick theology. Sadly, Stephen Barabas, with criminal neglect, suppresses, fails to warn of, and breaths not a whisper about the heresies of Keswick antecedents such as Thomas Upham and Asa Mahan, just as he entirely ignores the heresies, false gospel, and demonism associated with Hannah and Robert P. Smith.

While earlier perfectionist heretics were important, Barabas recognizes that “the Keswick movement had its [actual] genesis . . . [through] Mr. and Mrs. Robert Pearsall Smith [and the influence of three of their books, including Mrs. Smith’s] The Record of a Happy Life,”[653] after “Conferences . . . at Broadlands . . . Oxford . . . [and] Brighton. Robert and Hannah [Smith] were at the very center of it all.”[654] Barabas provides not a whisper of warning about Mrs. Smith’s universalism and other poisonous false doctrines, despite repeatedly citing her book My Spiritual Autobiography: How I Discovered The Unselfishness of God, which she wrote specifically to turn people from Christian orthodoxy to heresy, and where her universalist heresy is blatently and grossly set forth.[655] In any case, it is clear that “the first steps . . . [towards] [t]he Keswick Convention . . . owe . . . everything to a Quaker glass manufacturer from Philadelphia, Robert Pearsall Smith[.]”[656] Mr. Smith “was instrumental, not only in establishing Keswick as a perennial convention, but also in introducing the Keswick emphases back into the United States.”[657] Barabas indicates that “[b]oth [the Smiths] were born and bred Quakers,”[658] having “always held the Quaker teaching concerning the Inner Light and passivity.”[659] They brought their Quaker theology and other distinctive heresies into the Keswick movement which they founded.

The “new revelation [of the Keswick theology of sanctification] came to Mrs. Pearsall Smith about 1867. . . . At first her husband . . . was somewhat frightened . . . thinking she had gone off into heresy . . . [but then he] came into her experience when she called his attention to Romans vi. 6.”[660] Unfortunately, Mrs. Smith did not interpret Romans 6:6 correctly, and she led her husband into an erroneous view of the verse as well. The erroneous interpretation of Romans six adopted by Hannah and Robert P. Smith continued to dominate the Keswick convention for many decades:

In the history of the Keswick Convention, if one passage of Scripture is to be identified as playing a larger role than any other, it would have to be Romans chapter 6. Evan Hopkins said at the thirty-first Convention that no passage of Scripture was more frequently to the fore at Keswick than this one. Steven Barabas finds himself not only agreeing with this statement but adding: “it is doubtful whether a Keswick Convention has ever been held in which one or more speakers did not deal with Romans 6. . . . There is no understanding of Keswick without an appreciation of the place accorded by it to this chapter in its whole scheme of sanctification.” The key to this chapter, in the early Keswick teaching . . . [of] Robert Pearsall Smith and his wife Hannah . . . is verse 6.[661]

The misinterpretation of Mr. and Mrs. Pearsall Smith “was largely unchallenged from the Keswick platform until 1965 when John Stott gave Bible Readings on Romans 5-8.”[662] It was very easy for the Smiths to misinterpret Scripture because “[n]either of [the Smiths] had any training in theology,”[663] in keeping with their Quaker backgrounds; for example, Hannah Smith testified: “[A]s a Quaker, I had no doctrinal teaching . . . I knew literally nothing of theology, and had never heard any theological terms” since in her youth “no doctrines or dogmas were ever taught us . . . a creature more utterly ignorant of all so-called religious truth . . . could hardly be conceived of in these modern times [that is, in 1902]. The whole religious question for me was simply whether I was good enough to go to heaven, or so naughty as to deserve hell.”[664] Despite woeful ignorance of theology and an inability to accurately exegete Scripture, following Hannah’s lead, both Mr. and Mrs. Smith embraced and began to zealously propogate the doctrines of the Higher Life that were enshrined in the Keswick movement.

From its “beginning . . . some of the foremost leaders of the Church attacked [the Keswick doctrine] as being dangerously heretical.”[665] Indeed, “the opposition the work was subjected to at the beginning, even from Evangelical clergy,”[666] was extreme, so that, indeed, the Keswick theology was “looked upon with the gravest suspicion by those who were considered as the leaders of the Evangelical section of the Church.”[667] Consequently, “very few Evangelical leaders ever attended . . . the Keswick Convention . . . which was quite an independent movement,” since “the leading Evangelicals held aloof and viewed it with undisguised suspicion,” and evangelicals “openly denounced it as dangerous heresy.”[668] Evangelical opposition to Keswick was intense because the founders of Keswick seriously compromised and corrupted or even outright denied the evangel,[669] the gospel. For example, Hannah believed, among other damnable heresies, that every single person would be saved, denied justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ, the sole authority of Scripture, and the new birth. Robert, while formally adopting a weak and wobbly concept of justification by faith for a time, instead of simply rejecting that core gospel doctrine as he had before, continued to reject eternal security and tied his Higher Life theology into his opposition to the preservation of the saints. Warfield describes Robert Smith’s argument against progressive sanctification being incomplete until death, and its connection to Arminianism, as propounded by Smith at the Oxford Union Meeting of 1874, as follows:

Smith, in the very same spirit, exhorted his hearers not to put an arbitrary limitation on the power of God by postponing the completion of their salvation to the end of their “pilgrimage,” and so virtually attributing to death the sanctifying work which they ought to find rather in Christ. “Shall not Christ do more for you than death?” he demands, and then he develops a reductio ad absurdum. We expect a dying grace by which we shall be really made perfect. How long before death is the reception of such a grace possible? “An hour? A day? Peradventure a week? Possibly two or three weeks, if you are very ill? One good man granted this position until the period of six weeks was reached, but then said that more than six weeks of such living” — that is, of course, living in entire consecration and full trust, with its accompanying “victory”—“was utterly impossible!” “Are your views as to the limitations of dying grace,” he inquires, “only less absurd because less definite?” The absurdity lies, however, only in the assumption of this “dying grace” . . . Smith describes it as “a state of complete trust to be arrived at, but not until death.” The Scriptures know of no such thing; they demand complete trust from all alike, as the very first step of the conscious Christian life. It finds its real source in the Arminian notion that our salvation depends on our momentary state of mind and will at that particular moment. Whether we are ultimately saved or not will depend, then, on whether death catches us in a state of grace or fallen from grace. Our eternal future, thus, hangs quite absolutely on the state of mind we happen (happen is the right word here) to be in at the moment of death: nothing behind this momentary state of mind can come into direct consideration. This absurd over-estimate of the importance of the moment of dying is the direct consequence of the rejection of the Bible doctrine of Perseverance and the substitution for it of a doctrine of Perfection as the meaning of Christ being our Saviour to the uttermost. The real meaning of this great declaration is just that to trust in Jesus is to trust in One who is able and willing and sure to save to the uttermost — to the uttermost limit of the progress of salvation. Death in this conception of the saving Christ loses the factitious significance which has been given to it. Our momentary state of mind at the moment of death is of no more importance than our momentary state of mind at any other instant. We do not rest on our state of mind, but on Christ, and all that is important is that we are “in Christ Jesus.” He is able to save to the uttermost, and faithful is He that calls us, who also will do it. He does it in His own way, of course; and that way is by process—whom He calls He justifies, and whom He justifies He glorifies. He does it; and therefore we know that our glorification is as safe in His hands as is any other step of our salvation. To be progressively saved is, of course, to postpone the completion of our salvation to the end of the process. Expecting the end of the process only at the time appointed for it is no limitation upon the power of the Saviour; and looking upon death as the close of the process is a very different thing from looking upon death as a Saviour.[670]

Hannah W. Smith also believed, at least for a while, that Christ was the “redeemer . . . from past sins” who will only “redeem . . . from all future sins . . . if [one] will . . . submit . . . wholly to Him,”[671] a clear anti-eternal security position; however, since she had become a universalist before becoming a Keswick preacher, denying eternal security had became largely a moot point for her. Since Robert and Hannah Smith held extremely compromised views of the gospel, and Hannah even avowed, “I cannot enjoy close contact with [those who] . . . preac[h] . . . a pure gospel,”[672] it was not surprising that those who loved the true and pure gospel violently opposed the Keswick movement.

Furthermore, “Robert . . . did not try to convert unbelievers; his call was to [preach] a state of Holiness in those who already believed, whatever their creed.”[673] What is more, both Robert and Hannah Smith “belie[ved] in the inner light [doctrine of Quakerism,] to which they [were] . . . united in sentiment. . . . Mr. P. Smith [and his wife’s writings] embod[y] the mysticism of Madame Guyon and the medieval mystics, as well as the semi-Pelagianism of Professor Upham.”[674] Consequently, both Mr. and Mrs. Smith rejected sola Scriptura—Robert, for example, proclaimed: “I get one half of my theology from the Bible, and the other half by watching my children,” citing “Coleridge” as support for this astonishing affirmation.[675] Both the Smiths also anticipated Word of Faith heresies.[676] The demonism and spiritualism of the Mount-Temples and their influence on the Smiths and Keswick through the Broadlands Conferences also constituted a matter of grave concern. Evangelical rejection of Keswick theology was entirely natural. Nevertheless, despite vociferous and continuing evangelical opposition, both Mr. and Mrs. Smith began to preach to large audiences a “doctrine of sanctification by faith [alone that had been] allowed to lie dormant for centuries, unknown and unappreciated . . . it remained for Keswick to call the attention of the Church to it.”[677]

Specifically, the Keswick form of the Higher Life theology was formulated through the central influence of Hannah W. and Robert P. Smith at the Broadlands, Oxford, and Brighton Conventions that immediately preceded the first Keswick Convention. The first and following Broadlands Conferences was held at the invitation of the dedicated spiritualists Mr. and Mrs. Mount-Temple, and all sorts of infernal spirits, doctrinal differences, and heresies were always present. Speakers included the universalist George MacDonald, who received his prominent speaking position at the direction of his good spiritualist[678] friends[679] the Mount-Temples.[680] He became good friends with fellow universalist Hannah W. Smith.[681] Nonetheless, while Christian orthodoxy was by no means held in common by the Broadlands speakers, “[t]he ‘Seed,’ of which George Fox spoke, was rooted in them all,”[682] and those in “the Society of Friends”[683] rejoiced at the messages brought, as did the spiritualist Mount-Temples, who continued their very influential patronage of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. At the first and flagship 1874 Broadlands Convention Robert “Pearsall Smith was chairman and principal speaker, though, before the week was done, it became evident that his wife, Hannah Whitall Smith, was a herald of the evangel they carried yet more effective than himself.”[684] She was the chief of the Broadlands preachers.[685] Further Conventions, along the same lines and led by Mr. and Mrs. Pearsall Smith, were held at Oxford and Brighton[686] with ever-larger attendance.[687] Mrs. Smith was an overwhelmingly captivating preacher, for at those “Conferences at Oxford and Brighton . . . no hall was large enough to accommodate the crowds that flocked to hear her.”[688] The meetings reminded Hannah W. Smith and others “of the days when George Fox,” the founder of the Quakers, saw countless numbers “convinced . . . during . . . his meetings,” or of the “wonderful Yearly Meetings” that took place in the days of the prominent Quakers “Elisabeth Fry and Joseph John Gurney.”[689] Following these Conventions, meetings specifically in the English town of Keswick, from which the new doctrine preached by the Smiths came to obtain its name, were proposed in 1875. An Anglican minister,[690] “Canon T. D. Harford Battersby . . . [who] . . . was part of an old and well-to-do west-country Quaker family that had moved into evangelical Anglicanism in the early 19th century,”[691] and “a friend of his, Mr. Robert Wilson, a Quaker who also was specially blessed [at the earlier Higher Life meetings led by the Smiths] . . . decided to hold a Convention at Keswick, where similar teaching should be given.” The “chief Brighton speakers,” of whom the most important were certainly “Mr. and Mrs. Pearsall Smith, [were] to take part in it.”[692]

Thus, Quakers were so far from being convicted of sin and of their need to turn from their false religion and false gospel to Christ for the new birth, and instead so happy with the Higher Life theology of Keswick, that one of them could become co-founder[693] of the meetings at Keswick, be the “the heart and soul” of the Keswick mission fund,[694] be lauded by many Keswick writers and speakers,[695] and even be termed “the father of the Convention.”[696] Since the Quakers Hannah and Robert Smith formulated and spread the Keswick theology at the preparatory Broadlands, Oxford, and Brighton Conventions,[697] such acceptance of Quakerism was entirely expected. As one Quaker periodical noted, extolling the teaching of the Brington Convention:

[T]his wonderful gathering . . . [taught the] truth [of the Higher Life and] the renewed [post-conversion] baptism of the Holy Spirit . . . [which had been] revived in a time of darkness by the early Friends[.] . . . It has been often said that the Friends have always upheld this cardinal truth[.] . . . This is undoubtedly true, and many of the early Friends walked in the light of it, as testified by the writings of Fox, Penn, Barclay, Penington, and others[.] . . . Hannah W. Smith . . . felt that she had an especial message to the Friends in this country, and from [her] lucid setting forth of this truth many of us have derived deep and lasting benefit. . . . Perfection lies in this [Higher Life system]. . . . [T]housands . . . every day flocked to hear the Bible readings of Hannah W. Smith, eagerly accepting her clear and winning settings forth of the life of faith . . . [at] the Friends’ Meeting House . . . to a crowded assembly, those of our own body were proclaiming in triumphant strains the glory and richness of this full salvation[.][698]

Quakers were unequivocally welcomed at Keswick as true Christians.[699] Thus, “[a]t the outset the management of the Convention was entirely in the hands of the two conveners, Canon Harford-Battersby and Mr. Robert Wilson.”[700] The Quaker “Robert Wilson [was] one of the two founders of the Convention and its chairman from 1891 to 1900.”[701]Speakers were for some years only selected at “the personal invitation of the conveners,” Wilson and Battersby, although in later times the “the Trustees of the Convention” began to make the selections.[702] William Wilson, Robert Wilson’s son, continued his father’s work when Robert became Keswick chairman,[703] Robert being the “successor” of Harford-Battersby after the latter man’s retirement.[704] The succession was the more natural because Wilson was Harford-Battersby’s “principal parish worker,” regularly attending the Canon’s Anglican assembly Sunday evenings after attending the Friends’ Meeting in the morning.[705]Indeed, Robert Wilson was not only co-founder of Keswick and chairman of the Convention for nearly a decade but was also the author of the Keswick motto “All One in Christ Jesus.”[706] Truly, “without Mr. [Robert] Wilson’s support and brave backing, there would have been no . . . Keswick story . . . at all.”[707]

Consequently, the Anglican with a Quaker background, Harford-Battersby, and his chief parish worker, the unrepentant Quaker Robert Wilson, together founded the Keswick convention and “invited . . . leading speakers [such as] Mr. and Mrs. Pearsall Smith. Mr. Pearsall Smith promised to preside.”[708] “Robert . . . [was] invited . . . to preside and . . . Hannah Pearsall Smith . . . to give daily Bible Readings,” that is, to preach,[709] as well as to run the ladies’ meetings;[710] Keswick was to be “arranged around the Pearsall Smiths.”[711] However, the Keswick movement almost collapsed as a result of Mr. Smith’s hasty withdrawal because of a doctrine and practice that the Brighton Convention Committee[712] was hesitant to explain, namely, that the baptism of the Holy Ghost was accompanied by physical sexual thrills because of the esoteric union of Christ with His people as Bridegroom and Bride, as described in the Song of Solomon. Publicly admitting what Robert Smith had been teaching would certainly have cast a dark shadow over Keswick, as it was an indisputable fact that even without Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s presence “a continuity of teaching [was] maintained . . . the same as that given at the Oxford Conference,”[713] where the great spiritual secret of erotic Baptism was publicly proclaimed. Besides, in that day of Victorian propriety very few would want to propogate and preach a theology of sanctification invented by such persons. The Keswick leaders consequently deemed it best to conceal the reasons for the withdrawal of Mr. and Mrs. Smith and get along as best they could.

Nonetheless, despite the withdrawal of Robert and Hannah Smith and “other expected speakers,”[714] the first Keswick Convention took place, “acknowledging the debt [the speakers] owed to Mr. Pearsall Smith,”[715] and propogating the Higher Life theology of sanctification Mr. Smith had learned from his wife. Despite “violent criticism and opposition . . . [such that to] identify oneself with the . . . Keswick Convention . . . [and] Higher Life teaching meant to be willing to be separated from the leaders of the Evangelical Church,”[716] including opposition by men such as “Mr. Spurgeon,” “Dr. Horatius Bonar,”[717] and “Canon Ryle,”[718] Mr. Battersby “and Mr. Wilson decided to hold another convention. After that there was never any doubt that it should be held yearly.”[719] The fact that “the greatest Leaders and Teachers of Evangelical Truth thought it their duty to oppose to the utmost what they considered ‘very dangerous Heresy’” taught at Keswick and its antecedent Holiness Conventions, so that “the Evangelical Leaders of that day felt it their duty to oppose what they believed to be a false doctrine of ‘Perfection in man’” taught at Keswick, was not going to stop Wilson and Battersby.[720] Since that time “the Keswick message . . . [has been] carried . . . to almost every corner of the world”;[721] “its influence is seen to-day in every quarter of the globe.”[722] In modern times, Keswick Conventions are held in many cities throughout countries such as England, the United States, Australia, Canada, Romania, New Zealand, India, Jamaica, South Africa, Japan, Kenya, and “other parts of Africa, Asia, and South America”—there are “numerous conventions around the world on every continent which are modelled on Keswick.”[723] Keswick theology appears in devotional compositions by men such as Andrew Murray,[724] F. B. Meyer,[725] J. Oswald Sanders,[726] and Hudson Taylor,[727] and has “impact[ed] . . . the Welsh revival,[728] the German holiness movement, Foreign Missions, Conventions Abroad, the American holiness movement, the American Pentecostal movement . . . the Christian and Missionary Alliance . . . American fundamentalism . . . [and] English fundamentalism or conservative evangelicalism,”[729] as well as offshoots of Pentecostalism like the Health and Wealth or Word-Faith movement which “arose out of the classic Higher Life, Keswick, and Pentecostal movements.”[730] Keswick became extremely influential:

Keswick-like views of sanctification [were] promoted by A. B. Simpson, Moody Bible Institute[731] (D. L. Moody, R. A. Torrey, James M. Gray), Pentecostalism, and Dallas Theological Seminary (Lewis S. Chafer, John F. Walvoord, Charles C. Ryrie). Simpson founded the Christian and Missionary Alliance, Moody founded Moody Bible Institute, and Chafer cofounded Dallas Theological Seminary. Pentecostalism, which subsequently dwarfed Keswick in size and evangelical influence, is the product of Wesleyan perfectionism, the holiness movement, the early Keswick movement, Simpson, Moody, and Torrey. Dallas Theological Seminary, the bastion of the Chaferian view of sanctification, is probably the most influential factor for the [strong influence] of a Keswick-like view of sanctification in modern fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism.[732]

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

2.) The Scriptural Aspects of Keswick Theology

Regenerate proponents of the Keswick theology[733] rightly exalt the Lord Jesus Christ, His power to sanctify sinners, and the necessity of faith in the Christian life. A high regard for these tremendous truths will indubitably strengthen the believer’s spiritual walk, and Keswick’s proclamation of these Biblical doctrines has unquestionably been a means of Divine blessing upon many. Furthermore, Keswick’s preaching that believers must immediately surrender to the Lord and confess sin that is yet unrepented of is eminently Biblical. If, because of Keswick’s calls to the surrender of the will, “no man can attend a Keswick Convention and be the same afterwords: he is either a better or a worse man for it,”[734] such a fact is highly commendable. Strong Biblical preaching does not leave hearers unmoved.[735] A call to the “renunciation of all known sin . . . and . . . surrender to Christ for the infilling of the Holy Spirit”[736] is an excellent and commendable message, at least if terms are defined properly. When Keswick emphasizes “the exceeding sinfulness of sin”[737] and seeks to have “laid bare . . . the cancer of sin eating at the vitals of the Christian . . . [so that] the Christian is urged to cut it out at once”[738] and come to “an unreserved surrender to Christ . . . in . . . heart and life,”[739] it does very well. Furthermore, Keswick deserves commendation when it seeks to have the “Holy Spirit exalted . . . [and] looked to as the divine Guide and Governor . . . [and] prayer is emphasized as the condition of all success and blessing.”[740] When some[741] modern Keswick writers teach that the Holy Spirit “dwells in every child of God . . . [but] not every Christian is filled with the Spirit . . . [and] to be filled with the Spirit is not presented in Scripture as an optional matter, but as a holy obligation that rests upon all Christians,”[742] they do well. The Holy Spirit, although He does not speak of Himself (John 16:13), is nonetheless God, equal in essence to the Father and the Son, and worthy of all reverence, trust, and worship. Keswick is correct that the “Christian is expected to live in communion with the Spirit[.]”[743]Furthermore, prayer is unquestionably key to a Biblical Christianity, to the extent that believers are characterized as those who call on the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:2). Keswick emphasis upon the impossibility of “mere moral processes to overcome sin”[744] and upon the error of self-dependence in sanctification (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:9) is important and correct, as is its affirmation that the believer’s “union with Christ in His death and resurrection . . . secures moral renovation as well as justifying grace.”[745] “Anyone who is sensitive to the high demands of the Christian vocation . . . must find himself in deep agreement with the earnest contrition which has characterized so many of the Keswick leaders and with their insistent plea for the appropriation and application of the resources of God’s cleansing and sanctifying grace.”[746] Furthermore, Keswick is correct in its affirmation “that in Scripture sanctification comes by faith.”[747] Modern Keswick emphasis upon evangelism and missions[748] is clearly Scriptural (Acts 1:8) and is a tremendous blessing. Believers who gain a greater understanding and practice of Biblical truths such as these through hearing Keswick preaching or reading Keswick literature will be able to grow closer to God and be more effective in serving Him as a result. Such Keswick teachings explain why many have received definite spiritual blessings at Keswick Conventions.

However, while these aspects of the Keswick theology are Biblical, refreshing, and key to an increase in spiritual life, they are not unique to Keswick or to Higher Life doctrine. The historic Baptist doctrine of sanctification has taught all of these truths,[749] and many old-line evangelical Protestants have done so likewise. One can learn all of these great truths from the Bible alone or from Christian writings without any connection with the Keswick movement. For example, J. C. Ryle, the classic nineteenth century devotional writer and opponent of the Keswick theology, wrote:

As to entire “self-consecration” . . . of which so much is said in the new [Keswick] theology . . . I never in my life heard of any thorough evangelical minister who did not hold the doctrine and press it upon others. When a man brings it forward as a novelty I cannot help thinking that he can never have truly known what true conversion was. . . . [T]hat the duty and privilege of entire self-consecration is systematically ignored by Evangelicals, and has only been discovered, or brought into fresh light by the new [Keswick] theologians, I do not for a moment believe.[750]

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

Sanctification is by faith . . . Whatever believers get from Christ, they must of necessity get by faith . . . faith is the one receptive grace, the sole apprehensive grace, that hand of the soul that lays hold upon Christ, and puts the believer in possession of the fulness that is in him[.] . . . [A]ll gifts of God come from grace, and all come to faith. Grace is the only fountain, faith the only channel. . . . That sanctification is by faith, then, is essentially a principle of Protestant theology, and is no distinctive feature of the new [Keswick] teaching. . . . [T]he doctrine of sanctification by Christ, through faith . . . had quite as prominent a place as is now assigned to it [in the Keswick theology] in the theology and preaching of the Reformers, of the Puritans, of the divines and preachers of the Second Reformation in Scotland . . . of the sturdy old Evangelicals of the English Church . . . and of the equally sturdy Evangelicals of the Nonconformists . . . [a]nd an equally prominent place does it hold in the dogmatic and homiletic and catechetic teaching of our evangelical contemporaries [in the late 19th century] in all sections of the Christian Church. It is not, then, in respect of these fundamental principles that we differ from the new [Keswick] school. On the contrary, we deny that they have any exclusive propriety in these principles[.] . . . [Rather, what is truly distinctive about Keswick is the idea] that there is a special act of faith . . . subsequent to . . . conversion . . . [which] Mr. Boardman calls “second conversion,” [and] Mrs. Smith calls “entire consecration.”[751]

Sanctification by faith is a Biblical teaching that is by no means a Keswick distinctive—only the unscriptural doctrine of the “second blessing,”[752] which is connected with a quietistic idea of sanctification by faith alone, is a Keswick distinctive.

The necessity of experiential communion with Jesus Christ through the Spirit by faith is also by no means a Keswick distinctive. John Owen,[753] who has led many away from Keswick theology to a more Biblical piety,[754] wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is peculiarly in the view of the glory of Christ, in his approaches unto us, and abiding with us, that we are made partakers of evangelical peace, consolation, joy, and assurances. These are a part of the royal train of his graces, of the reward wherewith he is accompanied. “His reward is with him.” Wherever he is graciously present with any, these things are never wanting in a due measure and degree, unless it be by their own fault, or for their trial. In these things does he give the church of his loves, Song of Solomon 7:12. “For if any man,” saith he, “love me, I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him,” John 14:21—“yea, I and the Father will come unto him, and make our abode with him,” verse 23; and that so as to “sup with him,” Revelation 3:20—which, on his part, can be only by the communication of those spiritual refreshments. The only inquiry is, by what way and means we do receive them? Now, I say this is in and by our beholding of the glory of Christ by faith, 1 Peter 1:8, 9. Let that glory be rightly stated . . . the glory of his person, his office, his condescension, exaltation, love, and grace; let faith be fixed in a view and contemplation of it, mix itself with it, as represented in the glass of the gospel, meditate upon it, embrace it, and virtue will proceed from Christ, communicating spiritual, supernatural refreshment and joy unto our souls. Yea, in ordinary cases, it is impossible that believers should have a real prospect of this glory at any time, but that it will in some measure affect their hearts with a sense of his love; which is the spring of all consolation in them. In the exercise of faith on the discoveries of the glory of Christ made unto us in the Gospel, no man shall ever totally want such intimations of his love, yea, such effusion of it in his heart, as shall be a living spring of those spiritual refreshments, John 4:14; Romans 5:5.[755]

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

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

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

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

(3.) Faith herein gives us communion with him in his death, and unites the soul unto it in its efficacy. Hence we are said to be “buried with him into death,” and to be “planted together in the likeness of his death,” Romans 6:4, 5. Our “old man is crucified with him,” verse 6. We have by faith communion with him in his death, unto the death of sin. This, therefore, is the first grace and duty which we ought to attend unto for the mortification of sin.[756]

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

Perhaps the clearest way to indicate the positive truths affirmed by both Keswick and its critics is to examine the doctrine of sanctification confessed by that staunch advocate of the theology and revivalistic[757] piety of Old Princeton and inveterate opponent of Keswick, B. B. Warfield. Truths confessed by both Keswick and by Warfield can by no means be labeled Keswick distinctives, but would evidently be the common inheritance of classic evangelical spirituality.[758]

Warfield, receiving the truth common to old evangelicalism, emphasized the need to depend on the Christ and the Holy Spirit for strength in sanctification, rather than being self-dependent. Indeed, he recognized such dependence was the very essence of religion: “[The] attitude of trust and dependence on God is just the very essence of religion. In proportion as any sense of self-sufficiency or any dependence on self enters the heart, in that proportion religion is driven from it.”[759] The “central truth of complete dependence upon the free mercy of a saving God,” Warfield affirmed, “is an absolutely essential element in evangelical religion” which “underl[ies] and g[ives] its form and power to the whole . . . movement” and is key to “a great revival of religion.”[760] Warfield recognizes that confusing Christian holiness with mere “righteous conduct and of self-sanctification or moral character-formation,” so that “the individual Christian sanctifies himself,”[761] is part of a view of God, sin, and salvation that is a “profoundly immoral doctrine.”[762] The believer must not rely upon his own works for either justification or sanctification; teaching this, Warfield approvingly cited the “the words of the revival hymn” calling men to “‘cast our deadly doing down’ and make our appeal on the sole score of sheer helplessness . . . [rejecting] . . . self-dependence and [the] power of self-help.”[763] He states that the “very cor cordis of the Gospel” is expressed in the words of the hymn:

Nothing either great or small,

Nothing, sinner, no;

Jesus did it, did it all,

Long, long, ago. . . .

Doing is a deadly thing,

Doing ends in death . . .

Cast your deadly doing down,

Down at Jesus’ feet,

Stand in Him, in Him alone,

Gloriously complete.[764]

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

[The] characteristic . . . [of] the children of the Kingdom . . . [is to] lay happy and thoughtless . . . in Jesus’ own arms. Their characteristic was just helpless dependence; complete dependence upon the care of those whose care for them was necessary. . . . [T]he Kingdom of heaven is made up of those who are helplessly dependent on the King of the Heavens . . . [like] infants who are to be done for, who can not do for themselves.[765]

Warfield stated:

[The] evangelical quality of all really evangelical faith [is found in] . . . whoever recognizes in the recesses of his soul his utter dependence on God; whoever in all his thought of salvation hears in his heart of hearts the echo of the soli Deo gloria of the evangelical profession . . . these fundamental principles—which underlie and give its body to all true religion—[ought] to work themselves freely and fully out in thought and feeling and action.[766]

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

The evangelical note is formally sounded by the entirety of organized Protestantism. That is to say, all the great Protestant bodies, in their formal official confessions, agree in confessing the utter dependence of sinful man upon the grace of God alone for salvation, and in conceiving this dependence as immediate and direct upon the Holy Spirit, acting as a person and operating directly on the heart of the sinner. It is this evangelical note which determines the peculiarity of the piety of the Protestant Churches. The characteristic feature of this piety is a profound consciousness of intimate personal communion with God the Saviour, on whom the soul rests with immediate love and trust.[767]

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

[T]he Spirit of God is the author of all right belief and of all good conduct,—to assure us that then, too, on Him depended all the exercises of piety, to Him was due all the holy aspirations and all the good accomplishments of every saint of God. And certainly the New Testament tells us in repeated instances that the Holy Spirit was active throughout the period of the Old Dispensation, in all the varieties of activities which characterize the New. The difference between the two lies not in any difference in the utter dependence of men on Him[.] . . . Paul . . . is full of joy . . . to have . . . God’s Holy Spirit . . . working faith in him[.] . . . He claims no superiority [to other believers] in the matter. If he has a like faith, it is because he is made by God’s grace to share in a like fountain of faith. The one Spirit who works faith is the common possession of them and of him; and therein he finds his highest privilege and his greatest glory. . . . [T]he operations of the Spirit . . . Paul represents as the height of Christian privilege to possess.[768]

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

The champion[s] of grace . . . entire system revolved around the assertion of grace as the sole source of all good in man as truly and as completely as did that of Pelagius around the assertion of the plenary ability of the unaided will to work all righteousness. . . . [W]e are aided by the grace of God, through Christ, not only to know but also to do what is right, in each single act, so that without grace we are unable to have, think, speak, or do anything pertaining to piety[.] The opposition between the two systems was thus absolute. In the one, everything was attributed to man; In the other, everything was ascribed to God. In them, two religions, the only two possible religions at bottom, met in mortal combat: the religion of faith and the religion of works; the religion which despairs of self and casts all its hope on God the Saviour, and the religion which puts complete trust in self; or since religion is in its very nature utter dependence on God, religion in the purity of its conception and a mere quasi-religious moralism.[769]

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

Warfield taught that the essence of Christianity is that “all [is] of God and nothing of ourselves”—God’s unmerited love gives His people all. Since “the Christian life as a life” is one “of continuous dissatisfaction with self and of continuous looking afresh to Christ as the ground of all our hope,”[770] believers must always look to the Lord Jesus and depend on Him for grace:

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

“Nothing in my hand I bring,

Simply to Thy cross I cling”—

here—and let us bless God for it—here is the essence of Christianity. It is all of God and nothing of ourselves.[771]

Through the “gospel the eye is withdrawn from self and the face turned upward in loving gratitude to God, the great giver [in a] . . . continual sense of humble dependence on God and of loving trust in Him.”[772] Warfield noted the teaching of Scripture that, in the workings of the Lord towards His people, “[a]t every step it is God, and God alone, to whom is ascribed the initiative; and the most extreme care is taken to preserve the recipients of the blessings consequent on His choice from fancying that these blessings come as their due, or as reward for aught done by themselves, or to be found in themselves.”[773] Nothing was the product of the believer’s own strength; thus, Warfield could encourage believers:

Faint not! It is not your own strength—or rather weakness—that is . . . in question; it is the power of Almighty God. . . . It was of His own purpose that He called you; the grace that has come to you was given you from all eternity. . . . It is this Almighty God who is using you as His instrument and organ. Nothing depends on your weakness; all hangs on His strength.[774]

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

The very point of this passage [Habbakuk 2:4] is the sharp contrast which is drawn between arrogant self-sufficiency and faithful dependence on God . . . [I]t is by faith that the righteous man lives . . . the righteous appear . . . as men who look in faith to God and trustingly depend upon His arm. . . . Here we have, therefore, thrown into a clear light the contrasting characteristics of the wicked, typified by the Chaldæan, and of the righteous: of the one the fundamental trait is self-sufficiency; of the other, faith. This faith, which forms the distinctive feature of the righteous man, and by which he obtains life . . . is a profound and abiding disposition, an ingrained attitude of mind and heart towards God which affects and gives character to all the activities.[775]

Indeed, “[T]he very core of Old Testament religion . . . [is] entire self-commitment to God [and] humble dependence on Him for all blessings,” so “[s]elf-sufficiency is the characteristic mark of the wicked . . . while the mark of the righteous is that he lives by his faith (Hab. 2:4).”[776] Warfield wrote that trusting in God and rejecting self-dependence was not just the very core of Old Testament true religion, but of all true religion in any dispensation whatever: “Now this attitude of trust and dependence on God is just the very essence of religion. In proportion as any sense of self-sufficiency or any dependence on self enters the heart, in that proportion religion is driven from it.”[777] Consequently, Warfield extolled those in church history he understood as recognizing that the essence of true religion is dependence on God, despair of any confidence in themselves, and rejection of mere religious moralism. Such an understanding is key to being filled with love and joy in believing:

Self-despair, humble trust, grateful love, fullness of joy—these are the steps on which his own soul[778] climbed upward: and these steps gave their whole color and form both to his piety and to his teaching. In his doctrine we see his experience of God’s seeking and saving love toward a lost sinner expressing itself in propositional form; in his piety we see his conviction that the sole hope of the sinner lies in the free grace of a loving God expressing itself in the forms of feeling. In doctrine and life alike he sets before us in that effective way which belongs to the discoverer, the religion of faith as over against the religion of works—the religion which despairing of self casts all its hope on God as over against the religion that to a greater or less degree trusts in itself: in a word, since religion in its very nature is dependence on God, religion in the purity of its conception as over against a quasi-religious moralism. . . . [W]e are admitted into the very life of [the godly man] and are permitted to see his great heart cleansing itself of all trust in himself and laying hold with the grasp first of despair, then of discerning trust and then of grateful love upon the God who [is] his salvation . . . [such truths have] perennial attractiveness and [the] supreme position . . . [for] edification.[779]

Warfield believed that the advocates of system of doctrine he embraced were in a special way “called upon to defend the treasures of truth that had been committed to the[m] from the inroads of that perpetual foe of the grace of God which is entrenched in the self-sufficiency of the natural heart.”[780] Warfield believed that part of his calling as a defender of the faith was, in a special way, to fight against that awful foe, self-sufficiency. He wrote: “As over against all teaching that would tempt man to trust in himself for any, even the smallest part, of his salvation, Christianity casts him utterly on God. It is God and God alone who saves, and that in every element of the saving process.”[781] Justification, sanctification, glorification, and everything else in the doctrine of salvation was all sourced in God, not in man himself. Since every aspect of salvation comes from God, Christian life involves despairing of confidence in oneself and a humble and joyful trust in the Lord alone. B. B. Warfield, and the old evangelical piety of his theological tradition, emphasized these truths—they were by no means the peculiar possession of the Kewick theology.

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

[F]rom the very beginning the distinctive feature of the life of the pious is that it is a life of faith[.] . . . Thus the first recorded human acts after the Fall . . . are expressive of trust in God’s promise . . . in the great promise of the Seed (Gen. 3:15). Similarly, the whole story of the Flood is so ordered as to throw into relief, on the one hand, the free grace of God in His dealings with Noah (Gen. 6:8, 18, 8:1, 21, 9:8), and, on the other, the determination of Noah’s whole life by trust in God and His promises (Gen. 6:22, 7:5, 9:20). The open declaration of the faith-principle of Abraham’s life (Gen. 15:6) only puts into words, in the case of him who stands at the root of Israel’s whole national and religious existence, what not only might also be said of all the patriarchs, but what actually is most distinctly said both of Abraham and of them through the medium of their recorded history. The entire patriarchal narrative is set forth with the design and effect of exhibiting the life of the servants of God as a life of faith, and it is just by the fact of their implicit self-commitment to God that throughout the narrative the servants of God are differentiated from others. This does not mean, of course, that with them faith took the place of obedience: an entire self-commitment to God which did not show itself in obedience to Him would be self-contradictory, and the testing of faith by obedience is therefore a marked feature of the patriarchal narrative. But it does mean that faith was with them the precondition of all obedience. The patriarchal religion is essentially a religion, not of law but of promise, and therefore not primarily of obedience but of trust; the holy walk is characteristic of God’s servants (Gen. 5:22, 24, 6:9, 17:1, 24:40, 48:15), but it is characteristically described as a walk “with God”; its peculiarity consisted precisely in the ordering of life by entire trust in God, and it expressed itself in conduct growing out of this trust (Gen. 3:20, 4:1, 6:22, 7:5, 8:18, 12:4, 17:23, 21:12, 16, 22). The righteousness of the patriarchal age was thus but the manifestation in life of an entire self-commitment to God, in unwavering trust in His promises. . . . The piety of the Old Testament thus began with faith.[782]

Indeed, “faith . . . on the human side is the fundamental element of religion, as grace is on God’s side.”[783]Consequently, the Christian must continually trust and look to God through Christ in every area of his daily life, for not to do so is “practical atheism.” Believers are to commit all their cares, burdens, and needs to the Lord, trusting that He will take care of them:

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

How are we to order our lives? How are we to provide for our households—or, for our own bodily wants? Is it true that we can trust the eternal welfare of our souls to God and cannot trust to Him the temporal welfare of our bodies? Is it true that He has provided salvation for us at the tremendous cost of the death of His Son, and will not provide food for us to eat and clothes for us to wear at the cost of the directive word that speaks and it is done? Is it true that we can stand by the bedside of our dying friend and send him forth into eternity in good confidence in God, and cannot send that same friend forth into the world with any confidence that God will keep him there? O, the practical atheism of many of our earthly cares and earthly anxieties! Can we not read the lessons of the birds of heaven and the lilies of the field which our Father feeds and clothes? What a rebuke these lessons are to our practical atheism, which says, in effect, that we cannot trust God for our earthly prosperity but must bid Him wait until we make good our earthly fortunes before we can afford to turn to Him. How many men do actually think that it is unreasonable to serve God at the expense of their business activity? To give Him their first and most energetic service? How many think it would be unreasonable in God to put His service before their provision for themselves and family? How many of us who Have been able to “risk” ourselves, do not think that we can “risk” our families in God’s keeping? How subtle the temptations! But, here our Lord brushes them all away in the calm words, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; land all these things shall be added unto you.” Is this not a rebuke to our practical atheism?[784]

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

Warfield emphasized the need for surrender and consecration to Christ. He rejoiced that the Bible revealed to him “a Christ to love, to trust and to follow, a Christ without us the ground of our salvation, a Christ within us the hope of glory.”[785] Indeed, Warfield taught that “[s]urrender and consecration . . . are the twin key-notes of the Christian life.”[786]Divine blessing in Christian ministry depends upon surrender and consecration, and in proportion as they are emphasized may the Christian hope for success: “[O]ur life as ministers of the Gospel is nothing else but one side of our Christian life—the flower and fruit of our Christian life—[so] surrender and consecration must be made also its notes. It is in direct proportion as they are made its key-notes that we may hope for success in our ministry[.]”[787] Surrender and consecration can by no means be divorced from faith—they are inextricably bound together: “[T]he two essential elements of all religion [are] surrender and consecration—the passive and active aspects of that faith which on the human side is the fundamental element of religion, as grace is on God’s side, when dealing with sinful men.”[788] Warfield also recognized the absolute need for the strength of the Holy Spirit to enable surrender and consecration; God the Spirit’s work is always primary and initiatory, while the believer’s response is dependent upon Divine working. Therefore, on account of the believer’s weakness, constant dependence upon God, prayer to Him, and constant empowerment from the Holy Ghost is absolutely necessary:

Thus, then, the Spirit helps our weakness. By His hidden, inner influences He quickens us to the perception of our real need; He frames in us an infinite desire for this needed thing; He leads us to bring this desire in all its unutterable strength before God; who, seeing it within our hearts, cannot but grant it, as accordant with His will. Is not this a very present help in time of trouble? As prevalent a help as if we were miraculously rescued from any danger? And yet a help wrought through the means of God’s own appointment, that is, our attitude of constant dependence on Him and our prayer to Him for His aid? And could Paul here have devised a better encouragement to the saints to go on in their holy course and fight the battle bravely to the end?[789]

Indeed, as Warfield emphasized that believers are always weak and in need of the enablement of the Spirit, so he taught that Christians are always unworthy and always in continual need of God’s grace. Anything good in them whatsoever must be ascribed, not to themselves, but to grace alone, received from the Holy Spirit alone “[e]very grace of the godly life . . . [is] a fruit of His working.”[790] Warfield explained:

It belongs to the very essence of the type of Christianity propagated by the Reformation that the believer should feel himself continuously unworthy of the grace by which he lives. At the center of this type of Christianity lies the contrast of sin and grace; and about this center everything else revolves. This is in large part the meaning of the emphasis put in this type of Christianity on justification by faith. It is its conviction that there is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake, or we cannot ever be accepted at all. This is not true of us only “when we believe.” It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be true as long as we live. Our need of Christ does not cease with our believing; nor does the nature of our relation to Him or to God through Him ever alter, no matter what our attainments in Christian graces or our achievements in Christian behavior may be. It is always on His “blood and righteousness” alone that we can rest. There is never anything that we are or have or do that can take His place, or that can take a place along with Him. We are always unworthy, and all that we have or do of good is always of pure grace. Though blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ, we are still in ourselves just “miserable sinners”: “miserable sinners” saved by grace to be sure, but “miserable sinners” still, deserving in ourselves nothing but everlasting wrath. That is the attitude which the Reformers took, and that is the attitude which the Protestant world has learned from the Reformers to take, toward the relation of believers to Christ.[791]

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

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

The Apostle [Paul] is one of the most fecund writers extant, and thus it happens that he does not leave the matter even there. It is by the Spirit that Christ dwells in us—that is the objective fact. But there is a subjective fact too, and the Apostle does not fail to touch it—it is by our faith, too, that Christ dwells in us. “That Christ may abide in your hearts by your faith,” he says. He does not say “by faith” merely, though he might well have said that, and it would have covered the whole necessary idea. But, in his habitual fullness of expression, he puts in the article,[792] and thus implies that he recognizes their faith as already existent. They are Christians, they already believe, Christ is already dwelling in them by faith; he prays that He may abide in them by their faith. The stress is everywhere laid on continuance. May God strengthen your inner man, he says, by His Spirit. That is to say, he adds, may that Christ whom ye have received into your hearts by faith abide continuously in your hearts by that faith of yours. As much as to say, Christ is brought into your hearts by the Holy Ghost. He abides there by that Holy Ghost. May God thus continually strengthen your hearts by His Spirit, and that, even with might. I pray to Him for it, for it is He that gives it. But do not think, therefore, that you may lose hold on Christ. It is equally true that He abides in your hearts by your faith. When faith fails, so do the signs of His presence within: the strengthening of the Spirit and the steady burning of the flame of faith are correlative. As well expect the thermometer to stand still with the temperature varying as the height of your faith not to index the degree of your strength. Your strength is grounded in the indwelling Christ, wrought by the Spirit by means of faith.

Thus we have laid before us the sources of the Christian’s strength. It is rooted in Christ, the Christ within us, abiding there by virtue of the Spirit’s action quickening and upholding faith in us. And only as by the Spirit our faith is kept firm and clear, will Christ abide in us, and will we accordingly be strong in the inner man.[793]

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

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

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

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

If there is a God who sits aloft and hears and answers, do we not see that the attitude into which prayer brings the soul is the appropriate attitude which the soul should occupy to Him, and is the truest and best preparation of the soul for the reception of His grace? The soul in the attitude of prayer is like the flower turned upwards towards the sky and opening for the reception of the life-giving rain. What is prayer but an adoring appearing before God with a confession of our need and helplessness and a petition for His strength and blessing? What is prayer but a recognition of our dependence and a proclamation that all that we dependent creatures need is found abundantly and to spare in God, who gives to all men liberally and upbraids not? What is prayer but the very adjustment of the heart for the influx of grace? Therefore it is that we look upon the prayerful attitude as above all others the true Christian attitude—just because it is the attitude of devout and hopeful dependence on God.[794]

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

[T]he sacerdotal system separates the soul from direct contact with and immediate dependence upon God the Holy Spirit as the source of all its gracious activities. . . . The Church, the means of grace, take the place of God the Holy Spirit in the thought of the Christian, and he thus loses all the joy and power which come from conscious direct communion with God. It makes every difference to the religious life, and every difference to the comfort and assurance of the religious hope, whether we are consciously dependent upon instrumentalities of grace, or upon God the Lord himself, experienced as personally present to our souls, working salvation in his loving grace. The two types of piety, fostered by dependence on instrumentalities of grace and by conscious communion with God the Holy Spirit as a personal Saviour, are utterly different, and the difference from the point of view of vital religion is not favorable to sacerdotalism. It is in the interests of vital religion, therefore, that the Protestant spirit repudiates sacerdotalism. And it is this repudiation which constitutes the very essence of evangelicalism. Precisely what evangelical religion means is immediate dependence of the soul on God and on God alone for salvation.[795]

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

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

It is only in our Head that the victory is now complete: in us who are members, it appears as yet only in part: and it is only when we put off our flesh, according to which we are liable to infirmity, that we shall be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.[796]

On the basis of this great declaration the Apostle erects, then, his exhortation. Nor is he content to leave it in a negative, or merely inferential form. In the accomplishment of the Spirit-filled life he sees the goal, and he speaks it out in a final urgency of exhortation into which he compresses the whole matter: “Having, therefore, such promises as these (note the emphasis), beloved,” he says, “let us purify ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit and perfect holiness in the fear of God.” It is perfection, we perceive, that the Apostle is after for his followers; and he does not hesitate to raise this standard before the eyes of his readers as their greatest incitement to effort. They must not be content with a moderate attainment in the Christian life. They must not say to themselves, O, I guess I am Christian enough, although I’m not too good to do as other men do. They must, as they have begun in the Spirit, not finish in the flesh; but must go on unto perfection.[797]

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

Let us remind ourselves moreover that the matters which fall under discussion here are of the order of what the Bible calls “things of the Spirit,” things which are not to be had at all except as imparted by the Holy Ghost; and that it is therefore peculiarly infelicitous to speak of them as “attainable,” merely on the ground of “natural ability.” In so speaking of them, we seem gravely in danger of forgetting the dreadful evil of sin as the corruption of our whole nature, and the absolute need of the Spirit’s free action in recovering us from this corruption. The unregenerate man cannot believe; the regenerate man cannot be perfect; because these things are not the proper product of their efforts in any case but are conferred by the Spirit, and by the Spirit alone. . . . The Scriptures do not . . . subordinate the Spirit’s action to that of man; they do not think of the gifts of the Spirit as “attained,” but as “conferred.” . . . [We] rightly emphasiz[e] the supernatural nature of sanctification, as of regeneration, and of salvation at large. We do not sanctify ourselves by our own power; we do not even sanctify ourselves by using the Spirit as the instrument by which alone we can accomplish this great result. It is God who sanctifies us; and our activities are consequent at every step on His, not His on ours. . . . [We ought to] rise to the height of the Scriptural supernaturalness of sanctification . . . [and] recognize[e] the supernaturalness of the actual process of the sanctifying work[.][798]

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

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

[T]he systematic theologian is preëminently a preacher of the gospel; and the end of his work is obviously not merely the logical arrangement of the truths which come under his hand, but the moving of men, through their power, to love God with all their hearts and their neighbors as themselves; to choose their portion with the Saviour of their souls; to find and hold Him precious; and to recognize and yield to the sweet influences of the Holy Spirit whom He has sent. With such truth as this he will not dare to deal in a cold and merely scientific spirit, but will justly and necessarily permit its preciousness and its practical destination to determine the spirit in which he handles it, and to awaken the reverential love with which alone he should investigate its reciprocal relations. For this he needs to be suffused at all times with a sense of the unspeakable worth of the revelation which lies before him as the source of his material, and with the personal bearings of its separate truths on his own heart and life; he needs to have had and to be having a full, rich, and deep religious experience of the great doctrines with which he deals; he needs to be living close to his God, to be resting always on the bosom of his Redeemer, to be filled at all times with the manifest influences of the Holy Spirit. The student of systematic theology needs a very sensitive religious nature, a most thoroughly consecrated heart, and an outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon him, such as will fill him with that spiritual discernment, without which all native intellect is in vain. He needs to be not merely a student, not merely a thinker, not merely a systematizer, not merely a teacher—he needs to be like the beloved disciple himself in the highest, truest, and holiest sense, a divine.[799]

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

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

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

3.) The Unscriptural Aspects of Keswick Theology

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

The Keswick Convention intentionally “stands for no particular brand of denominational theology. It could not, and have on its platform men of many different denominational affiliations.”[800] There is an (alleged) “ecumenical value of Keswick . . . gathering together as it has done men and women of . . . almost all Protestant denominations,”[801] for “denominational differences are put aside as of little importance in comparison with what all Christians hold in common. The motto of the Convention is, ‘ALL ONE IN CHRIST JESUS.’”[802] Following the great desire of Lord Mount-Temple and his associates to unite heresy, apostasy, and orthodoxy in a melting-pot of ecumenical spirituality,[803] the Broadlands, Oxford, Brighton, and Keswick Conventions fulfilled the wishes of their ecumenical founders.[804] Therefore, at Keswick, “men . . . forget their religious differences . . . [and the conflict] of creeds . . . [and] of sects,” so that “Keswick has . . . no[t] weakened any of the old . . . denomination[s.] . . . Its aim has been to send back Church members . . . to their old circles.”[805] Keswick united Anglicans with their sacramentalism, Quakers with their false gospel, Lutherans with their baptismal regeneration, and many other religious organizations and individuals of “almost every shade of religious opinion.”[806] Keswick accepted the Broadlands idea that “[i]t is not our creed, but our conduct, that proclaims what our life is.”[807] The Keswick Convention consequently brings together “ministers of all denominations,” uniting “High Churchmen and Low Churchmen,” despite the damnable sacramental heresies of High Church Anglicanism, and in this union spiritual wolves and sheep discover that “the things on which they honestly differ are as nothing[.]” Keswick wishes to “hasten that day” when the Anglican “Church and Dissent join hands” and “Reunion is an established fact.”[808] The piety of Keswick is such that “the dividing-lines between church and church are forgotten.”[809] Indeed, Keswick founder Canon Harford-Battersby’s goal was “the Re-union of the Churches . . . bringing together on a common basis members of all Christian churches,”[810] a goal which shall be fulfilled in the one-world religious system centered in Rome and described by the Apostle John as “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Revelation 17:5). Keswick follows the pattern of Robert and Hannah Smith’s “preaching[,] [which] was not sectarian; they led no exodus from any of the Churches, but taught only the need for the Higher Life.”[811] Robert Smith “presented himself as an unattached teacher, who would fain serve all denominations alike.”[812] He would not visit a city and proclaim the Higher Life without broad and ecumenical support.[813] He declared: “I am not aware of a single instance in which these [Higher Life] meetings have led Christian persons to change their denominational connection.”[814] On the contrary, he affirmed: “I have reason to believe that hundreds have been saved by . . . this line of teaching . . . from temptation to change . . . their ecclesiastical connections.”[815] After years of Keswick Conventions, its leaders could boast that their “movement, so far as is known, never resulted in a change of the Church connection of a single individual from that in which it found him.”[816] Keswick consciously and strongly embraced the teaching of the Broadlands Conference that “a desire to proselytize . . . is entirely opposed to the spirit and teaching of Jesus.”[817] Keswick maintained the passionate ecumenicalism of its founders and early leaders.

The doctrinal confusion that results from Keswick ecumenicalism has plagued the Convention from the time of its founding until modern times. As at Broadlands a “great variety of spheres of thought were admitted for consideration, and wide and progressive views were presented and listened to,”[818] so theological liberalism and apostasy was presented and listened to at Keswick. For example, following the steps of Hannah W. Smith in the rejection of eternal torment, George Grubb, a key Keswick leader from the 1880s onward, denied hell in favor of annihilationism or conditional immortality.[819] In 1899 Grubb was the first Keswsick leader sent out to bring the Higher Life message to the world. He was an effective speaker, contributing, everywhere he went, to the rise of both Keswick theology and annihilationism.[820] In response to the annihilationism of Grubb and other Keswick missioners such as Gelson Gregson, Keswick co-founder Robert Wilson declared: “If Keswick won’t own those whom the Lord does—Grubb, Moore, Gregson, etc., where are we? High and very dry I fear?” In response to a query by a lady Keswick missionary who held to annihilationism, “John Battersby Harford, as honorary secretary of the Keswick Missionary Council, insisted . . . that there was no official Keswick opinion about whether conditional immortality was true or false.”[821] Rejecting what Jesus Christ plainly taught about hell was acceptable at Keswick. Thus, Grubb “travelled extensively in . . . [spreading the] ministry [of] . . . the Keswick message,” being among a select number chosen by Keswick to spread the Higher Life “far afield” to countries such as “Australia, Canada, . . . India and the Far East . . . the United States . . . and other lands.”[822] Indeed, Grubb “was the first to be sent abroad as a ‘Keswick deputation’ speaker—a most fruitful aspect of the Convention’s ministry . . . Mr. Grubb traveled widely as an ‘ambassador at large’ of Keswick, and was greatly used . . . especially in India, Ceylon and Australia . . . his . . . ‘return home’ visits to Keswick . . . invariably had a stimulating effect,” his messages making a “profound impression,” so that he was among the “most renowned . . . [and] most distinguished exponents” of the Keswick theology.[823] At his worldwide Keswick venues Grubb promoted his heresies, from annihilationism to the the Broadlands Conference doctrine[824] that people could make Jesus Christ return more quickly,[825] while exemplifying Keswick ecumenicalism by “cross[ing] the oceans” specifically to “conduct a mission” for the “extreme high church Bishop of Cape Town.”[826] Grubb similarly spread the Higher Life doctrine of a post-conversion Spirit baptism at Keswick in England and worldwide,[827] being Keswick’s “important influence . . . [and] advocate in the 1890s of the baptism of the Spirit,”[828] as well as “drawing particular attention to th[e] subject [of] . . . [h]ealing . . . at Keswick . . . influences [that] were to find their way into Pentecostalism in Britain and North America.”[829]

Since the Broadlands Conference that led to the formation of Keswick promoted spiritualism with its free intercourse with devils, it is not surprising that Grubb was by no means the only heretic who used the ecumenicalism of Keswick to spread doctrines of demons.[830] “James Mountain, Keswick’s early song-leader,” who led the singing at “the Brighton Convention of 1875, and at the first Keswick” and many following meetings, “subscribed to British Israelism . . . for forty years.”[831] The “liberal evangelicalism” that denied the verbal, plenary inspiration of Scripture and other key tenets of Christian orthodoxy found its place at Keswick among men such as John Battersby Harford, the “most prominent of the [Keswick] founder’s sons.”[832] Keswick council members had “no agreement about the appropriateness of [the] term . . . ‘inerrancy’” for the Holy Bible; Keswick President Graham Scroggie “stated that subscription to a particular theory of inspiration was not . . . a true test of doctrinal orthodoxy.”[833] In 1894, “John R. Mott, an American who became the foremost international and ecumenical misionary figure of his time, was at the Keswick camp.”[834] Sadhu Sundar Singh, who “was converted to Christianity by a vision on 18 Dec. 1904 . . . and donned the robe of a Sadhu (i.e. ‘holy man’) in an endeavour to present Christianity in a Hindu form,”[835] and who “claim[ed] to have received many visions and experienced many miracles”[836] validating his Hindu-Christian syncretism, spoke at Keswick despite “sympathy towards Hinduism and Spiritualism.”[837] Key Keswick leaders manifested a very spiritually dangerous willingness to share platforms at Holiness Conventions and other settings with false teachers and fanatical perfectionists—for example, shortly before speaking at Keswick in 1886, Handly Moule and other Keswick speakers preached at a Convention at Cambridge organized by Douglas Hamilton with the unabashed perfectionist Smyth-Piggott, as a result of which many Cambridge undergraduates, including Charles Harford, Canon Harford-Battersby’s youngest son, came to believe “themselves to be quite free from all internal evil.” A few months later, Hamilton joined the Agapemonites,[838] and “[w]hen Pigott joined him . . . the extremist wing of Holiness made shipwreck.”[839] As time passed, the Pentecostal movement found a home at Keswick, so that by the 1960s Keswick, along with its association with the wider ecumenical movement,[840] invited charismatics to speak at the Convention, while their ministers became part of the Keswick council itself.[841] Doctrinal confusion and apostasy has found a secure home in the ecumenical atmosphere of the Keswick Convention from the time of its founding. Keswick ecumenicalism has never been purged out. On the contrary, ecumenicalism has constantly been rejoiced in and fostered.

While Keswick rejects separatism for ecumenicalism, Scripture never commands individuals or true churches to ignore Biblical doctrine to come together in an ecumenical setting. Rather, God requires a strict separation of the faithful from false teachers and even disobedient brethren. They are to be separate from all false doctrine, false teachers, and error. So far from ignoring such, they must, to honor the Lord, specifically mark and reprove error and those who advocate it.[842] Keswick denigrates creed to exalt conduct in relation to spiritual life, while Scripture exalts both creed and conduct (1 John 3:7, 14; 2 John 9) in relation to spiritual life. Faithful Biblical preaching deals with all that is in the Word, whether it is “in season” or “out of season” (2 Timothy 3:16-4:2), but those who speak at Keswick “consider themselves pledged . . . not to teach during the course of any Keswick Convention any doctrines or opinions but those upon which there is general agreement [at the Convention]. . . . Speakers are not permitted to discuss controversial matters at the Convention.”[843] True churches are to tolerate “no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3), not overlook doctrine to become ecumenical. The fact that Keswick fails to expose, but rather tolerates and supports[844] the heresies of Protestant denominations, such as the baptismal regeneration that plagues the large majority of the paedobaptist world,[845] is a great failure on its part. Keswick’s utter lack of strict association with the modern representatives of the congregations of the New Testament—historic Baptist churches—leaves the movement apart from the authority of the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15) and the work of spiritual edification that God has ordained take place within that context (Ephesians 4:11-16). The movement thus lacks the promise which the Baptist congregation possesses—that Christ would build up or edify His church (Matthew 16:18).[846] Error can take root firmly and easily as the movement is without the special protection that Christ provides as Head of His congregation. Keswick’s heavy Quaker influence, to the extent that one of the co-founders of Keswick was a Quaker and that from its inception the Keswick convention allowed those in soul-damning error, such as Hannah Whitall Smith, to mold its doctrinal position, illustrates the failure among its leadership to separate from even the most serious of errors and a lack of discernment about what is involved in even being a Christian at all.[847] Holiness, sanctification, and separation share the same word group in the Hebrew and Greek languages. The disobedience of the Keswick Convention to the Biblical commands to practice ecclesiastical separation hinders its intention of promoting holiness. Compromise on any area of the truth hinders growth in holiness, which takes place by means of the truth (John 17:17).[848] What the Keswick Convention boasts of as a strength, “that no man or woman has ever been known, through the influence or under its teaching, to leave one communion for another,” so that “those who accept the Keswick teaching and enter into the [Keswick] experience . . . incline to remain where they are . . . [even in] moribund or dead churches,”[849] is no strength at all, but a very serious weakness. Keswick unites those professing paedobaptism and believer’s baptism; those who think that sprinkled infants are Christians and those who believe that one must be converted to become a Christian; those who advocate hierarchical denominational structures and those who practice congregational church government; those who believe in liturgical ritualism and those who accept the regulative principle of worship; those who preach the inherent goodness of man inherent in the Quaker “Divine seed” heresy and those who accept the total depravity of man; those who embrace corrupt sacramental gospels and those who profess the true gospel of justification by faith alone through Christ alone apart from religious ceremonies. When all such, together with sundry sorts of other doctrinal deviants, get together for a “united communion service,”[850] one can be happy that the Lord’s Supper is not really being practiced, as only true Baptist churches can celebrate it, for the gross doctrinal and practical disharmony might lead to many people to suffer serious illness or early death (1 Corinthians 11:30) as Divine judgment. In sum, Keswick ecumenicalism is unscriptural and dangerous.

A related error of Keswick, which developed out of the identical position at Broadlands[851] and which accorded well with the ecumenicalism of the movement,[852] is that it “is interested in the practical application of religious truth rather than in doctrinal or dogmatic theology.”[853] Biblically, no disjunction exists between doctrine and practice—on the contrary, sound doctrine and practice mutually reinforce each other (1 Timothy 4:16). Keswick has produced an ocean of books, “many volumes of devotional literature,”[854] so that “the literature of the Convention . . . ha[s] circulated far and wide . . . throughout the world.”[855] Myriads of “addresses [have been] given at the Convention year after year for over seventy-five years.” Nevertheless, “Keswick furnishes us with no formal treatise of its doctrine of sin, and no carefully prepared, weighty discourses of a theological nature”[856] of any kind. This lack was abetted by the total lack of formal theological training on the part of many early Keswick leaders.[857] Keswick’s neglect of carefully prepared theology is a definite weakness, although natural for those who accepted Robert P. Smith’s view that for “souls i[n] vital conscious union with Christ . . . the effects of any errors of judgment are neutralised.”[858]

What was important at Keswick, as in the teaching and ministry of Hannah and Robert P. Smith, and at the Broadlands Conferences,[859] was not the careful study of what Scripture said, but feeling happy—the secret of a happy life.[860] While Keswick’s neglect of the careful study of Scripture suited the Quaker exaltation of immediate extra-canonical revelation, for those who wanted to know what God’s Word said about sanctification, it was a great hinderance that at “the early Conventions . . . [a]ll the addresses were extemporaneous,”[861] so that none of the spiritual guides who were to lead others into the way of holiness could preach carefully exposited Scripture. All speakers had to teach unprepared:

Canon Harford-Battersby . . . . assigned . . . speaking roles each evening for the following day, after a time of prayer with the chairman [Robert Wilson] in his vicarage drawing room . . . informal planning of the speakers for each day, undertaken only during the week itself, characterized the Convention for more than fifty years. . . . Some may see in that a more noble leading of the Spirit, whilst others may call it flying by the seat of your pants[.][862]

Keswick maintained “a remarkable absence of planning and organizing of speakers.”[863] It is not surprising that a later Keswick president thought that “the reason that Convention blessings were short-lived” was the “lack of solid exposition” at the Conference.[864] Keswick’s oft recognized[865] lack of “carefully prepared” and theologically precise views of sin and the solution for it is evident in its inaccurate presentations and bungling refutations by Keswick advocates of alternative positions on sanctification, its failure to deal comprehesively and carefully with the scriptural data related to the believer’s growth in holiness, its invalid arguments, its allegorization of Scripture, and its faulty exegesis of key texts on sanctification.[866] In all these ways, while unfaithful to the Bible, Keswick continued faithful to its roots at Broadlands, where the misinterpretation of Scripture was tightly connected to the Quaker Divine Seed heresy.[867] From the Divine Seed doctrine many an allegorization of Scripture came forth—what need was there of careful exegesis of the Bible when one has the Divine Seed within, and from his allegedly sinless spirit receives new revelations? Keswick does not do well to set against each other “exegetical skill” and “present illumination and anointing of the Holy Spirit,” and claim to value the latter despite downplaying the former. Keswick’s theological sickness is evident when it affirms that the “distinctive vitality” of “Keswick meetings” is “lost” if “exegetical skill instead of . . . present illumination” is employed in preaching.[868] Keswick authors testify that the generality of those that accede to their theology do so not as a result of exegeting and searching the Scriptures (Acts 17:11), but because of feelings and experiences they have at Keswick conferences.[869] It is consequently not surprising that the key requirement for ascending the Keswick platform during its founding decades was not doctrinal orthodoxy, but, as at Broadlands, the experience of entering into the carefree happiness of the Higher Life.[870] Keswick’s inability to support itself exegetically, and its reliance upon testimonies and pleasant words and deeds to lead people into its system, is explained by Robert P. Smith:

Do not press this fulness of the Gospel [the Higher Life], in its doctrinal, dogmatic side. It is not so much a doctrine to be argued as a life to be lived. Confess Christ—do not profess to be anything. . . . Your life must be your argument to those who see you constantly. Do not worry them by doctrinal statements, but love them into the fulness of salvation. It is usual to hear persons say, “I was wrong. I could meet the arguments, but the life of my friend has convinced me that she was right.”[871]

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

Keswick theology, following the practice of the Broadlands Conference[872] and the devaluation of doctrinal truth by Hannah W. Smith,[873] downplays the role of the Word of God in sanctification to exalt testimonials.[874] While Deuteronomy 17:19 indicates that by studying and growing in knowledge of God’s Word, one “may learn to fear the LORD his God,” Keswick is “not interested in . . . adding to the store of Bible knowledge of those who attend.”[875] Maintaining a pattern set by earlier Keswick classics, Barabas’s book, in the course of over two hundred pages, never once cites John 15:3; 17:17; Acts 20:32; Romans 10:17; Ephesians 2:20; 5:26; Colossians 3:16; 1 Timothy 4:6; 1 Peter 2:2; Psalm 119:7; 119:50; 119:93, or any other text that teaches that sanctification takes place through the instrumentality of the Word of God.[876] Such neglect is a serious error. The Bible is the instrumentality the Father has ordained for the revelation of God’s glory through the Son by the Spirit, the view of which transforms and sanctifies the believer (2 Corinthians 3:18; John 17:17, 26). Keswick’s downplaying of the role of the Word of God in sanctification to exalt testimonials, a practice it inherited from the Broadlands Conference[877] and earlier Higher Life perfectionisms, is associated with its exaltation of the testimonial as the key instrumentality for spreading its teachings. In the Keswick system, oral or written testimonies of entering into and maintaining the Higher Life largely displaced the expository preaching of and exegetical study of God’s Word.[878] Legions of books about those who discovered the spiritual secret of Keswick theology, hundreds of testimonies of those who discovered the Keswick system, and swarms of revisionistic historical accounts of blessings received by individuals, churches, and communities who adopted the Higher Life system abound in Keswick settings. On the other hand, the “Convention is not interested in . . . adding to the store of Bible knowledge”[879] of those who come to their meetings, and “Keswick furnishes us with . . . no carefully prepared, weighty discourses of a theological nature . . . for over seventy five years[.]”[880] Not even one carefully prepared discourse or book expositing Scripture in a scholarly way has ever been written in favor of the Keswick theology, as Keswick authors themselves testify. By downplaying the study of and growth in knowledge of the Word of God and exalting uninspired testimonies instead, Keswick hinders the believer’s sanctification.

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

Instead of expounding the great New Testament texts, [Keswick promulgators] so often started with their theory and illustrated it by means of Old Testament characters and stories. You will find that so often their texts were Old Testament texts. Indeed their method of teaching was based on the use of illustrations rather than on exposition of Scripture. An inevitable result was that they virtually ignored everything that had been taught on the subject of sanctification during the previous eighteen centuries. . . . Many of them boasted of this.[881]

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

I agree with every word . . . about the singularly uncritical manner in which those who are associated with this doctrine quote passages from both from the Old Testament and the New. . . . But then let us remember that the gentlemen who represent this particular movement are frankly and constantly acknowledging that they have no claims to the kind of scholarship that is necessary to treat theological questions scientifically. . . . I . . . [am] not hostile to this movement, [but] favorable to it.[882]

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

If there has been anything to which exception might be taken it has been the fanciful and even absurd interpretation occasionally given to passages of Scripture, particularly those of the Old Testament. But where the end is so great . . . one is little disposed to find fault[.][883]

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

The gross abuse, exegetical fallacies, and silly allegorization of Scripture by advocates of the Higher Life contributed to the Keswick consensus that discussion of doctrine and careful exegesis of Scripture were not the way to spread the Blessing;[884] by such means the Keswick theology was so far from being able to be propogated that it was certain to collapse. Examples of faulty Keswick exegesis are legion. For instance, consider the severe equivocation on the phrase “God’s people” in the following argument by Barabas:

Christians are too apt to think that only the unsaved are sinners. . . . This certainly is not Biblical. The truth is that God’s Word has a great deal more to say about the sin of God’s people than it does about the sin of those who do not know Him. It was the sin of God’s people that delayed the entrance of Israel into Canaan for forty years. It was the sin of God’s people that was responsible for the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. It was the sin of God’s people that caused the crucifixion of the Messiah. It was the sin of God’s people, more than the unbelief of the heathen, that caused Paul heartache and sorrow. And it is the sin of God’s people, more than anything else, that is hindering the manifestation of His saving power in the world today. . . Keswick is right in putting great stress on the fact that there must be a revival among Christians of a sense of sin in themselves.[885]

The beginning and end of the argument draw conclusions about those who are true believers, but the examples in Scripture that are to prove the conclusion deal in each instance either primarily or totally with the sin of those who merely professed to be God’s true people, that is, those who, in the Old Testament, were merely “of Israel” but not true spiritual Israel (Romans 9:6). As demonstrated above,[886] those who died in the wilderness wanderings pictured the professing but unconverted, not backslidden saints. The idolators who brought upon themselves the Deuteronomic curses, including the Assyrian and Babylonian exile (Deuteronomy 28:63-68), went to hell (cf. Revelation 21:8), as Paul indicates that those who are under the Deuteronomic curse are the unsaved (Galatians 3:10; Deuteronomy 27:26) while all the spiritual seed of Abraham are free from this curse and its penalty (Galatians 3:11-14). The passage concerning Paul’s sorrow for his fellow Israelites indicates his sadness on account of their coming damnation, not sorrow because they were on their way to heaven but without a Higher Life (Romans 9:1-6). And it was certainly not genuine believers, who were just a little backslidden, who conspired against and crucified Christ! The Keswick conclusion drawn from this argument—that Christians need to take sin in their lives very seriously—is excellent. The exegetical basis provided for the conclusion is a disaster.

Another example of invalid exegesis is Barabas’s assertion: “Paul constantly urges Christians to make instantaneous decisions (as the aorist of his verbs shows) to yield their members unto God (Romans 6:13), to present themselves unto God (Romans 12:1), [and] to mortify the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13).”[887] Such an argument, while based on the teaching of Robert P. Smith that surrender is “a thing done once for all . . . just as we look on our marriage for life,”[888] misunderstands the nature of the aorist tense[889]—even apart from the fact that the command to mortify in Romans 8:13 is not in the aorist tense at all but is a present tense imperative.[890] Similarly, the classic The Keswick Convention: Its Message, its Method, and its Men, affirms that at Keswick “[t]he student becomes aware of the spiritual significance of the aorist tense in the programme of holiness”[891] and proceeds to misinterpret a variety of texts based on an inaccurate view of the nature of the Greek aorist.[892] Evan Hopkins follows the pattern of misinterpretation in his Keswick classic The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life.[893] Hopkins had a great “love [for] the Aorists of New Testament Greek,” but, as a standard Keswick writer, he evidently did not understand the tense very well.[894]

For “Keswick there was no passage of Scripture that was more frequently to the front” than Romans 6, so that “it is doubtful whether a Keswick Convention has ever been held in which one or more speakers did not deal with this chapter . . . [t]here is no understanding of Keswick without an appreciation of the place accorded by it to this chapter in its whole scheme of sanctification.”[895] Unfortunately, this chapter is also fundamentally misunderstood. As demonstrated above, Romans 6 is Paul’s proof that the justified will not continue in sin, while Keswick reduces the chapter to a merely potential freedom from sin.[896] For Keswick, “[i]t is possible to serve sin again, but not necessary,”[897] but for the Apostle Paul in Romans 6, all believers are no longer the servants of sin, but are now the servants of righteousness. Furthermore, the reckoning of Romans 6 is commanded because the believer is already dead to sin, alive to God, and a servant of righteousness, not, as in Keswick theology, in order to activate an inactive and merely potential sanctification. Both the Keswick idea that victory over sin is only possible and potential for believers, not certain, and the idea that the reckoning of Romans 6 activates a merely potential and inactive progressive sanctification, come from the preaching of Hannah W. Smith at the 1874 Broadlands Conference, supported by an experience she had and by the fact that she looked pretty, not by careful grammatical-historical exegesis of the chapter:

[A]t the first Conference . . . [s]everal speakers had contributed valuable thoughts, and then Mrs. Smith rose. . . . [S]he stood with the dark oak background, her tall figure, lifted head, and radiant countenance. It was good to look at her, to observe her dear, beautiful face, shining hair, serene, deep-blue eyes, and absolutely natural, easy attitude, a personification of purity, joyous health, and vitality[.] . . . [S]he . . . told how she had found that if we but surrender our wills to Him and trust Him absolutely, we can conquer through Him. [That is, victory over sin is merely potential; believers “can,” not “will,” conquer through Christ.] She said some one had done her an injury of a particularly mean kind, and quick resentment rose in her heart. At once, she looked to God, and the words, “Reckon ye yourselves to be dead unto sin,” came into her mind. She did reckon herself to be dead unto sin and alive to God, and what came to her, she said, was “like a spring morning.” [That is, reckoning activated an inactive and merely potential victory over sin.] . . . [“]Friends, it is true, I have found it! I have known it![”] . . . All listened with breathless attention, not least so the many clergymen who were present, and surely, each heart felt a longing to reach the place at which Mrs. Smith had arrived[.] . . . Lord Mount-Temple wisely called for a few minutes of silent prayer.[898]

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

While preaching about the sinfulness of sin, Keswick theology, following the teaching of Broadlands and its successor Conventions,[899] the emphasis of Hannah W. Smith on attaining happiness and freedom from feelings of guilt, and in continuity with Pentecostalism,[900] leads to lower views of the sinfulness of man by promising those who still possess the sinful flesh “victory over all known sin.”[901] No believer short of glory loves God will all his heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37-38), is inwardly perfect, even as his heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48), or perfectly obeys other similar commandments. A believer’s obedience to some commands, such as: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16), or “sin not” (1 Corinthians 15:34), is imperfect but progressive. Believers can be commanded to do more of what they are already doing to some extent (1 Thessalonians 5:11). The only way a believer can affirm, with Keswick, that the “cleansing work [of] . . . the Spirit . . . to remove . . . sin . . . is as thorough as His revealing work . . . reveal[ing] sin,”[902] is either by suppressing the Spirit’s testimony that some sins are truly sin or by suppressing the Spirit’s testimony to the Christian’s failure to meet the Divine standard of absolute sinless perfection.[903] While the Christian has the joy and privilege of walking in uprightness before the Lord and in genuine, glorious, and progressively growing victory over sin, he is not assisted spiritually by denying that his real failure to entirely conform to commands such as Matthew 22:37-38 or 5:48 is indeed sin, and should be known,[904] consciously acknowledged, guarded against, and hated as sin.[905] The Keswick overemphasis upon the believer’s personal happiness, evident in Hannah W. Smith’s paradigmatic Keswick classic, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life and elsewhere, is connected with Keswick’s denial of the Biblical truth that the fact of sin should always remain in the believer’s consciousness. John Murray notes:

The representatives of Keswick have a passionate concern for deliverance from the oppressing consciousness of sin and the dissatisfaction arising from this consciousness. Every person who has his eye upon the goal of redemption must be aware of the oppression which sin involves and must long for deliverance from it. But we must beware of the tendency to complacency which is the snare of perfectionism. As long as sin remains we must have the consciousness of it and the ensuing dissatisfaction. The more sanctified the believer becomes the more acute becomes his conviction of the sinfulness that is his, the more he loathes it and reproaches himself for it. Here again one feels the passion for freedom from the oppressing consciousness of sin, so characteristic of Keswick leaders, betrays a lack of appreciation of what the presence of sin ought to mean in the consciousness of the believer.[906]

Christians should not aim for or be satisfied with anything less than the literal perfection set before them by the holy character of the triune God and the incarnate Son. When a saint sees his failure to conform to the standard set before him of God’s own holiness, he is able to more humbly and closely walk after the Spirit (Romans 7:14-8:4). Biblical sanctification has a deeper view of the sinfulness of sin than does the Keswick theology, leading Scriptural and non-Keswick piety to a deeper repentance for and hatred of sin, and a greater glorification of and glorying in Jesus Christ, than is possible for the adherent of Keswick (Luke 14:11). The believer should repent, not only of his known sins, but also of his unknown sins, for the corruption of his heart, for the imputation of Adam’s sin to himself, and for the corruption that adheres to even his holiest works,[907] committing himself to his infinitely precious High Priest who bears the inquity even of his holy things (Exodus 28:38). The related Keswick idea that, in this life, “sin . . . need not be a continued source of trouble,”[908] is also unbiblical. Such an idea lays the groundwork for either self-deception in the believer who thinks he has arrived at such a state of complete triumph over sin, or hopeless despair in the believer who knows his own heart too well to make such an affirmation. Keswick affirmations of this nature, in addition to unabashed affirmations of the truth of perfectionism by Keswick leaders,[909] explain why “from the first, opponents of Keswick have accused it of holding a shallow view of sin. . . . [and of being] perfectionist.”[910] Scripture does not present progressive sanctification as an instantaneous transition from a state of utter defeat to one of total victory, and the fact that sinless perfection is impossible in this life is Biblically a motive to continue striving for ever-greater progressive victory against sin, not, as is commonly argued by many groups of perfectionists, a reason to give up the fight in despair.[911] Barabas states: “The value of a system of thought or of a doctrine therefore depends upon the manner in which it proposes to deal with the problem of sin. Any failure here means failure all along the line.”[912] Unfortunately, the Keswick theology does not properly deal with sin. While some who have been helped spiritually because of Keswick preaching are blessedly inconsistent, consistent belief that sin no longer need trouble the believer is only possible by disregarding the true nature of sin or by adopting perfectionism. Furthermore, to the extent that Keswick lowers the standard of God’s requirement from literal and absolute sinlessness to a lower and subjective standard of “known sin” that downplays the evils of sins of ignorance,[913] it leads believers to be satisfied with less than what God requires and discourages them from striving after the actual standard of perfect conformity to the absolute holiness of the Most High.[914]

Associated with the Keswick idea that sin need no longer trouble believers who have entered into the Higher Life is the Pelagianizing and perfectionist idea, adopted by Keswick from the Broadlands Conference,[915] that the obligation of the believer to obey God is coextensive with his ability to do so.[916] “A saying frequently heard at Keswick is this[:] ‘God’s commandment is his enablement,’ meaning that God never issues a command that He does not give us grace to fulfil.”[917] The Keswick theology asks, “Does God therefore make demands of human beings that they cannot fulfil? Does He expect of them conduct beyond their reach? . . . God’s requirements cannot be greater than His enablements. If they were, man would be mocked. . . . What He demands He makes possible.”[918] Barabas cites no texts from the Bible to prove his position, since none teach his equation of obligation and ability. His argument, however, stands squarely in the line of centuries of perfectionist argumentation and arises out of the denial of total depravity that accompanied the Divine Seed heresy of the Broadlands Conference and the Quakerism of the Pearsall Smiths. Consistency with the affirmation that man has the inherent ability to perform all that God demands of him requires sinless perfection, since God’s standard for man is nothing less than the perfect purity and holiness of His own nature. Affirming that, in this life, one can be entirely without sin is a dangerous heresy affirmed only by unregenerate individuals (1 John 1:8, 10).

Keswick, however, since it at times recognizes the dangerous and unscriptural character of a more consistent perfectionism,[919] does not usually take its perfectionist doctrine that obligation is limited to ability to its actual conclusion, but stops with the affirmation that believers can live without known sin, while at the same time affirming that all believers still are sinners and do sin, although unwittingly. It is certainly true that believers can have a clear conscience and not be deliberately refusing to forsake sin, and that genuine and ever-greater progressive victory over sin—although not the absolute victory coming in heaven—is given to the saints on earth (Romans 6:14). However, the restricted Keswick perfectionism is not compatible with its doctrine that obligation is limited to ability. God commands all men and angels to be perfect, just as He is perfect (Matthew 5:48), but the Holy One of Israel is not just free from certain areas of conscious sinning. God does not lower His standard to what is possible for either unregenerate fallen man or pre-glorified regenerate man who still has indwelling sin. Consistency with its affirmation that man’s obligation is limited to his ability would require Keswick to affirm either literal, absolute perfectionism for fallen men or to downgrade the character of God’s holy character and law, and the nature of sin, to something less than absolute conformity to the holiness of Jehovah.[920] Such conclusions cannot be avoided by Keswick’s affirming that grace enables ability to meet Divine obligation. Absolute perfection or a downgrade in the nature of sin must still follow—only the sinless perfection would now be allegedly enabled by grace.[921] God certainly will give all His people the grace to be sinlessly perfect, but He will only do so when they are forever with Him, not during this life. The necessary consequences of the Keswick doctrine of ability and obligation explain why “opponents of Keswick have accused it [of being] perfectionist.”[922] Happily, Keswick advocates do not usually believe what is truly involved in their affirmation that God’s standard for fallen man is limited by the sinner’s ability. But would it not be better to simply represent the teaching of the Bible on sanctification accurately than to affirm a Pelagian and perfectionistic view of obligation and ability, but inconsistently deny its consequences?

Keswick adopted the error of the Broadlands Conference[923] and its successors[924] that Christians can be justified but unsanctified[925] if they do not enter into the secret of the Higher Life. The related Keswick weakness, likewise adopted from Broadlands,[926] on saving repentance[927] and surrender to the Lordship of Christ at the point of the new birth and the necessity of a conscious and clear conversion[928] is another fearful error. Keswick’s related idea that Christians can be brought into bondage to sin in the same way that unsaved people are under the dominion of sin[929] is similarly erroneous and very dangerous. God swears in the New Covenant: “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people” (Hebrews 8:10). Scripture promises the saints: “[S]in shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). Indeed, this blessed promise undergirds the command to the believer to yield to God (6:13). Thus, when Keswick affirms that “such sins as . . . falsehood, theft, corrupt speech, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, railing, [and] malice[,] may gain such dominion over [believers] that [they] forfeit [their] freedom, and . . . become like a second nature”[930] it is clearly in error. Indeed, based on Romans 6:13-14, such Keswick teaching hinders believers from yielding to God by taking away from them the precious promise that sin will not dominate them. Keswick follows Robert P. Smith and the Oxford Convention[931] to state that Christians “are to be freed from the dominion of sin,”[932] but Scripture states that Christians are freed from the dominion of sin (Romans 6:14). The Christian’s freedom from sin is actual, not merely potential.[933] It is a blessed fact that Keswick is in error when it declares that “a Christian . . . [can] become an entire worldling.”[934] The power of the Son is greater than what is stated in Keswick theology: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).[935] There are no exceptions—Hallelujah!

Keswick, following the rejection of self-examination Hannah and Robert P. Smith adopted from Madame Guyon and other reprobates, and in keeping with the teaching of the Broadlands pre-Keswick Convention[936] and its Oxford and Brighton successors,[937] fails to warn strongly about the possibility of professing believers not truly being regenerate, although this is a clearly Biblical theme (Matthew 7:21-23; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Hebrews 12:15). Keswick also adopts a dangerous teaching when, following Robert and Hannah W. Smith,[938] it states, without any explanation or qualification,[939] that “some are regenerated without knowing when.”[940] What is more, its unbiblical concept that believers can be justified but not sanctified, coupled with its rejection of separatism and its stand with broad Protestantism, rather than with Biblical Baptist churches composed of visible saints, leads Keswick to make statements such as the following:

Christians . . . not advancing in holiness at all . . . [is] widely prevalent . . . [or] almost universal[.] . . . The vast majority of Christians . . . [are] apparently . . . making no advance or increase at all . . . [but live in] defeat and failure . . . full of futile wanderings, never enjoying peace and rest . . . their own spiritual condition absolutely unsatisfactory . . . stop[ping] short in their experience of the blessings of salvation with the . . . forgiveness of past sins and with the hope of Heaven.[941]

The idea that the “vast majority of Christians” never grow but live in an “absolutely unsatisfactory” spiritual condition is a very dangerous misdiagnosis of the spiritual need of the generality of Protestant church members, who are lost and who need to be truly converted and then to separate from their false religious denominations and be baptized into historic Baptist congregations.[942] Such people need spiritual life, not Higher Life preaching. Backslidden saints are certainly a serious problem which should not be minimized. However, neither should the Biblical fact that all believers will be different or the possibility of false profession be neglected. Keswick’s setting aside of Biblical self-examination, its teaching that the vast majority of Christians make no advance in spiritual life at all, and its many other weaknesses on the nature and power of the gospel, are extremely spiritually dangerous. Many are in hell today because of these toxic Keswick errors.

As already note, Keswick theology is right to call believers to the “renunciation of all known sin . . . and . . . surrender to Christ for the infilling of the Holy Spirit.”[943] Keswick does well to affirm that the Holy Spirit “dwells in every child of God . . . [but] not every Christian is filled with the Spirit . . . [and] to be filled with the Spirit is not presented in Scripture as an optional matter, but as a holy obligation that rests upon all Christians.”[944] Keswick is correct that the “Christian is expected to live in communion with the Spirit.”[945] Nonetheless, the Keswick pneumatology differs at important points from the pneumatology of Scripture.[946] Barabas is incorrect when he affirms that only some isolated “statements . . . from addresses and books by Keswick speakers . . . seem to . . . outrun Scripture.”[947] Some of the Keswick theology of the Spirit not only seems to, but does, in fact, outrun Scripture. The historic Baptist position that Spirit baptism was a first century corporate blessing authenticating the church, which was accompanied by miraculous signs and wonders, and which does not take place today, is the teaching of Scripture.[948] It is incorrect to hold either to a view that affirms that Spirit baptism is a post-conversion blessing for today that bestows special powers, or to the doctrine that “the Holy Spirit, on the condition of faith, baptizes a man into Christ and joins him permanently and eternally to Him, [so that Spirit baptism makes] a man ‘in Christ,’ in union with both the person and the work of Christ . . . [a teaching allegedly] clearly set forth in the sixth chapter of Romans.”[949] Scripture nowhere, and certainly not in the sixth chapter of Romans, teaches that “every Christian . . . has been baptized by the Spirit.”[950] Nor does God’s Word teach that the “full blessing of Pentecost is the inheritance of all the children of God,”[951] as all the children of God today are not wonder-working apostles with the miraculous ability to speak in foreign languages, the spiritual gift of healing, and other supernatural powers that ceased early in Christian history—a fact that is itself denied by the strongly dominant Keswick continuationism or anti-cessationism in the matter of spiritual gifts.[952] Furthermore, if Keswick “distinguishes between being ‘full’ and being ‘filled’” with the Spirit, so that the latter refers to a “filling, or momentary supply . . . as special difficulties arise,”[953] such a distinction is difficult to reconcile with the fact that the command in Ephesians 5:18 is to be filled, not to be full, of the Spirit.[954] Furthermore, when the Keswick theology employs Acts 5:32[955] to make a point about being “endue[d] with the divine power”[956] to serve the Lord, or as a proof-text for recommended means of believers becoming Spirit-filled, it misinterprets Scripture. In Acts 5:32, Peter teaches that God gives the Holy Spirit to believers,[957] while God does not give the Holy Spirit to those, such as the council of Pharisees and Sadducees that the Apostle was addressing, who reject Jesus Christ, disobeying the command of God to receive Him as the risen Lord and Savior (Acts 5:28-33, 38-42). Consequently, every Christian on earth has the Spirit in the sense mentioned in Acts 5:32. What is more, the obedience mentioned in Acts 5:32 is a result of the receipt of the Spirit at the moment of regeneration, not a means to obtain spiritual power.[958] The Christian should consequently recognize that the power of God the Holy Ghost is essential for his effective sanctification and service, but reject the unbiblical aspects of the Keswick pneumatology.

Stephen Barabas, cleaving closely to Keswick tradition, well illustrates Keswick’s inaccuracy and bungling attempts at refutation of alternative positions on sanctification. Dealing with “wrong ways of seeking sanctification,” inaccuracy of presentation and theological imprecision are apparent.[959] The erroneous views he examines are:

1.) [T]he sanctification of the believer is a matter of course, and that he need not trouble himself about it . . . sanctification will proceed automatically without our doing anything about it.[960] . . .

2.) [M]any people . . . regard sanctification as merely a matter of gradual growth, not to be stopped or hindered or accelerated by anything the Christian may do. . . . [D]eliverance from conscious sinning . . . is just a question of time. . . . it . . . is necessarily imperceptibly slow and . . . cannot be retarded or hastened by anything the believer may do.[961] . . .

3.) [The] theory . . . that it is possible in this life, either at regeneration or at some subsequent crisis of religious experience . . . to reach a point in spiritual development where the sin nature is eradicated and therefore no longer operative. . . . A theory of gradual eradication is held by others.[962] . . .

4.) Perhaps the most widely-held view of sanctification is that it is to be gained through our own personal efforts by trying to supress the flesh in us.[963] . . .

5.) Other Erroneous Methods.[964]

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

If Barabas’s position #1 is supposed to refute the Scriptural fact that believers will be different, it is a gross misrepresentation; God works in the believer to will and do (Philippians 2:13) and the fact of the certainty of the sanctification of the regenerate is a basis for Biblical exhortation to grow, not a hinderance to it or an encouragement to neglect growth (Romans 6:13-14). So far from #2 being held by “many” Christians, the idea that growth cannot be accelerated or hindered or stopped is a very unusual position. Among the alleged “many” that advocate view #2, Barabas provides not even one original source, perhaps because no such source exists. One wonders if it has ever been advocated in print in any work of evangelical Christian literature in history.[965]

Barabas very unfortunately combines the idea of a second blessing of instantaneous sinlessness in #3 with the position, represented by a quotation from Warfield, that the Holy Spirit weakens the remnants of sin in the believer and strengthens the new nature over time. The argument on the pages dealing with #3 make some valid points against the instantaneous perfectionist second blessing position, but Barabas’s examination of Warfield’s view sets up a straw man and is very weak. Similarly, while people can certainly deceive themselves into thinking that they can serve the Lord in their own strength, and the believer’s indwelling sin constantly seeks to lead him to live in an independent manner, self-dependence is not “the most widely-held view of sanctification.”[966] The Keswick presentation by Barabas in #4 contains severe confusion between an unbiblical self-dependent attempt to sanctify onself apart from the power of God and the Biblical truth that sanctification does indeed involve God-dependent, faith-filled personal effort, striving, and struggle. Finally, Barabas’s presentation of erroneous views of sanctification never deals with actual commonly held erroneous views of sanctification, from Wesleyan and Methodist to Oberlin perfectionism, to liturgical and Romanist ex opere operato sorts of sacramentarianism, to Quaker Quietism. Furthermore, if Barabas’s positions #1-5 are not intended to caricature and oppose important elements of the Biblical doctrine of sanctification, from the certainty that believers will be different to the fact that God actually does inwardly make the believer less sinful and more holy, then these truths are entirely passed over in utter neglect, and the Keswick position is set forth as if it were the only alternative to what is stated in #1-5. Either Barabas’s presentation of non-Keswick positions on sanctification is grossly deficient because it ignores its theologically conservative alternatives, or it severely misrepresents and mischaracterizes those alternative positions. Barabas effectively illustrates that Keswick presentations of sanctification are not “carefully prepared, weighty discourses”[967]—a truth both patently evident and most unfortunate.

Barabas’s attempt to support Keswick by refuting the classical Biblical doctrine that in sanctification the believer through mortification and vivification actually becomes less sinful and more holy in his nature[968] misrepresents the Biblical view and fails miserably as a refutation.[969] In dealing with Warfield’s confession of the classical orthodox position that supernatural sanctification involves the Spirit’s working to “eradicate our sinfulness and not merely to counteract its effects,”[970] Barabas argues—without exegeting or citing a single passage of Scripture that could reasonably be taken as relevant as an argument against progressive eradication of the strength of the sin principle,[971] but following Hannah W. Smith,[972] that “Keswick is plainly right in rejecting the theory of eradication,[973] whether instantaneous or gradual, as the divine way of sanctification” in favor of the position that “holiness . . . is a maintained condition, never a state.”[974] That is, in Keswick theology, as in the teaching of the Keswick precursor Conventions,[975] the believer is not personally and actually the slightest bit more holy after decades of what may be improperly termed progressive sanctification, but is hardly sanctification that is progressing, than he was the moment he was regenerated. Barabas very regretably tries to deal at the same time with the false “second blessing” concept that at an instant during this life one can have his sin nature entirely eliminated and the Scriptural position of Warfield that only at the moment of a Christian’s death the sin nature is entirely eliminated, while the Holy Spirit’s mortifying and renewing work actually gradually weakens and eradicates the remnants of sin in the believer and strengthens his new nature. To combine these two views as if they were truly closely related leads Barabas to a serious misrepresentation of Warfield’s position and a very off-base attempt at a refutation of it on the assumption that it is somehow the close relative of the idea that one enters into sinless perfection through a second blessing.

Barabas argues against Warfield: “The word of God does not teach us to expect, in this life, either the eradication or the improvement of the ‘flesh.’”[976] While he does not cite the verse, Romans 7:18 clearly teaches that the flesh does not improve in any way. Barabas’s statement, however, equivocates on the word eradication—if he means “absolute elimination of the flesh,” he is entirely correct. If, however, Barabas wishes to refute Warfield’s position, he must demonstrate that the influence and power of the flesh is absolutely unchanged, which he fails to demonstrate or even argue for effectively. Instead of refuting Warfield, Barabas sets up a false dichotomy, arguing that “the tendency to sin is not extinct, but is simply counteracted,”[977] as if those were the only two options. The classical orthodox position represented by Warfield is that while indwelling sin does not itself get any better (Romans 7:18), mortification weakens the power of the sin principle and vivification strengthens the power of the new nature. The ethically sinful flesh itself does not improve, but progressive sanctification weakens its influence as it is put to death or mortified, a process only completed when the believer reaches heaven. In this sense only did Warfield affirm gradual eradication, and in this sense Barabas does not touch his position.

Barabas goes on to argue that Warfield’s position would require that “the longer a person lived the Christian life the less possible it should be for him to sin . . . [b]ut . . . spiritual growth is not determined by the length of time [one] has been a Christian.”[978] Since Warfield never taught that simply surviving for a longer time as a Christian resulted in one’s growing less able to sin, Barabas’s criticism again leaves Warfield’s doctrine untouched. Warfield would affirm that the more the Christian mortifies sin and his new nature is renewed by the Spirit, the more holy he is. He never taught that sanctification was in direct and sole proportion to the length of time since the believer’s regeneration.

In association with the misrepresentation of Warfield’s position as one of sanctification by survival, by a Christian’s existing for a longer period, Barabas argues that the record of Demas in 2 Timothy 4:10 proves that living longer as a Christian does not necessarily involve greater sanctification. Furthermore, Barabas employs 1 Corinthians 9:27 to prove that “years after his conversion on the Damascus road, Paul himself declared that he dared not be careless[.]”[979] Unfortunately for Barabas’s arguments, in addition to the severe problem that he is refuting a position Dr. Warfield did not advocate, Demas is presented as an example of a professing but unconverted individual, one who has no true love for the Father and who will not abide forever with God but will go to hell (2 Timothy 4:10; 1 John 2:15-17), while Paul’s spiritual growth led him to ever-greater carefulness. To aver that Warfield’s position is in error because if Paul were more holy years after his conversion he would be more careless about sin, rather than more careful to avoid it, is an astonishingly poor argument.

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

[I]f Dr. Warfield were right . . . [then] [i]f we lived long enough . . . we must reach a stage of spiritual development where the old nature was completely eradicated [and] sin were no longer in us . . . such injunctions as “reckon,” “yield,” “put off,” . . . would no longer have any meaning for us. . . . And when we reached this state of purity we would no longer have to depend upon Christ and the Holy Spirit to enable us to live a holy life. . . . Keswick is plainly right in rejecting [Warfield’s view, because of] . . . 1 John 1:8 . . . [and] John 15:5 . . . [his theory] tempts the Christian to negligence . . . carelessness [is] . . . easily fostered by a belief that sin was eradicated from one’s nature.[980]

Barabas seems to have neglected the fact that a huge emphasis in Warfield’s two volume work against perfectionism is that sin never is “no longer in us” at any moment before the believer reaches heaven. Since Warfield confessed that “[t]he moment we think that we have no sin, we shall desert Christ,”[981] to argue against his position by making it into almost exactly its reverse is a terrible caricature. Those who affirm the Biblical fact that God actually makes the believer more holy—such as Warfield—do not say that the more Christlike a believer grows the more self-dependent, careless, and negligent he becomes,[982] and the less concerned he is about yielding to God, putting off sin, and the like.[983] To argue that God cannot make Christians more holy in this life because growing more holy makes one ever the more careless and negligent about spiritual things would mean that the saints in heaven would be the most careless and negligent of all. What is more, if carelessness and negligence are only avoided by eliminating real progressive sanctification and the supernatural eradication of indwelling sinfulness, replacing this blessed truth with a mere counteraction of sin, then, to keep them from carelessness and negligence, believers in heaven must also not have their sinfulness eradicated, but only counteracted. On the contrary, the more the victory over sin described in Romans 6-8 becomes manifest in the believer’s life, the greater is his abhorrence of his remaining indwelling sin—the more he loathes it, longs for perfect deliverance from it, and guards himself against it (Romans 7:14, 20-24). While Barabas may not recognize it, Scripture teaches that the Spirit actually makes believers more holy and less sinful, and a concomitant of that greater holiness is greater, not lesser, watchfulness, carefulness, and God-dependence.

The following extensive quotation from Warfield, discussing the old evangelical piety of another of its staunch defenders, Thomas Adam,[984] both explains well the truly Scriptural and old evangelical orthodox position that Barabas opposes and shows just how radically Barabas misrepresents Warfield’s position:

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

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

Thus in complete dependence on grace, and in never ceasing need of grace (take “grace” in its full sense of goodness to the undeserving) the saint goes onward in his earthly work, neither imagining that he does not need to be without sin because he has Christ nor that because he has Christ he is already without sin. The repudiation of both the perfectionist and the antinomian inference is made by Adam most pungently. The former in these crisp words:56 “The moment we think that we have no sin, we shall desert Christ.” That, because Christ came to save just sinners. The latter more at length:57 “It would be a great abuse of the doctrine of salvation by faith, and a state of dangerous security, to say, if it pleases God to advance me to a higher or the highest degree of holiness, I should have great cause of thankfulness, and it would be the very joy of my heart; but nevertheless I can do without it, as being safe in Christ.” We cannot set safety in Christ and holiness of life over against each other as contradictions, of which the one may be taken and the other left. They go together. “Every other faith,” we read,58 “but that which apprehends Christ as a purifier, as well as our atonement and righteousness, is false and hypocritical.” We are not left in our sins by Him; we are in process of being cleansed from our sins by Him; and our part is to work out with fear and trembling the salvation which He is working in us, always keeping our eyes on both our sin from which we need deliverance and the Lord who is delivering us. To keep our eyes fixed on both at once is no doubt difficult. “On earth it is the great exercise of faith,” says Adam,59 “and one of the hardest things in the world, to see sin and Christ at the same time, or to be penetrated with a lively sense of our desert, and absolute freedom from condemnation; but the more we know of both, the nearer approach we shall make to the state of heaven.” Sin and Christ; ill desert and no condemnation; we are sinners and saints all at once! That is the paradox of evangelicalism. The Antinomian and the Perfectionist would abolish the paradox—the one drowning the saint in the sinner, the other concealing the sinner in the saint. We must, says Adam, out of his evangelical consciousness, ever see both members of the paradox clearly and see them whole. And—solvitur ambulando. “It is a great paradox, but glorious truth of Christianity,” says he,60 “that a good conscience may consist with a consciousness of evil.” Though we can have no satisfaction in ourselves, we may have perfect satisfaction in Christ.[985]

It is clear that “miserable-sinner Christianity” is a Christianity which thinks of pardon as holding the primary place in salvation. To it, sin is in the first instance offence against God, and salvation from sin is therefore in the first instance pardon, first not merely in time but in importance. In this Christianity, accordingly, the sinner turns to God first of all as the pardoning God; and that not as the God who pardons him once and then leaves him to himself, but as the God who steadily preserves the attitude toward him of a pardoning God. It is in this aspect that he thinks primarily of God and it is on the preservation on God’s part of this attitude towards him that all his hopes of salvation depend. This is because he looks to God and to God alone for his salvation; and that in every several step of salvation—since otherwise whatever else it might be, it would not be salvation. It is, of course, only from a God whose attitude to the sinner is that of a pardoning God, that saving operations can be hoped. No doubt, if those transactions which we class together as the processes of salvation are our own work, we may not have so extreme a need of a constantly pardoning God. But that is not the point of view of the “miserable-sinner Christian.” He understands that God alone can save, and he depends on God alone for salvation; for all of salvation in every step and stage of it. He is not merely the man then, who emphasizes justification as the fundamental saving operation; but also the man who emphasizes the supernaturalness of the whole saving process. It is all of God; and it is continuously from God throughout the whole process. The “miserable-sinner Christian” insists thus that salvation is accomplished not all at once, but in all the processes of a growth through an ever advancing forward movement. It occupies time; it has a beginning and middle and end. And just because it is thus progressive in its accomplishment, it is always incomplete—until the end. As Luther put it, Christians, here below, are not “made,” but “in the making.” Things in the making are in the hands of the Maker, are absolutely dependent on Him, and in their remanent imperfection require His continued pardon as well as need His continued forming. We cannot outgrow dependence on the pardoning grace of God, then, so long as the whole process of our forming is not completed; and we cannot feel satisfaction with ourselves of course until that process is fully accomplished. To speak of satisfaction in an incomplete work is a contradiction in terms. The “miserable-sinner Christian” accordingly, just as strongly emphasizes the progressiveness of the saving process and the consequent survival of sin and sinning throughout the whole of its as yet unfinished course, as he does justification as its foundation stone and its true supernaturalness throughout. These four articles go together and form the pillars on which the whole structure rests. It is a structure which is adapted to the needs of none but sinners, and which, perhaps, can have no very clear meaning to any but sinners. And this is in reality the sum of the whole matter: “miserable-sinner” Christianity is a Christianity distinctively for sinners. It is fitted to their apprehension as sinners, addressed to their acceptance as sinners, and meets their clamant needs as sinners. The very name which has been given it bears witness to it as such.[986]

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

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

Mr. Chafer conducts his discussion . . . on the presupposition that . . . “[w]e are either to be delivered by the abrupt removal of all tendency to sin, and so no longer need the enabling power of God to combat the power of sin, or we are to be delivered by the immediate and constant power of the indwelling Spirit.” This irreducible “either—or” is unjustified. In point of fact, both “eradication” and “control” are true. God delivers us from our sinful nature, not indeed by “abruptly” but by progressively eradicating it, and meanwhile controlling it. For the new nature which God gives us is not an absolutely new somewhat, alien to our personality, inserted into us, but our old nature itself remade—a veritable recreation, or making of all things new.[987]

Furthermore, in his bibliography Barabas cites no works by Warfield other than his Perfectionism,[988] supporting the possibility that Barabas’s astonishing misrepresentation of the Princeton theologian is a product of shallow understanding of his theology. However, to avoid the conclusion that Barabas has deliberately misrepresented Warfield, one must assume not only that he neglected to read Warfield’s critique of Chafer, but that Barabas has not even read carefully the pages he cites[989] where Warfield explains his position. On those very pages the Princetonian states: “Counteraction there is; and suppression there is; but most fundamentally of all there is eradication; and all these work one and the self-same Spirit.”[990] Barabas’s Keswick classic never states or even hints that Warfield taught counteraction,[991] suppression, and eradication—the reader of So Great Salvation who did not consult Warfield’s own writings would certainly never know what Warfield actually believed. Barabas, in a number of pages of confused critique, never summarizes Warfield’s position as clearly as does Paul Schaefer in a single sentence: “Warfield’s emphasis on divine sovereignty and on regeneration mean[t] that God both controls by the power of the Spirit the remnants of indwelling sin and progressively eradicates them in the one whom he has remade, as that person grows in faith.”[992]Whether a matter of deliberate misrepresentation of inexcusable sloppiness and carelessness, Barabas’s attempt to rebut Warfield in So Great Salvation falls so short of success that it does not even state the position of the great Princeton theologian accurately.

Since Barabas so strikingly misrepresents Warfield’s position[993] as one that “tempts the Christian to negligence,” leads him to turn from “continued reliance upon the keeping power of God,” and teaches that “we must reach a stage of spiritual development where the old nature was completely eradicated . . . [and we] become ethically self-sufficient,”[994] it is appropriate to provide an extended quotation from Warfield’s locus classicus on progressive eradication. One can easily judge whether Warfield’s concern, in refuting the Higher Life model of mere counteraction, is to advocate ethical self-sufficiency, or whether Warfield actually meant what he said when he confessed a “supernatural sanctification” in which “the Spirit leads us in all our acts, as well as purifies our hearts . . . [so that] to grace always belongs the initiative.” One can also easily discern whether Barabas’s critique of Warfield’s classical orthodox model of progressive eradication, or Warfield’s critique of the Keswick model of mere counteraction, is the more accurate representation of the teaching of Scripture:

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

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

From the point of view of Scripture, however, this theory of counteraction is quite inadequate. It renders it impossible for the Christian to sin—and the Scriptures do not teach that: but it leaves the “principle of sin” in him unaltered and in full activity, and most emphatically the Scriptures do not teach that such is the condition of the Christian in this world. It surely would be better to be freed from the “principle of sin” in us than merely from its effects on our actions. And this is in fact what the Scriptures provide for. What they teach, indeed, is just “eradication.” They propose to free us from sinning by freeing us from the “principle of sin.” Of course, they teach that the Spirit dwells within us. But they teach that the Spirit dwells within us in order to affect us, not merely our acts; in order to eradicate our sinfulness and not merely to counteract its effects. The Scriptures’ way of cleansing the stream is to cleanse the fountain; they are not content to attack the stream of our activities, they attack directly the heart out of which the issues of life flow. But they give us no promise that the fountain will be completely cleansed all at once, and therefore no promise that the stream will flow perfectly purely from the beginning. We are not denying that the Spirit leads us in all our acts, as well as purifies our hearts. But we are denying that His whole work in us, or His whole immediate work in us, or His fundamental work in us, terminates on our activities and can be summed up in the word “counteraction.” Counteraction there is; and suppression there is; but most fundamentally of all there is eradication; and all these work one and the self-same Spirit. We are not forgetful that Dr. Thomas teaches an ultimate eradication; and we would not be unwilling to read his recognition of it “with a benevolent eye” and understand him as teaching, not that the eradication is not going on now, but only that the eradication which is going on now is not completed until “hereafter.” That would be Scriptural. But we fear Dr. Thomas will not permit us so to read him. And, if we mistake not, this difference in point of view between him and the Scriptures is in part, the source of his misconception and misprision of the seventh chapter of Romans. That chapter depicts for us the process of the eradication of the old nature. Dr. Thomas reads it statically and sees in it merely a “deadly warfare between the two natures”; which, he affirms,46 “does not represent the normal Christian life of sanctification.” He even permits himself to say, “There is no Divine grace in that chapter; only man’s nature struggling to be good and holy by law.” What is really in the chapter is Divine grace warring against, and not merely counteracting but eradicating, the natural evil of sin. To Paul the presence of the conflict there depicted is the guarantee of victory. The three things which we must insist on if we would share Paul’s view are: first, that to grace always belongs the initiative—it is grace that works the change: secondly, that to grace always belongs the victory—grace is infinite power: and thirdly, that the working of grace is by process, and therefore reveals itself at any given point of observation as conflict. In so far as Dr. Thomas’s representation obscures any one of these things it falls away from the teaching of the New Testament. Grace assuredly “means a new life, a Divine life, which lifts us above the natural, and is nothing else than the life of Christ Himself in His people.” It is, in substance, as sanctifying grace, the occupation of our hearts by the Holy Spirit, and the undertaking by Him, not only of their renewal, but of their control. It is they alone who are “led” by the Spirit who are sons of God. But the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts is not confined to the direction of our activities. Dr. Thomas says truly47 that grace does not merely “educate the natural heart.” But he errs when he says that “grace does not improve the old nature, it overcomes it.” He errs when he teaches only that “it promises hereafter to extirpate it,” but meanwhile, only “counteracts its tendencies.” It is progressively extirpating it now, and that is the fundamental fact in supernatural sanctification. The sanctifying action of the Spirit terminates on us, not merely on our activities; under it not only our actions but we are made holy. Only, this takes time; and therefore at no point short of its completion are either our acts or we “perfect.”[995]

A comparison of Barabas’s attempt to critique Warfield and Warfield’s own words brings to mind Barabas’s admission that Keswick theology, despite around a century in which it has produced book after book, has produced no “carefully prepared, weighty discourses of a theological nature.”[996] It is consequently not surprising that Barabas’s own book fits the Keswick pattern, so that rigorous analysis demonstrates that his presentation of Keswick arguments is neither weighty nor carefully prepared. In any case, whatever the reason, Barabas’s critique of Warfield’s classically orthodox position that sanctification includes the Spirit’s work in progressively eradicating indwelling sin is a disasterous failure.

Barabas also argues against the position he terms “supression of the old nature.”[997] He writes: “Perhaps the most widely-held view of sanctification is that it is to be gained through our own personal efforts by trying to suppress the flesh in us. Justification, it is believed, is by faith, but sanctification is by works—at least to a large extent.”[998] Barabas argues against this position by setting forth the erroneous Keswick view of Romans 7:14-25,[999] by setting forth the teaching Keswick adopted from Hannah W. Smith and the Broadlands Conference[1000] that sanctification is by faith alone, not works,[1001] and by making arguments such as: “Neither a tree nor a man grows by effort.[1002] . . . It is a kind of sanctification of the flesh. . . . the [failed attempt at] the conquest of self by self . . . [the] legalism . . . to assume that justification is by faith, [but] sanctification is somehow by struggle.”[1003] To “fall back upon mere moral processes to overcome sin is not Christianity, but pagan philosophy, which offers nothing better than self-effort as the only way of improvement.”[1004] Barabas concludes, based on these arguments: “It is the teaching of Keswick that an important reason for the defeat and failure of so many Christians is that they try to supress the old nature. . . . Sanctification is therefore not by works but by faith. . . . That is the distinctive method of Keswick.”[1005]

            Barabas’s argument is based upon a key confusion of two entirely different ideas, combined with some faulty exegesis. If all he wished to prove was that anyone who attempted to be holy without depending upon the Triune God for strength was doomed to failure, and that believers need, consequently, to live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4), his exhortation would be correct, and its warning well taken. The necessity of living by faith and of experiential and personal communion with Jesus Christ by the Spirit is extremely important, and it has been regarded as such by Christians who lived centuries before the invention of the Keswick theology in association with the preaching of Hannah W. Smith. If self-dependence, seeking the ultimate ground for growth in holiness within one’s own person, and “mere moral processes to overcome sin” as in “pagan philosophy” were all Barabas wished to combat when he warned of the “man who is trying to be good and holy by his own efforts and is defeated every time,”[1006] he would be right on target, warning against a serious sin that the believer’s fleshliness naturally inclines him to commit.

However, the “most widely-held view of sanctification,” which Barabas seeks to argue is in error, is not an independent moralism, based on pagan philosophy, that does not depend upon Christ and the Spirit—although such errors are indeed taught in large portions of the apostate denominations Keswick ecumenicalism refuses to repudiate. Rather than restricting his argument to the real error of an independent moralism, Barabas argues that believers are not to try to suppress the old nature or struggle against sin in sanctification. If Barabas is against the “man who is trying to be good and holy by his own efforts,” and by this he means the Christian himself should not personally make effort and strive to mortify sin, depending upon Christ and the power of the Spirit, he is definitely wrong. Unfortunately, this latter sense of opposition to effort is in fact what Barabas decries. His view that “sanctification . . . by struggle” is an error ignores the many texts such as “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin” (Hebrews 12:4). Indeed, Paul’s conclusion, after in a detailed chapter setting forth the necessity of living by faith (Hebrews 11), is “wherefore”[1007] (Hebrews 12:1)—in light of Hebrews 11 and those who lived by faith in that chapter—“lay aside every weight . . . run with patience . . . consider [Christ] . . . resis[t] unto blood, striving against sin . . . nor faint . . . endure chastening . . . be in subjection . . . [be] exercised . . . lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet . . . follow peace . . . and holiness. . . loo[k] diligently,” and so on (Hebrews 12:1-16). Living by faith, Biblically, is not only compatible with struggling and striving for holiness, but it necessarily produces it. Biblical sanctification does not state: “We cease from labor because we trust in God,” but “we . . . labour . . . because we trust in the living God” (1 Timothy 4:10). For Paul, living by faith means one will “run . . . striv[e] for the mastery . . . fight . . . keep under [the] body, and bring it into subjection” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). The Bible says to do exactly what Barabas says not to do. The Christian’s attitude must not be “let go and let God,”[1008] but “trust God and get going!”[1009] Faith in sanctification does not lead the believer to cease striving, but to strive ever the harder, trusting in the Lord for strength to fight. He does not labor independently and faithlessly, but “labour[s], striving according to [God’s] working, which worketh in [him] mightily” (Colossians 1:29). For Keswick to affirm a genuine dichotomy between independent moralism and ending all “trying to conquer the old nature . . . effort . . . [and] struggle,”[1010] so that one must choose the one or the other, is a serious misrepresentation, one that ignores the true position that sanctification involves a faith-based, God-dependent struggle.[1011] By discouraging believers from striving to mortify their indwelling sin, Keswick theology hinders the work of sanctification.

Barabas affirms that the Keswick theology recognizes other “other erroneous methods”[1012] of sanctification. Following Hannah W. Smith,[1013] Barabas warns that believers must not “trust for their sanctification to a diligent use of the means of grace, to watchfulness over their own heart and life, taking themselves to task ever and again for the coldness of their heart.”[1014] It is an amazing thing that Barabas’s book explaining the Keswick theology never once quotes any of the numerous verses in Scripture that connect sanctification with the Word of God, but attacks as an “unscriptural wa[y] of pursuing holiness”[1015] employing the means that God has given to increase and strengthen inward grace, such as, centrally, the Word.[1016] Rejecting watchfulness over one’s heart and life as a means of avoiding sin and growing holy is astonishing when the Son of God specifically states that watching and praying protect one from temptation (Matthew 26:41) and are essential for spiritual preparedness for His second coming (Mark 13:33-36). The Lord Jesus said, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy”[1017] (Luke 21:36), so watching helps the believer be more holy. Scripture is filled with commands to watch,[1018] and the Lord Jesus Himself commanded, “What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch” (Mark 13:37)—but Barabas rejects such watchfulness as an unscriptural means of growing in grace! As for it being “unscriptural” to take oneself to task over the coldness of one’s heart, it is evident that some of the psalms, which the Spirit-filled Christian is to sing (Ephesians 5:18-19), are not appropriate for the advocate of Keswick. God’s inspired songbook teaches the righteous man to pray: “For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God” (Psalm 38:15) and yet complain: “There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me” (Psalm 38:3-4).[1019] The saint who can say “I waited patiently for the LORD . . . thou art my help and my deliverer” (Psalm 40:1, 17) also prays, “mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me” (Psalm 40:12). The holy man in the Bible, who says “I put my trust in thee” (Psalm 25:20), can nonetheless pray: “Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net. Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins” (Psalm 25:15-18). Keswick is dead wrong when it condemns sanctification through the diligent use of the means God has appointed to grow in grace, when it deprecates watchfulness, and when it affirms that the saint should not take himself to task over the coldness of his heart. Following this unscriptural advice of Keswick will hinder the believer’s sanctification.

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

Having completed his exceedingly problematic attempt at a refutation of alternative positions on sanctification, Barabas goes on to positively set forth the Keswick method of becoming holy. Keswick considers “sanctification as a process, as a crisis, and as a gift.”[1020] The order places “process” first, because it “is the best understood, and not because it is the first in the order of time,”[1021] for in the Keswick theology any process in sanctification only takes place in a significant way[1022] after the experience of crisis and the receipt of the gift. Over the course of a chapter of twenty pages[1023] on the crisis of consecration, Barabas states that it is “very characteristic of Keswick” and “some of its basic teachin[g]” to affirm that “sanctification is a process beginning with a crisis,”[1024] following the teaching of Hannah and Robert P. Smith and the Broadlands, Oxford, and Brighton Conventions.[1025] The “crisis must take place before we really know the process. . . . The process succeeds the crisis.”[1026] The crisis takes place when one makes a “complete personal consecration” to God, “also referred to as dedication and full surrender.”[1027] The crisis has a “positive side . . . surrender or the committal of oneself to Christ and the pledge to be eternally loyal to Him as Lord and Master . . . [and] a negative side[,] . . . [t]o deny self . . . [to] definitely and for ever cho[ose] the will of the Lord Jesus Christ as [one’s] Guide and Director through life, in place of [one’s] own will.”[1028] In fact, “God’s blessing of deliverance from the power of sin is not to be had” until a Christian makes this full surrender,[1029] for “the divine Potter . . . cannot shape the human vessel unless it is committed into His hands and remains unresistingly and quietly there.”[1030] In the Keswick theology, “Consecration is . . . the starting point of the sanctification process,” which is only continued as “the response made to God at consecration is continued.”[1031] The crisis “decision is the inescapable condition of progressive sanctification.”[1032]

In terms of sanctification as a gift, explicated by Barabas for twenty-one pages,[1033] Keswick teaches that we are “asked . . . to accept holiness by faith in the same way that we accept justification by faith.”[1034] According to “Keswick, we are not sanctified by self-effort or by works, but by faith in what Christ has done for us at Calvary. Sanctification, like justification, is by grace alone.”[1035] Keswick affirms that “if we wish to make any progress in holiness, we have to give up belief in the value of self-effort in holiness. . . . sanctification . . . is not something for which we have to struggle or strive[.] . . . Sanctification is primarily and fundamentally ‘neither an achievement nor a process, but a gift, a divine bestowal of a position in Christ.’”[1036] It is “the heart and essence . . . of Keswick teaching . . . [that] [f]reedom from the dominion of sin is a blessing that we may claim by faith, just as we accept pardon.”[1037] Since believers are “identified with Christ in His death to sin . . . [they] need no longer serve sin,”[1038] although it is supposedly possible for “all Christians . . . [to] be in terrible bondage . . . under the power of sin.”[1039] They “have a legal right to be free,” however, and obtain “[d]eliverance . . . not . . . by struggle and painful effort, by earnest resolutions and self-denial, but . . . by simple faith.”[1040] The “special message . . at Keswick . . . [is that it] is possible to serve sin again, but not necessary, for Christ has freed us.”[1041] This “freedom is only potential . . . [and] Keswick leaders often say that God’s method of sanctification is not suppression or eradication, but counteraction.”[1042] Keswick reproduced the teaching of Broadlands, Oxford, and Brighton[1043] to affirm that the sinfulness within the believer “is something fixed and permanent, and will remain in us as long as we live. . . . The principle of counteraction is . . . basic to Keswick teaching.”[1044] The “locus classicus on” the Keswick doctrine of sanctification as gift is “Romans vi.”[1045] As the Holy Spirit counteracts indwelling sin in the Christian, the believer “ceases from his own struggles to live a holy life, and enters the ‘rest of faith’ . . . the secret of perfect and constant victory over temptation.”[1046] Thus, “the heart and core of Keswick teaching is its doctrine of sanctification by faith. . . . The Keswick position,”[1047] which is derived from Hannah W. Smith,[1048] “is that in Scripture sanctification comes by faith, and not in any other way.”[1049] The believer, to be sanctified, must recognize the truth of the Keswick doctrine, “the scriptural method of progressive sanctification,” have “proper faith,” which involves “the believer’s consent to die to every fleshly desire in him,” and then “hand over the fleshly deeds of the body to the Spirit for mortification . . . Romans 8:13 . . . [and] stand in faith in the knowledge that he died to sin in Christ at Calvary. It is the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to do the rest. Sanctification is thus the result, not of attempts at suppression of the flesh, but of faith in the finished work of Calvary.”[1050]

Sanctification as a process, which is dependent in the Keswick theology upon experiencing the sanctification crisis and receiving of sanctification as a gift, is discussed by Barabas on half a page.[1051] Barabas discusses sanctification as a crisis for over twenty pages, and sanctification as gift for over twenty pages, while he has only a tiny discussion of sanctification as process for one-half of one page. This huge contrast exists because, for Keswick, “Sanctification is primarily and fundamentally ‘neither an achievement nor a process, but a gift[.’]”[1052] Little emphasis is placed upon sanctification as a process because Keswick believes that through the course of the Christian life the “indwelling tendency to sin . . . is as fixed and constant as any of the laws of nature,”[1053] so “purity can become a maintained condition, but never a state,”[1054] the “tendency to evil” being merely “counteracted”[1055] but left entirely unchanged, and “the tendency to sin [being] . . . simply counteracted.”[1056] Victory over sin “is not a question of progressive attainment.”[1057] Little emphasis is placed upon sanctification as a process because there is little or nothing that actually changes within the believer. Keswick believes that it “is astonishing that theologians have not seen this”[1058] theology of counteraction and rejection of actual inward renewal in the Bible.

While Keswick is correct and commendable in calling believers to surrender themselves completely to God, in its emphasis upon the believer’s union with Christ, and in its affirmation that strength to grow spiritually is derived from the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit, there are serious problems with the Keswick doctrine of sanctification as crisis, gift, and process. First, it is certainly true that when a believer is deliberately allowing and tolerating sin in his life his growth in holiness will be greatly hindered or even reversed. However, it is not true that real steps in sanctification cannot take place before a post-conversion crisis because “God’s blessing of deliverance from the power of sin is not to be had” until such a crisis takes place.[1059] All Christians are delivered from the power of sin. It is not true, as Keswick affirms, that “all Christians . . . [can] be in terrible bondage . . . under the power of sin”[1060] or that, as Hannah W. Smith taught[1061] and Keswick proclaims, Christian “freedom [from sin] is only potential.”[1062] To state that, for Christians, “our individual self is entirely and completely under the power of sin”[1063] is flatly false. Since believers are “not under the law, but under grace,” God promises that “sin shall not have dominion” over them (Romans 6:14). Such freedom is not merely potential, but actual. Romans six does not establish the mere possibility of freedom from sin for the Christian, but establishes that all Christians are indeed free from the bondage of sin, and as a result, they will—not merely may—grow in holiness. The commands to the believer in Romans six to reckon and yield are not based upon a mere possibility of change, but upon the certain promise that grace guarantees that sin “shall not” dominate them. Keswick, adopting the emphasis and Broadlands teaching of Hannah W. Smith,[1064] affirms that death to sin and spiritual life are not in any sense a practical reality until, by an act of reckoning, the Higher Life is entered into—Scripture, on the contrary, commands a believer to reckon himself dead to sin and alive to God because he already is so and is already freed from the dominion of sin and under the reign of grace (Romans 6:11, 14). The power and promises God made in the New Covenant ratified in Christ’s blood secure the certainty of the believer’s sanctification. The Keswick doctrine of a merely potential deliverance from sin for the saint is far too weak.

The Keswick doctrine, adopted from the preaching of Hannah W. Smith at Broadlands,[1065] that “the divine Potter . . . cannot shape the human vessel unless it is committed into His hands and remains unresistingly and quietly there”[1066] is a Higher Life error associated with its crisis, gift, and process model of sanctification. It is also connected with other serious errors about the means of holiness.[1067] Such a view does not properly deal with the fact that God works in the believer both to will and to do (Philippians 2:13)—Biblically, sanctification is intimately tied in with God’s work upon the human will, but Keswick, following the ideas Hannah and Robert P. Smith obtained from medieval Quietism, downgrades the power of God for the sovereignty, libertarian freedom, and autonomy of the human will.[1068] Keswick, following Broadlands, undermines the power of God when it affirms that He “cannot” do a variety of things, including sanctifying His creatures, without their sovereign, uninfluenced and autonomous wills allowing Him to.[1069] Sanctification, and all the other blessings promised by God in the gospel, for the Keswick theology as for Hannah W. Smith and the Broadlands Conference,[1070] are totally inactive until they are switched on by the decision to enter the Higher Life, somewhat as electricity from a power plant is totally inactive in lighting up a room until one flips on the light switch.  Keswick, adopting the Broadlands doctrine of “full surrender,”[1071] affirms that the believer is in bondage to sin until he makes a “complete personal consecration” to God, “also referred to as dedication and full surrender,”[1072] so that he “commit[s] [himself] to Christ and . . . pledge[s] to be eternally loyal to Him as Lord and Master . . . den[ies] self . . . [and] definitely and for ever choos[es] the will of the Lord Jesus Christ as [his] Guide and Director through life, in place of [his] own will.”[1073] But how, if the believer is in bondage to sin until he makes this decision, could such a surrender ever take place? Is not the Christian’s pledge of eternal loyalty to Christ as Lord, denial of self, and a choice in the will of the Son of God as Guide and Director, rather a result of freedom from the bondage of sin than a prerequisite to obtain it? Must a will in bondage to sin free itself by its own power before God steps in to do anything, or, on the contrary, must not God free the will first before it is able to be consecrated to God? Ironically, while Keswick theology criticizes the idea that “sanctification is . . . to be gained through our own personal efforts,”[1074] it requires incredible personal effort—indeed, personal effort that is utterly impossible for a will in bondage to sin, as Keswick claims the believer’s will is until he enters the Higher Life—to make the surrender Keswick claims is the prerequisite to God beginning any good work within the saint at all.

The problem in the Keswick doctrine of full surrender as a prerequisite to sanctification is connected to the fact that the Keswick argument against literal perfectionism is untenable and contradictory given its own theological premises. Keswick affirms that one must absolutely surrender before sanctification can truly begin; that through an act of total surrender and of faith in Christ for deliverance, one enters into a state where one is free from all known sin; and that a Christian’s ability to obey (by grace) and his obligation are coextensive. However, Keswick’s majority deny literal sinless perfection because, although “from the side of God’s grace and gift, all is perfect, [yet] from the human side, because of the effects of the Fall, there will be imperfect receptivity, and therefore imperfect holiness, to the end of life.”[1075] The exact nature of this “imperfect receptivity” is not defined, but since the Keswick theology defines man’s role in sanctification as surrender and faith, the imperfect receptivity must signify either imperfect surrender or imperfect faith. If absolute surrender truly is required before God’s grace even begins to effectively work in sanctifying the believer, then a Keswick affirmation that the Fall precludes a truly absolute surrender would mean that sanctification can never really begin at all. If an imperfect faith and surrender allows the believer to move through progressive degrees of battle with sin to progressive degrees of spiritual victory, so that the more perfect the believer’s surrender is, the more victory over sin and spiritual strength the believer possesses, then the Keswick doctrine that believers instantly flip-flop from a state of spiritual defeat, carnality, and domination by sin to one of total victory by means of the sanctification crisis is replaced with something closer to the classic doctrine of sanctification, for victory over sin and surrender to the Lord become progressive.[1076] Furthermore, if the believer’s ability is truly equal to his obligation, then God’s “perfect . . . grace and gift” would give him truly perfect ability, and there would be no reason why literal sinless perfection would be impossible for the Christian. After all, “God’s requirements cannot be greater than his enablements”[1077]—so since God gives perfect grace, and the gift of “holiness [that He] requires of His creatures . . . He first provides,”[1078] the literal perfection of God’s grace necessarily requires that the Christian can be literally sinless. While one can be happy that most advocates of the Keswick theology do not believe in the literal perfectionism inherent in their theological position, nonetheless Keswick opposition to absolute perfectionism is contradictory and incoherent.[1079]

Furthermore, when Keswick affirms, following the Pearsall Smiths and the Broadlands Conference,[1080] that the believer’s sole responsibility in sanctification is to lie “quietly” in the Potter’s hands, to “give up belief in . . . struggl[ing] or striv[ing]”[1081] and cease from “struggle and painful effort . . . earnest resolutions and self-denial,”[1082] it teaches an unbiblical Quietism,[1083] exemplified in the Victorious Life motto, “Let go and let God.”[1084] Barabas alleges that “Keswick is very careful to point out that its doctrine of sanctification by faith is not Quietism,” quoting “Bishop Handley Moule”[1085] to support this alleged opposition to Quietism by Keswick. However, Barabas either overlooks or misrepresents[1086] the fact that Moule himself, who Barabas affirms was the greatest scholar to ever adopt the Keswick theology,[1087] wrote that the believer’s part in the Keswick model of sanctification is “a blessed and wakeful Quietism,” so that “Quietism . . . express[es] one side of [the] truth” in sanctification.[1088] The explicit endorsement of a form of Quietism by Keswick leaders was simply a continuation of the teaching of Lord Mount Temple,[1089] reproduced at the Broadlands, Oxford, and Brighton conferences, where “Quietism . . . was taught . . . in the sense of [the poem], ‘Sweet to lie passive in His hands/And know no will but His.’”[1090] In sanctification, the believer is “simply to . . . lie passive.”[1091] Passivity is of the highest importance: “[I]n the disciple’s life, the . . . first quality of a true instrument is passivity. An active instrument would defeat its own purpose . . . and then it not only becomes useless, but it works damage and disaster. . . . [I]n the Word of God, we meet so frequently the symbols of passive service.”[1092] Hannah and Robert Smith sought to bring others into a life of carefree and quietistic happiness, since the Higher Life was “an easy life of rest and ease . . . without effort,” indeed, “the only easy life.”[1093] Unfortunately, when Moule and other Keswick writers followed the Smiths and warned of “letting the self-life intrude itself into the work of God,”[1094] they were not warning only of the danger of fallen, sinful volitions in man, or of making one’s own self rather than the glory of God one’s goal. Rather, they were teaching the quietistic doctrine that the human personality itself needed, in unbiblical ways, to be passive, as Hannah W. Smith taught when she opposed the “self-life” in favor of the Quietism of Quakerism and Roman Catholic mysticism, or when Lord Mount-Temple and others exhorted at Broadlands, “Let us give up the self-life” for the Higher Life flowing from the Divine Seed within.[1095] Not sin—including the sin of selfishness—but “self,” the active human personality, was the problem for Keswick. Thus, Bishop Moule, the man Keswick recognizes as its most scholarly advocate, consciously and deliberately labeled the Keswick theology he loved and defended a form of Quietism, a fact supported by other Keswick writers such as Andrew Murray and Jessie Penn-Lewis.[1096] The plain historical facts indicate, contrary to the revisionistic history set forth by Barabas, that “the Quietists and other Catholic mystics [were] widely accepted as part of the true holiness movement.”[1097] Thus, classic statements of the Keswick theology by its proponents affirm: “The Keswick message . . . [is] ‘quietism.’”[1098] According to Keswick, by a cessation from effort, the believer can pass from the state where the “Lord [is] unused” to one where he can “use the Lord”[1099] to become sanctified. The secret of victory and sanctification by faith alone was that “we had nothing to do but remain quiet, and the Lord would do everything for us.”[1100] Keswick, following Hannah W. and Robert P. Smith and the Broadlands Conferences,[1101] affirms that one is to “hand over the fleshly deeds of the body to the Spirit for mortification . . . Romans 8:13 . . . [and] stand in faith[.] . . . It is the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to do the rest. Sanctification is thus the result, not of attempts at suppression of the flesh, but of faith in the finished work of Calvary.”[1102] In contrast to Keswick, the Bible says that the believer is himself to actively “mortify the deeds of the body . . . through the Spirit” (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5), not refuse to mortify them but hand them over to the Spirit. Keswick teaches that the Christian is not to try to suppress the flesh, but Scripture commands him not merely to suppress his ethically sinful flesh, but to go far beyond that, and put it to death. The Biblical relationship between faith and effort in sanctification, which has already been explicated,[1103] is dramatically different from the Quietism inherent within the Keswick theology. Scripture denies passivity and Quietism in sanctification, and thus denies Keswick theology.[1104]

Keswick unbiblically depreciates the importance of sanctification as a process, as progressive growth. This fact is evident in direct statements such as that, for Keswick, “[s]anctification is primarily and fundamentally . . . no[t] a process”[1105] and that the “conventional threefold division” which considers sanctification as positional, progressive,[1106] and ultimate is not characteristic of Keswick in the way the crisis, gift, process division is.[1107] This neglect of progressive sanctification also evidences itself in that Barabas spends only half a page on this aspect of the doctrine, while he spends forty pages describing sanctification as a crisis and a gift—progressive sanctification gets 1.25% the treatment that the other aspects receive in Keswick. Indeed, considering the entire scope of Barabas’s discussion of “God’s Provision For Sin” and “Consecration,” where the Keswick doctrine of sanctification as crisis, gift, and process is explicated and contrasted with the views he deems erroneous, the discussion of progressive sanctification receives attention only 0.75% of the time.[1108] This vast underemphasis stands in stark contrast to the tremendous amount of Biblical material dealing with progress in sanctification.

What Barabas writes in his half-page on progressive sanctification is, however, sound; although it is not properly prominent, nonetheless Keswick is said to accept the classical doctrine that “experimental sanctification is the day-by-day transformation of the believer into the image of Christ, and is progressive in nature. Beginning at regeneration, it continues all through life, but is never complete.”[1109] Barabas indicates his dependence in his discussion of progressive sanctification upon the exposition of The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life by Evan Hopkins.[1110] Hopkins learned the Higher Life theology from William Boardman and Mr. and Mrs. Pearsall Smith[1111] and was brought to adopt Keswick theology after looking at the placid face of one who had received it,[1112] having sat at the feet of the Smiths and Mr. Boardman from the time of the first spiritualist-hosted Broadlands Conference onwards[1113] even to the last one.[1114] He “was for years the acknowledged leader of the Keswick teaching” and “the theologian of the movement. . . . He spoke at the first Keswick Convention, and appeared at Keswick as a leader for thirty-nine years without a break. No one was regarded with greater respect there than he.”[1115] While Hopkins was deeply influenced by the heretics surrounding him at Keswick and Broadlands, what he states in the section of his book on which Barabas depends[1116] is as Scriptural[1117] as what Barabas derives from him. Hopkins even admirably affirms, quoting another writer, that in sanctification “the whole aspect of human nature is transformed.”[1118] Barabas claims Keswick acknowledges that the process aspect of sanctification includes “a soul that is continually increasing in the knowledge of God, and abounding in fruits of righteousness . . . [and] continued progress in the development of Christ-like character.”[1119] Such an affirmation is certainly Biblical.

What is unusual about such affirmations by the Keswick advocate is that they sound remarkably like the statement by Warfield that the “Holy Spirit . . . cures our sinning precisely by curing our sinful nature; He makes the tree good that the fruit may be good,”[1120] yet Barabas inveighs against the doctrine of Warfield as an unscriptural position that Keswick opposes. If there is no real difference between the doctrine of Keswick and that of Warfield, Barabas’s attack on Warfield is, at this point, inexplicable and unjustifiable; if there is a difference, Barabas does not make its character clear at all. It would have been of great value to see Barabas attempt to reconcile the classical model of sanctification as positional, progressive, and ultimate and the “more characteristic” division of sanctification by Keswick as process, crisis, and gift. Had he successfully done so, one could not claim that such a reconciliation is impossible. Unfortunately, Barabas simply asserts that Keswick accepts, although it deemphasizes, the classic model alongside of its usual and characteristic process, crisis, and gift model, without the slightest explanation of how the two apparently strongly divergent positions can both be true. The palpable contradictions between the two models are ignored, probably because the “Convention is not interested in academic discussions of theology or ethics, or even adding to the store of Bible knowledge of those who attend”[1121] and “Keswick furnishes us with . . . no carefully prepared, weighty discourses of a theological nature.”[1122] Since the classic position that sanctification involves the progressive transformation of the believer into the image of Christ appears to directly contradict the Keswick position that God the Holy Ghost does not make the Christian himself more inwardly holy and less sinful, Keswick’s affirmations that “purity [is] never a state,”[1123] and that “holiness does not consist in a state of purity”[1124] seem utterly irreconcilable with the classic doctrine of progressive sanctification it claims to uphold.[1125] Keswick’s affirmation of both its characteristic crisis, gift, and process model and the classic doctrine of progressive sanctification appears unintelligible.

Illuminating further the tension between the Keswick attempt to affirm both its standard model of sanctification and classical orthodoxy, Barabas states: “Much is made by Keswick of sanctification as a crisis. It is true, Keswick says, that sanctification invariably begins at regeneration. There can be no question about this. On the other hand, many Christians do not make the progress in sanctification that they should. . . . For this reason real progress is often not made until they come to a spiritual crisis.”[1126] The affirmation that sanctification invariably begins at regeneration is certainly Scriptural—the affirmation that many Christians do not grow as much as they should could only be improved by affirming that no Christian grows as much as he really ought to. Keswick is to be applauded for affirming with the Scriptures and historic Baptist doctrine that sanctification begins with regeneration, but the nature of this pre-crisis sanctification is difficult to determine on characteristic Keswick theological presuppositions. Furthermore, if only “often” does “real progress” fail to take place without a crisis, then sometimes “real progress” does take place without a crisis. If Barabas means what he says, then Keswick concedes that sanctification always begins at justification and that believers can grow in a great way without ever having a post-conversion crisis experience of the sort that the Convention emphasizes. What, then, becomes of the Keswick criticism that those who affirm that sanctification is certain for all the regenerate, and no Keswick crisis is required, are teaching that growth is “automatic”?[1127] How can Keswick unite this concession to the clear teaching of the Bible with its typical doctrine that “sanctification is a process beginning with a crisis”?[1128] How can sanctification both begin at regeneration, and yet not begin until after regeneration one experiences a crisis? The tension between these positions is palpable in Barabas’s successive quotations from Hopkins and Andrew Murray. Hopkins affirmed: “No one . . . can be really trusting Christ to save him from the penalty of sin who is not as sincerely desiring to be saved from its power. . . . The essence of conversion is the turning away from sin unto God. The soul that truly receives forgiveness is set also upon holiness.” Murray stated: “[V]ery many Christians at conversion . . . never think of saying that they are no more going to have their own will . . . there is real need [therefore, after conversion], to put one’s whole life under the management of Jesus.”[1129] Barabas states later that “so many . . . Christians . . . have never faced a crisis in their lives—a crisis involving who will be the master of their lives: they themselves, or Christ,”[1130] and that “not many . . . Christians . . . know what is meant by [Christ’s] lordship over their lives.”[1131] How can someone turn from sin, sincerely desiring to be saved from its power, and become set upon holiness (Hopkins) without even thinking about not having his own will, without putting his life under the management of Christ, and without deciding who will be the master of his life (Murray)? Is this another instance where Keswick’s lack of “carefully prepared, weighty discourses of a theological nature”[1132] places its system in at least apparent contradiction, so that a demonstration of how such affirmations can be reconciled is required, but lacking?   Or is the fact of the matter rather that the Keswick theology is truly contradictory,[1133] caught between the teaching of Scripture that all who are justified are also changed and the development of its system from its historical roots in the Broadlands Conference and in Higher Life ideas that water down the power of regeneration to exalt a post-conversion crisis at which alone sanctification is initiated? The Keswick doctrine of sanctification as process is both greatly underemphasized and is unintelligible.[1134]

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

Applications from the Analysis and Critique of Keswick Theology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excursus XII: Do Keswick Critics Routinely Misrepresent Keswick Theology?

The contradictory nature and unintelligibility of the Higher Life position[1135] explains why defenders of Keswick can complain that its critics employ “inaccuracy” and “major misrepresentation” when discussing the movement.[1136] Unlike Scripture, which is the non-contradictory and clear revelation from God about how to live a holy life for His glory, the contradictions, shallow understanding of theology, and ecumenical confusion evident at Keswick produced the following self-assessment by Keswick leaders:

Defining the fine points of Keswick teaching is not a simple exercise, for there has never been in its history an agreed system of the particular truths it has purported to proclaim. A supposed Keswick view on something may depend on who is speaking at the time. When it is stated fairly emphatically that “Keswick teaches such and such,” as has often been done, it is usually possible to find teaching from the Keswick platform that has given a different slant, an alternative interpretation, or a completely contradictory one altogether. . . . Critiquing “Keswick teaching” is a little like trying to hit a moving target, or getting hold of a piece of soap in the bath. . . . It is important to keep in mind the . . . sharply different views of different speakers. . . . [M]any phases of the doctrine of holiness have been presented by a wide variety of speakers, some of them contradictory. . . . Baptists, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Brethren, Reformed, charismatics, and those of other persuasions can stand shoulder to shoulder [at Keswick.] . . . Any attempt, therefore, to survey the preaching at Keswick and create a systematic picture . . . is bound to be unsatisfactory.[1137]

Rather than following the Biblical model and allowing no other doctrine than the truth (1 Timothy 1:3), separating from all error (Romans 16:17), and earnestly contending for all of the faith (Jude 3), Keswick will allow speakers to contradict each other and mislead their hearers with false teaching. Keswick critics are then accused of misrepresentation when they point out heresies and errors in Keswick writers and speakers. In a similar manner, separatists who point out that goddess worship goes on at the World Council of Churches can be accused of misrepresentation by ecumenists, since only some, but not all, those at the World Council worship goddesses. Thus, certain Keswick critics may represent Keswick inconsistently because Keswick is not itself consistent—inconsistency in representations of Keswick may, ironically, be the only consistent representation of the movement. Of course, a critic of Keswick certainly may fail to present its position fairly, just as critics of any position are not universally fair and accurate. However, a statement by a critic of the Higher Life such as Bruce Waltke that “the Keswick teaching [affirms] that from the inner passivity of looking to Christ to do everything will issue a perfection of performance”[1138] is an accurate statement of the dominant classical formulations of Keswick theology as taught by its founding leaders, not a misrepresentation. There is no evidence that critics of Keswick are more liable to engage in misrepresentation than others engaged in theological critique.

J. Robertson McQuilkin, arguing for the Keswick doctrine of sanctification in Five Views of Sanctification, wrote: “Two authors who attack the [Keswick] movement and are universally held by Keswick speakers to have misunderstood the teaching [are] Packer [in his] Keep in Step With the Spirit [and] Warfield [in his] Studies in Perfectionism.”[1139] The only evidence McQuilkin advances that Warfield misunderstood the Keswick theology is an anecdote. McQuilkin recounts:

[M]y father, Robert C. McQuilkin, a leader in the movement known as the Victorious Life Testimony, told me that when [Warfield’s Studies in Perfectionsim] was published, he went to Warfield and discussed the matter of Keswick teaching and perfectionism at length. Afterward Warfield admitted, “If I had known these things, I would not have included the last chapter [“The Victorious Life”] in my work.”[1140]

J. R. McQuilkin provides no actual instances of misunderstanding of the Keswick theology, misquotations of Keswick writers, or any other kind of hard evidence of misrepresentation by Warfield. Such hard evidence is very difficult to come by since more objective historiography describes Warfield’s Studies in Perfectionism as “meticulous and precise . . . extensive and detailed analysis . . . [of] the higher life, victorious life, and Keswick movements. Warfield’s treatment of these teachings . . . serves as a vivid sample of his thoroughness as a historical theologian.”[1141] Recording in 1987 in his Five Views chapter what McQuilkin claims his father told him Warfield had said in the early 1930s, long after the parties who allegedly engaged in the conversation were dead, is hardly actual evidence of misrepresentation, especially since both McQuilkins have a clear and strong interest in undermining the credibility of Warfield. Furthermore, J. R. McQuilkin has overlooked the overwhelming historical problems that make it certain that his anecdote is inaccurate. David Turner notes: “Something is amiss here, since Warfield’s . . . will provided for the publication of his critical reviews in book form, which occurred in 1932. Thus Warfield . . . could not have referred to retracting this last chapter of his book—he had been dead eleven years when it was published.”[1142] Similarly, Warfield scholar Fred G. Zaspel indicates:

Interesting as this [quote by McQuilkin] may be, the quote cannot be accurate. First, Warfield never saw the publication of his book Studies in Perfectionism. This two-volume work is a collection of essays that were originally published in various theological journals from 1918 to 1921, the last of which was published posthumously (1921); the two-volume work to which McQuilkin refers was not published until 1931-1932, some ten or eleven years after Warfield’s death. Second, the “last chapter” of the book to which this McQuilkin quote refers is the chapter on the higher life, which was in fact not the last but the very first article of the series published (1918). As to the accuracy of the substance of the remark . . . [w]e only know that while Warfield continued to write on the broader subject of holiness-perfectionism, he made no retractions.[1143]

Unless a Keswick continuationist raised Warfield from the dead so that he could recant of his critique of the Higher Life, McQuilkin’s quote concerning Warfield is historically impossible mythmaking. McQuilkin does not even provide hearsay to support his statement about Packer’s alleged misrepresentation. Perhaps these severe problems with McQuilkin’s affirmation explain why he affirms that Packer and Warfield are “universally held by Keswick speakers to have misunderstood the teaching”—Keswick writers might have to provide actual evidence, while speakers can simply make undocumented and inaccurate statements. Then again, McQuilkin does not just speak his attempt to discredit Warfield and Packer—he does register his charge in writing. While McQuilkin did actually write down the alleged but mythological recantation by Warfield, the Keswick apologist did not put his quotation in the main body of his chapter in the Five Views book, but in a concluding section, with the result that the other non-Keswick contributors were unable to point out the problems with and the vacuity of his affirmation. If one wishes to prove that Keswick has been misunderstood and misrepresented, mythmaking about Warfield and a passive voice verb, that Warfield and Packer “are universally held” to have misunderstood the system, fall abysmally short of the standard of real evidence.

Keswick apologists Price & Randall, discussing J. C. Ryle and J. I. Packer’s critiques of Keswick, join McQuilkin in bringing the standard charge of misrepresentation of Keswick.[1144] Again, no actual documentation of misrepresentation is forthcoming. Packer, for instance, is criticized for “misunderstand[ing]”[1145] Stephen Barabas’s Keswick work, So Great Salvation, when Packer simply quoted Barabas’s own words without any distortion whatever. Keswick authors have had a century[1146] to put in print actual evidence of Warfield or other Keswick critics misquoting Keswick authors or otherwise engaging in misrepresentation, manipulation, or misunderstanding. They have provided no proof of this kind. The hard facts indicate that the prominent Keswick critics Warfield, Packer, and Ryle understood Keswick theology very well.

Shortly after Warfield published his critique of the Higher Life, Keswick, and Victorious Life movements in the Princeton Review, W. H. Griffith Thomas wrote two articles in the Bibliotheca Sacra as a response to Warfield’s critique of the Victorious Life.[1147] Thomas affirmed that advocates of the Keswick theology “do not believe Dr. Warfield’s interpretation of their position is always and necessarily the true one,”[1148] possibly originating the common affirmation by later advocates of the Keswick theology that Warfield misrepresented the Higher Life doctrine. Thomas made “[n]o attempt . . . to deal with every contention, but only an effort to consider the more outstanding of [Warfield’s] criticisms.”[1149] Griffith Thomas makes some striking and eye-opening statements in his response to Warfield, such as: “I am convinced that Dr. Warfield has failed to recognize the element of truth, even in what he calls Pelagianism,”[1150] and: “‘Keswick’ stands for perfectionism. I have heard that scores of times, and so have you—and it does.”[1151] Modern Keswick apologists who charge critics with misrepresentation for associating Keswick with perfectionism need to similarly affirm that early defenders and promulgators of Keswick theology like Griffith Thomas also were guilty of misrepresentation. Not only early critics of Keswick, such as Warfield, but also early defenders, such as Griffith Thomas, must have failed to see Keswick’s opposition to perfectionism—only modern Keswick apologists have apparently discerned the truth invisible to those living far closer to the time the Higher Life system originated.

While making striking concessions to Warfield, Griffith Thomas also seeks to moderate Keswick errors, sometimes through a certain historical revisionism. For example, he wrote: “[H]ow free Mr. Pearsall Smith really was from the errors attributed by some people to him[!]”[1152] Griffith Thomas’s revisionism leads him, at times, to affirm positions directly contrary to those of central leaders of the Higher Life and Victorious Life movement whom Warfield critiques. Nonetheless, one can be thankful for whatever Scriptural affirmations Griffith Thomas makes, even if they contradict the actual affirmations of Keswick founders and promulgators.

Thomas makes a variety of criticisms of Warfield’s affirmations,[1153] a few of which are valid,[1154] but many of which are not themselves especially accurate. Thomas criticizes Warfield’s affirmation that the Keswick theology denies the possibility of actually becoming more sanctified or holy, but then strongly affirms that “there is no present . . . deliverance from corruption . . . . [no] essential difference between the youngest and the oldest Christian in regard to remaining corruption . . . no eradication . . . or even improvement . . . [only] counteraction,”[1155] demonstrating that Warfield has not misunderstood the Keswick position at all. Thomas attempts to separate the Keswick theology from its roots in Wesleyan, Oberlin, and other earlier perfectionisms. Nonetheless, he concedes that the first Keswick convention had Oberlin leader Asa Mahan as speaker and admits that Warfield can “quote [Keswick] writers”[1156] that support his affirmations. Griffith Thomas himself even stated elsewhere that “the roots of the distinctive teaching . . . [of the] Keswick Convention . . . can easily be traced in the writings of . . . John Wesley [and his proposed successor in the Methodist movement] Fletcher of Madeley.”[1157] Indeed, Thomas very rarely seeks to demonstrate that Warfield quoted any Higher Life writer out of context, and Thomas never quotes any Keswick writer warning about or reproving the errors Warfield exposes in those founders and writers of Keswick theology that the Princetonian examines. The best Thomas can do is to find, in certain situations, certain Keswick writers who are more sane and orthodox than Higher Life and Keswick founders such as H. W. and R. P. Smith or Mark Boardman, and then state that these authors—rather than the Keswick teachers, leaders, and founders upon which Warfield focuses his critique—truly represent the Higher Life position. However, while criticizing Warfield for exposing the errors of Keswick founders, Thomas freely admits:

[T]he modern Holiness Movement came to England very largely, if not almost entirely, through Mr. R. Pearsall Smith . . . Humanly speaking, but for him there would probably have been no Conventions, beginning with that at Oxford, extending to Brighton, and spreading all over the kingdom, of which the Conventions at Keswick are best known[.] . . . [M]any thousands who have been definitely helped [by Keswick theology] little know how much they owe to “R. P. S.” for the life more abundant that they enjoy.[1158]

Griffith Thomas avers that “Mr. Trumbull . . . H. W. Smith . . . Mr. Boardma[n] . . . [are] men and women . . .sincere and . . . earnest”[1159] and fails to whisper the slightest warning about the severe errors they held. Thomas’s critique of Warfield is largely unsuccessful.

Griffith Thomas’s response to Warfield, very regrettably but perhaps unsurprisingly, is not based solely on the results of grammatical-historical exegesis. In addition to making some very curious and unsustainable affirmations about the meaning of passages,[1160] Thomas argues for the Keswick theology based on what he has “observed,” on “experience,” and on “very many a Christian experience.”[1161] In Griffith Thomas’s mind, Warfield is wrong because “experience in general gives no suggestion” of his position and “there is no general evidence of” Warfield’s doctrine “in Christian lives.”[1162] While affirming, though not expositing passages to prove it, that Warfield contradicts Scripture in affirming progressive eradication and renewal, Thomas also argues that “Warfield . . . is disproved . . . by experience of everyday life.”[1163] Thomas’s second article, “The Victorious Life (II.),” is almost useless for someone who wishes to build doctrine from Scripture alone, as the great majority of it is essentially nothing but testimonials from various people about how wonderful the Keswick theology is and how it has helped them, a sort of compilation that the most extreme Word-Faith proponent, or a member of Mary Baker Eddy’s cult, or a Mormon, could compile to support their respective heresies. After telling stories about how people adopted Higher Life theology and felt better afterwards, Griffith Thomas concludes: “I submit, with all deference to Dr. Warfield, yet with perfect confidence, that the convinced acceptance of the Keswick movement by such [men] . . . is impressive enough to make people inquire whether, after all, it does not stand for essential Biblical truth.”[1164] Griffith Thomas would have done far better had he carefully exposited Scripture to develop his theology of sanctification, and to have placed “perfect confidence” in the Word of God, the true sole authority for faith and practice, rather than placing such confidence in men and their testimonials. Properly exegeted Scripture, not testimonial, is the touchstone for truth. Unfortunately, rather than arguing from Scripture alone, Thomas concludes that since “Evangelical clergymen . . . have found” the Keswick theology “to be their joy, comfort, and strength,” it must be true:

[We are] more and more certain that in holding [Keswick theology] and teaching it we are absolutely loyal to the “old, old story.” . . . [A]ble and clear-minded Christian men bear testimony to [Keswick] experience . . . [n]o experience which carries moral and ethical value can be without a basis of some truth . . . the rich experiences to which testimony is given . . . the possession of an experience which has evidently enriched their lives . . . [is] not to be set aside by any purely doctrinal and theoretical criticism.[1165]

The Keswick experience, Griffith Thomas avers, is not to be set aside by criticism of its doctrine from Scripture alone. Thomas illustrates, in the final paragraph of his critique, his paradigmatic response to Keswick critics. He tells a story about a time when he was in the presence of an “Evangelical clergyman in England who took a very strong line against Keswick and reflected on it for what he regarded as its errors, in the light of . . . old-fashioned Evangelicalism.”[1166] Thomas did not, in response, show from the Bible alone the truth of the Keswick theology; rather, he “told” the critic of his “experience in the spiritual life” and entrance into “a spiritual experience of light, liberty, joy, and power,” so that “the messages . . . of the Keswick Convention” provided “confirmation . . . of my personal experiences.”[1167] Thus, Scripture must be interpreted in light of Keswick experiences.[1168] While one who rejects sola Scriptura might find such argumentation of value, those who build their doctrine from the Bible alone and evaluate spiritual experience from the truth of its teaching alone will find Griffith Thomas’s case remarkably unconvincing. If the Apostle Peter’s incredible experience of seeing the transfiguration of Christ was subordinate to Scripture, a “more sure word of prophecy” (2 Peter 1:16-21), what place can the experiences of Keswick proponents have in comparison to Scripture? Thomas does, however, effectively illustrate the methods through which the Keswick theology spreads among the people of God. By means of personal narrations of having “received the blessing,” entered the Higher Life, and the like, by means of written testimonials and devotional works, and by means of special conventions and gatherings where careful exegesis and Bible study are not undertaken, the Keswick theology spreads among those who are not well-grounded in a Biblical doctrine of sanctification, despite its abysmal failure to effectively deal with devastating, unrefuted, and irrefutable exegetical and theological critiques of Keswick.[1169]

It is possible that Griffith Thomas’s failure to build his doctrine of sanctification from Scripture alone is related to his toleration of weakness on the inspiration of Scripture. Thomas “had a deep sympathy with . . . James Orr,”[1170] to whom, among a few other theologians, he dedicated his The Holy Spirit of God and of whom he spoke very highly in that book.[1171] Dr. Orr “was unconcerned to defend a literal interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis, and . . . took the view that an insistence on biblical inerrancy was actually ‘suicidal.’”[1172]Consequently, “as the fundamentalist–modernist controversy broke out in America[,] [Griffith Thomas] consistently refused to utter the shibboleths (which he blamed on ‘puritanism’) about historical criticism or biblical inerrancy or matters of science that were essentials for many.”[1173] However, to Griffith Thomas’s credit, even if he did refuse to take as strong a stand as he should have in some very important areas of Bibliology, what he does say about the doctrine when he exposits it[1174] is commendable and consistent with a regenerate state. Credit should, therefore, be given to him where it is due.

Unfortunately, as an Anglican, Griffith Thomas defended baptismal heresy in his comments on his denomination’s doctrinal creed, the Thirty Nine Articles:

Baptism . . . is an instrument of regeneration under five aspects; (a) Incorporation with the Church; (b) ratification of the promise of remission; (c) ratification of the promise of adoption; (d) strengthening of faith; (e) increase of grace. . . . Baptism introduces us into a new and special relation to Christ. It provides and guarantees a spiritual change in the condition of the recipient[.] . . . The words “new birth” suggest that Baptism introduced us into a new relation and new circumstances with the assurance of new power. . . . [T]he Reformers in their own books and also in the Formularies for which they are responsible, did not intend to condemn all doctrines of Baptismal Regeneration . . . in the theology of the Reformation the controversy did not turn on the question whether there was or was not a true doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration, for the Reformers never hesitated to admit that Baptism is the Sacrament of Regeneration.[1175]

Thomas also defends the Anglican Baptismal Service, which declares: “Seeing now that this child is regenerate” after the administration of the “sacrament.” He likewise defends the Anglican Catechism, in which the catechumen speaks of: “My Baptism, wherein I was made a member of Christ.” However, Griffith Thomas, as a low-church Anglican, seeks to minimize and explain away such terrible sacramental heresies in his denomination in a way that is, one hopes, consistent with his own genuine new birth, making arguments similar to the sort of minimalization and confusion of language that Bishop Handley Moule employed in his attempts to reconcile Anglican liturgy and the Pauline gospel of justification by faith alone.

Not surprisingly, Griffith Thomas was also a continuationist, although, just as his Keswick theology was more moderate and sane than that of many of his fellows, so his continuationism, although still a rejection of Scriptural cessationism, was of a more moderate form than that of the Keswick trajectory represented by the Christian and Missionary Alliance and Pentecostalism. Thomas wrote the introduction to R. V. Bingham’s book The Bible and the Body,[1176] and affirmed that Bingham’s position was “the true position” which Thomas was glad to “cal[l] attention to.”[1177] Bingham, the founder of “Canadian Keswick,”[1178] while making a great number of excellent points against more radical continuationism, taught in The Bible and the Body that the sign gifts have not ceased, but that on “most of the foreign fields”—Bingham was the founder of the Sudan Interior Mission—the “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.[1179] To describe the first century as “the age of miracles” which is now “past” is an error.[1180] In “this dispensation” God still gives “the gift of healing,”[1181] and in answering the question about whether the signs of the book of Acts are for today, Bingham answers that, in some “conditions, yes.”[1182] Griffith Thomas and Bingham are also far too generous to proponents of more radical continuationist error. Thomas “plead[s], as Mr. Bingham does, for liberty, and [is] . . . ready to give it to those who believe” in the exact errors on “Healing” that are very effectively refuted in his book—he will not separate from those who promulgate errors on healing, but will speak of those in “the healing cults” as “our friends” who have “honoured and saintly leaders.”[1183]

Thus, as Griffith Thomas defended the errors of Keswick sanctification, although in a more cool-headed way than many of his Keswick contemporaries, so he likewise defended Keswick continuationism or anti-cessationism, although likewise in a more cool-headed way than many. He also followed the traditional Keswick refusal to separate from the more radical ideas on sanctification and sign gifts of many of his fellow promulgators of the Keswick theology. His defense of Keswick against B. B. Warfield, while superior to McQuilkin’s promulgation of Warfield’s mythological posthumous recantation, still remains fundamentally a failure to those who hold consistently to sola Scriptura. Keswick’s apologists have both failed to provide solid exegetical answers to critics and failed to demonstrate that Keswick critics generally misunderstand or misrepresent the Higher Life system. While Keswick critics in the world of scholarship are far from infallible, no convincing evidence exists that they routinely misrepresent Higher Life theology.

Keswick 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, and Watchman Nee

I. Introduction

 

            Scripture[1184] and history[1185] require cessationism, the view that miraculous spiritual gifts and specific sign miracles ceased in apostolic days.[1186] 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.[1187] 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.”[1188] 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.”[1189] 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.[1190]

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.”[1191] Keswick perfectionism is intimately connected with both the Faith or Mind Cure and the Pentecostal movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, respectively.[1192] On the other hand, “the cessationist view of miracles proved a major hindrance to th[e] embrace of faith cure.”[1193] An examination of forty-five representative Pentecostal pioneers indicated:

Nearly all[1194] 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.[1195]

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,”[1196] 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.”[1197] 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.”[1198] 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[.][1199]

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.[1200] The Oberlin perfectionism and continuationism of Asa Mahan also was an important influence.[1201] Furthermore, the expectation of the presence of continuing miracles,[1202] 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)[1203] and in the mysticism of Madame Guyon, Fénelon, and other Romanist mystics,[1204] influenced Keswick continuationism and the Pentecostalism that developed from it[1205] both indirectly through Wesley and Methodism[1206] and directly through the impact of Romanist mystical writings on Hannah Whitall Smith[1207] and others.[1208] Thus, “proponents of faith cure . . . [drew] heavily upon the classic works of mystical authors such as Madame Guyon and Fenelon[.]”[1209] Indeed, many continuationist marvels, such as speaking in tongues, require the rejection of the activity of the mind[1210] 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,’”[1211] 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.”[1212] 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.[1213]

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.”[1214]

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.[1215]

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.[1216] As today there are “Quaker Pentecostals,”[1217] and Quakers were associated with the Pentecostal movement from its very beginning,[1218] similarly “the early Quakers . . . experienced glossolalia,”[1219] and there were “prominent Quaker Pentecostal[s] . . . in Pentecostal leadership.”[1220] “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.”[1221] Keswick theology permeated the institutions promulgating Pentecostalism.[1222] The “Keswick movement” made “extremely important contributions to the development of pentecostalism,”[1223] 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.[1224]

“It is thus no accident that Pentecostalism emerged when it did. All that was needed was the spark that would ignite this volatile tinder.”[1225] 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.[1226]

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.[1227] 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”).[1228]

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.”[1229] 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.”[1230] The rules regulating the gift of tongues specified by Paul in 1 Corinthians were “ignored . . . in all the early Pentecostal meetings.”[1231] 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.[1232] 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.”[1233] The mind must not be used to interpret Scripture.[1234] Experience[1235] is superior to Biblical theology and logical study of Biblical teaching.[1236] 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.”[1237]

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.[1238]

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.[1239] 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[.]”[1240] William Seymour, the central figure of Azuza Street, learned the Pentecostal theology at the Bible school associated with Parham’s Faith Cure home.[1241]   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.”[1242] 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.”[1243] It is very clear that “Keswick . . . played an important role as a precursor to the Pentecostal and charismatic movements”[1244]—indeed, the “[t]he Keswick movement . . . was absolutely crucial to the development of Pentecostalism.”[1245] Not surprisingly, “the early Pentecostal understanding of sanctification was . . . a view emanating from the Keswick understanding of consecration and surrender to the Holy Spirit.”[1246] 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.”[1247] The “workers at ‘Azuza’ . . . were largely called and prepared . . . from the Holiness ranks.”[1248] 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.[1249]

Pentecostalism was simply a further development of the evil fruit of unscriptural doctrine and practice found in the holiness and Higher Life movements.[1250]

II. William Boardman

William Boardman, a grocer from Illinois[1251] and a New School Presbyterian who was strongly influenced by Charles Finney, Asa Mahan, and Phoebe Palmer,[1252] 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,[1253] as well as preaching at the Keswick Convention itself.[1254] Indeed, one could say that “Boardman helped to found the Keswick movement . . . with [Robert] Pearsall and Hannah Whitall Smith.”[1255] Through Mr. Boardman, “the despised doctrine of the early Methodists”—perfectionism and continuationism—“has become the glorious heritage of all denominations,”[1256] for he “was the first standard-bearer on the subject of the Higher Life.”[1257] The Higher Christian Life, which he wrote in three months[1258] 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.[1259] 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.”[1260] While “[t]rained theologians could tear its arguments to shreds” and “detractors” thought it “poison,” its influence was, nonetheless, vast.[1261] “Wherever the English language is spoken, his books have gone.”[1262] 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”[1263] 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,”[1264] 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.[1265] 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,[1266] 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.”[1267] 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,”[1268] 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.[1269]

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.[1270] Nonetheless, since he looked for an ecumenical union of Christendom,[1271] 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.[1272] 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[1273] 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.[1274] 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[1275] 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.[1276]

Thus, “full justification includ[es] sanctification from sin,”[1277] 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[.]”[1278] 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;[1279] 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,”[1280] 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.”[1281] 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.[1282] 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”[1283] 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.”[1284] 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.”[1285] 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,[1286] 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,[1287] through whom its kernel made its way into Pentecostalism.[1288] 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.”[1289] 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.[1290] 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[1291] for sanctification.[1292] 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[.]”[1293] 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.”[1294] 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.[1295] 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[1296] 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.[1297] 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.[1298] 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].[1299]

Thus, an old lady who had been expelled from the Fourth Presbyterian Church of E. N. Kirk[1300] 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[1301]—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”[1302] 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.”[1303] 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.[1304] 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.[1305] 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,[1306] also came to have shiny faces through the receipt of the second blessing, Spirit baptism, and entrance into the Higher Life,[1307] and a happy-looking face brought many into the Higher Life that could not be brought in by Biblical exegesis.[1308]

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.[1309] 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,[1310] their joint efforts culminating in the spiritist-backed Conference at Broadlands and its successors at Oxford and Brighton, the precursors to Keswick.[1311] 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.[1312] 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.[1313]

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.[1314] 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.[1315] 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.[1316] 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.[1317] 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.”[1318] 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.[1319] 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.”[1320] 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.[1321] His book “on divine healing, The Lord That Healeth Thee, . . . had significant impact on many . . . especially [A. B.] Simpson,”[1322] founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Boardman, who had written a book entitled Faith Work under Dr. Cullis in Boston,[1323]was led to publicly adopt the Faith Cure doctrine through “a meeting with Dr. Cullis[1324] during [Cullis’s] visit to America in the summer of 1875.”[1325] “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.”[1326] He became “a major leader of the broader Holiness movement,” as well as a central figure in the Faith or Mind Cure,[1327] promoting not just Boardman, but also the Higher Life continuationists Hannah W. Smith, Theodore Monod, Asa Mahan, and Thomas Upham.[1328] 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.”[1329] 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.”[1330] 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,”[1331] his “espousal of faith healing [being] explain[ed] [by] his background in homeopathic medicine . . . [and] embrace of perfectionist theology[.]”[1332] Soon Cullis was reporting that many Faith Cures had taken place through his instrumentality,[1333] although he failed to report with the like prominence that he himself suffered, for decades, from a severe heart problem that was never healed.[1334] 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.”[1335] 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.”[1336] 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.”[1337] Boardman recounted,[1338] 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.[1339]

Boardman reported this case to many others, so that it became the “most frequently quoted”[1340] 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,’”[1341] 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.”[1342] 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[1343] 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.[1344]

Thus, Boardman, like Cullis and advocates of the Faith Cure in general,[1345] were “not always as careful as they might be in ascertaining the actual facts of the cases of cure which they report.”[1346] 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.”[1347] 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.”[1348] The “full gospel” includes doing what Christ did and “healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”[1349] Indeed, healing is very important, for it can “turn the day” when “His gentler forces of grace and truth have failed.”[1350] 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),[1351] 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.”[1352] “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.”[1353] 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.”[1354] Testimonials evidenced that “here and there the gift of healing has been bestowed. . . . Gifts of healing have been manifested in a number of places,”[1355] including a powerful manifestation of many Faith Cures at Dr. Cullis’ Faith Cure home in Boston,[1356] that place of origin, hotbed and center of work for the Christian Science cult and Mind Cure of Mary Baker Eddy.[1357] 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.”[1358] Soon the “Faith-house called ‘Bethshan’ was opened by Mrs. Baxter[1359] and Miss Murray in 1882,” as well as Mrs. Boardman,[1360] “to accommodate the patients who resorted to”[1361] Mr. Boardman, and “at Bethshan dear Mr. Boardman was both the father and the pastor of the work.”[1362] 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.[1363] Bethshan was the flagship of the late nineteenth century “‘Faith-Homes’ established in America [which espoused] the treatment of disease by prayer alone,”[1364] as “little groups of Christians here and there accepted the teaching of Bethshan and . . . other ‘Healing Homes’ were established[.]”[1365] At such Faith Homes “treatments . . . did not involve medicinal therapies of any sort . . . the means prescribed [were] prayer, laying on of hands, and anointing.”[1366] 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.”[1367] Boardman, and the Christian and Missionary Alliance that adopted his position, followed Charles Cullis[1368] 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.[1369] 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.”[1370]

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,”[1371] 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[1372] 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.”[1373] 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,”[1374] 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.”[1375] It is the “will of God to heal all our diseases,” with no exceptions;[1376] “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.”[1377] 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,”[1378] and “from first to last healing of the body [is] side by side with salvation of the soul.”[1379] 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!”[1380] Testimonials of people who were healed prove the truth of this view indubitably.[1381] 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.[1382]

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.[1383] “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.”[1384] 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.”[1385] 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.”[1386] 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.[1387] 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,”[1388] 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.[1389] 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.[1390]

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.[1391] 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.[1392] 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.[1393]

James[1394] instructs a very ill person, who must summon the elders to come to him (v. 14) since he is unable to go to them,[1395] to call for church leadership[1396] to come and pray for him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.[1397] 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),[1398] 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).[1399] 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).[1400] On the other hand, a refusal to repent under sicknesses that are the Father’s chastisement can lead to untimely death.[1401] 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”[1402] is a specific,[1403] Divinely enabled and energized[1404] petition for healing, for the person to be healed and raised up from his bed of sickness.[1405] 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[1406] 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,[1407] and James commends the use of medical means with his reference to anointing with oil.[1408] The verb to anoint in James 5:14 is not the verb expected for ceremonial anointing,[1409] but a general anointing that would include the use of oil for physical and psychological well-being.[1410] 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).[1411] “[W]ounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores” are to be “closed . . . bound up . . . [and] mollified with ointment [oil][1412]” (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.[1413] 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?[1414] 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.[1415] 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)[1416]

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.[1417] 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)[1418] 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,[1419] 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,[1420] 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,[1421] and, furthermore, the related verb[1422] is used in the pastoral epistles only of Trophimus’ sickness (2 Timothy 4:20), which Boardman admits is actual sickness.[1423] 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,”[1424] 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.”[1425] Although Scripture does not record the healing of Trophimus at all, while Epaphroditus was “nigh unto death”[1426] 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”[1427] 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,[1428] 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.”[1429] 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.[1430] 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).[1431] 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.[1432]

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.[1433] 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.[1434] 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.[1435] Indeed, “in many of the meetings for healing there would be nothing for the eye to see.”[1436] 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”[1437] the great majority of the time; rather, people were “not healed perfectly at once,” but simply “felt comfortable.”[1438] In the “faith-cures of our time . . . many . . . are not instantaneously entire, but by stages, and some of them quite lingering . . . healing remains incomplete.”[1439] 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.”[1440] 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.”[1441] 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.[1442] Another lady, a missionary, was healed, although her “disease continued with UNABATED force” for some time.[1443] Another woman was healed, although it took “a few months” for her disease to be gone.[1444] 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.[1445] 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.”[1446] 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,”[1447] 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.[1448] 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.[1449] Those who are “fully brought into union with Him” are without fail “made whole in body,”[1450] 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.[1451] 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.”[1452] 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,”[1453] and only healed “to the full measure of faith”[1454] 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.”[1455] 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.”[1456] God permitted Job to suffer disease so that he would not “remai[n] in his false trust in his own righteousness”[1457] but enter into the Higher Life and because Job was not willing to listen to God’s warnings,[1458] 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.”[1459] 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,[1460] for without it the Higher Life theology is obliterated[1461]—is false, such an affirmation would smack of immense pride, an astonishing lack of insight into the point of the book of Job,[1462] 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[1463] 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.[1464]

(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.[1465] 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.[1466]

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.[1467] 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,[1468] 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.”[1469]The “broad holiness principles” of Boardman “summarize distinctive holiness theology as they later undergirded distinctive Pentecostal theology.”[1470] 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.[1471] 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,[1472] as “a whole host of . . . participants in the divine healing movement . . . [spread by] Charles Cullis” and channeled through the Higher Life movement “became Pentecostals.”[1473]

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.[1474] 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.[1475] 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).[1476]

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,”[1477] 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.”[1478] He wrote approximately 240 books and tracts[1479] in English and Dutch, translated into a large number of languages, including, among a number of others, French, German, Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Chinese,[1480] Japanese, Russian, Arabic, Yiddish, and Urdu.[1481] He could write quickly, as his writings,[1482] 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.[1483] 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,”[1484] which spread the Keswick theology around the globe. He was both associated with “Keswick” and with “Mr. Moody,”[1485] and, his Faith Cure theology being well known,[1486] he spoke at the Keswick Convention in 1895[1487] at the invitation of its Quaker co-founder Robert Wilson,[1488] 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?”[1489] Murray also preached at a variety of other Higher Life venues,[1490] 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.[1491] The two-faith position of Murray and Boardman passed directly from the Higher Life theology into Pentecostalism.[1492] Murray also adopted from William Boardman, in connection with other Higher Life and Faith Cure influences,[1493] the theories of sanctification and healing by faith alone.[1494] 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,[1495] that adoption of this false pneumatological doctrine was key for entry into the Higher Life, revival, and a restoration of the sign gifts.[1496] 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.[1497]

Murray also wrote an entire book to “help some to see that the second blessing is just what they need.”[1498] 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.”[1499]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,[1500] 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.”[1501] 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.”[1502] Murray connected his error on the indwelling of the Spirit with the idea that in regeneration the believer gains only a “renewed regenerate spirit,”[1503] 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.[1504] Murray’s belief that only the spirit was regenerated was important in his rejection of Biblical activity in Christian sanctification for Keswick Quietism.[1505] 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,”[1506] for the Christian conflict is not, as Scripture represents it, between the flesh and the spirit, but between the soul and the Spirit[1507]—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.”[1508] 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,”[1509] despite dissent from the Higher Life theology by other Christian leaders.[1510] 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.[1511]

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.”[1512] Murray’s The Children for Christ was written strongly under Spencer’s influence, although the “High Priest of materialism”[1513] and evolutionist “Spencer was the chief exponent of agnosticism in 19th-century England.”[1514] Murray “delighted also in the writings of” men such as the theological liberals and idolaters P. T. Forsyth[1515] and Adolf Harnack.[1516] 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.”[1517] 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.”[1518] The biography of George Fox was a favorite.[1519] Murray also stated: “I approve of [the] books [of] . . . [Thomas] Upham and . . . and recommend them.”[1520]

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.”[1521] 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.”[1522] 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[.]”[1523] 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,”[1524] 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,[1525]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.[1526] 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.[1527] 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.”[1528]

Medieval Roman Catholic mysticism and quietism had a very influential and lifelong influence on Murray. The devout Mary worshipper, receiver of inspired oracles,[1529] 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.”[1530] 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.”[1531] 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.[1532] 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[.]”[1533]

Murray was amenable to the Keswick continuationist theology because of “his inadequate theological training . . . [he was] a minister by the time he was twenty”[1534] (cf. 1 Timothy 3:6), and the limited training he did receive was within a hotbed of rationalism and theological liberalism,[1535] 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.[1536] “Conversion was an antiquated word.”[1537] 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.”[1538] 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.[1539] 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,[1540] 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.”[1541] 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.”[1542]

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.[1543] “For twenty years he was president of the Holiness movement in South Africa,”[1544] the country where he ministered. Among other theological errors,[1545] 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,”[1546] yielding to be “a passive instrument possessed by God,”[1547] 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.”[1548] 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.”[1549] 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.”[1550] Murray also altered the previous practice of his church to permit women to lead the congregation, including the men, in prayer.[1551] He further averred: “Perfection . . . is a Bible truth . . . and Perfectionism . . . may . . . be . . . truth.”[1552] He “frequently deplored the fact that . . . Christians in general were ‘terribly afraid of perfectionism.’”[1553]

In 1882—the year Murray’s first book, Abide in Christ,[1554] appeared in English[1555]—through the influence of Boardman and Stockmeyer,[1556] and while “visiting England in search of health” and visiting “Keswick,”[1557] 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.[1558] The initial impetus to his adoption of the Faith Cure was reading Boardman’s The Lord thy Healer,[1559] and study, not of the Bible, but of “the work of Dorothea Trüdel and Dr. Cullis . . . removed from [his] mind all doubts,”[1560] 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[1561] . . . 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.[1562] . . . Disease is a chastisement . . . [w]e ask the Lord truly to impart to the body the eternal youth of His heavenly life,[1563] 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[.][1564] . . .

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.[1565] 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.[”][1566] . . . 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.”][1567] . . . 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.[1568] 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[1569] 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.[1570] . . . 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![1571]

“The subject of faith healing continued to engross Mr. Murray’s attention for several years after his return to South Africa”[1572] from Boardman’s Bethshan Institute of Healing.[1573] 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[.]’”[1574] 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.”[1575] 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[.][1576] . . . 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[1577] 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[1578] 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[1579] . . . [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.[1580] 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.[1581] . . .

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[.][1582]

Murray with “fervency . . . [and] intensity of conviction . . . both preached and practiced the doctrines of healing by faith,”[1583] so that many learned from Murray to “take no medicines for any disease.”[1584] 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.”[1585] 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[.][1586]

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.[1587] 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,[1588] 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.[1589]

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,[1590] although she “was like himself strongly convinced of the truth of faith healing.”[1591] 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.[1592] 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.”[1593] 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.”[1594] Murray taught, as did John MacMillan,[1595] A. B. Simpson,[1596] 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.”[1597] 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.”[1598] It was best for believers to cease using medicine[1599] 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.”[1600] 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.”[1601] 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.”[1602] 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”[1603]: “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.”[1604] 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[1605]—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.[1606] 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.”[1607]He affirmed that God may lead believers today through “heavenly voices.”[1608] 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.[1609]

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,”[1610] were important in theological trajectory from Keswick to Pentecostalism.[1611]

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.”[1612] 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.[1613] Furthermore, Murray “acted as mentor for Pieter Le Roux, who was to be a key figure in the establishment of Pentecostalism in South Africa,”[1614] 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”[1615] which largely developed out of the Christian Catholic denomination.[1616] The Christian Catholic Church and the Pentecostal Apostolic Faith Mission “provided the example that has been followed by the South African Pentecostal movement”[1617] 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.[1618] 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.”[1619] 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,”[1620] 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.”[1621] Nonetheless, he was a definitive Keswick writer.[1622] “[R]aised by a Quaker grandmother, [he] was also much influenced by . . . Hannah Pearsall Smith.”[1623] It “is doubtful whether any other Keswick leader ever did more than Dr. Meyer to make the distinctive Keswick message known throughout the world,”[1624] 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,[1625] 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”[1626] and traveling over twenty-five thousand miles spreading the Keswick teaching.[1627] “He introduced Keswick teaching into the Baptist denomination,” so that, largely through him, “Keswick’s influence . . . sprea[d]”[1628] 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,[1629] 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.[1630] 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.[1631] Furthermore, in “1917 Meyer launched, with the support of several Keswick leaders, the Advent Testimony and Preparation Movement, which became a significant body,”[1632] 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,”[1633] 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[1634]—indeed, his “relatively undogmatic approach was of crucial importance”[1635] 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.[1636] 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.”[1637] 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.”[1638] 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.”[1639] 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.[1640] He was happy to have Christ’s Church “mainly suppor[t] the L. M. S.,”[1641] 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.[1642] 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.”[1643] Meyer was willing to immerse the Anglican minister, Keswick leader, and annihilationist heretic George Grubb.[1644] 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.[1645] 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.[1646] 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,’”[1647] 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.[1648] 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[1649] 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.[1650] 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.”[1651] 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.”[1652] 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.’”[1653] 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.[1654] 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.”[1655] 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.[1656] Meyer taught that the Welsh holiness revival involved a restoration of the miraculous gifts of 1 Corinthians 12[1657]—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.”[1658] 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[1659] 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”[1660] 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.”[1661] 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.[1662]

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.”[1663] Such nature mysticism led Meyer to “often” leave the “Keswick tent to breathe in both the Keswick air and the Holy Spirit,”[1664] 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.”[1665] 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,”[1666] 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.”[1667] 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.[1668] 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.”[1669] 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.”[1670] 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.”[1671] 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,[1672] 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.”[1673] 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”[1674] 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.[1675]

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,”[1676] 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.”[1677] 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[1678]—“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.”[1679] 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.[1680] 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,’”[1681] 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.”[1682] 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.”[1683] 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.”[1684] 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[1685]—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.”[1686] 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.”[1687] Direct communication with the dead was possible, Meyer affirmed.[1688] 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.”[1689] 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,[1690] respectively, of the Welsh holiness revivalism concentrated from “December 1904 to May 1905,”[1691] 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,”[1692] 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,”[1693] but evidence of his own personal conversion is very weak at best.[1694] A minister claimed that he had been the instrument some time after 1898 of Roberts’ “conversion or consecration,”[1695] 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.[1696] 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.[1697]

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”[1698] 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,”[1699] 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,”[1700] in his view, although his landlady turned him out of the house, having “become afraid of him,” fearing “he was possessed or somewhat mad.”[1701] 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”[1702] in voices and visions; he “began to have visions”[1703] 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.”[1704] Roberts’ experiences were comparable to those of “St. Teresa, Jakob Boehme, George Fox, [and] Ignatius Loyola,”[1705] having the same sources in the spirit world as such Roman Catholic, theosophist, and Quaker luminaries. When “Dr. Williams, the phrenologist[,][1706] . . . 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.[1707] 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.”[1708] 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”[1709] 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,”[1710] and “an unqualified preacher with only six weeks of adult pre-college education.”[1711] 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.”[1712] “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.”[1713] 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,[1714] 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[.]”[1715] Indeed, Roberts stated: “What need have these people [in the Welsh holiness revival] to be told that they are sinners?”[1716] 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.”[1717] 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.[1718] 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;”[1719] Roberts spoke at the Welsh Keswick Conference at Llandrindod Wells in 1905 at the height of the holiness revival excitement.[1720] 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.”[1721] 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.”[1722] 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.[1723] Roberts’ meetings “remin[d] one of the Quakers . . . they would feel themselves thoroughly at home in [them].”[1724] Earlier Welsh revival movements “exalted the preacher,” but this “feature . . . was missing in the Revival of 1904-5,”[1725] which contributed to “the decline of the sermon.”[1726] 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.”[1727] 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.[1728] 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;”[1729] indeed, “there was very little sermonizing of any kind,”[1730] as frequently “sermons [are] put aside for testimony.”[1731] “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.[1732] People recognized that “[p]reaching is not generally acceptable at these spontaneous meetings.”[1733] “Preaching, in the usual acceptation of the word, has . . . been entirely discarded,” as instead “services are throughout spontaneous, resembling a Quaker’s meeting.”[1734] Indeed, “the Welsh revival might be regarded as a triumph for Quakerism.”[1735] 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.”[1736] 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.”[1737] Instead of rightly dividing the Word, Roberts gave inspired “prophetic message[s]”[1738] to others. It was not necessary to preach the inspired Bible when “people called ‘inspiration’” Roberts’ own words and marvels.[1739] After all, Roberts testified: “We now, like the prophets of old, have . . . . transmitt[ed] . . . ‘The Word of the Lord’ . . . to the Church.”[1740] 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.[1741] 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.[1742]

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.”[1743] 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.”[1744] “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.”[1745] At least this was the case for the preaching of the Bible—but Roberts’s “inspired preaching,”[1746] his “inspiration of the exalted and supernatural kind,”[1747] was considered a sufficient replacement for the exposition of the Word. He asked, “Why should I teach [the Bible] when the Spirit is teaching?”[1748] 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,”[1749] 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.”[1750] Indeed, Roberts began his own ministry after he “claimed to have a vision”[1751] authorizing the beginning of his revival work and “hear[ing] a voice bidding him go . . . and speak.”[1752]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.”[1753] During “the few weeks”[1754] 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”[1755] 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,”[1756] so that Evan “came under personal attack as a lunatic at worst and eccentric at best.”[1757] 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;[1758] his experiences were comparable to those of Teresa of Avila, who likewise claimed she conversed with God the Father rather than Jesus Christ.[1759] 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.”[1760] 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.[1761] At times “a tremor ran through him, and his face and neck were observed to quiver in a remarkable way.”[1762] His work in the Welsh holiness revival teemed with “experiences of visions, voices, and ecstasies.”[1763] “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.”[1764] On at least one occasion he records in his diary: “I was commanded not to read my Bible”[1765] for an entire day by a voice.[1766] 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,”[1767] 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,[1768] Roberts moved into the Penn-Lewis household after Jessie Penn-Lewis had visions about him,[1769] 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,”[1770] while by 1907 there were “many instances . . . [of] prostrations and trance visions and such manifestations as guiding lights and angelic helps.”[1771] Indeed, Roberts experienced almost innumerable visitations from the spirit world and made “many statements about special guidance by vision and voices”[1772] 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.”[1773] Thus, Roberts was directed by visions of Satan and sundry other spiritual beings concerning where he should go to hold meetings.[1774] In one often-mentioned vision[1775] 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[.]”[1776]   Frequently his visions “caused his body to shake.”[1777] He had a “vision . . . [of] a kind of arm stretching out from the moon in the direction of earth,”[1778] “many visions about the sufferings of Jesus,”[1779] a “terrifying vision of hell,”[1780] a “vision . . . [of] a great conflict between Satan and the Archangel of God,”[1781] a “vision of a white horse and of a key which opened the Gate of Life,”[1782] a vision of “a person dressed in white, with a glittering sword in his hand, striking the devil until he fled and vanished,”[1783] various “visions of the devil and of the blessed Saviour,”[1784] and “dreams . . . such as that of Satan’s face sneering at him in the midst of some garden shrubs”[1785]—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.[1786] 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.”[1787] 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.[1788] Because of “visions and voices,” in his revival meetings he said, “I have to say strange things,”[1789] 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.[1790] 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.”[1791] “Pentecostal enthusiasm” required that there “was no preaching . . . for . . . months” in various congregations.[1792] 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,’”[1793] 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.”[1794] “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.[1795] “Well-structured expository preaching . . . was just unworkable . . . [since] each service was dominated by testimonies, prayers, pleadings, and songs,”[1796] as indeed, his meetings had a veritable “Babel of voices . . . breaking forth simultaneously in prayer and song . . . [and] people . . . praying in several languages simultaneously,”[1797] as at times people would sing “again and again” a handful of lines from a song “twenty times,”[1798] or even hear a “chorus . . . sung, perhaps, a hundred times”[1799] 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.[1800] Such practices prepared the way for the “Pentecostal movements . . . [that] put their own seal on such worship”[1801] 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.”[1802] 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.”[1803] “Evan Roberts accepted everything,” all the people who “acted strangely,” with the sole exception of “loud shrieking and wild gestures.”[1804] “[E]ven in the most orderly meetings confusion reigns . . . Roberts generally preaches but little, sometimes not at all.”[1805] “[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.”[1806] 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.”[1807] In fact, “[s]ometimes he threatened to leave a meeting if anyone tried to interfere in any shape or form.”[1808] “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,’”[1809] 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?”[1810] After all, “the wonderful eloquence displayed by unlettered persons in prayer and speaking” was “proof of direct Divine inspiration,”[1811] 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,”[1812] and charges that “the revival depended on his hypnotic skills and magnetism”[1813] 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,”[1814] 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”[1815] in one of his meetings and could “see . . . insincerity and hypocrisy.”[1816] He “kn[ew]” when “people . . . [were] prompted by false motives . . . in their prayers” and would consequently interrupt them and stop them from praying.[1817] 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.”[1818] He “displayed a remarkable gift of detecting those souls who were secretly trying to come to Jesus.”[1819] 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.”[1820] 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,”[1821] since Roberts continued “months . . . of serial meetings, all-night sessions, and crises.”[1822] 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.”[1823] 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.”[1824] For months, as the holiness revival progressed in 1904 and 1905, “he ate and slept little,”[1825] getting “two or three hours of sleep each night,”[1826] but the electricity that filled his body kept him going—at least until he experienced one his several serious nervous breakdowns.[1827] In meetings he would often have “nervous collapses” from which, however, he would usually “recover suddenly”[1828] 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.[1829] 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.”[1830] 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.”[1831] 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.”[1832] 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.”[1833] 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,”[1834] after a fashion similar to what had taken place with the prophet Ezekiel,[1835] while on various occasions he would “walk out of meetings after five minutes because he claimed to have discovered [spiritual] obstacles there.”[1836] 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.”[1837] 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.[1838]

Not Roberts only, but very many saw visions and heard voices.[1839] 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.”[1840] Consequently, throughout the holiness revival of 1904-5 there were “many stories of aerial lights, aerial choirs, flashes and visions.”[1841] “Dreams, religious and otherwise, were registered by the score.”[1842] “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.”[1843] 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.”[1844] Thus, “Miss Florie Evans,” Evan Roberts’s coworker, “could speak of visions and messages . . . [and] prophesied.”[1845] 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.[1846]

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[1847] 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.”[1848] 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.”[1849] 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.”[1850] 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,”[1851] 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).[1852] 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.”[1853] 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.”[1854] 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[1855] 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].”[1856] 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[1857] . . . behind them, and the children said, ‘Crown Him, Mam,’[1858] and they disappeared.” As a consequence she “has been quite a different woman and is present in all the services.”[1859] 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.”[1860] 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.[1861] He felt filled with love, and from that time he can love every one without difference.[1862]

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.”[1863] 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.”[1864] 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[.][1865]

By means of such visions, voices, excitements, and marvels—rather than by means of clear preaching of the gospel—vast numbers were professedly converted.[1866]

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”[1867] in the holiness revival.[1868] After reading “Sheldon’s book, In His Steps,”[1869] 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.”[1870] 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.”[1871] 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.”[1872] 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.[1873] 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.[1874] 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?”[1875] People would think, “Why can’t I? I am religious!” and then “stand up to confess” when Roberts asked them to.[1876] 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,”[1877] and was able to get great crowds to stand up in this way.[1878] 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.”[1879] “[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.”[1880] 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.’”[1881] 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.”[1882] 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.’”[1883] 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?”[1884] At another meeting, Roberts exercised his supernatural powers to predict that “everybody present in that meeting was going to ‘come to Christ’ that day,”[1885] 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,”[1886] 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.[1887]

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[1888]—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.[1889]

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.”[1890] 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!”[1891] 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,[1892] 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.”[1893] “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.’”[1894] 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.[1895] 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.”[1896] 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.[1897] 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,”[1898] 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.”[1899] 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[1900] 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.[1901] 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.”[1902] 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.”[1903]   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.”[1904] 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.”[1905] However, the Biblical response to the gospel is not “ask,” but “believe,”[1906] 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.”[1907] 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.”[1908] 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.[1909]

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”[1910] to receive salvation by standing up and be counted as converts every night.[1911] In a poor meeting, “only 760 decisions had been recorded”[1912]—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[1913] 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.”[1914] 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.”[1915]While living with the Penn-Lewis household, Jessie and Evan practiced “binding Satan,”[1916] while “Evan Roberts . . . spent about eighteen sleepless hours a day in prayer.”[1917]Mr. Roberts’s “prayers,” out of which were birthed the book The War On The Saints, “were Divinely inspired.”[1918] 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.”[1919] 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,”[1920] Roberts received in a vision “the Translation Message given in October, 1913,”[1921]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,”[1922] 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.”[1923] 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.[1924]

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.[1925] 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.”[1926] 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.”[1927] 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.[1928] It was also essential to note that the Translation Message was for those “who understood that, like Enoch,” Evan Roberts “walked daily with God,”[1929] 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.”[1930] 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”[1931] required “the absolute isolation of his spirit from those who do not believe his testimony.”[1932] He refused “to meet or correspond with his closest relatives,” and when “his father went up to see him . . . Evan . . . would not talk.”[1933] His “family [was] shown the door” so that he could, every moment, give himself to prayer.[1934] He persisted in this rejection of his family to the extent that he did not even attend his mother’s funeral.[1935] 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;[1936] as Roberts and Penn-Lewis knew from the spirit world, “the End-Age of the Son of Man was dawning,”[1937] 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.”[1938] 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.[1939] 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.’”[1940] 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.’”[1941] Evan Roberts then received “a revelation by the Holy Spirit of . . . our Lord[’s] coming . . . in our life-time . . . the ‘translation’ . . . is at hand.”[1942] 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.[1943] 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;[1944] “the Revival in Wales” was the “beginning of the ‘latter rain’ which [would] prepare the Church of God for the Lord’s appearing.”[1945] 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.”[1946] “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[1947] after the 1904 Welsh holiness revival.[1948] 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.”[1949] Such were evident signs that the period of “fiery tribulation” had come and of the end of the world in 1914.[1950] 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.[1951] 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.”[1952] 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,’”[1953] it finally became apparent that the abysmal failure of the prophecy—which had been widely proclaimed in the secular press[1954]—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”[1955] 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.[1956] 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.”[1957] The Overcomer magazine did not return until 1920,[1958] 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,”[1959] 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.”[1960] “Many . . . voiced criticism of the revival for its failure to achieve any long-lasting results,”[1961] 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,”[1962] so Evan Roberts himself affirmed that Satan had entered his heart, and affected his mind and spirit, in the Welsh holiness revival.[1963] “Roberts later became very critical of the revival for its emphasis on emotional excess and what he saw as the influence of demonic powers.”[1964] He declared: “[D]uring the revival in Wales, I, in my ignorance, did not escape the wiles of the enemy.”[1965] 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.”[1966] “In “later years . . . he . . . would question whether it was the Holy Spirit who commanded these things,”[1967] and “he confessed to a fear that he had been tricked by Satan.”[1968] 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,”[1969] 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.[1970] 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,”[1971] and even “told . . . [an assembly of] students that he was not even sure whether the Spirit suggested things or actually spoke,”[1972] 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.”[1973] Sometimes a spirit would speak to Evan in Welsh, sometimes in English, and sometimes in both.[1974] 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.”[1975] A “voice” led Evan on the “journey which ended in a full acceptance of the doctrine of identification with the Crucified One”[1976] 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,[1977] as, after all, Roman Catholic “monks” and “Welsh heroes” had experienced similar supernatural guidance.[1978] 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,”[1979] 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.[1980] “It was hardly surprising that some thought that Evan Roberts had become an Apostolic or Pentecosta[l].”[1981] 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.”[1982] “One year later he went into final retirement and vanished into the shadows of history,”[1983] becoming “almost a forgotten man.”[1984] 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.”[1985] Roberts “abandoned his rigorist ethics, went to football matches and smoked a pipe.”[1986] 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.”[1987] 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.”[1988] 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.”[1989] 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,