More Resources on Soteriology: The Biblical Doctrine of Salvation
A great religious movement has been going on in Germany during the last half-century, to which the attention of the outside world has been far too little directed.2 It is commonly spoken of as “The Fellowship Movement”; and the complex of phenomena which have resulted from its activities is summed up briefly as “Fellowship Christianity.”3 Paul Drews, in a few words of detailed description, written a decade ago, brings it rather clearly before us in its external manifestations. He says:—4
“The so-called ‘Fellowship Movement,’ which has existed now about a generation, is a religious lay-movement, and that of a power and extension such as the Evangelical Church has not seen since the Reformation. There is no German-Evangelical National church into which it has not penetrated. It has thrust its plow-share even into the hard soil of the Mecklenburg Church, which is not so easy to break up.… Its adherents are gathered by the Fellowship from the circles of the so-called ‘humble people’:5 artisans, craftsmen, tradesmen, railway and postal employees, waiters, servant-girls, here and there (as for example in Hesse) even peasants, and also teachers. Added to these there are—as will not surprise those who are acquainted with Church History—the nobility and that the high nobility. The academically educated and the industrial workers alone are wanting. Of course not altogether; but they form exceptions in these ranks, and do not affect the character of the whole.… The Fellowship is extraordinarily thoroughly and compactly organized. The particular local Fellowships are united in Provincial associations, at the head of which stand ‘Councils of Brothers’ (Brüderräte). Over these associations there stands the ‘German Association for Evangelical Fellowship-work and Evangelization.’6 There exist, however, Fellowship-circles which have not connected themselves with this central Association. The individual associations not seldom possess their own assembly-houses which are sometimes so constructed that strangers attending the meetings can find lodging or entertainment in them. The associations employ also their own professional-workers,7 Bible-missionaries, colporteurs, … and pay them.… The professional-workers who lead the meetings have either received no special training or have attended one of the educational institutions which are supported by the ‘Fellowship’ and in its spirit. Older instances are the Chrischona (near Basel) and Johanneum (first at Bonn, now at Barmen) institutions; latterly there have been founded the Alliance Bible-School in Berlin (founded in 1905) and Pastor Jellinghaus’ Bible-school Seminary at Lichtenrade, near Berlin. The Institutional foundations are in general extraordinarily developed. The Institutions serve the ends partly of foreign, partly of domestic missions. We find hospitals, inebriate-cures, orphan-asylums, rescue-homes, sister- (that is, deaconess-) houses and the like. They have pensions and hotels of their own, carried on in the spirit of Fellowship Christianity, and, as it seems, with good results. Regular annual conferences (at Gnadau, Blankenburg in Thuringia, Frankfurt on the Main, and elsewhere) draw thousands of visitors. There is added a well-supported press serving, in part general, in part local needs (e.g. the Allianzblatt, Auf der Warte, Sabbathklänge, Philadelphia, Die Wacht, Das Reich Christi and others). Bookstores of their own distribute literature which is read in their circles, among which there are many translations from the English, of course exclusively of an edifying character. The net proceeds are devoted to ‘the Kingdom of God,’ that is to say to the labors and pursuits of the Fellowship Movement. Surveying all this—this strong organization, this reaching out on all sides—we receive an impression of the power and extension of this movement. It is of special importance that property, land, buildings, are held. Fixed possessions always give strength, guaranty of permanence; are the back-bone of existence. If our National Churches should suddenly disappear from the map, the world, to its astonishment, would become all at once aware that behind the protecting walls and beneath the protecting roof of our National Churches, a new lay-church of a kind of its own has grown up which is well able to depend on its own walls and to defy the storms of the times.”8
What we are looking upon in the Fellowship Movement is the formation within the National Churches of Germany, but not of them, of a great German free church. We speak of it as a church, because it is a church in everything but the name; organized under a strong and effective government, equipped with all the instrumentalities required for the prosecution of the work of a church, and zealously prosecuting every variety of Christian labor throughout the whole land. Nevertheless, it vigorously asserts and jealously maintains its right of existence within the National Church, or rather within the several National Churches of the Empire. All the members of the several constituent Fellowships are members of the National Churches of their several localities, fulfilling all their duties and claiming all their rights as such. They pay all their dues as members of the National Churches; they are baptized, confirmed, married, buried by the pastors of the National Churches; they are in general faithful attendants on the stated services of the National Churches—they are careful not to hold any of their own special meetings during the hours of the regular Sunday morning services—and they are ordinarily among the most earnest supporters of all the religious activities of the National Churches. The several Fellowships are organized as associations of members of the National Churches and hold their property under laws which give them this right as such. The adherents of the Fellowship Movement, in a word, wish to be understood to be just members of the National Churches who have organized themselves into an Association for prosecuting, under the laws of their country, ends of their own—just as other members of the National Churches organize themselves under the laws of the land for prosecuting ends of their own, it may be a banking business or the manufacture of potash. Only, the particular end which their Fellowship has in view is the prosecution of specifically religious work; and the particular religious work which they have undertaken to prosecute is just the whole work which is proper to a church. In other words, precisely what the Fellowship Movement has undertaken to do is to create a new church within the old National Churches, a veritable ecclesia in ecclesia, or to put it sharply from its own point of view, a true and living Church of God within the dead and dry shell, the necessarily dead and dry shell, of the National Churches of the several German states.
What the Fellowship Movement is in its essence, therefore, is a revolt from the very idea of a state church, and an attempt to create a free church within the protecting sheath of the National Churches of Germany. Martin Schian very properly sums up its relation to the existing churches, accordingly, in the formula: “External continuance in the National Church; internal rejection of State-churchism.”9 The internal rejection of state-churchism is complete.10 To the adherents of this movement it seems unendurable that the Kingdom of God, which, its Founder declared, is not of this world, should be under the dominion of the secular state, and should be exploited in its interests. The very constitutive principle of a national church is abhorrent to them—that the church should include in its ample embrace the whole body of the people as such, that every citizen of the state by virtue of that fact should be a member of the church, with a right to all its ordinances and participating in all its privileges. They are reproached, therefore, with having no understanding of the value of a truly national church, of the service it can render and must render to the community, of the blessing that is in it for the social organism. And when they declare that the church is an affair of religion and its organific principle must be religion and nothing but religion, they are twitted with the impossibility of running a sharp line of demarcation between the religious and the irreligious. Just because religion is a matter of the inner life, the line that divides the two classes is an invisible one, and there can be no external separation of the one from the other; nay, “the line of division between God and the world runs through every Christian’s own soul.” How can the “real believers,” “the truly converted,” be distinguished that they may be united in a veritable congregatio sanctorum? Undeterred by such criticisms the Fellowship people have gone straight on organizing themselves into their ecclesia in ecclesia, on the sole principle of their “decisive Christianity,” and, doing so, have become a great religious power in the land.
They draw their justification for doing so partly from the peremptory demands of their Christian life, partly from the precepts and example of the heroes of the faith.11 They appeal to Bengel, Spener, Luther himself. In his “German Mass,” Luther has laid on the consciences of his followers precisely the course which they are now pursuing. He had had his experiences and was under no illusions as to the religious condition of the people at large. He would have the gospel preached to them all, of course; but he would not have “those Christians who are serious in their profession” content themselves with so sadly mixed a fellowship. “Let those who earnestly wish to be Christians and confess the gospel with hand and lips,” he said, “enroll themselves by name and gather together by themselves somewhere or other in a house, to pray, read, baptize, receive the Sacraments and to perform other Christian duties.”12 Even were such sanction lacking, however, some such procedure were inevitable. Companionship is a human need, and birds of a feather naturally flock together. Certainly men who have in common the ineffable experience of redemption through the blood of Christ are drawn inevitably together by the irresistible force of mutual sympathy and love. They belong together and cannot keep apart. We may press, without any fear whatever of going beyond the mark, every possible implication of Paul’s great declaration that what God “acquired with His own blood” was nothing less than a “church.” There is imperious church-building power in the blood of Christ, experienced as redemption. Even the fine words of Robert Kübel13 seem weak here—that “a converted man has an imperative need of communion with his fellows, that is with people who have passed through or are passing through a similar inner moral and religious process, a communion with brethren and sisters who sustain, cherish, protect, guard, encourage and gladden him.” The converted man has not only the need of such communion; he is driven by the Spirit into seeking and finding it. We cannot think then the movement towards a Fellowship Christianity other than both natural and necessary, nor can we fail to greet it as a manifestation of life and health in the Christianity of Germany. Accustomed as we are to churches organized on the principle of personal confession of faith, it presents to our observation nothing which seems strange except its anomalous relation to the National Churches, the nearest analogy to which in our Anglo-Saxon experience is probably the position of the early Wesleyan Societies in the Church of England.14 Theodor Jellinghaus, having in mind our British and American Churches organized on the basis of “a public confession of faith and of participation in the redemption of Christ,” explains the situation very simply: “In a state church,” says he,15 “in which all through birth, baptism, and confirmation are already fully legitimated members, subject to all the dues, such a practice is of course impossible. But … it is possible that within the congregation circles should be formed who know that for positive (entschiedenes) Christianity a public confession of personal acceptance of the grace of Christ is necessary, and who seek to put this knowledge into practice.” That, in one word, is the sufficient justification of Fellowship Christianity in principle.
The justification of the Fellowship Movement which is now so widely spread over Germany, with its definite historical origin and the distinctive character impressed upon it by this historical origin, is naturally not so easily managed. This movement had a very special historical origin by which a peculiar character has been given it which gravely modifies the welcome we would naturally accord it as a highly successful effort to draw together the decidedly Christian elements in the German churches, in order that, the coals being brought into contact, the fire may burn. The story is already partly told when we say simply that it is the German parallel to what we know as “the Keswick Movement” in English-speaking lands. That it may be completely told, it needs to be added that it has not been able to maintain in its development the moderation which has characterized the Keswick Movement: that it has been torn with factions, invaded by fads, and now and again shaken by outbreaks of fanatical extravagances. Like the Keswick Movement, it derives its origin from impulses received directly from Robert Pearsall Smith in “the whirlwind campaign” which he carried on in 1874–1875 in the interest of what we know as “the Higher Christian Life.” The Fellowship Movement has therefore from the beginning been also a Holiness Movement, or, as they call it in Germany, a “Sanctification Movement”;16 and a Holiness Movement which has run on the lines of the teaching of Pearsall Smith. The platform on which was set up its great representative Conference—“the Gnadau Conference,” founded in 1888 and remaining until to-day the center of its public life—embraced just these two principles: (1) “Stronger emphasis on the doctrine of Sanctification”; (2) “Coöperation of the laity in fellowship-work and evangelization.”17 What the Fellowship Movement has been chiefly interested in, in other words, is just these two things—“holiness immediately through faith,” and lay-activity in the whole sphere of Christian work, here distributed into its two divisions of the work of the Fellowship, which includes broadly the fostering of the Christian life among professed Christians, and evangelization. When C. F. Arnold wishes to sum up in a few words the sources of its success, he naturally, therefore, phrases it thus:18 “Much zeal, much labor, much money have been expended on the Fellowship Movement. What makes it strong is, formally, the voluntarist principle and the activity of the laity; materially, the idea of sanctification by faith as a complement to justification by faith.”
Naturally, Pearsall Smith did not create this movement out of nothing. He had material to work upon. And the material he worked upon was provided by the Pietistic Fellowships which go back ultimately to the ecclesiolæ in ecclesia established by Spener in Frankfurt, with the purpose of introducing new life into the congregations. These Fellowships, working in more or less complete independence of their national church-organizations, had in some places, as for example in Württemberg and Minden-Ravensberg, maintained an unbroken existence from the period of Pietistic ascendency. Some of them, especially in the South and Southwest, had preserved, moreover, their peculiar Pietistic character; others were more “confessional”; while others still, especially on the lower Rhine and in the valley of the Wupper, already exhibited tendencies which we associate with the Plymouth Brethren.19 They had experienced a revival of religious activity in the twenties and thirties, but this had now died out. Quickened into new life by the impulse received from Pearsall Smith, they supplied the mold into which the movement inaugurated by him ran. This was their contribution to the movement. They gave it its formal character, as Arnold would put it: they determined that it should be a Fellowship Movement. Its material character was impressed upon it by Pearsall Smith in the very same act by which he called it into existence. Under the impulse received from him the sense of unity of spirit among the decided Pietists was greatly strengthened, a zeal for evangelization was awakened in them, and a new doctrine of sanctification was imprinted upon them—the doctrine of immediate sanctification through faith alone.20
Of course it was no accident that it was precisely on the Pietistic circles that Pearsall Smith’s propaganda took effect; nor did the whole effect wrought by it proceed from his own personal impulse. There was an inner affinity between the ends of the Pietistic circles and those that Pearsall Smith had in view, which laid those circles peculiarly open to his appeal. It was the cultivation of internal piety to which they addressed themselves; they had associated themselves in Fellowships for no other purpose than the quickening and deepening of the spiritual life of men already believers. It was precisely to this, their own chosen task, that Pearsall Smith summoned them, only pointing out to them what he conceived to be a better way and promising them, walking in it, higher achievements. He did not address himself to unbelievers, seeking to bring them to Christ, but to believers, calling them to a fuller salvation than they had hitherto enjoyed, or rather, to an immediate “full salvation.” The element of evangelization which entered into the movement from the first, but was, naturally in the circumstances, only gradually given full validity, was contributed to it neither by the Fellowships21 nor by Pearsall Smith.22 It came from without; but it came after a fashion which made it a preparation for Smith’s propaganda and contributed very largely to its success. Smith’s remarkable agitation in the interest of “the Higher Life” in 1874–1875 in England was embroidered on the surface, so to speak, of Moody and Sankey’s great revival movement, and owed not a little of its immense effect to the waves of religious awakening set in motion by this greater and stronger movement. Those waves were already breaking on the German strand when Smith arrived there in the spring of 1875 with his message of sanctification at once by faith alone, and it was as borne upon them that his mission there was accomplished.23 The somewhat odd result followed that he inaugurated a great evangelization movement without really intending to do so: he had it in mind only to bring those already Christians to the full enjoyment of their salvation. In another respect, also, the effect of his propaganda failed to correspond precisely with his intention. He came proclaiming himself even ostentatiously the member of no church, the servant of all; and desiring to bring the blessing he felt himself charged with the duty of communicating, to Christians of all names and connections alike.24 The movement which resulted from his impulse has been rigidly confined to adherents of the National Churches and jealously keeps itself “within the Church.” The Methodists, for example, who were at first inclined to claim him as their own25—as they had considerable color of right to do—have been effectually repelled and have learned to speak of the movement which has grown out of his propaganda with complete aloofness, and even a certain contempt.26 If, however, in view of these circumstances, we are tempted to doubt whether Smith contributed to the movement anything more than his doctrine of immediate sanctification by faith, we should correct ourselves at once by recalling the main fact, that he contributed the movement itself. Precisely what he did was to launch in the German churches a great “Higher Life” movement. It belongs to the accidents of the situation that this Higher Life movement took form as a great Fellowship movement, only one of the features of which was its Higher Life teaching—a teaching which has, after a half-century of saddening experience, happily been permitted, it appears, to fall into the background.
There are few more dramatic pages in the history of modern Christianity than those which record the story of the prodigious agitation in the interest of “the Higher Life” conducted by Pearsall Smith in 1874–1875. The remarkable series of English meetings ran up with the most striking effect first to a preliminary and then to a final climax in the two great “international conventions,” at Oxford in the first week of September, 1874, and at Brighton in the first week of June, 1875. Their permanent English monument is what we know as “the Keswick Movement.” But Smith’s ambition extended far beyond the conquest of England, as the “international character” which he gave to his principal meetings testifies.27 He mis-calculated here as little as elsewhere. The Continental guests whom he invited to Oxford and Brighton carried the agitation promptly over the narrow seas. There had been no more acceptable speaker at Oxford and Brighton than Theodore Monod, whose American training and experience qualified him to address an English-speaking audience with ease and force; and on his return to France, he diligently exercised his office of evangelist, to which he had been lately ordained, by holding meetings in the interest of the new doctrine of immediate sanctification by faith at Paris, Nîmes, Montmeyran, Montauban, Marseilles, and elsewhere.28 Lion Cachet29 became the apostle of the movement for the Low Countries, though Holland manifested little of the desired sympathy with it. Theodor Jellinghaus carried the good news from the Oxford meeting back to Germany, and a year or so later Gustav Warneck added to the favorable impression already made by his moving letters on the Brighton Conference.30 “The hymns used at Oxford were translated into German and French, and also the books on the Life of Faith. In Paris the monthly periodical, La Liberateur,31 and another in Basle, Des Christen Glaubensweg, were at once commenced, and devoted specially, like the Christian’s Pathway of Power [Smith’s own journal], to teaching the privileges of consecration and the life of trust.”32
In the midst of this diligently conducted general campaign, Smith himself appeared in Germany, and that with an even more dramatic effect and with even more astonishing results than he had achieved in England. He was not fetched over by his followers to clinch their initial successes and advance further the cause for which they had already opened the way.33 He was invited to Berlin by men of the highest authority, through the intervention of Court Preacher Baur,34 and he held his meetings there so far under imperial sanction that the Emperor placed the old Garrison Church at his disposal. He was in Berlin but a few days (from March 31 to April 5, 1875), in Germany at large less than two months. He could speak no German, and addressed his audiences, therefore, only through an interpreter. And yet he roused something like enthusiasm, and left behind him a movement stamped with his spiritual physiognomy which has not yet spent its strength. Johannes Jüngst sums up the astonishing facts for us in a few straightforward words:35
“His appearance filled the hall of the Clubhouse (Vereinshaus) as it never was filled before. Hundreds were turned away for lack of room. He spoke to the ministers; he spoke to the laity. Then he visited other cities, where his appearance was desired, and held similar meetings, especially at Basel, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Elberfeld-Barmen. There scarcely ever streamed such masses of people to religious meetings in Germany as to his. Even the somewhat disturbing circumstance that he speaks nothing but English and makes use of an interpreter seemed to act rather as an attraction than repellently.”
And Hermann Benser draws for us this vignette, that we may look intimately into Smith’s mode of working in Germany:36
“At the hour of the evening service on the first day of April of the year 1875 a singular man stood in the pulpit of the Garrison Church in Berlin, Robert Pearsall Smith. He was preaching.—But his manner of speaking was wholly different from what men were accustomed to hear. He spoke urgently as if he wished to clutch his hearers and obtain a decision from them at once, in an instant. By his side in the pulpit there stood or sat men who interrupted the discourse with prayers and songs. Suddenly Smith cried out in the Assembly, ‘Rejoice, rejoice at once!’ On Sunday, the fourth of April, he gave voice to the enthusiastic aspiration: ‘My brethren, I expect this evening great things from the Lord.’ He longed for the return of the Apostolic age. As the disciples of Jesus had been baptized with the Holy Spirit ten days after the Ascension, so he looked for the Baptism of the Spirit on the tenth day. In the meetings everyone who felt inwardly moved to it, led in prayer. Even women were permitted to do so, since they were all brothers and sisters with equal rights before the Lord.—Had the golden Apostolic age of spiritual power and brotherly love returned in Smith? Many entertained this hope. This makes it intelligible that a court-preacher gave Smith his welcome at the first meeting, and many pastors spoke enraptured words as if under the compulsion of a mighty Spirit. Only a few stood aloof in doubt and warned against desertion of the firm ground of Reformation doctrine.”
Smith’s departure did not allay the excitement which had been awakened. Jüngst describes what was going on under his eyes:37
“The number of Sanctification meetings in Germany increases from week to week. We cannot describe all of even the greater ones, and mention only those in Bern under Inspector Raypard of the Chrischona, in Strassburg under Pastor Haas, in Geneva, Freiburg, Basel.… How great the movement already is we see not only from the publication by the ecclesiastical journals of extra sheets on the phenomenon, but from the establishment by the friends of the movement of a special journal for advancing the work—Des Christen Glaubensweg (Basel, Spittler)38—which is already at hand in the second impression.”
All Germany seemed to be aroused, and Smith had done what he set out to do. He went to Germany under the determination to conquer it to the Higher Life doctrine which he had made it his life-work to propagate; and he had set forces at work which seemed to him to bear in them the promise and potency of victory. The spirit in which he went to Germany is made clear to us in an incident the memory of which Jüngst has preserved for us:39
“Before Smith went to Germany he was again for a while in America. There he visited the leading personalities of the Albrechtbrethren in Cleveland and described to them especially the progress of the movement in Germany (Christl. Botschafter, 1875, No. 7). He told them of his purpose to go to Berlin before Easter on the invitation of important ministers and laymen, and said, among other things, ‘If the Lord will give the people of Berlin into my hand, as he did at Oxford’—but corrected himself at once: ‘But in the business of my God I no longer know any if—the Lord does it according to His word.’ The Botschafter adds: ‘He believes and doubts not. With remarkable quietness but equally decisively and confidently he speaks of the success still to be secured.’ ”
The state of mind in which he returned from Germany is startlingly revealed by his sudden cry one day on the platform at Brighton, “All Europe is at my feet!” The excitement which he had aroused in Germany he himself evidently shared.
Fortunately the movement inaugurated in this atmosphere of excitement fell at once into good hands. Men of combined zeal and moderation, of wide experience and trained discretion, like Theodor Christlieb, Jasper von Oertzen, Theodor Jellinghaus, took charge of it. The American Methodist evangelist Fritz von Schlümbach was employed by Christlieb in pushing the work of evangelization in northern and eastern Germany, and then by Adolf Stöcker in the slums of Berlin. The organization of the movement was soon taken diligently in hand. The “German Evangelization Association” was formed in 1884. The Gnadau Conference was established in 1888, and out of it came in 1890 the “German Committee for Evangelical Fellowship-work,” enlarged in its scope in 1894 into “The German Committee for Evangelical Fellowship-work and Evangelization,” and transformed for legal reasons in 1901 into “The German Philadelphia Association.” Under the leadership first of von Oertzen, then of Pückler, then of Michielis, thirty years passed by in fruitful development.40 A sister alliance had in the meanwhile grown up by its side (from 1886)—of extremer tendencies and more deeply stained with Darbyite conceptions—holding its great conference at Blankenburg in Thuringia.41 Between it and Gnadau varying relations obtained from year to year. The formation of a third union was attempted in 1901–1902 by Dr. Lepsius, the brilliant son of the distinguished Egyptologist, when rebuked by the Blankenburg Alliance, of which he was a member, for some foolish dealings with the Old Testament text; but that soon became only an annual convention of positive theologians. Meanwhile the Gnadau organization flourished. Very diverse elements were embraced in its constituency; from the soft Pietism of the South and Southwest to the harsh fanaticism which ruled the temper of North and East. Occasions for friction were frequent. Nevertheless, in the absorption of the Association in the pressing tasks of its extension and organization, the peace was fairly well kept until the end of the century. With the opening of the twentieth century, however, a period of turmoil and inward conflict set in which has shaken the movement to its foundations and out of which it has found its way only as through blood.
The susceptibility of the Fellowship Movement to the worst of the evils which have torn it has been due to the circumstances of its origin and the general character then impressed upon it. It was the product of an impulse received from without, a prolongation into Germany of a movement originating in conditions prevalent in America after the Civil War, and reaching Germany as the extension to the Continent of a very extravagant English upheaval. A character both foreign—it itself would doubtless prefer that we should say international—and enthusiastic, in the worser sense of that term, was imprinted upon it by that circumstance from which it has never escaped, unless indeed it has at the end escaped from it after experiences the most humiliating. It has always been conscious of standing in close connection with the religious forces operating in Anglo-Saxon Christendom, and has steadily sought to reproduce them in the conditions of German life. Priding itself upon this connection and seeking constantly to commend its teachings and methods on the ground that they were teachings and methods which had already approved themselves in England and America, it has had no just ground to complain of the reproach of “Engländerei” and “Methodismus”42 which it has had to bear. Under the broad term “Methodistical” there has been included a multitude of sins, the worst to be said of which is that the Fellowship Movement has really been guilty of them all. For unfortunately it has shown itself particularly sensitive to the repeated waves of religious excitement which have swept over Anglo-Saxon Christendom and has reproduced them with at least equal extravagance. There is scarcely any fanatical tendency which has troubled Anglo-Saxon Christendom during the last half-century of which the German Fellowships have not been the prey.
The movement from its very inception was a Higher Life movement. It was as such that Pearsall Smith launched it: and it has made its assault as such on the German Churches, seeking with constant zeal to transform their type of doctrine to this model. Fortunately the molding of the doctrinal teaching of the Fellowships fell from the first into moderate hands. Theodor Jellinghaus became their acknowledged theologian, and he gave to the Higher Life doctrine as discreet a statement as, possibly, it has ever received or is capable of receiving while remaining a Higher Life doctrine. But the seeds of a more consequent Perfectionism were always lying just under the surface ready to spring up and bear their unhappy harvest in any favorable season. Pearsall Smith had himself sown them. Did he not tell the people at Brighton that W. E. Boardman had “never broken the Sabbath of his soul” through thirty years, and did he not permit an aged minister by his side to assert roundly that he had lived for thirty-five years as purely as Jesus?43 The seeds of a consequent Perfectionism are sown, indeed, wherever the Higher Life doctrine is preached, and must produce their harvest whenever the artificial restraints of the Higher Life discreetness are relaxed. The harvest was reaped in the Fellowship Movement at the opening of the twentieth century, when “Pastor” Paul, one of the leaders of the more extravagant elements of it, came out on the platform of the Gnadau Conference itself with a full-orbed assertion of his complete holiness.44
The Fellowship had never constituted a homogeneous body. There had always been extravagant elements embraced in the movement. In particular the vagaries of Plymouth Brethrenism were rife in large sections of it. Not only has the great Blankenburg-Alliance Conference been from the first deeply imbued with this tendency, but also large sections of the constituency of the Gnadau Conference itself. The chiliasm which is prevalent through the whole movement takes in these circles an extreme form, and a fanatical temper is engendered by it which seems capable of everything except sobriety. Smith himself spoke of the possibility of the restoration of the spiritual gifts of the Apostolic age; even Jellinghaus was not free from this delusion; it was from the beginning an element in the movement. The Fellowships had not recovered from the turmoil roused by the outbreak of consequent Perfectionism when they received a staggering blow from the importation in the spring of 1905 of the Welsh Revival with more than the Welsh excesses. That was as nothing, however, to what befell them in the summer of 1907, when the so-called Pentecost Movement—the Los Angeles Revival45—shook them with its full force. “Pastor” Paul of course was found in the thick of it. He “spoke with tongues” more than all others; he even sang “in tongues”—translating favorite hymns into the supernatural speech; nay, he even subjected “the tongues” to philological analysis and framed a sort of syllabary of them.46
The humiliating performances at the “Pentecost” meetings did at least this service—they provoked a reaction. The reaction was slow in coming: it was not until 1910—after three years of these disgraceful proceedings—that the Gnadau people found strength and courage to repudiate them. There had been polemicizing all along; but the polemics were weak and ineffectual because conducted from a standpoint not essentially different from that of the fanatics: the whole Fellowship Movement was possessed by the convictions and hopes of which the excesses of the Pentecost Movement were only the legitimate expression. Time was required for the revolution of conception which could alone bring a remedy. It was a blessing that time enough was taken for the revolution to become radical. Hermann Benser gives us a very fair account of what happened. With an unnecessary but not unintelligible intrusion of German self-consciousness, confusing the just with the German and the bizarre with the English, he tells us that it had always been the desire of the men of the Gnadau Conference to keep their “Philadelphia Movement” truly German and not to permit it to become English—when he ought to have said that they wished it to remain soberly Christian and not to become (or remain) fanatically visionary. “But,” he continues,47
“they did not immediately recognize the perils of the revivals and above all of the Pentecost Movement. For there burned in their hearts too a longing for the charismata of the Apostolic age, and the anticipation that God would perhaps grant them now to men. Only when the devastating effects of the Pentecost Movement—the extravagance of individuals and the disruption of the Fellowship circles—became palpable, did the men of Gnadau obtain clearness and power to separate themselves sharply from this kind of thing. At the Gnadau Conference at Wernigerode of this year (1910) the directory of the ‘German Association for Fellowship-work and Evangelization’ unanimously repelled the Pentecost Movement. It was even declared that it was inconsistent with standing in the Association to have any fellowship in work with the Pentecost brethren. This declaration is a courageous act of great importance for the sound development of Fellowship Christianity. For it certainly has not been an easy thing for these men to renounce brethren with whom they have stood in close relations of love and esteem. But it became their conscientious duty to place walking in the fear of the Lord and building up the congregations in peace above consideration for these brethren.”
By this action of the Gnadau Conference of 1910 the Pentecost Movement was not suppressed. It continued to exist; but now as a distinct movement of its own, standing apart from the general Fellowship Movement and forming a separate sect of fanatical character.48 But the importance to the Gnadau Movement itself of its act of excision was not overestimated by Benser, writing immediately after the event. In it, it apparently meant definitively to turn its back not only on the Pentecost Movement and its horrible excesses, but on all in its own history which, as it now saw, led up to such things and was distinguished from them only in degree. In effect this was to cease to be distinctively a Higher Life movement and to place itself on the basis of Reformation Christianity. Its action of 1910 was followed up on January 24, 1911, by a renewed action of the directory, confirming it and even sharpening its terms: and joining with it at the same time an authoritative rejection of “Pastor” Paul’s crass Perfectionism, which had already met with the disapproval of the leaders of the conference when he had aired it at the meeting of 1904. This crass Perfectionism had now become only an element in the system of fanaticism which was being exploited by the Pentecost Movement. The singling of it out for special condemnation in 1911 has significance, therefore, only for the direction in which the minds of the Gnadau brethren were moving. The two things were already conjoined in some most significant remarks by Elias Schrenck on the Gnadau platform of 1910. “The children of God of today,” he said, “do not have to expect a Pentecost; we have the Holy Spirit.”
“Signs and wonders are not in and of themselves a proof of the Pentecost endowment; only such fruits of the Spirit as, according to Gal. 5:22, manifest themselves in the daily life and especially in our sufferings are evidence of the holy life of the Spirit.… The doctrines of the ‘pure heart,’ of sinlessness, have come to us from America and England, and have obscured the Biblical doctrines of sin and of justification by faith alone, in the case of many. We have need to abase ourselves deeply before the Lord because of the errors of our teaching heretofore, for which we all bear the guilt. We must cease to offer salvation to our people in three distinct stages, (1) Forgiveness of sins, (2) Sanctification, (3) the Baptism of the Spirit.”
—this being the form in which the developed perfectionist doctrine of “Pastor” Paul and his coadjutors was presented.49 “This trichotomy is thoroughly un-Biblical, and, praise God, also thoroughly un-German.” There is a healthy movement of repentance manifested here, and it did not cease until, as we have already hinted, the whole Higher Life element in the teaching of the Fellowship Movement apparently was recanted—a recantation in which Jellinghaus himself, who had devoted his life to its propagation, took part.50 To this element in the story we must return, however, more fully later. What it is important at the moment to make plain is only that at this point in its development the Fellowship Movement has apparently made a complete volte face. So clear is this that Theodor Sippell, writing in 1914,51 is inclined to look at its whole history theretofore as only its “chaotic beginnings,” from which no safe conclusions can be drawn as to its future. “It cannot be denied,” he says, “that a provisional stopping-point has been reached in the internal development of this movement. The new-Darbyism and fanatical currents which have exerted temporarily a prodigious influence have led in the Pentecost Movement to such deplorable aberrations, that by far the greater number of the German Fellowships have renounced them with disgust.” Horrified by the realization thus forced upon them of what they have been in principle involved in, they are raising the cry with ever greater earnestness, says Sippell, that “only a return to Luther and the heritage of the Reformation can save the German Fellowship Movement from internal and external collapse.”
It will no doubt be interesting to look a little more in detail at the perfectionist teaching of “Pastor” Paul, that we may observe somewhat more closely the end-point of the development of the Higher Life doctrine of the Fellowships. The discreet Perfectionism of Pearsall Smith, and of Jellinghaus, who followed even Smith at a little distance, of course could not achieve stability. In the nature of the case it passed necessarily by its own intrinsic logic into consequent Perfectionism whenever it met with a temper accustomed not to count costs but to reason straight onward without reserves. We are not surprised to find from a hint dropped here and there, therefore, that consequent Perfectionism was early present in Fellowship circles. On one occasion, for example, Jellinghaus, speaking of the fortunes, in Germany, of the Higher Life Movement, to the propagation of which he had given his life, feels constrained to interject a warning against what he looks upon as a danger threatening it. “Unfortunately,” he says,52—he is writing in 1898—
“false anti-natural asceticism has been showing itself for a few years back in certain very small circles, and in others an un-Biblical exaggeration of language about sanctification, connected with a distressing censoriousness.… After having for twenty-three years taught and defended the Biblically circumspect Salvationist doctrine of sanctification, along with my beloved friend and brother Otto Stockmayer in Switzerland, for long as its only literary advocate in Germany, I can do no less than warn in the most earnest and serious way against exaggerated expressions concerning the stage of sanctification attained, which afterwards cannot be confirmed and ratified by an actually sanctified life.”
We do not know that “Pastor” Paul was in Jellinghaus’ mind when he wrote these words. But he was just the sort of man of whom what Jellinghaus says would be true,53 and we are told that he had been speaking freely in this sense for some time before he dramatically cast the matter into the arena of public debate among the Fellowship people by his astonishing utterances in 1904.54
The essential elements of the doctrine which Paul proclaimed in these utterances do not differ from those of the ordinary Wesleyan doctrine. Like the Wesleyans, he separated sharply between sanctification and justification, and, like them, he taught an immediate sanctification on faith, an immediate sanctification by which our sinful nature itself is eradicated.55 According to his own account he ventured one day just to take Jesus Christ for his sanctification, and he at once received it—in its fulness. This is the way he describes his experience in his journal—Heiligung—for April, 1904:56
“All my previous conceptions were all at once cast into ruins by it; for immediately on this faith in my new Adam, I saw and felt myself delivered from every propensity (Hang) to sin. Day and night passed; days and nights passed; and it was and remained in me all new. All kinds of trials constantly came upon me, but I lived in blessed newness of life. It was with me as if none of these things concerned me. What always happened to me was that I lived by the two words and the truth enclosed in them, ‘Jesus only’ (Jesus wird). The Savior became to me in a much deeper way than ever before ‘actual’ and ‘present.’ The closeness of the Father filled my horizon; and all this has remained since that time uninterruptedly my salvation. No defilement, whether through thoughts, or through ebullition of temperament, has taken place with me since then; no disturbing thing has come either by night or day between the Lord and me. I live in the blessed fact that Jesus is my new Adam from whom I expect and may expect everything. O what blessedness lies in that! I was already happy in my Jesus. Now my happiness is boundless.”57
The theme upon which Paul addressed the Gnadau Conference at its meeting at the ensuing Whitsuntide was the appropriate one of “Our Task in the Kingdom of Christ is Faith.” What he meant by this was to assert that faith and faith alone is our whole part in salvation: Christ does all the rest. We have only to believe; nothing else is asked of us. And we receive whatever we have faith for: according to our faith it is done unto us. Testimony to the power of faith is always grateful to Christians. The energy with which Paul testified to the power of faith met of course, as it always does, with a hearty response. But when he illustrated his meaning by declaring that from those who entrust themselves to Jesus for full redemption He takes away at once all indwelling sin, the sinful nature itself; the greater part, led by Director Dietrich, Inspector Haarbeck, and the President of the Conference, drew back. In his testimony to his personal experience he abated nothing of what he had already declared in his journal. He had taken Jesus at His word. Like other believers, he had received from Him through faith the forgiveness of sins; he had day by day been cleansed in the measure in which he had trusted; at last, because he had now trusted for this, he had been delivered from sin itself—all its allurements and impulses were gone and the promise of Rom. 6:6 had been fulfilled to him, and from that hour, now some years back, he had seen nothing of his old Adam—to which Inspector Haarbeck somewhat dryly rejoined that it would perhaps be more to the purpose to inquire whether other people had seen nothing of him!58 All this Paul testified had been wrought by simple faith. He had not sought to sanctify himself, but merely to let himself be sanctified. He had turned wholly from himself and only believed that the Lord had delivered him wholly and from all. At once his Ego and his old man had fallen entirely away, and sin now no longer dwells in him.59
It will be seen that Paul leaves nothing unsaid which would make the completeness of his deliverance from sin clear.60 He argues that if God’s seed is in the sanctified, if they are made by the Spirit partakers in the divine nature, then they no longer have the nature of sin, they are in this supereminent sense freed from sin. It cannot be said, indeed, he explains, that sin no longer exists for them; for, though it no longer exists in them, it exists about them. They are, then, subject to temptation; but this temptation does not arise from within them but is due solely to solicitations from without.61 If a regenerate man had to carry his inherited evil nature about with him he would not be really free; he would be impelled to sin by his sinful nature. And if sin remains entrenched in the nature-ground of the saints up to the grave, then it is not Christ but death who is the complete deliverer; and if sin is wholly destroyed in us only at the resurrection—that is, at Christ’s second coming—then, in spite of Rev. 19:7, 1 Thess. 5:23, and Eph. 5:27, the soul must meet its bridegroom still in sin.62
Nevertheless, in defending his doctrine, Paul exhibits the usual chariness in the employment of the term “sinlessness”63 to describe it. He wishes to distinguish between the negative idea of freedom from sin and the positive idea of incapacity to sin, and to affirm only the former. He thinks it enough to say that we do not have our freedom from indwelling sin from ourselves, but only from Christ. The regenerate man has all that he has only because he abides in Jesus and Jesus abides in him; the ground of his freedom from sin is in Jesus and not in himself—it is all of grace and not of nature or of merit.64 We could talk of “sinlessness,” he says, only if we were by virtue of our own nature free from indwelling sin—as Christ was, and as Adam was before the fall. It cannot be said that this rejection of the term “sinlessness” or the explanation by which it is justified, makes a good impression. The amount of it seems to be that Paul wishes to leave open the possibility of his wholly sanctified Christians sinning again, and, in order to do so, plays fast and loose with the eradication of their sinful natures. If their sinful natures are eradicated they no longer have them, and if they no longer have them—how do they differ radically from Adam before the fall? It would be possible, of course, to say that the eradication of their sinful natures does not infuse into them holy natures; they have lost the propensity to sin, but have not gained a propensity to good. But that does not seem to be Paul’s meaning: he claims for himself apparently a holy nature: the eradication of his sinful nature is not conceived in this sense wholly negatively—it is equivalent to the infusion of a holy nature, even Christ Himself. Gennrich, therefore, very properly remarks,65 that “if by the not-sinning [the negative idea] of the regenerate man there is meant that he has no further connection with sin, because sinning is for him something contrary to his nature [as regenerate], and is therefore no longer conceivable in his case—why, then, precisely what is affirmed of him is sinlessness [in the positive sense].” What Paul has really arrived at, he goes on to say, is just the Wesleyan doctrine of Perfection, which is repudiated by the Sanctification Movement; and, indeed, Paul himself allows66 that for him, as for Wesley, the real point is, negatively, purification from all indwelling sin and, positively, complete living to God (perfect love). Nor does Paul escape his difficulties by transferring the ground of our freedom from sin from ourselves to Christ. This is to confuse the cause with the effect. Our Freedom from sin, says Paul, follows on faith and depends on abiding in Christ. Let it be granted. What follows on faith and depends on abiding in Christ is our own personal freedom from sin, from indwelling sin—the eradication of the sinful nature. It is easy to understand that Paul should wish to validate even here the familiar “moment by moment deliverance” which he had learned from the Higher Life preachers. But Gennrich very properly asks, Can he? If our sinful nature has been eradicated, it is no longer there. And the reasoning becomes irresistible: “If it belongs to the nature of the regenerate no more to sin, because he is freed even from the last remnant of original sin—why, then, as Heinatsch rightly remarks, there is no need for the regenerate to have progressive purification through Christ’s blood in ever renewed surrender to Him, the ‘moment by moment deliverance.’ He needs at the most a preservation in this condition, attained once for all by complete purification, to fall out of which would be possible only by a fall as radical and fundamental as that of the first Adam.”67 We do not say that the “moment by moment deliverance,” dependent on a “moment by moment surrender,” is tenable even for the Perfectionism of mere conduct which alone the Higher Life people wish to validate. For how is a lapse in faith possible to one whose sinlessness in act is guaranteed by the Christ who has become the source of all his life-activities? But it becomes doubly absurd when the Perfectionism of conduct has become a Perfectionism of nature. The plain fact is that we cannot suspend a supernatural salvation on natural activities, whether our salvation is wrought in us all at once in its completeness or in a long process ripening to the end—if it is wrought by Christ, it cannot be dependent on our “moment by moment” faith, but our “moment by moment” faith must be dependent on it. We cannot teach both a supernatural and a natural salvation.
As was natural, a large part of the debate called out by “Pastor” Paul’s consequent Perfectionism connects itself with its relation to the inconsequent Perfectionism of mere conduct, which was the official doctrine of the Fellowship Movement. It was contended on the one side, as for example by Heinatsch,68 that it is an illegitimate extension of the idea embodied in the old Sanctification Movement. On Paul’s part, on the other hand, it was vigorously asserted that it is only the old Sanctification Movement made explicit in its necessary contents. In this debate we must pronounce Paul right. Gennrich is quite correct when he declares69 that “in point of fact the doctrines of deliverance from indwelling sin and of the baptism of the Spirit,” as taught by “Pastor” Paul, “are the logical extension of the official doctrine of sanctification of the Fellowship Movement—as the advocates of them rightly contended at the Gnadau Conference.… In them, for the first time, Jellinghaus’ two requirements—deeper sanctification, greater gifts of grace—are really met for believers thirsting after the sensible actuality of salvation.” These words remind us, however, that the debate was not left to run its course on the simple issue of consequent or inconsequent Perfectionism. The question of the “gifts of grace” was soon complicated with it—provided for, as we have already had occasion to note incidentally, by a third stage in the saving process as conceived by Paul—the “baptism of the Spirit,” as the culminating step following on complete justification and complete sanctification. The Pentecost Movement broke over Germany in 1907. “Pastor” Paul, who was already addressing the Gnadau Conference in 1902 on Faith Healing, became at once one of its most active promoters. The upas tree was now in full fruit. It is not strange that men began to examine with new anxiety into its rooting. We have already seen the issue. At the Gnadau Conference of 1910 the Pentecost Movement was definitely repelled and all association with it was forbidden to the constituency of the Gnadau Conference. With it much of the consequent Perfectionism which had been troubling the Fellowships since 1904 was excluded. But the officials in their formal action of January 24, 1911, went a step further, and conjoined a definite condemnation of consequent Perfectionism with their condemnation of the Pentecost Movement—declaring formally against “the doctrine that by faith in Christ the abolition of the sinful nature is secured or that the believer can attain a condition on earth in which he no longer needs justifying grace.”70
The end was, however, not even yet reached. Could the fruit be discarded and the root remain in honor? It had become ever increasingly plain to ever increasing numbers that the “clean heart” of the consequent Perfectionists could not be separated from the “clean life” of the Sanctification Movement, and the one rejected and the other kept. Among others it had become plain to Jellinghaus himself, who had now for a whole generation been the trusted, almost the official, expounder of the doctrine of the “clean life” for the Fellowship circles. Perhaps we may say that this change of heart had long been preparing for him. He had felt himself reborn to a new life through the blessing which he had received at the great Oxford Meeting in 1875, and had given himself at once to the enthusiastic advocacy of the “Salvationist System” which was preached by Pearsall Smith. Already in 1880 he published his bulky book—“The Complete, Present Salvation through Christ”71—which became at once the standard Dogmatics of the Fellowship Christianity. But he did not reproduce even in it Smith’s system without modification; and the modification was in the direction of mitigation. As edition followed edition—in 1886, 1890, 1898, 1903—he was found moving ever, slightly but steadily, in the direction of further mitigation. Now, however, came the deluge. At one stroke he demolished the work of his life and declared himself to have been running on a wrong scent.72 With deep pain he sees now in “the Keswick Movement,” so long advocated by him, the source of all the evils which had lately befallen Fellowship Christianity and feels himself, because of his advocacy of “the Keswick Movement,” personally sharer in the grave responsibility for these evils. A certain levity lies at the heart of “the Keswick Movement”; its zeal is to assure ourselves that we are actually and fully saved, rather than to give ourselves to the repentance which is due to our sins, to the working out of salvation with fear and trembling, to heavenly mindedness, and a life of prayer and a walk in love. It imagines that there can be faith without repentance and conquest of sin without moral struggle. The law, sin itself as evil desire in the regenerate, the determined fulfilment of the will of God in vital endeavor, are pushed into the background. It seeks, in a word, peace instead of righteousness, and the trail of a spiritual euthymia lies over it.73
But Jellinghaus did not spare himself: he even calls his book, which appeared in 1912, by the directly descriptive title of “Avowals about My Doctrinal Errors.”74 The book naturally created a sensation, but it did not at once compose the controversy. Many, of course, followed Jellinghaus’ guidance here too, as they had followed it heretofore; and the cry arose, “Back to the Reformation.” Among these were the chief leaders of the Gnadau Conference. Others, however, entered the lists to defend Jellinghaus against Jellinghaus, and only sought to work out from the standpoint of the Reformation a justification for the doctrine of full present sanctification by faith alone.75 What is most noticeable, what is most hopeful, in the debates is that there is a return on all hands to the Reformation. As the curtain of the Great War drops on Germany and shuts off from us further knowledge of the development of the Fellowship Movement, we are cheered to see the promise that, in its Gnadau branch at least, it may have definitely turned its back on its past as a distinctively Higher Life movement and grounded its future on the Reformation doctrine of salvation, a complete and full salvation, through faith alone. It will be a great thing for the future of German Fellowship Christianity if, in the welter of unwholesome tendencies, acting and reacting upon one another—the semi-rationalism of Eisenach, the Darbyite and Chiliastic extravagance of Blankenburg, the wild fanaticism of the Pentecost people—there shall be one center of healthy granulation at Gnadau.
1 From Bibliotheca Sacra, lxxvi. 1919, pp. 1–40; cf. Benjamin B. Warfield, The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield: Perfectionism, Part One, vol. 7 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 303–341. https://faithsaves.net.
2 Paul Fleisch has gathered the material from the sources, and written the history of the movement, very sympathetically, in his “Die moderne Gemeinschaftsbewegung in Deutschland,” 1st ed., 1903, pp. 159; 2d ed., 1906, pp. 304; 3d ed., 1912, pp. 605, published as “Erster Band: Die Geschichte der deutschen Gemeinschaftsbewegung bis zum Auftreten des Zungenredens (1875–1907).” The second volume appeared in 1914: “Zweiter Band: Die deutsche Gemeinschaftsbewegung seit Auftreten des Zungenredens. I. Teil: Die Zungenbewegung in Deutschland.” See also his “Die gegenwärtige Krisis in der modernen Gemeinschaftsbewegung,” 1905, pp. 48, and his “Die innere Entwicklung der deutsche Gemeinschaftsbewegung in der Jahren 1906, 1907,” 1908. Also his “Zur Geschichte der Heiligungsbewegung: Erstes Heft: Die Heiligungsbewegung von Wesley bis Boardman,” 1910, pp. 134. This last book does not seem to have been as yet completed. It is a meritorious work, but does not rest on such first-hand information as do the others. On Fleisch’s standing as the fundamental historian of the movement, see Gelshorn (Die Christliche Welt, xix. 1905, col. 854) and Theodor Sippell (ibid., xxviii. 1914, col. 235). For the understanding of the Fellowships in general and their influence on the Church life of Germany, consult the section on “Die Entfaltung der evangelischen Frömmigkeit im religiösen Gemeinschaftsleben,” in G. Ecke’s “Die evangelischen Landeskirchen Deutschlands im neunzehnten Jahrhundert,” 1904, pp. 297–346.
3 With some hesitation we employ the word “Fellowship” to represent the German Gemeinschafts- in the compounds Gemeinschaftsbewegung, -christenthum, -kreise, -leute, -pflege, and the like; and that carries with it the use of “Fellowship” to represent the simple noun Gemeinschaft. Kerr Duncan Macmillan, in his excellent brief account of the movement (“Protestantism in Germany,” 1917, pp. 242 ff., 270), uses the term “Community Movement.” Franklin Johnson, describing it from the report in the “Kirchliches Jahrbuch” for 1907 (“The New Evangelistic Movement in the German Church,” in The Review and Expositor, vii. 1910, pp. 345–355), calls it the “Associations-Movement.” Both of these seem awkward; and “Conventicle Movement,” which of course inevitably suggests itself, also appears unacceptable. We need a word which, like the German Gemeinschaft, is “both a concrete collective and a (abstract) term of relation” (C. F. Arnold, “Gemeinschaft der Heiligen und Heiligungs-Gemeinschaften,” 1909, p. 4), and which is free from inappropriate associations in English. We are encouraged to adopt “Fellowship” by its employment by the competent writer of the “Foreign Outlook” in the Methodist Review (xciii. 1911, pp. 477–479: “The ‘Fellowship Movement’ in German Protestantism”).
4 Die Christliche Welt, xxii. 1908, coll. 244–246.
5 Kleinen Leute.
6 Der Deutsche Verband für evangelische Gemeinschaftspflege und Evangelisation.
8 Cf. the vivid account of how much in evidence the Fellowship Movement is in Germany, which is given by Martin Schian in the opening pages of his “Die moderne Gemeinschaftsbewegung,” 1909. In almost every considerable town in Germany we see houses of importance bearing the inscription “Fellowship House “or “Christian Fellowship within the National Church.” Thousands of Fellowship Christians gather every summer at the Conferences. Great tents are set up in the summer on vacant lots in cities and towns, whither every evening through four weeks hundreds—on Sundays thousands—flock for popular services. Every conceivable kind of subsidiary organization is employed to advance the cause. “It is no longer,” he says, “a thing in a corner.”
9 Op. cit., p. 22; cf. also his article in Die Christliche Welt, xxii. 1908, coll. 953 ff., and the remarks of Arthur Bonus, coll. 1064 ff.
10 What is said in this paragraph is said by Paul Drews and Arthur Bonus in the articles already cited.
11 Cf., for this paragraph, H. Jarck, art. “Gemeinschaftsbewegung,” in Herzog-Hauck, “Realencyklopädie,” xxiii. 1913, p. 529.
12 Luther’s “Werke für das Christliche Haus” (ed. by Buchwald et al.), vii. p. 160; cf. K. D. Macmillan, op. cit., p. 50.
13 Quoted by Jarck (loc. cit.) from Kühn, “Das Christliche Gemeinschaftswesen,” 1897, p. 15.
14 The term Gemeinschaft, in its technical use to describe the local Fellowship, is defined by Paul Fleisch, the chief historian of the Movement (“Die moderne Gemeinschaftsbewegung in Deutschland,” ed. 2, p. 2), as a “voluntary association of Christians in a given locality for regular meetings for the purpose of mutual edification, apart from controlling connection with the ecclesiastical authorities and government.” That would do fairly well as a definition of the early Wesleyan Societies. Sippell (loc. cit., col. 102) points to the practice of the Puritans of about 1600 as an earlier example. Having spoken of the Separatists, he continues: “Those Puritans who remained in the Church gave out the watchword—‘Not separation from the State Church but union of the earnest Christians and organization of them into local fellowships within the external frame of the State Church.’ These were fundamentally local Fellowships independent of one another and scripturally organized, which were looked upon as the true Church of Christ. This new ideal of organization, maintaining externally connection with the State Church, was later transplanted by Amesius to Holland and thence deeply influenced the young Pietism.” On this showing, the modern German Fellowships derive straight from the English Puritans through the intermediate steps of the Reformed Churches of the Continent and the Pietists.
15 “Das völlige, gegenwärtige Heil durch Christum,” ed. 4, 1898, p. 250.
16 Die Heiligungsbewegung.
17 Hermann Benser, “Das moderne Gemeinschaftschristentum,” 1910, p. 10, and art. “Gemeinschaftschristentum,” in Schiele und Zscharnack, “Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart,” ii. 1910, col. 1264; also The Methodist Review, xciii. 1911, p. 477.
18 Op. cit., p. 33.
19 Cf. Jarck, loc. cit., pp. 528–529.
20 Benser (op. cit., p. 5): “The movement proceeding from Smith brought three results. It straightened among the decided Pietists unity in the Spirit; it pointed to evangelization as succor for the unchurched masses; and it raised the banner of sanctification by faith alone.” So also in Schiele und Zscharnack, op. cit., col. 1264.
21 Jarck (loc. cit., p. 529, bottom) can speak, for example, of “evangelization of the unconverted masses,” “in contrast with the Fellowships which bring the converted together.”
22 Schian (op. cit., p. 5) accordingly contrasts Smith with Finney and Moody by the circumstance that “his method was characterized partially by his having in view less the awakening of the unconverted than the sanctification of the already converted.” Johannes Jüngst (“Amerikanischer Methodismus, in Deutschland,” 1875, p. 54) tells us that he often began his addresses by explaining that he “had two messages, the one for the unconverted, the other for the children of God.” “Nevertheless,” he adds, “the awakening influence on the unconverted retired somewhat before a kind of inner mission for believing Christians, whom he wished to urge onward.”
23 Cf. P. Kahlenbeck, Herzog-Hauck, op. cit., v. 1898, pp. 664f.: “In the years 1873 to 1875 the American evangelist, Moody … and his assistant, Sankey … preached in Great Britain and Ireland in surprisingly successful Revival Meetings. About the same time with the news of their results there came another revivalist-preacher across the ocean to Germany, Pearsall Smith, who addressed himself, however, more to those who were already believers, seeking to lead them to complete consecration to the Lord, and thus to ‘sinlessness’.”
24 Jüngst, in a valuable account of Smith’s work in Germany, which is the more instructive because absolutely contemporaneous, puts on Smith’s lips the following explanation of his relations to the Churches (op. cit., p. 87): “I belong to no Church at all. I wish to serve all Churches, to call in all of them the unrepentant to conversion, the converted to sanctification, not to loosen but to strengthen the bond between the members and the ministers in the several Churches; I work for Christ only and His kingdom, and am far removed from working for an individual denomination, and must wonder that people in Germany will not at once understand my complete ecclesiastical impartiality.” Remarking on an earlier page (p. 84) that “the Methodists are obviously making Smith’s affair their own,” Jüngst recognizes that the answer may be made to him: “But Smith does not make their affair his, and that makes a great difference. Ecclesiastically, he stands in absolute objectivity. He carries this so far in Germany that he never lodges with the members of any particular church fellowship, but in the hotel, in order to give offence to none, whether they belong to the Evangelical Church, to the free congregations, or to the Methodists.” Jüngst adds that this behavior is well advised, “if the movement is intended to hold open the hope of a wide extension in all Christian circles.” He permits himself to pass into conjectures as to its possible outcome, which are very interesting in view of the actual event. Just as Methodism ultimately crystallized into a new denomination (pp. 88 f.), “the possibility is by no means excluded that the Oxford movement too may be segregated and consolidated by an energetic and constructive hand into a new ecclesiastical communion. Since, however, Smith expressly emphasizes his unwillingness to serve any existing Church, or to form a new communion, the more probable result will be that in addition to a revival and warming up of the several Churches, the real fruits of the movement will be garnered by that communion which is most closely related to the methods and the teaching of Smith. This is, however, the Methodists, who have greeted and accompanied his appearance with loud acclamations. Their doctrine, in essence defended by Smith, could in Germany emerge from the small Methodistic circles and make an impression on Evangelical congregations on a large scale, only if on the one side it were advocated by a personality as consecrated and were presented in a clothing, ecclesiastically speaking, as colorless, as in Smith’s instance is the case.”
25 Jüngst (op. cit.) gives abundant proof of this.
26 Observe the objectivity with which it is spoken of, for example, in The Methodist Review, xciii. 1911, p. 477: “If German churchmen look with some misgivings on Methodism and other ‘sects’ in the Fatherland, they show a far deeper anxiety concerning the influence of the Fellowship Movement (Gemeinschaftsbewegung). For this movement aims to transform the type of doctrine and of life within the church itself. And withal it is characterized, at least in some places, by great extravagances and generally by a very narrow outlook.” The statements in this extract are perfectly true.
27 Already, at the Oxford Meeting, public intimation was given by him of his purpose to “carry on God’s work on the Continent.” (“Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874,” p. 281.)
28 He published in 1874 his book on the new doctrine, “De Quoi il s’agit?”
29 Cf. his book, “Tien dagen te Brighton,” 1875.
30 “Briefe über die Versammlung zu Brighton,” 1876. For estimates of this book, cf. Jellinghaus, op. cit., p. 722, and Fr. Winkler, “Robert Pearsall Smith und der Perfektionismus,” 1915, p. 17. Cf. Reiff-Hesse, “Die Oxforder Bewegung und ihre Bedeutung für unsere Zeit,” 1875.
31 Edited by Theodore Monod. It lived only from 1875 to 1879, when it was absorbed into the Bulletin de la mission intérieure.
32 “Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874,” p. 338.
33 Jellinghaus, in the Preface to the first edition of his “Das völlige, gegenwärtige Heil durch Christum,” 1880, says explicitly: “Against our expectation and without our seeking, the dear R. P. Smith was invited to Berlin, and (although he spoke through an interpreter and is in any event a man of no special oratorical gift) made, by the power of the Holy Spirit, a deep impression on many hundreds of souls in many cities of Germany, such as I suppose no one ever did before in so few weeks.”
34 Schian (op. cit., p. 5) puts the striking paradox of things thus: “He who would reckon himself to none of the existing Churches was invited and toasted by the strictest ecclesiastics of the German Church”—and the movement he founded was a strictly unecclesiastical one.
35 Op. cit., p. 52.
36 Op. cit., pp. 3–4.
37 Op. cit., pp. 66, 67.
38 Jellinghaus, writing in 1880, says its circulation was then about 8,000.
39 Op. cit., pp. 84, 85.
40 C. F. Arnold’s characterization, from the extremely churchly standpoint, runs as follows (op. cit., p. 32): “In the Gnadau branch the Darbyite undercurrent was held down for a long time by the Württembergers, and up to von Oertzen’s death (1894) moderation ruled. After that, however, Graf Pückler, supported by Graf Bernstorff and Pastor Paul, introduced a driving propaganda.… Therefore the German Committee for Evangelical Fellowship-work and Evangelization was formed in 1894. In 1901 Graf Pückler sought a greater independence for the Fellowships.… Since 1902 a centrifugal movement has no doubt made itself noticeable; but an organization has been created which stretches from East Prussia to Westphalia and from Schleswig-Holstein to Nassau.”
41 C. F. Arnold (op. cit., p. 31) describes the characteristics of the Blankenburg branch of the Fellowship Movement. Anarchistic Darbyite tendencies rule. The last of the nine articles of the Evangelical Alliance which declares the preaching office, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper permanent elements in the church, is rejected. The state church is asserted to give to the Emperor what belongs to God. Luther sowed to the flesh when he founded a state church. All theology is worthless. The fundamental doctrine is that of the collection of the Bride-Church, that is, extreme chiliasm. The leaders are von Knobelsdorff, von Viebahn, Stockmayer, Kühn, Rubanowitsch.
42 As the term Methodismus has been flung at the Fellowship Christianity as a term of reproach, it has naturally been repelled, and thus a debate has grown up as to its applicability. Jellinghaus (op. cit., ed. 4, pp. 78 ff.) protests against the use of the term and declares that there is nothing, strictly speaking, Methodistic about the movement and the term as employed of it is only a cloak of ignorance. In England, he says, the movement is called “the Keswick Movement”; but, as that term would convey no meaning to German ears, he proposes to call it “the Salvationist (heilistisch) Movement,” because what the movement proclaims is salvation—the possession of salvation, the assurance of salvation, the present enjoyment of salvation—through joyful acceptance of the Savior, and of free, complete, and present salvation. Jellinghaus’ critics content themselves with crying out upon the linguistic enormity of the term heilistisch. He, however, having the courage of his convictions, goes on to coin a corresponding substantive and calls the movement (p. 176) “our new Biblical Salvationism (Heilismus).” Friedrich Simon (Die Christliche Welt, xxii. 1908, col. 1144), while denying any historical ground for calling the Fellowship Movement “Methodistic,” yet wishes to take the sting out of the term by declaring that what is called “Methodistic” in the Fellowship Movement was already recognized by Schleiermacher as natural and right, and that whoever would deny a right in the National Church to “ ‘Methodistically’ colored piety,” in even the narrow sense, forgets the historical nexus between Luther and Spener and Zinzendorf and Wesley, and must logically turn his back on “missions,” which have their roots in Pietism and Moravianism, and strike out of the Hymn Book and Liturgy no inconsiderable amount of their contents.—In point of fact, of course, “Methodism,” in its narrow sense as the designation of the movement inaugurated by Wesley, does lie in the background of the entire movement. Smith’s doctrine of the Higher Life is historically only a modification of the Wesleyan doctrine of “Christian Perfection,” and the Evangelistic methods employed by him and conveyed by him to the Fellowship Movement were historically derived from Methodist practice. Karl Sell (Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche, xvi. 1906, p. 375) is not far from putting his finger on the exact point of importance when he says that the great matter in which Methodism differs from the Pietism of which the Fellowship Movement is a modification under the impulse of the Evangelization Movement, lies precisely in “Methodism’s ardor for saving souls, and that quickly, in a moment.” The reality and the strength of the Methodist spirit in the Fellowship Movement is manifested in its participation in this Methodist “suddenness”—Smith’s famous jetzt—“Jesus saves me now.” The two most outstanding features of the movement are its twin insistence on sudden conversion and sudden sanctification. What it has stood for in the Christian life of Germany is salvation at once on faith; complete salvation at once on faith; complete salvation at once without any delay for preparation for it and without any delay for working it out. Everybody can accept salvation at once, and at once on accepting it can possess all that is contained in it. This is really the underlying idea that gives their form to both Wesleyanism and the Fellowship Movement—although both the one and the other broke its force by separating justification and sanctification from each other. They wished to apply the epithets instantanea, perfecta, plena, certa, which the Old Protestantism employed of the supervention of justification on faith, to sanctification also. But they did not quite like to take the whole plunge and make every Christian absolutely perfect from the moment of believing. They both, therefore, were driven into inconsequent dealings with the relation of sanctification to justification, and with the contents of the idea of sanctification itself—designed to mitigate the extremity of the fundamental principle in its application. Meanwhile it is clear that the Fellowship Movement is not only historically, through Smith, a daughter of Methodism in the narrow sense of the word; but that it shares the most fundamental conceptions of Methodism, and from them gains its own peculiarity.
43 So Jüngst (op. cit., p. 79) tells us.
44 “Pastor” Paul was earlier pastor at Ravenstein in Pomerania, and then, as a leader in the Gnadau Conference, organized the Fellowship Movement in Pomerania. He was very prominent in the Pentecost Movement (1907); and making Steglitz, near Berlin, his home, went out thence as an apostle of the Pentecost Movement, bearing up and down Germany in his own person the gifts of grace.
45 This is not the place to describe this movement in detail. It is treated more or less fully, of course, in all accounts of the Fellowship Movement. See especially Paul Fleisch, “Die innere Entwickclung,” usw. See also E. Edel, “Die Pfingstbewegung im Lichte der kirchliche Geschichte,” Brieg, E. Captuller, 1910, pp. 122; B. Kühn, “Die Pfingstbewegung im Lichte der Heiligen Schrift und ihrer eignen Geschichte,” Gotha, Ott (1913?) pp. 105. The matter is excellently treated by Paul Drews in Die Christliche Welt, xxii. 1908, coll. 271 ff., 290 ff., who cites the most important primary German literature; E. Buchner’s article in Die Christliche Welt (xxv. 1911, coll. 29 ff.) gives personal experiences with the German phenomena. F. G. Henke (The American Journal of Theology, xiii. 1909, pp. 193 ff.) gives some account of the non-German history, with references to the primary literature. See also the literature mentioned in H. Bavinck, “Gereformeerde Dogmatiek” (2d ed.), iii. p. 568, note.
46 Schian (op. cit., p. 16) relates what “Pastor” Paul did with “the tongues.” “A special curiosity in the region of speaking with tongues is described by Pastor Paul, who has in his own little monthly magazine reported with stenographic exactness his experiences in this field. He has not only spoken with tongues, but also—think of it! in meaningless syllables which he could not himself interpret!—has sung them hours at a time. Afterwards he himself subjected his own tongues—speeches to careful investigation, and sought to translate them, and then endeavored even to sing some well-known religious songs ‘in tongues.’ ‘Every song, whose melody was well enough known to me, I could sing in tongues, and all of them every time rhymed wonderfully.’ When they rhymed thus: ‘ea tschu ra ta—u ra torida—tschu ri kanka—oli tanka,’ he rejoiced. ‘There is more rhyme in it than in the German words,’ he said.”
47 Op. cit., pp. 13, 14.
48 Cf. The Methodist Review, xciii. 1911, p. 478.
49 Cf. Sippell (loc. cit., col. 178), who, pointing out that Methodism has always been liable to fanaticism, adds: “A sad instance of this is our present-day Pentecost Movement, which, carrying the doctrine of Wesley further, distinguishes between the complete purification from sin and a later-occurring baptism of the Spirit, with reception of special gifts of grace—speaking with tongues, healing the sick and the like.” Only, this development did not need to wait for the German Pentecost people to make it.
50 Cf. his booklet, “Erklärungen über meine Lehrirrungen,” 1912.
51 Loc. cit., col. 235.
52 Op. cit., ed. 4, pp. 436–437.
53 Benser (op. cit., p. 41) assigns him his place thus: “Differences in types of piety are produced by national character, by individual dispositions, often not spiritually purified, or by an especially strong development of a single trait of piety. The national character asserts itself especially in Württemberg and in the East-German provinces. The Swabian character tends to make Fellowship Christians who build up a sterling piety with inner sensibility and prefer to remain in retirement rather than to appear in public. On the other hand the East-German character, which tends in other matters also to extreme conceptions, works in the Fellowship Christianity also towards affording glad hospitality to all sensational, out-of-the-common notions. Individual traits of character have made Pastor Paul a fanatical Christian, with aspirations stretching beyond all earthly limits.” “Pastor” Paul belongs to the East-German stock.
54 Allgemeine Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirchenzeitung, xxxvii. 1904, col. 606. Jellinghaus might very well, perhaps, have had Otto Stockmayer himself in view, had he attended closely to what he already had said in his address to the Gnadau Conference of 1896 on “Die Christliche Vollkommenheit,” which Jellinghaus (p. 705, note) praises as not only admirable, but thoroughly Biblical. In that address (p. 27 of the reprint) he declares that the consciousness that God intends to bring us into likeness to the Lamb will save us from being satisfied with any half-way perfection: “I can be a member of the Bride only with a holiness which can abide the eye of God, the angels and the devils,” because what comes from God can stand in the sight of God. He afterwards became notorious as the advocate of the possibility and duty of attaining this perfect holiness on earth. “His favorite idea,” says a writer in Die Christliche Welt (xix. 1905, col. 877, note), “is the establishment of a small congregation of the elect, in whom sanctification takes place even unto victory over death, and makes the coming of Christ possible.” Cf. Th. Hardeland, Neue kirchliche Zeitschrift, ix. 1898, p. 59.
55 Cf. Gelshorn, Die Christliche Welt, xix. 1905, coll. 895 f.: “On the subject of sanctification conceptions within the Fellowship Movement differ, it must be confessed, very widely, and it is Jellinghaus who shows here to advantage—because of his moderation and prudence. While others, such as Pückler, Brookes and Paul sharply distinguish sanctification, in point of time, from justification, and expect it from a special baptism of the Spirit subsequently to an already accomplished justification, thinking of it therefore more in the form of a sudden violent irruption (Durchbruch) while the man remains completely passive; according to Jellinghaus the beginning of sanctification comes with justification, and the filling with the Holy Ghost is a matter inclusive of the voluntary element of faithfulness and advance in personal surrender to Christ more and more to completion. Accordingly, also, Jellinghaus holds himself far from the folly of Perfectionism which in Paul has its keenest advocate—Paul who in public meetings has declared that he no more commits any sin. According to Jellinghaus the actual holiness of every converted man consists in his holding himself free from every conscious or intentional transgression of the divine law.”
56 We are quoting it from the Allgemeine Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirchenzeitung, xxxvii. 1904, col. 532.
57 The Allgemeine Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirchenzeitung quotes, along with this report of “Pastor” Paul’s description of his experiences, a warning comment printed by Adolf Stöcker in the pages of the journal, Reformation: “Of course,” he says, “I do not doubt the veracity of Brother Paul in a single word. But I am full of doubt whether it is wholesome to describe in detail and justify such experiences. As personal experiences they stand far above the self-judgment of the greatest men of faith in Holy Writ. David confesses in Ps. 19:13, ‘Who can discern his errors? Cleanse Thou me from hidden faults.’ And Paul denies of himself that he is already perfect. Pastor Paul, if he feels himself freed from all propensity to sin, is perfect. We have to do, therefore, in his case with a super-Biblical standpoint. Even John in the third chapter of his First Epistle does not go so far.… That there lies in Pastor Paul’s self-declaration a great danger for himself and for the readers of his journal is certain. I recall with great sorrow Pearsall Smith, Idel, and Fries, and many others who spoke precisely like Brother Paul, and afterwards made shipwreck. God preserve Evangelical Christianity from such self-deceptions and breakdowns!”
58 Cf. the report of the meeting of the Conference in the Allgemeine Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirchenzeitung, xxxvii. 1904, col. 576; also Herzog-Hauck, loc. cit., p. 536; Benser, op. cit., p. 36; P. Gennrich, “Wiedergeburt und Heiligung,” 1908, pp. 50 ff.
59 The language is here derived from Paul’s explanation in Heiligung, February, 1906, pp. 12, 14, as cited by P. Gennrich, op. cit., p. 50.
60 In this discussion we are dependent on Gennrich, op. cit.
61 Paul, Reich Christi, 1905, pp. 135 f., 144; Heiligung, February, 1906, p. 14.
62 Reich Christi, 1905, pp. 130 f.
64 Reich Christi, 1905, pp. 140, 143.
65 Op. cit., p. 51.
66 Reich Christi, p. 130.
67 Op. cit., pp. 52–53.
68 Reich Christi, 1904, p. 367, cited by Gennrich, op. cit., pp. 44, 45.
69 Op. cit., pp. 44, 45.
70 Jarck, loc. cit., p. 542.
71 “Das völlige, gegenwärtige Heil durch Christum,” 1880, 1886, 1890, 1898, 1903.
72 Cf. the accounts of Jarck, loc. cit., pp. 530–531, and Sippell, loc. cit., coll. 100 f.
73 Jellinghaus had never been blind to this aspect of the movement: only, he had treated it heretofore as an accident and not its essence. In the height of his advocacy of the movement he could write as follows (op. cit., ed. 4, pp. 434–435): “Although R. P. Smith declared often, ‘I desire communion in the sufferings of Christ rather than in the joys of Christ,’ yet the Biblical verities of painful co-suffering with Christ, of the sufferings of priestly-minded Christians (such as Paul describes 2 Cor. 3–5; Rom. 8; Phil. 3; Col. 1:24)—especially of the life of persecution of the members of Christ, and of their strivings unto blood under affliction, scorn and inward mortification, retired too much into the background. Many spoke as if men were already living in the millennium, and very inadequately recognized the mighty power of anti-Christianity and therefore insufficiently also the struggle against it as a priestly task of the saints (Heb. 12:4).” In the preceding pages (pp. 433 f.) he makes some criticisms also of Smith’s methods.
74 “Erklärungen über meine Lehrirrungen,” 1912, Verlag of Prack & Co., Lichtenrode, pp. 51.
75 Among these should be especially mentioned Ernst Heinatsch, “Die Krisis der Heiligungsbegriffes in der Gemeinschaftsbewegung der Gegenwart,” 1913. While still defending Jellinghaus’ former teaching, Heinatsch seeks to separate it from its inseparable Wesleyan content and from its logical issue in the Perfectionism of “Pastor” Paul. An earlier book from outside the Fellowship circles, Ernst Rietschel’s “Lutherische Rechtfertigungslehre oder moderne Heiligungslehre?,” 1909, should be read in this connection. Rietschel argues that Jellinghaus has taken the wrong way to correct the later Lutheran dogmaticians: we must not borrow from the Wesleyans but return to Luther.
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