Sunday, July 24, 2016

Vote Your Conscience

Three words came out of the Republican National Convention the most memorable and controversial: "Vote Your Conscience."  I'm sure that I've never heard those three words used more.  I became curious to their usage and meaning.  At Google books, "vote your conscience" occurs 2,810 times. Before the year 2000, "vote your conscience" appears there 15 times.  That leaves 2,795 times the year 2000 up until today.  This phrase was not in popular usage until after 2000.  Why wasn't it used before?  More than ever, people don't understand the conscience.  When they did, they didn't say "vote your conscience."  In a day when the conscience means the least, it is used the most.

Upon "vote your conscience" becoming popular, you could see what it meant to those using it.  The phrase means, "do not vote along party lines," or, "vote for someone outside of your party."  By the way it is used, it has little to nothing to do with the conscience.   Since the concept of the conscience is biblical, the person saying, vote your conscience, sounds like he's encouraging something biblical. Someone against "voting your conscience" also sounds like he's against doing something that must be biblical.

How would someone vote his conscience?  The conscience doesn't provide information for voting. The conscience warns someone based on his highest perceived standard.  The conscience doesn't tell someone how to vote.

I won't be relying on my conscience for my vote in November.  I don't remember ever depending on my conscience in any election ever.  To vote in a democratic republic, someone should study the candidates and the issues, developing a checklist for the pros and cons of each possibility.  My priority for voting is what is best for the country.

Friday, July 22, 2016

I am a Pigeon: A Manifesto for Marriage Equality, Animal, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Transspecies Rights


       As the sexual revolution continues to make progress in the United States, spearheaded by whatever five members of the Supreme Court happen to think at the moment, whatever laws an executive branch regulatory agency passes without Congressional authority, and whatever new ideas tenured Marxists and media moguls wish to propagate, it is time for the next frontier in the revolution to take place.  It is time for those—like me—who identify as pigeons to be accorded our equal rights in society.
            It is true that my birth certificate states that I am a man.  It is true that every cell in my body screams out that I am a male human being.  No matter—my species identity is different from this.  Alternative gender identities are so, like, yesterday.  Species identity is where the really cool stuff is.  Queer species identity is the new alternative lifestyle, and we are coming out of the closet.  After all, there is no room for us in the closet anymore, as we have shoved into the closet the Bible, nuns who do not want to pay for abortifacients, bakers and photographers who want to obey their conscience, and people who think God’s plan is one man and one woman for life.  Such passé ideas must no longer be tolerated in the public square, and the old First Amendment protections for free exercise of religion must fade away before the new rights to debauchery without consequences and without criticism, these new rights not being given by God (for His ideas about sexual morality are not a little different) but by the majority of our nine black-robed gods and by lawless presidential and bureaucratic, extra-congressional diktat.
            In accordance with my species identity, I no longer only want to be able to use whatever restroom and locker room tickles my fancy.  That is not enough—indeed, merely allowing me to violate the privacy and safety of the 99.999% who think my species identity is bird-brained nonsense is to compromise my constitutional rights.  It is no longer enough for me to defile the minds of little girls by stripping naked in front of them in their locker rooms.  I now demand the right to be able to use the bathroom on whatever car in the company parking lot I desire, as do my fellow Pigeon-Americans.  I demand the right to vote—in at least one polling place, perhaps in several, without showing an ID (and for Democrats, of course)—on the behalf of all of my fellow pigeons, who have been cut out from the political process for too long.  Pigeon-Americans must join the ranks of the LGBTQWKWVVC (Lesbian-Gay-Bi-Trans-Queer-Who-Knows-What-Very-Very-Confused), those on the government dole, the dead (who consistently vote nearly 100% Democrat except when their voting rights are unconstitutionally restricted), and other ne’er-do-well and downcast womyn, male-oppressors, and both-neithers, who have seen the light through years of educational and media indoctrination (and some medical marijuanna) and who together form the core of the Democrat party’s base.  I also demand the right to marry another pigeon, and demand that I receive the tax benefits, inheritance rights, adoption rights, and all other privileges of natural marriage when I do so—I must be free to marry whomever, or whatever species, I love.  The egg of marriage equality will not be fully hatched until bestiality is made equal to fornication, adultery, polygamy, sodomy, sadomasichism, molestation of the underage, and whatever else my lusts desire—all of which must be accorded exactly the same legal rights as natural marriage.  I demand, not only the ability to use whatever locker room and bathroom I desire, as well as the ability to go on your car, from the top of tall buildings, on your head, and wherever else I want whenever I want, but also that you pay for my $100,000 species-reassignment surgury with your tax dollars.  Furthermore, I demand that any doctor who cannot in good conscience mutilate my body and surgically implant feathers on me have no conscience protections, but be fired immediately, if not arrested.  I also demand quotas in college admissions and employment for Pigeon-Americans—if we are not represented at your business at an exactly equal level to the ratio of pigeons to people in your city, we will sue you into bankrupcy for discriminating against us.  Not only so, but if you DARE to even SUGGEST that I am a man, and not a pigeon, I demand that your hate speech be punished with long prison sentences, forfiture of all your property, and—what may be an even worse punishment—hours and hours of diversity and sensitivity training saturated with leftist drivel.  Indeed, you will not be allowed to even dare to think—not for the smallest fraction of a second—that I am not a pigeon.  Such hate-thoughts will lead you to micro-aggressions that will be punished severely.  Furthermore, all dissent from my equal status as a Pigeon-American must be crushed.  In the public schools you are funding with your tax dollars, we will teach that if a five-year-old boy thinks he is a girl, or a pigeon, or a Big Bird, or an elephant, or a dolphin, or a Cookie Monster, or a cockroach, that such ideas are natural and healthy, and we will, without parental consent, chop off arms, legs, or whatever other members are necessary to surgically make impressionable young people conform on the outside as nearly as possible to whatever gender or species identity their flights of fancy have led them to.  (It will take a lot of time to convince the children that such unnatural absurdities are true, so we will drop—if it has not already been done—the teaching of Read’n, ‘Ritin', and ‘Rithmetic to make sure that the youth are Politically Correct and Species Sensitive.)  If you go to a private school and your teachers dare to call me a man, not a bird, we will take away your accreditation and force your school to shut your doors.  Finally, if you homeschool and dare to call me a man, we will take your kids away from you.  Passing on such anti-bird species hatred will not be tolerated, but crushed with an iron fist, in our tolerant and diverse society.
            We are slouching towards Gomorrah very quickly as a country—it was only in 2003 that the gods on our Supreme Court struck down anti-sodomy laws, and a mere ten years later that they found a penumbra of an implication of a hypothesis of a will-‘o-the-wisp that proves that there is a constitutional right for men to marry other men.  We Pigeon-Americas are expecting our rights to be vindicated very soon, even if it means the end of your freedom and the final and utter destruction of constitutional liberty for ungodly, lascivious, and immoral tyranny.
            It will happen sooner than you think.


          The article above was originally published here.




Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Brief Review of Annual Summer Training at Logos School, Moscow Idaho

From Kent Brandenburg:  Our other pastor, Dave Sutton, and one other man who also teaches in our school, Bethel Christian Academy, traveled to Moscow, Idaho last week to attend the Annual Summer Training of the Logos School, the school founded by Douglas Wilson, whom some call the father of modern Christian classical education.  I asked Pastor Sutton if he wouldn't mind giving a critique or review of the time there, because I thought it would be of interest to our readers.  By the way, although this is unusual for us, we don't view attending a conference such as this to be scriptural fellowship.  We are not working or cooperating with Logos or Christ Church in church ministry.  Dave Sutton said there seemed to be about 200 in attendance.  There is a lot someone could get from what Wilson and the Logos School do there, but I asked Dave if he would especially focus on what he mainly saw was different from us.

By Pastor David Sutton

Last week I attended the teacher’s and administrator’s conference hosted by the Logos School in Moscow, Idaho.  I am sure most people who read this blog recognize the name Douglas Wilson, who was one of the founders of this school.  It is a classical Christian school.  I have read Wilson’s books on classical Christian education, and several years ago a friend invited me to spend several days observing the content and teaching methods of his Christian school, which is also classical in its approach

I have to admit that I am impressed with the thinking and reasoning skills of students who are classically trained.  So one of our teachers and I went to the conference to glean from what Logos does.  The conference was extremely organized; and the speakers were thoughtful, helpful, and obviously intelligent.  They do a lot well, and I learned things both educationally and administratively from them.

I went to the conference knowing that our church is very different from the beliefs and practices that Douglas Wilson and those around him have.  However, I do know they are thinking people, and I figured I would benefit from their insight into education.  At the same time, I wanted to get a better grasp on classical education, and identify what really makes it tick.  What I gleaned from my conversations with the school leadership is that worldview is essential.  I know how I look at the world and how a Christian is to think and what life is to be based on; so okay, let me see your worldview.  I’m ready.   Here’s my observation:

First, they spend more time quoting C.S. Lewis, Herodotus, or some other classical scholar than they do Jesus, Paul, or anybody else in Scripture.  I’m not saying that they used zero Scripture: they did use Scripture; but the Bible was not the focus of their system.  They use the Trivium model of instruction as outlined by Dorothy Sayers in her article The Lost Tools of Learning.  (The three stages of learning are the grammar stage, the logic stage, and the rhetoric stage.)  These stages correspond to the learning sequence of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom found in Proverbs 2:1-6 and 4:5-7.  Dorothy Sayers may have recognized through observation the sequence Solomon wrote of.  But if I am going to incorporate a style of pedagogy, I want to do it because the Bible says it, not because Dorothy Sayers says it.  At the conference, Sayers was mentioned more than Solomon.  What does this say about worldview?  The Bible takes a back seat to the experts.  This undermines the teaching that the Bible is our sole authority for faith and practice.

Second, when they did use Scripture, it was often with a glancing blow.  If they read a verse to make a point, they did not comment on the verse, did not drill down on it; they just moved on (the plenary sessions were better).  Logos School does a sterling job getting students to think logically and deeply and to speak persuasively.  But think about what? Speak about what?  Ultimately, isn’t our thinking to be based on the specifics of what Scripture says?  I mean chapter and verse, so that our students are settled on doctrine and practice.  Jesus said that we are to live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.  If what I observed is the modus operandi  for a conference for academic leaders, what is happening day by day at Logos, and what are they promoting to the schools attending the conference?  To me it is a worldview that is very general in nature.  They say they want to influence society for Christ, but if we don’t teach our children carefully and thoroughly from the Scriptures, they will be drawn away, despite any logical and rhetorical skills (cf. Eph. 4:11-14).

Finally, their application of Christian worldview is inconsistent and pragmatic.  What I mean is this: they teach their students to identify virtuous character traits in a given piece of literature, because who can argue against such behavior.  Parents want this.  On the other hand, when it comes to the age of the earth, they do not take a position.  Why?  They can’t get away with taking a side.  The issue is too controversial, and they risk losing students.  They are not neutral on alcohol, though.  But that one, they can get away with (unfortunately).   Kind of reminds me of the time Jesus asked the religious leaders if John’s baptism was from heaven or of men.  After mulling over their quandary, they said, “We cannot tell” (Mt. 21:25-27).  They were plenty bold, when they thought they had the upper hand; but when an honest answer would hurt them, they went PC.   Not a very good worldview.

Again, Logos School does a lot of things well, and I am glad I picked some of those things up.  But their worldview is not as Bible-centered as they think.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Pastors and Churches That Accept Our Former Members

What do churches and pastors do with members of other churches who come to them?  Our church has nothing to do with this subject right this moment, so this isn't personal.  It is a regular issue all over the country and I think pastors should consider their policy, whether they are handling this occasion in a scriptural way.

I have never had a pastor call me about a former church member.  I'm telling you, I've been pastoring for thirty years, and I've never had another pastor call me about a church member who has left our church.  When I say "left our church," I mean of all types of leaving, including church discipline.  On the other hand, I have called other pastors about members who have left their churches every single time -- every time.  How could I pastor for thirty years and never have another pastor call me about someone who has left our church?  Hopefully that sounds really bad to you.  It's true though.  What is with men who practice this way?  Do pastors and churches even care?

Other churches have taken in our disciplined members.  One lady who was a member of our church had committed adultery, so we disciplined her, she was unrepentant, so we removed her from our church.  She went to a local evangelical church, called a "Bible church." She told them she was from our church.  They were fine with her being there.  She told them she had committed adultery and had been disciplined out, and that was fine too.

Our church disciplined a man from the church and he went to another independent Baptist church about thirty minutes away.  That church accepted him in.  Our church sent a letter to that church and offered them the opportunity to reconcile with us, because they had taken in a disciplined member. That was our attempt to remain in fellowship.  They rejected even having that meeting.

When people talk about unity and fellowship, very often they mean "putting up with false doctrine and bad behavior."  If you are not willing to put up with false doctrine and bad behavior, you are causing disunity.  If you were to join a group of churches in a meeting, and there you saw your disciplined member, the right behavior is to keep your mouth shut and act like nothing happened. This is called fellowship.  The one who opens his mouth would be called divisive, a harm to unity. I'm not kidding.

Several years ago, the closest church in doctrine and practice in our area got a new pastor.  I called him and invited him to lunch, mainly to talk about this very subject.   We both agreed that if someone from his church came to ours, I would give him a call.  If someone came from our church to his, he would give us a call.  In the years following, we had one person come from his church to ours, and I called him.  We had three different people go their church and I never received a call, not one time.

Later I saw the pastor of the previous paragraph at an event and I asked him why he went ahead and took in our members without a call.  He said he didn't think it would matter since our church separates over certain doctrine, so that we weren't in fellowship anyway, so he didn't think it mattered if he called or not.  I have found this typical of fundamentalism.

Even if two churches are not in fellowship, they should not allow members to hop from church to church without a call.  It's possible that people have a good reason for leaving a church.  Perhaps they should be in your church.  You should still call the other church for many reasons.

One, a church deserves respect even if it isn't doing right.  Two, churches shouldn't allow people to run from unrepentant sin.  That's about God -- He should be respected.  Three, nothing tests fellowship like what churches do with members of another church.  If churches really are about fellowship or unity, they have to try to unify where it really counts, not in the sentimental fake unity. Four, pride is involved with the thinking that you can take someone and work them into your church, who has left another church.  Five, people need to be taught to deal with their problems correctly even if they should have left the other church.

No pastor or his church wants other pastors and churches believing lies about them.  When a person comes to your church from another church and says the former church stunk, that could be a lie. The former church deserves due process. We want due process, so we should give due process to others too. Believing whatever someone else tells you about another person is not a biblical or godly practice.  We should give someone else or another church an opportunity to defend themselves.  Even if we wouldn't fellowship with that church, we don't have the right to believe a lie about it.

I get what happens.  Your church member goes to another church.  That church sees a new member. You know, who doesn't want a new member?  If you get a new member, your church gets bigger. Getting bigger is good, is the reasoning.  If you behave like you are going to call the former church and maybe believe that church, you may lose a new member.  Instead of risking the loss of a new member, you do not make the call.  I think that's what happens.  This is a faithless lack of trusting God.  It's many more other things, but faithlessness is a start.  It might be just be putting your head in the sand.  If you find out the bad news, then it means you are responsible for that bad news.  The truth is that you are still responsible because you wouldn't even call to find out.

We had a man come to our church from an American Baptist Church.  Many of the American Baptists are liberal.  It's the right thing to call and find out what's up before someone can be considered for joining.  Why should an unscriptural church start having respect for scripture if the so-called scriptural church doesn't have respect for scripture?  Scriptural churches should handle things scripturally.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Keswick's Biblical Strengths: where Keswick is Correct, in an Analysis and Critique of So Great Salvation by Stephen Barabas, part 4 of 4

               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.[1]
Indeed,faith . . . on the human side is the fundamental element of religion, as grace is on God’s side.”[2]  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?[3]
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.”[4]  Indeed, Warfield taught that “[s]urrender and consecration . . . are the twin key-notes of the Christian life.”[5]  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[.]”[6]  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.”[7]  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?[8]
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.  Every grace of the godly life . . . [is] a fruit of His working.”[9]  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.[10]
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,[11] 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.[12]
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.[13]
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.[14]
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.[15]
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.[16]
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[.][17]
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 dependent 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 preeminently 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.[18]
Such Christ-centered and Spirit-dependent spirituality can be found in the hearts and writings of Baptists and classical evangelicals for 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 passionately opposed 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, 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 fullness 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.

 See here for this entire study.






[1]              Pgs. 485-486, Biblical Doctrines:  The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, Vol. 2, B. B. Warfield.  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.
[2]              Pg. 155, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.
[3]              Pgs. 44-46, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.
[4]              Pg. 73, Revelation and Inspiration:  The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, Vol. 1, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA:  Logos Bible Software, 2008.
[5]              Pg. 155, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.
[6]              Pg. 155, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.
[7]              Pg. 155, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.
[8]              Pgs. 200-201, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.
[9]              Pg. 129, Biblical Doctrines:  The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, Vol. 2, B. B. Warfield.  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.
[10]             Pgs. 113-114, Studies in Perfectionism, Part One:  The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, Vol. 7, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.
[11]             That is, Ephesians 3:17a reads:  katoikhvsai to\n Cristo\n dia» thvß pi÷stewß e˙n tai√ß kardi÷aiß uJmw◊n. (This explanatory note was written by the author of this entire book, not by B. B. Warfield, who is being quoted.)
[12]             Pgs. 270-272, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.
[13]             Pgs. 153, 438-439, 149, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.
[14]             Pgs. 81-82, The Plan of Salvation: Five Lectures, B. B. Warfield.  Philadelphia, PA:  Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1915.
[15]             Pg. 334, Calvin and Calvinism:  The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, Vol. 5, B. B. Warfield. Bellingham, WA:  Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2008.
[16]             Pg. 255, Faith and Life, B. B. Warfield. New York, NY: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1916.
[17]             Pgs. 74-75, Studies in Perfectionism, Part Two, The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, Vol. 8, B. B. Warfield.  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.
[18]             Pgs. 86-87, Studies in Theology:  The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, Vol. 9, B. B. Warfield.  Bellingham, WA:  Logos Bible Software, 2008.  As the chapter in this work on the historic Baptist doctrine of Spirit baptism demonstrates, Warfield’s language of the outpouring of the Spirit here is not technically accurate.  However, his sense of and expressed need for the Spirit is indubitably both accurate and highly commendable.