Friday, April 21, 2017

Andrew Murray, Mystical Quietist and Higher Life / Keswick Writer, part 2 of 7

As Keswick exercised a profound influence upon Murray, in turn, “‘[p]henomenal’ is not too strong a word to describe the influence of Dr. Andrew Murray upon Keswick . . . as powerful as that of any man upon the movement,” for “he became renowned as an exceptionally gifted exponent of the same teaching as at Keswick . . . through his books,”[1] which spread the Keswick theology around the globe.  He was both associated with “Keswick” and with “Mr. Moody,”[2] and, his Faith Cure theology being well known,[3] he spoke at the Keswick Convention in 1895[4] at the invitation of its Quaker co-founder Robert Wilson,[5] where he was “one of the principal speakers.”  Indeed, he was “[t]he main feature of . . . [the] Convention” that year, telling the assembled crowds at Keswick:  “Do not be afraid if people say, Do you want to make Quakers of us?”[6]  Murray also preached at a variety of other Higher Life venues,[7] where, he testified, many “have heard how I have pressed upon [them] the two stages of the Christian life,” justification and sanctification, “and the step from the one to the other,” the special act of faith for sanctification.[8]  The two-faith position of Murray and Boardman passed directly from the Higher Life theology into Pentecostalism.[9]  Murray also adopted from William Boardman, in connection with other Higher Life and Faith Cure influences,[10] the theories of sanctification and healing by faith alone.  He adopted the doctrine of Boardman and Hannah W. Smith that the Holy Spirit does not indwell the believer at the moment of regeneration but only indwells those who have received the second blessing and entered into the Higher Life.  In fact, in a manner that prepared the way for Pentecostalism,[11] he affirmed that adoption of this false pneumatological doctrine was key not only for entry into the Higher Life but for a restoration of the sign gifts.  Murray argued that a recognition of the alleged fact that the Holy Spirit does not indwell all believers is essential for a restoration of the miraculous sign gifts.  He based this teaching on a misinterpretation of Acts 19:1-7, overlooking the fact that the people who did not have the Spirit were unconverted individuals who did not believe in the Trinity.  He also overlooked the many plain texts that teach universal Spirit indwelling for the course of the dispensation of grace (Romans 8:9; Galatians 4:6; and 1 John 3:24).  Murray wrote:

[T]he message [is] that the Christian life is two-fold.  The first is that we experience something of the operation of the Holy Spirit but do not yet receive Him as the Spirit of Pentecost, as the personal indwelling Guest who comes to abide permanently in the heart.  The second is that there is a more abundant life in which the indwelling is known and the full joy and power of redemption are a fact of personal experience.  It is essential that believers come to fully understand the distinction between these two conditions . . . only then can we dare hope that the Christian community will once more be restored to its Pentecostal power. . . . Had it been otherwise, Paul would never have asked the question, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”  (Some versions render this “Have you received the Spirit since you believed?”)  These disciples were recognized as those who believed in Jesus Christ as the Messiah.  This belief, however, was not enough. . . . [T]here are two ways in which the Holy Spirit works in us.  The first is preparatory, in which He acts on us but is not yet dwelling in us.  The second is the higher phase of His working, when we receive Him as an abiding gift, an indwelling Person; we know that He has assumed responsibility for our whole inner being, working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.  This is the ideal of the full Christian life. . . . It is of utmost importance to comprehend this. . . . [T]o receive the Holy Spirit . . . was quite different from the working of the Spirit that led them [those in Acts 19:1-7] to conversion . . . [i]t was something higher:  for now the Holy Spirit was imparted in power with His abiding indwelling to consecrate and fill their hearts. . . .  As long as believers think that the only thing lacking in their life is more commitment or zeal or strength, and that if they only attain to these they will become all they ought to be, the preaching of a full salvation will be of little use.  It is only when they discover that they are not standing in a full relationship with the Holy Spirit—they may have His initial working but do not yet know Him as an indwelling presence—that the way to something higher will ever be seen as a possibility.  For this discovery, it is indispensable that the question be put to every believer as clearly as possible:  “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?”  When the answer is a straightforward no, the time of revival is not far off. . . . In the Acts of the Apostles we often read of the laying on of hands and prayer.  Even a man like Paul—whose conversion was the result of a direct revelation of Christ—had to receive the Spirit through the laying on of hands and prayer.  This implies that there is to be among ministers of the Gospel and believers in general a power of the Spirit that makes them a channel of faith and courage to others. . . . On the Day of Pentecost, speaking with other tongues and prophesying were the result of being filled with the Spirit.  Here at Ephesus, twenty years later, the very same miracle is again witnessed as the visible token and pledge of the glorious gift of the Spirit.  We should expect that, where the reception of the Holy Spirit and the possibility of being filled with Him are proclaimed and received, the life of the believing community will be restored to Pentecostal power. . . . Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?  Let every believer submit himself to this heart-searching question. . . . Do not hold back, even if you do not yet fully understand what the blessing is or how it comes. . . . [Y]ou may rest assured that the marvel of Jerusalem and of Samaria, of Caesarea and Ephesus, will once again be repeated.[12]

Andrew Murray’s second blessing continuationism led many to adopt his pneumatological errors.
Furthermore, according to Murray, whenever the Spirit is truly working with power, miracles of healing will always be found.  In his view, anyone who claimed that the Spirit is working powerfully, but does not see miraculous physical healings taking place, is deceiving himself:

Let us seek then to obtain divine healing.  Wherever the Spirit acts with power, there He works divine healings. . . . [I]t is precisely because the Spirit acted powerfully [in the book of Acts] that His working must needs be visible in the body. If divine healing is seen but rarely in our day, we can attribute it to no other cause than that the Spirit does not act with power. . . . Let us pray earnestly for the Holy Spirit . . . for the work of healing.[1]

Murray also wrote an entire book to “help some to see that the second blessing is just what they need.”[2]  After all, “the impotence of the regenerate man . . . proves the need of something new, a second blessing. . . . the second blessing and the higher life, or the spiritual life.”[3]  Murray’s adoption of a distinction between the Spirit being “with” all believers but only “in” those who knew of the Higher Life in the dispensation of grace was clear evidence of his dependence on Boardman, for such a distinction can with much more ease be discovered in Boardman’s The Higher Christian Life than it can be found in the Bible.  Murray taught that in “regeneration . . . [t]he believer [becomes] a . . . temple ready for the Spirit to dwell in,” but only “where faith claims . . . the second blesssing” and the Higher Life is entered into does “the Spirit of the Father and the Son [come] to dwell within [the Christian].”  Misinterpreting Acts 2:38,[4] he argued that the “three thousand” were regenerated at the moment of their “repentance and faith” but only subsequently, “when they had been baptized,” did they receive “the Indwelling Spirit . . . as God’s seal.”[5]  Baptism is very important for the Higher Life, since “baptism is . . . the sacrament of the beginning of the Christian life . . . [and] in Romans 6 baptism is represented as the secret of the whole of sanctification, the entrance into a life in union with Jesus.”[6] 
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[1]           Pgs. 29-30, Divine Healing: A Series of Addresses, Andrew Murray.  Nyack, NY: Christian Alliance Publishing Co., 1900.
[2]           Pg. 173, The Two Covenants and the Second Blessing, Andrew Murray. New York, NY: Chicago; Toronto: Fleming H. Revell, 1899.
[3]           Pgs. 181, 189, The Spiritual Life, Andrew Murray. Chicago, IL:  Tupper & Robertson, 1896.
[4]           See the discussion of the verse in Heaven Only for the Baptized? The Gospel of Christ vs. Baptismal Regeneration, Thomas Ross.
[5]           Pgs. 14-16, The Spirit of Christ, Andrew Murray.
[6]           Pg. 202, The New Life: Words of God for Young Disciples of Christ, Andrew Murray.  New York, NY:  Hurst & Company, 1891.
[1]           Pg. 249, Keswick’s Authentic Voice, ed. Stevenson.
[2]           Pg. 185, Divine Healing, Andrew Murray.  Murray was invited to and influenced many at Moody’s Northfield Conference after preaching at Keswick in 1895 (pgs. 444-445, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis).
[3]           E. g., Murray’s The Lord Thy Healer was freshly printed and promulgated in London only the year before (pg. 528, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis).
[4]           The text of his addresses, “The Pathway To The Higher Life” and “That God May Be All In All,” appears on pgs. 292-300 & 425-435 of Keswick’s Authentic Voice, ed. Stevenson.  Murray’s “address . . . on ‘The Way to the Higher Life’ . . . stands out beyond all others,” Evan Hopkins testified in The Keswick Week of that year, while Figgis and Sloan consider only his other address competitive in its Higher Life power.  His two messages clearly stood above those of all other speakers that year (pg. 250, Ibid).  See also pg. 109-110, The Keswick Story:  The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.
[5]           Pg. 47, Mrs. Penn-Lewis:  A Memoir, Mary N. Garrard.  Murray was already under the spell of the quietist and mystic William Law at the time, publishing a book of extracts from Law in that very year and another volume of extracts the next year (pgs. 528-529, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis).
[6]           Pg. 435, Keswick’s Authentic Voice, ed. Stevenson, printing the text of Murray’s message “That God May Be All In All” (pgs. 425-435).  Murray explains that one should not be afraid of people asking if Keswick wants to turn men into Quakers because “every portion of Christ’s body”—the universal, invisible church, in which the Quakers were included, despite denying justification by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness alone and other core doctrines of the gospel—“has a lesson for us” (pg. 435, Ibid).  Murray was in particular commending the Quaker practice of “keeping silence before God” (pg. 435, Ibid) and expecting Him to give one a special revelation; indeed, this Quaker practice is the “chief thing,” more important than commands to “give yourselves up to the will of God, prove the power of God, and seek the glory of God throughout the earth” (pg. 434, Ibid).
[7]           Pgs. 442-444, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis; pg. 113, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger.
[8]           Pg. 447, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.
[9]           Pgs. 104ff. of A Theology of the Holy Spirit:  The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, F. D. Bruner, explores the two-faith Pentecostal error and its antecedents in the writings of Murray, F. B. Meyer, A. J. Gordon, A. B. Simpson, and others.
[10]         While secondary to Boardman, Johannes Blumardt was another influence on Murray in favor of the Higher Life and healing theology; Murray even traveled on foot from Holland to visit Blumhardt (cf. pg. 111, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger).
[11]         Note the similarity to Murray’s position on, e. g., pgs. 42-46 of Systematic Theology, Earnest S. Williams, Vol. 3, an Assemblies of God and Pentecostal classic.  Williams employs Acts 19:1-7 as Murray does, and also affirms, as Boardman and Murray, that “[i]n the new birth the temple [of the Christian’s body] is [only] fitted for the infilling of the Holy Spirit.”  This act does not take place, Williams teaches, at regeneration but only at the time of the Second Blessing.  The second blessing doctrine of post-conversion Spirit-baptism taught by “Gordon, Meyer, Simpson, and Murray, and all those influenced by them, [brought] Pentecostalism . . . a large and influential body of . . . opinion which taught and supported the later distinctively Pentecostal experience of a subsequent baptism in the Holy Spirit” (pg. 46, A Theology of the Holy Spirit:  The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, Frederick Dale Bruner.  Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 1970).  Compare also pgs. 313-325 of Murray’s The Spirit of Christ with the Pentecostal writers cited by Bruner on pg. 63, A Theology of the Holy Spirit:  The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, F. D. Bruner, and pgs. 95-96 for parallelism between A. J. Gordon and Pentecostalism’s doctrine.
[12]         Pgs. 13-21, Andrew Murray, The Fullness of the Spirit.  Minneapolis, MN:  Bethany House Publishers, 2004 ed.  Originally titled The Believer’s Full Blessing of Pentecost.

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