Friday, June 16, 2017

Andrew Murray, Mystical Quietist and Higher Life / Keswick Writer, part 6 of 7

Nevertheless, despite the failures of the Faith Cure, Murray believed that the gift of healing was not limited to the first century but was for the entire church age.  He had, after all, been influenced in his doctrine of healing by what he had himself “witnessed . . . [in] a Sunday evening service for the sick . . . [led by] the late Mr. W. E. Boardman.”[1]  Murray wrote:
The Bible does not authorize us, either by the words of the Lord or of His apostles, to believe that the gifts of healing were granted only to the early times of the Church[.] . . . [I]t is the Church’s unbelief which has lost the gift of healing . . . salvation offers to us even now, healing and holiness[.] . . . The more we give ourselves to experience personally sanctification by faith, the more we shall also experience healing by faith.  These two doctrines walk abreast. . . . [D]ivine healing is part of the life of faith. . . . Wherever the Spirit acts with power, there He works divine healings.[2]
Andrew Murray taught, as did John MacMillan,[3] A. B. Simpson,[4] and the Pentecostal movement, that physical healing in this life was part of Christ’s atonement:  “Jesus Christ has obtained for us the healing of our diseases, because He has borne our sicknesses.  According to this promise, we have right to healing, because it is part of the salvation which we have in Christ.”[5]  Job was sick, Murray affirmed, following Boardman, because the patriarch had not properly employed the Higher Life technique of surrender and faith to deal with “his hidden sins.”[6]  It was best for believers to cease using medicine,[7] he believed, and rather to employ Higher Life techniques when they were sick.  Indeed, “setting aside all remedies [is better than] using remedies as believers do for the most part[.] . . . Renouncing remedies, [sic] strengthens faith in an extraordinary manner; healing becomes then, far more than sickness, a source of numberless spiritual blessings; . . . we commit ourselves to Him as our sovereign healer, counting solely on His invisible presence.”[8]  Unfortunately, as with the spurious “healings” of modern charismatics, the generality of the “healings” Murray spoke of were radically different from those of the Lord Jesus and the Apostles.  Biblical healings were all perfect and without any relapses, while such was not the case with the alleged healings of which Murray spoke:  “Sometimes also the first symptoms of healing are immediately manifest; but afterwards the progress is slow, and interrupted at times . . . [or entirely] arrested or . . . the evil returns.”[9]
            The tremendous difference between Murray’s Higher Life theology of healing and the healings of the Lord and His Apostles was connected to his Higher Life doctrine of sanctification.  As the Keswick theology teaches that sanctification is only maintained by a moment-by-moment faith decision without any change or actual renewal of the inward nature, so physical healing is only maintained by a moment-by-moment faith decision, and any relapse in the faith decision leads to a loss of the healing:  “[T]he return to health . . . is the fruit of giving up sin, of consecration to God. . . . [I]t is by healing that God confirms the reality of . . . sanctification[.] . . . When Jesus . . . cures . . . our body . . . miraculously . . . it follows that the health received must be maintained from day to day by an uninterrupted communion with Him.”[10]  The Higher Life for the spirit takes elements that, in Biblical and historic Baptist theology, pertain to the perfect holiness and perfect rest of heaven, and transfers them into the present.  Likewise, the Higher Life for the body takes elements of the physical perfection that pertains to the resurrected state and transfers them to the present.  However, the Higher Life for both soul and body affirms that these elements that actually pertain to the future glory are only maintained in this life through a moment-by-moment faith decision.  Thus, as the Keswick perfectionist state of sanctification was maintained only moment-by-moment, so bodily healing was maintained only moment-by-moment, and the very instant one fell out of the Higher Life his body returned to a state of sickness.  Certainly God is able to heal people today—indeed, every recovery from illness comes from the hand of God (Psalm 103:3)—and it is right for believers to pray for physical healing.  However, the Higher Life theology of healing espoused by Boardman and Murray is unscriptural, and the Biblical gift of healing—which involved no relapses and did not require any faith on the part of the recipient—was temporary and for the first century alone. 
However, according to Murray, none of the spiritual gifts were temporary, and they will all appear to those who have discovered “the higher life”[11]:  “Wherever the life more abundant of the Spirit is to be found, we may expect Him to manifest all His gifts . . . Divine healing accompanies the sanctification by the Spirit . . . the body . . . ought to be healed as soon as the sick believer receives by faith the working of the Holy Spirit, the very life of Jesus in him.”[12]  Murray believed that not healing only, but “all [the Spirit’s] gifts,” including tongues, prophecy, and the rest of the phenomena claimed by the modern charismatic movement, should be expected for the entirety of the church age for those who have entered into the Higher Life[13]—indeed, Murray taught believers to “live in a holy expectation” for a restoration of the other gifts that accompanied the pouring out of the Spirit in Acts.[14]  Keswick theology was the key to having all the sign gifts restored:  “[M]en and women who live the life of faith and of the Holy Spirit, entirely consecrated to their God . . . would see again the manifestation of the same gifts as in former times.”[15]  He affirmed that God may lead believers today through “heavenly voices.”[16]  Tongues, in particular, will be restored as Keswick theology spreads:
On the day of Pentecost the speaking “with other tongues” and the prophesying was the result of being filled with the Spirit. . . . We may reckon upon it that where the reception of the Holy Spirit and the possibility of being filled with Him are proclaimed and appropriated, the blessed life of the Pentecostal community will be restored in all its pristine power.[17]
Murray’s strong continuationism, associated with his teaching that “the intellect must follow,” not lead, “the heart and the life . . . [i]n all the experience of the blessings of the Gospel,”[18] were important in theological trajectory from Keswick to Pentecostalism.[19]
In light of Murray’s Higher Life continuationism, it is not surprising that he was a central figure in the rise of South African Pentecostalism.  Certain of Murray’s books are “sold nowadays only by the Pentecostals.”[20]  Murray requested that his own biography be written by J. DuPlessis, whose continuationism led him to became the General Secretary of the charismatic Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa.[21]  Furthermore, Murray “acted as mentor for Pieter Le Roux, who was to be a key figure in the establishment of Pentecostalism in South Africa,”[22] as LeRoux was “one of the first propagandists” of the Keswick continuationist and essentially Pentecostal “Christian Catholic Church” of John Dowie.  LeRoux went on to become, “for 29 years, President” of the “Pentecostal Apostolic Faith Mission”[23] which developed largely out of the Christian Catholic denomination.[24]  The Christian Catholic Church and the Pentecostal Apostolic Faith Mission “provided the example that has been followed by the South African Pentecostal movement”[25] to this day, including the South African Pentecostal doctrine that “[m]edicine is rejected and . . . absolute reliance on the healing of the sick through prayer” is practiced instead.[26]  In addition to the major Pentecostal denominations, numberless South African “independent Pentecostal churches . . . go back to men like Le Roux” as “offshoots of the Apostolic Faith Mission.”[27]  Andrew Murray’s Keswick continuationism was key to the explosion of the apostasy, which is South African Pentecostalism.
Unlike many other central figures in the Keswick theology, Andrew Murray had a reasonable testimony of personal conversion and a confession that was generally consistent with the fundamentals of the Christian gospel.  He was a sincere and pious man, and various Christian truths found in his writings have been a spiritual blessing to many.  A sincere Pentecostal pastor may similarly make statements that could be of benefit to separatist Baptists.  Nevertheless, the errors of Keswick continuationism and the influence of many unconverted religious figures in Christendom are bound inextricably into the fabric of Murray’s works.  The spiritual truths that have blessed the people of God in his writings are also found in the works of many authors free from Murray’s errors, writers of unquestionable orthodoxy and fervent spirituality who pay far more attention than Murray does to the careful and accurate exegesis of that instrument of the Spirit for the sanctification of the saint, the holy Scripture (John 17:17).

See here for this entire study.

[1]           Pgs. 113-114, Divine Healing, by Andrew Murray.  Nyack, NY:  Christian Alliance Publishing, 1900.
[2]           Pgs. 15, 17-19, 24, 29, Divine Healing, Murray.
[3]           “MacMillan believed that healing is a privilege for the Christian as a provision of the atonement, and needs to be affirmed actively and strenuously,” so that the believer can “refuse the sicknesses that seek to fasten upon [his] physical fram[e]” (pg. 227, A Believer with Authority, Paul L. King).  See pg. 25, The Adult Full Gospel Sunday School Quarterly, November 22, 1942 & pg. 26, The Adult Full Gospel Sunday School Quarterly, January 23, 1938, MacMillan.
[4]           One notes that, in 1900, the Chrisitan and Missionary Alliance published Murray’s Divine Healing in Nyack, NY, home of the CMA Training Institute (cf. pg. 529, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis).
[5]           Pg. 72 (cf. pg. 12), Divine Healing, Andrew Murray.  London: Victory Press, 1934.  Cf.
[6]           Pg. 172, cf. 168-173, Divine Healing, Murray.  Since Job was the most righteous man on the earth (Job 1:8), it appears that Higher Life principles must not have been often practiced on the earth in Job’s day, since even the best man on earth was made horribly sick for not properly employing them.  Or perhaps Murray’s reading of Job, in which he follows William Boardman, is radically inaccurate.
[7]           The Word of Faith movement likewise teaches that “all disease comes from the spiritual realm of Satan. . . . a true believer should never be sick. . . . [Word of] Faith teachers insist that believers can, and should, grow in their faith to the point where they no longer need medical science.  Only those in the Faith movement who are immature in their faith guiltily seek medical care” (pgs. 149-150, 186, A Different Gospel, McConnell; pgs. 153-165 demonstrate the almost exact similarity between Murray’s doctrine and that of the Word of Faith theology and provide a fine critique of the Word of Faith healing doctrine.).
[8]           Pgs. 174-179, Divine Healing, Murray.
[9]           Pg. 92, Divine Healing, Murray.
[10]         Pg. 154, Divine Healing, Murray.
[11]         Pgs. 201, 209, Divine Healing, Murray.
[12]         Pgs. 85-86, 124, Divine Healing, Murray.
[13]         Nor is it surprising that charismatic writers can refer to “Andrew Murray” as a “prominent Pentecostal figur[e]” alongside of charismatics like “Aimee Semple McPherson” (cf. pg. 67, A Different Gospel, McConnell), although such a designation for Murray is somewhat proleptic.
[14]         Pgs. 87-88, Divine Healing, Murray.
[15]         Pg. 15, Divine Healing: A Series of Addresses, Murray.  See also pg. 100.
[16]         Pg. 161, The Spirit of Christ, Andrew Murray.  Springdale, PA:  Whitaker House, 1984.  While Murray writes, “There are souls to whom such leading . . . [by] heavenly voices . . . undoubtedly is given,” at least he also affirms that such voices are not the “ordinary” means of leading—an affirmation, however, that a Quaker or practically any modern Pentecostal could also make.
[17]         Pg. 17, The Full Blessing of Pentecost: The One Thing Needful, trans. J. P. Lilley.  London: J. Nisbet & Co., 1908.
[18]         Pg. 204, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.
[19]         Murray’s writings also contain antecedents to the Word of Faith heresy.  For example, the doctrine of the authority of the believer, as developed by the Word of Faith movement from the writings of John MacMillan, appears to have been anticipated by Murray:  “The Head truly calls the members of His Body to share His power with Him.  Our Father places His power at the disposal of the child who completely trusts Him” (pg. 83, With Christ in the School of Prayer, Andrew Murray.  Springdale, PA:  Whitaker House, 1981).
[20]         Pg. 114, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger.
[21]         Pg. v. The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis & pg. 172, The Pentecostal Movement, Donald Gee.  DuPlessis was a continuationist like Murray but not yet the General Secretary of the Pentecostal Mission at the time Murray asked him to write the biography.
[22]         Pg. 462, “Murray, Andrew,” Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, ed. Larsen; pgs. 72-73, The Pentecostal Movement, Donald Gee.
[23]         Pgs. 115, 120, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger.
[24]         Pg. 120, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger.
[25]         Pgs. 120-121, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger.
[26]         Pg. 121, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger.
[27]         Pgs. 171-172, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger.

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