Friday, July 21, 2017

Frederick B. Meyer: "Baptist" Kewsick Advocate & Apostate False Teacher, part 2 of 4

            While F. B. Meyer did believe in baptism by immersion for believers, he was very far from being a strong defender of historic Baptist doctrine and practice.  He was “less theological and didactic” than even the other speakers at the already extremely undogmatic Keswick convention[1]—indeed, his “relatively undogmatic approach was of crucial importance”[2] for his spread of Keswick doctrine worldwide—although he did defend a view of Spirit baptism as a post-conversion second blessing similar to the view of William Boardman instead of endorsing the historic Baptist view of Spirit baptism, as it was important to Meyer to put away denominational distinctions and seek post-conversion Spirit baptism.[3]  Meyer denied baptism one added one to the Baptist congregation that authorized the ordinance (cf. Acts 2:41-47; 1 Corinthians 12:13).  Rather, he taught not only that one could receive believer’s baptism and not be added to a Baptist church, but that one could be immersed and remain a member of a paedobaptist religious organization, with no desire whatsoever to separate from it and join a Baptist congregation.  Baptism was a personal matter, not a church ordinance in the Biblical sense:  “[R]emember . . . that you may be baptized, as a believer, without becoming a member of the Baptist denomination.  You may be baptized, and still continue in communion with that Christian body with which you have been accustomed to worship.  This rite is a personal matter between the Lord and the individual believer.”[4]  Since baptism did not add one to a Baptist church, in Meyer’s view, “[p]robably no man has baptized more members of other churches”—who remained in these other churches—“than he.”[5]  Indeed, Meyer pastored a paedobaptist religious assembly, Christ’s Church, for twenty-one years—a longer period than he spent as the pastor of any Baptist church, and this paedobaptist assembly was both his last pastorate and the place where his funeral was held.  Explaining why he was leaving a Baptist church for a paedobaptist religious organization, Meyer wrote:  “I am less of a denominationalist than ever . . . I can best serve my generation from an undenominational standpoint,” although the Baptists he had previously pastored expressed “regret and dismay” once they found out Meyer’s plan, at the last minute—for he had neither “consulted the [Baptist] Church or even consulted with its officers” but “arrangements were carried through . . . [with] secrecy” and as he was “at the bottom a little ashamed of his desertion of Regent’s Park [Baptist Church] . . . he practically accepted the new church before he informed the old one.”[6]  Not only did the fact that the members of Christ’s Church had no Biblical baptism, and so could not Biblically be church members or be a true church of Christ at all, stop Meyer from assuming its pastorate, the fact that his newly adopted religious organization had a “liturgy” did not stop him either.[7]  He was happy to have Christ’s Church “mainly suppor[t] the L. M. S.,”[8] the paedobaptist London Missionary Society, founded as an ecumenical mix of Anglicans, Congregationalists, Wesleyans, and Presbyterians, Calvinists and Arminians, and numerous other forms of doctrinal divergence, such as acceptance of the idea that the heathen could be saved without knowing the name of Jesus Christ—thus, Meyer’s book advocating this heresy of a Christ-less salvation, The Wideness of God’s Mercy, was in substance delivered as the Annual Sermon of the L. M. S.[9]  The previous pastor at Christ’s Church, Christopher Newman Hall,  a divorced adulterer, annihilationist, and rejector of verbal inspiration, “was delighted to secure as his successor at Christ Church F. B. Meyer . . . a worthy heir.”[10]  Meyer was willing to immerse the Anglican minister, Keswick leader, and annihilationist heretic George Grubb.[11]  Indeed, faithful to Keswick ecumenicalism, Meyer refused to “declar[e] it impossible to receive those who accept a formula which implies baptismal regeneration,” thinking that this “would have been far from the unity in Christ . . . at the beginning and the end he rejoiced that we,” whether believing in baptismal regeneration or not, “are ‘all one in Christ Jesus,’” in the words of the Keswick motto.[12]  Meyer presided over the Keswick Open Communion service where those who believed in the true gospel and false gospels united to celebrate, as they thought, the Lord’s Supper.[13]  The Galatian false teachers that the Apostle Paul anathematized (Galatians 1:8-9) would have been welcomed as Christian brethren by Meyer, for he stated that he “hoped one day ‘to kneel before the Throne of God with a High Churchman on one side and a Quaker on the other,’”[14] despite the baptismal regeneration and sacramental false gospel of High Church Anglicanism and the rejection of justification by Christ’s imputed righteousness and other damnable heresies of Quakerism.  He happily preached the Higher Life to those who went beyond even High Church Anglicanism in sacramentalist heresy, such as the Eastern Orthodox.[15]  

Meyer’s personal conversion was extremely dubious in light of the lack of even a sentence or a single phrase about a new birth in Meyer’s authorized[16] biography of several hundred pages, and his deep confusion about the nature of the gospel.  Indeed, “Meyer didn’t know anything about conversion, or about the gathering of sinners around Christ” even during his first pastorate—he only picked up, in 1873, certain evangelistic notions, or perhaps certain promotion and marketing techniques, from D. L. Moody, who himself was sadly ecumenical—but even at that point there is no record of Meyer being born again.[17]  Since Meyer believed good Quakers were Christians, not people in a false religion in need of true salvation—a position that made it much easier to accept the doctrines of Quakers such as Hannah W. Smith—it is not surprising that he would invite “missionaries of . . . the Society of Friends to a yearly Conference.”[18]  Furthermore, Meyer was “one of the very few outsiders who has been allowed, in the course of its 260 years’ history, to address the . . . executive committee . . . of the Society of Friends.”[19]  Meyer’s understanding and proclamation of the Christian gospel was terribly deficient and grossly heretical. 

In light of Meyer’s strong identification with Keswick, it is natural that he also encouraged Pentecostalism.  “In the 1890s, F. B. Meyer was to be found assuring his Keswick audience that they could receive ‘a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost’ like ‘another Pentecost.’  It was an outlook which helped to create the emphasis on Spirit-baptism found in twentieth-century Pentecostalism. . . . Meyer embodied a spiritual power that was ‘literally Pentecostal.’”[20]  In his international travels, Meyer was part of the “explicit . . . link between . . . holiness revivalism and Pentecostalism,” as he led people to “claim the promise and power of Pentecost” and reported that “Baptists . . . were speaking in tongues and casting out demons.”[21]  Meyer contributed to the founding of the Welsh Keswick Convention at Llandrindod Wells in 1903, an important precursor to the work of the 1904-5 holiness revivalism associated with Evan Roberts and a place from which the false doctrines of Jessie Penn-Lewis were spread abroad.[22]  Meyer taught that the Welsh holiness revivalism involved a restoration of the miraculous gifts of 1 Corinthians 12[23]—a chapter where tongues are included.  It is not surprising that, “[f]ollowing the Welsh Revival of 1904–1905, Meyer reported in Los Angeles on what he had observed in Wales. His report encouraged future leaders of the Pentecostal movement, which was to spread from 1906.”[24]  Meyer’s promotion of Pentecostalism was perhaps furthered by the fact that he himself received revelations that added to Scripture.  For example, he claimed to have a vision in which he engaged in conversation with Jesus Christ[25] and also received, apparently by revelation, information that in heaven angels were making “a new road, along the River Bank” since there had “been so many arrivals lately,” and that Meyer and his physician would have their “mansions . . . together”[26] along this new road overlooking this heavenly river, despite Meyer's lack of a personal and conscious conversion to Jesus Christ and new birth.

See here for this entire study.

[1]           Pg. 67, F. B. Meyer:  A Biography. W. Y. Fullerton.
[2]           Pg. 111, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall
[3]           Pgs. 41-42, 45, F. B. Meyer, Fullerton;  cf. “Spirit Baptism: A Completed Historical Event. An Exposition and Defense of the Historic Baptist View of Spirit Baptism,”
[4]           Pg. 84, F. B. Meyer:  A Biography. W. Y. Fullerton, citing Meyer’s “Seven Reasons for Believer’s Baptism.”
[5]           Pg. 84, , F. B. Meyer:  A Biography. W. Y. Fullerton.
[6]           Pgs. 73-77, F. B. Meyer:  A Biography, Fullerton.
[7]           Pg. 76, F. B. Meyer:  A Biography, Fullerton.
[8]           Pg. 143, F. B. Meyer:  A Biography, Fullerton.
[9]           Preface, The Wideness of God’s Mercy, Meyer.  New York:  Eaton and Mains, 1906.
[10]         Cf. pgs. 282-284, Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, ed. Larsen.
[11]         Pg. 85, F. B. Meyer, Fullerton.
[12]         Pg. 194, F. B. Meyer, Fullerton.
[13]         Pg. 195, F. B. Meyer, Fullerton.
[14]         Pg. 208, F. B. Meyer, Fullerton.
[15]         Pg. 111, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.  Meyer even preached to the Armenian Patriarch in the Gregorian Church in Constantinople, exhorting him to embrace Keswick theology, rather than exhorting him to repent and turn from the worship of idols, from sacramental salvation, and from other abominable heresies to Jesus Christ and be born again.
[16]         Pgs. 7, 222, F. B. Meyer, Fullerton.
[17]         Pg. 102-103, The Keswick Story:  The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.
[18]         Pg. 143, F. B. Meyer, Fullerton.
[19]         Pg. 188, F. B. Meyer, Fullerton; note also the Quaker influence in ancestors of his family, pg. 11.
[20]         Pg. 43, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.  Meyer proved his doctrine of post-conversion Spirit baptism by “outspoken personal testimonies about a sense of failure giving way to new power, a power seen in practice,” rather than by a careful exegesis of Scripture;  Meyer also “often gave away copies of Murray’s Abide in Christ” (pg. 53, ibid).
[21]         Pg. 178, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall
[22]         Pgs. 168-169, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.
[23]         Pg. 172, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.
[24]         Pgs. 429-430, Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, ed. Larsen.
[25]         Pg. 212, F. B. Meyer, Fullerton.
[26]         Pg. 213, F. B. Meyer, Fullerton.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of the church as a whole, not just a specific denomination, why do so many versions of the Bible talk about the church as a "her" instead of an "it"? I've heard of people talk about "the bride of Christ" and not sure where they get that theology. The KJV, which is the true Bible, refers to the church as an "it" correctly in Ephesians 5:25. Several versions use "her" in this passage. Why do so many pastors refer to the church as a female and use the pronoun "her"?

KJB1611 said...

Dear Anonymous,

The Greek word ekklesia, church, is feminine, and even if the English word "it" appears, the bride/wife metaphor still supports the use of "she." There is nothing wrong with it.