Friday, July 31, 2015

Applications from Hannah W. Smith's Life: part 21 of 21 in Hannah W. Smith: Keswick Founder, Higher Life Preacher, Quaker Quietist and Universalist Heretic

Mrs. Hannah Whitall Smith was a false teacher who was deluded by Satan and her own unrenewed heart.  Robert P. Smith was an unconverted false teacher also.  Their writings are filled to the brim with dangerous theological errors and heresies.  Alongside of the Higher Life of Keswick theology, one finds within the compositions and proclamations of Mr. and Mrs. Smith a false gospel, the Inner Light, New Thought, the Mind and Faith Cure, feminism, Quakerism, syncretism, quietism, fatalism, eudemonism, allegorical hermeneutics, passivity in sanctification, continuationism, antinomianism, universalism, works salvation, erotic sensations as Spirit baptism, and extra-biblical revelations.  Hannah rejected sola Scriptura, total depravity, substitutionary atonement, justification by imputed righteousness, saving faith, the new birth, supernatural conversion, and self-examination.  Mrs. Smith plainly testified that she rejected the evangelical gospel, detested Christian orthodoxy, and delighted in both being a heretic and in making others into heretics.  She thought that man’s chief end was not to glorify God, but to feel happy, doing whatever one wants without any pangs from the conscience.  Her exaltation as the leading teacher of the Higher Life took place in connection with spiritists and the working of demons.  She testified that she gained her chief spritual insight into the “Christian” life from a sexual predator who taught, practiced, and led others into unspeakable debauchery.  She was an enemy of Christ, His Word, and of true holiness of life.
As an unregenerate false teacher, Hannah Whitall Smith is someone to mark, reject, and avoid (Romans 16:17; Titus 3:10).  Her heresies and writings, and those of her husband Robert, should be abhorred and detested by the godly.  She is by no means someone to embrace as a font of truth on Christian living, and adoption of her ideas by others evidences a tremendous lack of spiritual discernment and the certain presence of doctrinal error.
            As believers can learn much from the life and teachings of the wicked recorded in Scripture, whether Ahab, Judas, or Diotrephes, so the negative example of the life and writings of Hannah W. Smith can teach the Lord’s people a number of important lessons.
            Mrs. Smith’s false teachings—all of them—must be discerned, rejected, guarded against, exposed, and warned about.  Believers should not read her writings.  Christian leaders should plainly preach and teach against her heresies and warn of her by name.  Churches should separate from those who have been influenced to adopt her heresies and are unwilling to repent.  Her confusion on the gospel has led precious souls into the fires of hell.  Her confusion on sanctification has hindered countless Christians in their spiritual walk.  There is no reason to try to pick out a little spiritual good from the veritable mass of errors in her works, but a clear Biblical basis for rejecting her, root and branch.
            Many lessons can be learned from the deluded career and miserable end of Robert Pearsall Smith.  His life exemplifies the extreme spiritual danger of rejecting sola Scriptura in practice, even if one accepts it in theory.  His abandonment of literal, grammatical-historical interpretation for experience-driven hermeneutics is also seen to be extremely dangerous.  Had Mr. Smith studied Scripture more carefully and recognized it alone as the authority by which he needed to judge all experience, he could have been freed from the delusions of the devil and of his own sinful heart and come to a true saving conversion to Jesus Christ, instead of being an unconverted preacher who was both “deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13).  Furthermore, he illustrates the danger when religious experience is derived from a false fanaticism rather than genuine Christian and Trinitarian spirituality.  When he finally saw through his fanaticism, instead of turning to the true Christ in true faith arising from Scripture alone, he rejected Christianity altogether.  What dangers and proclivities to all evil are wrapped within the depraved human heart!  No one will escape from that “desperately wicked” seat of corruption or escape delusion from that fountain of lies that is “deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9), without cleaving to the Scriptures and receiving the protection of the Holy Spirit as a consequence of the union with Christ brought about through true conversion.  Reader, do you view your heart as God does?  Do you meditate on its horrible and desperate depravity and, as a result, flee to the Christ revealed in the Scriptures as your only refuge?  Learn your need so to do from the deluded life and everlasting damnation of the Higher Life preacher-turned-Buddhist, Robert Pearsall Smith.
            Learn also from the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Pearsall Smith life that unconverted false teachers can put on a great show of godliness and exert a tremendous influence on the spiritually unwary among the true people of God.  The ideas Hannah and Robert Smith propagated influence many millions today—millions who, in large part, have no idea that their confusion on and false doctrine of sanctification are derived from an unregenerate Quaker couple.  Be sure that your beliefs and practices are truly “the faith which was once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) and the product of Scripture alone.  It does not matter whether or not men who are exalted by Christendom have taught them, for such are not your authority for faith and practice.  Robert P. Smith was extremely popular in the Christendom of his day—all Europe was at his feet.  There are many extremely popular false teachers in Christendom today.  The Antichrist will be even more popular in the post-Rapture Christendom of the future than any of his anti-christian predecessors.  Place no confidence in men because of their popularity, but, within the protection of a strong independent Baptist church, let all you believe and do arise only from the Spirit-illuminated teaching of the literally interpreted Word of God.
Furthermore, since Hannah W. Smith founded the Keswick theology with her husband, and Keswick has never dreamed of repudiating and repenting of their false teachings and pernicious influence, Keswick theology should be rejected.  Keswick is saturated with the ideas of Hannah W. Smith.  This is not a good, but a great and fearful evil.
            The tremendous influence Mrs. Smith has exerted on Christendom, so that very large numbers of true churches and Christians have been unintentionally infected with her errors, illustrates the dangers of failing to issue plain warnings, avoid ecumenicalism, and exercise a watchful and strict separatist position.  Mrs. Smith has influenced millions.  She created a new, and very influential, doctrine of sanctification—the Keswick theology.  Through both her direct influence and her stamp upon the Keswick movement, she has precipitated the rise of the Pentecostal, charismatic, and Word of Faith heresies.  How greatly the leaven of error has spread because so many preachers have refused to give plain warnings!  How essential it is for pastors to be well informed about and very careful concerning what writings they recommend to the flocks over which the Holy Ghost has made them overseers!  Reader, do not follow the bad example of those who blew an uncertain sound on their gospel trumpets—determine that you will, by God’s grace, for His glory, and out of love for Him, contend against all error, and for all the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3).  Do not fear man—you will be called “uncharitable,” “too negative,” “narrowminded,” and all sorts of other names (Luke 6:22, 26).  Instead, consider that the Apostle Paul commanded the marking and avoidance of false teachers in the context of his love for large numbers of God’s dear people.[1]  Think on the love for the Father, for His people, and for the truth that filled the soul of the Lord Jesus, and led Him to boldly and pointedly denounce error (Matthew 23).  Be Christlike—go, and do likewise.
            Consider also what dangers there are that yet lie buried within your fallen heart.  How Mrs. Smith was led astray by trusting in her own heart, in the Inner Light delusion, and in her continuationist Quakerism!  While she was totally blind because of her unregenerate state, you, oh Christian, still have the serpent of indwelling sin lying within your own bosom.  How essential it is that you reject all extra-Biblical revelation, and carefully study the Bible, cleave to its every precept, and prize it as your sole authority!  The Sword of the Spirit is the only offensive weapon in your spiritual armor, and the only means through which you can stand against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:10-17).  How important it is for you to carefully and accurately exegete Scripture, put in practice all it says with holy fear and trembling, and walk humbly with your God, trusting in Jesus only!
            Consider how essential it is for you to be a functioning member of a strong, separated, independent Baptist church.  Only in the Lord’s church is His special presence manifested, and the special protection Christ gives to His holy temple and beloved bride is lost to those who are not members of Biblical Baptist churches.  Mrs. Smith, being without the protection afforded by a true church, and without a true pastor for spiritual protection (Hebrews 13:7, 17), was influenced by hordes of false teachers and fanatics in her spiritual journey on the broad road to destruction.  Spiritual guides may be very popular in the eyes of the broad and undiscerning world of Christiandom, and may possess a great appearance of piety, and yet be vipers and wolves—but Christ’s true congregations have the spiritual equipment to discern and reject such.  Had Mrs. Smith been aware of and adopted the historic Baptist doctrine of Spirit baptism, she would never have believed in the filthy perversion that led to her husband’s public disgrace and contributed to his continuing adultery and the unhappiness of her marriage.  Had she accepted the clear Biblical teachings of sola Scriptura and the cessation of the sign gifts, she would not have accepted the “miraculous” validation that led her into false teaching and led her sister Mary Thomas to an early grave through the false wonders of the Faith Cure.  Had she rejected feminism for the loving and God-ordained patriarchy of family and church practiced in Biblical assemblies, she would have recognized that she could, as a lady, be more easily deceived (1 Timothy 2:14), and that she needed godly, Bible-believing men at home and church to protect her from error.  Had she treasured Baptist ministers who preached a pure gospel, instead of finding them repulsive because they would not allow her to feel happy in her delusion, so that she preferred as a consequence the company of heretics and fanatics, she could have been saved herself, and her family with her, from both the earthly vanity of their false religion and the inconceivably horrible eternal consequences of the unpropitiated wrath of God.
            Learn from Mrs. Smith’s failures the necessity for a genuine vital piety, one which arises out of a true conversion and issues in a close walk with God.  Mrs. Smith’s false piety did not convince her family—her husband and all her surviving children rejected Christianity.  People read her books and looked up to her, but those who knew Mrs. Smith best rejected godliness for rebellion against Jehovah, and received eternal retribution for their sins.  Have you been led by Mrs. Smith’s confusing views of faith, conversion, and salvation to settle for anything less than the supernatural new birth without which no one will enter the kingdom of God?  Do you only have assurance of salvation if you compare yourself to the standard set by Hannah W. Smith, but not if you compare yourself to the standard set forth by the Apostle John in his first inspired epistle?  Do not follow into hell the demons who misled Hannah W. Smith.  Be satisfied with nothing less than the Biblical gospel and true conversion. 
Do you want a godly seed—do you want your family, for whatever generations may be left until the return of Christ, to know and serve your Redeemer in spirit and in truth?  The sham spirituality of Hannah W. Smith will never suffice.  But if you reject such pseudo-Christianity and sincerely and uprightly walk with God your Father, through Christ your Redeemer, as empowered by the Holy Spirit, you can claim the promise of Proverbs 22:6:  “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Do not turn aside to the idol of Hannah W. Smith’s “bare God.”  An unconverted person who does so will be eternally damned, and to whatever extent a regenerate person turns from the God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to Mrs. Smith’s deity he will find his spiritual life much darkened and his holy Father much displeased.  Genuine Christian spirituality arises out of the love of the Father, the purchase of the Son, and the applicatory work of the Holy Spirit.  How sweet and precious to the saint is his dear adopted Father!  How glorious is the redemptive work of Christ!  How heart-melting it is to behold Him in the glory of His essential Deity, to marvel at the preciousness of His sinless humanity, and to be moved by the infinite condescension and love shown in the cross!  How ineffably wonderful it is to know experientially the communion of the Holy Ghost!  Do not, oh saint of God, turn aside from your own Redeemer, your own personal God who has come to you in Jesus Christ, who has supernaturally revealed Himself to you through His Word by His Spirit.  What are the dregs of Mrs. Smith’s idolatry to the overflowing cup of infinite blessing found in Jehovah, the living God?
            Furthermore, you should examine yourself to see if you find Mrs. Smith’s errors unbearable, horrible, and exceedingly grievous, or if you find her abominations titillating and exciting, as many ungodly people find gossip.  Is it necessary to expose Hannah W. Smith’s lies and unmask her pernicious character?  Yes—certainly.  Should such an expose be examined as a mere intellectual exercise, a curiosity comparable to some strange gene-spliced monster that might be on display at a circus or a fair for people to gawk at?  By no means.
            Indeed, how sweet—how precious, glorious, and soul-refreshing it is to turn with disgust from Hannah W. Smith to behold the Lord Jesus!  Here is One who is spotless in purity.  Here is one who mixes, not secret corruptions with false teachings, but perfect holiness with infallibly sure guidance.  Here is a perfect Prophet, a spotless Priest, a matchless King, an all-sufficient Redeemer, one who is fairer than the children of men, whose lips are full of grace.  How blessed it is to see Him in His holy Word, and find in Him a true Shepherd who properly and perfectly cares for, protects, and gives His life for His beloved sheep.  Let the works of Hannah W. Smith, and all her fellow false-shepherds, be put in the trash where they belong, and listen instead to the voice of this true and unerring Pastor.  Hearken to His voice as you read every line of His Word in your personal Bible study—hearken to His voice as He is preached by a true man of God in the church of the living God—meditate upon His law day and night.  So shall you have a truly blessed life during your earthly pilgrimage, and a rich reward in the coming life of sight for all eternity.

This entire study can be accessed here.

[1]              Compare Romans 16:17-18 with 16:1-16.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Guide to Soulwinning and Personal Evangelism

I have written a "how-to" guide to personal soulwinning with detailed notes on how one can go verse-by-verse through the points of the gospel with a lost person. It is a work that has been in progress for a number of years, but which finally was completed in conjunction with a series we were doing at our church on how to evangelize/preach the gospel to people one-on-one.

Unlike some (unfortunately) popular tools that are available, this soulwinning guide:

1.) Is carefully based on a Biblical evangelistic methodology rather than salesmanship techniques;

2.) Relies on the power of the Holy Spirit for success, rather than manipulation of the lost to produce merely human decisions;

3.) Seeks to bring the lost under deep conviction of sin and then directs them to look directly to Christ in repentance and faith, rather than promising them salvation if they ask Jesus into their heart or repeat a prayer.

4.) Explains Biblical repentance, rather than neglecting that essential aspect of the gospel;

5.) Is geared to seeing the Great Commission fulfilled--the lost saved, baptized, added to the church, and making disciples themselves, rather than simply making a profession and then vanishing, never to be seen again;

6.) Prepares the way for follow-up with an evangelistic Bible study, rather than viewing a one-time presentation as the be-all and end-all of what the lost can hear;

7.) Is built on a Biblical, historic and separatist Baptist doctrine and practice.

The guide is available as a PDF by clicking here.

It is designed to work in conjunction with the video presentation, audio files, and other written helps available by clicking here.

The evangelistic Bible studies available by clicking here are related also, as are the pamphlets for specific false religions available here. The soulwinning guide, the Bible studies, and the pamphlets are available as Word documents for download and personalization by specific churches here, so you can personalize them with your church address and so on.

If you wish to employ any of these resources in training the people of God in evangelism in your church, or wish to use the pamphlets or the evangelistic Bible studies in reaching your community with the gospel, I would be delighted that they were in use.  Feel free also to link to whatever you feel could be beneficial if you wish.  The terms of use for material on my website are available here.  While I do not mind if you engage in minor tweaks of the material, please do not change the doctrinal or practical position advocated therein.  If, for example, you are not in agreement with the seven points listed above, I would respectfully ask you find other material than mine.  Thank you.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Recent James White Videos and the Bible Version Issue, pt. 5

Part One (this one has the videos linked).  Part Two.  Part Three.  Part Four.

After the 18 minute mark, White says that the text handed down by the providence of God and received by His churches "is not just a narrow spectrum of the Byzantine manuscript tradition," referring to the textus receptus of the New Testament.  Part of the doctrine of preservation, as taught in scripture, is general accessibility.  Something unavailable isn't received, and that is another part of a scriptural doctrine of preservation, the reception by the churches.  God preserved His Words for His people to possess, use, apply, and live.  An inaccessible manuscript is not preserved.  Something buried for all of history until the 19th or 20th centuries is a text that God's people have not been using.  There can be numbers of reasons why that didn't happen, but those manuscripts cannot be now a source for altering what God's people have accepted as scripture.

The person with whom White was debating on the social media, and he's answering in this video, asks him a couple of questions.

Upon what basis do you have any confidence that 3 John is canonical, seeing that it was not mentioned until the middle of the third century and was debated up until the fifth. Number two, upon what basis do you accept that the Pentateuch as we now have it, looks anything like the work of Moses?

White says that those questions look like an abandonment of the actual subject.  I would say, how about just answering them?  You expect people to debate your specific examples of textual variation.

Then White says that, second, "it introduces connections and confusions that really worry me, because if I didn't know who this came from, it sounds like it comes from Catholic answers."

This is a non-answer.  It's a strategy.  Again, he's worried.  Stop that. And then stop equating someone with Roman Catholicism.

Rome believes in sola ecclesia, but does that mean that believers have no association with canonicity? The Bible itself doesn't teach a canonicity of books.  It teaches a canonicity of words.  Books are an outgrowth of a canonicity of words.

The Spirit of truth would guide believers into "all truth" (John 16:13). The Westminster Confession says in the first section on scripture:

[O]ur full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.

The church of Thessalonica received Paul's words as the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Was the church at Thessalonica a counsel?  Paul's epistles were circulating among the churches even during apostolic times (Colossians 4:16).  This is a means, a methodology, for knowing what scripture is. Peter recognized Paul's writings as inspired by God and equated them with the rest of the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:15-16). Paul quoted the Gospel of Luke and called it scripture (1 Timothy 5:18).  The Words received widespread acceptance.  This is a fundamental principle for reception of God's Words and it is scientific like science was accepted pre-enlightenment, an aspect of total truth, not the bifurcated truth, two book theory, of White.

The work of the Holy Spirit through His people in the acceptance of the Words He inspired is the means by which His people know what His Words are.  This is a method.  This is a means, a supernatural one in fitting with a supernatural book.  If you can't trust this, which is taught in scripture, sola scriptura, then you can't trust the Bible.  I believe this is also the theme behind the questions White was asked, that he mocked.

The sacral nature academia has taken on itself, standing above scripture, is a much better example of Roman Catholic type authority.  God's people are taken out of the equation, and scholars and publishers, using a very subjective, non-biblical means, replace them, holding sway over God's Word.  That's what White sees as a tool of God's providence.  No way.

The means or method we are required to accept is the biblical means or method, and textual criticism doesn't look anything like what the Bible says is the method or the means.  This is not semper reformanda, always reforming.  This is deviation from the path God set for His people.  This is by far a trajectory to Rome than what White says.

Instead of answering the 3 John question, which seems to be a test question to flush out White's thinking on the scriptural method for ascertaining scripture, White asks a question and in his typical suspicious, mocking manner.  He sets off on a few minutes of red herring -- Carthage, Hippo -- answer the question!  If he answers the question based on orthodox canonical thinking, he's trapped. He also attempts to shame the guy (who has now linked to his answer in the comment section of this series).

White then goes off in admiration of the manuscript attestation toward the preservation of the Bible. Everyone is happy about that, but that's not enough for a supernatural book.  It's as if White applauds the existence of variants.  We have even more copies available.  The Bible was never up for question, and textual criticism has made it more so, giving new fodder for Muslim apologists.  If we question our own Bible, why shouldn't they?  And White is one of the biggest questioners out there.  It isn't settled with him.

White says at almost 23 that the strength of Christianity's position is all of the manuscript evidence, which is sacrificed by the ecclesiastical text position.  Those who believe in supernatural preservation have manuscript evidence too.  If they want to rely on modern science, they've got that too.  For someone who doesn't accept divine authority, which it seems White doesn't, there is manuscript evidence, which means something, but it still leaves White and people like him with errors in their Bible.  Muslim apologists wonder rightfully how that a supernatural book written by a God Who created everything could allow it to fall into a degree of error.  That's not what believers should be preaching or believing.  The church has capitulated on that, and now we have a world filled with doubt.

White says it is a completely different world talking about the Old Testament text.  That is an error.  Both Old and New are scripture and they were authenticated and recognized in the same way.  God gave the Pentateuch to the congregation of God in the Old Testament, Israel, and Israel received and kept.  That's not all there was to it, but the basics are identical.  Why does White accept the Pentateuch?  He can't answer the question.  The man asking the question for sure isn't saying that it is by counting manuscripts or else he wouldn't receive the TR.

The last two minutes are a flurry of bombasticity to put down the man he's questioning, so there's nothing there.  What one can see with White is that he doesn't start with a biblical view of this issue.  I would hope he could change. I wish he would.  He should.  I don't expect it.  He'll double down, because he's got too much at stake.  He is doing great damage in the nature that I have related in this series, spreading doubt and uncertainty about God's Word.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Recent James White Videos and the Bible Version Issue, pt. 4

Part One.  Part Two.  Part Three.

I left off this series, evaluating two new James White videos, at the ten minute mark of the second video.  Why should I do this?  It's a good opportunity because you can sit and watch James White, and then get my analysis, which is a good learning circumstance.  It's coming right out of his mouth from his face, right there in front of you, and then you read my comments.

If James White speaks the truth, I gladly agree with him, but he doesn't here.  To me, he seems delusional on this issue.  He can't even grasp the biblical position and he goes wholesale for the new and unscriptural one.  He's not just against the right view, but he's angry and insulting.  It's odd, but let's pick up where we ended the last post, where he assaults what has been called the Ecclesiastical Text view.

For about a minute, after 10 minutes, White lists off what he considers important knowledge to get this issue right.  As I hear each one, I don't see anything there that deals with the issue.  He mentions the Westminster Confession and the London Baptist Confession and says sarcastically, "God bless every single one of them," adding "but none of them were infallible."  Let me mark this down.  None of them were infallible.  OK.  What's the point?  The implication is that they were wrong here.  Sure, these men could be wrong, but it was a lot of people who wrote these, a lot who agreed with them, followed what they wrote, and they defended their confessions with scripture. If you are going to disrespect their conclusions, you should overturn it with more than just disdaining tones.

Then White asserts that John Calvin wasn't ecclesiastical text, because he judged certain readings to be better than others.  That just shows that White doesn't understand what he's talking about.  It is true that the editions of the TR vary slightly.  That's not enough to reject a scriptural position.  What did these men write about that?  What was a position of perfect preservation, a settled text, that knew that errors came into the hand copies?  I've answered that again and again here with the exact quotes of the men.  Something like the Ecclesiastical Text position is what people believed at that time.  It is the only historical and biblical defensible position.  I know that people want answers on specific texts, but there really are not that many and for a person of faith it should not be enough to push the eject button on biblical doctrine. I know it does with White and others, but to a destructive end.

No one is saying that the single state church leader, Calvin, represents historical theology.  I recognize how important he is to these reformed people.  However, saying that at that juncture in history he preferred one TR reading over another does not do anything to this position.  White says "not a one" believed the Ecclesiastical Text position, when in fact everyone did.  Perhaps a few didn't, but so small a number did not (I don't know of any) that it is accurate to say that everyone believed it.  It is the position that was written down that they believed.  White either doesn't know what people thought and believed at that time about preservation of scripture, or he just ignores it so as not to undermine his own position.  White says "they didn't seem to have that idea."  No, that's what they thought.

White then calls this "the infallibility of reformed scholasticism."  The kindest thing I could call this is a "red herring."  Their position wasn't a scholastic position.  And they didn't prove their position, like White, by talking like their mere support made it divine edict.  No.  This was historic, biblical belief.  This is what they saw scripture teach.  This is where the unity of the spirit comes in.  Could they all have been deceived at once?  Was this a total bibliological apostasy?  This is White's position.  He doesn't call it that, but it is what he is saying.  If you are going to upend established doctrine, you've got to go to the Bible, not naturalistic forensics, new archaeological finds.

Toward the end of the 11 minute mark, White says he believes in sola scriptura, but, but, "some of our forefathers didn't have all the information."  What doctrine is this?  Because I think it deserves a name.  It's the didn't-have-all-the-information doctrine.  Scripture is sufficient and they had scripture, but they didn't have all the information.  In addition to scripture, you need information.  Does that contradict sola scriptura?  I'd say so.

You hear the typical postmodern quips from White.  "That very much concerns me."  "That troubles me."  Who cares?  What concerns you has no authority, more so than what Calvin wrote has no authority.  Your being troubled doesn't give me the evidence necessary to show that my beliefs are wrong.  I need better than that.  All the facial twistings and squirming in the seat and the eye rolls -- none of those persuade me.  They actually do the opposite to me.

At 12:20 and following, he says that the Ecclesiastical Text position sounds good in an online chat, but it "can't answer questions about specific readings."  This is how the debate goes.  You show the biblical doctrine, the historical doctrine, but that is overturned in White's mind by textual criticism, which isn't scripture.  The other side doesn't have to show you a doctrine.  They don't have one.  They don't start with doctrine, and this coming from someone who says don't be persuaded by scholasticism.  This is also coming from someone, when the textual criticism goes off the rails, returns to doctrine, as seen in his debate with Ehrman.  White likes to say, "I'm sorry, but," when he's not sorry.  I'm sorry, but you don't get to pull the doctrine card, when you're the ones who say that presuppositions don't come into the equation.

White's specific reading, which he had already mentioned twice in his video, is Revelation 16:5.  A text like that is the crack through which he can drive his Mack Truck of textual criticism.  White knows what Revelation 16:5 said in all the Greek manuscripts.  He knows that.  Does he?  Has White seen every manuscript available to every translator before printed editions came, and the printed English translations came?  You can't prove a universal negative, which is why human discovery lacks as a basis for faith.

White then brings in Luke 2:22 as another specific reading and one that he asked Douglas Wilson about, which also indicated to me that he does think this is Douglas Wilson's position.  This is the typical argumentation of the critical text person.  It is a textual variant gotcha game.  There aren't very many of these, very few.  It's like the exceptions for pro-abortionists -- they want to know about incest and rape.  These exceptions become the basis of the belief instead of sola scriptura.  That's how Christians should operate.  Elevating science above the theology was the rationalism and liberalism of the 19th century, and now we can't say what marriage is.  The Bible is the truth.  What it says about itself is the final authority.

After 14 minutes, White says if you don't have textual criticism, you can't answer questions, which is what damages apologetics.  White has lived in his own mind of textual criticism, only answering questions with his view of the world.  Living in my own mind, I'm saying that you can answer the questions, except they have real authority unlike his.  He spouts off three verses where he says the TR reading is indefensible.  When he says indefensible, he intends for you to see it his way.  It is defensible, but he means that you can't defend it with the rules of textual criticism, which were invented by men and essentially unbelievers.

At the 15 minute mark, he says someone has counted 1800 differences between the TR and the majority text.  The majority text, you may not know, is a recent invention also part of textual criticism.  When you say "the majority text," you're already wrong, because there is no "the majority text."  Not every manuscript has been collated, so we still can't say what's the majority.  I call this "the math view," and it isn't a biblical position.  White himself says "the majority text," which is either ignorant or misleading.

He spends 16-17 philosophizing about this, and lands on 1 John 5:7, which he says indicates that we don't have the original text of the New Testament.  Anyone who defends 1 John 5:7 he says, despite it's inclusion in the confessions, is an unhelpful zealot for this age in which we live.  I have no comment.

At 17:30, around there, White says he saw a very "troubling" combination of canon issues and text issues.  That sparked my interest, because that was one of my chapters in Thou Shalt Keep Them.  It also makes me wonder if this guy he's arguing with has read that chapter.  White says that confusing canon and text leads back to the arguments of Rome and the more conservative forms of Islam.  So there, swatted that away with ease.

White attacks the idea of a received text, coming to the church by the providence of God.  He asks if the very recent finds of the papyri are not the providence of God.  That, of course, isn't the point.  He either doesn't get the point or he's acting like he doesn't get it.  I could say it's the providence of God that I stuck my hand with a screwdriver two days ago, but there is no doctrine to derive from it.  Believers didn't have the papyri for hundreds of years, so if you believe in providential preservation, you don't believe that should "correct" what God did preserve.  That isn't a belief in preservation.  It's a denial.  It doesn't surprise me that people find new manuscripts.  There are regular archaelogical finds that people, who operate like White, think should be used to correct standing doctrine.  They shouldn't.  They should be interpreted in light of what we already know.  Christianity and the church are not in flux, not a flexible, meandering thing, changing based upon what new discovery might come about (18:40).

The next post will be the last.

Recent James White Videos and the Bible Version Issue, pt. 3

Part One.  Part Two.

I do get how that certain bibliological error needs exposing and some of it is King James only.  A big swath of King James supporters don't believe in the preservation of scripture.  They've invented double inspiration or a kind of edition of double inspiration that I call English preservation, that God preserved His word in the English, not in the original languages.  Then you have the liberals, the Bart Ehrman types, attacks on inspiration, and the now regular appearances of new, innovative perversions that diminish scripture, numerous of these.  False religions assault the Bible.  Continuationists often claim extra-scriptural revelation.  Everything I've written so far in this first paragraph could keep someone very busy without getting to the doctrine of perfect preservation and general accessibility of scripture to every generation of believers.

James White, however, dedicates himself to battle certainty in scripture.  He and others like him take the odd position that you are a danger if you believe there is a settled text.  Unless you are committed to some dilution of the biblical text, you are in trouble with them.   Anything that rises above preference for the text behind the King James Version must be eradicated by White and others.  If it really is fine with them, then it shouldn't matter, but it does.  It does.  It's very, very serious to them as seen in the time they dedicate to it.  White and others say so.  There are so many alternative Bible interpretations and positions that White tolerates. He doesn't do repeated exposes and write books about those things like premillennialism or amillennialism.  Those don't get on his radar.

Someone who believes there are already errors in scripture shouldn't have a problem with someone having certainty in a Bible of which he himself approves.  On the other hand, I think that James White is dangerous, because he rejects the biblical teaching of preservation of scripture and spreads it to others, causing doubt.  I can't believe in biblical and historical preservation and tolerate White's position.  I can't believe in more than one Bible, which itself isn't even a Christian worldview.  He is in error, based on the teaching of the Bible itself.

As I've said, I'm sure there are those with a lower view of the Bible than White who are buoyed by his conservative evangelicalism.  I think I should rejoice when he's true.  Hopefully I will, but he isn't right here, so we continue with his two recent videos.  In the last paragraph I quoted in part two, White said this:

[W]e live in a day where the world is so opposed to our faith, that the days of my grandparent's generation where you didn't have to worry where you got the Bible and you didn't have to worry about textual criticism and you didn't have to worry about sexual ethics and marriage and everything else.  That day's gone.

White speaks of a day when you didn't have to worry about where you got the Bible and you didn't have to worry about textual criticism.  Those were the days before James White and men like him, who say they're doing such a great service to the church.  People assumed they had the Word of God in the King James Version.  Now they have doubts, and James White contributes to that.

At 15:15, when White is answering a question by Eric Hovind about people who say that the Bible was written only by men, he says this:

Of course, if you come to the issue of the Bible, um, I don't want to ground the authority of the Bible in any example or story that I give to somebody else, because if I, if I put my hand on something and say I swear by this, I'm saying this has a higher authority.  The same way, we can point to evidences of the truthfulness and consistency of the Bible, but we have to be very careful that we don't communicate to people that history, or manuscripts, or anything else, is a superior authority to the Bible.  Well, then the authority of scripture comes from the fact that it is theopneustos, it is God breathed, it is God speaking.  When you put your hand in front of your mouth and you speak, you cannot but help but feel breath.  That's the intimacy of what the Word of God actually is.  Jesus believed that. . . . As a pastor, as an elder in a church, when I encounter someone who can in a flippant and easy way question the authority of scripture, I am immediately concerned about this person's welfare, I really am.

I agree with everything that White said here.  He should not ground the authority of the Bible on a story about Erasmus or in the next manuscript that someone digs up or finds in a cave.  If God says He would preserve every Word and that every one would be available, that discounts anything that is different than what believers used for hundreds of years and many generations.  There should be no flippant or easy way for that to be dismissed, and yet is all the time, including by White, who places a higher degree of authority on the existence of textual variants in manuscripts than the testimony of God's people.

White's 27 Minute Video, Entitled, My Concerns With the Ecclesiastical Text Position

I am familiar with the terminology, the Ecclesiastical Text.  The first I heard it was over 20 years ago from the late Theodore Letis.  It was his position on the preservation of scripture.  As I consider what he wrote now, he was just representing the historical, biblical position on the preservation of the Bible.  This does not count as an endorsement of Letis, just that I think what he was saying on this was true.  In the past at least, what I heard espoused by Douglas Wilson sounds like this Ecclesiastical Text view.  Some today have hijacked Letis terminology, who don't even believe his view.  Somebody must be careful not to argue a straw man on this position, if he's going to oppose it.

White says he opposes the Ecclesiastical Text position, has "serious problems" with it, and in the above linked video, he speaks about it.  He says it is a subject that is very important to him, and he did the video, he explains, in response to a conversation someone had with him in a social network. At the very beginning White says that this position is the end of meaningful apologetic defense.  Big words.  One would think it's got to be very bad with that kind of blasting.

White says in the second minute that the Ecclesiastical Text position is thoroughly inconsistent with reformed presuppositions, even though it's the reformed that take it.  He says it is also inconsistent with "sola scriptura and things like that."  In the third minute, White explains that he was motivated by statements that were very offensive and that he was shocked or at least disappointed by what a fellow reformed Baptist elder said to him.  The man said about White that the Muslims want White to debate in their mosques for a different reason than White thinks, that is, because they use again and again White's defense of the critical text.

At about 3:25, White does a very typical for him type of mockery of this man and his audacity. You've got to be kidding White if you think that Muslims know what the Ecclesiastical Text is.  That is a red herring.  Muslims think the Bible is corrupted, something James White agrees with.  It is true that they don't hear very often a position in defense of a settled, perfect text of the Bible.  It is probably also true that someone who took that position would not get into a mosque to debate, like White can.  That position, the historic and biblical position, contradicts the chief Muslim attack on Christianity.  They like a guy that plays right into their hands.

A little after the four minute mark, White says Ecclesiastical Text advocates must admit textual variants, just like he does, White ticking off the various editions of the textus receptus (TR).  He says Muslim scholars pounce on any admission of textual variants and both he and TR proponents must admit variants.  When I talk to Muslims, I don't admit variants.  I go to scripture and show them verse after verse that teaches the perfect preservation of God's Words, and that we trust what God said, that we have a perfect Bible, because God said so.  That is doing spiritual warfare, depending on theopneustos, the breath of God, to pull down strongholds, not getting into acceptable percentages. White can't do that, because he doesn't believe it.

Who are meaningful Moslem apologists?  I find that every Moslem I talk to, wants to talk, and is ready to talk.  They have various degrees of readiness, but more than any other pagan religion, Moslems will engage on their religion.  They want to persuade you.  Scripture is sufficient for whatever Moslem apologist you want to confront.

White says that's the problem with the ecclesiastical text position.  He says it exists in the backwaters of reform-dom.  This is very typical type of speech of White, who says he was shocked and disappointed with how someone treated him, said, as normal, right up front.  Of course, he's tooting his own horn, implying that he's way down stream with the top Moslem scholars, and these guys are in their little reformed fiefdoms, away from the big time, like him.  It's laughable.  He really does get me laughing out loud, all of his antics.

After spending a minute insulting his opponents, White lectures us that Moslems don't know their own textual history, even outside of the backwaters, where White paddles, except for some of them.  And he means by that, of course, that he does know, because, ahem, he's studied the history of their text, and can give them textual variants of the Koran.  This is White's idea of being on an even playing field -- the Bible and the Koran have variants.  They both have errors!  Neither know what the original text was!!  This is "meaningful" interaction, "meaningful" an important qualifier to White.

At 6 minutes, White asks, "What are we supposed to do?"  If he was serious, this is a very good question.  Men should know what to do.  He asks what the Ecclesiastical Text view will add to this.

Right before 7 minutes, White equates the Ecclesiastical Text view with the Moslem view of the Koran.  He says they take a theological position, and not a historical one, just like the Ecclesiastical Text.  This is another iteration of a typical critical text argument.  They use that same one with the Roman Catholic tradition of Jerome's Vulgate, except that it's not the same, because the Vulgate was a translation, and the Ecclesiastical Text view defends original language preservation.  The preservation of the Koran is not the same as the preservation of the Bible, because the Bible is in fact the Word of God.  It's true that someone might not take the Bible, the actual breath of God, as an authority, but it is powerful to pull down strongholds, unlike White's naturalistic arguments, meant to get debate points away from the backwater.

White says that there is no historical argument for an ecclesiastical text.  There is one.  And it's better than White's historical arguments, because it is true.  White says there is no means for an ecclesiastical text person for accomplishing anything in a conversation with a Moslem.  I haven't found that to be the case.  If you know the Bible, you can show what's different about the Bible from any other book.  The Koran can't compare.  You can talk about the means of preservation, the biblical means, and accessibility, something that White doesn't have in his naturalistic toolbox.  Those are powerful, because they are biblical, and the problem for a Moslem, like any other lost person, isn't intellectual, but volitional.

An Ecclesiastical Text person will explain textual attack and how that we know what the Words of God are, just like we know we have 66 books.  That is all historical, but mainly it is biblical.  We don't say the same thing as the Moslems.  That's just a lie by White, and one to which he adds a lot of attitude with it.

White says after 8 minutes that he's never seen the official ET, Ecclesiastical Text, rolling his eyes again and again, as he often does.  He said at the beginning of his video, that he had seen it.  He should become more educated then. He should perhaps go into the backwaters a little.  Or he could just read the Westminster divines, John Owen, Turretin, or Richard Muller's volume on the history of bibliology after the printing press.  He could perhaps get out of the 19th century and get into the 17th and 18th centuries, before the enlightenment.

Right before the 9 minute mark, he's got to do 20 seconds of "meaningless" ridicule, his face getting red, twitching and stroking his beard.  I get to the 9 minute mark, and can I believe it?  Yes.  He brings in the traditional Latin text of Rome. It's like talking to an evolutionist, the same three or four same stories again and again.  He sees a subjugation of the text to an ecclesiastical authority, mocking "ET" again briefly, an obvious reference to extra-terrestrial. (You tell me what White looks like when he talks like this -- be honest.  If he was in my church, I'd tell him to stop.)  White should read the Westminster Confession and the London Baptist Confession to get an explanation for what he mocks earlier as a "vibe" and here with the "church authority" argument.

Just an aside here.  The critical text people, including White, defy their own reasoning with their support of the Septuagint, a non original language text (and a corrupt one).  The big debate with Roman Catholicism was the superiority of the original language text above the Latin.  There is a biblical argument there.

Notice at the end of the 9th minute and into the 10th how that White argues for his position.  None of it is scriptural.  It's 100% humanism and naturalism.  You hear him say "the Byzantine platform" as if those forensics are vital to believers.  They're not.  He acts like they had no basis for their text in the 16th and 17th centuries.  He doesn't know what he's talking about, and it would be more sad, if he wasn't so laughable.

More to Come.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Recent James White Videos and the Bible Version Issue, pt. 2

As we continue analysis of James White's Bible version videos, Eric Hovind asks again about folks who try to correct the original language text with an English translation.  Maybe he didn't think White had answered that.  For his second round, White says the King James translators didn't know the Granville Sharp rule, so modern translators are better equipped with this new rule to do a better translation, a way to disparage the translation used and trusted by most Christians for 400 years.   According to White, people had missed the meaning of Titus 2:13 until the arrival of Granville Sharp. White then channels the translators, speculating that if they were alive, they would support a revision utilizing new grammatical discoveries.  Of course, the bigger issue is the underlying text, since God inspired and preserved His Words in the original language.

Even though White's reply didn't answer Hovind's question, everyone should agree that the KJV translators wanted as accurate a translation as possible.  Other factors exist though in deciding to change a translation.  There is a nonchalance about revising the Bible to "evangelical scholarship," like the Bible is its personal plaything.  People think and should think of their Bible as settled and established, as heavenly, as divinely provided, the domain of God, not a work in progress. Men change to fit the Bible.  They don't hold sway over the Bible.  The Bible isn't a changing item.  It is finished, done, available.

As I evaluate White's answers to Hovind, I want people to know that there is a silliness, a lack of seriousness, about the tone of the interview.  I would do better with something less reality show, that would elevate the subject matter, instead of attempting to make it more casual.  Regular exclamations of "wow" are over the top.  They too diminish the doctrines represented.

Beginning at about 5:15, Hovind asks White why there are so many translations?  This seems to relate to the question Hovind just asked.  White gives a good answer here. He says there are too many and that there are so many mainly for financial reasons. Publishers don't want to pay to use another translation, so they do their own to save money.  White has a problem with the simplified translations too.  He says some very good things here.  He gives an excellent explanation of the various levels of Greek that should be seen in a good translation.  The books with the most complex Greek should reflect that in their translation instead of dumbing all the books down to the same level.  A translation of the New Testament should be at the level of the New Testament.  The funding used for new English translations should go to languages that have no Bible. This was good.

White finishes the second question at about the 9 minute mark, and then Hovind asks him about textual criticism, whether we've "beat this horse to death" so that 'the Bible is dismantled to the degree that we don't know what it's saying'?  White says,

There's two different kinds of textual criticism.  You have.  We need to differentiate them.  Uh, what I engage in is called lower textual criticism, where you actually have factual material to deal with.  So we're talking about manuscript based textual criticism.  We're actually talking about trying to reconstruct the original text, based upon having more manuscripts of the New Testament than any other work of antiquity, earlier manuscripts than any other work of antiquity, better manuscripts than any other work of antiquity.  OK.  So we have an embarrassment of riches.
And you've got people like Dan Wallace running around the world right now, running himself ragged, uh, with the center for the study of New Testament manuscripts, trying to digitize the entire world's collection of Greek manuscripts and there's a reason for that. Have you heard about what's happening in the Middle East? Libraries being destroyed, things like that, if, and those manuscripts are gone, if they were not digitized, if they're only on, on microfilm and that microfilm is next to impossible to read, uum, this has to happen.  And that, that, is the area of textual criticism that believers can engage in, because we are confident that in those currently 5771 catalogued manuscripts of the New Testament, uum, which that number is always changing all the time, that within all of those manuscripts, every original reading is still there.  It's like having a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle.  And what we have, thank God, is 10,100 pieces, not 9,900 pieces.  You see, we have, we have to go through and examine those variants and see what has been added later, but we can have absolute confidence that we have the original readings. That's, that's a wonderful thing.
Now there is a quote-unquote textual criticism or form criticism that doesn't depend upon having manuscripts to examine, where your trying to go, uh, into the construction of the original text, and, and uh, could it be that, that John wrote, uh, part of his gospel and then went back and edited and then there's someone that edited that and it's all hypothetical.  It's all based on, 'well, I sort of think that John initially would have thought this or initially believed that,' and it's, it's, it's pure, it's pure theory, it's not real and it's all based upon the idea that whatever the Bible originally was, it can't be what Christians thought it was.  And so that's a completely different thing.
And I went to a, my first master's degree was from a very even more today liberal seminary and I wondered why the Lord let me go through that.  Now I know why.  Now I know exactly why it was.  Now I can look at liberalism and say, 'been there done that and got the t-shirt, and the degree for that matter,' but that kind of criticism is not believing, it's not believing criticism, but is based upon the idea that we simply cannot, uh, believe what the Bible, uh, says about itself.  We have to start with the assumption that Paul contradicted Peter and Matthew is off on his own thing over here someplace. And what it produces is always, always self-contradictory.  It can never give you any foundation for truth whatsoever.
But unfortunately that's what you're going to find in the most dangerous place for a Christian.  It's called a Christian book store.  You've got to be, you've got to understand when you're walking down the aisles of a Christian book store, you might as well think that there are vipers and pythons coiled on each side of you.  Because, for example, when you look commentaries of the Old Testament today, with a few glowing, thank-you-God exceptions, we gave the Old Testament to liberals a long time ago.  And so, people say, what, what commentary series should I, should I buy.  And I go, I can't tell you, because in a commentary series, you might find one book that is just great, and the one sitting next to it might be just absolute poison to your faith, so we have to have discernment. 
I, I, I mean, we live in a day where the world is so opposed to our faith, that the days of my grandparent's generation where you didn't have to worry where you got the Bible and you didn't have to worry about textual criticism and you didn't have to worry about sexual ethics and marriage and everything else.  That day's gone.  If we want to be salt and light today, then, uh, we have got to know these things.  It's a tough calling, but if we want to be salt and light, we've got to do it (13:41).

White talks about "lower textual criticism" like it is an assumed, biblical activity.  If people could just stop and listen to what he's saying, he's telling us that we're still recovering the original text of scripture, that is, we don't have it.  The way we recover it, White says, is through this lower textual criticism.  White supposes errors in the present text of scripture.  How does he know that?

Do these men go to churches, their churches, and say, "The Bible has errors we're still correcting." That's what they believe.  They don't want people thinking that way, so instead they say, as White essentially does here, "We have an embarrassment of manuscript evidence and all the words of the originals are in there somewhere."  The good news according to White is that we have far more words than what are in the originals, so it really is a matter of whittling those down to the actual number, and this textual criticism is the God prescribed method for that.  'Meanwhile, folks, live what you've got while we spend time at the drawing board to get this thing right.'

Does White believe that all the words of the originals in their proper order are found in the available manuscript evidence for the Bible?  Why?  He never says.  Is there some kind of scriptural presupposition for saying that all the right words are even in there somewhere?  What I have read and know is that these men say these things and they don't really believe them.  They aren't saying that we know we have 100% of the words in the manuscripts.  Twice White says we have all of them.  All.  I don't think he means 100%.  What I've read and know is that most evangelicals don't believe we have an accurate manuscript available with the actual text of 1 Samuel 13:1 in it.  They hope we'll find one some time, but they believe there is an error there in search of the original reading.  So the most sure thing that they have to say, that all the words are all in available manuscripts, they say with fingers crossed or a bit of a wink.

I could say that all the right words in the Bible are available on planet earth.  Those words exist somewhere.  Is that the biblical doctrine of preservation?  I call it the buried text view.  They won't say this, but many take the tack that God has preserved His Words, and He has preserved them both in heaven and then somewhere on earth possible still buried somewhere, ready to be unearthed in some future century perhaps.  That does not represent what scripture says about preservation.  Neither is it the historic view of preservation.

You don't hear a biblical answer from White.  You hear his take on the condition of the biblical text, not that much different than Bart Ehrman's. I watched the White-Ehrman debate and the two do differ, but not on most aspects of textual criticism, not on the nuts and bolts of it.  Really, the only difference between the two is their interpretation of the so-called evidence.  In both cases, their evidence is man-centered human discovery.  Both sides say that you can't let biblical presuppositions effect your textual criticism, and Ehrman doesn't at all.  White would say that Ehrman is dishonest with his interpretation, that if he applied the same scholarship to other books of antiquity, he would conclude to a high enough percentage what was in the original manuscripts of the Bible.  Ehrman, on the other hand, would say that we have something far different than what we should expect from a divine book that promises its own preservation.

The difference between Ehrman and White, even though neither will say it, is their presuppositions. White doesn't take his presuppositions from scripture, but he also doesn't abandon his faith in scripture even though he doesn't believe we know what all the words are.  What I'm saying is that White relies on a kind of presupposition without saying he's relying on it.  Ehrman knows he's relying on it.  You can't rely on scriptural presuppositions and stay in the textual critic club, so you just rely on them to the degree necessary not to eject from the faith and say that you are letting the evidence lead you to the truth.

Do we trust in the Bible as a supernatural book, as divine, because we can get a high degree of certainty based on manuscript evidence?  What is our basis for believing that?  If that isn't it, we should at least hear from White and others like him what is the biblical basis for trusting what we do have, even though according to them, we know there are errors in it.  I understand if that doesn't teach very well.  It's a tough sell.  Nevertheless, despite evangelical admonitions not to trust in scriptural presuppositions for textual criticism, White relies on modified ones to preserve his faith in a Bible that he thinks has errors in it.  White calls that "providence" in the tradition of Benjamin Warfield, who read textual criticism into the Westminster Confession of faith.  It's very similar to evangelical scholarship calling the evolution of a day-age theory, "creation."  They redefine terms to fit human discovery.

Evangelical scholars should just be honest.  They've already caused tremendous damage, because young people are abandoning Christianity in great numbers in part because they can't muster faith from a Bible with only a percentage, albeit a high one, of reliability.  They can't stand in a world hostile to the truth on an unsure foundation.   Bart Ehrman will win most times, if we are left with a shade of certitude.

More to Come.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Recent James White Videos and the Bible Version Issue, pt. 1

In the last couple of weeks, James White has shown up in a video and made one himself about the Bible version issue.  It's important to consider, because the Bible is God's Word and our sole authority for faith and practice.  James White purports to disabuse Christians of a very harmful position, and professes in doing so to be a significant defender of the Christian faith.  He has written a book about the Bible version issue, The King James Only Controversy, and he talks about it all the time, most recently in two videos he has posted on his website, the first he entitled, An Interview with Eric Hovind on the Transmission of the Text of the Bible, and the second, My Concerns with the Ecclesiastical Text Position.  It would be nice if White could be challenged in a fair setting.  I have never seen him in a legitimate debate on the Bible Version issue, where what he says could be challenged in an impartial way.

I'm going to use whatever number of posts necessary to deal with everything he says in the above two videos, starting with the Eric Hovind interview.  It is not an interview on the transmission of the text of the Bible, so that title, made at White's website, misleads right away.  Hovind himself calls it, Eric Hovind Discusses Bible Translations with Dr. James White, and describes it with the following caption:

Did God re-inspire the writing of Scripture with the King James Version? Why do we have so many English translations? What is textual criticism and what should we know about it? Gain much-needed discernment as Eric Hovind and James White discuss standing on the authority of Theópneustos Scriptures.

Hovind first questions White about the double inspiration error of certain King James Version advocates, a doctrinal offense the equivalent of a high lob to swat down by a Bible expert, by someone who depends on the Bible as his authority for his beliefs.

White:  Well, (loud exhaling sigh), ya know, uh, the funny thing is, uh, the King James translators themselves really would have had a hard time with anyone using their work in that way.  I mean...

Hovind:  Wow!

White:  ...If we just read the fff, the fff, preface to the readers that the King James Translators themselves wrote, uuuuh, we'd get a really good idea where they were coming from, and they in no way thought that their work was a reinspiration.  They recognized their dependence upon previous translations, upon Wycliffe, and Tyndale, and, and the Geneva, and so on and so forth, and they also recognized that there would be need for revision of their work in the future, uuum, and so what has happened since then in the discovery of sooo many manuscripts that have, that have shed sooo much light upon the earlier history of the text, both the dead sea scrolls as well as the, eh, historical, uh, light upon the early manuscripts of the New Testament. The, the King James translators themselves would have welcomed, uh, that, uhm, providential blessing from God, they really would have.  Unfortunately what has happened, and this is a rel, relatively new movement, this kind of, uh, radical perspective, because there are some others who will say, 'well, for certain reasons we believe that the text upon which the King James is, was translated is better than the modern texts.'

Hovind:  Right!

White:  Ya know, I can understand those arguments, uuum, and, and, and, and have explained those arguments to people and I engage those types of arguments.  I can understand that, and I can even understand someone saying that they prefer, uh, the style and majesty of the King James translation.  I can understand preferences, but when it comes to a point where you're basically saying to people, 'if you use anything other than this, you're not really getting what God would have you to get,' and if you dare promote that, now you're not even, uh, in the will of God, you're rebelling against God, that type of thing, that's when it becomes extremely dangerous, and, uh, unfortunately there are still those folks out there that say that, but it's interesting, I never find them taking that argument out into the places where I go with the people like the Bart Ehrmans of the world or into mosques around the world, um, because the fact of the matter is that kind of claim is indefensible against the people that know anything about the history of the, of the New Testament whatsoever.  And so we want, we want, what we say in the church to be consistent with what we say in the market place of ideas...

Hovind:  Wow.

White:  ...If we don't have that kind of consistency, uum, we really can't claim, uh, that we're, we're ff following He who is the truth, and so for me that's why it becomes an important issue.

White is asked by Hovind if someone should use the English translation to correct the Hebrew and the Greek, and White's answer is, first, the King James translators would not have liked that position. He then proceeds to bounce all over the place without referring to scripture itself to debunk that false doctrine, but instead to the preface of the King James translators.  He does not speak as the oracles of God (1 Pet 4:11).  Double inspiration and correcting the original language with English -- those are unbiblical and can be repudiated from scripture itself.  God completed inspiration in the first century (Jude 1:3; Rev 22:18) and then preserved the words He inspired (Is 59:21; Matt 4:4; 5:18; 24:35), Hebrew and Greek ones, so that there was no need for re-inspiration of an English Bible.  In common with White, these with this "radical perspective" do not believe in the perfect preservation of scripture, so they compensate for their faithlessness with an unscriptural and novel doctrine of second inspiration.

Contrary to White, the KJV translators did not rely upon Wycliffe, who translated from the Latin. Their preface doesn't mention his name.  They did believe in a future revision of their work, but we have no basis that they would have accepted other original language texts than those from which they translated.  They say nothing about that in their preface.  Assuming a revision of their translation doesn't assume a revision from a different original language text.

White speculates that the translators would have welcomed the Dead Sea scrolls and older Greek manuscripts to correct the text they translated. He uses the terminology "providential blessing," pointing directly to the language of Benjamin Warfield's spin on the wording of the Westminster Confession, equating textual criticism with the providence of God.  That isn't what the Westminster divines meant when they wrote, "by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages." Warfield also believed in the science of evolution and accepted Darwin as a providential enlightenment of the first three chapters of Genesis.  We could just as easily speculate that the KJV translators rejected older manuscripts as inferior to the text received by the churches.  That would by far conform more to the bibliology of the church and fit the evidence of  historical theology.

When White says "modern texts," he means "older texts," confusing it with "modern translations."

Why would a doctrine of perfect preservation and general accessibility be dangerous?  How could trust in providential preservation, the language of the Westminster Confession and the London Baptist Confession, be dangerous?  Why would the doubt produced by never-ending criticism not be what is really dangerous?  How could certainty in the Word of God be dangerous?  Why is textual criticism not the radical perspective?  It is the historically new perspective on the doctrine of scripture, the post-enlightenment take on bibliology.  Only preference is tolerable to White.  What is the biblical basis for preference being the only acceptable view?

White's only stated reason against certainty in a single text of scripture, instead of choosing preference, is that he himself has not witnessed any non-preferential people taking that position out into the world against the Bart Ehrmans and into the mosques like he does.  The setting of a formal debate isn't the only or even the best place to confront the world in the "market place of ideas."  In the San Francisco Bay Area, I talk to the liberals, the atheists, and the Muslims all.  The Muslims use the White position as a crucial component in their argument against Christianity.  I've heard it again and again.  They reject the preservation of scripture, and White would agree.

We're not and neither should we be attempting to defeat the world in a market place of ideas.  We're preaching the truth, and I've noticed that the Bart Ehrmans' problem isn't that our ideas aren't defeating theirs.  The problem is a volitional one, not an intellectual one, and their strongholds will be defeated with scriptural arguments, not ones that point back to a preface by a translator.  What is indefensible are the natural arguments that White brings against unbelievers, and that coming from someone who says he advocates presuppositional apologetics.  A true presuppositionalist assumes what scripture teaches as true, authoritative, and powerful.  What I hear from White here treats discovery as neutral, even elevating his opinion to a higher level than divine revelation.  You can hear White's thinking when he says, "the, eh, historical, uh, light upon the early manuscripts of the New Testament" and "the fact of the matter is that kind of claim is indefensible against the people that know anything about the history of the, of the New Testament."  Historical light?

The only consistent position is one derived from the only supernatural source, the Word of God.  The only accurate view of history must adapt to scripture and not vice-versa.  He Who is the truth said His sheep hear His voice, live by every Word, and that not a jot or tittle will pass from the law until all be fulfilled.  If we love Him we will keep what He says.  A two book approach to Bible doctrine, man's observations and divine revelation, will never be consistent.

More to Come.  This series may come faster than the usual two posts per week by me.  I'll keep writing as I get the time to do so.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Robert Pearsall Smith and the Keswick / Higher Life Preaching of Post-Conversion Sexual Baptism: part 20 of 21 in Hannah W. Smith: Keswick Founder, Higher Life Preacher, Quaker Quietist and Universalist Heretic

While Mr. Smith most clearly spread Foster’s filthy doctrine in private to a variety of his followers, usually women, he did publicly proclaim with clarity the necessity of a post-conversion Spirit baptism as the climax of the Higher Life, while pointing publicly to its sexual nature only in a guarded way.  Unsurprisingly, he also warned that those who entered the Higher Life should “expect revelations of the world of darkness”[1] far greater than those experienced by those who were merely normal, uninitiated Christians.  While many women, and some men, knew what Robert Smith meant when he spoke of the “phenomena of the coming of the Spirit upon individuals,”[2] not all understood the significance of his public proclamation at the Oxford Convention:
[H]as the Baptism of the Spirit been duly pressed upon the believer? . . . Beloved Christian, let me ask you, have you had this baptism[?] . . . [M]any Christians seem to forget that this happened again and again.  It was not the characteristic of the beginning only, but of the continuance of the dispensation in which we live. . . . [There are] phenomena [accompanying] the coming of the Spirit upon individuals[3] . . . [We ought to] expect this baptism[,] [which has] been so long lost to the Church. . . . [It brings] a thrill, an intense emotion . . . [although] [y]ou may have special temptations of Satan after this time of baptism . . . [and] the highest elevations of experience involve the most fearful dangers.[4]
Those who already had experienced the physical thrills of Baptism by the spiritual Bridegroom understood what was involved in the Higher Life doctrine of the Smiths—others were only pointed towards it by their public proclamation:[5]
[T]here is a point in our spiritual life, in which all self-imposed barriers break down . . . [j]ust so . . . there is a certain point at which a true woman breaks through all the reserve of her nature, and lets her heart go . . . the time of the soul’s espousals, when it realises its union to the heavenly Lover. . . . [T]here will spring up a sweet soul-intercourse between your soul and Him such as you have never conceived the thought of.  Often has my whole being thrilled . . . I could not understand this when I was contentious about doctrine[.] . . . Will you yield yourself to Him in this the day of your espousals? . . . [I]f earthly love be so sweet, shall not Divine love satisfy our whole being[?] . . . Earthly relationships are created but to reveal heavenly realities of union with our Lord. . . . Faith contradicts even our moral sense[.] . . . [B]reak down every barrier in your nature . . . and let your heart go[.] . . .[E]very need of a woman’s heart could be met and satisfied with the love of Christ . . . [when] the Lord reveal[s] Himself . . . as the heavenly Bridegroom, who would henceforth carry [her] in the arms of love[.] . . . [C]laim the Lord as [your] heavenly Bridegroom . . . a thrilling message [that] stirred the meeting so deeply that it seemed a necessity to give some expression to our feelings[.] . . . [Women] followed, testifiying to the same blessed experience [of the] . . . wonderous secrets of His love[.] . . . [A]s we had learned deeply the lessons of entire consecration and simple trust, we needed now to go on to consider more fully the blessed secret . . . only the soul that had entered into rest could understand . . . passages [such as] Eph v. 22-32; Isaiah lxii. 4, 5, liv. 5; Hosea ii. 16, 19, 20; Song of Sol. iv. 7-12[.] . . . The Song of Songs [contains a] blessed secret . . . that the soul is slow to understand . . . the actings of the love of espousals. . . . The believer does not fully know what Christ is until he comes to this . . . [and surrenders] throughout the whole range of our being [including the physical organism.] . . . For the consecration we have been pressing in these meetings, and the full and childlike trust, are only stepping-stones to this glorious consummation of soul-union with the Beloved[.] . . . [O]ur souls have not reached their highest destiny until it is known and rejoiced in . . . absolute abandonment . . . overmastering love. . . . Several [more] ladies followed, testifying to the joy and rest their souls had found in thus knowing Christ as the Heavenly Bridegroom . . . far more than earthly friend or husband[.] . . . Many hearts were melted . . . in view of such glorious privileges as were opened up before us.  The feeling was so great, that at the close of the meeting several met more privately[6] . . . that to each one of them this wonderous soul-union . . . might become an experimental reality. . . . [As] Boaz . . . called the claim . . . that Ruth . . . had made “showing kindness,”[7] . . . [the] Lord delights in every claim we make upon Him for union with Himself, and calls it kindness—“the kindness of thine espousals.” . . . [Let us] make our claim for this realized union . . . [with Christ] more than any earthly friend or lover ever could be. . . . This is the consummation of all Christian experience . . . the wonderous secret . . . [to be] learned by each one experimentally for herself . . . thrilled with the sweetness of His love.[8]
While the Smiths were somewhat reserved in public, others were more open in their proclaimation of the Bridal Baptism teaching.  For example, “Miss Bonnicastle sp[oke] on this subject . . . [of] conscious union of the believer and Christ as the Heavenly Bridegroom . . . at the Oxford Ladies meetings . . . [which] quite shocked a good many,”[9] but led many also into the knowledge of that Bridal Baptism.  It was common knowledge that “the “object of the . . . Meeting at Oxford . . . was to lead Christians to . . . [be] baptised with the Holy Ghost,”[10] and as a result of that Convention “there was so much” of “the Baptism of the Holy Ghost”[11] that vast multitudes received physical thrills.  Nevertheless, the full depths of Satan hidden in Robert Smith’s doctrine were not clearly revealed to all, but only to those fully initiated into the Higher Life.  Thus, experience of erotic thrills in the Baptism was the culminating and highest point to which the Higher Life led, and many, through coming to “lie passive in His hands,” came to know “the baptism of the Spirit” as allegedly set forth in the Song of Solomon and as taught by Smith.[12]
While Mr. Smith successfully proclaimed and led others to the erotic Baptism at Oxford and Brighton, divulgence of this Higher Life secret to Miss Hamilton in her bedroom shortly before the first Higher Life Convention at Keswick proved his public downfall[13]—although even through this, the Smiths did not cut off contact with Mr. Foster or Clifton Springs.[14]  “Hannah found [Robert] huddled in despair in a Paris hotel room where he had fled in his collapse.”[15]  Concerning his father’s exposure, and the attempt—which was quite successful during Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s lifetime[16]—to cover up the true reason for Mr. Smith’s downfall in his promulgation of erotic bride mysticism, Logan Pearsall Smith wrote:
“All Europe is at my feet,” . . . my poor father . . . exclaim[ed] when he stood on the platform [at the Brighton Convention].  But almost immediately an announcement appeared in the papers that he had been compelled to cancel all his engagements and to return almost at once to America.  It was suggested that a fall from a horse some years before had led to the return of certain distressing symptoms which rendered absolute rest necessary.  I must say that in the family we didn’t believe in that horse;  at least I am certain that my mother didn’t.  I don’t think she ever referred to it at all, which made people suspicious, and so universal became the gossip that my father’s friends felt it necessary to issue a further explanation.  It had come to their ears, they stated, that my father had inculcated doctrines that were most dangerous and unscriptural, and that there had been conduct on his part which, though it was free, they were convinced, from all evil intention,[17] had rendered it necessary to abstain from public work, and take the complete rest rendered necessary by the fall from his horse.  That the doctrine of Sanctification and Deadness to Sin might lead to dangerous forms of Antinomianism was well known from the history of the past . . . [b]ut this was not the doctrinal quadreped from which my father slipped at Brighton.  It was a much more mysterious beast which he had also brought from America, so mysterious that even the learned and profound Professor Warfield seems never to have guessed at its existence.[18]  But my mother knew it well[.] . . . What exactly was the nature of this doctrine?  I cannot find that it has a name, so for convenience I shall call it the doctrine of “Loving-kindness.”  It is . . . based . . . on the fact . . . that nature, in one of her grossest economies, has placed the seats of spiritual and amorous rapture so close to each other that one of them is very likely to arouse the other . . . so exactly do these two forms of ecstasy feel alike [that] . . . sometimes . . . it [is] extremely difficult to distinguish between them.[19]  From this fact it was only too easy to form the heretical belief that this heightening of religious experience, due to the mingling of the sexes, was God’s own way (and His ways were mysterious and not to be questioned by carnal reason) of bestowing His blessing upon them.  When a holy preacher sat near a sanctified sister, or a female penitent close to her confessor, they became more conscious of the Baptism of the Spirit;  and, as my mother sardonically expressed it, the nearer to each other they sat, the deeper and richer the consciousness became. . . . [I]t has taken . . . centuries to eliminate . . .  this holy kiss—if indeed [Christianity] has succeeded in doing so completely.  Certainly in my father’s time this exquisite, secret doctrine was extremely prevalent in America;  and my father, in spite of my mother’s . . . warnings,[20] would expound it to select gatherings mostly composed of spinsters of a certain age.[21]  Unluckily one of these grew jealous of another,[22] and let the great beautiful cat out of the bag, to the scandal of the righteous, and the extreme joy of the unholy, whose jokes about the “Higher Life,” as it was called, made my father feel that it would be wise for him to cease his ministrations. . . . As people grow old, it becomes very hard for them to keep clear in their minds the important distinction beteen Right and Wrong—outlines become dim and one thing fades into another. . . . At the time, however, my father found it wise, as I have said, to cease his ministrations;  though to the Cowper Temples, I think—certainly to Mrs. Cowper Temple—all this fuss seemed incomprehensible and silly.  If these good people wanted to kiss each other, what, she wondered, could be the harm in that?[23]
After the scandal in England, and the outward success of the Higher Life meetings conducted in America under the impulse of Dr. Cullis by Mr. and Mrs. Smith, despite utter lack of concern and consecration,[24] “Robert gave up preaching, [although] his wife continued.”[25]  “Robert Pearsall Smith lost more than his occupation;  he lost his faith as well. . . . [T]his disbelieving and disillusioned preacher [would have] believing disciples . . . still come for guidance . . . leav[ing] him to the awkward task of giving advice and encouragement of which he himself hardly believed a word.”[26]  Robert “went back to America and to selling glass.  His spiritual life degenerated.  He never again had a heart for ministry or for God.  He retreated to a world of Buddhist meditation and died in 1899 a broken man.”[27]  He “began to lose his faith [more completely in] 1875-1876 . . . [by] . . . 1877 he was . . . in the process of losing his faith altogether,”[28] so that he become an agnostic by 1883[29] as his “religious beliefs [were] gradually dwindling into an interest in Psychical Research.”[30]  Thus, “he gradually gave up all his Christian commitments and died alienated, but not separated, from his family. Plagued by a manic depressive nature for most of his life, he [came to be] happiest when engaged in his Buddhist meditations in his spacious tree house at the family’s home at Friday’s Hill, south of London.”[31]  As with vast numbers of Higher Life  advocates, Robert Smith’s ultimate recognition that his merely fleshly and natural emotion-driven religion had nothing in it that was truly from God led him to apostatize from Christianity.[32]  A significant part of his familial alienation derived from his years of unrepentant adultery,[33] evidencing, like his doctrinal apostasy, his unregenerate state, until he finally died in 1898 and went to his own place, where his wife joined him some years later.

This entire study can be accessed here.

[1]              Pg. 43, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago:  Revell, 1874.  Compare Jessie Penn-Lewis’s affirmations that Spirit baptism brings one to revelations of the world of darkness, discussed below in the chapter concerning her and Evan Roberts.
[2]           Pg. 251, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago:  Revell, 1874.  Mr. Smith affirms that he does not wish, at that time, “to point so much to the phenomena . . . as to the reality . . . of the coming of the Spirit” (pg. 251), for an open and explicit declaration of the erotic phenomena he thought accompanied the Baptism were not fit to be proclaimed publicly.
[3]              Robert explained that in his public discourse he did “not wish to point so much to the phenomena,” for he was not willing to explain plainly the eroticism of his doctrine to everyone present at the Oxford Convention.
[4]              Pgs. 244-259, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago:  Revell, 1874.
[5]              While this writer feels it is necessary to print the following quotation, it is exceedingly grievous to His soul to have the infinitely holy God, and the perfect purity of Jesus Christ, blasphemed in the manner that it is by those who understood and accepted the Bridal Baptism doctrine.  The glorious, blessed, and truly spiritual union of the Redeemer with His espoused church is a wonderful and awesome truth which it is the depths of vileness to drag into the gutter as the Bridal Baptism heresy does.  This writer perfectly understands, and has great sympathy with, those who would prefer to simply pass by without reading such quotations, with their double entendres for the initiated and the uninitiated, so that his mind does not need to think upon the despicable evil intended in such public proclamations for the initiated.  Singing or reading Psalm 109 might be an appropriate response by those who truly love that One before whom the seraphim sing “Holy, Holy, Holy”—or even a good preparation for the reading of the following quotation, and the rest of the quotes exposing the filthy doctrine of the Smiths and other Higher Life promulgators elsewhere in this composition.
[6]              For, in private, the Bridal Baptism doctrine could be more openly set forth;  more private explication was the practice of its advocates, whether Robert and Hannah W. Smith, Laurence Oliphant, or sexual predators who claimed that they were fathering an exalted new human race.
[7]              Compare Logan P. Smith’s description of the erotic Baptism doctrine as “the doctrine of ‘Loving-kindness’” (Pgs. 60-65, Unforgotten Years, Logan Pearsall Smith).
[8]              Pgs. 236-239, 270-271, 300-302, 306-314, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago:  Revell, 1874.  The Oxford Ladies’ Meetings were led by Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Boardman (pg. 289).
Once again, this writer begs the pardon of his reader for reproducing and calling to mind the trashy filth meant by the initiated into the Bridal Baptism secret.  Reader, know that this writer sympathizes with you if you desire to vomit.  Were such quotations introduced for an insignificant purpose, they would certainly be unjustifiable—they are reproduced only because they represent the thinking of those who have profoundly influenced the doctrine of sanctification of huge portions of Christiandom—a fact that would be almost absolutely unbelievable, apart from clear evidence such as that provided in this composition, and one which illustrates how deeply Satan has laid his deceptions.
[9]              Letter to a Friend, February 12, 1876, reproduced in the entry for July 30 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter.
[10]            Pg. 19, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874.
[11]          Pg. 215, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago:  Revell, 1874.
[12]            Pgs. 371-372, 384-385, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago:  Revell, 1874.  It should not be a surprise that those who pointedly affirmed, “I cannot remember . . . my conversion” were prominent among the people who “heard Mr. Smith’s address on the baptism of the Holy Spirit” and received the “conscious . . . blessing” he proclaimed (pgs. 384-385).
[13]            Hannah called Dr. Foster’s heresy “the subtle doctrine concerning the physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit which led my dear husband astray” (pg. 48, Remarkable Relations, Strachy; cf. pg. 104).  Mrs. Smith, as usual, downplays her own adoption of the erotic Baptism teaching.
[14]            Thus, for example, Hannah Smith was staying at Clifton Springs in July 1879 (see Letter to Anna, written from Clifton Springs on July 8, 1879, reproduced in the entry for September 16 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter).
[15]            July 27-28, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter.
[16]            Victorian sensibilities and the fact that Hannah Smith’s writings on fanaticism and various other writings were intentionally left unpublished during her lifetime account, in part, for the fact that early critics of the Keswick theology did not strongly identify the connection between Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s Higher Life doctrine and mystical, erotic bridal union.  However, the central factor is a deliberate decision to supress this portion of her and her husband’s history, both by the Higher Life men in England who forced Robert out when he was found in Miss Hattie Hamilton’s bedroom initially, and by the Smith family themselves.  Concealement was sought, rather than open repentance of and renunciation of such filthiness.  Hannah certainly sought to deliberately cover up her husband’s practices and spiritual shipwreck, both at the time and during his later decline into agnosticism:  “I think the thing to say about Robert when anyone asks about him is just this, that he never recovered from the nervous shock of that time in England, and that he is suffering an eclipse of faith from actual nervous collapse” (Letter to Priscilla, November 22, 1883, reproduced in the entry for August 12 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter).  She similarly sought to cover up her own adoption and propagation of the erotic doctrine.
[17]            Of course, both those who engaged in immoral debauchery, believing that such was the method through which Spirit baptism and the Higher Life were obtained, and those who taught and led others to adopt such perversions, were free from “all evil intention.”  They were sincere in their indulgence of lustful passions, and their intentions were good, or so they claimed, while their actions were utterly shameful.
[18]            That is, the mysterious declaration of Robert Pearsall Smith’s friends about unnamed “doctrines” that were “dangerous” was as far as B. B. Warfield was able to penetrate in his day when he wrote the articles that came to constitute Studies in Perfectionism;  it was as much as Stephen Barabas chose to divulge in the hagiographical and revisionist history in So Great Salvation, although in Barabas’ day the truth was much more easily accessible than it was in the days of Warfield  (see pgs. 26-27, So Great Salvation, Barabas & Warfield, Perfectionism, vol. 2, pgs. 505ff.).  Unfortunately, the coverup of Robert P. Smith by Keswick advocates such as Barabas, despite the now clearly accessible facts, continues in the work of many other modern advocates of Keswick theology.  For example, one notes the fantastic understatement on pg. 30 of Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future,  by Price & Randall, that Robert P. Smith’s downfall was caused by nothing more than that he put his arm around Miss Hamilton;  Price & Randall breathe not a whisper about erotic bridal mysticism.  J. C. Polluck (pgs. 34-36, The Keswick Story:  The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention) says that he is revealing the truth, since the “facts have lain hidden for nearly ninety years inviting sensational speculation,” and then goes on to relate that “the truth is pathetic rather than shocking,” for Smith simply told a woman a false doctrine—the character of which Polluck leaves unnamed—“with his arm around her in his hotel room.”  It is difficult to think that Polluck’s claim that he is finally making the truth clear, and there is nothing “shocking” about it, and then stating that Robert Smith put his arm around Miss Hamilton, while Polluck refuses to breathe a syllable about erotic bridal mysticism, is anything other than a deliberate coverup to make Mr. Smith look better.  It is similar to Polluck’s refusal to mention that Smith turned agnostic and then Buddhist.  Nevertheless, the preface to Polluck’s book by A. T. Houghton, Chairman of the Keswick Council, declares that Polluck “does not cover up the failings of those whom God has used in the leadership of the Convention, nor would the Council desire to hide anything” (pg. 10).  Mr. Smith’s unconfirmed self-testimony that he had good intentions (Oliphant and the whole host of fanatics advocating erotic bridal mysticism and practicing immorality as a consequence had good intentions also) when he had his arm around Miss Hattie Hamilton alone in a hotel room is mentioned;  the fact that he told her of erotic bridal mysticism is unmentioned, the fact that at the Brighton Convention Miss Hamilton threw her arms around Mr. Smith and kissed him in Mrs. Smith’s presence is unmentioned, and the fact that Miss Hamilton said Robert sought to commit adultery with her is not mentioned (cf. pgs. 78-82, The Secret Life of Hannah Whitall Smith, Marie Henry; pg. 111, Let Go and Let God? A Survey and Analysis of Keswick Theology, Naselli).  Keswick advocates who cover up the abominations of the founders and propagators of the Keswick theology are in plain violation of 1 Timothy 5:20:  “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.”  However, while they violate the Apostle Paul’s command in 1 Timothy 5:20, they practice Robert P. Smith’s view that one is to do exactly the opposite of 1 Timothy 5:20—according to Mr. Smith, a Divine “curse” falls “on those who expose the sin of their brethren or their fathers in Christ” (pg. 42, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875).
[19]            This difficulty is felt if the people involved are unconverted heretics not indwelt by the Spirit of truth, so that all their religion is not spiritual, but natural or devilish.  The confusion of fornication and spirituality consequently had much in it to attract Mr. and Mrs. Pearsall Smith, although it is utterly abominable to those truly born of God.
[20]            Mrs. Smith contributed to her husband’s adoption of erotic bridal mysticism, but she also turned away from it before he did.
[21]            That is, Mr. Smith would especially seek to share this teaching with unmarried women of an age relatively near to his own.
[22]            Did one of these ladies grow jealous of knowledge of this “truth,” or jealous when it was acted upon with another person with whom she wished to act upon it herself?
[23]            Pgs. 60-65, Unforgotten Years, Logan Pearsall Smith;  cf. pgs. 61-62, A Religious Rebel:  The Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Pearsall Smith.  Indeed, in light of the association of the Cowper Temples with Laurence Oliphant and other practicioners and promulgators of the doctrine that one must engage in immorality to receive Spirit baptism, the noble family’s inability to see anything wrong with the doctrine of the preachers at whose feet they sat, and whom they promoted, is understandable.
[24]            See pgs. 65-69, Unforgotten Years, Logan P. Smith, and Hannah W. Smith’s mystified amazement with the Higher Life power both she and her husband still possessed although without all consecration (pgs. 251-253, Religious Fanaticism:  Extracts from the Papers of Hannah Whitall Smith, ed. & intr. Ray Strachey; pgs. 172-174, A Religious Rebel:  The Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Smith.  Letters to her daughter, Mary Berenson, January 1, 1905 & February 25, 1905; pgs. 32-36, A Religious Rebel:  The Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Pearsall Smith.  Letter to Mrs. Anna Shipley, August 8, 1876; Letter to a Friend, August 8, 1876, reproduced in the entries for August 2-4 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter.  Mrs. Smith’s ruminations over her ability to generate Higher Life results in a state of utter unconsecration has been examined above.).
[25]            Pg. 14, Religious Fanaticism, Strachey.
[26]            Pgs. 61-62, A Religious Rebel:  The Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Pearsall Smith.  Logan explains further:
My father . . . had begun to lose his faith in the whole scheme of Salvation which he had so fervently advocated[.] . . . His situation was thus an awkward one;  he had still a reputation in the religious world, he still possessed the hypnotic power of swaying great audiences, and many calls were made upon him to address meetings and administer religious instruction to souls in trouble.  Invitations to preach he could avoid on the grounds of health, but the religious inquirers who called at the house, coming sometimes from as far as from Russia, were the source of greater embarrassment;  and I remember how desperately he would try to keep one or the other of his children in the room to avoid the necessity of a spiritual dialogue, and how quite heartlessly we would escape from it, leaving him to grapple alone with these spiritual inquirers.  This we thought great fun. (pgs. 72-73, Unforgotten Years, Logan P. Smith)
[27]            July 27-28, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter.
[28]            Pgs. 175, 85, The Secret Life of Hannah Whitall Smith, Marie Henry.  As Logan P. Smith notes, Robert began to turn towards agnosticism when it became apparent that all the “blessing” that he had felt and experienced from the time of his consecration to preaching the Higher Life in conjunction with his erotic Baptism to his final Higher Life meeting under Dr. Cullis’s encouragement in America after his downfall following the Brighton Convention was a delusion—the presence of the identical spiritual “power” and “blessing” that characterized his best earlier Higher Life ministrations in his final meeting when in an evident state of unconsecration and ungodliness was the beginning of his final fall.  Rather than recognizing that he was in need of true conversion by receiving the true gospel and coming into a true living union with the resurrected Christ so that he could have real spiritual power, Robert concluded that the marvelous effects wrought by his own natural abilities, while under the delusion that his Higher Life agitation was genuinely spiritual, were a demonstration that there could well be nothing to religion other than the psychical powers analyzable by a Psychical Research Society, and perhaps no God at all.
[29]            Pgs. 70-71, 320, 51, Remarkable Relations, Strachey, pg. 117, The Secret Life of Hannah Whitall Smith, Marie Henry.
[30]            Pg. 74, Remarkable Relations, Strachey.
[31]          “Smith, Hannah Whitall & Smith, Robert Pearsall,” Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, ed. Tim Larson, pg. 617. Cf. pg. 107, Strachey, Remarkable Relations, pg. 127, The Secret Life of Hanah Whitall Smith, Henry.
[32]            Consider the testimony in 1912 of onetime Holiness leader Harry Ironside on the evil fruits of the Higher Life and “second blessing” theology:  “[T]housands are yearly being disheartened and discouraged by their teaching . . . hundreds yearly are ensnared into infidelity through the collapse of the vain effort to attain the unattainable . . . scores have actually lost their minds and are now inmates of asylums because of the mental resultant upon their bitter disappointment in the search for holiness” (pg. 6, Holiness:  The False and the True).
[33]            In his earlier years, Robert P. Smith preached erotic baptism to unmarried women.  “In his later years, Robert was unfaithful to his wife” (pg. 173, The Secret Life of Hannah Whitall Smith, Marie Henry; cf. pgs. 99-105 & Remarkable Relations, Strachey, pgs. 184-187).  Robert fell under the doom pronounced in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-21 & Revelation 21:8.