Friday, May 20, 2016

Keswick's History: Keswick Theology's Rise and Development in an Analysis and Critique of So Great Salvation by Stephen Barabas, part 5 of 5

Consequently, despite the withdrawal of Robert and Hannah Smith and other expected speakers,[1] the first Keswick Convention took place, “acknowledging the debt [the speakers] owed to Mr. Pearsall Smith,”[2] and propagating the Higher Life theology of sanctification Mr. Smith had learned from his wife.  Despite “violent criticism and opposition . . . [such that to] identify oneself with the . . . Keswick Convention . . . [and] Higher Life teaching meant to be willing to be separated from the leaders of the Evangelical Church,”[3] including opposition by men such as Charles Spurgeon, Horatius Bonar,[4] and J. C. Ryle.[5]  For example, Dr. Bonar wrote:
One thing has struck me sadly in the authorized reports of the Brighton Conference—the number of perverted passages of Scripture; and this is really the root of the whole evil.  The speakers first disclaim, I might say, derived theology, and then they proceed to distort the Word of God. . . . I was grieved beyond measure . . . these perversions are part of the system.  It cannot stand without them. . . . One of my chief objections to the Perfectionst [Keswick] Doctrine is that it subverts the whole argument and scope of the epistles to the Romans and the Hebrews. . . . Have I written too strongly?  I don’t think so.  Years are now upon me, and I may claim to be entitled to speak; and . . . have this as my testimony before God and the Churches, that I know few errors more subversive of what the Bible really teaches, and of what our fathers of the Reformation died for, than this modern Perfectionism.  The thing now called holiness is not that which we find in Scripture, and the method of reaching holiness, by an instantaneous leap, called an act of faith, is nowhere taught us by the Holy Ghost.[6]
Mr. Battersby and Mr. Wilson decided to hold another convention.  “After that there was never any doubt that it should be held yearly.”[7]  Wilson and Battersby would not heed the warnings of the body of godly Bible-believing Christians in their day and reject Keswick; “the greatest Leaders and Teachers of Evangelical Truth thought it their duty to oppose to the utmost what they considered ‘very dangerous Heresy’” taught at Keswick and its antecedent Holiness Conventions, “a false doctrine of ‘Perfection in man,’”[8] but the Conventions were to continue, nevertheless.  Since that time “the Keswick message . . . [has been] carried . . . to almost every corner of the world”[9] and “its influence is seen to-day in every quarter of the globe.”[10]  In modern times, Keswick Conventions are held in many cities throughout countries such as England, the United States, Australia, Canada, Romania, New Zealand, India, Jamaica, South Africa, Japan, Kenya, and other parts of Africa, Asia, and South America—indeed, there are “numerous conventions around the world on every continent which are modelled on Keswick.”[11]  Likewise, Keswick theology appears in devotional compositions by men such as Andrew Murray,[12] F. B. Meyer,[13] J. Oswald Sanders,[14] and Hudson Taylor.[15]  Keswick’s teachings also impacted the Welsh holiness revival of 1904-1905,[16] “the German holiness movement, Foreign Missions, Conventions Abroad, the American holiness movement, the American Pentecostal movement . . . the Christian and Missionary Alliance . . . American fundamentalism . . . [and] English fundamentalism or conservative evangelicalism,”[17] as well as offshoots of Pentecostalism like the Health and Wealth or Word-Faith movement which “arose out of the classic Higher Life, Keswick, and Pentecostal movements.”[18]  Keswick has indubitably become extremely influential:
Keswick-like views of sanctification [were] promoted by A. B. Simpson, Moody Bible Institute[19] (D. L. Moody, R. A. Torrey, James M. Gray), Pentecostalism, and Dallas Theological Seminary (Lewis S. Chafer, John F. Walvoord, Charles C. Ryrie). Simpson founded the Christian and Missionary Alliance, Moody founded Moody Bible Institute, and Chafer cofounded Dallas Theological Seminary. Pentecostalism, which subsequently dwarfed Keswick in size and evangelical influence, is the product of Wesleyan perfectionism, the holiness movement, the early Keswick movement, Simpson, Moody, and Torrey. Dallas Theological Seminary, the bastion of the Chaferian view of sanctification, is probably the most influential factor for the [strong influence] of a Keswick-like view of sanctification in modern fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism.[20]
The tremendous influence of Hannah W. and Robert P. Smith continues to this day.  Not only are their teachings being spread worldwide through the continuing widespread propagation of Keswick theology, but their message is the root of other forms of error and apostasy in Christendom, such as, most notably, the Pentecostal, charismatic, and Word of Faith movements.

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[1]              Pg. 26, So Great Salvation, Barabas.
[2]              Pg. 26, So Great Salvation, Barabas.
[3]              Pg. 27, So Great Salvation, Barabas.  “Indeed, it was within the ranks of the Evangelicals that the hostility was most pronounced” (pg. 81, Evan Harry Hopkins:  A Memoir, Alexander Smellie), for “the whole holiness movement was subjected to violent criticism and opposition amongst evangelical Christians” (pgs. 31-32, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall).
[4]              Pg. 87, “The Brighton Convention and Its Opponents.” London Quarterly Review, October 1875. 
[5]              Pg. 87, “The Brighton Convention and Its Opponents.” London Quarterly Review, October 1875. Ryle had a blessed and credible testimony to a genuine new birth:
In 1837 Ryle experienced his own conversion. First, Algernon Coote, a friend from Eton, urged him to “think, repent and pray”; then he heard the epistle one Sunday afternoon in church: “By grace are ye saved (pause) through faith (pause) and that not of yourselves (pause) it is the gift of God.” The succession of phrases brought full conviction to Ryle. “Nothing,” he said, “to this day appeared to me so clear and distinct as my own sinfulness, Christ’s presence, the value of the Bible, the absolute necessity of coming out of the world, and the need of being born again, and the enormous folly of the whole doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration” (pg. 573, Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, ed. Larsen).
Some Keswick apologists affirm that Ryle changed his mind about his criticisms of Keswick; however, all that actually happened is that Ryle, in 1892, led in prayer the Sunday after a Convention ended on the platform where the Keswick Convention had been in session the week before.  Ryle prayed during a meeting in which D. L. Moody, whose work Ryle commended, was speaking.  Ryle supported Moody, while he did not support the Keswick Convention.  The fact that Bishop Ryle would lead in prayer in a service where Moody was preaching by no means proves that he had become amenable to the Keswick theology, any more than the fact that he had preached at St. John’s Anglican congregation in 1879 before the Keswick Convention proves his endorsement of Keswick, whose meetings in the Keswick Tent he never frequented.  Consequently, affirmations such as that of Polluck that Ryle was a “foremost past critic” and his actions indicated that by “1892 . . . Keswick stood accepted by British evangelicals” is not supported by the evidence, at least in the case of Bishop Ryle (cf. pgs. 77-78, The Keswick Story:  The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck).
[6]              Pgs. 88, 90, 93, “The Brighton Convention and Its Opponents.” London Quarterly Review, October 1875.
[7]              Pg. 27, So Great Salvation, Barabas.
[8]              Pg. 38, The Keswick Convention, ed. Harford. Cf. pg. 40.
[9]              Pg. 28, So Great Salvation, Barabas.
[10]             Pg. 30, Forward Movements, Pierson.
[11]             Pgs. 11-12, 37, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.
[12]             Murray gave “testimony to the . . . Lord, and what He has done for me at Keswick . . . [and] was in close fellowship with . . . the great Holiness movement . . . [and] what took place at Oxford and Brighton, and it all helped me” (pg. 177, 180, So Great Salvation, Barabas; pg. 448, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis).  Murray spoke “at Keswick . . . [in] 1895 . . . [and] for many years he led a similar Convention in South Africa,” where he was a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church (pgs. 177, 182, So Great Salvation, Barabas). Note the discussion of Murray’s theology in the chapter on him below.
[13]             Note the chapter on Meyer below.
[14]             Sanders acted as a “Keswick speaker” and “Chairman of the Upway ‘Keswick’ Convention, Australia”  (pg. 143, So Great Salvation, Barabas), advocating the second-blessing doctrine of “Wesleyan Perfectionism” (pg. 110, Keep In Step With The Spirit, Packer).  “Chambers used the language of Wesleyan entire sanctification,” having adopted “Keswick teaching . . . through F. B. Meyer” (pg. 49, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall).
[15]             Pgs. 150-152, So Great Salvation, Barabas.  Hudson Taylor, who spoke at the Keswick Convention of 1883 (pg. 81, The Keswick Story:  The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck) after discovering “the Exchanged Life,” held a partial-Rapture view, following the lead of Edward Irving and Robert Govett, as did D. M. Panton, Evan Roberts, Jessie Penn-Lewis, Otto Stockmayer, Watchman Nee, and many other advocates of Keswick theology and the Pentecostalism that developed from it.
[16]             Evan Roberts, co-laborer with Jessie Penn-Lewis and the center and leader of the Welsh holiness revival, was strongly impacted by the Keswick theology, as was Mrs. Penn-Lewis.  Note the discussion of Roberts and Penn-Lewis in the respective chapter below.
[17]             Pg. 341, Review by Ian S. Rennie of Keswick: A Bibliographic Introduction to the Higher Life Movements by D. D. Bundy. Wilmore, Kentucky: Asbury Theological Seminary, 1975, in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 19:4 (Fall 1976) 340-343.  Barabas even records that “Mrs. William Booth,” the cofounder of the Salvation Army and leading woman preacher, second blessing perfectionist and continuationist, “remarked that Keswick had been one of the principal means of establishing the Salvation Army” (pg. 151, So Great Salvation, Barabas; cf. pg. 151, The Keswick Convention:  Its Message, its Method, and Its Men, ed. Charles Harford; pg. 20, Forward Movements, Pierson).
[18]             Pg. 64, Only Believe:  Examining the Origin and Development of Classic and Contemporary Word of Faith Theologies, Paul L. King.  Note also the trajectory from the Keswick movement to Pentecostalism and the Health and Wealth heresy in the discussion of A. B. Simpson and John A. MacMillan in the respective chapters below.
[19]             “From Northfield,” Moody’s annual conference, “Keswick speakers, with Moody’s backing, were able to penetrate further into American evangelicalism,” so that “in the 1890s Keswick was a significant force molding sections of the evangelical constituency in North America” (pgs. 56-59, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall).  Moody’s “old friend F. B. Meyer” was key in bringing Moody’s ministry to the side of Keswick; “a Keswick speaker [was] . . . at every summer conference” at Northfield (pgs. 116-117, The Keswick Story:  The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck).  Moody, with thousands before him, at the time Robert P. Smith was leading the Brighton Convention, asked the crowds to pray for a special blessing “on the great Convention that is now being held at Brighton, perhaps the most important meeting ever gathered together,” a public endorsement of Brighton that Moody pronounced on both the first and last day of the Convention (pgs. 47, 319, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875).
[20]             Pg. 255, Keswick Theology:  A Historical and Theological Survey and Analysis of the Doctrine of Sanctification in the Early Keswick Movement, 1875-1920, by Andrew Naselli.  Ph. D. Dissertation, Bob Jones University, 2006.  Abbreviations employed in the source text for institutions have been expanded to give their full names.  In addition to Dallas seminary, the influence of Moody and Scofield on the spread of Keswick theology in fundamentalism is very significant:  “The return of the holiness teaching to America . . . i[n] [its] Keswick form, was . . . related to the work of D. L. Moody. . . . Moody . . . taught very similar views . . . [to] Keswick . . . and made them central in his work. . . . C. I. Scofield . . . eventually more or less canonized Keswick teachings in his Reference Bible” (pgs. 78-79, Fundamentalism and American Culture, Marsden).  D. L. Moody not only prayed for blessing upon the Higher Life meetings at Brighton during his evangelistic campaign in Convent Garden in 1875 (pgs. 23-24, So Great Salvation, Barabas) but also brought many Keswick speakers in who propagated Keswick theology at Moody’s conferences at Northfield:  “The visits of Rev. F. B. Meyer, and notably of Prebendary H. W. Webb-Peploe, of London, and Andrew Murray, of Wellington, S. Africa (who were at Northfield in 1895), and the late G. H. C. McGregor introduced into Northfield conferences the grand teaching of Keswick” (pg. 164, Forward Movements of the Last Half Century, A. T. Pierson.  New York, NY:  Funk & Wagnalls, 1900; cf. pg. 163, So Great Salvation, Barabas; pg. 6, Out of His Fulness: Addresses Delivered in America, Andrew Murray.  London:  J. Nisbet & Co, 1897).  The Keswick theology of Moody, Scofield, and their associates were in turn very influential in Pentecostalism (cf. pgs. 111-113, Vision of the Disinherited:  The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson).

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