Friday, August 12, 2016

Keswick's Ecumenicalism #2, in Keswick's Errors: an Analysis and Critique of So Great Salvation by Stephen Barabas, part 2 of 17

Since at Broadlands communion with devils through spiritualism found an important place, it is not surprising that Grubb was by no means the only heretic who used the ecumenicalism of Keswick to spread doctrines of demons.[1]  “James Mountain, Keswick’s early song-leader,” who led the singing at “the Brighton Convention of 1875, and at the first Keswick” and many following meetings, “subscribed to British Israelism[2] . . . for forty years.”[3]  The “liberal evangelicalism” that denied the verbal, plenary inspiration of Scripture and other key tenets of Christian orthodoxy found its place at Keswick among men such as John Battersby Harford, the “most prominent of the [Keswick] founder’s sons.”[4]  Keswick council members had “no agreement about the appropriateness of [the] term . . . ‘inerrancy’” for the Holy Bible; indeed, Keswick President Graham Scroggie “stated that subscription to a particular theory of inspiration was not . . . a true test of doctrinal orthodoxy.”[5]
In 1894, “John R. Mott, an American who became the foremost international and ecumenical misionary figure of his time, was at the Keswick camp.”[6]  Sadhu Sundar Singh, who “was converted to Christianity by a vision on 18 Dec. 1904 . . . and donned the robe of a Sadhu (i.e. ‘holy man’) in an endeavour to present Christianity in a Hindu form,”[7] and who “claim[ed] to have received many visions and experienced many miracles”[8] validating his Hindu-Christian syncretism, spoke at Keswick despite “sympathy towards Hinduism and Spiritualism.”[9]  Key Keswick leaders manifested a very spiritually dangerous willingness to share platforms at Holiness Conventions and other settings with false teachers and fanatical perfectionists—for example, shortly before speaking at Keswick in 1886, Handley Moule and other Keswick speakers preached at a Convention at Cambridge organized by Douglas Hamilton with the unabashed perfectionist Smyth-Piggott, as a result of which many Cambridge undergraduates, including Charles Harford, Canon Harford-Battersby’s youngest son,  came to believe “themselves to be quite free from all internal evil.” A few months later, Hamilton joined the Agapemonites,[10] and “[w]hen Pigott joined him . . . the extremist wing of Holiness made shipwreck.”[11]  As time passed, the Pentecostal movement found a home at Keswick, so that by the 1960s Keswick, along with its association with the wider ecumenical movement,[12] invited charismatics to speak at the Convention, while their ministers became part of the Keswick council itself.[13]  Doctrinal confusion and apostasy has found a secure home in the ecumenical atmosphere of the Keswick Convention from the time of its founding.  Keswick ecumenicalism has never been purged out.  On the contrary, ecumenicalism has constantly been rejoiced in and fostered.
  While Keswick rejects separatism for ecumenicalism, Scripture never commands individuals or true churches to ignore Biblical doctrine to come together in an ecumenical setting.  Rather, God requires a strict separation of the faithful from false teachers and even disobedient brethren. They are to be separate from all false doctrine, false teachers, and error.  So far from ignoring such, they must, to honor the Lord, specifically mark and reprove error and those who advocate it.[14]  Keswick denigrates creed to exalt conduct in relation to spiritual life, while Scripture exalts both creed and conduct (1 John 3:7, 14; 2 John 9) in relation to spiritual life.  Faithful Biblical preaching deals with all that is in the Word, whether it is “in season” or “out of season” (2 Timothy 3:16-4:2), but Keswick speakers “consider themselves pledged . . . not to teach during the course of any Keswick Convention any doctrines or opinions but those upon which there is general agreement [at the Convention]. . . . Speakers are not permitted to discuss controversial matters at the Convention.”[15]  Contrary to Keswick, true churches must tolerate “no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3), not overlook doctrine to become ecumenical.  The fact that Keswick fails to expose, but rather tolerates and supports[16] the heresies of Protestant denominations, such as the baptismal regeneration that plagues the large majority of the paedobaptist world,[17] is a great failure on its part.  Keswick’s utter lack of strict association with the modern representatives of the congregations of the New Testament—historic Baptist churches—leaves the movement apart from the authority of the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15) and the work of spiritual edification that God has ordained take place within that context (Ephesians 4:11-16).  The movement thus lacks the promise which the Biblical Baptist congregation possesses—that Christ would build up or edify His church (Matthew 16:18).[18]  As a result, error can take root firmly and easily at Keswick as the movement is without the special protection that Christ provides as Head of His congregation.

See here for this entire study.

[1]              See further, e. g., the biographical studies in the section “Keswick and Continuationism” below.
[2]              British Israelism, the view adopted by the Identity Movement, Aryan and Neo-Nazi groups, the Ku Klux Klan, and cults such as anti-Trinitarian segregationist Herbert W. Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God, teaches the following:
[British Israelism is a] fanciful theory which holds that Great Britain is really the Israelite tribe of Ephraim, the United States is Manasseh, and the British throne is the throne of David. British Israelism (B.I.) has constructed a theory, which it passes off as history, that makes the British and American white populations direct descendants of the Israelites from the dispersion period. . . . [A]rguments [in its favor] are purely imaginary. . . . The entire theory of the ten lost tribes is a myth also. According to B.I., the ten northern tribes were lost and were not included in the regathering with Judah after the exile. But according to Luke 2:36, Anna was of the northern tribe of Asher. In Acts 26:7 Paul mentions the presence of “our twelve tribes,” indicating that none of them had been “lost.” B.I. exhibits an arbitrary exegesis of Scripture married to a fairy-tale tradition posing as history and has produced one of the most baseless and absurd varieties of Bible study that the human mind has yet produced. (pgs. 70-71, Dictionary of Theological Terms, Alan Cairns.  Greenville, SC: Ambassador Emerald International, 2002)
[3]              Pgs. 83, 134, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.  Note that early Pentecostal leaders from Charles Parham to George Jeffryes similarly believed in British Israelism (See, e. g., pg. 253, The Making of the Modern Church: Christianity in England since 1800, B. G. Worrall.  London: SPCK, 1993; “Parham, Charles Fox,” in Dictionary of Christianity in America, Daniel G. Reid et al. Downers Grove, IL:  InterVarsity Press, 1990.).
[4]              Pg. 137, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall; pg. 150, The Keswick Story:  The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.
[5]              See pgs. 64-69, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.
[6]              Pg. 117, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.
[7]              Pg. 1568, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. rev.), F. L. Cross, & E. A. Livingstone.
[8]              Pg. 647, Who’s Who in Christian History, ed. J. Douglas & P. W. Comfort.
[9]              Pg. 175, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.
[10]             The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church notes:
[The] Church of the . . . Agapemone . . . [was a] small 19th-cent. English sect. It was founded by Henry James Prince (1811–99), who in 1840 was ordained as curate of Charlynch . . . in Somerset. Together with his rector, Samuel Starky, he started a revivalist movement which soon resulted in illusions of the grossest kind. Both left the Church of England and began a ministry of their own, asserting that they were the Holy Spirit personified, the Two Witnesses of Rev. 11, or Elijah. In 1849 they opened the “Agapemone” or “Abode of Love” in the village of Spaxton (in Somerset), being amply supported by their followers, who believed Prince to be a Divine being. The morals of the sect caused great scandal, and a trial in 1860 revealed the licentiousness of Prince and his followers. In the early 1890s the sect conducted a campaign in Clapton in NE London, calling themselves the “Children of the Resurrection.” J. H. Smyth-Pigott, Prince’s successor in the leadership, proclaimed himself to be Christ. The sect disappeared early in the 20th century. (pg. 27, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 3rd rev. ed., Cross & Livingstone)
Likewise, the New International Dictionary of the Christian Church records:
Agapemonism [was a] religious movement founded by Henry James Prince (1811–99), an evangelical perfectionist. Ordained in 1840, Prince became a curate first in the Bath and Wells diocese and later in the diocese of Ely. Both bishops inhibited him. It was probably in 1843 that he began to make extravagant statements which gave the impression that he was claiming to be in some sense an incarnation of God. A community was formed at Spaxton where a magnificent residence was acquired and called Agapemone (Abode of Love). Prince declared that community of goods was binding upon believers, and numerous devotees handed over their property to him. The legal case Nottidge v. Prince revealed grave disorders, and the movement was generally discredited, though Prince and a number of followers continued to live in the Agapemone. In the 1890s the movement enjoyed a revival under J.H. Smyth-Pigott, formerly a curate of St. Jude’s, Mildmay Park. Calling themselves “Children of the Resurrection,” his followers built a meeting place known as the “Ark of the Resurrection.” In 1902 Smyth-Pigott proclaimed himself to be Jesus Christ, and the movement lost its vogue. Some of Prince’s writings breathe a spirit of devotion to Christ, but they are marred by an erotic element. Regarding himself and Samuel Starky, his former Somerset rector, as the two witnesses of Revelation 11, Prince proclaimed the doom of Christendom, for example in The Council of God in Judgment. (“Agapemonism,” in The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, gen. ed. J. D. Douglas)
Since Oliphant and Smyth-Pigott held Holiness missions together, one would expect the presence of the Agapemonite sect’s erotic elements (which included “spiritual” wives with whom very physical immorality was committed).  The Agapemonites also supported many other shameful and unspeakable abominations (pg. 68, The Keswick Story:  The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck; cf. “Agapemone,”
[11]             Pgs. 71-72, The Keswick Story:  The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.  Charles Harford later renounced Smyth-Piggot perfectionism.
[12]             Pg. 79, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall; pg. 130, The Keswick Story:  The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.
[13]             Pgs. 251-2, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.
[14]             Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14; 2 Timothy 3:5.
[15]             Pg. 35, So Great Salvation, Barabas.
[16]             For example, Barabas records that Keswick’s influence on H. W. Webb-Peploe’s congregation resulted in their increasing ten-fold their contributions to the Anglican Church Missionary Society, where Webb-Peploe was a Committee member.  Barabas fails to mention that the Society supported both charismatics and men who preached and associated with a sacramental false gospel and other soul-damning heresies (cf. pg. 165, So Great Salvation, Barabas; pg. 11, The Keswick Story:  The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck pg. 158, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall).  The natural, Biblical expectation mentioned by Barabas that “the Church Missionary Society would get no more out of that church ‘now that a revivalist had come,’” was, unfortunately, disappointed.  Rather, “the C. M. S. . . . [was among] the earliest [societies] to recognize Keswick’s value” (pg. 85, The Keswick Story:  The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck).  Webb-Peploe had been associated with the Higher Life and Keswick theology from the time of its founding at the first Broadlands Conference (pg. 148, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple.  London:  Printed for private circulation, 1890; but see pg. 29, Forward Movements, Pierson).
[17]             Compare pgs. 1-10, Heaven Only For the Baptized? The Gospel of Christ versus Baptismal Regeneration and “Were the Reformers Heretics?” by Thomas Ross. Elec. acc.
[18]             The defender of Keswick ecumenicalism can appeal in vain to the alleged command of Christ for unity within the universal church, for such an entity is itself another error and false doctrine Protestantism has taken from its corrupt Roman Catholic fountain.  For representative refutations of the universal church dogma, see Ecclesia, B. H. Carroll (Emmaus, PA: Challenge Press, n. d. reprint ed.; The Myth of the Universal, Invisible Church Theory Exploded, Roy Mason (Emmaus, PA: Challenge Press, 2003) & Landmarks of Baptist Doctrine, Robert Sargent, Vol. 4 (Oak Harbor, WA: Bible Baptist Church Publications, 1990), pgs. 481-542.  Erroneous ecclesiology also leads the Keswick theology into an erroneous view of the connection of Spirit baptism and sanctification (cf. the exegetical analysis in the chapter, “Spirit Baptism: A Completed Historical Event. An Exposition and Defense of the Historic Baptist View of Spirit Baptism”).


Anonymous said...

Why do the footnotes to this article mention the tribe of Asher? I'm confused on this one. Luke 2:36 and Revelation 7:6 talk about the tribe of Aser, but not Asher. Was this a typo?

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying I'm necessarily correct. Are there two different spellings: Asher and Aser?

KJB1611 said...

Dear Anonymous,

Yes, "Aser" and "Asher" are alternative spellings, both referring to the same son of Jacob and his tribe.


Anonymous said...

Just to shed some light on the reason for the alternative spellings:

The Old Testament was translated to English from Hebrew (and a small amount of Aramaic)

The New Testament was translated from Greek

When you go from one language to another, there are different sounds available. One major difference between Hebrew and Greek is the fact that Greek has no "sh" sound.

When a name is brought from Hebrew to Greek, any "sh" sounds are changed to "s" because Greek has no "sh".

The correct English translation of the Hebrew is Asher. The correct English translation of the Roman representation is Aser.

I hope this clarifies things.

Thomas, Kent, or anyone else, feel free to add to this or correct any mistake I made about this.

KJB1611 said...

You are correct that the KJV is literally translating the Greek NT into English while the Hebrew OT is literally translated in the KJV and this explains the difference between the spellings. I wouldn't say that there is only one, universal reason why sounds go one way vs. the other, but it is why the Lord is "Jesus" in English, "J├ęsus" in Spanish, "Iesous" in Greek, and "Yehoshua/Joshua" in Hebrew.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the input, posters.

What would be the reason for Revelation 7:6 being "Manasses" in the KJV instead of "Manasseh" like it is in most if not all other versions?

KJB1611 said...

Yes, "Manasses" is a transliteration of the Greek, and it is why the KJV has that reading in Rev 7:6.