Friday, May 05, 2017

Andrew Murray, Mystical Quietist and Higher Life / Keswick Writer, part 3 of 7

Furthermore, Murray connected his error on the indwelling of the Spirit with the idea that in regeneration the believer gains only a “renewed regenerate spirit,”[1] rather than a renewal that affects the whole man; his restriction of regeneration to the human spirit was developed by Jessie Penn-Lewis and Watchman Nee in connection the spiritualist Lord Mount Temple’s doctrine of deification as propagated at the Broadlands Conferences.[2]  In Scripture the “man” is “born again,” so that a believer becomes a “new man,” and the Christian person, including his body, is indwelt by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Colossian 3:10).  For Murray, on the other hand, only the human spirit is reborn and the Holy Spirit only indwells the Christian’s spirit.  Murray wrote:  “In regeneration it is this spirit of man which is quickened again and renewed. . . . In that inner shrine of our wondrous nature, the spirit, deeper than the soul, with all its life of feeling, and thought, and will, which God made for Himself, in the spirit quickened by His power, there dwells the Holy Spirit.”[3]  His belief that only the spirit was regenerated was important in his rejection of Biblical effort in Christian sanctification for Keswick Quietism.[4]  Since only the spirit is regenerated, “[t]he greatest danger the religion of the Church or the individual has to dread is the inordinate activity of the soul, with its power of mind and will,”[5] for the Christian conflict is not, as Scripture represents it, between the flesh and the spirit, but between the soul and the Spirit[6]—it is not the evil of indwelling sin versus the renewed person strengthened by the Holy Spirit, but the evil of the person himself and his activity against the Divine seed of the indwelling Spirit in the human spirit.
            Thus, as Murray’s “doctrine of holiness and . . . his practical Christianity” were “decisively influenced” by Keswick leaders such as “Boardman, Smith, [and] Stockmayer,” Murray “remained in constant contact with the Holiness movement.”  He testified:  “I constantly followed what was happening in Oxford and Brighton, and [it] all helped me.”[7]  He contributed greatly to the spread of Higher Life conferences throughout South Africa “under the stimulus of the Oxford Holiness Movement which is connected with the name of Pearsall Smith,”[8] despite dissent from the Higher Life theology by other Christian leaders.[9]  Having adopted the Higher Life for both the soul and the body in the Faith Cure, he promulgated those teachings as the founder of “the South African Keswick” and lifelong leader in the “South Africa General Mission” through many other “Holiness Conventions” that were organized in South Africa to promote the Higher Life for soul and body.  Thus, “[n]o estimate of Mr. Murray’s influence as a leader . . . would be complete that did not take account of his intimate and lifelong connexion with the South Africa General Mission.”[10]  Through Murray, not just Keswick continuationism, but also Keswick ecumenicalism was brought to South Africa, as men “of every denomination” came together to imbibe and spread the Higher Life within the allegedly universal and invisible “Church Catholic.” [11]
Murray was influenced by a large variety of men, from orthodox Christians[12] to rationalists to mystical quietists and perfectionists to other Keswick leaders.  He “acknowledged his indebtedness for valuable pedagogic principles . . . [to] Herbert Spencer,” studying Spencer “with a view to . . . writing . . . on the education of our children.”[13]  Murray’s The Children for Christ was written strongly under Spencer’s influence, although the “High Priest of materialism”[14] and evolutionist “Spencer was the chief exponent of agnosticism in 19th-century England.”[15]  Murray “delighted also in the writings of” men such as the theological liberals and idolaters P. T. Forsyth[16] and Adolf Harnack.[17]  He also found much value in the writings of Stockmaier and other Keswick writers, and found the Quietist mystic “Tersteegen . . . beautiful and profitable,” so that he could “read Tersteegen over and over again.”[18]  Murray averred, concerning the Oberlin Perfectionist leader and Keswick speaker Asa Mahan’s Baptism of the Spirit, with its second blessing perfectionist doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Ghost:  “I have read [Mahan] with profit . . . the book does one good.”[19]  The biography of George Fox was a favorite.[20]  Murray also stated:  “I approve of [the] books [of] . . . [Thomas] Upham and . . . and recommend them.”[21]
Shortly before preaching at Keswick, Murray “had fallen under the potent spell of William Law . . . the chief of the English mystics . . . [and] a quietist, who daily ‘prostrated himself body and soul, in abysmal silence, before the interior central throne of divine revelation’ . . .  and it is the mystical element in his teaching which . . . proved to be such an irresistible influence to . . . Murray.”[22]  Murray recognized that “[i]n Law . . . the deep truth . . . on which so much stress is laid in what is called Keswick teaching, stand[s] prominently out.”[23]  Law’s teaching of the spiritual life, in Murray’s view, was that of Keswick.  Law’s writings “occup[ied] a place of pre-eminence” for Murray after reading them.  Murray wrote:  “The more I read [Law’s] writings . . . the more I am impressed by his insight, range, and power . . . For fine observation of the human heart there is surely no one like him among English writers. . . . [Law] is one of the most powerful and suggesting writers on the Christian life[.]”[24]  Works such as Law’s A Serious Call and Christian Perfection “were read, re-read, and underscored, in token of his appreciation of the inestimable worth of their teachings.  This deep appreciation was even more strikingly proved by the fact that he edited no less than six volumes of selections from Law’s writings,”[25] despite the fact that Law was an opponent of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to the believer, received for justification by faith alone, and other essential doctrines,[26] and therefore was an enemy of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Through Law, Murray was also influenced by the German mystic, heretic, pantheist, and dualist Jacob Böhme.[27]  The “mysticism [of] Böhme and Law . . . depreciates the value of Scripture, denies the imputation theory of the atonement, minimizes the worth of the Church as a visible divine institution . . . and reveals a marked pantheistic tendency,” among other abominable errors.[28]  The influence of such authors shows up in Murray’s writings in a variety of ways, and contributed to his “books [being a] source of consolation and comfort to many . . . of many creeds.”[29]

See here for this entire study.


[1]           Pgs. 14-16, The Spirit of Christ, Andrew Murray.
[2]           Mr. Mount-Temple prayed:  “My Lord Jesus, as Thou didst take my humanity, I pray Thee impart to me Thy Divinity,” and he stated that, as with the confession of Christ as one Person with a true Divine and a true human nature at Chalcedon:  “I have to record my thanks . . . for deep Churchism at our Conferences . . . [and] for the knowledge that we are all two in one—two natures in one person . . . the Divine and the human” (pg. 183, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple.  London:  Printed for private circulation, 1890).
[3]           Pgs. 334, 338, The Spirit of Christ: Thoughts on the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Believer and the Church, Andrew Murray. New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Company, 1888).
[4]           Bruner points out the connection between the Pentecostal imperative that one “must become as passive as possible” to receive the baptism of the Spirit and the teaching of Andrew Murray and the mystical writers on the subject (pg. 99, 339, A Theology of the Holy Spirit:  The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, F. D. Bruner; cf. the need for “deep passivity,” according to Murray, on, e. g., pg. 200, The Spirit of Christ).
[5]           Pg. 335, The Spirit of Christ:  Thoughts on the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Believer and the Church, Andrew Murray. New York, NY: Anson D. F. Randolph & Company, 1888.
[6]           “In the believer there is ever going on a secret struggle between the soul and the Spirit” (pg. 337, The Spirit of Christ: Thoughts on the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Believer and the Church, Andrew Murray).
[7]           Pg. 113, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger; cf. pg. 448, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis; pgs. 52-53, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.
[8]           Pg. 313, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.
[9]           Pgs. 315, 517, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.
[10]         Pg. 381, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis; cf. pgs. 381-386.  Murray worked closely with Spencer Walton.
[11]         Pg. 382, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis; cf. pg. 418.
[12]         For example, he enjoyed reading the biographies of David Brainard and Andrew Bonar (pg. 479, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis).
[13]         Pg. 410, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.  Of course, Spencer was not the sole influence on Murray’s view of the education of youth; cf. pg. 479, Ibid, for others.
[14]         Calvary Contender, 07/15/1999, cited in the Fundamental Baptist Digital Library, ed. David Cloud.
[15]         Pg. 1538, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, F. L. Cross.
[16]         Despite a rejection of some of his earlier influence from Ritschl, Forsyth “retained the tools of liberal higher criticism” (pg. 260, New Dictionary of Theology, Ferguson & Packer).  Many compare his views to those of Karl Barth, but, rejecting part of the orthodoxy that even the neo-orthodox heretic Barth had retained, Forsyth rejected classical Christology:  “[M]any . . . think of . . . Forsyth . . . as a ‘Barthian before Barth’. Forsyth, like Barth, understands divine revelation in terms of the gracious and reconciling activity of God in Jesus Christ. But for Barth, the Chalcedonian definition is essential to the task of understanding and speaking faithfully of the full divine and human identity of the person Jesus. Forsyth, however, adjudges this ancient Christology to be far too Hellenic (i.e. ontological) and therefore of no contemporary significance or authority. In its place, he proposes a ‘metaphysic’ of conscience. . . . Forsyth’s ready dismissal of the Chalcedonian motif of a ‘unit-in-difference’ sharply distinguishes his Christology and doctrine of the triune God from those of Barth; many would regard them as less adequate” (pg. 235, Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, ed. Larsen).  Indeed, rejecting classical Christology is not just “less adequate.”  It is idolatry.
            “At the breakfast-table [Murray also] discoursed on German theology, and on the attitude of the school of Ritschl[.] . . . Dogma or doctrine is of no account” (pg. 482, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis).
[17]         Pg. 481, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.
[18]         Pgs. 332, 437, cf. 439, 482, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.  On Tersteegen’s Quietism see pg. 466, The Encyclopedia of Christianity, Vol. 4, Fahlsbusch & Bromiley.  Although a Protestant, Tersteegen “adopted some of the ideas of Catholic quietist mysticism” (pg. 680, Encyclopedia of Christianity, Vol. 3) and fell under the “influence of ascetic and Quietist ideas,” so that he, unsurprisingly, translated many of the works of medieval Roman Catholic Quietism, such as the writings of Guyon (pg. 1062, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, F. L. Cross).
[19]         Pg. 337, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.  Murray also expressed dissent from Mahan’s exegesis of Ephesians 1:13.
[20]         Pg. 479, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.
[21]         Pg. 238, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.  Happily, Murray also said:  “I cannot say that I agree in everything with Upham[,]” since Mr. Murray was a Christian and Protestant minister, not a an exponent of a god that is a Father-Mother duality, like Upham.
[22]         Pgs. 449-450, 456, 470, 518, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.
[23]         Pgs. 173-174, The Two Covenants and the Second Blessing, Andrew Murray.  New York, NY: Fleming H. Revell, 1899.
[24]         Pgs. 470, 480, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.
[25]         The books in question were Wholly for God, The Power of the Spirit, The Divine Indwelling, Dying to Self, The Secret of Inspiration, and God in Ons (Dutch).  See pgs. 455, 498, 480, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.  Murray did at least commendably warn about some of the errors espoused by Law in a preface to his republication of Law’s works, although not republishing them at all would have been far better.
[26]         Law was not just the author of A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1728) but also the author of such undevout and unholy affirmations as:  “What becomes now of the Philosophy of Debtor and Creditor, of a Satisfaction made by Christ to a Wrath in God? Is it not the grossest of all Fictions, and in full Contrariety to the plain written Word of God?” (Spirit of Love, Part 2; The Second Dialogue Between Theogenes, Eusebius, and Theophilus, William Law).  Nonetheless, Andrew Murray affirmed:  The points on which so much stress is laid in what is called Keswick teaching, stand prominently out in . . . William Law[’s] . . . whole argument” (Note A, Chapter II, “The Second Blessing,” in The Two Covenants and the Second Blessing, Andrew Murray, elec. acc. Blue Letter Bible).  John Wesley, after his professed evangelical breakthrough, wrote to Law, his contemporary and correspondent, “a severe letter . . . reproaching him for never having set before him the way of salvation in all its simplicity.  ‘Under the heavy yoke of the law,’ he says, “I might have groaned till death, had not a holy man, to whom God lately directed me, upon my complaining thereof, answered at once, Believe, and thou shalt be saved.  Now, sir, suffer me to ask, How will you answer it to our common Lord that you never gave me this advice?  Why did I scarce ever hear you name the Name of Christ?  Never so as to ground anything in faith in His blood?  Who is this who is laying another foundation?’” (pg. 457, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.  DuPlessis, nevertheless, commented:  “Had Andrew Murray lived in the first half of the eighteenth century instead of the second half of the nineteenth, he might have reconciled Wesley and Law.”)
Contrary to Murray, however, to try to learn how to be holy by reading the works of unregenerate heretics like William Law is amazing folly.
[27]         Pgs. 449ff., The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis. Böhme also “imbibed . . . astrological and theosophical speculations” (pg. 453, Ibid).
[28]         Pgs. 453-5, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.
[29]         Pg. 511, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.

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