Friday, January 31, 2020

Jessie Penn-Lewis & Evan Roberts: Applications From Their Lives and Doctrines, I (part 20 of 22)

Beware of Evan Roberts and Jessie Penn-Lewis.  They are two dangerous and very influential false teachers and exponents of grievous Keswick, continuationistic, and demonological errors.  Their works should be avoided and their influence in the preaching, writing, and theologizing of others should be detected, warned about, and rejected.  Their strong imprint upon the Keswick theology, and upon the Pentecostalism that arose from it, blackens these movements and provides all the more evidence that they are corruptions of Biblical Christianity.  They plainly stated that they had endured demon possession, and claimed that being possessed was key to the content of their writings on demonology.  Will you follow and learn from those possessed by demons?  Or will you reject the doctrines of demons and cleave to the Bible, the perfect and sufficient revelation of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?
            Beware of revisionist history.  All historians are fallible, and even their most accurate histories have no authority for Biblical faith and practice—the Bible alone is sufficient to make “the man of God perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  How much the less should historical errors influence the faith and practice of God’s people?  But, unfortunately, writers who are more interested in hagiography than truth exercise a great influence over the saints, leading the Lord’s sheep to look up to and pattern themselves after wolves and devourers rather than fleeing from them.  Following the writings of Jessie Penn-Lewis and patterning church practice after the person and methods of Evan Roberts will destroy sound Baptist churches and expose individual believers to extremely dangerous demonic deceptions, yet vast numbers of Christians have been exposed to this pair and spiritually weakened by them because of a mythical revision of events in Wales in 1904-1905.  Recognize the truth—Evan Roberts and Jessie Penn-Lewis were powerful instruments in the hands of Satan to destroy a true work of revival in Wales, bring to an end many years of growth among the true churches of that land, inaugurate decades of decay and desolation, and hatch the fanaticism and demonism that fills the Pentecostal, charismatic, and Word of Faith movements and has contributed to the spiritual destruction of innumerable souls worldwide.  Do not allow true revival to be corrupted to false revivalism in your own life and congregation because of the influence of these two demon-possessed fanatics.  Do not perpetuate the revisionist history that makes them into great servants of God and the center of a true work of revival in Wales, and if you have perpetuated this lie in the past, immediately repent of it and then confess your error to those you have misled.  It is high time that the truth about the real revival in Wales, and the Keswick continuationism and fanaticism of Evan Roberts and Mrs. Penn-Lewis that so widely infiltrated and destroyed it, replace the distortions of reality that find their place in the hearts of too many of the precious people of God.  If you love and long for true revival, be discerning, cleave to the Spirit-breathed Word with all your heart and soul, and reject and reprove the theology, praxis, and historical revisionism surrounding peddlers of Satanic revivalism like Evan Roberts, Jessie Penn-Lewis, and other Keswick and Pentecostal continuationists and fanatics.
            One can glean numerous spiritual lessons from the negative examples of Mr. Roberts and Mrs. Penn-Lewis.  They illustrate what spiritual dangers and destruction Keswick continuationism can lead to, and how important it is to reject it with all of its demonic delusions for a Scriptural cessationism.  Evan Roberts also illustrates the danger of confusing true conversion and God-wrought regeneration with mere experiences of the supernatural (cf. Matthew 7:21-23).  An unconverted Judas performed miracles (Matthew 10:4-8), an unconverted high priest Caiaphas prophesied (John 11:49-52; 18:14), nine unconverted lepers were miraculously healed by Christ (Luke 17:11-19), idolatrous Egyptian magicians performed miracles (Exodus 7:11, 22), an unconverted sorcerer named Simon did marvels and convinced many that he was the great power of God (Acts 8:9-10), unconverted men had supernatural dreams (Genesis 31:24; 41:7), and Evan Roberts experienced many visions, dreams, voices, and other marvels, but had no clear testimony of conversion and died with barely a glimmer of Christian piety.  And if many genuinely supernatural occurrences—even those that are truly from God, not from Satan—are less than true conversion and regeneration, how much less than the new birth is simply having an emotionally charged experience—and how far, far less than the new birth is standing up or coming to the front of a church building?  Such soul-damning acceptance of substitutes for regeneration filled the work of Evan Roberts in the Welsh holiness revival, causing immeasurable spiritual harm.  Christians and spiritual leaders must learn from this disaster the extreme importance of clearly and without confusion preaching the gospel, recognizing true conversion, and cleaving to Biblical methods of evangelism rather than adopting methodology that, although it may appear effective in the short term, actually contributes to the everlasting damnation of eternal souls by confusing the nature and fruits of real salvation.  Scripture is sufficient for both the doctrine and practice of evangelism.  Your church should be preaching regularly in public places and seeking to reach large groups of people at once, while also preaching Christ house to house to systematically reach everyone in your community (Acts 5:42).  You should be preaching the good news of Christ’s substitutionary death, His burial, and His resurrection, and salvation through repentant faith in Him.  You should not be employing worldly promotion and marketing techniques or seeking to draw people to your church services with sensationalism.  While providing people with spiritual counsel immediately after preaching is Biblically justifiable (Acts 2:37-38), including, for example, in an “inquiry room,” the elements of worship in the Lord’s church do not include the modern invitation system invented by Charles Finney.  Furthermore, while Roman Catholic and liturgical Protestant religious organizations have altars at the front of their meeting places, true churches have no such altars.  There is absolutely nothing sacred about the front of a church building, and there is no reason to conclude that because someone walks to the front of a church building, or is led to repeat the words of a “sinner’s prayer” after walking to the front of a church building, that he has been born again of the Holy Spirit of God.  The replacement of true conversion with decisionism was central to bringing the time of Baptist church growth in Wales to an end as a result of the methods employed in the holiness revival under Evan Roberts, and its consequences have been inconceivably disastrous world-wide whenever they have been adopted.  Nonetheless, there is hope—a rejection of unbiblical and nonbiblical doctrines and practices in evangelism, a recognition of the foundational importance of the Regulative Principle of worship, a wholehearted repentance for neglecting Biblical doctrine and praxis, and a return to Biblical and Spirit-empowered evangelism and preaching, both outside of and within the context of the instituted worship of the church, could be, in the hands of the sovereign God, the instrumentality for glorious and widespread true revival.
            Furthermore, learn from Evan Roberts’s destruction of true revival the fallacy of his practice of only preaching on God’s love.  Reject this practice of Roberts, and instead preach boldly, pointedly, and with uncompromising conviction on specific sins, on hell with its fire and brimstone, on the wrath of God, and on the absolute necessity of the propitiatory work of Christ and the new birth to escape everlasting torment, as well as on God’s glorious love.  If you truly love unconverted sinners, you will follow the practice of Christ and His Apostles in preaching the law and judgment as well as grace and love.  It will not be easy to do so—if you preach so, you will need a true love for and trust in God, and a real love for the unconverted.  Preaching that pricks and cuts men to the heart may, instead of seeing three thousand true conversions as did Peter (Acts 2), lead men to become so angry with you that they gnash on you with their teeth and seek to kill you, as they did Stephen (Acts 7), and as they sought to do to the Prophet of prophets and the perfect Pattern for all preachers,  the Lord of love, Jesus Christ (Luke 4:29).
            Consider also that marvels are no substitute for Spirit-empowered preaching of the entire Word.  The visions and ecstasy of the Welsh holiness revival did not produce revival, but destroyed it.  It certainly is possible that searching preaching is used by the Holy Ghost to bring people under such tremendous conviction of sin that powerful emotional responses follow.  However, the preacher must never aim only for emotional response, nor must such responses be allowed to overturn the apostolic command that all things be done “decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40).  Furthermore, someone who is truly filled with the Spirit will not see visions, pretend to the gift of prophecy, or adopt other continuationist errors.  Rather, he will manifest the fruit of the Spirit in a Christ-like life and in great progress in that true Christian sanctification that is impossible without the supernatural efficacy of the Spirit of God.


The following are the parts of this series:

Jessie Penn-Lewis: Keswick and Welsh Revivalist, Quaker and Freemason (part 1 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Conversion (?) and Higher Life (part 2 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Spirit-Baptized Woman Preacher (part 3 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Keswick Faith Healer (part 4 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: the Christ-Life and Quietism (part 5 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Her Inspired Writings (part 6 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Inspired Woman Preacher (part 7 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: her mystical false god (part 8 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Worldwide Keswick Impact  (part 9 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Welsh Revival and Pentecostal Preparation (part 10 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: War on the Saints (part 11 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Christians Demon Possessed (part 12 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Warfare Prayer and the 1914 partial Rapture (part 13 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Binding Satan (part 14 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Binding and Loosing (part 15 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: “My Demon Possession Key to My Keswick Teaching” (part 16 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Inspired “Truth” on Demon Possession (part 17 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Throne Life / Power and the Higher Life (part 18 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Soul Force, Only the Human Spirit Regenerated, And Other Bizarre Foolishness (part 19)
Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts: Applications From Their Lives and Doctrines, I (part 20 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts: Applications From Their Lives and Doctrines, II (part 21 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts: Applications From Their Lives and Doctrines, III (part 22 of 22)

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Psalm 22:22: Jesus' Singing and the Place of Singing in Redemption

A thousand years before the Lord Jesus Christ died, David prophesied it in Psalm 22.  It's an amazing prophecy.  It expounds numerous great and graphic details of the future crucifixion of the suffering Messiah, not yet invented by the Persians or incorporated by the Romans.  Psalm 22 itself is a song, lament, the servant Son crying out to His heavenly Father, David's revealing the portrayal of this future event.  The prayer portion ends in verse 21:
Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
The Lord Jesus' surrounding enemies are characterized by carnivorous animals:  bulls, lions, dogs.  Unicorns aren't necessarily a single species of animal, but one -- a factual, real one -- with a single horn.  The one horn very often comes out as one and then separates into two or more, still though a unicorn.  The figure is a spear, a piercing, which characterized so many of the wounds of Jesus.  Later in a saving confession, the nation Israel mourns while looking upon Him whom they had pierced (Zechariah 12:10).

The salvation of Jesus, His own redemption, in answer to the prayer comes by the same means as all of us:  resurrection.  Even when Abraham would offer Isaac, his willingness proceeded from the "accounting that God was able to raise him up" (Hebrews 11:19).  Jesus would not be tossed with other criminals into the city dump in the Valley of Hinnom, but buried in the tomb of a rich man, as prophesied by Isaiah 53:9.  Three days later, He would rise again.

In Psalm 22, still in the prediction of hanging on the cross, one thousand years in the future, the Savior asserts (verse 22):
I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
The prayer is answered.  God had heard, He would deliver Jesus after all the suffering He went through. He knew again the presence of God even on the cross. He would be saved from the lion's mouth and from the horns of the unicorn.  After His resurrection, He would declare the Father's name unto His brethren and praise the Father in the midst of the congregation.  Acts 13:30 says, "God raised him from the dead."

Psalm 22:22 is quoted in Hebrews 2:9-12 (the quote in verse 12) in the context of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross:
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
The author of Hebrews remembers Psalm 22:22 as he writes about the purpose of the death of Christ.  Through His death and then resurrection, He brings many sons to glory.  He is a Son crying to His Father, who then is not ashamed to call "brethren" these sons He's saved. The sanctifier and the sanctified are all of one through His work.  This is the victory the Father gives Him.

Then "in the midst of the congregation will [Jesus] praise [His Father]" (verse 22b).  David foretold and the Son foreknew that Jesus would sing in the church.  "Will I praise" in Psalm 22:22 by divine interpretation is "will I sing praise" in Hebrews 2:12, which is the Greek word humneso from which we get the word "hymn."  The same verb is used three other places, two of which also apply to Jesus singing (Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26):
And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
That occasion predated the cross, but it must have been a more regular occurrence, singing with the assembly of the saints, His church or congregation (ekklesia).  He had sung with the church and He in His post resurrection ministry would sing with them again.  This assumes that the church starts before Pentecost, unless this is fulfilled only spiritually through the Spirit of Christ in the future, which doesn't make any sense.  

Jesus' salvation by the Father through the resurrection from the dead provoked singing -- congregational singing.  This reminds me of Ephesians 5, where being filled with the Spirit brings among the first mentioned priorities, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to the Lord.  This is the new song of the redeemed.  Again and again, the Apostle Paul in his epistles when writing about salvation through Christ, breaks out into a doxology.

Jesus marked His victory over death with singing.  This was a first instinct.  This is what we would expect.  This is not contrived or choreographed.  This is real.  Of course, singing to the Father, which is what scripture also teaches, would be holy and acceptable unto God.  It would not be a fleshly, sensual, worldly worship.  It would characterize the Lord.  This ought also to mark every redeemed person, who loves the Lord.  He sings in the congregation. This is what Jesus anticipated in His victory on the cross.  His fellow sons will follow Him in this practice.  Do you?

Friday, January 24, 2020

Church Growth: The Old and New Baptist Way

There are some pretty remarkable differences between the Baptist evangelism of times past and that of professed Baptists in the circle of influence of Jack Hyles.

A Different Gospel

In the past, Baptists believed things such as the following on repentance:

"Saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by faith in Christ, humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrency, praying for pardon and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavour, by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things." (2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689; Particular Baptist)

"Unfeigned repentance is an inward and true sorrow of heart for sin, with sincere confession of the same to God, especially that we have offended so gracious a God and so loving a Father, together with a settled purpose of heart and a careful endeavor to leave all our sins, and to live a more holy and sanctified life according to all God’s commands” (The Orthodox Creed, General Baptist, 1679).

Professed Baptists in the Hyles orbit today, such as Bob Gray of Longview "Baptist" Temple in Longview, Texas, think repentance is simply changing from unbelief to belief.  This heresy is also adopted by former Hyles-Anderson student Steven Anderson, among many others. Jack Hyles' book, in which he teaches the heresy that repentance is merely changing from unbelief to belief, and in which he states that calling on the lost to Biblically repent and turn from their sins is an "enemy of soulwinning," is still for sale in the Hyles-Anderson bookstore

Different Results

As in the book of Acts when repentance was preached those who were converted submitted to baptism and continued faithful to the Lord (Acts 2:41-47), so the preaching of the old Baptist gospel led to similar results.  Consider, for example, the work of Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall:

Information about one of the first churches founded by Shubal Stearns.
The Great Awakening that swept through the American colonies in the 1730s and 1740s made a significant impact on Baptists in two ways. First, the comparatively few Baptist churches that existed at the time were directly affected by the revival and saw tremendous growth in their memberships. Second, many Congregationalist churches that developed out of the revival eventually became Baptist. One historian has described these “New Light” Congregational churches as “halfway house[s] on the road to becoming Baptists.” Most of these who made the change to believers’ baptism had been converted under George Whitefield. This phenomenon caused the great evangelist to muse, “My chickens are becoming ducks!” Baptists gained over a hundred new churches this way in addition to gaining some of their most outstanding leaders, such as Isaac Backus, Daniel Marshall and Shubal Stearns.
These churches born out of revival became known as “Separate Baptist,” and they saw rapid growth in the South and on the frontier. The most incredible display of such growth came through the ministry of Shubal Stearns and his brother-in-law, Daniel Marshall.
In 1755 Stearns and Marshall moved to Sandy Creek, North Carolina, where they started the first Separate Baptist church in the South. They began with sixteen people and within three years had three fully constituted churches with a combined membership of over 900. In only seventeen years this church gave birth to forty-two churches and sent out 125 ministers.[1]

The American South still feels the impact of the blessing of the Holy Spirit on the old Baptist gospel today.  States like Oklahoma have pages and pages of Baptist churches in the phone book and the "Bible belt" still exists over two hundred years after its formation.

Compare these results with those of Bob Gray at Longview Baptist Temple in Texas.
 Mr. Gray claims to have led 1,116,887 people to Christ, yet he lives in a town with less than 82,000 people and a county of less than 124,000.  Comparing the attendance at his religious organization with the numbers of people he claims to have won to Christ, less than 0.2% of the "converts" attend his church even on Sunday mornings.  The region of Texas with his church is not by anyone's wildest dream changed the way it would be if there had been over a million people who were converted the Bible way to the Biblical God, by means of the Biblical gospel that was preached by the old Baptists.

When the old Baptists and the Hyles-"Baptists" preach such a different message, with such different results, are they the same religion?  Or are they not different the way light is different from darkness, truth from error, and heaven from hell?


[1]           Thomas K. Ascol, “From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist Convention: What Hath Geneva to Do with Nashville?,” The Founders Journal: From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist Convention, Fall, no. 70 (2007): 13.