Higher Life Movement and Baptists....

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Heavy Metal Calvinist, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. Heavy Metal Calvinist

    Heavy Metal Calvinist
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    Anybody have a thought on the British Keswick "Higher Life" Movement and its effects on early American Baptists? Didn't know if someone may have written on this topic.... :confused:
     
  2. Johnv

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    Never heard of it. The only higher life movement I'm interested in is the higher life graced upon me by the Holy Spirit.
     
  3. Heavy Metal Calvinist

    Heavy Metal Calvinist
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    Ha-ha. And I pray you are over-filled with that, Johnv!

    Well, I am reading "The Century of Holy Spirit" *(not a Baptist book, y'all) and it mentions the Keswick Movement. I know that Hannah Whitall Smith was influnced by that movement. If memory serves Dr. Stanley once said somewhere that he liked her book. That is what I am looking for, any historical comparisons to how that movement may have affected early Baptist history and theology.
     
  4. Ransom

    Ransom
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    Heavy Metal Calvinist said:

    Anybody have a thought on the British Keswick "Higher Life" Movement and its effects on early American Baptists? Didn't know if someone may have written on this topic....

    Whenever you hear someone use a phrase like "higher [or 'deeper'] life," "victorious living," "let go and let God," or "being led by the Spirit to do x," that is someone who has been influenced, however consciously, by Keswick teaching. Indeed, the whole paradigm of decision making in which God's will is sought for each specific choice, comes directly out of that movement.

    F. B. Meyer, the English Baptist preacher, was a part of the Keswick Holiness movement - he was one of the speakers at the first Keswick Conference in 1875, in fact - and helped to spread it through his international influence, as did his friend D. L. Moody, throughout Fundamentalism in general.

    While he comes from an Anglican perspective rather than a Baptist one, J. I. Packer spends a good number of pages examining the Holiness movement in his book Keep in Step with the Spirit.
     
  5. Heavy Metal Calvinist

    Heavy Metal Calvinist
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    Thanks! Any cites, sites, or furhter reading will be apprciated. My buddy was asked by a friend at work (the friend attended another church) "DO you think you are gonna get all the Holy Ghost you ever gonna get?"

    The freind said "there is always more."

    My buddy said that he had all he needed in Grace.

    I had a Word Faith pastor (I was 15 at the time) show me a glass of water with blue dye in it. He said that "This is the filling you have; You pour in more water and you dilute that small blue dyed amount." He then explained I "had to keep getting refilled in order to keep from being diluted by the worldly junk." That nice analogy represents the Higher life mentality well, I think.

    Let's preach an all sufficient Christ, not second blessing.
     
  6. rsr

    rsr
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    — M. James Sawyer

    Wesleyan & Keswick Models of Sanctification
     
  7. Heavy Metal Calvinist

    Heavy Metal Calvinist
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    Finney's Fads
    "Finney bristled with eccentricities. Fads were exaggerated into fanaticisms, foibles into gospels." So charged B. B. Warfield in 1921, at the beginning of a massive study of perfectionism from Finney to 1920.

    Much of Warfield's work describes and critiques the merging of Wesleyan and Finneyite perfectionism in the Keswick Movement that came to be identified by the terms "Deeper Life," "Higher Life," and "the Victorious Christian Life." This movement, burgeoning in the second half of the last century, turned many classical Protestants into evangelical mystics overnight. In classical Reformation Christianity, the categories are Law and Gospel, the former demanding perfect conformity to God's righteous will and allowing no shortcomings in holiness; the latter promising full remission of sins and imputation of Christ's "alien righteousness" apart from human merit. Just as Luther had known the "ladders of ascent" through which a devoted Christian could seek God's face through illumination, confession, purgation, and eventually union--leading to the ecstatic experience of a direct encounter with God, so Protestants have proved themselves to be just as clever in the assembly of such ladders.

    Like the mystics of old, these "victorious Christian life" proponents lowered the expectations of the Law. No longer did God require absolute perfection, but "absolute surrender." It was not external works of obedience that God required, but "complete consecration" and "yieldedness." With the advent and rapid growth of Dispensationalism, leaders such as Dallas Seminary founder Lewis Sperry Chafer declared, "The grace teachings are not laws; they are suggestions. They are not demands; they are beseechings" (emphasis in original). God's Law is replaced with "suggestions," short-circuiting the conviction of sin, while God's Gospel is basically merged together with this single category of "suggestions" and "beseechings." It is neither Law nor Gospel, but a confusion of both. In the place of God's moral Law, Chafer substituted "three laws or principles, which characterize the teachings of grace concerning the manner of the daily life of the believer." These "laws" are "the law of perfect liberty," "the law of expediency" and "the law of love." Their perfections are achieved not by rigorous human achievement, but by "full surrender" to the Christ who is at work within the believer.1 "The code of rules contained in the law has been superseded by the injunctions and beseechings of grace."2

    The Law removed and substituted with the ostensibly less rigorous "grace-laws" of love and surrender, the believer is actually encouraged to believe that he or she can attain the "victorious, Spirit-filled life" by being sufficiently "yielded" to the Holy Spirit. Consequently, the Gospel is not pure grace, free and undeserved. The good news is, "By following the principles or laws of grace, you can attain victory." The Law is less difficult and the Gospel is less the announcement of what God has done and given objectively, outside of the believer's experience and activity, because of Christ.

    While Warfield exploded Chafer's teaching concerning the Christian life in a Princeton Theological Review piece reviewing the Bible teacher's He That Is Spiritual, these views gained prominence in countless Bible and prophecy conferences throughout this century.
    http://www.modernreformation.org/mh95summit.htm
    Michael S. Horton
     

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