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Archive for January, 2012

(revised 01/07/14)

Note – I am definitely, positively, 100% premillenial. But as far as the timing of the Rapture, I am not so set in stone. I grew up a Pre-Tribber, but am now leaning towards Post-Trib.

In any case, I believe we should be prepared to meet our Maker at any time, whether it be Post-Trib, Pre-Trib, 50 years from now, tomorrow, or with our next breath being our last (with the Lord calling us home via a heart attack, asthma attack or whatever).

Having said that, the following is a defense of the Post-Trib view, along with a warning to Pre-Tribbers.
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Here is a Post-Trib warning to Pre-Tribbers: God never promised we would escape persecution. Yes, you heard right. God, in His Word, never promised us Christians we would escape persecution. In fact, numerous Bible passages tell us just the opposite. Here are a few such passages:

#1) Jesus said: 18) “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  19) If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20) Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.  21) But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.” (John 15:18-21, KJV)

#2) Jesus prayed to the Father: 14b) “… the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15) I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” (John 17:14b-15, KJV)

#3) Paul wrote to Timothy: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (II Tim. 3:12, KJV)

In some of the world’s largest countries (China, India, etc.), Christians have suffered persecution unto death for most of the past 2,000 years. Why do American Christians believe they will escape persecution unto death?

I find it interesting that at least two groups of Christians today have no problem accepting a Post-Trib Rapture view: 1) Christians in “persecuted countries,” and 2) Christians familiar with Hitler’s reign of terror, with its Holocaust of Jews, Christians and others (two examples: Berit Kjos‘ father had personal experiences with Hitler’s reign, and Corrie ten Boom survived a Nazi concentration camp).

Shame on American Christians! In my mind, American Christians are cowards. In America, a land where the Pre-Trib teaching arose less than 200 years ago, many American Christians have succumbed to the teaching that they will never suffer persecution unto death.

In this article, Harry Bethel makes some statements I disagree with. But I am posting some excerpts here that I do agree with, regarding persecution. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets]:

Not Appointed to Which Wrath?

We are living in times of easy believism, easy credit, easy living, and easy exit for the saints. The major point that pre-tribulationists try to make to uphold their view is that God has not appointed us to wrath. But we must answer the question, What is the wrath to which we are not appointed? And, can saints go through the Great Tribulation without directly suffering the wrath of God, as did the Old Testament saints in Egypt when God sent his plagues because of Pharaoh?

One of the purposes of the Great Tribulation will be for unrepentant worldlings to experience the judgment of God as have sinful societies throughout history, from the Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, Jerusalem, and others up to the worldwide judgment of the end-time Tribulation. Another purpose will be the persecution of the saints during the Great Tribulation in order to clean us up for the return of Christ. Much of the suffering of the saints during this terrible time will be from persecution and not directly from the judgments of God. (There will, however, be suffering because of not being able to buy or sell without the mark of the Beast, etc. Christians who do not take the mark will not be able to be legally employed, pay taxes on their property, buy automobile tags, gasoline, food or anything else.)

Christians during the Great Tribulation will be like those saints of the Old Dispensation mentioned in the Book of Hebrews. They “were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth” (Heb. 11:35-38).

In Revelation 6:9-11 it says, “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held…And white robes were given unto every one of them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” In the next chapter the apostle John saw not just Jews but “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes…And one of the elders [around the throne] answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of [the] great tribulation” (7:9, 13-14).

Pre-tribulationists argue that the word “church” is not even mentioned after Revelation chapter 3. That is true (except that “churches” is mentioned in 22:16), but the “saints” are referred to more than a dozen times after chapter 3. And Jesus said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Mt. 24:21-22).

Persecution & Martyrdom—The N.T. Norm

Persecution and martyrdom is, in fact, the New Testament norm. Jesus said to His disciples, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you…The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you…” (Jn. 15:19-20). Peter wrote, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Pet. 2:21). And Paul wrote, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).

According to Church history all the Apostles suffered martyrdom except John who was banished to the Isle of Patmos. The apostles were thrown into prison time and again during their ministry, and suffered beatings and other persecution (Acts 5:40; 16:23; 2 Cor. 11:25; et al.). Paul was in and out of jail, suffered beatings and was incarcerated, under house-arrest, for two years (Acts 28:30) before his martyrdom.

We are not experiencing persecution in America, not because Satan has changed his strategy, but because the saints have changed theirs. Most Christians in this country have not been endued with power from On High and are not proclaiming a scriptural evangelistic message which includes remission of sins and repentance (Lk. 13:3-5; 24:47; Mk. 1:15; 6:12; Acts 3:19; 17:30; 26:19-20; 2 Pet. 3:9).

Most evangelistic messages are watered-down, easy-believism, half-truths that omit the need for repentance for salvation. Look at the Gospel tracts in the tract rack at bookstores and in your church building, or listen to your “pastor” preach an evangelistic message or give “an invitation” to see if you can even find or hear the word “repent” or “repentance” mentioned.

Some church leaders teach that believing in an imminent pre-trib rapture will influence Christians to live holy lives. But the Scriptures teach, referring to the heavens and earth being destroyed by fire, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?…Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (2 Pet. 3:11-14).

There has never been a time when so many Christians believed in an imminent pre-trib rapture and yet the twentieth-century church in America can be characterized by almost anything but holiness. (With all the filth of the television programs and cheap output of the press brought into our homes, divorce,  worldly dress and sports activities, ad nauseam.) Most Christians in America live and look too much like worldlings; there is no contrast, therefore in many cases there is no conviction brought about by the Holy Spirit in the lives of the unsaved.

Paul said, “…We glory in tribulations (thlipsis) also: knowing that tribulation (thlipsis) worketh patience” (Rom. 5:3). This is the same Greek word used in Revelation when John saw a great multitude in white robes and one of the elders around the throne said, “These are they which came out of [the] great tribulation (thlipsis)…” (7:9, 13-14). The Greek noun thlipsis was also used in Acts 11:19 concerning the persecution of the Church at the time of Stephen’s martyrdom and is rendered “persecution.”

“In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 4:22). “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you…for my sake…Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Mt. 5:10-12).

Tribulation and persecution is not the wrath of God. Again, persecution and martyrdom is the New Testament norm. The wrath of God that Christians will be kept from is the wrath of the last day and, of course, the wrath of the Lake of Fire. Those who have been saved by Jesus have already been delivered from the eternal Lake of Fire which is the wrath to come. Paul wrote, “…Jesus…delivered us [past tense] from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10).

God Takes His People Through Tribulation

Even a casual reading of the Scriptures will reveal that God takes His people through tribulation rather than delivering them from it. Beginning with Noah and his family who were kept safe in the ark which was a type of Christ—they went right through the middle of the flood with torrential rains coming down from above and all the waters from below: “…All the fountains of the great deep [were] broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened” (Gen. 7:11).

Another well-known example is the three Hebrews who were not delivered from going through the fiery furnace which was heated seven times hotter than usual. Indeed they went right through the middle of that persecution and the Lord went through it with them.

Yet another example of God sending His saints through tribulation rather than keeping them from it, is Daniel being thrown into the den of lions. He went right through the middle of that persecution, but God sent an angel to close the mouths of the lions. That great saint brought glory to God in that tribulation.

Like the Old Testament saints listed among the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 and all the Apostles who were martyred except John who suffered the persecution of Patmos, God sometimes lets His saints suffer and die for His glory.

Beloved, let no man deceive you. The saints will go through the tribulation depicted in the Revelation. The Antichrist will be given power “to make war with the saints, and to overcome them” (Rev. 13:7). The prophet Daniel wrote concerning the Antichrist, “He will speak against the Most High and oppress His saints…The saints will be handed over to him [the Antichrist] for [three and a half years]…He [the Antichrist] will destroy the mighty men and the holy people” (Dan. 7:25, 8:24).  Christians who are compromisers before the Great Tribulation are not going to be overcomers through it.

FOR FURTHER READING

Corrie Ten Boom on the Rapture of the Church

Preparing for Persecution, by Berit Kjos

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(revised 04/12/14)

Although I prefer the Post-Trib Premillenial view, I greatly enjoyed the following article by Don Koenig, in which he defended Premillenialism (including the Pre-Trib view) against Postmillenialists and Preterists. I am especially disturbed by the Emergent/New Apostolic Reformation move towards Postmillenialism (aka “Dominion Theology”, “Kingdom Now Theology.”)

(As an aside, I am leaning towards the Post-Trib view, which like the Pre-Trib view falls under Premillenialism.)

I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

Christians will be caught unaware because they gave up premillennialism

Don Koenig
On February 10, 2011 · 33 Comments

One of the chief signs of the end times that premillennial futurists fluffed over in their eagerness to see the return of the Lord for His Church is the passages that make it clear that the Lord is coming at time when we think not (Luke 12:40).

We also know that in the last days there would be Christians mocking other Christians about their belief in the soon return of the Lord [I believe anyone mocking a premillenial return of Christ is mocking Bible prophecy].

2 Peter 3, Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4  And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

In hindsight, one of the reasons why the hope of a Rapture in the 20th century was premature was because during that period a great percentage of Evangelical Christians believed in premillennialism. They believed in a literal and future fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Therefore, the coming of Jesus really did not fit what Jesus said it would be like in the Church just before His return. Let me explain.

The doctrine of the Rapture and the Lord’s Second coming was one of the major focuses of the Bible believing Church in the last third of the 20th century. Yet, scripture implies that many Christians would not be expecting Jesus when He comes. So one of the signs that premillennial 20th century believers were presumptuous, and that Jesus would not return on our time-lines, was the general expectations that prevailed during that period among Christians. This irrational exuberance led to date setters and the fallout of that led to a general discrediting of all teaching dispensational Premillennial Theology.

Futurist Premillennial Theology probably reached its peak from 1970 to around the year 2000. In those days it was hard to find a Evangelical Bible believing church that did not believe in the soon coming of Jesus with the Rapture of the Church. [I have seen this change for myself in the Evangelical Friends, aka the EFCI, whose top administrative leaders preached about the imminent return of Christ. But no longer – they are becoming increasingly Emergent]. They also taught that the Rapture would be followed by judgment of evil on earth, followed by the establishment of the millennial kingdom where Jesus would rule and reign on earth with His Church for a thousand years, and then Satan once again would be loosed to deceive mankind into a final rebellion.

Because of the Lord’s delay and the presumptuous false hopes presented by some, there since has been a  falling away from premillennial theology. Many pastors now have post-millennial beliefs where the Church will have to Christianize the world before the Lord will actually physically return. Preterism is also gaining ground.   They teach that prophecy about Israel was all fulfilled in 70 AD and the prophetic promises to Israel are either annulled or are now only promises to the spiritual Church. With preterists, the Church is the kingdom promised on earth and the Church allegorically fulfills Bible prophecy. When all the saved come in, God will then judge all and eternity will began. There is no literal thousand year reign on earth in Preterism.

Today premillenial futurist Dispensational Theology is losing ground every day in Evangelical Christianity and you will seldom hear it taught from the pulpits anymore. It also will not be found in your Sunday school material. I think this falling away from premillennialim and the teaching of the imminent coming of Jesus is prophetic in itself. It had to be fulfilled, if we are indeed in the last days.

Jesus said He would come at a time when most think not. That would not have been true when people were still claiming His soon coming and also followed the date setters.  Few premillenial believers in the 1980′s thought that we would still be here in 2011. There are still some premillennial Christians that are hanging on to the hope of the Lord’s soon coming, but they are becoming a smaller and smaller minority within Christianity.

I suppose that those following the 2012 end of the world presumptions and heretics like Harold Camping will just make premillennial believers even more rare in the future. This will set the conditions in Christianity for what Peter said would happen in the last days.

Peter said Christians will be mocking other Christians saying, “where is the promise of His coming”, they will obviously insinuate that your belief of a soon coming Rapture and the return of Jesus is a false hope that is even harmful to the Church. Pastors will teach that we must put away all such foolishness and work to Christianize the world through social justice programs. All that are teaching Premillennial Theology with the physical return of Jesus will be marginalized and perhaps not even welcomed in their fellowships.

The trend in Christianity is already this way in the churches that have become unequally yoked with unbelievers that intend to set up an interfaith world of social justice. This trend away from premillennialism will only increase because of more failed date setting. Soon premillennial evangelicals will become open game for soft and hard dominionist media Evangelicals, and their mocking will spread into the general church populations.

That is when this “where is the promise of His coming” rant will be literally fulfilled. Some have claimed fulfillment in the past, but they were really grasping at straws. I do not believe it will be some subtitle innuendo. It will be a direct mocking confrontation against those that hold fast to Premillennial Theology and the soon return of the Lord. This is what I believe Peter is saying in his passage. We have not seen that fulfilled yet, but we see that things are rapidly trending in that direction. We now see the Seeker, Purpose Driven, Emergent and New Apostolic Reformation churches are becoming increasingly hostile toward Premillennial Theology. Get ready for more flame throwing against anyone that takes Bible prophecy literally.

But, blessed is the the person that holds fast to the promise of the Lord’s coming. That promise of His patience was held by only one of the seven church types that identify Christianity, and they are the only Church type that was promised to be kept out of the great trial that will come upon all those that dwell on the earth.

Rev 3:10  Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Jesus said, “will there be faith on the earth when I come” (Lk 18:18), Jesus probably was not talking about faith to believe that salvation came through Him. The Church has to have salvation faith, or it is not the Church. Jesus was referring to faith that He would soon return and judge the earth. The answer to His question is that other than a small minority that kept the promise of His coming and His patience, there will not be that kind of faith on the earth when Jesus comes.

We need to keep the faith, the Lord is not slow in coming. He just is not willing that any should perish. Nevertheless, the signs of the times are evident, the Lord will not delay His coming much longer. We are not in darkness, that this day should overtake us as a thief (1 Th 5:4).

Lk 21:36  Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Finally, one reason not usually talked about why Jesus must return very soon is The Singularity. We are only a few decades from when man will be able to extend his lifespan indefinitely. The doubling of knowledge every 18 months means that artificial intelligence will soon make it possible for collective man to solve any technical problem, but he still will not deal with the problem of his own sin. [This entire paragraph sounds a bit far fetched to me, other than the last phrase:  “he still will not deal with the problem of his own sin.”]

Unforeseen technology will get into the hands of evil people and they would destroy the world if it went on past the middle of this century. So Jesus must return and deal with evil before that happens. The mark of the Beast probably somehow ties in. Man will attempt to undo the confusion given to him at Babel. That is not acceptable while mankind is still in rebellion against God. So the end is soon for sure, but first the scoffers must come from even those that call themselves Christians.


 Don Koenig founded http://www.thepropheticyears.com website in 1999 after almost thirty years of independent study on the Bible and learning from many astute teachers within Christendom. Don created his website to write about Bible prophecy, biblical discernment and his Christian worldviews. Don wrote a free Revelation commentary ebook in 2004 named “The Revelation of Jesus Christ Through The Ages”. This World and Church and Bible Prophecy Blog was started in 2007. This Blog now has over 1000 articles written by Don and contains almost 10,000 comments mostly related to the post topic.

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(blog under construction)

I was brought up believing in a Pre-Trib Rapture. I did not learn until the 1980s that the Pre-Trib Rapture was a very recent theory, popularized in the 1800s.

One caveat: although I now hold to the Post-Trib view, I am not dogmatic regarding my eschatology. I feel comfortable fellowshipping with all premillenial Christians – whether they be Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, or Post-Trib.

Click here for the original text of the following article. I have corrected the grammar in a few places. Also, I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

The Origin Of The Pretribulational Rapture Theory

Ed F. Sanders


1. Origins

There have been many articles, essays, and books written about the origin of the pretrib rapture teaching. The most prevalent theories among scholars are:

1. that the doctrine began within the Irviningite sect in England in the early 1800’s (see article by George Ladd, article by Art Katterjohn)
2. that it originated in the Plymouth Brethren movement from the teachings of John Nelson Darby in the early 1800’s.
3. that it originated with a Mr. Tweedy, who passed it on to Darby and the Plymouth Bretren [sic]
4. that it originated with aberrant Catholic theologians (Jesuit priests) Ribera and Emmanuel Lucanza, see article by J.P. Eby)
5. that it originated with a Baptist minister named Morgan Edwards in 1788 (1).
6. The doctrine started in the early church with a writer called Pseudo-Ephraim. (The author of this work is unknown (hence, ‘pseudo’), its conclusions uncertain, and the date written is in question. Of all the ‘theories’ this is the least credible (2)).

One thing is clear from the available historical documents: Darby, called the ‘father of dispensationalism’, was responsible for the widespread dissemination of the new and novel pretrib doctrine beginning around 1830 through his ministry in the Plymouth Brethern movement. The doctrine soon spread to America and was widely popularized by the Scofield Reference Bible.

In my mind the final word on the origin of the pretrib teaching cannot be known with 100% certainty based on the documents available. I think that the best explanation is summarized by Timothy P. Weber (Memphis Theological Seminary) who wrote:

 “The pretribulation rapture……historians are still trying to determine how or where Darby got it. . . . Possibly, we may have to settle for Darby’s own explanation. He claimed that the doctrine virtually jumped out of the pages of Scripture once he accepted and consistently maintained the distinction between Israel and the church”. (Timothy P. Weber, Living In The Shadow Of The Second Coming: American Premillennialism 1875-1982. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1983, pp. 21-22).

John Nelson Darby commenting on 2 Thess. 2:1-2 in 1850:

 “It is this passage which, twenty years ago, made me understand the rapture of the saints before — perhaps a considerable time before — the day of the Lord, that is, before the judgment of the living.” (3)

So, according to Darby he held a different view until 1830 when he came to understand the pretrib rapture doctrine. Until further documentation turns up it seems then most likely that John Nelson Darby originated the pretrib teaching and was responsible for its wide distribution in the years that followed.

2. Quotes from early Plymouth Brethren: (contemporary with Darby)

Under “The First Appearances of Secret Rapture Teaching” on page 45 of B. W. Newton and Dr. S. P. Tregelles – Teachers of the Faith and the Future (2nd Edition, 1969, The Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony, London) George H. Fromow says, “Dr. S. P. Tregelles has recorded for us the origin of this teaching in his book The Hope of Christ’s Coming, How is is Taught in Scripture and Why? (page 35 of the fifth edition).

“Dr. Tregelles further wrote:  ‘When the theory of a secret coming of Christ was first brought forward (about the year 1832), it was adopted with eagerness; it suited certain preconceived opinions, and it was accepted by some at that which harmonized contraditory [sic] thoughts, whether such thoughts, or any of them, rested on the sure warrant of God; [sic] written Word”.

There follows the quotation given above by Mr. Kelly.

Mr. Fromow goes on to opine, “If the exactterms [sic] used by Dr. Tregelles are noted, allowance can be made, that suggestions of a ‘secret coming’ were put forth a few years earlier, some say at the first Albury conference in 1826; but the precise date does not alter the fact that it was a novel doctrine”.

3. More Quotes regarding the origin of the pretrib rapture theory:

[I have rearranged these individuals alphabetically]

F. F. Bruce: well known Plymouth Brethren historian and theologian says: “Where did he [Darby] get it? The reviewer’s answer would be that it was in the air in the 1820s and 1830s among eager students of unfulfilled prophecy”. (Book Review of The Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin in The Evangelical Quarterly, (Vol. XLVII, No. 1).

Robert Cameron: “Now, be it remembered, that prior to that date, no hint of any approach to such belief can be found in any Christian literature from Polycarp down…. Surely, a doctrine that finds no exponent or advocate in the whole history and literature of Christendom, for eighteen hundred years after the founding of the Church – a doctrine that was never taught by a Father or Doctor of the Church in the past – that has no standard Commentator or Professor of the Greek language in any Theological School until the middle of the Nineteenth century, to give it approval, and that is without a friend, even to mention its name amongst the orthodox teachers or the heretical sects of Christendom – such a fatherless and motherless doctrine, when it rises to the front, demanding universal acceptance, ought to undergo careful scrutiny before it is admitted and tabulated as part of ‘the faith once for all delivered unto the saints.” (Robert Cameron, Scriptural Truth About The Lord’s Return, page 72-73).

Harry Ironside(4): In 1908 Ironside claimed Darby had rediscovered the apostolic teaching lost to the church: “Until brought to the fore through the writings and the preaching and teaching of the distinguished ex-clergyman, Mr. J. N. Darby, in the early part of the last century, [the pretribulational rapture] is scarcely to be found in a single book or sermon throughout a period of sixteen hundred years! If any doubt this statement, let them search, as the writer has in measure done, the remarks of the so-called Fathers, both pre- and post-Nicene, the theological treatises of the scholastic divines, Roman Catholic writers of all shades of thought; the literature of the reformation; the sermons and expositions of the Puritans; and the general theological works of the day. He will find “the mystery” conspicuous by its absence”. (Harry A. Ironside, The Mysteries of God, New York: Loizeaux Brothers, 1908, pp 50–51).

Philip Mauro: “The entire system of ‘dispensational teaching’ is modernistic in the strictest sense; for it first came into existence within the memory of persons now living; and was altogether unknown even in their younger days; It is more recent than Darwinism.”“A system of doctrine that contradicts what has been held and taught by every Christian expositor and every minister of Christ from the very beginning of the Christian era—suddenly made its appearance in the later part of the nineteenth century”.”

Alexander Reese: “About 1830 a new school arose within the fold of Premillennialism that sought to overthrow what, since the Apostolic Age, have been considered by all premillennialist as established results, and to institute in their place a series of doctrines that had never been heard of before. The school I refer to is that of ‘The Brethren’ or ‘Plymouth Brethren,’ founded by J. N. Darby.” (Alexander Reese, The Approaching Advent of Christ, page 18)

Charles C. Ryrie: a dispensational theologian writes: “The distinction between Israel and the Church leads to the belief that the Church will be taken from the earth before the beginning of the tribulation (which in one major sense concerns Israel).” (Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, pp. 158-160). (That seems to fit with the theory that Darby originated the teaching based on his dispensational hermeneutic. Ed.)

E. R. Sandeen: “Darby introduced into discussion at Powerscourt (1833) the ideas of a secret rapture of the church and of a parenthesis in prophetic fulfillment between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks of Daniel. These two concepts constituted the basic tenets of the system of theology since referred to as dispensationalism” (E.R. Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism 1800-1930, University of Chicago Press, 1970)

Edmund Shackleton: All who held the premillennial Coming of Christ were, till about sixty years ago, of one mind on the subject. About that time a new view was promulgated that the Coming of Christ was not one event, but that it was divided into stages, in fact, that Christ comes twice from heaven to earth, but the first time only as far as the air. This first descent, it is said, will be for the purpose of removing the Church from the world, and will occur before the Great Tribulation under Antichrist. This they call “The coming for His saints” or “Secret Rapture.” The second part of the Coming is said to take place when Christ appears in glory and destroys the Antichrist. This they call “The coming with His saints.”

Apart from the test of the Word, which is the only final one, there are certain reasons why this doctrine should be viewed with suspicion. It appears to be little more than sixty years old; and it seems highly improbable that if scriptural it could have escaped the scrutiny of the many devoted Bible students whose writings have been preserved to us from the past. More especially in the writings of the early Christian fathers would we expect to find some notice of this doctrine, if it had been taught by the Apostles; but those who have their works declare that they betray no knowledge of a theory that the Church would escape the Tribulation under Antichrist, or that there would be any “coming” except that spoken of in Matthew 24, as occurring in manifest glory “after the Tribulation.” This is all the more significant, because these writers bestowed much attention upon the subject of the Antichrist and the Great Tribulation. Augustine, referring to Daniel 7, wrote: “But he who reads this passage even half asleep cannot fail to see that the kingdom of Antichrist shall fiercely, though for a short time, assail the Church.” (Edmund Shackleton, Will the Church Escape the Great Tribulation?  pp. 31, 32, cited by Alexander Reese, The Approaching Advent of Christ, p. 231.)

A. W. Tozer: “Here is a doctrine that was not known or taught until the beginning of this century and it is already causing splits in churches.”

John Walvoord: thinks the pretrib rapture theory originated from Darby’s understanding of ecclesiology: “any careful student of Darby soon discovers that he did not get his eschatological views from men, but rather from his doctrine of the church as the body of Christ, a concept no one claims was revealed supernaturally to Irving or Macdonald.  Darby’s views undoubtedly were gradually formed, but they were theologically and biblically based rather than derived from Irving’s pre-Pentecostal group”. (Walvoord, The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation, p. 47.)

4. Implications!

Sometimes overlooked are the implications of the pretrib rapture recent origins. In my book Outline Studies On The Rapture Question (1973) I wrote “Search the pages of Church history and literature, and you will not find one mention of the Lord coming before the Tribulation until after 1800. No one has ever cited any literature, writings, or quotes to the contrary! The implications of this truth are serious. If the Pre-Tribulation doctrine were true, it would mean that it was hidden from the church for 19 centuries. Not one of the brilliant theologians or Bible teachers before the 1800’s were able to find a Pretrib rapture and coming of the Lord on the pages of Holy Scripture—an incredulous improbability to say the least!”


(1). Some scholars like John L. Bray promote the theory that the pretrib teaching originated with a Baptist minister named Morgan Edwards in 1788. A close analysis of his writing Millennium, Last-Novelities clearly does not outline end-time events as found in the teachings of Darby, Scofield, Walvoord, etc. See the analysis by Tim Warner in his article on Morgan Edwards.

(2) For more information on the pre-Darby pretrib theories see my friend Dave MacPherson’s article Deceiving And Being Deceived.

(3) Cited by Wm Kelly in The Rapture of the Saints: Who Suggested It, Or Rather On What Scripture? The Bible Treasury, New Series, vol. 4, p. 314-318.

(4) Harry Ironside (1876-1951) was an ardent pretrib dispensationalist, prolific writer, and former pastor of Moody Memorial Church.

(5) This was written in 1973 before the various claims of a pre-Darby pretrib rapture were widely known. But even if Morgan Edwards or one of the Jesuit priests taught the pretrib rapture theory before the 1800’s it would mean that the doctrine was hidden from the Church for more than 1600+ years!

Updated 7-24-2011

www.theologue.org

FOR FURTHER READING

The Rapture, the Tribulation and Christ’s Churchincludes a number of links to additional Post-Trib articles

Who’s Who in Prophecy – A huge list, this article gives positive ratings to Pre-Tribbers only.  Although I may not agree with the negative way Post-Tribbers are rated, the list provides a great deal of info on a number of Bible prophecy authorities, holding many different views. I see some big  names are not included, such as Berit Kjos.

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(revised 07/03/12)

Don’t get me wrong – I love Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches – particularly those recommended by Bro. David Cloud. Specifically, I love their faithfulness to the King James Bible, their zeal for soulwinning, their adherence to traditional worship services only, altar calls, the old hymns of the Faith, and so on.

But being brought up in the Wesleyan Holiness tradition, there are certain teachings I am uncomfortable with among IFBs. I am addressing a few of these in this blog.

Below I am reposting an article from Andrew Strom. Strom is a controversial character in some circles, but I believe this article is right on. Click here for the original text of Strom’s article. I am emphasizing certain points by bolding, and inserting comments in [brackets].

THREE DOCTRINES from HELL

by Andrew Strom


Let us begin with an important question, “What are the worst and most damaging doctrines in the Western church today?”

I believe that the most damaging ones are the ones that actually steal people’s salvation and afterwards wrap them in a false cocoon of comfort and assurance.  Three major doctrines do this. [I would disagree that these are the three most damaging doctrines, but they are certainly a problem.]

There is nothing worse than giving false comfort to people who are in danger.  It is the worst crime imaginable and yet preachers do it every week across the Western world.

Imagine if a building was on fire, but instead of crying out and warning the people, you went and comforted them and assured them they were OK — even while the smoke curled up from beneath.  Wouldn’t it be your fault if those people believed you and were killed?

Such is the situation today, and God will hold to account those who lull the sheep falsely with soothing lies. I tell you – this is a matter of life and death. And God’s judgment is coming against all who prove to be such hirelings – “tickling the ears”.

The 3 DOCTRINES from HELL:

(1) “ASK JESUS into your HEART”.  [IFB David Cloud does an excellent job of critiquing Easy Believism – he prefers the term Easy Prayerism. On the second and third doctrines discussed in this article, Bro. Cloud tends to defend them.] We have spoken about this before, so I won’t spend too long on it here. The fact of the matter is that NOBODY in the Bible ever “asked Jesus in” or ‘gave their heart to the Lord’ to become a Christian. There is NOT ONE instance of this ever happening. There are no people in the Book of Acts repeating a “sinner’s prayer” to get saved.  Nothing like it.  This doctrine simply DOES NOT EXIST in the Bible.

So what did people do in Acts?  Well, every time they wanted to become a Christian, they deeply REPENTED, they were BAPTIZED IN WATER, and also BAPTIZED in the HOLY SPIRIT. [I’m not sure why Strom puts this emphasis on immediate water baptism. To me water baptism is simply a witness to the world, “the outward sign of an inward change.” I do realize that in certain countries – such as India – Christians put their lives on the line when they take the step of a public witness i.e. water baptism. Also, I’m not sure why Strom places emphasis on immediate baptism in the Holy Spirit. This usually is not the reality of most Christians’ lives; even in the book of Acts,  Christians prayed, grew in Christ and prepared themselves for forty days before the Day of Pentecost. Also, an immediate baptism in the Holy Spirit runs against the grain of my Wesleyan Holiness beliefs.] These three things were always done straight away [again I question this – “always”?] – and were regarded as ESSENTIAL – not just “optional extras”. We are short-changing the entire church today with a doctrine that simply CANNOT BE FOUND in Scripture.  Merely “ASKING JESUS IN” is totally unscriptural. It is time to go back to getting people saved the BIBLE WAY. (-See Acts 2:38, Acts 8:12-17, Acts 10:44-48, Acts 19:1-6, Acts 22:16, etc.  See also my in-depth article at- http://www.revivalschool.com ).

Please notice that what the church is doing here is replacing Truth with something CONVENIENT, COMFORTABLE and EASY. “Just come forward and say this little prayer,” we tell them. No mention of DEEP REPENTANCE at all. -And a total lack of any real TRANSFORMATION into a “NEW CREATURE”. This is no salvation at all. We are robbing people blind in the name of comfort and convenience. How typical of the West. We have invented a lukewarm “salvation experience” to go with our lukewarm church.

(2) “ONCE SAVED – ALWAYS SAVED”. Now, having got people falsely “saved”, we create another ear-tickling wonder to make sure that they sleep on contentedly in the pews. While emphasising ‘tithing’ and attending church (-in that order) the main thing now is to keep them warm and happy – convinced of their “eternal security”.

And so we lull them with a doctrine saying that if they once got “saved” (ie. prayed the ‘little prayer’) – even if it was 20 years ago, then it is “IMPOSSIBLE” for them to lose their salvation.  No holiness needed!  Of course, we have to rely on the fact that they do not read their Bibles lest they find out that such a doctrine is a complete fabrication.

Thus, we conveniently leave out of our preaching such Scriptures as this: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  MANY will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works IN YOUR NAME?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART from me, you EVIL-DOERS.'” (Mt 7:21-23). Hmmm. “Eternal security”, anyone?

And of course, we must also leave out parables such as “The Parable of the Talents” because it contains this verse: “And cast the WORTHLESS SERVANT into outer darkness, where there shall be WAILING and GNASHING OF TEETH” (Mt 25:30). Notice that both the above Scriptures are speaking of people who think they are ‘saved’ but who END UP IN HELL. -And Jesus says there will be “MANY” like this.

And then there are dozens of other Scriptures such as, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” and ‘Those who do such things shall NOT inherit the kingdom of God,’ and “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord,” etc, etc.  So many Scriptures have to be ignored if we are to preach this cheap “Once Saved – Always Saved” doctrine.

But notice again how well this teaching suits our comfortable, convenient Western mindset.  Ear-tickling by the truckload.  Candy- coated and syrupy-sweet.  Can’t it be said that this is making people “two-fold more a child of hell” than they already were?

(3) The CHEAP “No Cost” RAPTURE Theory.  [A caveat: although I hold to the Post-Trib view, I am not dogmatic regarding my eschatology. I feel comfortable fellowshipping with all premillenial Christians – whether they be Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, or Post-Trib. Andrew Strom seems to take a stronger stand than I would against Pre-Tribbers and Mid-Tribbers.] Now this is a dangerous one to bring up! But I am concerned not so much with the TIMING of the Rapture here – but rather with the CHEAPNESS of it. Do I believe in a ‘Rapture’?  Yes, I do believe in a great “catching away” (as the Bible describes it).  But again, we have so degraded it in the West that it just becomes one more source of false comfort and cheap grace.  This time to escape without a scratch before any persecution or tribulation begins.  Once again – how CONVENIENT!

We are led to believe that our rich, fat-cat Western Christians with their false salvation and their “no need for holiness” doctrines will one day be flying in their jet airplanes and “Woosh!” – suddenly they will be gone. -‘Raptured’. Just in time to escape any bad stuff happening on the earth.

There are entire industries and multi-million-dollar ministries built on this whole thing — the “no cost” Rapture theory. How wonderfully it tickles Western ears! How we rush to buy the latest Best-seller!

But wait a minute. Wasn’t it Jesus (talking about the ‘time of the end’) who told his DISCIPLES, “This is but the BEGINNING of the birthpangs. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake”? (Mt 24:8-9 RSV). How is it then, that we are taught a ‘Rapture’ theory today in which we are “caught up” without any major tribulation or persecution? Jesus in the above passage clearly tells his DISCIPLES – His true followers – that they MUST expect great tribulation and persecution before the end.

It is very obvious from all the New Testament writings that Christians must go through persecution, sufferings and tribulations – and that this will get much worse in the end-times. There is never a hint that we should expect to be ‘Raptured’ without going through this.  But again, the Western doctrine preaches comfort, safety and convenience – a kind of “cheap way out”.

Why is this such a serious issue?  Well, a people who have been told again and again that God will “rescue” them before the real trouble starts – these are the most ILL-PREPARED people to face real persecution. The people who are most prepared are those who have looked the danger in the eye, and prepared their hearts to go through it. With our false comfort we are doing the worst job in the world of preparing our people for what is to come.

To SUMMARIZE

As you can see, what we have set up in the Western church is an entire system of FALSE ASSURANCE. First, we falsely assure people that they are “born again” when they are not. Then we falsely assure them that it is “IMPOSSIBLE” for them to lose their salvation – no matter what they do. Then we falsely assure them that they will escape all end-time tribulation and persecution with an ultra-convenient Rapture.

We have it all sewn up! It is a kind-of “cradle to the grave” system of false salvation –a whole set-up devoted to convincing Hell-bound people that they are going to Heaven by the “cheap and easy” route. Like the Fast Food outlets that we have invented in the West, it is all about ‘Instant Gratification’. It is the warm and comfortable way. No holiness needed. Just like going through a McDonalds drive-through. “Do you want fries with that ‘HAPPY MEAL’, sir?”

Every one of these lies is perfectly suited to our Western mindset.  That is why they have been so successful. But that does not stop them being LIES. -Nor does it stop them sending multitudes to Hell.

We in the West have become devotees of a kind-of “no pain” religion. Sadly, that religion no longer resembles true Christianity.  Let us REPENT of ALL such doctrines before it is too late, my friends.

To respond with feedback about this article, please write to prophetic@revivalschool.com.

God bless you all.

Kindest regards in Christ,

Andrew Strom

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(revised 04/27/14)

In this blog I wrote about the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium (WHC) and its participant denominations.

In 2006, the WHC published its “Holiness Manifesto”. In writing the Holiness Manifesto, it seems they simply took a hybrid of Emergent teachings and Dominionist teachings, then built a manifesto around them. Interesting – all  the time and effort put into meetings, document preparation, etc. Why did they not meet to study and pray about a return to biblically sound Holiness teachings of the past (of the “fundamentalist” Wesleyan Holiness movement of 1900-1920 and earlier)? Because the WCA members themselves are blind, in bondage to postmodern (Emerging/Emergent/Emergence) teachings. And postmodern teachings tie in very closely with the heretical Dominion Theology of the New Apostolic Reformation.

Consider one liberal Wesleyan’s discussion of  so-called “holiness”, found here. (I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in brackets):

During the late 19th century Wesleyan celebrations the English congregationalist preacher and theologian, R. W. Dale, reflecting on the Wesleyan heritage, claimed that Methodists had left the doctrine of holiness with Wesley and had not developed its potential as a great social ethic.

The modern tendency towards individualism has too often resulted in Methodists understanding piety from an individualist perspective and reading the Wesleyan emphasis on sanctification or holiness as an individual experience. The evangelistic practice flowing from this has emphasised [sic] the conversion of people one by one which then leads to changing society or the world. But does this gospel produce any real transformation at all apart from nominal change or conversion from a few personal bad habits? The conversion or even sanctification of the individual leading to societal change may well be a subverting of the gospel leaving untouched personal and structural realities of power relations, domination, greed and violence.

Note how the above quote downplays – and almost condemns – personal holiness (which is biblical holiness).

But I digress – let’s get back to the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium’s 2006, “Holiness Manifesto”. Click here for the original text of the following document. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

Holiness Manifesto

Wesleyan Holiness Study Project, Azusa, California, February 2006

The Crisis We Face

There has never been a time in greater need of a compelling articulation of the message of holiness.

Pastors and church leaders at every level of the church have come to new heights of frustration in seeking ways to revitalize their congregations and denominations. What we are doing is not working. Membership in churches of all traditions has flat-lined. In many cases, churches are declining. We are not even keeping pace with the biological growth rate in North America. The power and health of churches has also been drained by the incessant search for a better method, a more effective fad, a newer and bigger program to yield growth. In the process of trying to lead growing, vibrant churches, our people have become largely ineffective and fallen prey to a generic Christianity that results in congregations that are indistinguishable from the culture around them. Churches need a clear, compelling message that will replace the ‘holy grail’ of methods as the focus of our mission!

Many church leaders have become hostages to the success mentality of numeric and programmatic influence. They have become so concerned about ‘how’ they do church that they have neglected the weightier matter of ‘what’ the church declares. We have inundated the ‘market’ with methodological efforts to grow the church. In the process, many of our leaders have lost the ability to lead. They cannot lead because they have no compelling message to give, no compelling vision of God, no transformational understanding of God’s otherness. [Excuse me? I would think born again Christian pastors would know what the compelling, transformational message is – the gospel of salvation through the blood atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ, on the cross of Calvary. So why aren’t pastors preaching this?] They know it and long to find the centering power of a message that makes a difference. Now more than ever, they long to soak up a deep understanding of God’s call to holiness—transformed living. They want a mission. They want a message!

People all around are looking for a future without possessing a spiritual memory. They beg for a generous and integrative word from Christians that makes sense and makes a difference. [Does the gospel make sense to unbelievers? Of course not – what they need is a convicting message, conviction from the Holy Spirit, drawing them to repent and accept Christ.] If God is going to be relevant to people, we have a responsibility to make it clear to them. [God is relevant to people, but people need to come to Him in repentance. We should have a confrontational message, not the attractional message of New Evangelicals.] We have to shed our obsession with cumbersome language, awkward expectations, and intransigent patterns. [So are the authors of this document saying that biblical terms such as “repentance”, “salvation”, “atonement”, “justification”, etc. are “cumbersome” and “awkward”? Heaven forbid. Again, one of the major faults of New Evangelicals is that they have tried to preach an attractional message.] What is the core, the center, the essence of God’s call? That is our message, and that is our mission!

People in churches are tired of our petty lines of demarcation that artificially create compartments, denominations, and divisions. [Apparently the authors of this document are saying denominational divisions are bad; this is obvious in the efforts of the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium (WHC) to bring unity between numerous denominations. This, in spite of widely diverging doctrines, some of which are extremely heretical – such as the UPCI’s “Jesus Only” teachings.] They are tired of building institutions. They long for a clear, articulate message that transcends institutionalism and in-fighting among followers of Jesus Christ. They are embarrassed by the corporate mentality of churches that defend parts of the gospel as if it were their own. They want to know the unifying power of God that transforms. They want to see the awesomeness of God’s holiness that compels us to oneness in which there is a testimony of power. They accept the fact that not all of us will look alike; there will be diversity. But they want to know that churches and leaders believe that we are one—bound by the holy character of God who gives us all life and love. They want a message that is unifying. The only message that can do that comes from the nature of God, who is unity in diversity. [Are the unchurched really attracted to churches involved in unity? Or is this simply the agenda of the authors of this document?]

Therefore, in this critical time, we set forth for the church’s well being a fresh focus on holiness. [A fresh focus? Actually they mean a different focus, a redefinition of traditional, bibical holiness.] In our view, this focus is the heart of scripture concerning Christian existence for all times—and clearly for our time. [In other words, in these “postmodern” times, when the route to go is Emerging/Emergent/Emergence teachings.]

The Message We Have

God is holy and calls us to be a holy people.

God, who is holy, has abundant and steadfast love for us. God’s holy love is revealed to us in the life and teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. [True, but love is only one side of God; His justice demands that sinners who reject Him and His offer of salvation are punished for eternity in a Lake of Fire. Again, here is a major fault of New Evangelicals – refusing to present a “negative” message. Heaven forbid that unbelievers get turned off by what the Bible commands us to preach to them.] God continues to work, giving life, hope and salvation through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, drawing us into God’s own holy, loving life. God transforms us, delivering us from sin, idolatry, bondage, and self-centeredness to love and serve God, others, and to be stewards of creation [“Stewards of creation”? This sounds Emergent – see more on this below]. Thus, we are renewed in the image of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. [Excuse me? Nowhere in this paragraph do I see mention of a crisis conversion experience, in which sinners come to repentance and accept Christ as their Saviour.]

Apart from God, no one is holy. Holy people are set apart for God’s purpose in the world. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, holy people live and love like Jesus Christ. Holiness is both gift and response, renewing and transforming, personal and communal, ethical and missional. [Ah, “missional” – there is a key term used by postmoderns.] The holy people of God follow Jesus Christ in engaging all the cultures of the world and drawing all peoples to God. [“Holy people of God”? Is this the new phrase for “born again Christians”? “Drawing all peoples to God”? Is this the new term for “preaching the gospel of salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ”? It irks me when postmodern Christians water down biblically sound terminology. It’s as if they want to be politically correct and not turn off anyone – not even other Christians.]

Holy people are not legalistic or judgmental. They do not pursue an exclusive, private state of being better than others. [These first two sentences seem like a putdown of fundamentalists – such as Independent Fundamentalist Baptists and Conservative Holiness denominations. To me, these two groups are truly holy – I would rather fellowship with one holy fundamentalist, than 1,000 “holy” postmoderns.] Holiness is not flawlessness but the fulfillment of God’s intention for us. The pursuit of holiness can never cease because love can never be exhausted. [It seems the authors here are equating holiness with love; they are emphasizing social holiness, not personal holiness. The concept of holiness as loving and relational has been around for years; in the Nazarene denomination it was popularized by Mildred Wynkoop and others.]

God wants us to be, think, speak, and act in the world in a Christ-like manner. We invite all to embrace God’s call to:

  • be filled with all the fullness of God in Jesus Christ—Holy Spirit-endowed co-workers for the reign of God; [“Reign of God” is a Dominionism term. Consider a quote from this site: “Dominion or Kingdom theology… is largely based upon a post-millennial view which is that Christ will return to earth after the thousand year reign of God’s kingdom. The church progressively brings righteousness and peace to the world which will eventually be Christianized. Following a brief time of tribulation, Christ will return to earth and establish a new heaven and a new earth for eternity.” This fits in very well with the theology of many of the participating denominations in the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium. Many are Pentecostal denominations, actively involved in Dominionist, New Apostolic Reformation teachings. Instead of going from a pre-Trib view to a post-Trib view, it seems the Holiness authors and the Pentecostal authors of the Holiness Manifesto have succumbed to a post-millenial eschatology. Scary.]
  • live lives that are devout, pure, and reconciled, thereby being Jesus Christ’s agents of transformation in the world; [“Agents of transformation” – another Dominionist term. The Bible does not command us to be “agents of transformation”, but witnesses for Christ, preaching the gospel of salvation to every creature.]
  • live as a faithful covenant people, building accountable community, growing up into Jesus Christ, embodying the spirit of God’s law in holy love; [Embodying the spirit of God’s law in holy love? What about “obeying the commands of God’s Word, living morally pure and holy lives”? Why don’t postmoderns mention this?]
  • exercise for the common good [“For the common good”? Why not use the Bible’s phrase “the body of Christ”?] an effective array of ministries and callings, according to the diversity of the gifts of the Holy Spirit;
  • practice compassionate ministries, solidarity with the poor, advocacy for equality, justice, reconciliation, and peace; [In other words, “social holiness”, the social gospel repackaged. What does this have to do with the message of salvation which saves us from an eternal burning Lake of Fire? Are we to “save” people from misery in this world, or from  eternal damnation?]
  • care for the earth, God’s gift in trust to us, working in faith, hope, and confidence for the healing and care of all creation. [In other words, Christian environmentalism, a postmodern stewardship of Planet Earth.]

By the grace of God, let us covenant together to be a holy people.

The Action We Take

May this call impel us to rise to this biblical vision of Christian mission:

  • Preach the transforming message of holiness; [this is not biblical; the biblical message is the transforming message of salvation through the atonement of  Jesus Christ on the bloody cross of Calvary – not holiness aka “social holiness”]
  • Teach the principles of Christ-like love and forgiveness; [the Bible commands us to make disciples – not teach “Christ-like love and forgiveness”]
  • Embody lives that reflect Jesus Christ;
  • Lead in engaging with the cultures of the world [What does “engaging with the cultures” really mean? Postmodern missions today are into “contextualization”; they are not presenting the biblical gospel message of Christ’s death on the cross for their sins.]
  • Partner with others to multiply its effect for the reconciliation of all things. [“Reconciliation of all things” – yet another Dominionism Theology phrase.]

For this we live and labor to the glory of God.

SOME COMMENTS ON THE “HOLINESS MANIFESTO”

What is the connection between the Emergent movement and Dominion Theology? Consider this excellent quote from Don Koenig’s article, The Woman On The Beast In End Time Prophecy Has Dominion Theology, posted in 2006:

You might wonder how the seeker friendly movement and the emergent church movement fit in with Dominion Theology. In general, neither Rosemary [the seeker sensitive movement] nor her baby  [the Emergent Church movement] teaches about the prophetic passages of the Bible with any rapture of the Church or any judgment coming on the earth prior to the return of Jesus Christ. They both teach a form of religious humanism. They want world religion to be the woman who socializes the world and establishes a humanistic utopia before the return of Jesus or even without and [sic] true biblical Jesus. They might even call their world social agenda the great commission but there is no salvation message within. They have a gospel of humanistic social good works where world religion will establish dominion in the world.

The Bible does not instruct us to take the world by social good works and compromise with world religions. It tells the Church to preach the Gospel of salvation to every creature. The Bible clearly teaches that the world will remain in opposition to God and it will not become a paradise until after the wrath of God is poured out and Jesus returns with His saints in glory. The Bible prophetically teaches that the “Christian” church will depart from the truth and depart from sound doctrine in the last days. This just happens to be what is taking place through these heretical movements. Thus, their worldview and the social actions that they are taking to put the world under religion indicate that the “Seeker Friendly” church growth movement and the “Emergent Church” movement embraces [sic] socialist humanistic Dominion Theology.

FOR FURTHER READING

The Holiness Manifesto

The Holiness Manifesto (click on the link to preview online) – a book with a number of essays defending the Holiness Manifesto. The manifesto itself is found in Chapter Three of the book.

The Holiness Manifesto!– a good blog critiquing the document

Holiness Manifesto – a blog with some liberal United Methodist comments

THE HOLINESS MANIFESTO: AN ECUMENICAL DOCUMENT, by Don Thorsen (Wesleyan Theological Journal, Fall 2007, pp. 209,224) – viewable online

Holiness Redefined

” “H” is for Holiness” – Chapter 3, preview available online in book entitled “A” is for Abductive: The Language of the Emerging Church, by Leonard Sweet, Leonard Brian D. McLaren, and Jerry Haselmayer (2003)

Social Holiness

“Social Holiness: Experiments in prayer and other subversive acts in the local church and community,” by Duane Clinker (2006)[click here to download this “doc” file] – quoted by Brian McLaren in his book Everything Must Change.

Dominion Theology/Kingdom Now Theology

Dominion Theology

Dominion Theology (Wikipedia article)

Dominionism (Wikipedia article)

NAR and Dominionism Have Been a Concern of Conservative Christian Groups for Many Years, by Rachel Tabachnick (Oct 18, 2011)

What is Dominionism?

Who Invented Dominionism?  (09/09/11)

Connections between Dominionism/Kingdom Now Theology, the New Apostolic Reformation and the Emergent Movement

Emergent Churches are Kingdom Builders!

The Kingdom of Emergent Theology – Part 1, by Gary Gilley
The Kingdom of Emergent Theology – Part 2, by Gary Gilley
The Kingdom of Emergent Theology – Part 3, by Gary Gilley

Leonard Sweet, Frank Viola,  and the Third Way x

PARTICIPANT DENOMINATIONS IN THE WESLEYAN HOLINESS CONSORTIUM

(I will be adding links as I locate them, regarding the involvement of these denominations in Emergent teachings and Dominion/ Kingdom Now teachings.)

Assemblies of God 

A WARNING To The Assemblies of God, by Travers van der Merwe (originally taped in 1989) – warns the AOG about involvement of various pastors, etc. in Dominionism Theology/Kingdom Now Theology.

Brethren in Christ Church

Christian & Missionary Alliance

Christian & Missionary Alliance – Canada

Church of God – Anderson

Church of God – Cleveland

Church of the Nazarene

The Evangelical Church

Evangelical Friends Church International (EFCI)

– The EFCI is not a participating denomination in the WHC. However, the EFCI did participate in the writing of the Holiness Manifesto. For more info, check out the paragraph on the EFCI near the bottom of this blog.

Free Methodist Church

The Foursquare Church

Grace Communion International

Int’l Pentecostal Holiness Church

The Salvation Army

 Shield of Faith

United Methodist Church

United Pentecostal Church Int’l

Wesleyan Church

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(blog under construction – revised 01/27/12)

In this blog I critiqued the Global Wesleyan Alliance (GWA), which I believe is being formed as an Emergent alliance.

So I was not surprised to learn that a hybrid Emergent/Dominionist alliance was formed back in 2006, in this case between Holiness denominations and Pentecostal denominations (which grew out of the Holiness movement): the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium (WHC).

Actually, the GWA is just now being formed, and it is an Emergent alliance from the get go. The WHC, formed in 2006, has also been into Emergent teachings and Dominion Theology from the very beginning.

I just learned from Manny Silva of the “Concerned Nazarenes” Facebook Group that the WHC met recently. (A press release about the meeting was publishing in the Nazarene Holiness Today, so it seems the postmodern Nazarene leaders have had their fingers in yet another Emergent pie for years now.) Manny wrote:

Unity is a big word here again. Note one of the participants- Jack Hayford – who is connected to C. Peter Wagner and the New Apostolic Reformation.

Among the various heretical charismatic/Third Wave denominations, the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI) jumped out at me. They are Oneness Pentecostals (aka Jesus only Pentecostals), as this article of theirs clearly shows.   Most discernment ministries do not even consider them born again Christians – but rather a cult – since one of the key doctrines in a truly Christian doctrinal statement is the doctrine of the Trinity, which the UPCI denies. So why would the WHC even consider allowing the UPCI to join? This is just one example of the WHC’s terrible lack of discernment.

Another denomination that jumped out at me is the UMC (United Methodist Church). It is liberal/mainline, increasingly Emergent, and a member of the National Council of Churches.

I could go on and on describing heresies of the WHC’s participating denominations, But I am instead providing this link to the list of WHC participating denominations, for you to examine them yourself.

Regarding both the GWA and the WHC, it appears that neither group includes the Conservative Holiness denominations. I assume the GWA and the WHC 1) don’t want the Conservative Holiness denominations to join, or 2) the Conservative Holiness denominations have enough discernment and common sense not to join.

And here is an interesting pdf document for download, that discusses the origin and development of the WHC. On page 1, the Evangelical Friends denomination (EFCI) is listed as one of the denominations helping prepare The Holiness Manifesto. I find it interesting that the EFCI takes part in various Holiness ventures like this, without actually joining multi-denominational Holiness organizations. I can only conclude that the EFCI prefers instead to join ecumenical efforts with non-evangelical (nonchristian) Quaker denominations. Most significantly, the EFCI takes part in the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC), which they joined in 1970. [In case you’re wondering, many of my blogs on this blogsite deal specifically with the EFCI – the denomination of my childhood (it was still biblically sound at that time) and later the denomination of  Spiritual Formation heretic Richard Foster.]

But I digress. The EFCI is considered a Holiness denomination, but so far it is not a member of the WHC.

In this blog, I have merely discussed the WHC participant denominations. For further documentation that the WHC is a deeply Emergent/Dominionist consortium,  check out my blog critiquing the WHC’s “Holiness Manifesto”, published in 2006.

FOR FURTHER READING

Apostles, Prophets, and Aberrant Doctrine: Book review of Understanding the Five Fold Ministry (edited by Matthew D. Green), by Holly Pivec – This book review mentions Foursquare leader Jack Hayford, as well as the Assemblies of God, all connected with the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium.

Read Full Post »

(revised 12/15/13)

I love aspects of both the Wesleyan Holiness movement and the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist movement. So I was intrigued to find a connection between the Holiness-oriented Keswick movement and dispensationalists such as C.I. Scofield. Below I have reposted an article by Paul Gibbs, describing this connection.

But first a few comments. Douglas Banister mentions Scofield in The Word and Power Church: What Happens When a Church Seeks All God Has to Offer.  This book is too New Evangelical for me, but Banister does provide this insightful statement:

… C.I. Scofield wove Keswick teachings into his famous Scofield Reference Bible and later into the curriculum of the Bible school that later became Dallas Theological Seminary [a Baptist school]

And Andy Naselli here mentions one of the successors of the early Keswick Movement as:

“Dallas Theological Seminary: bastion of the Chaferian View of Sanctification (Scofield, Chafer, Walvoord, Ryrie)” [with a mild, modified form of Keswick theology]

I hope to research Independent Fundamentalist Baptists further, to see how their theology “got from there to here.” Specifically, although C.I. Scofield favored the Holiness-oriented Keswick movement, the devout users of Scofield’s Reference Bible seem to adamantly oppose a “second blessing,” the filling of the Holy Spirit at a point other than immediately upon conversion. (For more on the Keswick movement as related to Baptist theology, see the “For Further Reading” section at the bottom of this blog.)

Note – I do not approve of the current theology of the Keswick movement. Like many other evangelical movements, the Keswick movement became New Evangelical, and most recently, has compromised with postmodernism (Emerging/Emergent/Emergence teachings). See for example this link from the Keswick website. Tragic. (See more about the Keswick compromises in the Addendum at the end of this blog.)

Having said that, I would say the Keswick movement up until 1948 (the founding of the National Association of Evangelicals) was biblically sound.

I have reposted Paul Gibbs’ entire article here, rearranging the footnotes (placing them all at the bottom). Also, I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets]. I have also corrected the punctuation in a few spots. Click here for the entire original text of the article.

“LET GO AND LET GOD”: KESWICK MOVEMENT’S LASTING IMPACT ON FUNDAMENTALISM’S VIEW OF SANCTIFICATION”
Mr. Paul Gibbs, Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary, Lansdale, PA

Introduction

The National Leadership Conference this year [2008] deals with the topic of sanctification. As part of the conference’s coverage, various theological models of sanctification are being stated and compared. The Keswick view of sanctification refers to the view promoted by speakers and organizers of a nondenominational, summer Bible conference on the shores of Lake Derwentwater, in England’s Lake District. This summer conference, continuing to this day, impacted our fundamentalist forebears and continues to have a latent influence on our language and practical theology.

Days at the Keswick Convention start with quiet times on the lakeshore and move on to group worship and Bible teaching, followed with an afternoon of relaxation and time for spiritual reflection, and closed in an evening of powerful preaching ( 1). Men who wove the fabric of our history walked along these Keswick shores; a short list of their names looks like a shelf in my grandfather’s library: Hudson Taylor, H. C. G. Moule, C. I. Scofield, Andrew Murray, G. Campbell Morgan, R. A. Torrey, Donald Gray Barnhouse, and Dwight L. Moody. They came to Keswick to drink in the spirit of surrender for which Keswick is so noted, a spirit which aims for surrendered hearts owned by Christ, which He will fill and bring His holiness to sinful flesh which is unable to do any good thing of itself. Along these shores, the term “surrender” takes deep root in the hearts of those who visit, and, since its beginning in 1875, Keswick shoots have sprung up all around the world (2). American Fundamentalism, since its beginnings after the Civil War, has shared in the deep roots of Keswick: Keswick theology, emphasizing the attainability of complete sanctification through the surrender of the heart to Jesus Christ, was part of the climate of early Fundamentalism.

This workshop attempts to clarify the theology, history, and influence of Keswick theology on early fundamentalism. As such, three subjects will be surveyed: 1) the distinctives of Keswick theology, 2) the history of Keswick, and 3) trans-Atlantic conduits of Keswick influence.

Distinctives of Keswick theology

The hallmark of Keswick theology is its doctrine of sanctification. While it builds upon the Reformed tradition and is in essential agreement with that view, Keswick proponents view the Reformed doctrine as not going far enough to explain how a Christian can use his or her Reformed perspective to see sin defeated in their lives (3). Contrasted with the traditional Reformed doctrine of sanctification, Keswick theology teaches that Christ gives us complete victory over all conscious sin when we reach a point of total consecration, or “absolute surrender.” This may be seen by clarifying both views and noting the differences.

The traditional Reformed view of sanctification

Reformed doctrine teaches that sanctification is an act of God, completed at glorification, in which He gradually eliminates sin in the saint’s life by providing spiritual “muscles” in powerless human flesh by which the saint may work out a desire for holiness.

Sanctification will never result in complete victory until glorification

Sanctification, the “link between regeneration and glorification,”(4) is the beginning of the path to glorification, and glorification (including the absence of sin) will not be accomplished until we are resurrected in a new body. According to the Westminster Confession, XIII. ii, “This sanctification is throughout, in the whole man; yet imperfect in this life, there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part.”(5) In Reformed doctrine, man is always aware of sin’s presence.

Sanctification is an ongoing struggle with sin in which man participates

Reformation doctrine teaches that the Holy Spirit provides spiritual “muscles” which the saint may use to perform godly works (6): “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” Paul says, with the understanding that “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13). Strong describes sanctification as being an “intelligent” rooting about in one’s life to discover and destroy sin (7), and which involves man’s God-given diligence in utilizing, with God-given resolve, all God-given tools at his disposal to conquer sinful thoughts and deeds (8).

The Keswick doctrine of sanctification

In contrast to the traditional Reformed view of sanctification, Keswick theology accepts the foundational teaching of Reformed doctrine but says that sanctification can and should results [sic] in a state of absolute victory over all of the sins of which a saint is consciously aware, and that this state is brought about without the conscious effort of the saint through the work of Jesus Christ, Who works only as the saint maintains a state of total consecration.

Sanctification, absolute victory over all known sin, is available today

According to an authoritative speaker on Keswick theology, Stephen Barabas (9), Christ’s work in the believer’s life is already complete in the cross, and may bring absolute victory over all known sin in a believer’s life (10); that absolute victory is accessed by surrendering one’s life in faith that Christ will perform the work of complete victory over known sin (11).  It is not classical Wesleyan sanctification (the perfect manifestation of God’s love, though lived out in the weaknesses of our fallen intellects and fallen society), nor is [it] American holiness-movement perfectionism (the eradication of all sin), but rather victory over all known sin (12). [I like this clarification of the three movements’ definitions of sanctification.]

Sanctification is not a struggle

Keswick, Barabas says, teaches that freedom from all known sin “is not attained by struggle and painful effort, by earnest resolutions and self-denial, but through the cross. It is stepped into by simple faith.” (13) The first great Keswick voice, South African Andrew Murray, posed human effort and resolve as the enemy of virtue: “The greatest hindrance to trust is self-effort. So long as you have got your own wisdom and thoughts and strength, you cannot fully trust God.”(14)  Waltke characterizes this model of sanctification as “teaching that from the inner passivity of looking to Christ to do everything will issue a perfection of performance.”( 15) This teaching is in opposition to Reformed doctrine. As such, Keswick literature frequetly [sic] uses terminology such as “Let go and let God,” “victorious Christian living”, and “absolute surrender”.

The history of Keswick

Keswick theology is, essentially, 1) American Oberlin perfectionism (i.e., Charles Finney) imported to England by popular American speakers, 2) introduced to the upper classes, where its Wesleyan perfectionist edge was removed,  3) institutionalized by means of its central theme at the Keswick Conference, 4) and imported back to the United States in its new form by early fundamentalists.

Born in Philadelphia

The Americans who took the kernel form of “Keswick teaching” to England were Mr. and Mrs. William E. Boardman, and, most importantly, Mrs. and Mr. Robert Pearsall Smith (Mrs. Smith’s ministry was even more influential than her husband’s). [Warning: Mrs. Smith – Hannah Whitall Smith –  was into “Christian Universalism” for a time before joining the Keswick movement. See my quote from Bob Every, in the “Further Reading” section at the bottom of this blog.] Living in Philadelphia, William Boardman wrote a Wesleyan/holiness book titled The Higher Christian Life in 1858, and the book was an immediate and enduring success in England for up to 50 years later. The book’s success in England was due in part to the fact that a strong alliance between pietistic Evangelicals existed in England at that time, and there was and a broad and renewed interest in personal spiritual life (16). Both the Smiths and the Boardmans moved to England in the early 1870s for health reasons (17), where they associated under D.L. Moody to hold evangelistic meetings. During the evangelistic campaigns, they held, along with Asa Mahan, former president of Oberlin College (18), morning breakfast meetings for businessmen and clergy at which they promoted their particular doctrine of Wesleyan perfectionism. As their books were well received, so were their lectures, and their influence began to grow.

The Broadlands, Oxford, Brighton and the birth of the Keswick Convention

The breakfasts which the Smiths and Boardmans led were held during the morning, at a time which was inconvenient for the person of average means, who was unable to take time from work to attend the meetings (19). Thus, the Americans were received into upper-class, influential intellectual circles almost immediately (20). In 1874, at the Broadlands estate in England, an invitation-only meeting was held of about 100 influential English evangelicals; the Smiths and Boardmans were among those present, and they presented their views at these meetings. Following this, a larger conference was held at Oxford, with one thousand attendees (21) at which Rev. T. D. Harford-Battersby, Vicar of St. John’s, Keswick, was impressed by what he perceived to be the biblicity of this Boardman-Smith “Higher Life” teaching. Nine months later, a larger Higher Life meeting of 8,000 individuals 22 was held in Brighton, and Harford-Battersby and a new associate of his, a Quaker by the name of Robert Wilson (23), became convinced of the necessity to begin holding such meetings in Keswick. The Oxford Convention was held during the summer vacation season, and so, in the style of the Oxford conference, the first Keswick conference was also hosted in the August following Brighton. The leadership was the same leadership of the previous conventions, with the exception of Robert Pearsall Smith (who retired to seclusion that year (24)) and the addition of W. H. Webb-Peploe (who would become the principle leader of the convention for some fifty years following). Though the attendance only numbered about three hundred (25), those who attended were encouraged, and the decision was made to continue holding them yearly.

As has been just mentioned, Robert Pearsall Smith retired during the year of the first Keswick Conference, before it convened. His retirement brought a vital turn of events in Keswick history and marked a shift in the mood and content of the teaching of those who took his place in Keswick. Since becoming a member of Keswick meant being associated with a particular brand of questionable American perfectionism, many leaders of the evangelical church had started to shun their English brethren of Higher Life persuasion (26). With the American leadership now dropping from the movement, the university-trained British founders were free to take what the Americans had brought and refine it in such as way as to give it a greater deal of theological refinement and credibility among their suspic ious brethren. Thus, the gap left by the disappearing American leadership brought a new influx of well-educated English clergy who were pressured to build a theology which was more refined and free of perfectionist trappings. Marsden explains that, by smoothing off the rough edges of Wesleyan perfectionism, replacing terms such as “eradication” with “counteraction,” and emphasizing “fillings” of the Spirit instead of “baptisms” of the Spirit, “Keswick teachers could offer a doctrine that in practice had many of the same implications as the more Wesleyan Holiness teachings, but in theory avoided the claim . . . of ever being totally without sin.” (27)

Homecoming

A key American associate with Keswick since its inception was D. L. Moody. Moody, having much in common with Keswick theology, both in its teachings on sanctification (he himself had a Keswick experience of deepened surrender in 1871) and eschatology (Keswick leaders were largely premillennialists (28), began to invite Keswick speakers to come and speak at his new Northfield conference (29), which was a popular conference among Fundamentalists (30).  Further, Princeton hosted three years of Keswick meetings which helped secure a home for Keswick in America: after three years, the American Keswick movement settled into its permanent home at Keswick Grove, New Jersey (31). Thus, Keswick theology had come home— and, going through years of refinement in England, had been made more appealing for conservative, fundamentalist tastes (32).

Trans-Atlantic conduits of Keswick-fundamentalist influence

Fundamentalism grew with the Keswick movement. The two movements shared many leaders who crossed each other’s paths frequently, with members from group speaking in the other group’s meetings. A short survey of fundamentalist connections to this movement follows.

The Keswick influence on American Fundamentalism must begin with Moody, in Northfield. Northfield was an important fundamentalist stomping grounds (33), and noted Fundamentalist and Keswick voice A. T. Pierson taught there (34). Keswick conference director Webb-Peploe spoke at Northfield in 1895, fundamentalist and Keswick teacher A. J. Gordon taught there, and F. B. Meyer spoke there at the same time that C. I. Scofield was there (35), Through Northfield, fundamentalist and Keswick leaders rubbed shoulders and formed friendships that led to the cross-training of their conference speakers.

Writers and speakers such as Baptist fundamentalist A. J. Gordon, influential in Fundamentalism with his paper, Watchword (documenting early Fundamentalism from 1878-1895) (36) and Boston teacher A. T. Pierson, with his widely-read Missionary Review of the World (37), promulgated Keswick thought in the American fundamentalist camp. These two papers, along with James H. Brooks’ paper, The Truth, were keystone fundamentalist papers, and brought Keswick thought and language into the studies and homes of early fundamenalists [sic] across America.

We see the Keswick influence in The Fundamentals itself, which contains many entries by Keswick thinkers and features as primary editor R. A. Torrey himself, who was very involved at Keswick (speaking at Keswick in 1895, he even briefly referenced his Northfield experience (38)). A short perusal of the table of contents reveals at least fourteen entries by Keswick crossovers: five by A. T. Pierson, three by R. A. Torrey, one by H. C. G. Moule (the theologian of the Keswick movement), one by C. H. Trumbell, two by Henry Frost (one of which was titled, “Consecration”), one by G. Campbell Morgan, and, finally— and most notably—one by Keswick chairman H. W. Webb-Peploe himself, titled, “A Personal Testimony” (39).

Conclusion

On my bookshelf sit twelve volumes written by Keswick writer Andrew Murray which I purchased and read, one-by-one, when I was in college. Dog-eared and underlined, they were my tutors in spiritual growth. Somewhere along the line, whether through Murray’s books, teachers, or through my friends, I picked up the idea that for an individual to labor in the conquest of sin is prideful, spiritual arrogance, for, in doing so, I was told, one trusts in the arm of flesh for spiritual strength. For several years, I tried each day in times of quiet meditation to clear my heart of all determination, and, as Murray’s Humility would have it, to rest in absolute helplessness and weakness at God’s feet, and rise, expecting myself to walk out in victory; I trusted God—certainly, I would not sin. Unfortunately, my own experience proved this method to be not unsuccessful in its aim of conquering sin’s influence in my life. Eventually, I moved away from the Keswick method, and Keswick teaching—though I did not yet know it by that name—slowly made its way into boxes in my attic.

I have never been to England. I have received all of my spiritual training in fundamentalist circles. Until the last several years, I wasn’t even familiar with the term “Keswick”. Yet still, I had been influenced by it. Even if an American fundamentalist never reads a single Keswick author, he may pick up the language and teaching from a pastor, a friend, or Bible college professors, any of which may be in the stream of Keswick thought.

Understanding our roots is critical to understanding the way we grow as believers. We must recognize which roots in Fundamentalism produce which results. For those who may be discouraged, as I was, by the shortcomings of a theology closely resembling the Keswick model, they might find encouragement through understanding their theological roots. By finding the words to describe their theological struggle, and by placing a name on the set of concepts which they employ to cope with sin in their lives (call it the “Keswick” approach, for example), they may objectively study the theological models and decide whether their models are the most scriptural approaches. It is important, then, for all of us, as we are affected by so vexing an issue as our sanctification, to clearly and explicitly state our approach to sanctification and know for sure that the theology beneath our feet—the ground on which we wage the war against sin in our lives—is the solid ground of God [sic] Word.

FOOTNOTES

(1) Keswick Convention, “A Typical Weekday at Keswick”; available: http://www.keswickconv.com/whatis.html; Internet; accessed 4 February 2003.

(2) According to the official Keswick website, its theology remains unchanged. “The world has changed dramatically since [1875], yet the Biblical truths and values that inspired that first meeting in Keswick have not.” Keswick Convention, “What is Keswick?”; available: http://www.keswickconv.com/whatiskeswick.htm ; Internet; accessed 16 April 2001.
[Note – as I mentioned at the beginning of my blog, the Keswick theology has changed. Its website uses postmodern (Emerging/Emergent/Emergence terminology, such as “missional” and “relational.”]

(3) Cf., J. Robertson McQuilkin, “Response to Hoekema,” ch. in Five Views on Sanctification, ed. Stanley N. Gundry (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987), 98-99.

(4) J. I. Packer, “Keswick and the Reformed Doctrine of Sanctification,” Evangelical Quarterly 27 (July 1955), 155.

(5) William S. Barker, ed., The Westminster Standards: An Original Fascimile (Audubon, NJ: Old Paths, 1997), 25.

(6) Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976), 533-534; Augustus H. Strong, Systematic Theology (Valley Forge, Pa.: Judson, 1993), 871.

(7) Strong, Systematic Theology, 871.

(8) Berkhof, Systematic Theology, 534.

(9) Barabas’ systematic expression of Keswick theology and history (Steven Barabas, So Great Salvation: The History and Message of the Keswick Convention (Westwood, N.J.: n.d.)) has been deemed authoritative by proponents and opponents of Keswick teaching alike. An opponent of the movement, J. I. Packer calls Barabas’s work “a statement of the distinctive and characteristic ‘Keswick teaching’ which we may safely treat as definitive” (Packer, “Keswick,” 153); Keswick Convention Council chairman Fred Mitchell agrees in Barabas’ preface, (Barabas, So Great Salvation, x).

(10) Barabas, So Great Salvation, 84.

(11) Ibid., 90; Packer, “Keswick,” 161.

(12) H. W. Webb-Peploe, Sunday School Times, 25 June 1 898; quoted in Strong, Systematic Theology, 877; Ernest R. Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism: British and American Millenarianism (Chicago: U. of Chicago, 1970), 179.

(13) Barabas, So Great Salvation, 90.

(14) Andrew Murray, Absolute Surrender (Springdale, Pa.: Whitaker, 1982), 114. Cf. Andrew Murray, Obtain the Power of God (Springdale, Pa.: Whitaker, 1984), 18-19; Andrew Murray, Humility (Springdale, Pa.: Whitaker, 1982), 66.
[Be discerning in purchasing these reprint editions; often they quote Bible versions other than the KJV. I recommend the free, original online versions of Murray’s books; to read them, click here.]

(15) Bruce Waltke, “Evangelical Spirituality: A Biblical Scholar’s Perspective,” JETS 31/1 (March 1988), 22. [I think JETS stands for Journal of Evangelical Theological Society.]

(16) David Bundy, “Keswick and the Experience of Evangelical Piety,” chap. in Modern Christian Revivals, eds. Edith L. Blumhofer and Randall Balmer (Chicago: U. of Illinois, 1993), 134. As Hudson Taylor’s son said, the time around the arrival of Boardman’s book into England was characterized by “a remarkable movement for the deepening of spiritual life.” (Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission: The Growth of a Work of God (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1934), 264.)

(17) Barabas, So Great Salvation, 19.

(18) Johnson, The Highest Life, 15. Oberlin was the college where Finney was professor of theology and from which Finney wrote on perfectionism. Mahan also participated in the early Keswick meetings, according to Marsden (George M. Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth-Century Evangelicalism: 1870-1925 (Oxford: Oxford, 1980), 77). Though Mahan’s influence was not very large, his invitation, interest, and participation in these meetings highlights the harmony of doctrine in both Oberlin theology and the theology of the Boardmans, Smiths, and—later— Keswick.

(19) Ian S. Rennie, review of Keswick: A Bibliographic Introduction to the Higher Life Movements, by D.D. Bundy, JETS 19:4 (Fall 1976): 342.

(20) Rennie States, “The social class of its members has an effect on any movement, and English Keswick and Anglican evangelicalism will never be understood without an awareness of their upper-class orientation” (ibid.)

(21) Barabas, So Great Salvation, 23.

(22) Ibid.

(23) Ibid., 25.

(24) Though the precise circumstances surrounding his retirement from public life are to this day uncertain (Sandeen, Roots, 179), an official report on Smith’s retirement was made by some close associate of Smith several months after the first Keswick meeting. According to their report, Smith had “inculcated doctrines which were most unscriptural and dangerous” (Barabas, So Great Salvation, 27) and had also made some actions which were felt to be indiscreet (ibid). Smith and Boardman, it has been proposed, were incompatible with this goal, and thus the “dangerous” character of his teachings were exaggerated as a means to affect his disposal (ibid.; Bundy, “Keswick,” 127): Bundy states, “Smith’s perfectionism, with the attendant expectations of an American-style religious experience, had been troublesome even to some of Smith’s supporters. It would appear that an indiscretion on Smith’s part gave them a basis for eradicating him” (ibid.).

(25) Ibid., 26.

(26) Ibid., 27. According to Marsden, “The most influential British founders of the movement seem to have been quite careful to avoid the charge of teaching perfectionism, an accusation that had some plausibility considering the American company they were keeping” (Marsden, Fundamentalism, 77).

(27) Marsden, Fundamentalism, 78.

(28) Sandeen, Roots, 179.

(29) Ibid., 176; Marsden, Fundamentalism, 78.

(30) David Beale, In Pursuit of Purity: American Fundamentalism Since 1950 (Greenville: BJU, 1986), 60.

(31) Sandeen, Roots, 180.

(32) It never did sit well with some American theologians, such as B. B. Warfield, who wrote a scathing denunciation of the movement (B. B. Warfield, Perfectionism (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981)).

(33) Beale, In Pursuit of Purity, 60; Sandeen, Roots, 179.

(34) A. T. Pierson’s The Keswick Movement in Precept and Practice (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1900) was an early enunciation of Keswick theology.

(35) Sandeen, Roots, 180; Marsden, Fundamentalism, 249

(36) Beale, Pursuit of Purity, 24, 139.

(37) Ibid., 61.

(38) R. A. Torrey, “How to Receive the Holy Ghost,” chap. in Keswick’s Triumphant Voice, ed. Herbert F. Stevenson (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1963), 355.

(39) R. A. Torrey, A. C. Dixon, et al. The Fundamentals (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1972). [The free, original versions of these articles are available online at various websites.]

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Barabas, Steven. So Great Salvation: The History and Message of the Keswick Convention. Westwood, N.J.: n.d.

Barker, William S., ed. The Westminster Standards: An Original Fascimile. Audobon, NJ: Old Paths, 1997.

Beale, David. In Pursuit of Purity: American Fundamentalism Since 1950. Greenville: BJU, 1986.

Berkhof, Louis. Systematic Theology, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976

Bundy, David. “Keswick and the Experience of Evangelical Piety.” In Modern Christian Revivals, eds. Edith L. Blumhofer and Randall Balmer, 118-144. Chicago: U. of Illinois, 1993.

Keswick Convention. “A Typical Weekday at Keswick.” Available: http://www.keswickconv.com/whatis.htm ; Internet; accessed 4 February, 2003.
__________. “What is Keswick?” Available: http://www.keswickconv.com/whatiskeswick.htm ; Internet; accessed 16 April 2001.

Marsden, George M. Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth-Century Evangelicalism: 1870-1925. Oxford: Oxford, 1980.

McQuilkin, J. Robertson. “Response to Hoekema.” In Five Views on Sanctification, ed. Stanley N. Gundry, 98-99. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987.

Murray, Andrew. Absolute Surrender. Springdale, Pa.: Whitaker, 1982.
__________. Humility. Springdale, Pa.: Whitaker, 1982.
__________. Obtain the Power of God. Springdale, Pa.: Whitaker, 1984.

Packer, J. I. “Keswick and the Reformed Doctrine of Sanctification,” Evangelical Quarterly 27 (July 1955): 153-167.

Pierson, A. T. The Keswick Movement in Precept and Practice. New York: Funk & Wagna lls, 1900.

Rennie, Ian S. Review of Keswick: A Bibliographic Introduction to the Higher Life Movements, by D. D. Bundy. In JETS 19:4 (Fall 1976): 340-342.

Sandeen, Ernest R. The Roots of Fundamentalism: British and American Millenarianism. Chicago: U. of Chicago, 1970.

Strong, Augustus H. Systematic Theology. Valley Forge, Pa.: Judson, 1993.

Taylor, Dr. and Mrs. Howard. Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission: The Growth of a Work of God. London: The Religious Tract Society, 1934.

Torrey, R. A. “How to Receive the Holy Ghost.” In Keswick’s Triumphant Voice, ed. Herbert F. Stevenson, 347-363. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1963.
__________, A. C. Dixon, et al., eds. The Fundamentals. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1972.

Waltke, Bruce. “Evangelical Spirituality: A Biblical Scholar’s Perspective,” JETS 31:1 (March 1988): 9-24.

Warfield, B. B. Perfectionism. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981.

Webb-Peploe, H. W. Sunday School Times (25 June 1898); quoted in Strong, Systematic Theology, 877, Valley Forge, Pa.: Judson, 1993.

Copyright © 2008 [www.seeking4truth.com]. All rights reserved .Revised: 05/17/2009

ADDENDUM: What does the Keswick movement stand for today?

To repeat my comments from the beginning of this blog:

I do not approve of the current theology of the Keswick movement. Like many other evangelical movements, the Keswick movement has become New Evangelical, then further compromised with modernists and postmodernists (Emerging/Emergent/Emergent). See for example this link from the Keswick website. Tragic.

Having said that, I would say the Keswick movement up until 1948 (the founding of the National Association of Evangelicals) was biblically sound.

My observations are verified by an excerpt from this Baptist article:

It seems that the movement did have its problems. Perhaps separation was a key issue. For all the emphasis on separating from the world, they did not have much to say about real apostasies. Few if any of them ever went into Modernism; but they did not seem to warn people very much against it, or against the ecumenical movement. [This is not exactly the case, at least before 1920 or so; the article above names various Keswick men who wrote articles in The Fundamentals, against modernism. Quote: “A short perusal of the table of contents reveals at least fourteen entries by Keswick crossovers…”.] So many denominations were represented that they did not say much, if anything, against sacramental grace. When Billy Graham linked with the New York Modernists in his 1957 meetings, the Deeper Life men had little or nothing to say against it. In 1961, as Graham was making common cause with the Modernists, with the WCC, and even with Rome, Alan Redpath, then at Moody Church in Chicago, seemed to be swept along in the current. He was widely quoted to have invited the Modernists, with their fine ethics, and the Fundamentalists, with their sound doctrine, to get together in winning souls to Christ.

Now the whole movement seems to have slid off into New Evangelicalism.

A second problem was the lack of interest in the literal interpretation of prophecy. That negligence probably reflects the amillennialism of so many preachers in the UK. I find little mention of the blessed hope in my reading of the literature.

A third problem was pietism, although I believe that there was a lot less of it early on than they were accused of. They loved the Word too much to bypass it just because someone prayed and got different leading. That view seemed to hold for about the first 80 years [approx. 1876-1956]. If anything, the pietism came up after 1956, when preachers were trying to justify Graham; but that coincided with the decline of the movement. The slide to New Evangelicalism at last justified the charge of pietism.

A fourth complaint was the temptation to pride…

FOR FURTHER READING

Aaron Blumer, Let Go and Let God? An Interview with Author Andy Naselli

Russell J. Boone, “Keswick Sanctification” – Fundamentalist Baptists Scofield and Chafer are mentioned on pages 5 and 8 of Boone’s document.

Stephen Clark Brown, A Thematic Comparison of the Keswick, Chaferian, and Reformed Views of Sanctification (Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, 1985 , 306 pages). Click here for a blog critique of Dr. Brown, which provides more info about him. And click here for more comments, including statements that Dr. Brown likes The Shack – scary.

L.S. Chafer Biography – excerpt: [Chafer taught that a modified] mild Keswick holiness emphasis on two works of grace in the believer’s life (as well as the distinction between obedient and fleshly Christians as spiritual states) provided the ground for a right relationship to the Holy Spirit, the source of power in ministry.

Lewis Sperry Chafer, He That Is Spiritual: A Classic Study of the Biblical Doctrine of Spirituality (Google.com Books preview)Note this quote from John D. Hannah, An Uncommon Union: Dallas Theological Seminary and American Evangelicalism, p. 150: Reflective of the Bible conference emphasis on the spiritual life, the influence of Keswick theology permeates the classroom [back in the day](or at least chapels, missions conferences and some special lectureships) as seen in Chafer’s He That is Spiritual.

Bob Evely, Universalism: Church History – Note – this is a heretical website, but the following quote by Mr. Evely is insightful:

HANNAH WHITALL SMITH:  1832 – 1911.  Best known for her classic “The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life” (1883), Hannah Whitall Smith also wrote a lesser known spiritual autobiography entitled “The Unselfishness of God and How I Discovered It.” Originally published in 1903 by the Fleming H. Revell Company, this book has been republished more recently by Littlebrook Publishing in Princeton NJ. But in republishing the work, this more recent version has omitted eight chapters, including references made to Smith’s belief in universal reconciliation.

John D. HannahAn Uncommon Union: Dallas Theological Seminary and American Evangelicalism – online Google Books preview, includes 9 references to the word “Keswick” in the writings of Chafer and Walvoord

Andrew David Naselli, KESWICK THEOLOGY: A SURVEY AND ANALYSIS OF THE DOCTRINE OF SANCTIFICATION IN THE EARLY KESWICK MOVEMENT – excerpt: [a successor to Keswick theology]  – Dallas Theological Seminary: Bastion of the Chaferian View of Sanctification (Scofield, Chafer, Walvoord, Ryrie)

Andy Naselli, Andy Naselli on Why “Let Go and Let God” Is a Bad Idea – This Calvinistic blog, although biased against the Keswick movement, provides many additional insights regarding the history and theology of the Keswick movement.

Roger E. Olson, “Keswick Movement”, The Westminster Handbook to Evangelical Theology, pp. 82-84 (article viewable online here).

Jonathan R. Pratt, DISPENSATIONAL SANCTIFICATION: A MISNOMER

David J. Roseland, NOT WARFIELD OR SCOFIELD: CHAFER’S BIBLICAL MODEL OF SANCTIFICATION

C.I. Scofield, In Many Pulpits with Dr. C. I. Scofield

C.I. Scofield, Plain Papers on the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

Scofield Reference Notes (1917 edition) online, with KJV online

Mark A. Snoeberger, Second-Blessing Models of Sanctification and Early Dallas Dispensationalism

Mike Sullivan, Five Views on Sanctification: An In-Depth Analysis – this is analysis of the book Five Views on Sanctification. It covers the Wesleyan view, the Keswick view, the Augustinian-Dispensational view [aka the Chaferian view], etc.

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09/18/2012 –  I found this additional info here:

Thirdly, Moody influenced many dispensationalists (and, more broadly, fundamentalists) by introducing them to the Keswick holiness teaching. When Moody brought Fredrick B. Meyer to Northfield (probably in 1891), a strenuous protest was raised. Many of the Niagara conference men, who were speakers at Northfield, had taken great pains to oppose the Oberlin perfectionism of Charles Finney and Asa Mahan, and Meyer had to distinguish his teaching from it. The Keswick movement, begun through meetings in Keswick, England in 1873, under the domination of H. W. Webb Peploe, clearly departed from Methodist perfectionism. While rejecting the Wesleyan doctrine of the eradication of the sinful nature, the Keswick teachers also rejected the traditional view that one’s sinful nature was merely suppressed by Christ’s righteousness. This, they felt, led to constant conflict with sin and even tolerance of it as normal. In its place, the Keswick teachers posited a two-stage concept of the Christian life: the ‘carnal Christian’ and the ‘spiritual Christian.’ Moving from one to the other required an act of faith, or ‘consecration.’ It was described as ‘absolute surrender’ or as ‘yielding’ and was always conceived of as a distinct crisis experience which brought in ‘the victorious life.’ Moody claimed to have undergone an intense second experience in 1871 and urged Torrey to ‘preach on the baptism with the Holy Ghost,’ and it appears Torrey took his advice. Other dispensationalists continued to promote the Keswick doctrines. In 1913 Charles Trumbull began an ‘American Keswick’ conference; in his biography of C. I. Scofield, Trumbull and the famous dispensationalist are pictured together as ‘Paul and Timothy,’ indicating the close relationship between the two movements. More importantly, Scofield more or less canonized these Keswick doctrines in his Reference Bible. (44) To dispensationalists, who believe that the Church Age was the unique age of the Spirit, this teaching has a special attraction. Moreover, while premillennialism abandons an optimistic estimate of the conquering power of the Holy Spirit throughout society, this Keswick doctrine promises personal ‘victory’ in the Holy Spirit.

(44) See, for example, Scofield’s notes on I Cor. 2:14 and Romans 7:9, 14, 15 The Scofield Reference Bible, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1909), pp. 1213, 1214, 1199, 1200.

FOR FURTHER READING

Russell J. Boone, “Keswick Sanctification” – mentions D.L. Moody, C.I. Scofield, etc.

David J. Roseland, NOT WARFIELD OR SCOFIELD: CHAFER’S BIBLICAL MODEL OF SANCTIFICATION

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