Posts Tagged ‘Holiness Movement’

The late H. Orton Wiley was one of my favorite Wesleyan Holiness theologians. He was not perfect (no one is), but his writings are far more biblically sound than more recent Nazarene theologians such as Mildred Wynkoop, H. Ray Dunning and Thomas J. Oord. (Click here for my blog which discusses the increasing liberalization of Nazarene theology textbooks over the years.)

Below I’ve reposted Wiley’s list of books on the Atonement and related doctrines, from his three-volume Christian Theology. Click here for the original source of this list – as well as Wiley’s entire three-volume Christian Theology – viewable online.) Note – I’m in the process of alphabetizing this list by author. Also note – the original list was not scanned accurately by those who put Wiley’s three-volume Christian Theology into digital form.

I plan to add links to author bios, as well as links to online books.

Please note that these books present many different theological positions, not just the Wesleyan Holiness position. I am working on separate blogs which list only books of the Wesleyan Holiness position.


Anselm (1033-1109), Cur Deus Homo, English Translation by Deane, Chicago, 1903 (free online Google eBook of first edition, 1858)

Albert Barnes (1798-1870), The Atonement in Its Relation to Law and Moral Govern­ment, Philadelphia, 1859 (free online Google eBook)

Charles Beecher Redeemer and Redeemed, Boston, 1864 (free online Google eBook)

B.R. Brasnett, The Suffering of the Impassible God, 1928

Horace Bushnell (1802-1876), Christ and His Salvation, 1865 (free online Google eBook)[I added this title-DM]

Horace Bushnell, The Vicarious Sacrifice (2 volumes), New York, 1891 (this free online Google eBook  includes both volumes under one cover)

John M. Campbell, The Nature of the Atonement, London, 1873

R.S. Candlish (1806-1873), The Atonement: Its Efficacy and Extent, Edinburgh, 1867 (free online Google eBook)

S. Cave, The Scripture Doctrine of Sacrifice, T. & T.  Clark

H.S. Coffin, Social Aspects of the Cross, New York, 1911

Thomas J. Crawford, The Doctrine of the Holy Scripture Respecting the Atonement, 1875

M.C. D’Arcy, The Pain of This World and the Providence of God, 1936

R.W. Dale, The Atonement, New York, 1876

James    Denney,    The Atonement and the Modern Mind, London, 1903

James    Denney,    The Christian Doctrine of Reconciliation, New York, 1918

James    Denney,    The Death of Christ, New York, 1903

George C.    Foley,    Anselm’s Theory of the Atonement, New York, 1909

L.W.    Grensted,    A Short History of the Doctrine of the Atonement

Grotius,    De Satisfactione (Editions from 1617-1730), English Translation by Foster, Andover

James    Hinton,    The Mystery of Pain, 1866

F.R.M.    Hitchcock,    The Atonement and Modern Thought, London, 1911

A.A.    Hodge,    The Atonement, Philadelphia, 1867

E.W.    Johnson,    Suffering, Punishment and Atonement, 1919

Albert C.    Knudson,    The Doctrine of Redemption, Abingdon, 1933

J. S.    Lidgett,    The Spiritual Principle of the Atonement, London, 1901

Clark Robert    Mackintosh,    Historic Theories of the Atonement, New York, 1920

H.R.    Mackintosh,    The Christian Experience of Forgiveness

William    Magee,    Scripture Doctrine of Atonement and Sacrifice, New York, 1839

Howard    Malcom,    The Extent and Efficacy of the Atonement, Philadelphia, 1870

F.D.    Maurice,    The Doctrine of Sacrifice Deduced from the Scriptures, 1854

John    Miley,    The Atonement in Christ, New York, 1879

R.C.    Moberly,    Atonement and Personality, New York, 1901

R.C.    Moberly,    Sorrow, Sin and Beauty, 1903

J.K.    Mozley,    The Doctrine of the Atonement, Scribners, 1916

J.K.    Mozley,    The Impassibility of God, 1926

H.N.    Oxenham,    The Catholic Doctrine of Atonement, London, 1865

A.S.    Peake,    The Problem of Suffering in the Old Testament, 1904

Leighton    Pullen,    The Atonement, London, 1913

Lonsdale    Ragg,    Aspects of the Atonement, London, 1904

Rashdall,    The Idea of Atonement in Christian Theology, MacMillan, 1920

G.W.    Richards,    Christian Ways of Salvation

Ritschl,    The Scripture Doctrine of Justification and Reconciliation,

H. Wheeler    Robinson,    Suffering: Human and Divine, MacMillan, 1939

A.    Sabbatier,    The Doctrine of the Atonement and Its Historical Evolution, English Translation, New York, 1904

D.W.    Simon,    Reconciliation Through Incarnation, Edinburgh, 1898

D.W.    Simon,    The Redemption of Man, Edinburgh, 1899

G.    Smeaton,    The Doctrine of the Atonement as Taught by Christ Himself, Edinburgh, 1868

P.L.    Snowden,    The Atonement and Ourselves, London, 1919

G.B.    Stevens,    The Christian Doctrine of Salvation, 1905

William    Symington,    The Atonement and Intercession of Jesus Christ, New York, 1849

T.V.    Tymns,    The Christian Idea of Atonement, London, 1904

Ralph    Wardlaw,    Discourses on the Nature and Extent of the Atonement, Glasgow, 1844

J.S.    Whale,    The Christian Answer to the Problem of Evil, 1936


The best treatment of the Preliminary States of Grace, as also the subjects of Justification and Regeneration, will be found in the standard works on Systematic Theology. Representing the earlier, or what is some times known as modified Arminianism, are the following: Watson, Insti­tutes; Wakefield, Christian Theology; Summers, Systematic Theology; Pope, Compendium of Christian Theology; and Ralston, Elements of Divinity. The last named work contains an excellent discussion of the Calvinistic and Arminian positions. As representative of the so-called later Arminianism, Raymond, Systematic Theology; Miley, Systematic Theology; Whedon, Commentaries, and A. M. Hills, Fundamental Chris­tian Theology. In the Calvinistic theology, Dr. W. G. T. Shedd represents the realistic position, and Dr. Charles Hodge, the Federal or Representa­tive position. Among the older works on both the Calvinistic and Ar­minian positions, may be mentioned the following:

James    Arminius,    Writings, Volume III

Albert Taylor    Bledsoe,    Examination of Edwards on the Will, An; Philadelphia, 1845

Albert Taylor    Bledsoe,    Theodicy, A; or Vindication of Divine Glory, New York, 1853

John    Calvin,    Institutes, Book III, Chapters xxi-xxiv

Edward    Copleston,    Enquiry into the Doctrines of Necessity and Predestination, London, 1821

Jonathan    Edwards,    A Divine and Supernatural Light Imparted to the Soul by the Spirit of God, 1734 (A sermon noted for its spiritual philosophy)

Jonathan    Edwards,    An Essay on the Freedom of the Will, 1754

W.    Fisk,    The Calvinistic Controversy, New York 1837

John    Fletcher,    Checks to Antinomianism, Volumes I-H

John    Forbes,    Predestination and Free Will Reconciled, or Calvinism and Arminianism United in the Westminster Confession, 1878

Randolph S.    Foster,    Objections to Calvinism, Cincinnati, 1848 (many editions)

Martin    Luther,    Bondage of the Will

Asa    Mahan,    Election and the Influence of the Holy Spirit, 1851

Asa    Mahan,    System of Intellectual Philosophy, New York, 1845

J.B.    Mozley,    Augustinian Doctrine of Predestination, 1855

Henry Philip    Tappan    Doctrine of the Will Applied to Moral Agency and Responsibility, 1841 (Single volume, Glasgow, 1857)

Henry Philip    Tappan    Doctrine of the Will Determined by an Appeal to Consciousness, 1840

Henry Philip    Tappan,    Review of Edwards on the Will, A, New York, 1839

George    Tomline,    A Refutation of Calvinism, London, 1811

Thomas C.    Upham,    Treatise on the Will, 1850 [early Wesleyan Holiness?]

Richard    Watson,    Theological Institutes, Part II, Chapters xxv-xxviii

John    Wesley,    Works, Volume VI, On Predestination

Daniel D.    Whedon,    Freedom of the Will, 1864


Here again, the best treatment of the subject will be found in the standard works on theology. The clearest and most specific treatment is found in the earlier treatises.           ‘

James    Buchanan,    The Doctrine of Justification, Edinburgh, 1867

John    Calvin,    Institutes, III, xi-xxiii

G.    Cross,    Christian Salvation, Chicago, 1925

John    Davenant,    A Treatise on Justification (2 volumes), London, 1844­1846

R.N.    Davies,    A Treatise on Justification, Cincinnati, 1878

Jonathan    Edwards    (the younger), On the Necessity of the Atonement, and Its Consistency with Free Grace in Forgiveness, Three addresses, 1875, which form the basis of the “Edwardean Theory” of the Atonement, generally accepted by the “New England School.”

Faber,    The Primitive Doctrine of Justification

Julius Charles    Hare,    Scriptural Doctrine of Justification

Charles Abel    Heurtiey,    Justification, 1845 (Bampton Lectures)

M.    Loy,    The Doctrine of Justification, Columbus, Ohio, 1869, 1882

Martin Luther, On Galatians

H.R.    Mackintosh,    The Christian Experience of Forgiveness (previously mentioned)

S.M.    Merrill,    Aspects of Christian Experience, Chapters iv-vii

John H.    Newman,    Lectures on the Doctrine of Justification, London, 1874

John    Owen,    Works, Volume V, The Doctrine of Justification

G.W.    Richards,    Christian Ways of Salvation, New York, 1923

Albrecht    Ritschl,    The Christian Doctrine of Justification and Reconciliation, (Translated by Mackintosh and Macaulay)(Second Edition, 1902)

Richard    Watson,    Theological Institutes, II, Chapter xxiii

John    Wesley,    Sermons, V, VI, and XX. (Harrison, Wesleyan Standards, Volume I)

John    Witherspoon, Essay on Justification, 1756 (Considered one of the ablest Calvinistic expositions of the doctrine)


Outside of the standard works on theology, the literature of Chris­tian Sonship or Regeneration is not extensive.

H.    Begbie    Twice-Born Men, New York, London and Edinburgh, 1909 (previously cited)

Stephen    Charnock,    On Regeneration, (Complete works in Nichol’s Series of Standard Divines, 5 volumes, Edinburgh, 1864)

R.N.    Davies,    A Treatise on Justification, 1878 (Lecture x)

Jonathan    Edwards,    On Spiritual Light (mentioned in connection with Prevenient Grace)

Faber,    Primitive Doctrine of Regeneration

John    Fletcher,    Discourse on the New Birth

G.H.    Gerberding,    New Testament Conversions, Philadelphia, 1889

G.H.    Gerberding,    The Witness of the Spirit

John    Howe,    On Regeneration (Sermons xxxviii-xlix) Complete Works (2 volumes), London, 1724; New York, 1869

G.    Jackson,    The Fact of Conversion, London, 1908

Archbishop    Leighton,    On Regeneration

N.H.    Marshall,    Conversion or the New Birth, London, 1909

S.M.    Merrill,    Aspects of Christian Experience (Chapter x)

H.E.    Monroe    Twice-Born Men in America, 1914

Austin    Phelps,    The New Birth, Boston, 1867

Walton    Witness of the Spirit

John    Wesley,    Sermons, X, XI, XII, XVIII and XIX (Harrison, Wesleyan Standards, Volume I)

John    Witherspoon    Treatise on Regeneration, 1764 Calvin, Institutes, III, i-ii

Witsius    Covenants, III, vi

Young,    The Witness of the Spirit, 1882

ADDITIONAL READING  (Wesleyan Holiness books on Salvation, Evangelism and related topics; I am also preparing some lists offline)

The Wesleyan Heritage Library CD contains the following, among eBooks on many other subjects:

Amos Binney, Binney’s Theological Compend

Samuel Logan Brengle, The Soulwinner’s Secret

Charles Ewing Brown, The Meaning of Salvation

James Blaine Chapman, All Out For Souls

James Blaine Chapman, Nazarene Primer

List of PDF books from various theological viewpoints

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(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.

Mr. Paul Gibbs, Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary, Lansdale, PA


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)


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).


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.


(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.]


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…


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).



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.


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.


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


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(revised 03/08/14)

Update: Keith Drury‘s son, David Drury, has become increasingly postmodern. And it seems to me that Keith has become resigned to that fact, tolerating his son’s teachings. Nonetheless, Keith’s speech back in 1995 provides many insights about the theological decline of Wesleyan Holiness denominations.
Most evangelical denominations have gone through major theological changes in recent decades – for the worse. Among these are the “mainstream” Wesleyan Holiness denominations (Church of the Nazarene, Evangelical Friends, The Wesleyan Church,  etc.)

Following are excerpts from “The Holiness Movement is Dead“, by Keith Drury (1995, with updated footnotes added in 2004). Drury does not say much about today’s heretical Spiritual Formation/ Contemplative prayer, postmodern (Emerging/Emergent) teachings, or ecumenism. However, he addresses many other issues destroying our Christian faith.

I have emphasized certain points by bolding and [bracketing]:

The Holiness Movement is Dead
Originally delivered as an address to the Presidential Breakfast of the Christian Holiness Association

… the holiness movement — as a movement — is dead. Yes, I recognize that there are many wonderful holiness people around. And people are still getting entirely sanctified here and there. But as a movement, I think we need to admit we are dead…

We have a holiness heritage. We have holiness denominations. We have holiness organizations. We have holiness doctrines. We even have holiness colleges, but we no longer have a holiness movement [5]…

I wish to suggest eight factors, which contributed to the death of the holiness movement.

1. We wanted to be respectable.

Holiness people got tired of being different and looked on as “holy rollers.”…  We shuddered at the thought of being a “peculiar people.” We determined to fit in.

Pastors in holiness churches now tell visiting speakers, “My people here are quality people.” What they mean by “quality people” is that their church is populated with sharp, up-scale, white-collar professionals. “Quality people.” Respectable people. And we have become respectable. There is not a whole lot of difference now. Presbyterians, Baptists, Lutherans move into our churches from their former denominations with ease. They don’t see that much difference, because there isn’t much difference. We have succeeded in becoming average Christians.

… It is hard to be a holiness movement when we don’t want to be different than the average Christian. [6]

2. We have plunged into the evangelical mainstream.

Over time we quit calling ourselves “holiness people” or “holiness churches” or “holiness colleges” or “holiness denominations,” (except, of course, to each other). We began to introduce ourselves as “Evangelicals.” We started becoming more at home with NAE than CHA. Local churches repositioned themselves as “evangelical” in their communities. We built respectable churches on busy highways. We quit painting “Holiness unto the Lord” on the front wall. And gradually were assimilated into the evangelical mainstream. [7]

All this, of course, was quite easy for us. Mainstream evangelical media kings like James Dobson, Charles Colson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Robert Schuller and Bill Hybels melted away our differences.[8] Few holiness kingpins are to be found. And even those who have a holiness background are not known as holiness leaders, so much as evangelical leaders… It’s hard to have a holiness movement when our people are really a part of the evangelical movement, not the holiness movement.

3. We failed to convince the younger generation.

We must admit to each other that we have generally failed to convince the generation in their 40s and 30s of the importance of entire sanctification. A few preach it regularly. But many preach it only occasionally, and even then with little urgency or passion… [9]

4. We quit making holiness the main issue.

…There aren’t a lot of excesses in the holiness movement today. We’re pretty safe. Holiness is our stated belief. But in most places we don’t make it the main thing. Preachers in the old holiness movement used to say, “Preach holiness and everything else will take care of itself.” Who says this today? Today’s trend is uplifting, cheery, help-for-Monday sermons, not holiness sermons. Where holiness is not the main thing there will be no holiness movement…

5. We lost the lay people.

A real movement is not made up of professionals but is lay-dominated. While holiness preachers and writers ignited and led the laymen in the old holiness movement, the laymen provided the real dynamic…

We no longer have a force of lay foot soldiers. We have generals without armies. Strategy, but no soldiers. It’s hard to have a holiness movement without the laymen. [11]

6. We over-reacted against the abuses of the past.

I am not yearning for the past. I believe the holiness movement, in many cases, had an abusive past. But in trying to correct these abuses, we overreacted.

Some (perhaps most) in the old holiness movement were legalistic and judgmental. So we became behavioral libertarians.

Some were so ingrown as to never touch the world. So we became assimilated into the world and seldom touched God.

Some were radically emotional, running the aisles, shouting, and “getting blessed.” So we became orderly and respectable, and we labeled all such emotion as “leaning charismatic.”

Some were judgmental and rejecting of anyone who got divorced or had marriage problems. We became so accepting of divorce that it is quickly becoming a non-issue for all but the clergy—and even that is eroding.

They preached a fearsome, vengeful God. Now we have a soft, easygoing Mister Rogers in the sky, “who loves you just the way you are.”… [12]

7. We adopted church-growth thinking without theological thinking.

We discovered that in America, numerical success is the doorway to respect. We wanted to be accepted into the mainstream and we found that church growth gave us the chance. When the church-growth movement first came along, holiness people were wary. [It seems I was in good company. I wrote a seminary paper, decades ago, criticizing the church growth movement. Yet, my seminary professor questioned my opposition.]

We were nervous about too much accommodation to the world in order to win the world. But evangelism has always been a twin passion with holiness. So, many holiness churches—at least the growing ones—suppressed their natural reticence and adopted church-growth thinking in a wholesale way. Pastors became CEOs. Ministers became managers. Shepherds promoted themselves to ranchers. Sermons became talks. Sinners were renamed “seekers.” “Twelve steps” became the new way to get deliverance, instead of at the altar. Growth itself became the great tie-breaking issue. Everything else was made to serve growth.

… is there anyone who would argue that the church-growth movement is in any sense a holiness movement? In fact, much of the movement is quite openly anti-holiness, instructing us that “perfecting the saints” is an unfinishable task which should be given secondary importance to the primary task of initial disciple-making…

[Pastors] traded in the rusting, old holiness movement for a bright, shiny new church-growth movement. [13]

(As a side point, one wonders, now that the church-growth movement is crumbling[14],  where these pastors will go next.

8. We did not notice when the battle line moved.

Many of us believe we are in danger of losing the doctrine and experience of “second-blessing holiness”—an experience through the Holy Ghost which cleanses the heart of its inclination to rebel and enables the believer to live above intentional sin, producing a life in obedience to the known will of God.

We believe that we should stand our ground for the holiness message. That holiness is the “front line” of battle, if we use military terms. But while we have been meeting and talking to each other about holiness… the battle line moved on us.

Many of our people do not need to be sanctified—they need to be saved! The doctrine at risk in many holiness churches is not entire sanctification but “transformational conversion.” We may need to stand at Luther’s side awhile before we can rejoin Wesley.[15]

Few will admit it knowingly, but many of our churches have replaced “transformational conversion” with a softer, user-friendlier style of building the local church. “Membership assimilation” or “assimilation evangelism” or “faith development” models seem so much more attractive today than the old sin-repentance-conversion-restitution models of the past.

The notion that people can repent of their sins in a single moment and be transformed instantaneously into new creatures with a radically changed lives, is increasingly at risk, even in holiness churches. Modernity teaches us that nothing can be done in less than twelve steps!

These popular assimilation models turn the gospel into something else. It is more sociology than theology. People ooze into churches without ever becoming saved. Repentance is replaced by “accepting Christ.” Christ is “added on” to achieve a balanced life. Sinner is traded in for “seeker,” absolutes for options, and theology for therapy.

And people do come into the church. And growth—even great growth—results from these “nonconversion” conversion models of church growth. But it is hard to have a holiness movement dedicated to the possibility of “instantaneous sanctification,” when many folk do not even have an experience of “instantaneous salvation.” It’s hard to have a holiness movement when many of our own church members are not even saved, let alone sanctified

Spiritual shallowness is rampant. Sin among believers is commonplace. Christians boldly advertise on their bumper stickers, “I’m not perfect—just forgiven.” What was once an eroding morality in the world is now an eroding morality in the church.

People like Peggy Campolo call themselves “evangelical,” yet they “enthusiastically endorse . . . monogamous, loving, intimate relationships between people of the same sex.” Evangelical?

The church watched Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith succeed in becoming crossover artists… and then followed them with our crossover worship services.[17] We were delighted that our music, support groups and encouraging talks were popular with the world. We started to fit in. The world liked us! Christians are less and less different than their unsaved neighbors. They are out for the same thing. They lie, cheat and get divorced just like their unsaved neighbors. The old riddle was prophetic:

What’s the difference between the church and the world? Answer: About ten years. Perhaps even less.

Evangelicals have accommodated to divorce. “Worldliness” is seldom mentioned, and even then only in jest. Evangelicals now attend the same movies as the world does. They rent the same videos. They watch the same TV shows. Evangelicals watch things on television that they would have called “pornography” twenty years ago. Christian families are falling apart. Even sets of board members get divorced and marry each others’ spouses—all while staying on the board! And evangelical churches are filling up with people who have never had a genuine experience of transformational conversion. They oozed in through the sociological assimilation process.

Isn’t it ironic, that just as the holiness movement enters its waning years, the church at large is in its greatest need for holiness movement. What does God want? I believe He wants a holiness movement. A new holiness movement.

– A movement which will preach boldly that God is holy and does not accept sin.

– A movement which will have the integrity to tell some Christians they need to get saved.

– A movement which will preach a second work of grace which God does in the life of a believer to cleanse and empower him or her, enabling an obedient life of devotion to God.

– A movement which will call people to abandon worldliness even at the risk of losing some people to the positive, upbeat, cheery service offered down the street.

– A movement which will adopt an external mission—to recruit, persuade and mobilize other evangelicals as aggressively as the church-growth movement or the anti-abortion movements have done—to recruit them to holiness [18] …

The disturbing question is this: Will the old holiness movement be in the new holiness movement? Or will God go outside of our circle to raise up someone else to lead the new movement?…

Original address by Keith Drury, 1995. Retrospective footnotes added almost ten years later in late 2004


[5] This point of my address was largely ignored, especially by some Nazarene theologians. This paragraph is the essence of my argument — that the movement was dead though the doctrine remained…   Doctrine is the last to go.  I believed at the time (and still do) that a movement fades first, then the experience, and finally the doctrine… Face it, the United Methodist church’s statement on Christian perfection is a great statement to this day… I was arguing that the movement and experience of a second definite work of grace known as “Entire Sanctification” was gone for all practical purposes, though the doctrine-on-paper continued on the books.

[6] I have taken a beating from a number of my critics at this point…  They thus dismissed this point as sociology not theology.  Which is precisely what I was doing—practicing sociology not theology…

[7] While my paper addressed the movement sociologically this is a good point at which to cite recent doctrinal statements, mission statements and “strategic plans” produced by several of the former holiness denominations that are clearly “evangelical” and abandon any attempt to self-identify as holiness or even Wesleyan…  While the self-labeling of denominations and educational institutions does not a doctrine make, it is indicative of the shifts in the decade since this address was first given.  To identify the Free Methodists Nazarenes, or Wesleyans as an “evangelical denomination” would raise few eyebrows today. The deed is done, the labels switched.

[8] The situation is unchanged in the intervening decade since this address.  The names of the evangelical influencers change as past leaders fade away and new evangelical leaders emerge, but our influencers are exclusively “evangelicals.”  We switched movements, from the smaller more specific one to the larger more generic movement.

[9] Perhaps I erred in placing too much blame on my own generation—the “Boomers.”  In this section I was stepping outside of my own generation and speaking to the generations above us.  That is they (the older generations) had failed to convince us (the boomers) of the holiness message. I am convinced that the holiness movement was “lost” when the boomers took over.  [I agree with this 100% – I am a Boomer, and have seen my college and seminary classmates take over with this “newer and supposedly better” pastoring style – a non-Holiness message.] We boomers may be to blame for not taking it up.  But it is the preceding generations that are to blame for failing to pass it on… The church we inherited may have needed reform, but the one we bequeath need [sic] even greater reform.  However, while the boomers may have “dropped the holiness ball” the blame still falls to the previous generations who so hopelessly fumbled the handoff.

[11] I now wish I had developed this point further.  I have a hunch it is far more important than it seems here… it is a rare lay person today that amasses a serious collection of works on holiness…

[12] I was attempting here to allow for an abusive legalistic past while pointing out that we had ridden the pendulum too far in reaction…

[13] A decade of reflection since this address has convinced me more than ever that if I had to pick a single executioner of  the holiness movement it would be the church growth movement

[14] While this address is best known as discussing the death of the holiness movement perhaps the most shocking statement here was this one pronouncing the demise of the church growth movement when it was at its zenith of power.  Ironically many holiness people abandoned a movement measured in centuries to join one that did not survive two decades!

[15] Ten years later I realize that this claim (which was largely ignored in later analysis) should have been the headline of my address.  Instantaneous sanctification is not the primary matter before us now—it is instantaneous conversion.  Year after year in my surveys of youth from our “holiness-now-evangelical” churches I discover that an instantaneous conversion experience is increasingly becoming the minority experience.  Some are still saved in a datable moment, but an increasing number claim a series of experiences in their “faith journey” and more than half  believe that “there never was a day in my life when I would have gone to hell.” …

[16] I continue to believe that confessing our movement’s death was the right thing to do… On one end folk used the address to show that holiness was indeed dead in the so-called “mainline holiness churches” and the holiness people still in those churches should come out and join the true holiness people in the independent or separated churches. On the other end were some denominational officials (and many pastors of larger churches) who gleefully used the address to usher in a new post-holiness era in the denomination…

[17] At the time I did not see how the dying church growth movement would be temporarily replaced by Promise Keepers but only for a short time.  The next real movement would be the worship movement and the church’s attention would  largely abandon any interest in discipleship, spiritual transformation, the spiritual disciplines [Hmm, I don’t like the author’s use of the  phrase “spiritual disciplines” – does he favor Spiritual Formation? Nonetheless, he does make a number of good points on other issues.],  Christian Education or life change as we became absorbed in praise as if praise itself would sanctify the church causing the chains of sin to fall away.  As I write this retrospective almost five years after the turn of the millennium I see the worship movement losing steam like these other movements did.  What will sweep in next?  Could it be a new holiness movement in some sort of disguise?  We hope so, but cannot say…

[18] My call for “a new holiness movement” turned out to be nothing more than an empty call.  The movement’s remains spent the next decade quibbling over their life or death, CHA gradually sunk into oblivion, the holiness denominations drifted into becoming mainline evangelicals [also called “progressive evangelicals”], and nobody rose to lead the re-invention of the holiness movement…

[19] In a basically pessimistic analysis of how the movement died I offered two glimpses of hope. First, that God might raise up a new movement outside the holiness movement. Second, that God might resurrect the holiness movement itself and bring a new movement though it.  I still hope for both but have more hope for the first than the second. [I also agree that the first is now the more likely. I can’t think of a single Holiness denomination that is not being sucked into Spiritual Formation and Emerging/Emergent church teachings. On the bright side, families are fleeing these churches in droves. Hopefully these now-churchless Christian families will band together and form new gatherings, true to the gospel.]

[20] Though I knew I was “bearding the Lion” in this original address I was not prepared for the earthquake of a response to it.  The proclamation that the “emperor had no clothes” was not taken lightly by many.  Most denominational officials condemned the address as excessive…  In a later address at Indiana Wesleyan University titled “Hope for the Holiness movement” I expanded what I saw as signs that could turn into a new movement. I am mostly disappointed with the later history…  Yet I am hopeful today… I care little for the “remnant mindset” of some remaining holiness people.  Why?  Because I believe God’s great concern is for the shallowness and sinfulness of his entire church—more than a billion of them around the world…


Drury responds to Richard Taylor, Kenneth Collins and Wallace Thornton

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