What Happened to Keswick?

Note: This article is reprinted from The Faith Pulpit (March 2002), a publication of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary (Ankeny, IA). It appears here verbatim.
houghton_grg_pull.gifYears ago a few Fundamentalists had occasion to identify with the Keswick movement, also known as the “deeper life,” or “victorious life.” Others have slurred the movement in somewhat the same way that New Evangelicals have slurred the Scofield Reference Bible. The point is worth some notice.

While the movement traces back to the perfectionist movements that in the 1860’s produced Holiness, it went in a somewhat different direction. Credit seems to go to William Boardman, who in the 1860’s was preaching a higher life, and to Pearsall Smith and his wife Hannah Whitehall Smith. Smith held meetings in England in the early 1870’s, making considerable impact. Then in the summer of 1875, Smith badly smudged his reputation and left the ministry. Thereupon Canon T. D. Harfoed-Battersby, vicar of St. John’s church in Keswick, up in the Lake District, not far from the Scottish border, announced a week of meetings in Keswick near his church. The meetings were to be a time for spiritual refreshing and earnest seeking after God, and they began a series which has continued to the present. Read more about What Happened to Keswick?

'Nuff Said

NickOfTimeJoel Carpenter is the Provost of Calvin Seminary. He is also the author of Revive Us Again, an excellent volume detailing the history of the “middle years” of fundamentalism, the period from the 1930s to the 1960s. Carpenter grew up as a fundamentalist, and he understands something about the way that fundamentalists do business. At one point in his history, Carpenter offers a long quotation from a sermon by John R. Rice. The temper of the sermon (or at least that part of it) was pugilistic and bellicose. The content was an expression of Rice’s prejudices, some of which were more correct than others, but none of which was firmly grounded in the text of Scripture. Carpenter points out that one of the major problems with fundamentalism was its inability to deal with such idiosyncratic and aggressive leadership.

Several years ago, I discussed this problem with Carpenter. I pointed out that he had placed fundamentalists in a pretty difficult position. If we did not challenge leadership such as that of Rice, then we were too complacent. If we did challenge it, however, and a fight ensued, then Carpenter was ready to spank us for being schismatic. I suggested that this was a no-win situation. Read more about 'Nuff Said

Book Review: The New Citizenship

The New Citizenship: The Christian Facing a New World Order by A. T. Robertson. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1919; reprinted by Kessinger Publishing. 157 pp., paperback. $20.00
citizenship-cvr.jpgOf all the many books authored by Baptist Greek scholar A. T. Robertson, this is by far the most politically—and contemporaneously—focused and consequently the most dated and now “quaint” (indeed, I am unaware of any other book by Robertson that has any similar focus).
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Sweet Gold

by Pastor Dan Miller

Editor’s Note: This article was reprinted with permission from Dan Miller’s book Spiritual Reflections. It appears here verbatim.

One evening in 1738, a shepherd boy embarked on an unusual adventure. Leaving his flock secured for the night on the hills above Abernethy, in Perthshire, Scotland, sixteen-year-old John Brown (1722-1787) set out by foot on a twenty-four mile trek to the storied University town of St. Andrews.
HoneycombTwo-hundred years earlier a young man named Patrick Hamilton (1503-1528) lectured as a post-graduate student at St. Andrews. Recently returned from studies at the prestigious University of Paris, Hamilton’s heart had been set aflame by his studies in the Greek New Testament. Through these studies, he was convinced that forgiveness of sin and a right standing with God could be found through faith alone in the sacrificial death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. He lectured with passion, bearing witness to his fellow Scotsmen of the saving power of the gospel apart from the established church.
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A Few Quick Thoughts

Let’s call this post a completely unscheduled and unplanned editorial. Most of you have probably noticed a bit of a controversy brewing among fundamentalists on the question of Calvinism and related matters.

SI is inevitably involved in the conflict. What I’m really hoping, though, is that SI can be in the conflict in a helpful way. Fundamentalism has frequently lost sight of important questions in the midst of the fog of war that arises from the personal conflicts (and organizational-politics conflicts) of those involved.

So, please remember a couple of things. One, we don’t endorse everything that appears in blogroll posts, much less Filings links. Two, we’re going to be working hard over the next week or so to better focus on the issues that matter most.
(I’m actually out of town on a conference-and-family trip and won’t be able to work on things directly until I return. The CCGG conference yesterday was very good, by the way.)

Ultimately, to the degree we focus on personalities, we’re not accomplishing much. When people articulate important ideas, we need to deal with the ideas—and that involves naming names to some extent. But the focus needs to remain on the ideas if we’re going to avoid the kind of unprofitable mud slugging that has so often plagued the fundamentalist movement in the past.

Whatever side of it you’re on, the ideas are too important to bury in a haze of personal conflict.

Our Understanding and Practice of Baptism

BaptismWhat is to be our understanding and practice of baptism today? As I have endeavored to do in recent issues, we need to think separately of form and meaning. There is but one form of water immersion anywhere in Scripture, one person submerging another and raising that other one up out of the water. There are no specific words to be said at such a time. There are no restrictions as to where baptism might be done (in early Michigan, people chopped a hole in the ice for immersions).  There is no restriction as to who might be qualified to perform an immersion. It would seem that the form is completely undebatable, yet for the last ten centuries or so, there have been major differences.

The significance of the action of submerging and raising, as these surveys have shown, has differed with additional revelatory action by God. The immersions of John were a witness of the individual’s repentance for the remission of sins (Mark 1:4). Immersions by disciples of Jesus continued the personal testimony of the one immersed and added John’s identification of Jesus as the promised Messiah. The teaching of water immersion was to declare one’s death to a sinful past and beginning of a new walk. Jesus later added the coming of His own physical death to the figure (Matt. 20:22-23).
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