TABLE OF CONTENTS
LOST RENDEZVOUS WITH DESTINY: 1870-1915
I. The Stars in Their Courses...
Stars and other heavenly bodies are often used in Scripture to paint images of spiritual reality or convey spiritual truth. As a type of spiritual reality, one significant characteristic of planets and stars is their orbital cycles. Certain celestial events like eclipses occur cyclically as heavenly bodies cross orbits. If the opportunity to see the event is lost, another cycle must pass and the conditions duplicated before it can be seen again.
The same is often true of spiritual events. Some events in God's redemptive plan only happen under conditions which require the converging of certain spiritual factors. If the opportunity to embrace the event is lost when those conditions appear, the entire Church must wait another cycle for the necessary factors to line up. In some cases, generations must pass before the opportunity for that higher redemption presents itself again.
Such is the case in the story of restored transformation and anointing. Like two stars converging on the Church to bring her its greatest light, these two great works merged in glory between the years 1870 and 1915. To the generation of these years was entrusted the golden opportunity of bringing transformation and anointing into one perfect fullness. The Lord's intent was to build the supernatural anointing on the transformation foundation so masterfully laid between 1730 and 1900. Their joining held the potential for global Revival and fulfilment of the Great Commission.
But the Church was blinded to the event. The stars slipped past one another, back out into space on different courses until their next appointed rendezvous. Instead of embracing the whole, this central generation forced itself into choosing sides between these works. What was meant to have become a "both/and" reality was made into an "either/or" proposition. A great divide formed and a wall was built forcing the heirs of transformation and the progenitors of the anointing to develop as two mutually exclusive camps. Today, that wall yet remains and we eat of its fruit.
Remarkably, we remember virtually nothing today of the generation of 1870-1915. This chapter will delve into the spiritual convergence that came to these saints and was lost, examining what happened and why. We will begin by a closer look at the factors that preluded the convergence. Next we will examine the unbelief that prevented these works from fusing into the unified glory that could have brought the world to its knees.
II. The Beginning of Two Houses
Like the nation of
The relationship between Wesley and Fletcher was a seed model for the Lord's intent to join the works of transformation and anointing. Both men paid ultimate allegiance, not to the experience they were expositing or to their understanding of it, but to the love of the Father in the believer. When pressed for his bottom-line assessment of sanctification, Wesley said:
There is nothing higher in religion: there is, in effect, nothing else: if you look for anything but more love, you are looking wide of the mark, you are getting out of the royal way. And when you are asking others, "Have you received this or that blessing?" if you mean anything but more love, you mean wrong... Settle it then in your heart, that from the moment God has saved you from all sin, you are to aim at nothing more, but more of that love described in the thirteenth of Corinthians. You can go no higher than this, til you are carried into Abraham's bosom."*
John Fletcher echoed this sentiment. Concerned over those who were enamoured of the subject of sanctification itself, he exhorted:
The work of sanctification is hindered... by the holding out the being
delivered from sin as the mark to be aimed at, instead of being rooted in Christ, and filled with the fullness of God, and with power from on high.**
To these founding fathers of restored transformation and anointing, it was Christ Who was focal to their identity and endeavor. Where their understandings did not correlate, the men remained one in purpose and loyalty to each other. Wesley did not perceive the crisis experience of entire sanctification to be the "baptism of the Holy Ghost" as Fletcher did. Yet remaining confident in him, Wesley laid his mantle upon Fletcher to succeed him in advancing the work of transformation.
III. Transformation Loses Its First Love
What Wesley and Fletcher typified in the building of these works, their spiritual descendants failed to fulfil when the works actually appeared together after 1870. The demise began when the heroes of transformation left their center in the Lord. By either departing their first love or failing of the love that overcomes fear, their profession became locked into opposing mindsets over particular truths and "acceptable" manifestations relative to sanctification experience. These mindsets prevented them from receiving or rightly stewarding the anointing when it fully came.
The opposition of the times in which Wesley and his followers labored helps to explain how this departure could occur. In Wesley's day, great spiritual war was launched against restoring the work of transformation. The crucible of antagonism and extremism provided the context in which he strove to bring forth the critical balances in answering the deep questions of sanctification. His mature, sensible nature enabled the discovery of explanations to the Spirit's inner workings while preserving the fragile relationships between the various transformation realities. Amazingly, through it all, Wesley's efforts to understand this vital process never unseated him from the true goal, "love out of a pure heart."
After Wesley's passing, the original body of Methodism distinguished by his teachings soon neglected them. Eventually, an entrenched Methodist leadership rejected its emphasis, and ultimately, the doctrine itself. This further neglect and rejection provided the catalyst leading to the transformation renewal of 1830-65. Men and women alarmed at the neglect within Methodism arose to challenge the unbelief. Others outside of Methodism also came into their own brand of transformation experience and teaching. Each was concerned over a particular aspect of the reality Wesley had labored to bring into perspective.
By 1900, transformation truth had jelled into the two broad streams of Holiness and Keswick (Higher Life). There were distinct differences of understanding and emphasis between and within these movements. The blossoming of transformation experience brought further light to Wesley's understandings. As experiences varied, so did emphases. Taken together, all the emphases had the potential to complement one another and round out for everyone a more complete portrait of transformation.
Yet these transformation warriors were also beset by the same pitfalls of antagonism and abuse that faced Wesley. In their zeal to preserve the particular aspects for which they had illumination, most of them proved unable to emulate their fathers' examples in remaining centered in the love of Christ. Devotion to the refined revelations of the Lord's inner work quickly upstaged devotion to the Lord who was supposedly central to the reality. Focus on Christ was replaced by focus on the particulars of transformation process and experience.
Blinded by its own restoration, the House of Transformation fell victim to doctrinalism, experientialism, and factionalism on every front. Meanwhile, the awakening power of anointing was creeping up on the Church. The anointing came to greatly impact the Church's perception of the transformation process. But their unbelief crippled the saints of this generation from fulfilling their appointed commission to harness that impact. We turn now to examine the anointing's specific effects on transformation experience and thought.
IV. Effects of the Dawning Anointing
During the course of transformation restoration, many truths came forth expounding more perfectly on the elements of transformation. These included such concepts as the need for consecration before entering into perfected love, the importance of living the crucified life on either side of the Second Blessing, the need for continuous infusions of the Spirit after entering sanctification, and sanctification's purpose of revealing Christ to the heart.***
Other illuminations came forth, however, which, due to the anointing's increasing effects on the Church, altered the basic perspective of transformation reality. More than any other factor, the anointing influenced and challenged transformation understanding and experience after 1870. What had begun as seeds of revelation through John Fletcher became an overwhelming tree seeking a home in the garden of transformation reality.
Until the time of Phoebe Palmer, Charles Finney, and the "springtime" holiness renewal, the anointing had served as a shadow partner in restoring transformation truth. It had been that pervasive but unrecognized power of God behind the Pietist and Wesleyan restorations, demonstrating itself in Revival after Revival to the bringing forth of conversion and sanctification.
But after 1840, and especially after 1870, the anointing's glow was so great that it began affecting the substance of what was being restored. Fletcher's original seeds of vision were germinated, bringing forth the work of the anointing into its own recognized place. Major changes in sanctification experience began to manifest. Other manifestations of the anointing were also on the rise, especially divine healing. In reflection of and accommodation to these new realities, major shifts of perspective pertaining to transformation occurred. Between 1870 and 1900, understanding of the purpose and effects of the Second Blessing as well as the place of the Holy Spirit were dramatically reshaped.
Shift in Access: From Endurance to Confession
Beginning in the 1840's, the noted Phoebe Palmer as well as Charles Finney began accenting the momentary nature of obtaining sanctification through faith. Giving birth to the popular question, "Have you got the blessing?," Mrs. Palmer also began speaking of sanctification as a "gift to be received" instead of a state to be entered. Wesley's original concept of entering in through endurance of a process began to be upstaged by emphasis on receiving a gift by confessional faith.
Mrs. Palmer's view paved the way for the anointing-class faith by which the Spirit is received in His anointing functions.**** This thrust was then carried by Robert and Hannah Smith into the foundation of the Keswick Movement in the 1870's. By 1900, the concept of "receiving the gift" of sanctification was well established in both the Holiness and Keswick branches of transformation, even though the need of "dying out" (Holiness term) or confessing and/or experiencing "death to self" (Keswick term) was still retained as requisite to receiving.
Shift in Purpose: From Love to Power
The second significantly altered concept was sanctification's purpose. When Wesley preached perfect love, he taught mainly on the fuller love relationship with the Father that supplants the root of sin in the carnal nature. Beginning with Mrs. Palmer, the experience of entire sanctification began to be taught in terms of power for holy living. The active nature of love as a utilitarian agent rather than as a personal relationship became a point of teaching.
In the stream of American Higher Life evangelists, the purpose of the Second Blessing moved from power-for-holiness to power-for-ministry. Beginning with Charles Finney, this became the featured emphasis of D. L. Moody and R. A. Torrey. It also permeated the more radical frontier outposts of the Holiness Movement. As the dynamic of revival moved from the original Methodist center to the outback of loose rural associations and camp meetings, emphasis on sanctification experience moved from purity to power, from inward entrance to outward demonstration, from transformation to anointing.
Shift in Perspective of the Holy Spirit and Salvation History
As the anointing came to overlap the transformation, the place and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the sanctification process became more defined. Prior to this, sanctification was seen almost entirely in terms of the work of Christ. Asa Mahan's The Scripture Doctrine of Christian Perfection (1839) and William Boardman's The Higher Christian Life (1859) were the standard classics of their day in this regard. After 1870, the Spirit of God came to be seen as the one who effects sanctification and/or reveals Christ to the heart.
Moreover, the entire view of salvation history shifted at this time. Prior to this, the story of salvation was divided into two categories: the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. But as the work of anointing made itself felt after 1870, the story became told in three parts: the Old Covenant, the Life of Christ, and the Church since Pentecost. The Day of Pentecost became the new reference point for the work of the Lord in the Church. Throughout the 1890's, the word "pentecost" became the featured term to describe the burgeoning confluence of spiritual activity throughout the body of Christ.
Shift in Name of the Experience
With the shift in perspective of the Holy Spirit's place came the shift in identifying the point-in-time event of sanctification as the "baptism of the Holy Spirit." Though John Fletcher had first applied the phrase, it remained virtually unused for 70 years. But after 1840, this became a sporadic name for the second work of grace. Phoebe Palmer was using the phrase regularly by the 1850's.
Beginning with the Revival period of 1870, baptism of the Holy Spirit became the featured term to describe the transformation experience by almost all who taught on a second work, whether for entire sanctification, power for holy living, or power for ministry. Major books appeared on the baptism of the Spirit, including books by those who had written earlier on Christian perfection without reference to the Holy Spirit. Asa Mahan's The Baptism of the Holy Spirit (1870) was followed by William Boardman's In the Power of the Spirit (1875) and R.A. Torrey's The Baptism of the Holy Spirit (1895).
V. Four Phases of Unbelief
The above shifts in perspective were monumental. In accommodating the increasing anointing, they not only anticipated the full outpouring to come, but prepared a frame of reference that could potentially enable the joining of the anointing with transformation. By 1900, all the factors were in place. Divine healing was embraced by the Keswick Transformationists and Revival power based in the Holiness message was shaking the frontiers. But this is as far as the union would be realized. By the time the conditions were ripe for crowning the transformation restoration with the anointing's diadem, Transformationist unbelief was so great that it became impossible to properly integrate the anointing into the transformational foundation.
By 1895, devotion to doctrine, experience, and faction were sealed in the House of Transformation. Succumbing to like blindnesses, those whose understandings and experiences were most influenced by the emerging anointing began developing devotion to its effects. This set the stage for competing devotions that would spell ultimate division leading to the creation of two separate houses of transformation and anointing.
Across the spectrum of transformation restoration, four major brands of unbelief surfaced respecting the anointing between 1895 and 1915. Beginning with the outright rejection of the anointing by the House of Transformation, the unbelief passed through a progression of four phases that ended in the mutual rejection of the transformation by the House of Anointing. The rest of this chapter is devoted to the study of these stages of unbelief, the groups that exemplified them, and the state of the Church since the passing of this generation.
VI. Anatomy of Unbelief - Phase I: Rejection of the Supernatural Anointing
The first phase of unbelief was characterized by loyalty to the letter of transformation producing outright rejection and/or self-imposed ignorance toward the supernatural. This unbelief was manifested by the overwhelming majority of the original Holiness churches birthed before the late 1890's as well as virtually the entire Keswick stream.
A. Hostility of the Holiness Movement
Of the two main streams of transformation in the late 1800's, the Holiness Movement not only engaged the greatest anointing, but departed most from its first love. Reacting to the opposition of old guard Methodist leadership, Holiness proponents of the 1860's and '70s began championing, first the experience, then the doctrine of sanctification as its own end. This exalting of entire sanctification eventually stripped it of its true meaning. Genuine inward revelation of the Father's love became replaced by testimony to an experience, a product ("sinlessness"), and a doctrine. Devotion to definitions produced strict codes of expected behavior assumed to reflect the experience. Such codes became standards for external righteousness leading to oppressive legalized systems of "holiness."
Concurrent with this, the name of John Wesley was lifted up as an idol among various holiness parties. The movement came to pride itself in its faithfulness to Wesley rather than to the Lord. It looked condescendingly upon the original Methodist leaders who had forsaken the teaching of sanctification as well as upon the Keswick stream which arose outside its heritage and did not show the same doctrinal devotion to entire sanctification.
Into this context the power of common anointing continued increasing, particularly on the frontiers. As it did, the devotion to experience and externals led to emphasis on physical manifestations for validating sanctification. Aggravations of emotion due to the anointing became mistaken for proof of genuine transformation. In applying the anointing's agitations to verify sanctification, earlier frontier Holiness advocates planted the seeds for the later movement that would finally exalt the supernatural anointing on its own merits apart from transformation reality.
Among early frontier Holiness advocates of the 1870's and '80's,
legalized transformation reinforced by agitations of the anointing led to strife
with the original and more conservative eastern Methodist bodies. Two great
parties formed known as the "Come-outers" and the "Crush-outers." Many of the
Come-outers formed new frontier
churches making sanctification
experience with its external
proofs a prerequisite for membership. Wranglings festered over church
government. Numerous bodies came forth each calling itself the "
By 1895, the pharisaic hairsplitting over terminology, experience, partisanship, legalism, and government rendered both Methodist Crush-outers and frontier Come-outers incapable of coping with the full anointing to come. Nevertheless, the anointing continued increasing. It was in this context that the newest frontier converts to "aggravated holiness" began following the anointing as its own work separate from transformation.
This new direct devotion to the anointing followed logically on the devotion of the earlier frontier proponents to an emotionally validated sanctification. But the unbelieving allegiance of both original Methodist and early frontier Holiness parties to their doctrinal and once-upon-a-time experiential definitions blinded them to the reality of the anointing. Unable to recognize the anointing for what it was, they rejected the converts with the new anointing-centered emphasis. After 1901, when these "radical" frontier converts received the supernatural anointing in full glory and officially redefined the baptism of the Spirit with it, the overall Methodist-Holiness Movement rejected it as well.
B. Self-Imposed Ignorance of the Keswick Movement
Champions neither of spiritual heritage nor of doctrinal minutiae, the Keswicks were a body of people from many denominations whose general teaching promoted a plane of higher spiritual life featuring living relationship with the Lord Jesus. They were generally agreed that such relationship enabled the believer to maintain victory over sin, and that entrance into such a deeper life depended on one's utter yieldedness to the Lord.
The Keswicks were far more "lamblike" than their aggressive Holiness counterparts. They were not of direct Wesleyan heritage nor as deliberate and affirming in their understanding of deliverance from the root of sin. In spite of this, they were more Wesleyan in spirit than any other branch of transformation in making Christ central to their teaching and experience. As a candid holiness writer admitted: "We talk much of the blessing-- the blessing. The Keswickites talk much of the Blesser-- the Blesser. They are seized by a Him, we by an it. They talk of the great Person who has come into their body and soul and life. We speak more of a thing which we received of Christ..."*****
Yet through a different unbelief, the Keswicks too were unable to embrace the supernatural anointing. While possessing a certain grace missing in the Holiness Movement, the Keswicks lacked its clarity and definition. The lack of unified Keswick definition was a mixed blessing. Through their meek simplicity of focus on the Lord, they were kept from the spirit of rancor that poisoned the Holiness Movement. But the natural side of that gentleness posed a weakness which undermined the Keswicks' place in the architecture of transformation and crippled them from receiving the supernatural outpouring anointing when it appeared.
The Keswicks removed definition and certainty from the power of the cross to deliver from sin with any finality. They taught that sanctification only gave the believer victory over sin (called "suppression"), but did not root out ("eradicate") the carnal nature as taught according to Wesley. Keswick teachers were also nebulous on the nature of the "death to self" that preceded the Spirit's infilling. Some saw it as a prerequisite cleansing experience. Others saw it as simply a point of confession to be "reckoned." These weaknesses pitted them against the Holiness proponents, creating a divide between the "eradicationists" and the "suppressionists."
The same lack of clarity and definition prevented the Keswicks from establishing a clear framework for assimilating the effects of the anointing into their devotion to the Lord. They retained a divided mindset that kept the anointing and transformation polarized. Their response to the growing anointing was to either ignore it while concentrating on the Lord and victory over sin, or else to embrace it at the expense of the transformational aspects of the Second Blessing. In the latter regard, Higher Life proponents like Moody and Torrey totally redefined Spirit baptism in terms of power for ministry without respect to power over sin.******
The benigness of Keswick spirit also belied a natural timidity. As central as their love for Christ remained, it was not perfect enough to overcome fear of the supernatural with its unknowns. Together, their dividedness of mind mixed with fear of the unknown caused the prevailing of a quiet unbelief which insulated the Keswicks against the supernatural anointing. When the tongues movement broke loose, adherents were forced to choose between the Higher Life and the new Pentecostal experience.
VII. Anatomy of Unbelief - Phase II: The Holiness-Pentecostals (1895-1909)
During the 1890's, the second phase of unbelief to separate the anointing from the transformation began to manifest. Appearing on the fringes of the later Holiness Movement, this unbelief embraced the supernatural, but did so with a second-place allegiance to a transformation foundation that had degenerated to a hollow caricature of the love advanced by Wesley.
By 1895 when the "radical" Holiness churches were forming, what passed for sanctification was largely a mixture of legalism and aggravations of the anointing upon the flesh. Centrality of the Father's indwelling love had been largely replaced by the seeking of anointed emotional signs to verify sanctification. With an unrecognized devotion to anointing masked as sanctification already in place, these churches went on to embrace the anointing as the center of spiritual reality. To this group came the supernatural outpouring between 1901 and '06 by which they became the first floor in a new independent House of Anointing.
A. "Fire-Baptism" 1895-1900
The 1890's was a decade of
great explosion of new
independent Holiness churches in the rural
Amidst the ferment arose a movement among these churches known as the "Fire-Baptized" or "Third Blessing" Movement. Under the initial inspiration and leadership of B.H. Irwin, the Fire-Baptized Movement rolled out the final red carpet for the completely restored supernatural anointing. Seizing the prevailing new "power-for-ministry" emphasis pertaining to the baptism of the Spirit, Irwin began teaching that Holy Spirit baptism was a third work of grace to be obtained separately from but in addition to sanctification.
Capitalizing on the surging anticipations of the frontier holiness churches, Irwin's teaching found a great reception. As it rode the wave of this explosion, the concept of the baptism for power as a distinct third work became embraced by most Holiness churches born from 1895 forward. Becoming totally distinguished from sanctification, the baptism of the Spirit as an anointing became its own supreme focus of this expectational energy.
B. Ground Zero: Arrival of the Anointing and the Birth of the
Pentecostal Movement 1901-09
Based on surging expectancy and devotion to outward manifestations, and
armed with an understanding of the baptism of the Spirit divorced from
transformation, Pentecostal-Holiness hearts were ripe for apprehending a visible sign that would provide a
fail-safe definition and proof of access to the anointing. It was here that Charles Parham and his
Bible school students came to the momentous conclusion that tongues was just
that sign. With conclusion in hand, the faith of these students met God's gift
on New Year's Day, 1901, and the gift was poured out. For the next five years,
Parham peppered the South and
After this period of body-wide preparation, Parham's student William
Seymour carried the message to
After a period of time, the meetings were so focused on signs and
characterized by excess and confusion that mediums and spiritists openly plied
their trades in the midst. Significantly, through the hindsight of later years,
Over the duration of the revival, almost all the Third Blessing churches in the South became allied with the new anointing. Sanctification slipped to a second place profession while the new anointing captured all attention. Other major Pentecostal-Holiness churches also were swept into the new movement, adding the redefined baptism of the Spirit to their experience-focused transformation.
The churches which first received the third blessing teaching were able to
embrace the new Pentecostal Movement without much division, including the
VIII. Anatomy of Unbelief- Phase III: A.B. Simpson-Man in the Middle (1907-08)
During the tumultuous years of the
A. B. Simpson was a man of God profoundly centered on the Lord. Among many in his own Keswick league, he did the most to keep Christ focal to the purpose of sanctification. Meanwhile, unlike most in the parallel Holiness Movement, his commitment to transformation was based in real relationship to the Lord, not in a doctrine, an experience, or a personal state of being.
At the same time, Simpson was equally open to the anointing, including tongues. He had already embraced the anointing through the Divine Healing Movement which was one of the four pillar doctrines of the C&MA he had founded. Yet unlike the late 19th century anointing advocates, he was committed to the supremacy of relationship with Christ in all matters regarding the anointing.
For some time before the Pentecostal revival, Simpson had expressed an
expectation and desire that the Lord would pour out his Spirit in a new way upon
the Church. Then in 1907, one year after
Trouble brewed, however, as the aggressiveness of Pentecostal devotion to tongues began forcing itself upon this Keswick body of saints. Some in the C&MA were not merely touched with tongues, but confusion ensued over the Pentecostal insistence on its necessity. Entire C&MA churches finally pulled out of the denomination over the new tongues definition of Spirit baptism.
Simpson's commitment to Christ's centrality together with the distraction from Christ produced by the Pentecostal teaching brought him into conflict with those who elevated sign gifts and taught that Spirit baptism was primarily an anointing-class event. Despite this, Simpson maintained personal faith concerning the reality of tongues. Nor did he wholesale reject the Pentecostal Movement as many of his Keswick contemporaries did.
Simpson did his best to steer a middle course between the Keswick and Pentecostal realms. Ultimately, however, a controlling protectiveness that encased his hearts love for the Lord short-circuited Simpsons ability to personally receive the anointing he otherwise earnestly sought for completing His own spiritual quest. Manifest through his sense of need to "guard" his C&MA denomination against erroneous Pentecostal emphasis, this control in turn left Simpson unable to lead his denomination to seek an integrated reality that could actively weld the new anointing into the foundation of supreme love for Christ which he preached. By trying to subject the anointing to his own protectiveness of the Lords work, Simpson inadvertently established a mental framework that worked against the possibility of the anointings flourishing. Eventually, the C&MA's guarded openness to the anointing became reduced to a passive theory called "seek not, forbid not."
- Contrasting Simpson and the Holiness Pentecostals
The unbeliefs manifested by Simpson and his Holiness Pentecostal contemporaries reflected opposite sides of the same coin. Both attempted to add the supernatural anointing to transformation, but came from different perspectives leading to opposite results. The Holiness Pentecostals embraced the anointing upon a hollow transformation foundation. Simpson's commitment to transformation was real, but the faith necessary to engage the anointing was never sufficiently activated. Remaining passive, faith became reduced to theory. In a strange paradox, the commitment of Simpson and the C&MA to the work of anointing became as legal, inert and theoretical as the commitment of Irwin, Parham, and the Pentecostal-Holiness Movement had become to the work of transformation.
Together with the attempts of those few Holiness-Pentecostals whose sanctification was rooted in the love of the Father, Simpson's short-lived attempt to bridge the herculean chasm and harness the new anointing to the transformation was the closest the world would come to the union of these works. Because of his phenomenal grounding in the transforming love of Christ, his equal commitment to divine healing and the possibility of the supernatural, and his forefront leadership capability, A.B. Simpson was his generation's one best hope for the marriage of these works. With his failure after 1908, the possibility for the spiritual stars of transformation and anointing to converge on this generation was permanently lost.
IX. Anatomy of Unbelief-Phase IV: The Finished Work Controversy (1910-1915)
The final phase of unbelief sealed the permanent separation of the houses of transformation and anointing. It appeared among the believers who embraced the supernatural anointing and then came to ultimately reject the work and teaching of transformation. To this group belonged all the churches born directly through the Pentecostal outpouring who had no heritage in the House of Transformation as well as those who had defected from the C&MA. Coming to crystalize in that great body called the Assemblies of God, this permanent rejection of transformation was cemented in the years 1910-15.
During the revival, the
Baptist pastor W.H. Durham was
converted to Pentecostalism. Not having risen through the transformation
heritage laid the previous century,
Such teaching was not new. From the very outset of Wesley's promotion, the doctrine of a sanctifying work after conversion suffered controversy. Saints of Reformation and Baptist descent opposed it. It was also attacked within the House of Methodism itself as noted already. Many Methodists abandoned it altogether while others rendered its effect negligible through watered down definition.
X. Lines Drawn in the Sky: Examining the Holiness-Keswick/Pentecostal Conflict
With the forming of the Assemblies of God upon the "Finished Work" doctrine, the lines between the houses of transformation and anointing were completely drawn. In 20 brief years, the baptism of the Spirit was divorced from reference to transformation reality, redefined by an anointing sign-gift, then raised as its own standard that repudiated genuine transformation. The impact of this transition cannot be overstated.
By presenting the body of Christ with a sign apprehensible by human senses as proof of the Spirit's baptism, Charles Parham and the early redefiners of the baptism corralled an entire generation to a sealed devotion of the anointing . No one apprehending this new power did so in a way that harnessed it under dominion of the work of the cross and the love of the Father though many paid lip-service to both works. Such deception jelled into the final conclusion that possession of an anointing (specifically, tongues) automatically embraced transformation reality. Tongues was now proof that one had been cleansed and invaded by fullness of the Father's indwelling.
The elevating of a sign gift became the foundational beam from which the House of Anointing was to be built. It drew lines that established the irreconcilable antagonisms between transformation and anointing existing to the present time. It was impossible for those whose lives were grounded in the reality of transformation supremacy to swallow a teaching that would implicitly or openly put transformation in second place, or would offer a sign gift as proof of so great and deep a work!
On one hand, the "foolishness" of tongues was a stumblingblock for those whose transformation had become a mere hardhearted doctrine. But for many more whose life in the cross was genuine, it was not the Pentecostal experience that repelled them, but the elevating of the anointing above Christ and His love. The idea that tongues or any form of the anointing could replace the cross and serve as substitute and proof of sanctification immunized them from receiving it.
Since the door was locked between the houses of transformation and anointing in 1915, the two great bodies of the Church identified by them have remained at conflict, each championing its reality to the neglect of the other from its side of the veil.
A. Transformation Limps into the Twentieth Century
Failing to embrace the supernatural anointing, the two large streams of transformation remained to grow old and stagnate. Becoming enculturated in mindset, the remnants of transformation have continued in a nostalgic allegiance to past heritage while debating among themselves the 19th century issues that distinguished Holiness from Keswick.
1. Holiness Remnants
Descendants of the Holiness Movement have plodded on in relative isolation from the rest of the body of Christ. The Church of the Nazarene formed in 1895 became the line drawn between the transformation and supernatural anointing in that movement. Under the original leadership of Phineas Bresee, the Nazarenes went on to become the largest and most influential of Holiness denominations. They stand together with such outposts as Asbury Theological Seminary, Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, and other Wesleyan churches and schools as the guardians of original holiness transformation teaching.
Although in some instances they went on to contribute to devotional literature and to missions, what has remained of the Holiness movements descended from Methodism has fossilized. Devoted to a doctrinalized holiness void of anointing, it has been relegated to the backwaters of mainstream Christianity and to smug isolated outposts on the outer frontiers of contemporary Christian fellowship.
2. The Keswicks
Whereas the Holiness remnants became more defined in isolation, the
Keswick remnants dispersed to blend
with lukewarm Evangelicalism
or, as in the case of the American Higher Life stream, to help found hard-nosed
Fundamentalism. Conventions continued to be held into the mid-20th
century before drying up. Through British missions, Keswick influence was
carried to many parts of the world. One major convert to transformation ministry
The only major "Deeper Life"
denomination, the Christian and Missionary Alliance produced an equally strong
voice for transformation through Simpson's successor, A. W. Tozer. Other Keswick writers became prolific in
devotional writings. The works of Tozer and Nee along with publishing houses
such as Christian Literature Crusade, and schools such as
In spite of the solid grounding in transformation reality and living relationship with Christ promoted by the Keswicks, their remnants remain trapped by their mind's grasp of that relationship. They continue to suffer under a century-old passive unbelief that has left them empty of even common anointing and crippled their quest for bearing Christ's full image.
B. The Anointing Heads for Outer Space
Since 1915, virtually all movements of the anointing have been built apart from the work of transformation. With few exceptions, the saints descended from the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements have been immunized against entering into the work of transformation or receiving transformation-based truth.
In the beginning, Pentecostalism retained certain flavors from holiness days. Qualities of faith such as consecration, obedience, and surrender were still deemed necessary to receiving the Spirit. "Tarrying for the baptism" or to receive a healing or prophecy was still linked to a sense of required purity. But as transformation influence was left behind, even these necessities were discarded. By the 1960's, acquiring the anointing-baptism was a "name it, claim it" affair without regard to any transformational factor such as purity. Today, a light anointing for a sign gift is all that remains of the original baptism of the Spirit, an anointing obtained by untransformed millions.
Over the years, legalized Pentecostalism has given way to the more aimless and lawless Charismaticism of the present. Yet from its inception, one of the more church-shaking fruits of the free standing House of Anointing has been the dramatic falls from grace of its various leaders and the miring carnality of their followers. Spiritual and natural perversion has plagued the house. Alexander Dowie, B.H. Irwin, and A.J. Tomlinson were among the first casualties in a line that has stretched through the countless anointing streams to Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and Earl Paulk.
Meanwhile, back and forth the airwaves shift between older Pentecostal ministries preaching legalistic brimstone to newer flamboyant gospel mercenaries preaching cheap love and grace. None of it saves its followers from their carnal nature nor delivers them into the love of the Father. Yet this is all that is left to the House of Anointing of its original heritage in the transformation reality restored before it.
C. The Star of Sonship
In spite of the great divide between these realities throughout the 20th century, one brief but remarkable realignment of transformation and anointing peeked through the 1949 Latter Rain Movement. The Lord brought to this anointing-centered revival an amazing shot of transformation revelation. Known as "sonship," this revelation offered a preparatory glimmer of the final outworking of transformation through overcoming and glorification.
Succumbing to the same powers of unbelief that were surrounding it, this movement too suffered from the abuses, extremes, and fossilizations that have ultimately kept transformation and anointing apart. Though it arose during the reign of anointing, we will reserve our study of this vital move for the last chapter.
XII. The Impenetrable Veil: "Jews" Versus "Greeks"
"For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness." I Cor. 1:22-23
Looking behind the century-old conflict between transformation and anointing, we will find at the center a hidden stronghold that preserved two opposing forces of unbelief. This stronghold, then as now, confined those under the one unbelief to perpetual opposition against those under the other. Each unbelief championed the supremacy of the work of salvation it could naturally relate to, while actively or passively rejecting the truth belonging to the other.
The Apostle Paul addressed these two adamic natures in I Corinthians. He spoke of a Jewish mindset marked by "seeking after signs," and an opposing Greek mindset characterized by "wisdom," ie, spiritual wisdom graspable by the human mind. In Paul's day, these two natures presented opposite hindrances to receiving the true gospel of Christ. For the Jews, unless a miraculous power sign was displayed to back the message, they would not embrace it. For the Greeks, unless truth was demonstrated in a rational way leaving them in control of the message, they would not receive it. Thus they rejected the inexplicable or miraculous as so much "foolishness."
These parallel natures have carried down through the centuries dividing sign-seekers from doctrinalists, and emotionalists from inward experientialists, crippling both from receiving the Gospel in its twofold completeness. The generation of 1870-1915 was no different. We find these unbeliefs at the heart of the division that prevented Transformationists from actively embracing the supernatural, and kept the Pentecostalists from building upon genuine transformation. The "jews" and "greeks" of both houses became devoted to the form that harmonized best with their underlying unbelief while rejecting the other or holding to it only in word:
-- The earlier Holiness-Pentecostal jews embraced a fleshly
exaggerated transformation as a dead letter. The later Pentecostal jews
rejected the transformation altogether.
-- The original Keswick and Holiness greeks rejected the
supernatural anointing. The later C&MA Keswick greeks embraced
the supernatural only in theory.
- Neither Jew Nor Greek
To this day, the stronghold between jewish and greek natures has remained unchallenged. Devotion to one work against the other has preserved the divide. The particular aggravations and fruits of the isolated houses stand as sentries upon the strongholds which forbid their union in the Church.
Yet from the Lord's vantage, there is only one Gospel, one complete image of Jesus Christ, the Anointed Transformer. To Him there is only one house. "There is neither Greek nor Jew." There is not a "Holiness" house and a "Keswick" house and a "Pentecostal-Charismatic" house. There is but one house in which the anointing is joined in marriage to the foundation of transformation.
That house is to be restored in the generation that receives the coming of the Lord. A reawakening to effect this union is even now in view. The stars are once more approaching rendezvous in our generation. Once more, the great stronghold through the divided jewish and greek natures is to be confronted. To be ready for that great event and for the Lord's coming, we must be able to enter an absolutely overcoming love that alone can enable us to be built into that new unified house.
In the next chapter, we issue the call to overcoming the veil and to reconciling the descendants of these two restored works. We will confront the lies that under gird our one-sided unbelief, and examine in depth the deficiencies that result in Christian life when we do not build past the foundation of transformation or when we build anointing on its own sand.
[Chapter 9: RECONCILING THE MINISTRIES OF TRANSFORMATION AND
[Chapter 9: RECONCILING THE MINISTRIES OF TRANSFORMATION AND ANOINTING ]
TABLE OF CONTENTS
* from The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, XI, p. 413 (1856 ed.) as quoted by .John L. Peters in Christian Perfection and American Methodism p. 55 (1947).
** from Luke Tyerman's Wesley's Designated Successor, p. 465 (1882).as cited by John L. Peters in Christian Perfection and American Methodism p. 79 (1947).
*** The importance of the believer's consecration as a living sacrifice before entering into the Higher Life first came through Phoebe Palmer and later through the Keswick Convention. Sometimes called "altar theology," proponents of this emphasis highlighted that the Spirit does not transform uninvitedly nor does He invade an unprepared vessel. It is from this teaching that today's evangelical Church has derived the phrase "laying your all on the altar."
The emphasis on the importance of the crucified life on either side of receiving the Spirit's fullness together with the need for repeated fillings of the Spirit came through the Keswick Movement. Through its emphasis on power over sin, the Keswick/Higher Life tradition also came to be known as the "Victorious Christian Life."
The stress on the Second Blessing's purpose to reveal Christ to the heart began with William Boardman and continued with A.B. Simpson and the Keswick teachers.
**** Mrs. Palmer's faith teaching is the earliest seed of anointing class faith that we recognize behind today's Faith Movement. While she did not intend to undermine the importance of the commitment and cleansing necessary for entering into the place of perfected love, her momentary "faith-for-the-gift" emphasis established a subtle divorce between enduring faith and receiving faith. This divorce was responsible for the nebulous understanding between the "death" process and receiving the Spirit's fulness seen in some parts of the Keswick Movement. It eventually came to lie at the heart of the separation between the houses of transformation and anointing over the definition of the Holy Spirit's baptism.
***** from J.B. Culpepper, "The Keswick Movement," in Pentecostal Herald Vol XI, No. 3., (Jan. 23, 1899) as quoted by David Bundy in Modern Christian Revivals, ed. Edith L. Blumhofer and Randall Balmer, p. 132 (1993).
****** Later, during the crisis over tongues in the Christian & Missionary Alliance, numbers of these committed to the power definition of Spirit baptism abandoned their Deeper Life heritage to join the Pentecostal Movement through the Assemblies of God (see sections VIII and IX).
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Page updated December 3, 2010