Problems with Critics
of “The Deeper Christian Life”:
In Defense of The Deeper Christian Life:
(A plea for civility & discernment)
There are many Christians that follow “The Deeper Christian Life”, yet there are also other followers of Jesus Christ that may not know much about it, and there are still others that are opposed to the ideology of the deeper christian life or are doubtful of its merits.
I want to take this opportunity to discuss some things about those that oppose the ideology of the deeper Christian life or doubt its merits.
“The Deeper Life” has also gone by other names such as “The Higher Life”, “The victorious life”, “The Exchanged Life“, “Keswick Revival”, “The grace message”, and “The grace movement”. Keswick is a town in England where the ideology was famous and meetings were held to teach about the deeper life ideology.
I say these things in this article lovingly and don’t mean to be harsh or cruel to anyone. If I ever do seem harsh at any point in this article, I apologize now ahead of time. I love you all, and consider all of us in this discussion to be believers in Jesus Christ, and thus this is an in-house discussion among those that love Jesus Christ, and thus I believe that we should all show it, by showing love to one another.
My initial view of the critics:
I always get a little bit of a laugh from blogs and website articles explaining why the author is opposed to the ideology of the deeper christian life. I read their article and see where they say things like – I don’t believe in the deeper life, because people that believe in it hold to this bad philosophy and this other bad philosophy. I then stop and think about how I believe in the deeper life, but I don’t believe in any of the bad philosophy that they are talking about. I then wonder where they got all the ideas for pointing out those bad ideologies or how they came to those conclusions.
So I have begun to wonder about some of the ideas and disagreements in these articles by critics of the deeper life, because I have even seen some supposed theologians, seminary graduates, and so called learned men that grossly misrepresent aspects of this subject.
I have also noticed that many critics seem to fall into the following problem areas:
Problems with the critics:
- Many critics misrepresent the ideology of the deeper life.
- Many critics falsely accuse people of believing things that they may not really believe.
- Many critics do not seem to know the subject well enough to give the truth about opposing stand points, and thus they do not seem to know what they are talking about.
- Many critics set up false straw man arguments.
- Many critics demonize those that believe the deeper life.
- Many critics seem to be legalistic (or focused on their own self-efforts to live a good Christian life more than they are focused on living by faith).
- Many critics seem to use abrasive wording, harshness, harsh attitudes, and seem to have condemning attitudes.
- Many critics, seem to use Bible verses out of context, where they stretch the context of the Bible verses to make it seem like the “Deeper Life” ideology can’t possibly be correct, or they use opinionated denominational views of the Bible verses that may contradict other denominations views of the same biblical text.
- Many critics reject the Deeper Life merely because it doesn’t fit into their denominational views, or it conflicts with their denominational views.
- Many critics also seem to exaggerate certain aspects of the deeper life ideology to make it look bad. Most people and authors that hold to the deeper life, that I am familiar with, do not really hold to these kinds of extreme stand points, nor do many of the authors of books promoting the deeper life seem to teach any of these extreme stand points for the most part (such as what I have read of Andrew Murray).
- Many times it seems like many critics don’t list direct quotes in context from any specific person or author to prove their points, and if they do, it is a very short quote where you cannot check to see if it is in context or if the quote asserts what they say it does. A lot of these quotes in my opinion are taken out of context, or the context is greatly stretched and exaggerated. This is what leads to straw man arguments.
- Many critics seem to take one authors ideology and assume all people that believe in the deeper life are monolithic and believe the same thing, which may not be true.
- Many critics seem to fail to realize that there are different lines of thought with beliefs in the deeper life from different groups such as the Wesleyan’s, Pentecostals, Reformed, and Keswick adherents. Some beliefs between these groups may be similar or the same, but other beliefs might be different. Many critics also do not seem to understand that if they condemn 100% of all the people that believe in the deeper life, as they seem to do, they are actually condemning whole denominations like the Wesleyan’s, Pentecostals, Reformed, and other groups with views similar to Pentecostals like those from Calvary Chapel, and the millions of Christians in China’s house churches that follow the teachings of Watchman Nee.
- As point 13 shows, there are many mainline evangelical denominations that accept the deeper life, and it is clearly not some small obscure group, or highly off kilter cult of psychologically deranged people.
- Some critics make blanket statements about deeper life adherents, but may fail to realize that their assertions may only apply to a small number of adherents, and that many other adherents don’t hold to that specific ideology at all.
- Some critics read an authors statements that are difficult to understand and seem to assume the worst and then claim all in this category believe this same certain bad teaching, which may not be true (see point 12), and the whole disagreement could possibly be a based on a mere bad assumption or a misunderstanding.
- Some critics also seem to use word games in their assessments, conclusions, and in the ideas that they propose.
- Some critics also seem to make baseless assumptions, use faulty logic, or take giant leaps of assumption in order to draw conclusions with little if any proof for their conclusions.
- Some critics seem to accept books by some authors that teach some ideology that is identical to the deeper life, but only if they do not use the terms “Deeper Life”, “Higher Life, Keswick, or only if the author doesn’t associate themselves with the deeper life.
- Some critics seem to mistakenly believe that those that believe in the deeper life are a cult, or are just as bad as a cult, yet they don’t seem to know how to define how they are a cult according to any theological definitions of a cult, cult beliefs, cult activities, or cult like manipulation.
Whether these critics misrepresent the deeper life due to ignorance, misunderstandings, bad assumptions, or if they are merely judgmental, I cannot always tell. I would also say that I cannot tell if they do it purposefully or incidentally. I would certainly say that most, if not nearly all, critics don’t even come close to correctly representing the deeper christian life principles that I believe in and hold to.
Bad perceptions from bad sources:
Some of these critics may also get a bad perception of the deeper life due to seeing the following problems that can be seen in the lives of some people that claim to believe in the deeper life, such as the following:
- Some folks learn of the deeper life and then they also take hold of some other bad ideology or extremist ideology such as extreme groups in the Word of Faith movement, A.K.A. name it claim it (see “Christianity In Crisis” by Hank Hanegraaff), and by following ideology like that of certain cult groups like those of Jim Jones and David Koresh.
- Some may have learned of the deeper life as head knowledge only, but never fully lived it out by surrendering their lives to Jesus Christ, and never stopped living by their own strength (the strength of the sinful flesh) as many deeper life authors speak against in their writings, such as Andrew Murray’s book “Absolute surrender”. Thus, as these authors show, these people may be living a carnal Christian life, and are not truly living out the deeper life. Thus they would then be a bad example to look toward.
- Some other people may take some beliefs they saw in a book to an extreme extent, which may be much more extreme then the authors of some books originally intended.
Extremes on both sides:
It seems like the truth of the matter is that there are extremists on both sides, that are pointing out the extremes of the extremists on the other side of the issue. Yet, from what I have seen, rarely is anyone willing to set aside their extremist ideology and move toward more sensible ideology (or throw out the bad and stick with the good stuff). I have also noticed that many extremists on both sides of this issue are not willing to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ even if you try to guide them to do so. I would also say that many “throw out the baby with the bathwater” (metaphorically speaking) with this ideology, and they cast out all of the ideology even if some might be good.
I know that I have personally been verbally assaulted by folks on the extremes of both sides of this issue for merely suggesting that it is important to surrender your life to Jesus Christ. I think it is sad when people claiming to follow Jesus Christ act like this, say things like this, and refuse to submit to Jesus Christ, who they claim to follow.
I would also say that many Christians react with hostility to the idea that they are actually living out of their own sinful fleshly strength, and are not living by faith and by the Holy Spirit’s power and guidance. Thus their sinful and fleshly ways only reproduce more sinful behavior.
As Dr. Charles R. Solomon says in the 2nd book of his trilogy titled “The ins and out of rejection”:
Other counselors in the same condition cannot believe that theirs could be a spiritual problem. They have been actively involved in the ministry and in reaching others for Christ, possibly on the mission field or in the pulpit. For years they have regarded themselves as mature Christians. Other people have held the same regard for them. As a result, they are loathe to consider that they actually have a spiritual problem. They refuse to accept the fact that they are carnal Christians – that self still controls the life.
Many times there is a resistance to the point of open antagonism and hostility as a person begins to struggle with the fact that indeed he is not a mature Christian. He must then deal with the hostility and be able to see and admit that this is his situation as God sees it. God will even use this frustration and hostility to bring the counselee to surrender the way of the flesh and experience the liberty and life in Christ.
The proof of whether a person is living by the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit or not, is obviously found in whether the fruit of the Spirit is visible in the persons life or not.
I don’t say these things to verbally assault anyone, but in actuality I’m trying to be gentle and respectful and both show the facts as I have observed them, and also give place for others to see what might be wrong and where healing might need to begin.
I would also say that, to be more clear about this subject, I generally consider the deeper life to be as follows:
- Where a person surrenders their desires so Christ can have what he desires.
- Living by faith instead of mere human effort.
- Issues related to God’s love and acceptance.
- Issues concerning our identity in Christ.
- Biblical humility – which is where you are willing to listen to others, you don’t act like you think you are better than everyone else (which is the sin of pride), and you are not quick to fight with words or fists.
The 12 Step Programs:
I would also say that, from my personal studies, I believe that the original 12 step programs and the serenity prayer were based on the ideology of “The Deeper Christian Life” and surrendering your life to Jesus Christ.
So the question about this are as follows:
- Do the 12 step programs actually help addicts, or is it phoney or fake?
- Is the 12 step programs just a big elaborate mind game and hoax, or does it actually help people overcome addiction?
It seems to me that the 12 step programs have genuinely helped many addicts over the last several decades. So if it does work, then I think we should accept it, or at least accept the sensible aspects of it?
I also know a little something about surrendering to God, because a few years ago I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ in the way these deeper life authors from the 1800’s spoke about, and it dramatically changed my life for the better. Some friends said that it changed me so much for the better and to such a large degree that it was like I wasn’t even the same person.
Some friends said it sounded like I went through a 12 step program. I didn’t even know much about the 12 step programs at the time, so I had to look it up. When I looked it up, I realized that the Holy Spirit had brought me through the same thing as the 12 step program, except without any humans to directly counsel me through the process. I guess you could say that I have recovered from religious addiction and from acting very arrogant and judgmental.
I have also seen that many people, and many critics that do not believe in the deeper life, say that D.L. Moody was one of their kinds of guys who they like and admire (due to his far reaching evangelism), but from what I have seen and read, Moody also believed in “The Deeper Life”. I have also read in many different books that many famous evangelists, preachers, and missionaries from the 1800’s believed in the deeper life (See Leona Choy’s book “The life changing power of the Holy Spirit”). I could also include big names such as A.W. Tozer, Spurgeon, R. A. Torrey, Oswald Chambers, and Hudson Taylor etc. as also believing in the deeper life.
So, in my opinion, some people seem disingenuous in their remarks about D.L. Moody being one of their kinds of guys, especially when they do not believe in “The Deeper Life” or doubt its merits. Some critics even act like they do not like Moody even though his preaching led large numbers of people to get saved and become Christians.
Some people have tried to tell me that there are no theologians that believe or have ever believed in the deeper life, yet I guess they don’t count A.W. Tozer, R. A. Torrey , Charles Spurgeon, Andrew Murray, D.L Moody, Charles Finney, C.I. Scofield (of the Scofield Bible), Oswald Chambers (author of “My utmost for His highest”), Charles Ryrie reformed theologian who is also known for the Ryrie study Bible (see link – http://dbts.edu/pdf/rls/NaselliHandout.pdf at top of pg. 2, letter C, #4), Christian radio show host Steve Brown, some would add Pastor and author Charles Stanley, and also Chuck Smith who started the Calvary Chapel movement and was instrumental in the Jesus movement that saw many hippies saved. Even theologian Dr. Michael Brown recently defended Charles Finney (a big deeper life proponent) on his radio program (see this link to find out what was said). While some of these men might not be considered theologians by some people, they were instrumental in great works of God in seeing many people put their faith in Jesus Christ, and other men in this list truly are theologians. In my opinion, quickly dismissing these men, seems disingenuous, as if the critics are making up false claims, or making things up as they go along in their conversations. Perhaps some critics have not done their homework on this issue enough to state anything definitively on this subject matter.
I would also like to ask, the critics, that, believe no theologians have ever believed in the deeper life, “Would you jump off a bridge if everyone else seemed to be doing it?” Would you do something merely because a lot of other people are doing it? I could also ask, “Would you reject something that is potentially good, simply because many other people seem to be rejecting it also?” Following trends, fads, peer groups, or a herd mentality are clearly bad ways to find sound ideology. Clearly, a person should do their homework and study a matter as thoroughly as they can, so they can draw reasonable conclusions about a subject matter.
I would also say that I have never seen a widely accepted Christian theologian give credible proof in any book to show that the Deeper Life is cultic, that it’s a dangerous form of theology, or anything of that manner. I have never seen any kind of book like Walter Martin’s book “Kingdom Of The Cults” that clearly shows the deeper life to be cult-like, dangerous, or anything of that manner.
I would also say that I have known a lot of learned people that might be highly knowledgeable about one area of expertise, but at the same time might be unlearned about other subjects and even other similar subjects.
So just because some theologians dismiss “The Deeper Life” does not mean that the issue is settled, or that it is definitely a bad thing, because other theologians might believe that it is a great thing. Maybe some theologians don’t understand some aspects of this subject, or maybe they may have misconstrued some things involved in that subject matter, and that is why they have a different opinion.
I am not saying that these guys (“Deeper Life” authors like Tozer, Spurgeon and Watchman Nee) are 100% perfect in everything they say, and I am also not saying that theological doctrine isn’t important, because sometimes it does protect some people from spiritual abuse and from cults. I believe that we should test all these things (1Thessalonians 5:21; Acts 17:10; 1 John 4:1) to see what ideas may be good, which are bad, then stick with the good and toss out the bad. I have had people point out a few bad points to me, and I have listed some of these good and bad points below.
The good and bad of the deeper life:
- Tripartite views, which basically is the belief that man has 3 parts (flesh, mind, and spirit) which isn’t bad in itself. The bad part comes into play with an added ideology that all flesh is bad and the mind is flesh and cannot be trusted either, so we must trust a spiritual leader without question. This can often lead to cultish leaders that abuse and manipulate people. I would also ask how can you trust the leaders fleshly mind if it is corrupt flesh also? This seems to contradict scriptural admonitions to test all things 1 John 4:1; Acts 17:10-11; and 1 Thesselonians 5:21. Some theologians would suggest that holding a tripartite view that man has a body, mind and spirit isn’t evil, but is only evil in the dualistic view of flesh and mind being evil, and the ideology that people must adhere to cultish leaders. Some theologians would also suggest that mans body, mind, and spirit are mixed together to such an extent that they cannot be separated by any man. It is similar to taking a baked cake and trying to separate the original ingredients into individual components again, which would be incredibly difficult if not nearly impossible.
- Word Faith Theology, AKA – name it claim it. Many Christians have been concerned about the cultic nature of some big name leaders of the “Word Faith” movement (see the book “Christianity In Crisis” by Hank Hanegraaff link 1 for the original version of the book& link 2 for the updated version of the book).
- Blind acceptance of sinful behaviors even if it’s blatantly destructive and hurtful to other people, such as in the case of sexual sins, sexual abuse, physical assaults, manipulation, and psychological and sociological manipulation etc.
Some examples of these bad aspects can be seen in recent history with Jim Jones and David Koresh.
Jim Jones David Koresh
I also personally believe that the closer a person gets to God, the more the devil will try to deceive and make counterfeits to lead people astray. So I think the deeper life is very close to God’s heart and thus the devil must fight it even harder to work against it.
- Surrendering our lives to God, and God’s clearly revealed desires.
- Living the Christian life by walking by faith and not mere human effort.
- Gods love and acceptance of us, which isn’t necessarily His love and acceptance of our destructive behavior, or every bad thing that we do.
- Our identity in Christ.
- Humility and generally behaving in a humble manner.
Some of this subject matter can be difficult to sort through due to recent decisions by The Christian Research Institute to consider authors and figureheads such as Watchmen Nee and Witness Lee to be within acceptable Christian orthodoxy (see link 1 for PDF download). The link provided is a free download of the whole copy of “The Christian Research Journal” that has several articles about Watchman Nee, and dispels a lot of the arguments against him. It seems to clearly show Watchman Nee to be within Christian orthodoxy. See also Watchman Nee’s wiki-pedia profile.
I would also say that some critics seem to criticize men like Nee due to misunderstandings of some of their more difficult to understand writings. This type of misunderstanding can also be seen in the audio recording of theologian Dr. Michael Brown, where he defends Charles Finney from a critic.
Misused Bible Verses:
Another issue that can make this subject seem confusing is when some critics twist and skew the meanings of some Bible verses, or take the verses out of context to try to prove their point against proponents of “The Deeper Life”. A good example of this is when some critics try to use Bible verses such as “Be ye holy” (1 Peter 1:16) or other verses that seem to talk about striving hard to live a good life.
The big question about verses like 1 Peter 1:16 is, that, do verses like that mean that we should try hard, as in, try hard to live by good deeds done in the strength of our sinful flesh, or does it actually mean that we should live by faith and rely on the Holy Spirits guidance, power, and timing?
I believe that it is clear that those kinds of verses mean living by faith and relying on the Holy Spirit especially since the whole chapter of 1 Peter 1 talks about living by faith and that salvation is by faith and not works.
I would also add that if we are to strive hard in our own strength, then where is the living by faith that the Bible talks about?
I would also ask to apply the Bible verse Ephesians 2:8-9 to this subject, where it states that salvation is by faith and not of works lest any man should boast.
I also believe that the apostle Paul said that faith is not only about the initial moment of salvation, but is also about living by faith.
The deeper life isn’t Gnostic ideology:
Some critics of “The Deeper Life” like to try to accuse deeper life adherents of being involved in Gnosticism, which is far and removed from the truth of the matter.
The deeper life ideology is not Gnosticism, nor do the larger number of mainstream deeper life adherents hold to Gnostic ideology.
If you wish to see what the Gnostic’s believed, and what the Gnostic gospel is, you can see a nice write up on Wikipedia, but the deeper Christian life ideology isn’t the same as the Gnostic gospel or beliefs.
Living by faith doesn’t preclude doing nice things for people, as some critics try to accuse deeper life adherents of, when discussing this issue, but instead, deeper life adherents just do things according to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, timing and power. The top priority is on living by faith and the Holy Spirits guidance, instead of having the top priority on living by good works, lists of good works, or lists of do’s and don’ts, as legalistic people would do.
Deeper life adherents are sometimes more active (or more effective) then those that live by self-effort, because they may sense more Christian liberty, and are thus more willing to do the acts of kindness than legalistic people who may feel over-burdened in their lives already.
Some of the Gnostic ideology of dualism is similar to the problems in some extreme tripartite ideology, which is that all flesh can’t be trusted so we need a spiritual leader to tell us what to do, and we shouldn’t think for ourselves, but only blindly follow a spiritual leader. The larger number of deeper life adherents don’t follow that ideology from my observations. The few that do believe in heavy handed spiritual leaders are in cults, or fringe groups, which are not in the mainstream or the majority of deeper life adherents.
I would also say that in the wikipedia article on Gnosticism, there is no mention of “The deeper life”, the higher life, the victorious life, or the exchanged life at all whatsoever. Similarly, there is nothing in the wikipedia article about “The Higher Life”, that says it’s adherents follow Gnostic ideology. Since the write up on Gnosticism is so long, I would think that if deeper life adherents followed Gnostic ideology, it would have been listed in the article. Since it isn’t listed in either article, then it is my opinion that it’s highly doubtful that it should be considered as an offshoot of Gnosticism, or that a predominantly high number of deeper life adherents believe in Gnostic ideology as critics claim.
It is my opinion that anyone stating that Gnosticism, and the deeper life, are the same, or that deeper life adherents believe Gnostic ideology, have simply failed to do their homework to study the matter well enough to make any reasonably accurate remarks on this subject matter.
Critique of the critics:
I would also suggest that anyone thinking that there has never been any theologians that believed in the deeper life, or if you believe the critisisms of the deeper life to be valid, then I would suggest that you look at an article titled “Critical view of B.B.Warfield’s “Perfectionism: the view of Charles Finney”. It shows a lot of the flaws in the ideas of the critics of the deeper life. The article also showed that basically Warfield didn’t believe in the deeper life, because it didn’t fit his denominational views (which showed that he had a highly biased view-point, and he refused to accept anything other than his own denominational view-point, which seems to point to the sin of pride and arrogance).
B. B. Warfield
You might also wish to see theologian Dr. Michael Brown defend Charles finney (click this Link), and you may also wish to see this article written by Rick S. Bell in defense of Charles Finney (click this Link).
Another good article defending the deeper life is the article titled “Keswick: A Good Word or a Bad One?”. A couple of very good unique points in this article come under the first sub-heading at paragraphs 6 and 8 where we see the following points:
- The original followers of the deeper life / Keswick movement stayed true to its origins until the mid 20th century and the modern Keswick movement is not quite the same as the original ideology (see paragraph 6). It also showed that some of us stick to the better original ideology.
- The second point is, that, up until the mid 20th century, those in “The Deeper Life” / Keswick groups were considered to be mainstream and within Christian orthodoxy. This is in great contrast to some contemporary critics these days that seem to postulate that “The Deeper Life” adherents aren’t, and possibly have never been within Christian orthodoxy (see paragraph 8).
I have looked at some theologians critiques of the deeper life (see Jay Wetger link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4, & Andrew Naselli – link 1, & link 2) and I have been greatly disappointed to see many flaws like those that I have pointed out in this article, and other problems pointed out in the critique of B.B.Warfield by Bill Nicely (see link).
Many of the critics disagreements with “The Deeper Life” seem to basically be little more than minor debates over denominational ideology such as Calvinism versus Arminianism, minor differences in defining sanctification, minor debates about eternal security versus losing salvation, or minor debates over secondary issues related to differing denominational ideological views, which consists of nothing substantial whatsoever in this category of addressing issues related to “The Deeper Life” or if it’s within orthodoxy, on the fringe of orthodoxy, or if it’s outside of Christian orthodoxy.
Most, if not nearly all of these kinds of disagreements (like I mentioned in the previous 2 paragraphs in reference to “The Deeper Life”), can be freely discussed and allowed among Christians, and should be considered as being within acceptable Christian orthodoxy. We should not need to break fellowship with people that have these kinds of minor differences of opinion on secondary matters such as these. None of these issues gives a 100% guarantee that someone on either side of these issues is adhering to doctrines of cults or is outside of acceptable Christian orthodoxy, or anything of that nature.
I have also had some people point out to me the theological mistakes in some long dead authors from yesteryear, and I can accept that there may be some mistakes in their ideology, but I would agree with some of these critics, that these long dead authors likely had good hearts, and were trying to follow God, and were trying to help people, and give people reasonable guidance. These long dead authors may have also had some flawed theology due to lack of learning. Some may have believed in tripartite views, but never tried to become a heavy handed leader of a cult group. They likely wanted to help people and did not have evil motives. There may be other people that went astray, and went into more sinister paths in life, and have used these teachings to an extreme extent, which led to forming cult groups which have hurt people (like Jim Jones and David Koresh).
I think it should also be known, that, as the different types of views of sanctification show, which is that there are different views of “The Deeper Life” such as those of the Wesleyan, Reformed, Pentecostal, and Keswick groups.
I personally lean close to the Pentecostal view, yet I do not consider myself a typical Pentecostal in the traditional denominational sense. I would lean more toward being in line with the views of Calvary Chapel and Chuck Smiths book “Why grace changes everything” (see end of article for a link to this free e-book). I also like a few aspects of the Reformed and Wesleyan views also.
I would also say that I have found that learning theology hasn’t made me, or the people I have known, better people, nor has it made me more loving, more Godly, nor has it helped me to live out the fruit of the Holy Spirit (such as love joy and peace). As the Bible shows, knowledge puffs up (or inflates our sinful pride, see 1Corinthians 8:1). Sadly these prideful attitudes seem to quench the Spirit, and thus seems to limit the Holy Spirit’s work in people’s lives. I have seen this problem in many highly learned Christians. They know a lot of theology, but they lack Godly love. What truly helps people is trusting Jesus Christ, surrendering to Jesus Christ, and allowing Christ to work in their lives.
I mean no offense or insult to my more educated friends and fellow believers that may have graduated from Christian colleges or Seminaries, but it seemed like Jesus Christ wanted us to trust Him, and not merely learn mere facts about Him.
Once again, I repeat, that I mean all of this in love, and I plead for all of us to be loving, civil, and to use discernment. If I have failed in any of these points of being loving and kind, I sincerely apologize, because I am trying to tell the truth with love and respect (as the Bible shows in the Bible in1 Peter 3:15).
I, as well as others, are growing very tired of the hurtful and dishonest remarks being made against the deeper life and its adherents these days (see also these articles link 1 as well as the comment at the end of the article & another article link 2 see the last paragraph of the article).
Some of us that believe in the deeper life, or people that consider the deeper life within orthodox Christianity, are growing very tired of the verbal assaults, the dishonesty, and the demonizing of people related to this issue. I have seen one person’s blog that noted that many of these dishonest statements about some of this subject matter, were disproved centuries ago, yet these same dishonest statements are still brought out from time to time to be used over and over again. Such as with the case of some of the statements, and false accusations made against Wesley (see link), and the lies spoken about Charles Finney as Bill Nicely rightly points out (see link). I would also refer to another great article that defends Charles Finney by Rick Bell (see link).
Many people would like to see the people on both sides of this issue work together, and accept the good in both forms of ideology (see link, to see last paragraph at end of article).
I would also say that you should always look at things that are said, and how it is said, in order to discern truth by seeing if it generally fits with Jesus Christ’s character and virtue.
To see if what is said fits with what we know of Jesus’ character and virtue, you can see the following:
- See the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:21-22).
- See the Bible’s view of love (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
- You can also tell when it doesn’t fit Jesus’ character and virtue when what is said seems to bring a person into bondage, bring a person to forced acts of service, and brings a person to overly stringent behavior standards brought on by legalistic teachers etc.
- A good source to look at to see a good example of Jesus’ character and virtue is the book “The Jesus Style” By Mr. Gayle D. Erwin (link for free audio book or order the book). His book shows many of the character virtues of Jesus Christ. It will help to show if a person is bringing truth on the matter, and give a good frame of reference for using discernment in many areas of life.
The Bible says to be ready always to give an answer to any man that asks you about the hope that is in you and to do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). I see many people speaking by way of ranting and raving, as well as talking down to people, but I do not see many people giving well informed answers with gentleness and respect. I see many speaking or writing with a clear and thorough lacking of Biblical love (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-8) and I don’t see the rest of the fruit of the Spirit either. This article is intended to show the truth in love to the best of my ability as God has given me.
In my opinion, there is clearly a reasonable apologetic defense for the deeper life against the critics, and a defense to show that “The Deeper Life” is within Christian orthodoxy as this article and others that I listed have shown. To say otherwise seems disingenuous, as if the critics have (1) merely not done their homework to study the issue well enough, (2) they may have an ax to grind (metaphorically speaking) over some past bad experience and thus they refuse to consider facts that might show anything contrary to their view-point, (3) they are biased and thus refuse to seriously consider evidence to the contrary of their personally held views, or (4) a combination of these reasons.
I would suggest, that those on both sides of this issue, should get together more often, be loving, kind, and patient toward one another, and humbly talk through things. At least talk so they can get the truth of the matter instead of making unfounded assumptions or making statements that misrepresent others. It would also help to be willing to be humble and listen to others peoples concerns.
I also think we can all benefit by surrendering ourselves to Jesus Christ.
I also think that extremists on both sides need to drop the extremism, the extremist ideologies, the demonizing, the name calling, the false assumptions, and the false accusations.
Christ said to love your enemies and love one another, and that doesn’t leave anybody out (see the Bible in Matthew 5:43-44; and John 13:34).
So I think it would help if people on both sides of this issue would drop the attitudes, the bravado, and the condemnation. If you can’t love one another, then ask Jesus to help you to do so. This is God’s command to us all. Jesus also said:
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Jesus said to love one another, and love your neighbor, but didn’t say to balance out love with justice by verbally assaulting each other, and verbally beating people down with your pet doctrines, pet peeves, or that you should domineer over each other with your ardent biased views, or ardently divisive denominational views, nor should you verbally beat people down with what you think is the truth, because you pulled a few Bible verses out of context.
I would also suggest, that, those who doubt the merits of “The Deeper Life”, should find what parts of these teachings are good, and which are bad, then believe in the good parts, and if other parts lack merit or proof of their merit, then, you can discard the bad, or hold off on believing those things until you get better proof or a better explanation of their merits. You can also examine the section of this article under the sub-heading “The good and bad of The Deeper Life”.
I also plea for folks to be humble and have an open heart to find the truth about God, and be willing to see things in a different light, or see things in a different way than you have seen it before.
Some folks might even suggest that I (the author of this article) might need Jesus Christ’s help to get better at showing more love, humility, and kindness, to which I say, “May God make it so, and make it happen with such great power, and love that all can see it and learn from it, and may it happen in a way that all can see that all good things come from God.”
God bless all of you and I hope of of this helps.
I would suggest, that, if anyone wants to learn about the kind of “Deeper Christian Life” teachings that helped change my life for the better, you may want to read the book “Classic Christianity” by Bob George (see the book “Christianity In Crisis” by Hank Hanegraaff link 1 for the original version of the book& link 2 for the updated version of the book).
If you would prefer a free e-book on this subject, then I would suggest the book titled “Why grace changes everything” by Chuck Smith. You can look up the free e-book version on the internet with your favorite search engine. Here are some links that I found , , , and .
Another good book to see the difference between the truth of grace (and its effects on your life), versus what happens when judging, and condemnation enter the situation, would be the book “True-Faced” by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch. [see also the True-Faced Home page], [Truefaced book to purchase].
If you are going to respond to this article with any kind of rebuttal against anything listed in this article, please abide by the following guidelines:
- Please do your homework first, by reading at least one of these books – “Classic Christianity” or “Why grace changes everything”.
- Please also do your homework by reading the article with the critique of B.B.Warfield.
- Please watch the whole video based on the book “True-Faced” listed above.
- Please make your comments reasonable, rational, and responsible.
- Please explain your view-points thoroughly, and have well thought out view-points that can be clearly understood by anyone that might read them.
- Please don’t make comments that are merely abusive, abrasive, inflammatory, cruel, judgmental, unkind, or full of baseless accusations. You might want to let another person review your comments to be certain that the comments are kind and respectful.
- Please make sure that your words and statements are kind, and please don’t use any name-calling.
Please, only give a rebuttal if you have fully completed the first 3 items (which is to read one of the books listed, read the critique of B.B.Warfield, and watch the video about “True-Faced”).
I shall try to keep the comment section open for responsible comments on this subject matter, or at least have a contact page where messages can be left. Responsible replies are welcome, and will be posted either on this page or on the contact page on this website so responsible replies on this subject matter can be openly listed and viewed.