John_C said:


Thanks for the information.

I'm wondering if the Keswick movement in England had some elements of pietism in it?


I’ve been reading a little about this movement since you’ve asked the question. Even though some of the characteristics of Pietism are similar to the Keswick movement there are some differences too. Actually several different movements grow out of similar concerns and they all share an Arminian view of sactification. They express concern that the orthodox church is too intellectual, too formal, and actually dead. For example the Holiness movement, Quietistic movement, and even Penticostalism all put a lot of emphasis on a higher life, with an overemphasis on experience and feelings.

You may want to read this article on The American Holiness Movement which shows some of these same concerns. These movements put a lot of their emphasis on a misunderstanding of sanctification. Another article I've found that speaks to this is entitled A CRITIQUE OF THE HIGHER LIVE MOVEMENT by Jay Wegter. The concept of the higher Christian life arose in the nineteenth century in connection with the holiness tradition in America. The movement grew in popularity and ultimately spread to England. Keswick, England became the home of the higher life conventions.

R V Pierard writes:

More difficult to characterize is the Keswick movement which originated in Britain in 1875 at a "Convention for the Promotion of Practical Holiness" in the Lake District town of that name. Speakers at the annual Keswick conferences emphasized the "deeper life" instead of holiness, believing that the tendency to sin is not extinguished but is counteracted by victorious living through the Holy Spirit. The predominance of Reformed Anglicans along with like minded Free Church evangelicals in the movement prevented the Wesley - Arminian view of sanctification from establishing a foothold.

In Germany the Holiness concept was institutionalized in the Gemeinschaftsbewegung (Fellowship Movement) which came into existence under the influence of Keswick and Methodist evangelists from Britain and the United States. Several societies were founded, the most important being the German Evangelization Association (1884), Gnadau Association (1888), and Blankenburg Alliance Conference (1905), which cultivated a deeper holiness among members of the territorial churches.

The Holiness movement contributed to a deepening of the spiritual life in a materialistic age, and it was a welcome contrast to the sterile intellectualism and dead orthodoxy that characterized so many churches at the time. However, it has been criticized for suggesting that a "second blessing" can provide some Christians with a higher kind of sanctification than that which flows from one's justifying faith. P T Forsyth said it is "a fatal mistake to think of holiness as a possession which we have distinct from our faith and conferred upon it.

That is a Catholic idea, still saturating Protestant pietism." Other objections include the tendency to identify holiness with quietistic self abasement and even loss of personality, an other worldly asceticism that calls for the rejection of all secular culture as sinful, confining the grace of God to stereotyped forms of religious experience, an overemphasis on feeling, and claiming with overweening confidence the special action of the Holy Spirit in one's life and direct inspiration in the details of thought and action.


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts