July 26, 2019

Biographies of Great Men: Dr. Harry A. Ironside

The following appeared in The Hufhand Report, which is sent via email weekly by Dr. Lawrence Hufhand.

Dr. H. A. Ironside
Harry Allen Ironside was Born on October 14, 1876, in Toronto, Canada and died on January 15, 1951, in Cambridge, New Zealand.   His life spanned almost three quarters of a century, living 74 years, 3 months, and 1 day.  Without dispute, Dr. Ironside was the greatest Bible teacher, since the days of the Apostle Paul.  He was a great pastor, a renowned teacher and an author of scores of books.  He pastored the Moody Memorial Church in Chicago for 18 memorable years, beginning in 1930 and closing it out in 1948.  Outside of Billy Sunday whose funeral he preached. He was affectionately known as "the archbishop of fundamental-ism."

Harry was the son of John and Sophia Ironside who were godly parents.   His father spent evenings at street meetings, in halls and in theaters, and on Sundays held services in the park.  He was known as "The Eternity Man," because every time he met someone he asked them, "Where will you spend eternity?  They were identified with the Plymouth Brethren.  Before Harry was converted, he had memorized hundreds of Scripture verses and read the Bible through 14 times by his 14th birthday.  At the age of ten, his widowed mother, along with an infant child, moved to Los Angels, California in 1886.  The next three years of his life was spent doing Bible clubs, preaching, and winning souls, yet he himself had not yet been converted.  It wasn’t until a Scottish Evangelist by the name of Donald Munro came to visit the family, that Harry was confronted for his need of a clear cut salvation experience, and so in February of 1890, at midnight, he got out of bed, got on his knees and invited Jesus Christ into his life.  Harry basically grew with a holiness background, owing much to the Salvation Army.

Later he joined the Salvation Army, and advanced to being a Lieutenant.  Working through sinless perfection and the “second blessing,” he came to realize that he was doing more harm than good.  At the age of 19, in the year of 1896, he broke away from the Salvation Army and identified himself with the Plymouth Brethren, where he became one of its licensed preachers.  While helping in an evangelistic endeavor in San Francisco, California, he met another ex-Salvation Army member, by the name of Helen Schofield, the daughter of a Presbyterian pastor in Oakland. Love blossomed and on January 5, 1898, Harry and Helen were married. He was 21 at the time.                             

His lack of education was never a hindrance to him.1  After he finished the 8th grade, he never went back to school.  All of his biblical training came while studying the Scriptures day after day.  What was so amazing is that he became the greatest Bible teacher of his day and years beyond, with no formal ministerial training.  It’s also interesting to note that his greatest legacy was in authoring 80 volumes of commentaries on the Bible, along with one of his most famous books:  “Holiness, the False and the True”, which came out in 1912, It was a book much maligned by the holiness crowd, but it was a book that sealed his departure from that crowd. 

His preaching ministry took him far and wide, preaching to thousands, and for a while he ministered under the auspicious of the Moody Bible Institue.  In 1926 he was invited to teach at the famed Dallas Theological for several months a year, but declined, because it would take him away from his preaching ministry.  Perhaps the greatest thrill of his life took place on March 5, when he receive a unanimous call to be the Pastor of the Moody Memorial Church in Chicago and on March16,1930 he preached his first sermon.  He continued his itinerate ministry, often leaving after church on Sunday night and not return until Saturday to preach at Moody Memorial.  After his wife’s death in 1948, he retired to Winona Lake, Indiana.                         

His books poured forth through the years, too numerous to mention here. Over 80 volumes have come from his pen. A Dr. of Letters degree [1930] had come from Wheaton2 in June of 1930, and on June 3, 1942 Bob Jones University3 granted him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree [1942]. His writings on the entire New Testament, as well as all of the prophetic books of the Old Testament, and a great many volumes on specific Bible themes and subjects came from his pen.  Some of his later titles include Things Seen and Heard in Bible Lands, Lamp of Prophecy, Changed by Beholding, The Way of Peace, and The Great Parenthesis.  Almost lost in the seemingly more important phases of his ministry is the fact that he is the author of the well known hymn, Overshadowed.

Harry Ironside became great, because he dedicated himself to the study of God’s Word.  It was God who made him great.

1) Kevin Bauder: Required Theological Pedigree to Gain a Hearing

2) HA Ironside's Legacy

“Ironside was appointed to the board at Wheaton College, and was also on the board of Bob Jones University. The present faculty of Wheaton includes names of prominent critics of …Dispensationalism. Many of the interpretations of prophecy that Ironside believed have been set aside, and abandoned at Wheaton and even at Dallas Theological Seminary. Ironically, some of Ironside’s teachings are now actively opposed by professors at the College where he was once honored….”
3) Biographies of Great Men: Dr. Bob Jones, Sr.

Site Publisher Addendum:
As noted above Bob Jones University in 1952 conferred upon Harry Ironside a Doctor of Divinity degree. In 2011 the University to honor the man's legacy renamed one of its dormitories to H. A. Ironside Residence Hall.

Dr. Ironside wrote, The only way really to understand our Bible and get things in their places so that we are not in confusion of mind as we read and study is by noticing the various dispensations or administrations or stewardships or other periods that run through the Scripture. But we have recently been told by some prominent writers that this is all a mistake.” (The Lamp of Prophecy or Sign of the Times: Reaffirmation of Dispensational Truth)

July 15, 2019

Biographies of Great Men: Dr. Bob Jones, Sr.

The following appeared in The Hufhand Report, which is sent via email weekly by Dr. Lawrence Hufhand. See The Friday Report, June 28, 2019 for the complete report.

Dr. Bob Jones, Sr.

Apart from my brother Lee [Hufhand], who led me to Christ and was my constant mentor, the most influential person in my life was Dr. Bob Jones Sr. While a student at BJU, I was called into his office and he quizzed me about a letter he had gotten concerning my relationship with a particular girl back home.  He asked me if I loved her.  (He really did.)  I said, “I love her very much.”  He looked at the letter and then at me and said, “then marry her”, so I did.  I am indebted to him for that, along with my being called into the ministry.  That being said, let me tell you about him.  I apologize for its length, but no man in my recollection, has done more for Christianity than this man, other than the Apostle Paul.  Much of this comes from the biography by R.K. Johnson.   Robert Reynolds Jones:  Born: October 30, 1883 in Skipperville, in Southeast Alabama, and died on January 16, 1968 in Greenville, South Carolina.                

One cannot think about Dr. Bob, apart from having founded Bob Jones University in 1927. (While I was there in 1953 thru 1957, without equivocation, it was the greatest “preachers school” on the planet.  There were 1100 Ministerial Student enrolled at that time.) What produces such a school? Many things, but the indefatigable work of its founder, Bob Jones, Sr., must surely be considered as the key ingredient. One of the greatest evangelists of all times--a man who preached in 30 different countries, and by age 40 he had preached 12,000 sermons to some 15,000,000 people, with 300,000 converts.

Dr. Jones was the son of William Alexander and Georgia (Cree) Jones. The parents were farmers of Calvinistic convictions. He was the eleventh of twelve children, having eight sisters and three brothers. The family moved to the Dothan, Alabama, area shortly after his birth. Christian convictions were instilled in him by his parents and hard work on the farm gave him a challenge early in life to work. He was converted at age eleven in a country Methodist church outside Dothan. From the time of his conversion he began preaching publicly and was known as "the Alabama boy preacher." He preached to anyone who would listen. He became a good debater. He developed strong convictions and undaunted courage. Like Billy Sunday, his preaching was to be received because it would be on the level of the people.

When he reached 13 years of age, he built a brush arbor where he preached on Sundays, which later became a church of 54 members. By age 15 he was licensed and ordained by the Alabama Methodist Conference. Bob was now preaching all over southeast Alabama. He finished his formal education 1904.  He was fully ordained to the Gospel ministry by the Methodist Church in 1903.  Shortly after he began to have some serious throat problems which was healed by the age of 21.  In October 24, 1905, he married Bernice Sheffield, only to have her die ten months later in August, 1906, of tuberculosis. Some time January, 1907, in Uniontown, Alabama, he met Mary Gaston Stollenwerck, who was converted in one of his meetings. On June 17, 1908, they were married. Their only child, Bob Jones, Jr., was born October 19, 1911. Marriage and family did not change his life style, as Mrs. Jones traveled with him, taking a maid along to care for the child until he was six years old, when he entered a school in Montgomery,                                                                                                                        

I wish I had the space to tell you all about Dr. Bob as an evangelist and all the great crusades he held across this country of ours.  One of his great crusades was held right here in Noblesville, IN and another one was held in Peru, just 50 miles north of Noblesville.  Literally thousands, upon thousands of souls were saved and brought into the Kingdom through his evangelistic endeavors.  He was a world class evangelist, after the manner of his friends, Sam Jones and Billy Sunday.

In 1927 he founded Bob Jones college, which later became Bob Jones University.  It was by far his greatest and most enduring contribution to old time fundamental Christianity.  His reason for starting a Christian college came about because of the encroachment of European liberalism in the colleges and seminaries across America.  He was sitting in a drug store in Kissimmee, Florida in 1926, and he said to his wife, "I'm going to start a school!" A site was picked out and on December 1, 1926, ground was broken, and on September 12, in 1927, the school opened with 88 students. The financial crash of 1929 nearly closed them down, but the vision was re-energized at an old college that had been closed for years, in Cleveland, TN.   And so on Sept. 1, 1933 Bob Jones College formally opened in Cleveland and a new school year began.

By 1946 the school had expanded as much as it could in Cleveland, and so it was agreed upon to move the college campus to Greenville, South Carolina, where, on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1947, it was dedicated, with approximately 2,900 students attending. Through the years, the school continued to grow, with Bob Jones, Sr., playing an active role until his resignation as chairman of the board of trustees in April, 1964.

The last two years of his life was spent mostly in the campus hospital. His last words, on January 16, 1968, were, "Mary Gaston, get my shoes; I must go to preach." He was buried on campus in a beautiful little island in a fountain of cascading pools, just across the street from the Rodeheaver Auditorium.  Dr. Bob: The greatest man of accomplishments that I have ever personally known.

For Related Reading See:
Bob Jones, Sr. Chapel Sayings
Site Publisher Addendum:
It is with regret and sadness that many BJU alumni, ministerial graduates in particular, see the University now as having drifted far from the doctrinal foundations it once staunchly held to for many decades. A departure from the moorings that accelerated significantly in 2014.

July 8, 2019

KESWICK—A GOOD WORD OR A BAD ONE? Part Three: Reasons for the Attack

Dr. John Van Gelderen
What lies behind the criticism of Keswick theology? In this article, we will cover some key factors that fuel objections and cause some problems for those seeking the truth.
Basic Misinformation
Amazingly, I have been in some settings where a speaker taught the truths of Keswick/Deeper Life theology and immediately followed by saying, “Now, I’m not talking about Keswick; I’m not talking about the Deeper Life.” Such a contradiction indicates that one is largely unaware of the history and the meaning of the labels and likely is functioning from hearsay and charges of unorthodoxy that critics have attached to Keswick and Deeper Life. First impressions are mind-setting. Someone bent their ear. They read or listened to critics of Keswick without reading Keswick authors themselves, and now, joining in the criticism, they unwittingly attack and undermine their own teaching. The damage done is unintentional but is still harmful to that which they believe.
Thoroughgoing Calvinism
Though not all Calvinists clash with Keswick, those of a thoroughgoing system often do. Keswick emphasizes man’s responsibility of faith. One of the major descriptions of Keswick is sanctification by faith. Some Calvinists claim that a faith emphasis is a man-centered emphasis, but how can God-dependence be man-centered? Faith is not a work; it is dependence upon the worker—God. The inspired Word says, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him” (Rom. 4:5). Therefore, faith is the opposite of works. Faith says, “I can’t, but God can,” and so depends upon God. The focus of true faith is, of necessity, on God, who is the object of faith. This is undeniably God-centered.
The clash is between inevitable faith for thorough-going Calvinism and the responsible faith of Keswick. Does progressive sanctification just happen, inevitably occurring for every true child of God, or can it be hindered by unbelief and accelerated by faith? Keswick insists on the latter. Interestingly, Keswick’s promotion of responsible faith also clashes with the misfocused faith of unfettered choice that is advanced by thoroughgoing Arminianism. Responsible faith means you are responding to the Spirit’s convincing work, based on God’s Word. It is neither unfettered choice nor inevitable. It is a true responsibility.
When I hear or read some Calvinists claims regarding Keswick teaching, I’m amazed at the inaccuracy. Certainly, some such commentators have limited their study to criticisms of Keswick without spending significant time with primary sources. Others have indeed read the Keswick authors—albeit, with a crippling bias that blinds them to the clear facts and arguments championed by those authors. Assessments offered from this perspective muddy the waters and perpetuate misrepresentations that obscure important truths made plain in Keswick teaching.
Personal Defeat
For some, the refrain is, “Tried it—didn’t work.” But, is an apparent application failure an indictment of Keswick theology, a problem with the provision of the indwelling Christ, or something no more complicated than a misunderstanding of truth or a misapplication of surrender?
First, we must take care to understand faith, what it is and how it operates. Like a triangle with three sides, faith involves all three parts of the soul of man (the mind, affections, and will), otherwise it is not true faith. The mind must understand the foundation of truth revealed in God’s Word. The affections must be affected (convinced) by what is understood. Then, the will must engage in God-dependence based on Spirit-convincement of the reality of God’s words. Regarding sanctification by faith, it seems to me that some may attempt to move from mere intellectual understanding to a choice of the will without being convinced by the Spirit of the truth involved. This short-circuits the process because it would not involve real faith. It would be wishful thinking rather than convinced confidence. When this is the case, one might look back and conclude that trying out Keswick just didn’t work. However, when the Holy Spirit illumines truth, His convincement leads to genuine faith—and that always works.
With surrender/faith properly applied, ones give all to Christ, trusting Him to take it. One also takes His all, trusting Christ to give it. A failure to give all or to take all is, therefore, a misapplication that in no wise invalidates accessing the provision of the indwelling Christ by faith. In such a case, maintaining that Keswick doesn’t work merely shifts blame away from the individual. Pinning responsibility on the teaching may be convenient and easy, but masking the truth behind the situation ultimately helps no one.
Satanic Attack
Satan hates and attacks revival truth! Keswick revival theology threatens his turf. He is the master deceiver, and much of the controversy is stirred up through his deceptions. Remembering that Keswick-type conferences were used to ignite and fuel revival fires in the early twentieth century, it should not be a surprise then to discover that Satan continues attacks on Keswick theology in order to prevent another great wave of revival blessing.
I suggest that you read the Keswick authors and let them speak for themselves. Their writings have been blessed of God to point many to Christ and the Word, and away from self and the world (which gloriously passes the tests of 1 John 4). Where to start? There are many good options:
Steven Barabas quotes many Keswick authors in his book, So Great Salvation: The History and Message of the Keswick Convention. If you want to understand Keswick and the differences from other theologies, this book clearly demonstrates the contrast.
So, what about the term Keswick? Is it a good word or a bad one? If you mean sanctification by faith thus accessing the victorious life of Christ, that is gloriously good! Personally, I prefer using the label “revival theology,” mindful that the primary issue is, of course, not a label but truth.
The Christian life is not merely a set of doctrines, nor just an array of moral actions. Unsaved moralists have that. The Christian life is a life—a person—and His name is Jesus! Jesus Christ is the Christian Life. Therefore, Jesus Christ is the only one who can live the Christian life. When you were born again, Christ, the Christian life Himself, moved into you to impart His life to you. He lives in you so that you (yet not you, but Christ in you) can live the Christian life. When you got saved, Christ moved in to live His life, not yours! But this is not automatic. As you received Christ by faith, you also must walk by faith one step at a time (Col. 2:6). This is accessing the eternal life of Christ as the abundant life in Christ. This is sanctification by faith. Ultimately, this is revival reality on the individual level.
For those who believe the theology of “Christ in you accessed by faith,” derogatory slurs and full-blown attacks against this truth are not small matters. Jesus is the Victorious Life, the Higher Life, the Deeper Life, the Spirit-filled Life, the Revived Life, the Hidden Life—the Christ-Life! When holiness by faith (the Holy Life accessed by faith) is attacked, the attack is ultimately on the indwelling life of Christ.
I published this article in a shorter form in Revival magazine, Issue Five, 2006. The only significant changes in this present publication are expansions. Since 2006, the term revival theology has taken hold, and my hope was that using this would avoid unnecessary confusion surrounding the word Keswick. However, I have discovered some cases where attacks simply switched targets, aiming no longer at Keswick but at revival theology instead. This indicates that the issue does not center on terminology, but rather on the truth behind the terms. It is becoming more apparent that the real problem for some is “ye do always resist the Holy Spirit,” and the point of tension is “the offense of the cross.” The cross repudiates self in both justification by works and sanctification by works. Furthermore, not only does the cross repudiate the works of the flesh (self-indulgence), it repudiates the work of the flesh (self-dependence). The cross demands “not I, but Christ” (Gal. 2:20). The heart of Keswick theology is accessing this Holy Life of Jesus by faith—nothing less, nothing more.
Dr. John Van Gelderen

July 2, 2019


We will continue now with Part Two of Dr. John Van Gelderen's series Keswick- A Good Word or a Bad One?
Dr. John Van Gelderen
Last week, we discussed the historical background and theology of Keswick. In our day, the orthodoxy that Keswick was once accorded has been replaced in many minds because of misunderstandings and a wealth of misinformation. Several critical charges have been leveled against it, but an examination of the supposed errors will show the inaccuracy of the accusations.
Some have argued that Keswick promotes passivity, probably because the theology emphasizes resting in Christ. However, this resting is not to be understood as encouragement to sit back and do nothing. It is a call to trust to obey. It is obedient faith, and, therefore, believing obedience. Resting in Jesus involves the due diligence of faith-filled (resting) obedience (labor) as stated by the Apostle, “Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” This is not mere “labour,” but “labour” that is trusting in “his working.” The emphasis is not idle passivity, but active cooperation—the cooperation of surrendering to the Spirit’s leadership and depending on His enablement. This is walking in the Spirit, which obviously involves steps, not passivity. But the steps are steps of faith, not the mere motions of flesh-dependent activity. This is what brings “rest unto your souls” (Matt. 11:29).
Keswick confronts a performance-based sanctification or “struggle theology” that advocates flesh-dependence to live the Christian life. Sanctification by works is just as wrong as justification by works (Gal. 3:1-3). You are not justified by faith and then sanctified through struggle. Sanctification, like justification, is by faith, for “without faith it is impossible to please [God]” (Heb.11:6). Obviously, there are struggles in life, but flesh-dependence for frustrated Christian living is an unnecessary struggle. Faith for victory means you are depending on the victorious life of Christ to enable you to obey. It is not a matter of you trying to live the Christian life (engaging in hollow motions); it is trusting the indwelling Christ to enable you for necessary steps of obedience (making for empowered motions). Victory without trying does not mean victory from doing nothing. It is victory with trusting. True faith is not an inward self-focus, but rather, a focus on Christ, the true object of faith, that He might express His very life through your life. Because an expression of His life is necessarily an active, obedient walk, the accusation of Keswick theology promoting passivity is simply not accurate.
Keswick has also been branded as too subjective, most likely due to the emphasis placed on the reality of the Holy Spirit. However, Keswick theology emphasizes the subjective reality of the Spirit based on the objective boundaries of the Word. The emphasis is by no means the Spirit without the Word, nor is it the Word without the Spirit. Rather, it is the Word and the Spirit. The Spirit without the Word is delusion leading to strange fire; the Word without the Spirit is deadness resulting in no fire. But the Word and the Spirit is dynamic and leads to true Holy Spirit fire.
Interestingly, Robert Thomas rightly deals with the dangerous subjectivism of evangelicals in his book Evangelical Hermeneutics. He names many in the evangelical world whom he considers guilty of true subjectivism, but, when highlighting a proper, biblical handling of matters, he regularly quotes J. Robertson McQuilken—author of several helpful books and the Keswick contributor to Stanley N. Gundry’s compilation, Five Views of Sanctification. The teaching of Keswick stresses the subjective reality of the Holy Spirit based on the Word and not the subjectivism that forsakes a scriptural foundation. Thus, to accuse Keswick of subjectivism reveals an inaccurate understanding of Keswick teaching.
Second Blessing
Keswick theology is sometimes equated with second blessing theology. This, however, shows great ignorance of both true second blessing theology and Keswick.
Second blessing theology speaks of receiving a once-for-all second blessing which puts one on a new stage, never to fall back to one’s former stage. Keswick speaks of alternating between two conditions, walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit, and does not promote any once-for-all shift. Second blessing theology demands a “second” event. Keswick insists you were given the whole package at salvation and can access the whole blessing immediately. (Note that while some enjoy immediate access to the blessing in its entirety, others have had access deferred due to a lack of understanding.) Receiving something not previously possessed is at the heart of second blessing theology. Keswick teaches that you, by faith, access your first blessing!
For one who has yet to access the provision of the indwelling Christ (or who hasn’t done so for quite some time), the point of accessing His provision may seem like a second blessing, though technically it is not. This explains why some early Keswick writers described matters using terms like second blessing. It has proven an unfortunate choice of words that confuses matters today, but clearly these authors sought only to illustrate the situation of believers coming to understand the wealth of their provision. They did not intend to support a second blessing view at odds with their own. What Keswick describes is simply the possibility of being re-vived. For a more extensive treatment of this phrase, please refer to a previous article, Second Blessing or Second Rest.
Sinless Perfectionism
I suppose this charge comes because Keswick theology emphasizes the victorious life of Christ. The provision for victory is perfect. It must be—His name is Jesus! But Keswick makes clear that we still live in the “body of sin” (Rom. 6:6). The focus of Keswick is not that you cannot sin, but that you are able not to sin because of the indwelling Christ. Keswick makes clear that, tragically, Christians sin. Yet it teaches that our focus should not be on the defeat, but rather on victory in Christ by faith. The provision of the indwelling Christ is perfect, but our consistent access of that provision is sadly imperfect. To accuse Keswick theology of sinless perfectionism is simply not being honest with the facts of Keswick teaching. The blog article Sinless Perfection versus Sinless Provision offers more information on this point.
Let Go and Let God
Sadly, this phraseology has had various aberrant concepts attached to it in recent decades, and therefore, I personally do not use the phrase. However, its original usage in the early Keswick era was simply to “let go” of self-will and self-dependence, and “let God” by yielding to God’s will in God-dependence. This is faith. It represents the words of the Lord Jesus, “Whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it” (Luke 9:24). While the aberrations should be refuted, it is sad that the original God-centered and ultimately Christ-centered meaning of the phrase is denigrated by some as well. More on this matter is available in another article, Let Go and Let God.
Next week, we will conclude the series, examining some reasons for the inaccurate accusations.
John Van Gelderen
Revival Focus

Please continue to the third installment of the series

For Related Reading see, Reformed Theology vs. Keswick Theology