For our final article of interest from the August issue of Tabletalk, Ligonier Ministries’ monthly devotional, we reference the above-linked article by Dr. Andrew D. Nasalli. He is research manager for D.A.Carson, administrator of Themelios, a theological journal published by the Gospel Coalition, and an adjunct faculty member at several schools. And he has written a book about the popular school of theology known as Keswick theology, about which we may know little (which is why I wanted to mention this article).
When you read his article, you will probably be familiar with its teachings, for it has influenced many porfessing Christians and infiltrated several denominations. As usual, I will quote a few paragraphs from it and ask you to read the rest at the link above.
What is “let-go-and-let-God” theology? It’s called Keswick theology, and it’s one of the most significant strands of second-blessing theology. It assumes that Christians experience two “blessings.” The first is getting “saved,” and the second is getting serious. The change is dramatic: from a defeated life to a victorious life; from a lower life to a higher life; from a shallow life to a deeper life; from a fruitless life to a more abundant life; from being “carnal” to being “spiritual”; and from merely having Jesus as your Savior to making Jesus your Master. People experience this second blessing through surrender and faith: “Let go and let God.”
…Keswick theology is pervasive because countless people have propagated it in so many ways, especially in sermons and devotional writings. It is appealing because Christians struggle with sin and want to be victorious in that struggle now. Keswick theology offers a quick fix, and its shortcut to instant victory appeals to genuine longings for holiness.
Keswick theology, however, is not biblically sound. Here are just a few of the reasons why:
1. Disjunction: It creates two categories of Christians. This is the fundamental, linchpin issue.
2. Perfectionism: It portrays a shallow and incomplete view of sin in the Christian life.
3. Quietism: It tends to emphasize passivity, not activity.
4. Pelagianism: It tends to portray the Christian’s free will as autonomously starting and stopping sanctification.
5. Methodology: It tends to use superficial formulas for instantaneous sanctification.
6. Impossibility: It tends to result in disillusionment and frustration for the “have-nots.”
7. Spin: It tends to misinterpret personal experiences.
You can tell that Keswick theology has influenced people when you hear a Christian “testimony” like this: “I was saved when I was eight years old, and I surrendered to Christ when I was seventeen.”