The Victorious Life (I.) -- By: W. H. Griffith Thomas

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 076:303 (Jul 1919)
Article: The Victorious Life (I.)
Author: W. H. Griffith Thomas

The Victorious Life (I.)

W. H. Griffith Thomas

Everything that comes from Dr. Warfield deserves the closest attention; and as one of his very many debtors, who has learnt to value what he writes, even though it may not always be possible to accept his conclusions, I have naturally read with care his articles in the Princeton Theological Review and in the Bibliotheca Sacra on The Victorious Life, especially because of my connection with the Keswick Movement and the corresponding Movement in America, and also because of Dr. Warfield’s criticism of my own position. I hope I am ready to listen carefully to all criticism and also to correct anything wrong. But I now desire to present certain considerations suggested by his articles, in order to show that those who favor in general what is known as the Keswick Movement are not altogether without reasons which they regard as adequate. It must also be added that they do not believe Dr. War-field’s interpretation of their position is always and necessarily the true one.


It will be convenient first to comment on certain points raised in Dr. Warfield’s articles. No attempt will be made to deal with every contention, but only an effort to consider the more outstanding of his criticisms. For convenience I call attention to the pages of his articles and, as far as possible, quote what he said. The references are all to the Princeton Theological Review.

P. 321, July, 1918. The opening sentences seem to im-

ply that those who favor what is known as “The Victorious Life” “ask to be themselves made glorified saints in the twinkling of an eye.” I have never heard anything of the kind set forth; and, indeed, the whole argument of the opening page of Dr. Warfield’s first article, which suggests that men are impatient with God’s slow processes and “demand immediate tangible results,” is not true of those who are the subjects of his criticism. It is said that such people “themselves cut the knot and boldly declare complete salvation to be within their reach at their option, or already grasped and enjoyed.” I would submit that Dr. Warfield is all unconsciously conveying a wrong impression, for, so far as I know, nothing like this is held by those against whom he writes. Everything, of course, depends upon the meaning of the term “complete salvation.” All the books I have been able to consult on this subject maintain that salvation is threefold (including, first, deliverance from the penalty, then, from the power, and, last of all, from the presence of sin), and that salvation cannot possibly be “complete” until the third stage has been reached, which will never be experienced in t...

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