Warfield: Lewis Sperry Chafer’s Theology Is Like Fire And Water

Mr. Chafer is in the unfortunate and, one would think, very uncomfortable, condition of having two inconsistent systems of religion struggling together in his mind. He was bred an Evangelical, and, as a minister of the Presbyterian Church, South, stands committed to Evangelicism of the purest water. But he has been long associated in his work with a coterie of “Evangelists” and “Bible Teachers,” among whom there flourishes that curious religious system (at once curiously pretentious and curiously shallow) which the Higher Life leaders of the middle of the last century brought into vogue; and he has not been immune to its infection. These two religious systems are quite incompatible. The one is the product of the Protestant Reformation and knows no determining power in the religious life but the grace of God; the other comes straight from the laboratory of John Wesley, and in all its forms—modifications and mitigations alike—remains incurably Arminian, subjecting all gracious workings of God to human determining. The two can unite as little as fire and water. Read more»

B. B. Warfield | “Review” of He That Is Spiritual | Princeton Theological Review XVII, no. 1-4 (1919).



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One comment

  1. Wow! What an interesting rabbit hole! The pastor of the church we currently attend is an avid student of Chafer, but I was not aware of the strong contention between Chafer and Warfield. Nor was I aware of Warfield’s extensive criticism of the Keswick movent in his “Studies in Perfectionism.” This certainly opens a whole different avenue of study for me to explore!

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