“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Eph. 1:15-23)
Years ago I was unquestionably stretched out to the full for God’s best (as I trust I am now), and there was no doubt whatever as to my devotion to the Lord. I was right in the full tide of every kind of evangelical activity, and especially in conventions everywhere for the deepening of spiritual life. I was a member of many Missionary Boards and Committees, and was greatly in demand because it was believed that I was a man with a message. This is putting into very few words an immense amount of truly devoted activity and concern for the Lord’s interests.
Being a man of prayer, I was open to the Lord for all His will, I believed. But there was a certain realm of things against which I was deeply prejudiced. It was really the very essence of the original “Keswick” teaching, but I would not have it at any price. I fought it and those who taught it. To make a long story short, the Lord took me seriously in hand along another line, and brought me into great spiritual distress.
The very thing that proved my emancipation was that which I would not formerly have touched for anything. That proved the key to a fuller life and a worldwide ministry. I came to see that my judgment had been wholly wrong, and that I was blinded by prejudice. I believed that I was honest and right, and seemed to have evidence of it; but, no, I was in my ignorance shutting out something which was of great value to the Lord and to myself.
Thank God for the grace to be perfectly honest when the fact of prejudice was brought home to my heart…. No man is infallible, and no one has yet ”apprehended” nor is ”yet perfect.” Many godly men have had to adjust in the presence of fuller light given when a sense of need made such necessary.
[ As the apostle Paul said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”]
From http://www.austin-sparks.net – an online library of Christ-centered, grace-oriented teaching. Austi-Sparks (1888-1971) was an evangelical leader in the U.K. For more on his life and ministry see http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/000533.html See also his book, What is Man? (at GraceNotebook.com – free downloadable e-books page.)
Biblical quotations added (NKJV)
Although the Keswick perspective has critics, I propose that most of the negativity to “the life hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3), is motivated by pre-judging similar to the attitude once held by this prominent leader. The remainder of the concerns can be resolved biblically by clarifying terminology, the model of man, allowing for variety of emphasis within the Body of Christ, and balancing these themes within the context of communicating the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). For a few examples, see https://gracenotebook.com/category/clarifications/.
See also the online book by an early Keswick teacher, Evan Hopkins.