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 A NO-KNOWLEDGE Critigue of Chambers

The below quote is an example of one who sees heaven as the goal and nothing else. This understanding is from a wrong understanding of the gospel of the kingdom that Jesus preached and taught His disciples. I would urge everyone to read and begin to make the distinction between just being saved and becoming a begotten son as Father purposes us to become once are born again by His very Life as Jesus, the Man, was.

Pursuing holiness is something WE are given to do -- not Jesus -- not God. The writer below most likely views such effort as "self-effort" or "works of the flesh". He is wrong because he is shallow in his reading of the word. {Read 1 and 2 Peter, for starters}

:-)rm






Quote:
Oswald Chambers
A Cautionary Look at a Popular Devotional Teacher

"NEXT TO, OF COURSE, THE BIBLE..."
It may very well be that if you ask any Christian what his or her favorite author is, besides the Bible, the answer may very well be "Oswald Chambers". He has become quite popular across the spectrum of modern Christendom and beyond. To be sure, much of his writings contain useful practical wisdom. This cannot be denied. Yet there is also another side to his writings, and to his life, that needs to be known. No man is free of theological error, and it is the teacher whose reputation is the highest who has the most opportunity (intentional or otherwise) of spreading error among the undiscerning.

"My Utmost for His Highest" is the book that comes most to mind when we think of the man. This is a devotional with daily readings like "The Daily Bread". "Utmost" goes a bit deeper than that other devotional however. "Deeper" does not always mean "better" though. While there is much good teaching, there is also much that is questionable.

CENTRAL TENET OF THE FAITH:
Oswald Chamber's spiritual father, at first at least, is none other than Charles Haddon Spurgeon. This is surprising, considering the quite different path, theologically and personally, Chamber's life took. (More on his life can be found from the links below). He shares with Spurgeon a tendency to draw much from a single text. He lacks, however, Spurgeon's orthodox emphasis on the centrality of the Atonement and justification through faith. Spurgeon, as well as orthodox classical Christianity, placed great emphasis of our salvation being based on the character and faithfulness of God. Chambers, on the other hand, emphasizes -our- holding on to God, -our- seeking after God as being the central defining tenet of our faith. As he says...

[b]"[T]he bedrock of Christianity is personal, passionate devotion to the Lord Jesus."[/b]

No, the bedrock of Christianity is Christ, the Cornerstone. If we are only as secure in Christ as our personal devotion to Him is in any moment, then we are in trouble - all of us. We are not standing, in that case, on the Rock, but are teetering on one of those swaying rickety bridges that responds to and amplifies all of our unsteady steps.

PERFECT SAVIOR or PERFECT SAINTS?
By "utmost" (in the title of his main book) Chambers means attainable perfection. He actively worked to spread Wesley's emphasis on perfectionism, commenting in 1908:

[b]"John Wesley's teaching has had no hold in Scotland in the past, but it seems now as if it is going to be grasped with a tenacious hold unequalled in the country."[/b]

Wesley's teaching was, of course, that Christians could become sinlessly perfect, what Chambers calls "sanctification". I put the word in quotes because this is not the Biblical term, but one that he pours his own meaning into. For Oswald Chambers, sanctification means nothing less than sinlessness. He believes the Christians can be, and should be, sinless. The "new-birth" means "no more sinning":

[b]"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin" (1 John 3:9). Do I seek to stop sinning or have I stopped sinning? To be born of God means that I have the supernatural power of God to stop sinning.

"In the Bible it is never--should a Christian sin? The Bible puts it emphatically: a Christian must not sin. The effective work of the new-birth life in us is that we do not commit sin; not merely that we have the power not to sin, but that we have stopped sinning." (Aug. 15th)

"Have I made this decision about sin--that it must be killed right out of me? Haul yourself up, take a time alone with God, make the moral decision and say, "Lord, identify me with Thy death until I know that sin is dead in me". (April 10th)

"Either God or sin must die in my life. The New Testament brings us right down to this one issue. If sin rules in me, God's life in me will be killed; if God rules in me, sin in me will be killed. There is no possible ultimate but that." (June 23rd)[/b]

The Biblical position, of course, is that Christians do sin from time to time. Not to see this is to have a low view of sin and to have an unrealistic, discouraging, frustrating, not to say unscriptural, view of Christianity. "If we say we have no sin, then the truth is not in us." (Ist John 1:8). After this verse is the promise that we can get cleansing from our sins by confession to Him. As we grow in grace, we sin less and less, but we are not sinless.

The source of our strength in our walk is in our meditation on Christ's perfection, not our own. When we think of ourselves it should be of our own imperfections and of our falling far short of the divine standard. The resultant humility ("poor in spirit") that this brings draws us nearer to Christ and enables the Holy Spirit to continue His work of Christlikeness in us (2nd Cor. 12:9- 10). Not surprisingly, Chambers does not favor this sort of "defeatist" introspection, insisting instead on attaining perfection by Gnostic/mystical means.

NEW LIFE or NEW LEAF?
[b]"God will not give us good habits, He will not give us character, He will not make us walk aright. We have to do all that ourselves; we have to work out the salvation God has worked in. If you hesitate when God tells you to do a thing, you endanger your standing in grace (Nov. 12th)."[/b]

At first this sounds quite acceptable. We do indeed have to "strive with Him" in our Christian walk. But he goes too far when he insists, as far as character and our walk are concerned, that we "have to do all that ourselves". That just isn't true. Rather we walk in the works that God has prepared for us (Eph 2:8- 10). Neither does hesitation endanger "standing in grace". It is a flimsy grace - and a tenuous (dare I say "fictional") salvation that can be blown away by mere hesitation. Once again Chamber's Arminian misunderstanding of salvation clouds the picture.

The Biblical teaching is that if we are in Christ we are new creatures. All things are new (2nd Cor. 5:17). Yes, we have the responsibility to obey. But if we falter, hesitate, blow it here or there, we do not suddenly become "old creatures" again.

SECOND WORK OF GRACE?
It is through a misunderstanding or devaluation of Christ's "first" work in the life of believers that Chambers posits the need for a "second work" of grace. Here he shows his Keswick roots. (More on that can be found from the URL below).

[b]Am I set in my ways, concerning God? We are never free from this snare until we are brought into the experience of the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire (Jan. 28th).

God does not give us overcoming life; He gives us life as we overcome. When the inspiration of God comes, and He says, "Arise from the dead," we have to get up; God does not lift us up (Feb. 16th).[/b]

Ah, but God does lift us up. Paul says several times that we are raised up in Christ. It may be that we do not know this as we ought. The lack, in that case is not one of experience, but of teaching.

WHERE IS "CHURCH", "PASTOR", "MINISTRY", ETC?
A person's doctrine does not consist only of what he teaches. What he neglects to teach is also important. A reading of Chamber's works will find little mention of the church, unless it is spoken of collectively or in a bad light. There is little mention of pastors and preaching, nor corporate worship. Doctrine is likewise downplayed. Search for the words on the first of the web sites below and see for yourself. Instead the emphasis is on "abandonment" (a deeper life term first found, as far as I can tell, in the writings of Mrs. Pearsall Smith), personal devotion, personal seeking after God. Who can fault seeking after God? No one. Yet - and this is the needed balance - we are personally enriched and gifted by the Spirit of Christ in order to build up the Church. Reading Ephesians 4 you will find two mentions of "building up". The first is from the Spiritually gifted in the corporate church. The second is of the church "building up itself". All of this gets scant mention in Chambers' writing. If we had only his writing, we might think that the Christian walk was to be a monastic walk in the park or time in the prayer closet. Yet we are saved to serve, to build each other up.

DOWNPLAYING DOCTRINE
Chambers, in common with many of the so-called "deeper life" advocates, builds up an artificial tension between intellect and mere obedience, as if both are not needed.They are both as essential as two wings on a plane. We cannot be obedient to what we don't understand. God's people die for a lack of knowledge, as the prophet said. Neither do we learn facts in order to just bury them.

In the devotional for Oct. 10, Quoting Matt. 11:25 ("I thank Thee, 0 Father . . . because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.")

Chambers writes:

[b]"All God's revelations are sealed until they are opened to us by obedience. You will never get them open by philosophy or thinking. Immediately you obey, a flash of light comes. Let God's truth work in you by soaking in it, not by worrying into it. The only way you can get to know is to stop trying to find out and by being born again. Obey God in the thing He shows you, and instantly the next thing is opened up. One reads tomes on the work of the Holy Spirit, when one five minutes of drastic obedience would make things as clear as a sunbeam. "I suppose I shall understand these things some day!" You can understand them now. It is not study that does it, but obedience. The tiniest fragment of obedience, and heaven opens and the profoundest truths of God are yours straight away. God will never reveal more truth about Himself until you have obeyed what you know already. Beware of becoming "wise and prudent."[/b]

He misses the point that obedience has to be based on knowledge. "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free". At no time should we downplay the further pursuit of knowledge, rather we are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2nd Peter 3:18). We are to dedicate ourselves to a study of God's Word, though not neglecting the inner life of meditation and prayer.By studying Christ's Word we become more Christlike (2nd Cor. 3:18), we "save ourselves" and others (2nd Tim. 3:15; 1st Tim. 4:16) and much more. So doctrine is very important.

A Christian who reads Oswald Chamber for profit will certainly find some things in his writings to benefit from. Like much of what we find in our bookstores and on the WEB, wisdom is needed. For anyone who feels that I am unfairly criticizing this teacher I would only ask that he be read with Berean discernment. As you read him, ask yourself, "Is he emphasizing the very things that the Bible emphasizes?" "Is he using Biblical terms in a Biblical manner?" "Does he give central place to the foundational Person and doctrines of the Faith?"These are always fair questions to ask of any teacher.


Helpful Web Sites, Pro & Con:

Oswald Chamber's website. "My Utmost for His Highest."

Oswald Chambers, the Man.

Chamber's Keswick & Wesleyan connection.

This WELS site (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) has good comments of the need for balance in Chamber's writings.

Miles Stanford's Critique of the man. I don't agree with some of Stanford's theology yet he seemed to do a fair assessment of Chambers. I am indebted to this site for many of my actual quotes of Chambers.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The author for these pages can be reached at [b]asteriskHatesSpam@wcsonline.net[/b]
Remove the two words before the @ symbol.

Written June 2003. Updated: May 5, 2005.



:-x

 2006/6/13 8:18
Graftedbranc
Member



Joined: 2005/11/8
Posts: 619


 Re: A NO-KNOWLEDGE Critigue of Chambers

A fairly good critique of Chambers. It shows some great deficiencies in his teaching.

For instance, if being born again means that we automatically stop sinning, then at what point of obedience are we "born again".

If further light is dependant on obedience to present light (and it is) then how can we have present light without having been born again and if we are, how can we cease to progress by failinig to obey the light we have?

In other words, if obedience to Light is what gives us the New Birth, and that makes us sinless, then how can we stop at one point and cease to go on. Do we lose our "new Birth" by failing to advance?

Chambers fails in the clear distinctions in the New Testament conserning standing and experience. Between redemption and sanctification. He leaves no room for the Corinthian believers who were born again yet were still "fleshly". He presents a typical Westlyian view which is far short of the New Testament ministry of Christ.

Chambers gives us the New Birth as the goal of the Christain Life, not the beginning. As if being born is the goal of human life and not growing and maturing.

Graftedbranch

 2006/6/16 10:53Profile









 Re:

Quote:

Graftedbranc wrote:
A fairly good critique of Chambers. It shows some great deficiencies in his teaching.

For instance, if being born again means that we automatically stop sinning, then at what point of obedience are we "born again".



"Automatically"? Is that what he implied? You need to take issue with John who wrote: 1 John 3:9 (KJV)
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Now reconcile that with what O.C. implys and ask yourself the question: "When am I born again"? In that regard we can see that it now becomes very personal when we consider our own salvation.

Quote:
If further light is dependant on obedience to present light (and it is) then how can we have present light without having been born again and if we are, how can we cease to progress by failinig to obey the light we have?

]

Could Jesus, the man, have failed if He ceased to obey the Light that was in Him? He did have a will, ya know.

Quote:
In other words, if obedience to Light is what gives us the New Birth, and that makes us sinless, then how can we stop at one point and cease to go on. Do we lose our "new Birth" by failing to advance?



Obedience to light doesn't give us the new birth. Jesus Christ does that. At that point in time we are infants as He was in His manger. Now comes the obedience part.

Quote:
Chambers fails in the clear distinctions in the New Testament conserning standing and experience. Between redemption and sanctification. He leaves no room for the Corinthian believers who were born again yet were still "fleshly". He presents a typical Westlyian view which is far short of the New Testament ministry of Christ.



Not hardly. Chambers gives clear distinctions in his writings between being saved and being born again; the beginning of the journey to become a begotten son of the Father.

Quote:
Chambers gives us the New Birth as the goal of the Christain Life, not the beginning. As if being born is the goal of human life and not growing and maturing.

Graftedbranch



I believe you have that backwards. Here is an excerpt from his writings:

[b]AFTER OBEDIENCE - WHAT?[/b]

[i]And straightway He constrained His disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side. . . ." Mark 6:45-52[/i]

We are apt to imagine that if Jesus Christ constrains us, and we obey Him, He will lead us to great success. We must never put our dreams of success as God's purpose for us; His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not. The question of getting to a particular end is a mere incident. What we call the process, God calls the end.

What is my dream of God's purpose? His purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God. God is not working towards a particular finish; His end is the process - that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea. It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God.

God's training is for now, not presently. His purpose is for this minute, not for something in the future. We have nothing to do with the afterwards of obedience; we get wrong when we think of the afterwards. What men call training and preparation, God calls the end.

God's end is to enable me to see that He can walk on the chaos of my life just now. If we have a further end in view, we do not pay sufficient attention to the immediate present: if we realize that obedience is the end, then each moment as it comes is precious.

You will find when you clearly see the teaching of Jesus, Paul and Peter that, for the Christian, heaven is no-longer the goal -- entering the Kingdom is.



 2006/6/16 11:55
Graftedbranc
Member



Joined: 2005/11/8
Posts: 619


 Re:

Quote:
Not hardly. Chambers gives clear distinctions in his writings between being saved and being born again; the beginning of the journey to become a begotten son of the Father.



I Hope this is a typo and neither you nor Chambers makes a distinction in time between being saved and being born again as though being born again is the goal and and not the beginning of spiritual life.

As the Lord Jesus told Nicodemus, the way we are born again is by believeing into the crucified and resurrected Christ.

The New birth is regeneration which takes place when we believe into Christ. THe Spirit of the crucified and resurrected Christ enters into us regenerating our dead spirit, and takes up our regenerated spirit as His eternal dwelling place.

This is the New Birth, It happens when we believe and are saved and not at some subsequent time. It is the beginning of our spiritual life, it makes us children of God with His LIfe.

As this Life grows in us and we mature in it we become mature sons of God. But our sonsehip is the result of God sending forth the Spirit of His son into our hearts crying Abba Father. The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God and if children, heirs also...

To be born again is not the end of decipleship, but the beginning. It is not the goal of Salvation but our entrance into it. It is not the result of a life of sanctification, but the beginning of sanctification.

The New Birth is a birth, not a consumation. Transformation in our soul is our growth in Life day by day and trasnfiguration of our bodies at Christ's return is the consumation of our salvation, our full sonship as every part of our being is brought into resurrection Life as a New Creation.

Every experience of Christ, every bit of growth, every ounce of genuine holiness, every bit of advancement in the Christian Life flows from our having been past tense born of God, not to the end that we might become born of God. Whatever does not orgiginate from the Spirit of God within our regenerated spirit is not the Christian Life, is not holiness, Is not genuine spiritual life. And only if the Spirit is within us can we do anything pleasing to God.

Graftedbranch

 2006/6/16 15:30Profile









 Re:

Quote:

Graftedbranc wrote:
Quote:
Not hardly. Chambers gives clear distinctions in his writings between being saved and being born again; the beginning of the journey to become a begotten son of the Father.



I Hope this is a typo and neither you nor Chambers makes a distinction in time between being saved and being born again as though being born again is the goal and and not the beginning of spiritual life.



Indeed. Being born again is but the beginning. But beginning of what, salvation/realising the atonement [imputation] which His shed blood already accomplished or becoming a begotten son by the impartation of His life?

Orm

 2006/6/16 16:33
Graftedbranc
Member



Joined: 2005/11/8
Posts: 619


 Re:

Quote:
Indeed. Being born again is but the beginning. But beginning of what, salvation/realising the atonement [imputation] which His shed blood already accomplished or becoming a begotten son by the impartation of His life?



Romans 5:10 "For if we, being enemies,we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more we will be saved in His Life, having been reconciled."

I guess one must define Salvation. Salvation in the New Testament is used in 3 ways. That is, One has been saved, is being saved, and will be saved.

Initial salvation includes on the objective side, forgiveness of sin, justification on the basis of Christ's atoning work on the cross and His shed blood. And on this basis organic salvation brings in regeneration which regenerates one's dead spirit and brings the life of God into us making us children of God.

In other Words, Christ's death deals with our sin and reconciles us to God, Christ resurrection Life brings the Life of God into us making us children of God, not just judicially but organically.

It is on the basis of Christ's shed Blood that the Spirit applies forgiveness of sins to the repentant sinners conscience and regenerates him with His Life.

When we are initially saved, we recieve more than just objective forgivness and justification, we also recieve regeneration and are organically united in spirit with the Living crucified and resurrected Christ and are born of His Life.

And through this indwelling Life we are daily saved from the world, the flesh, Self, and Satan. Through the sanctifying work of the Spirit daily we are being saved from our old fallen life and being transformed into the image of the Firstborn Son of God through His Spirit within us. This is daily salvation.

In the end, we shall enjoy full salvation with the redemtion of our bodies and be fully conformed both inwardly and outwardly to the image of Christ.

Graftedbranch





 2006/6/17 12:30Profile









 Re:

Quote:

Graftedbranc wrote:
Quote:
Indeed. Being born again is but the beginning. But beginning of what, salvation/realising the atonement [imputation] which His shed blood already accomplished or becoming a begotten son by the impartation of His life?



Quote:
Romans 5:10 "For if we, being enemies,we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more we will be saved in His Life, having been reconciled."

I guess one must define Salvation. Salvation in the New Testament is used in 3 ways. That is, One has been saved, is being saved, and will be saved.

Initial salvation includes on the objective side, forgiveness of sin, justification on the basis of Christ's atoning work on the cross and His shed blood. And on this basis organic salvation brings in regeneration which regenerates one's dead spirit and brings the life of God into us making us children of God.


In other Words, Christ's death deals with our sin and reconciles us to God, Christ resurrection Life brings the Life of God into us making us children of God, not just judicially but organically.

It is on the basis of Christ's shed Blood that the Spirit applies forgiveness of sins to the repentant sinners conscience and regenerates him with His Life.

When we are initially saved, we recieve more than just objective forgivness and justification, we also recieve regeneration and are organically united in spirit with the Living crucified and resurrected Christ and are born of His Life.

And through this indwelling Life we are daily saved from the world, the flesh, Self, and Satan. Through the sanctifying work of the Spirit daily we are being saved from our old fallen life and being transformed into the image of the Firstborn Son of God through His Spirit within us. This is daily salvation.

In the end, we shall enjoy full salvation with the redemtion of our bodies and be fully conformed both inwardly and outwardly to the image of Christ.

Graftedbranch



That's just so many words Graft, just many words that can't be sufficiently understood to be walked out, established in the heart of who would make excuses for lack of desire for intimacy with the Father; a lack that satisfies "self", proud Christian self..

If reconcilation came to us because of His death what does the rest of this verse imply?

Romans 5:10 "For if we, being enemies,we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more we will be saved in His Life, having been reconciled."


Orm





 2006/6/17 13:28
Graftedbranc
Member



Joined: 2005/11/8
Posts: 619


 Re:

Quote:
If reconcilation came to us because of His death what does the rest of this verse imply?



Brother, I not sure we are on the same page. I do believe that what you quoted from me is the answer to the above question. That is "to be saved in His Life".

That is what the verse says, "having been reconciled through the death of His Son, how much more shall we be saved in His Life?"

What is it to be saved in His Life? It is first to be regenerated in His Life. That is to be born of God with the Life of God in Christ by the Spirit.

And the second is to be saved daily in His Life by living by and walking in the Spirit, in dependance upon Him, in intimate fellowship with Him.

IT is to be saved every day, every hour from sin, from Self, from Satan, from the flesh by living and walking in the Spirit who indwells our spirit. It is as Romans 8 says, to walk by "the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus' who has set us free from the law of sin and death which is in our flesh.

It is to live and walk every day in intimate fellowship with Christ, Loving Him, being filled with Him, expressing Him, and experienceing Him as our indwelling all victorious overcomming Life. And it is to be, by this Spirit daily, being transformed into the image of the First Born Son of God (2 Cor 3, Romans 8:29).

And it is as Romans 8 tells us, to live in hope, hope of the glory of God, hope of the final redemption of our bodies, it is the hope of Glory.

To live by and walk in the Spirit requires us daily to feed on Christ as the Bread of Heaven, to love Him, to meet with Him, to call on Him, to contact Him in His word, to exercise to pray, to worship, and to enjoy Him as our rich supply both individually and corporately with other members of the body of Christ.

Graftedbranch

 2006/6/17 16:59Profile









 Re:

Quote:

That is what the verse says, "having been reconciled through the death of His Son, how much more shall we be saved in His Life?"




Grafted, Do you believe there are or were any righteous folk, gentiles who never heard of Jesus and Jews who lived before the cross?

Orm

 2006/6/17 17:18
Graftedbranc
Member



Joined: 2005/11/8
Posts: 619


 Re:

Quote:
Grafted, Do you believe there are or were any righteous folk, gentiles who never heard of Jesus and Jews who lived before the cross?



God has always had His people. From Seth to Noah, to Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, Joseph, to the Nation of Isreal.

Even Adam and Eve were justified through faith in the promised Seed of the Woman who would bruise Satans's head which Seed is Christ.

God has forever had one way of salvation, that is thrugh faith. IN the Old testament, it was through faith in the comming Christ and now it is through faith in the Christ who has come.

In the Old Testament He was pictured in shadow, type, figure, and prophecy. He is the reality of the sacrafices, the reality of the Temple, the reality of the Tabernacle, etc.

IN the New Testament He is revealed in the flesh, crucified for our sins and raised from the dead, ascended to the right hand of God and indwelling us in our spirit.

Has anyone ever been saved apart from Christ? No, because the Lord Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the Life and no one comes to the Father but by Me" and:

"there is salvation in no one else for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we may be saved."

Graftedbranch



 2006/6/18 9:05Profile





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