Pathway of Power

Ian Randall, Wesley Fellowship, 1999, pp.28, ISBN 0 9516332 87, £2.50

The sub-title of this study summarises its area of research: ‘Keswick and the Reshaping of Wesleyan Holiness 1875-1905’. In the latter part of the 19th century in England, there was a revival of interest in, and concern for, holy living. This movement was occasioned by the successful ministry in Britain of a number of American Holiness preachers, including Mrs Phoebe Palmer, the Rev William Boardman, and, in particular, Robert Pearsall Smith and his wife, Hannah Whitall Smith. Conferences for ‘the deepening of spiritual life’ were convened and out of these gatherings the Keswick Convention was organised in 1875. From its very beginning, ‘Keswick’ theology was suspicious of the Wesleyan emphasis on entire sanctification being obtainable in this life. Instead it developed a doctrine of the counteraction of sin in the Christian’s heart by the indwelling Spirit. Dr Randall carefully traces the origin and development of the Keswick Convention and its ‘Higher Life’ teaching. He compares it with Wesleyan theology and some of the leading protagonists on both sides are introduced and their teaching examined. This account is scholarly, fair, clearly written and very informative.