“By faith Abel . . . By faith Enoch . . . By faith Noah . . . By faith Abraham. . . . And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and Barak, and Samson, and Jephthah, David, and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. . . . ”—Hebrews 11:4, 5, 7, 8, 32, 33
Hebrews 11 is sometimes known as the “Hall of Faith”—biblical heroes of a life of faith. We find many of those heroes throughout church history as well. In this blog, I want to focus on the Hall of Faith of teachers on the higher Christian life—life in the Holy of Holies, in the heavenly places at the throne of God. They are noble members of the Heavenly King’s Round Table.
Some people have the impression that such Higher Life and faith teaching are new 20th and 21st-century revelation from the Holy Spirit. However, in reality, teaching on the truths of faith and the Higher Life are indeed very ancient.
As we study church history, we can see that seeds of faith were planted early on, which germinated and grew into greater movements of faith. What began with a few individuals continued to snowball in the 19th and early 20th centuries into a revival of faith. The rudiments of classic and contemporary Higher Life faith teaching and practice can be found in the Early Church Fathers, the Reformers, Lutheran and Dutch Reformed Pietism, and the evangelical mystics of the church.
The 19th-century “Higher Life” holiness movement was sometimes called “the life of faith.” This classic faith movement was interdenominational in scope and included people of a wide variety of theological persuasions—Presbyterian (A.B. Simpson, W.E. Boardman, A.T. Pierson), Lutheran (August Francke, Johannes Blumhardt, Otto Stockmayer), Baptist (A.J. Gordon, C.H. Spurgeon, F.B. Meyer, Oswald Chambers), Methodist (Phoebe Palmer, E.M. Bounds, R.K. Carter, George D. Watson, J. Hudson Taylor), Quaker (Hannah Whitall Smith), Congregational (Thomas Upham, Charles Finney, R.A.Torrey, Horace Bushnell), Plymouth Brethren (George Müller, Watchman Nee), Dutch Reformed (Andrew Murray), Episcopalian/ Anglican (Charles Cullis, Amy Carmichael), Salvation Army (Carrie Judd Montgomery), and many others.
This classic faith movement was also international in scope, beginning in mainland Europe (emerging out of German and Swiss Pietism—Blumhardt, Stockmayer, Trudel) and spreading to England (Müller, Spurgeon, Taylor, Meyer, Penn-Lewis, Chambers), South Africa (Murray), Asia (Taylor, Carmichael, Nee) and America (Moody, Gordon, Simpson, Torrey).
Throughout these blogs, I will draw from the treasures of their writings timeless truths that are just as relevant and real for us today. Join me in the journey with these great saints to the Higher Life in Christ!