Thursday, June 3, 2010

Let Go and Let God? by Andrew David Naselli

Yesterday, I received the following notice which I'd like to bring to your attention.  Please take a few moments to read through the many endorsements, the forward and the preface.  I was amazed to see not only the number of endorsers but also the cross-section of evangelicals and fundamentalists.  This list of endorsers is significant, I believe, considering the subject matter of this book and Andy's own personal journey.

The content of this book consists of a polished up version of Andy's first doctoral dissertation.  Logos Bible Software has placed this title on pre-pub notice and is gathering interest before they send it to the digital press.  Please note that this book will not be a printed publication, but rather a digital publication to be read and used via the Libronix Digital Library System.  If you are not already using Libronix DLS, I would encourage you to download the free engine and get a feel for it. 

Libronix Digital Library System (Engine Only)
Logos Bible Software for iPhone and iPad

Let Go and Let God? A Survey and Analysis of Keswick Theology by Andrew David Naselli
That’s the title of my first solo book.

Logos Bible Software is the publisher, and the book is now available at a discounted price via Logos pre-pub. You can lock in your order now at a lower price and automatically download the book once Logos releases it (hopefully by the end of this year).

You can read the book’s front matter in this 31-page PDF, which includes twenty-one endorsements, the table of contents, Tom Schreiner’s foreword, and my preface.

From the preface:
This book’s thesis is simple: Keswick theology is not biblically sound. It demonstrates this by answering three basic questions:

  1. Where did Keswick theology come from (chap. 2)?
  2. What exactly is it (chap. 3)?
  3. And why is this second-blessing theology not a blessing (chap. 4)?

If you’ve encountered some aspect of second-blessing theology, you’ll be fascinated to see how it fits in the story in chapters 2–3. And you’ll be challenged to consider its serious flaws in chapter 4. My goal is not to make you an arrogant know-it-all who pugnaciously goes on a second-blessing witch-hunt. My goal is to edify you by warning and equipping you. I’ll consider this book a success if it helps you understand second-blessing theology better, see why it’s not a blessing at all, and follow a better—more biblical—way in your Christian walk.

Keswick Theology (March 24, 2008)
Interview on Keswick Theology

Additional Information

  • Title: Let Go and Let God? A Survey and Analysis of Keswick Theology
  • Author: Andrew David Naselli
  • Publisher: Logos Bible Software, 2010
  • 459 pages 

From the Publisher:

Andrew David Naselli is Research Manager for D. A. Carson and Administrator of Themelios. He earned two PhDs before he turned thirty: a PhD in theology from Bob Jones University and a PhD in New Testament Exegesis and Theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School under D. A. Carson. He has taught New Testament Greek at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and he currently teaches Bible and theology as adjunct faculty at several colleges and seminaries. He has published nearly twenty articles, forty book reviews, and a few books.

Key Features Included

  • Unique survey of the history and theology of Keswick theology
  • Analysis of Keswick theology from a Reformed perspective
  • Five appendixes
  • 131-page bibliography with categories corresponding to the book’s divisions

Praise for the Logos Edition

This book packs an extraordinary amount of useful summary, critical analysis, and pastoral reflection into short compass. One does not have to agree with every opinion to recognize that this is a comprehensive and penetrating analysis of Keswick theology down to 1920. The book will do the most good, however, if it encourages readers in a more faithful way to pursue that holiness without which we will not see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). 
D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
For years popular Christian teachers have been telling us the secret key to the victorious, higher, deeper, more abundant Christian life. We’ve been told just to “let go and let God.” If you’ve heard that teaching, you’ll want to read this book—the definitive history and critique of second-blessing theology. You’ll learn not only where this theology went wrong, but will also discover afresh the well-worn old paths of biblical faithfulness and holiness. Andy Naselli is an extraordinarily careful scholar who leaves no stone unturned, but also a compassionate guide who longs to help and serve the church of Jesus Christ. Readers of this work will be instructed and encouraged in their Christian walk.
Justin Taylor, Vice-President of Editorial; Managing Editor at Crossway Publishing
Forty years ago, as a brand new Christian, I devoured Keswick theology, which had great appeal to me as a vibrant and dynamic faith. I wrote “Let go and let God” inside my Bible. But the more I studied Scripture and looked at my own life, the more I saw that much of this theology didn’t ring true. As a former insider, I found Andy Naselli’s critique to be fair, accurate, theologically sound, and biblically persuasive. Andy’s book offers the bonus of serving as an insightful study of the doctrine of sanctification. I highly recommend it. 
Randy Alcorn, Founder and Director of Eternal Perspective Ministries
Andy Naselli’s thorough description and careful analysis of Keswick theology makes a major contribution to contemporary evangelical theology and to the Christian doctrine of sanctification, more broadly. Like many others, I was early influenced by Keswick theology through books and teachers in the Keswick tradition. While I came to appreciate their stress on Christ’s ability, by His Spirit, to enable faithful Christian living, their “let go, let God” methodology is both unbiblical and deeply misleading as a means of sanctification. I wish that Naselli’s excellent study had been available when I struggled with these issues. And so now, I gladly commend this book to all sincere Christians who can both learn from the excesses of the Keswick model while also coming to see more clearly and rightly the Bible’s pathway of progressive growth in sanctification. 
Bruce A. Ware, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Holiness movements are part and parcel of the church in every age. In their emphasis on the need for Christianity to make a difference, they represent an important biblical emphasis; but in their detachment from a biblical anthropology, they often tend inevitably towards legalism, lack of assurance, and, worst of all, self-righteousness. In this work, Andy Naselli subjects one of the most influential of modern holiness movements to vigorous, but fair-minded, analysis. In so doing, he makes an important contribution not just to church history but also for all those who seek to address the relevant issues in an informed and thoughtful manner.
Carl Trueman, Academic Dean, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Professor of Historical Theology and Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary
Understanding what the Bible teaches about sanctification is extremely important, but the abundance of paradigms and systems makes that task more complex than it might seem at first. If we grew up in the church, we carry assumptions inherited from our youth that shape our perspective on both life and the biblical texts. The songs we’ve sung, the verses we’ve heard quoted in testimonies and sermons, and the path of our own Christian growth have all shaped the way we think and talk about the Christian life. The assumptions about sanctification on which many evangelicals and fundamentalists stand are most often inherited from Keswick teachings.
   That’s why I believe this book by Andy Naselli is so important. It provides very valuable help in understanding the nature and impact of Keswick teaching. This is an evenhanded critique that does a wonderful job of putting together a thorough explanation of both the various strands and unifying features of Keswick teaching. Naselli doesn’t go after straw men. He demonstrates that he has heard and understood before he critiques.
    Theology shapes ministry, so any book that helps me, as a pastor, to think more clearly is a great blessing from God. That’s the kind of book this is. Take up and read!

David M. Doran, Senior Pastor, President, and Professor of Pastoral Theology, InterCity Baptist Church and Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, Allen Park, Michigan
Critiquing Keswick theology requires charitable prudence. On the one hand, it would be painful, perhaps even presumptuous to appear to critique many of the beloved figures in Church history who have testified so fervently to its blessed alteration of their lives and service. On the other hand, even the most cherished beliefs must be scrutinized objectively. Those found to be imbalanced or erroneous should be exposed scripturally.
    Andy Naselli avoids unnecessarily demeaning Keswick’s followers. But he lays bare the mistaken emphases that have resulted in the delusion and despair of many frustrated Christians. His work is factual, fair, and liberating from the well-intentioned but futile pursuit of a crisis-sanctification.

Mark Minnick, Senior Pastor and Professor of New Testament, Mount Calvary Baptist Church and Bob Jones University, Greenville, South Carolina
Dr. Naselli’s work Let Go and Let God provides a fascinating account and perceptive critique of early Keswick—a movement that has had widespread influence on conservative Christianity. The potentially deleterious impact of these ideas is more clearly seen in the historical and theological context that Naselli describes, especially the heterodox strains of some early leaders such as Palmer and Finney. Not just an historical tool, but a valuable insight for those who shepherd God’s people, this book will prove a useful resource for both pastor and theologian.

Rodney J. Decker, Professor of New Testament, Baptist Bible Seminary, Clark Summit, Pennsylvania.
The godly man is a diligent man, but he is also a man profoundly conscious that even his energy and diligence (let alone his gifts) are directly traceable to the grace of God at work in him. That was Paul’s self-analysis in 1 Corinthians 15:10. For as long as I have known him, Andy Naselli has exemplified the reality of that passage, particularly in his research and writing ethic. His treatment of Keswick theology is some of the fruit of God’s laboring grace in him.
    The Christian’s secret to a happy life is learning to interpret his experience through the lens of revelation (consistently contextualized), rather than interpreting Scripture through the lens of personal experience. Throughout the history of the church, this struggle with perspective has manifested itself in both doctrinal and devotional arenas, and on the personal as well as the ecclesiastical level. One area that has both doctrinal and devotional, ecclesiastical and personal, ramifications is the issue of sanctification. A biblically conditioned perspective on this subject has far-reaching implications for all believers individually, for the local assemblies of which they are a part, for the church of Christ in the earth and, consequently, for the glory of God. Andy Naselli’s excellent analysis of Keswick theology in the area of sanctification is a perspective-correcting contribution that is at once charitable and candid, fair and insightful, thorough and concise, accessible and theologically precise. It was a privilege to serve on the doctoral committee overseeing its original production as a dissertation, and a privilege now to commend it warmly to a wider audience.

Layton Talbert, Professor of Theology and Exposition, Bob Jones University and Seminary
Greenville, South Carolina

I plan to read through a preview copy and share more comments in time.  I'd be delighted to have your feedback.