Saturday, November 10, 2007

Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God - Chapter 2 - Lilias Trotter

We had much to discuss about Lilias. She was an amazing and determined woman, who did her best for her God.

The Higher life movement

Lilias attended her first Higher life movement meeting when she was 19 and it seems this movement had a great influence on her life. page 43

The Higher Life movement seemed unknown to us all so I thought I’d find out about it.

Whilst reading this chapter the term ‘Higher Life’ seemed to sit at the very edge of my memory as somehow familiar and I wondered whether there was any connection to my past Christian experience in the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement. On further research, the memories came flooding back.

This statement about the higher life movement from Wikepedia sums up much of what I was taught whilst a Pentecostal. “The main idea of the Higher Life movement is that the Christian should move on from his initial conversion experience to also experience a second work of God in his life. This work of God is called “entire sanctification,” “the second blessing,” “the second touch,” “being filled with the Holy Spirit,” and various other terms. Higher Life teachers promoted the idea that Christians who had received this blessing from God could live a more holy, that is less sinful or even a sinless, life. This teaching has its roots in John Wesley’s doctrine of Christian perfection.”

The Higher Life Movement was one of the precursors to the modern Pentecostal movement. ‘Another predecessor to Pentecostalism was the Keswick "Higher Life" movement which flourished in England after 1875. Led at first by American holiness teachers such as Hannah Whitall Smith and William E. Boardman, the Keswick teachers soon changed the goal and content of the "second blessing" from the Wesleyan emphasis on "heart purity" to that of an "enduement of spiritual power for service." Thus, by the time of the Pentecostal outbreak in America in 1901, there had been at least a century of movements emphasizing a second blessing called the "baptism in the Holy Spirit" with various interpretations concerning the content and results of the experience. In America, such Keswick teachers as A.B. Simpson and A.J. Gordon also added to the movement at large an emphasis on divine healing "as in the atonement" and the premillenial rapture of the church.’
Oral Roberts University

I personally have found it difficult not to let this information prejudice my view of the missions work done by Lilias Trotter. I have forced myself to remember, as we discussed, that regardless of the underpinning theology that sent Lilies Trotter and her fellow missionaries out, their motive to go out into all the world and spread the gospel was a good one. Their message to the people of Algeria was simple. In the face of language difficulties, cultural barriers, illiteracy, and the foreign concept of a loving and forgiving God they used the simple but powerful message of the ‘wordless book’ page 44 . Their simple message showed the people their sins, gave them hope and lead them to believe in the Lord Jesus as their Saviour.

Links about the Higher Life Movement:

The wordless book

We also discussed the 'wordless book' mentioned on page 44. I remember as a child being taught the Gospel in Sunday School with it.

Read this link to find out more about it. Apparently it was originally designed by Charles Spurgeon.

Go out into all the world

Mary mentioned, that at the universities, it appears that ‘God is also bringing all the world to us’ to hear the gospel. Foreign students are coming to Australia to study, and are very open to discuss the word of God and open to the gospel, which is contrasted by the hostility to the gospel shown by many Aussies.

Sometimes whilst reading about missionaries and the marvellous work for Christ they do, you can’t help but feel that we should be going out to the ‘mission field’. What are we doing for Christ?

It is good to remember that the ‘mission field’ is all around us. Despite the wealth and prosperity, comfortable living and peace that we experience here in Australia, it does not mean that the other mothers at playgroup, our neighbours, or family are any less ‘lost’ than the hidden Muslim women that Lilias ministered to in Algeria. In fact they are just as lost and in danger of hell. May God help us as and give us wisdom as we go out into all the world.

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