Brethren Archive
April 1923

Present Exercises and Middle Path

by W.H. Westcott

16 Pages
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Tom said ...
This small pamphlet encompasses a lot of what is wrong with 'Exclusivism'; Firstly the author castigates every one but those of his own company to be in the wrong, p6, speaking of those who followed Mr Kelly, Mr Lowe etc, then later against the London party that caused the Glanton division, which company he was associated with. The fifteen years since that division had clearly not opened his eyes to see it was actually him and his friends who had followed Mr Raven astray and were now left in the wilderness. Then on page 12 he takes his stand against the 'Open Brethren', as those who maintained fellowship with followers of B.W. Newton who was a false teacher on the person of Christ, yet the man is sadly blinded that he himself is in exactly the same position with an even worse teacher than Mr N, that being F.E. Raven - so stands self condemned.
On p6 he also makes a prophecy of the other (kelly, grant, bexhill) exclusive groups 'tending steadily to disintegration'! In reality it was his Glanton group that would have faced extinction but for the disastrous decision by the KLC's to accept them back into fellowship in the 1970's, without any judgement of the doctrines of FER they had accepted previously.
The very spiritual tone of the pamphlet (and I don't doubt it genuinely was felt), would lead to deceive the casual reader ...
Saturday, Mar 9, 2013 : 15:01
Jonathan said ...
Tom, I tend to agree with you that WHW's contributions to brethren ecclesiology are not greatly helpful. However, his life should be viewed much more in the round than these few pamphlets. He spearheaded a great work in the Congo, at great personal sacrifice and risk to his own life, which still bears tremendous fruit even today. This speaks more forcefully (to me) than his ecclesiastical pamphlets.

And of the assemblies of that wider group in the UK - there are more former Glanton than Kelly remaining with any vigor, I think, so his forecast wasn't so far off. And I am more Kelly than Glanton ;-) I also personally think your views iro the Glanton situation ... "...without any judgement of the doctrines of FER they had accepted previously..." is - ahem - fairly far off. But many have argued fruitlessly over recent years about that and I will simply leave it at that!
Monday, Dec 3, 2018 : 22:17
Rodger said ...
Perhaps this quote of WHW, given by Hamilton Smith (which I have been unable to trace to its original setting), also lends us some further perspective on Mr. Westcott's supposed partisanship:
"The failure of the church is universal; and among all the fragments thereof, nowhere more marked than with Brethren, so-called. If I imagine that, in the wreck, one entire company has alone preserved its integrity, and is right where all else is wrong, it is tantamount to saying that one has not yet discovered the totality of the ruin." (W. H. Westcott.)"

Tuesday, Dec 4, 2018 : 02:26

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