Brethren Archive

Frederick Edward Raven

Born: 9th September 1837
Died: 16th August 1903
Appears in Glenny / Raven / Reynolds / Turpin Family Tree

Intro, Biographical Information, Notes etc:

Lon A. Chandler said ...
Friday, Sep 26, 2014 : 12:44
Cecil Weston said ...
One of my favorite. Love his treatise on the Son only refers to our Lord in his incarnate form and not in eternity past.
Friday, Oct 27, 2017 : 02:48
TPL said ...
Saturday, Feb 3, 2018 : 03:10
Philip Reynolds said ...
Sunday, Jun 17, 2018 : 18:11
Daniel said ...
Raven is often misunderstood - he was clear as to the Lord in His eternal deity, as well as being Man. This is often confused e.g. in 'And can it be --- that Thou my God shouldst die for me.' God did NOT die!
He was also very much set against claiming positions - something that brought him into conflict with many true big-B Brethren.
In Christ
Wednesday, Nov 21, 2018 : 20:38
Martin Arhelger said ...
I am sad to say that F. E. Raven was NOT right as to the manhood of Christ. He said: "In Person He is God; in condition He is man." After being asked "Why is He not PERSONALLY man?", Raven replied: "You cannot have two personalities in one." (Collected Writings of FER, vol. 8, p. 262 -263. It was first printed in "Truth for the Time", Part VIII, being Notes of Addresses and Readings at Quemerford, Mai 1895, page 132.)
For Raven, Christ's manhood was only a "condition". He denies that Christ was man IN HIS PERSON. This denies the REAL manhood of Christ in his PERSON.
J. N. Darby (JND) taught that Christ's manhood DOES belong to His person:
1) "But, if the writer {= B. W. Newton} means that in fact the state of Christ's humanity was not sui generis {= unique}, it is quite wrong; for it was united to Godhead, which no one else's humanity ever was; which, as to fact, alters its whole condition." (Collected Writings, vol. 15, p. 147). JND has seen: "it {the mahood of Christ} was united to Godhead".
2) JND also said: "We cannot fathom who He was. Our hearts should not go and scrutinise the Person of Christ, as though we could know it all. No human being can understand the union of God and Man in His Person - 'No man knoweth the Son but the Father.' " (Collected Writings, vol. 27, p. 357) JND clearly saw the fundamental truth of "the union of God and Man in His Person". For JND the manhood of Christ was not only a "condition" but the nature of His wonderful person.

3) JND also wrote: "I am quite aware of and accept the ordinary orthodox statement of two natures in one person . . . the simple faith that Jesus was God and man in one Person can be easily accepted as plain and vital truth; but the moment you deny personality in the man Christ Jesus, you run into a thousand difficulties and errors. What is really denied [in der Schrift, die JND widerlegt] is Christ's individuality as a man". (Collected Writings of JND, vol. 29, p. 212)

F. E. Raven denies "the ordinary orthodox statement of two natures in one person", that is to say "the union of God and Man in His Person". Raven does not see (or does not want to see) the real manhood of Christ. This is fundamental evil doctrine. "Many deceivers have gone out into the world, they who do not confess Jesus Christ coming in flesh -- this is the deceiver and the antichrist."
It does not help to say that Raven might have had correct thoughts on other subjects (for example the godhead of Christ). His fundamental false teachings on Christ's manhood qualify him as an antichrist.
Martin Arhelger
Friday, Nov 23, 2018 : 20:39
Lance said ...
I wonder if Martin has actually read FER for himself?
Sunday, Nov 25, 2018 : 17:04
Theophilus said ...

Daniel's comment “Raven is often misunderstood.” If Martin has actually read FER for himself, has he understood what he has read?

Sunday, Nov 25, 2018 : 19:22
Martin Arhelger said ...
Hello Lance and Theophilus,

yes, I think I have read enough from FER to understand what he meant. (FER's letters were an eye-opener for me when I read it about 20 years ago.) But you digress from the real topic. The real point is what FER actually SAID and WROTE. False teachers in church history have often be defended by saying they were "misunderstood". But that cannot whitewash their blasphemous writings.

Now, there was another, who very clearly understood, what FER said and meant: James Taylor senior. The following words are taken from JT's Ministry, New Series 48, p. 182-183:

"Becoming Man, He is Himself His Spirit, . . . Jesus was as really man as the thief, having a spirit as a man, too, but it was Himself. Coming into manhood He became His own spirit, taking on other component parts of humanity. Personally He never ceases to be God, but yet He is Man, but His Spirit is Himself, as my spirit is myself, but I receive my spirit from God. He was God and came into humanity here. He was personally a divine Person and became His own spirit in manhood, so that it was Himself. … Incarnation is the thought presented in scripture; that is, 'the Word became flesh'(John 1:14) - a divine Person taking human condition. He was His own spirit, and yet as in manhood, He was really Man."

Even more explicit is Ministry vol. 101, p. 108 - 109 (in the "Bible and Gospel Trust" edition 2007, it is on pages 113 - 114):

"JT: . . .He Himself is His own Spirit, He has not a spirit like you have or I have. The Lord Himself is His own Spirit. When He speaks of His own spirit, He is that Himself. (. . . ) It is His own spirit that is in mind, His own spirit, that is the Lord Himself. He is His own spirit. He has not two spirits, He is His own spirit. That is a very remarkable thing to understand, and I think the brethren will do well to look into it because there is no dual personality in Christ at all. He is only Himself, He is a divine Person himself, He became incarnate. He is a divine Person, He has not a human spirit at all as we speak. He is His own Spirit; when it speaks of His spirit, it is Himself."

See how JT learnt from FER:
FER: "In Person He is God; in condition He is man."
JT sen.: "a divine Person taking human condition."

JT is the direct result and continuation of FER's blasphemy. Do YOU think that FER or JTsen. were sound on the Lord's humanity?

Martin Arhelger
Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018 : 04:33
Lance said ...
Yes and yes!
your quote speaks for itself
Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018 : 06:20
Tom said ...
Thank you Martin for the succinct analysis of some of FER's teaching.
As I think everyone on here knows (or at least is quite evident by a brief pursue of the website) myself, and those who have most helped with providing material for it, like Martin, are from a part of the Brethren which have rejected this branch of doctrine. I've always tried to keep the website as impartial in historical context as reasonably possible, and put up both sides of an argument, including many things I personally wouldn't agree with, that all may have the material to make their own judgements. For example, on the Archive we have papers that analysis these teachings here from both sides, for and against. Also it's great the website gets helpful contributions from all over the spectrum, and I really appreciate that. Clearly though there are limits to what we want to be seen as promoting. I've tried to avoid using it as a platform to relentlessly bash those teachers I disagree with, but equally it's appreciated if others wouldn't try to promote things that it's obvious we would be uncomfortable with. I hope I would show the same courtesy on any resource run by others with differing views!

As to FER, only a brief comment, but it's well known that when even one so highly esteemed as C.H. Mackintosh tried to diffuse the situation and make the best of some of his remarks, that FER retorted that 'poor CHM' was mistaken and had misunderstand him. Now if someone as spiritual as CHM was unable to understand all this then what hope do the rest of us have? From the small amount of writings of his that I have read myself, I couldn't get anything helpful at all, but if others of you have managed to, that's great. Also I've never been convinced the 'have they every actually read .. ' argument that I hear time and time again, is a particularly good one. I've not ever tried drinking arsenic, but I'd still feel quite confident in asserting it wouldn't be any good for me.

Ok so I think we will all disagree on how we view F.E.R. and those who followed him, but I hope we can still appreciate together those things that we all value, which is why I assume we are here in the first place!
Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018 : 07:21
Martin Arhelger said ...
I recommend to read W. T. Whybrow's brochure "The Truth of Christ's Person: Is It Taught by Mr. F.E. Raven?" which succinctly gives the facts about FER's error on the humanity of Christ, and also FER's departure from orthodox writers (including J. N. Darby).
Whybrow's brochure is here:
Thursday, Nov 29, 2018 : 05:40
Barry said ...
In my mind, most of the above discussion is unnecessarily divisive and consists of some things that poor mortal men can never know or understand about the nature of God. It should be put aside and never be discussed in a church setting.

There is only one thing here that merits any attention and that is the assertion of Mr. Arhelger that FER said "You cannot have two personalities in one." Isn't this a flat-out denial of the trinity ? If that is what FER meant, then certainly he is in denial of the truth. If he meant somethingelse, then it is perfectly obscure to me and ought to be consigned to the waste-basket along with the other things that we cannot know about Christ.
Thursday, Mar 7, 2019 : 21:46
Paul S said ...
I've read the above comments and having been just given a collection of F E Ravens writings, I am wondering whether it is worthwhile committing time to reading them. Obviously there will be a difference of opinion out there, but with so many authors to choose from I just need a small bit of counsel.
Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019 : 23:05
Roger Holden said ...
Can anyone identify whether the New Series of Raven’s ministry includes notes of meetings at Quemerford in May 1896? I am working from the KBT electronic version which provides a date of 1896 for 4 items in volume 9 but does not give the exact date or where these meetings were held. Possibly the electronic version does not include all the information that is in the printed version, or maybe this information is simply not included. Some of Raven’s ministry appears to originally have been published in a periodical ‘Truth for the Time’ which might enable a date and place to be identified, but this periodical does not seem to be available on this web-site. My interest is because I believe James Taylor, senior, was present at these meetings.
Tuesday, Jan 4, 2022 : 02:14
Rodger said ...
Tuesday, Jan 4, 2022 : 06:18
Roger Holden said ...
Many thanks for that, I was looking in the wrong place. The addresses by FER and one reading are in the New Series but not identified by date. He does not seem to have been present at the other two readings.
Tuesday, Jan 4, 2022 : 19:11
Mark said ...

Googling "F E Raven" I notice that comes up at the top of the list. Clicking on it I see quotations from the writings of Mr Raven, but others from James Taylor Senior used to prove the former a heretic. This seems a strange way - proving one person wrong by using the writings of someone else as evidence!

Was Christ a real man? Mr Raven wrote this:

He is a real Man, body, soul, and spirit, but still God’s Son. (Ministry of F E Raven, New Series, volume 19, page 519.)

It has been argued elsewhere that ‘For FER the “spirit” was His own (divine) person’, but Mr Raven elsewhere explained what he meant by the "spirit" of the Son as Man: 

It was the spirit of a man, but that man was Son of God. (Ibid, volume 8, page 264.)

A claim that “JT learnt from FER” needs proof; and I do not mean as based on something Mr Taylor said. Nor even from Roy Huebner, whose writings are possibly the source behind much of this. As to JT, he tried to lend support for his incarnational sonship doctrine by bringing Mr Darby’s name into it:

That he [JND] held and urged the eternal sonship of Christ as an accepted truth is true, but that he was satisfied with it in his later years is more than questionable. (J. Taylor, Letters, volume 1, pages 392-395 – 25th March 1933.)

I agree that Mr Taylor might have learnt from Mr Raven, and from Mr Darby for that matter, but he certainly did not learn to deny the eternal sonship of Christ from the latter, and evidence for learning from the former is based on a letter which was not written by Mr Raven, even though it appears in his volume of letters. 

There is a comment on the page in question on in which its writer disagrees with Mr Raven’s statement, “You cannot have two personalities in one.” However, Mr Raven is quite right here, and it was not “a denial of the truth.” The error that there are two persons in Christ is called Nestorianism, and it was condemned at the Council of Ephesus in AD 431.

Yet someone has denounced Mr Raven writing, “His fundamental false teachings on Christ’s manhood qualify him as an antichrist.” People need to be think before they press such serious charges on anyone, and to reach this kind of verdict. I do not maintain that everything Mr Raven ever said was correct, of course, but it would appear that some of his opponents might not be quite as sound in doctrine as they think they are. 

Just one more point. Where in Mr Raven’s books of ministry is his “treatise” found in which he taught that “the Son only refers to our Lord in His incarnate form and not in eternity past” as suggested in one of the above comments? I find in the books that he used the expression “Eternal Son” numerous times, but am aware of the oft half-quoted-out-of-context sentence taken, not from page 52 of volume 1, the primary source, but from a secondary source containing, not simply the fact, but the opinion of his critic. 

Wednesday, Mar 30, 2022 : 04:50
andrew Eden said ...
When we read our older brethren, especially after 1882, one comes away with much new works from many authors that bring out their expressions in scripture. With that said, today its a wonderful thing to have an expression of scripture and to see the way the Word of God deals with ones expression of the Word. Take CE Stewart for example, in his book "The Old Faith or the "New" one gets the Idea that Jesus took blood into heaven. Although he is careful to reveal that as such, but careful reading and understanding the way he reveals the doctrine, you see he was not making a change in the atonement of the work of Redemption of the application of the Bloor on the mercy seat, rather follow the types in Hebrews as what CES taught, Christ had to fullfill them by taking blood into heaven and his book was a commentary of Hebrews. But the issue was not that it wasn't applied there on the mercy seat for it was. Its that Christ was the mercy seat on the cross. Having been baptized by John as King, Prophet and Priest (Melchizedek Order). Often times many have had new revealing's during the 1882- 1924, but many separations were happening during those years as well based on these things as well. FER had understandings of Eternal Life, The Son named after His incarnation. So did many brethren at that time, including FW Grant on "Sealing of the Holy Spirit" and that Romans 7 was a msaved man in weakness and not an unbeliever coming to Christ which most brethren held prior to 1882. Most of these books and pamphlets came out after JND Passed in 1882.

These things we see in scripture could be easily understood if brethren were more practical in their expressions in the writings they revealed, many of the writers were former Pastors and Ministers most of which verbal in the assembly meetings many were common and not well informed in the Word as well so many questions were given to the brethren sitting in the center table. Although times are now closer to the coming of the Lord since our Older brothers have been on this earth, and the movement still going on what a wonderful thing it is to see all we do have in common.

"I love my master...I will not go out free" Ex 21:5

Andrew Eden
Wednesday, May 18, 2022 : 04:59
Andrew Eden said ...
Man has a spirit. We know that to be the "Identity" which makes us different than others, just not only in physical appearance and a soul which has an eternal ownership to God. God was manifested in the Flesh. Christ was manifested Man. I like the thought of having a spirit, and I see the Holy Spirit too, we all do. When Jesus said to the religious Jews/ Sanhedrin, "...the sin Against the Holy Spirit can never be forgiven", This is to say that Christ could forgive sins on Earth he says, when he said which is easier to say, take up your bed and walk or thy sins be forgiven?" Yes, Christ was under the subjection of the Holy Spirit as he was on Earth, so there is a distinction between the Man Christ Jesus, and all that dwelt within this perfect manifested Man of, and Son of God. Jesus himself makes that distinction. Just a thought.

"I Love my master...I will not go out free"
Wednesday, May 18, 2022 : 05:16
Andrew Eden said ...
One last thought. God was never man before. So the work of atonement had to be in a two fold work in that Atonement. Two Goats. One in Propitiation and One in Substitution. To Propitiate it, it had to be done by a Perfect sacrifice, that's why the Meal offering follows the Burnt offering, which shows that it was accepted because He was Perfect in bearing all the Law personified, and can be that Sacrifice for me. But Substitution is also a great part of Atonement for it brings the work of the Holy Spirit to bear in that Atonement that Christ Jesus can have a distinctive glory in the God Head. He was never Man before in one Body, as in hearing the voice in Christ Baptism. Now Christ is Risen, and has a new Glory as a Risen Man in the Glory. What a distinctive place, that the God Head Planned that distinctiveness, knew would be accomplished together. Now that this distinction exists, called the Church - its a Distinct Glory. That is, for Christ. Christ is the True Hebrew Servant, leading our Worship as His Church through the Spirit before us. Very distinctive relationship we have. If Christ knows me, then why is it so hard to see that He has a distinct spirit as God Manifested in flesh. His God-liness before His Church, I see that clearly when the Voice in Heaven spoke at His Baptism " This is my Beloved Son - which is the Habitation of God, a Living Sanctuary, we are all "In Christ" As we know Him, then you can speak of Him, and share his thoughts and know His person. He also reveals the Father to me. Together we have a relationship and its altogether Lovely.
"I love my master...I will not go out free" Ex 21:5
Wednesday, May 18, 2022 : 05:49
Syd said ...
I think many know of the strange revelations that emerged in the late 1800's and early 1900's; all found wanting and rejected. And yes, it was always believed as the context shows, that the Romans 7 person is a carnal believer not knowing deliverance as in Rom 8.
Friday, May 20, 2022 : 20:55

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