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

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