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No Quick Fix: Where Higher Life Theology Came From, What It Is, and Why It’s Harmful by Andrew David Naselli
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This excellent book is a clear, concise critique of higher life theology, or Keswick theology. You may have never heard of the Keswick conferences, which began in the 19th century. You may have never heard of higher life, deeper life, or victorious life theology, at least not openly under those names. You probably have heard the phrase, “Let go and let God.” But, if you’ve gone to church, listened to Christian radio or TV, or read any Christian books, then you have heard some of these erroneous teachings and you definitely should read this book.
To start with, the title is an appropriate nutshell of the pursuit of higher life, second blessing, or higher plane Christianity. It is the relentless pursuit of some experience or crisis whereby a believer is propelled to another level where they live above sin and with full Spirit power in their life. It that sense, it is seeking a quick fix. The title is also appropriate because emotionally high-charged atmospheres become an addiction where people are constantly seeking that high. Some think they experience it multiple and others think they must not have got it because it wears off and they need another fix. They try to create this weekly in services, in special meetings, and in special conferences or events. You can hear reports of consecrations, decisions, rededications, break throughs, deliverances, etc.
Naselli starts with the history of higher life theology. He traces some of the major proponents of the teaching and highlights some of their differences in approach to it. For instance, higher life theology is a form of perfectionism, but there have been different approaches and beliefs as to what that perfectionism is and how it works.
Naselli proceeds to objectively state what higher life theology is. As opposed to some forms of charismaticism, higher life theology bases its teaching on the Bible. Some other forms of charismatic teaching are nearly entirely experience based, with little thought or effort at reconciling the positions to Scripture. This makes the errors of higher life theology even more dangerous because it pretends to be based on Scripture, giving authority to the teaching.
The last part of the book lays out ten reasons why higher life theology is so dangerous. One of those reasons, obviously, being the misuse and misinterpretation of Scripture. The book ends with some recommendations for reading better books on the Christian life and sanctification.