Beware of Hannah Whitall Smith’s “The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life” – John Boruff

Hannah Whitall SmithYou may have seen in Christian bookstores Hannah Whitall Smith’s The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life. I read it once; the book teaches “let go and let God”:–don’t strive against sin, just receive the Holy Spirit’s moral perfection, and you will have joy and happiness in your life.

Three Serious Strikes Against Her Teaching

1. Her husband was later accused of adultery; and then became a non-Christian.

2. Their daughter later married Bertrand Russell:–the atheist philosopher.

3. John MacArthur, the Reformed theologian, in his Introduction to J. C. Ryle’s Holiness, says the dangerous nature of her teaching on sanctification was that it downplayed the role of active, moral striving and fighting against sin in the Christian life; it exalted a fantasy of moral perfection by this idea that sanctification is all a work of the Spirit and prayer and perfect miraculous righteousness; it also implied an antinomianism (anti-keeping God’s commandments), and passive quietism (no human effort in anything unless God’s voice gives the specific direction). So, you can see why a teaching like this would have a negative influence on her family life, by exalting the idea of a Christian to such a high level, so as to make it virtually impossible to live up to, and then fall into unbelief and dismiss Christianity as impossible and fantastic:–hence atheism and skepticism in her family followed. BEWARE!

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About John Boruff

John Boruff is the founder of WesleyGospel.com, a husband, father, and sometimes an open air preacher. He graduated from UNC Pembroke in 2008 with a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion and views himself as a Baptistic Pentecostal. As a Christian, he feels connected with all members of the body of Christ, but can identify the most with churches like the Assemblies of God and the Vineyard. In 2015, he released "The Gospel of Jesus Christ," which is meant to be a Bible study for open air preaching. For his other writings, search articles on this site or see the E-Books section.
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