[A young Christian from Hong Kong
visited an elderly Christian Brother in
Because his letter containes the names of authors whose writings are hosted on this website, it may be of interest for other Christians to read it.
I asked Dr. Arlen L. Chitwood if he would like to comment on remarks made regarding his own writings, but, not surprisingly no reply was forthcoming.
If the Lord's people would put into practise the principles taught by His Word, then they will receive greater light and understanding; but if they neglect His wisdom, instruction and authority, who can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm the life of one who seeks to blind others to responsibility truths. It is a daring act to lead others astray and rebel against the teaching of the Lord. Read Jeremiah chapter 28.]
"BUY THE TRUTH AND SELL IT NOT; YEA, WISDOM, AND INSTRUCTION, AND UNDERSTANDING" (Proverbs 23: 23).
Dear brother ...,*
[* All names are excluded from the letter.]
the first week of June a young believer from Long Kong, ...
stayed with us for some days before returning to
The books which this brother received in your home are of an extreme or controversial doctrinal nature and by authors who adopt ultra positions, but some of them are patently unorthodox and teach positive error which would be harmful to a young believer and could be devastating in an assembly where their teaching was taken seriously. The authors are William Barclay whose liberalism, modernism, and unbelief have stumbled many; A.W. Pink who sadly pursues certain truth to its most extreme or hyper position; Jessie Penn-Lewis who believes in a second-blessing "baptism of the Holy Spirit" and in the book to hand "All Things New" has an exotic teaching regarding the Cross of Christ and human sickness; then there is a book on Watchman Nee whose teaching has brought division and confusion among the saints in Hong Kong and who taught that apostles are for today, female apostles are acceptable, who held as do his assemblies still today a selective or partial Rapture and the city-church theory; D. M. Panton and one Arlen L. Chitwood who echoes Panton's teaching. It is these latter two and the books authored by them and given to young brother ... that I am particularly worried about.
The books are "The Judgment Seat of Christ" by D.M. Panton, and "Jude" and "By Faith" by Arlen L. Chitwood. Dear brother may I ask you if you know what teaching these books contain? Have you read them and are you in agreement with them? If you have never read them then you must surely understand how unwise it is to let such unread literature get into other hands, but if the content of these books is known then the act of spreading such teaching becomes plainly subversive. It is a serious matter indeed and so I am writing to bring it to your attention now.
D. M. Panton’s book "The Judgment Seat of Christ" is deeply offensive and doctrinally dangerous. He espouses the Partial Rapture position very strongly and dogmatically, brings in Tribulationism and the First-Resurrection theory, believes in two Justifications, the need for and reality of a Purgatory and also a death after resurrection for some saints. He teaches that many saints of this church age will be excluded from a co-reign with Christ during the millennial Kingdom during which time they will (1) be in a lower region from where they can see but not enter into Kingdom blessings (2) some be in Hades having returned to ‘temporary corruption’ and will be ‘saved inmates issuing from Hades Rev 20: 13’ etc. (3) Some are in ‘outer darkness’ (4) Some are in Gehenna - these are the saints of the Church guilty of ‘the very gravest offences’. And if we expostulate against this line of shocking teaching we read. "The denial of these solemn truths paralyses and destroys some of the most powerful stimulants God has supplied to His Church in its deadening struggle with the world, the flesh, and the devil..." Panton appeals to such writers as G.H. Lang and G.H. Pember for support of his teachings. It is a desperate mixture of twisted and corrupted doctrine which emerges in these books - it is spiritual poison dear brother!
Furthermore, the other author, Arlen Chitwood, whom I take to be an American, follows just the same line as Panton and quotes from him, and among other things has a repugnant interpretation of "nakedness" as applied to the believer whom he supposes is meant by the man without a wedding garment in Mt. 22 and who thus "sets forth the fate awaiting, not unsaved individuals, but certain saved individuals. This man typifies those Christians who, in that coming day following their removal from earth, seek admittance to the festivities surrounding the marriage of God’s Son without being clothed in the proper attire - the -wedding garment". He explains such only have one justification, that of faith, but lack the second justification, that of works. He further teaches that our forgiveness from God is not inclusive of past, present, and future sins judically. He teaches believers will be disinherited and disqualified for positions as joint-heirs with Christ; strongly emphasises a selective (partial) Rapture, and denies present sonship for believers.
Now all this and more was placed in the hands of a young and very impressionable Christian, who was given it to take back to his home country. Will you not agree the potential for error and harm in God’s assembly contained in the teaching of these books, which came from your house, is enormous and fully justifies the concern it has aroused in my own heart?
Furthermore it seems more than coincidental that some of the other authors already mentioned above also hold this partial-Rapture or ‘overcomer’ teaching. Jessie Penn-Lewis who is published by the Overcomer Trust and Watchman Nee who was also greatly influenced by T. Austin-Sparks of the Honour Oak Fellowship whose main platform was the higher life and selective Rapture. Did you know that a number of former assembly-commended missionaries have embraced this teaching through these authors and have been stumbled as a result? The error is undergoing something of a revival again and the literature to hand is further evidence of this. Incidentally, not only the Watchman Nee groups in China and Hong Kong and Taiwan etc. hold this teaching which we have had to strongly refute over the years of our missionary service: there but also the Balkht Singh groups in India also hold it - and through our frequent visits to that land over the past number of years have been confronted with the same error there as it seeks to infiltrate the assemblies. You can surely imagine therefore the sinking feeling in my heart when I found the same pernicious teaching in young ... possession when he came from your home.
Dear brother I am not a witch-hunter neither is there anything personal intended in this letter - as far as I know I have never met you or talked with you - but I am concerned for the Truth’s sake and must warn against the spread of error. Therefore I shall look for your reply to this letter and its questions with deep interest, and trust to hear that if any such books remain which you know of you will destroy them, and undertake to see they are never again passed on to others.
I send you sincere greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Christ who is the Truth and our Life, ...*
[* Jesus said: "Let them alone: they are blind guides. And if the blind guide the blind, both shall fall into the pit" (Matt. 15: 14). To my knowledge, no reply to this letter was ever made.]