Though she taught “secrets” to a sinless, happy Christian life, her life was anything but that.
Her husband was a serial adulterer who abandoned the Christian faith for agnosticism and Buddhism.
Of her three children who survived to adulthood, all rejected the Christian faith. One married the infamous skeptic Bertrand Russell. Another left her Catholic husband for an adulterous relationship. Hannah’s son Logan said that the doctrines of man’s fall and salvation through Christ’s blood had “become utterly alien and strange to me.”
Hannah W. Smith was laden down with heresies, rejecting the Bible as the sole authority of faith and practice, the Trinity, and the blood atonement, and renouncing the doctrine of eternal judgment, believing that all men would be saved. She taught religious pluralism, saying that “a good Creator can be got at through all sorts of religious beliefs and all sorts of religious ceremonies, and that it does not matter what they are” (A Religious Rebel: The Letters of “H. W. S.” edited by Hannah’s son Logan Pearsall Smith).
After her Roman Catholic son-in-law died, she covenanted to raise her grandchildren as Catholics. She wrote, “My two little grandchildren are ... devout little Catholics, and seem to enjoy their religion, and I am glad of it. I daresay they will be saved a good many of the perplexities and difficulties that so often beset Protestant children.” She encouraged them to “lay up treasure in heaven” by giving candlesticks to a Catholic Church, attending mass, and visiting the confessional.
She despised the doctrine of the husband’s headship. As an early feminist she said, “I know nothing more absolutely unjust in itself nor more productive of misery to the woman than the assumption of the place of authority on the part of men. It reduces women at once in principle to the position of slaves” (Hannah Whitall Smith: Higher Life Writer by Thomas Ross).
She accepted theistic evolution and “mind healing” and cared nothing for Christ’s second coming or the literal fulfillment of prophecy.
She accepted the heresy of “erotic baptism,” which was accepted by many within the Holiness/Higher Life movement. According to this “mystical bride” doctrine the “baptism of the Spirit” was accompanied by sexual thrills. The result, of course, was a plague of immorality wherever the heresy was accepted.
Though she professed to believe Plymouth Brethren doctrine for a time, she later renounced it.
What happened to this woman?
A fundamental error was to reject the Bible as the sole authority for faith and practice, an error that has led to countless spiritual shipwrecks.
She followed her intuition and experiences and Quaker “inner light” above Scripture. She called these “openings.” She said that the Bible was only one of four “especial voices,” the other three being “the voice of circumstances, the voice of one’s highest reason, and the voice of one’s inward impressions.”
When she was criticized for preaching to men, she sought an inner revelation rather than turning to the Bible. She says, “He ... gave me such A STRONG FEELING that it was His mind, that now, whatever is said against it, it makes no difference” (Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, 1875).
When she doubted the doctrine of eternal judgment, she heard another “inward voice” that convinced her that there is no hell (Smith, Every-day Religion, pp. 160-161).
Hannah Whitall Smith was a mystic who was not content to walk by the light of the literal teaching of Scripture. She represents the majority of professing Christians in these end times who have some authority above and beyond the Bible (though many will not admit it).
There is the authority of Rome, Ellen G. White, Joseph Smith, an inner light, end-time prophesying, charismatic soothsaying, gibberish tongues, second blessings, fire baptisms, spirit slayings, rock & roll worship, contemplative prayer experiences, mystical and allegorical interpretations.
All of these have one thing in common, and that is the rejection of the Bible as the SOLE authority for faith and practice.
Sharing Policy: Much of our material is available for free, such as the hundreds of articles at the Way of Life web site. Other items we sell to help fund our expensive literature and foreign church planting ministries. Way of Life's content falls into two categories: sharable and non-sharable. Things that we encourage you to share include the audio sermons, O Timothy magazine, FBIS articles, and the free eVideos and free eBooks. You are welcome to make copies of these at your own expense and share them with friends and family. You may also post parts of reports and/or entire reports to websites, blogs, etc as long as you give proper credit (citation). A link to the original report is very much appreciated as the reports are frequently updated and/or expanded. Things we do not want copied and distributed are "Store" items like the Fundamental Baptist Digital Library, print editions of our books, electronic editions of the books that we sell, the videos that we sell, etc. The items have taken years to produce at enormous expense in time and money, and we use the income from sales to help fund the ministry. We trust that your Christian honesty will preserve the integrity of this policy. "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward" (1 Timothy 5:18). Questions? email@example.com
Goal:Distributed by Way of Life Literature Inc., the Fundamental Baptist Information Service is an e-mail posting for Bible-believing Christians. Established in 1974, Way of Life Literature is a fundamental Baptist preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. Brother Cloud lives in South Asia where he has been a church planting missionary since 1979. Our primary goal with the FBIS is to provide material to assist preachers in the edification and protection of the churches.
Offering: Offerings are welcome if you care to make one. If you have been helped and/or blessed by our material offerings can be mailed or made online with with Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or Paypal. For information see: www.wayoflife.org/about/makeanoffering.html.
Way of Life Literature
Publisher of Bible Study Materials
Way of Life Literature
Publisher of Bible Study Materials