I’m gonna guess that eight out of ten of my readers have never heard of a woman named Jessie Penn-Lewis. That’s ok. I’m writing today to introduce you to her ministry. 🙂
Actually, I don’t know a whole lot about Mrs. Penn-Lewis’ personal history. I’m aware there is some controversy surrounding her teachings, associated as she was with the Keswick convention and other “deeper life” movements of her day. She did seem to be a little overly obsessed with Satan and demonic activity, in my own opinion. Otherwise, what little of her stuff I’ve read has the imprint of Christ all over it, no doubt about it.
In particular, allow me to direct your attention to a little booklet entitled The Centrality of the Cross. Only 142 pages long, including ten brief, easy-to-read chapters which explore various aspects of the cross and its relation to the spiritual life of a believer, this little work is a gem. The book begins with a quote from Henry C. Mabie and goes on to further unfold the meaning of what he said, from the author’s own experience:
The Greek word used by Paul in First Corinthians 1:18 is logos… [not] ‘preaching but ‘the subject matter of preaching; with the very essence of that which was to be preached; with that ‘Logos’ of the cross which constituted its rationale, its Divine reason, a reason which… he declares to be ‘the wisdom of God’…
This ‘Logos of the cross’ is conceived by Paul to be the key which unlocks the riddle of the universe, solves all mysteries, and reconciles all things…
I believe this book is actually a transcription of spoken messages delivered by Mrs. Penn-Lewis in conference. I’m not sure if it is still available through mainstream distributors, but fortunately the seeking reader always has Amazon for all of his out-of-print needs. 🙂
Also, for those who enjoy exploring the various historical connections between past servants of God, I know that T. Austin Sparks was briefly associated with Mrs. Penn-Lewis in her “Overcomer” ministry toward the beginning of his own public foray, and that her writings were likewise influential in the early formation of Watchman Nee’s thought as a young man. Again, I’ve not read much of Penn-Lewis other than The Centrality of the Cross, but I highly recommend it. If any of you are familiar with other of her works, I’d love to hear about it.