George Mueller: Bypassing God’s Law for a New Standard of Holiness

George_Muller_BristolThe same kind of abstraction from the law [as puritan author William Gurnall] is to be found in George Mueller, one of the winsome figures of nineteenth-century piety. A basic motive in Mueller’s perspective was his anti-postmillennialism, (He was a premillennialist.) Mueller bypassed the law for a new standard of holiness, a dependence on faith and prayer for his support. The widespread publicity his stand attracted very early gave him a strong basis of support. At a time when a few hundred dollars a year was a good income, his income as early as 1856 to 1865 amounted to “over $50,000 a year.” He returned most of this to his missionary works. He was against giving by God’s law. “With regard to the amount to be given, no rule can be laid down, because what we ought to do should not be done in a legal spirit, but from love and gratitude to the Blessed One, Who died for us.”

We have here the typical antinomian attitude that obedience to God’s law lacks love and gratitude. Mueller opposed debt, not because of Old Testament law, but because of the New Testament injunction. He opposed planning, and hence savings of any kind.

For Gurnall and Mueller, the future as history was irrelevant. Man’s function was for them not dominion under God, but, for Gurnall, inner victory and peace in the spiritual struggle against Satan; for Mueller, it was soul-saving, through his orphanages and through evangelism. Both men are good examples of the Protestant monastic spirit, an abstraction from history and an unconcern with it. They are very remote from the prophetic and apostolic concerns with the very material realms of personal and world history.

– R.J. Rushdoony, Vol II of The Institutes of Biblical Law, Law & Society, p 228.