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On Holiness doctrine

Holiness movement. The holiness movement refers to a set of beliefs and practices emerging from 19th-century Methodism, and to a number of evangelical Christian denominations who emphasize those beliefs as a central doctrine. The movement is distinguished by its emphasis on John Wesley's "Christian perfection" teaching—the belief that it is possible to live free of voluntary sin, and particularly by the belief that this may be accomplished instantaneously through a second work of grace.

The key beliefs of the holiness movement are (1) regeneration by grace through faith, with the assurance of salvation by the witness of the Holy Spirit; (2) entire sanctification as a second definite work of grace, received by faith, through grace, and accomplished by the baptism and power of the Holy Spirit, by which one is enabled to live a holy life.

In the context of the holiness movement, the first work of grace is salvation from sin. Adherents believe that without it, no amount of human effort can achieve holiness. The movement's teaching on salvation is conventionally Protestant - God's people are saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ who made atonement for human sins.

Holiness adherents believe that the "second work of grace" refers to a personal experience subsequent to regeneration, in which the believer is cleansed of the tendency to commit sin. This experience of sanctification enables the believer to live a holy life, and ideally, to live entirely without willful sin, though it is generally accepted that a sanctified individual is still capable of committing sin.

Holiness groups believe the moral aspects of the law of God are pertinent for today, and so expect their adherents to obey behavioral rules - for example prohibiting the consumption of alcohol, participation in any form of gambling, and entertainments such as dancing and movie-going. This position does attract opposition from some evangelicals, who charge that such an attitude refutes or slights Reformation (particularly Calvinist) teachings that believers are justified by grace through faith and not through any efforts or states of mind on their part, that the effects of original sin remain even in the most faithful of souls.

Christian perfection (also known as perfect love; heart purity; the baptism of the Holy Spirit; the fullness of the blessing; Christian holiness; the second blessing; the second work of grace; and entire sanctification) is a doctrine of Methodism and its emerging Holiness movement, which holds that the heart of the regenerant (born-again) Christian may attain a state of holiness in which believers are made free from original sin, or depravity, and where there is a total love for God and others wrought by the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

                                                                                                            Source: Wikipedia


What do I think of this “Christian Perfection“ doctrine of Methodism? What do I think of the idea that a person is able to reach a state of holiness where he lives free of voluntary sin? I don't believe it. I don't think the Bible teaches this at all. I think the idea is simple theological foolishness, self-deception. The Bible teaches that we all sin. We never reach a point of such holiness that we don't sin at all. We can become better and better people by attempting to follow the teachings of Jesus and the Bible, by seriously attempting to follow in God's way, but we still sin from time to time. The Lord's Prayer says, "And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us; And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil." (Luke 11:4) Jesus wouldn't have told us to pray this if we didn't all sin. David sinned. Peter sinned. Even the most God-fearing, upright and good people sin. To believe one can live without sinning is just unrealistic. This idea can only lead to self-deception, disillusionment and trouble. I don't agree with John Calvin's theology with its emphasis on being saved by grace alone through faith alone (neglecting the importance of obedience and practice) and I don't agree with this idea of John Wesley of "Christian perfection". I think God does indeed help us in following in his way if it is our desire to do so, and if we develop the right habits we sin less and less, but I think Wesley’s idea is an unreachable ideal without Biblical backing.


My emphasis has always been on the importance of the quest for wisdom, understanding and truth (as taught in the book of Proverbs). This is a mind oriented pursuit and not oriented toward emotional experiences. I think we have to actively reject the ways, outlooks and attitudes of the world (for they are satanic lie) and focus on the way taught in the Bible, particularly the teachings of Jesus. In regard to the importance of speaking in tongues and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, I observe that even in the days of the apostles, even though the early Christians were baptized with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues, they were still sinning. We know from the epistles that there was a huge problem with sin and Christian apostasy in those days (among the new Christians). So we can ask the question, “Just how effective was their Baptism with the Holy Spirit in regard to preventing them from sinning? Was it a magic bullet that prevented sin?” No. Much time is devoted in the epistles to exhorting the new Christians to live upright, clean, good lives in accordance with Jesus’ teachings. To live upright, clean, good lives we have to discipline and exert ourselves to that purpose. It requires will and discipline. God doesn’t do it for us. He may assist us, but we have to do it ourselves.


The elect, the called, the chosen of God, are the ones that will go to heaven. And the elect correspond to those who respond to God’s call for repentance and, in faith, are obedient to God in living clean, good, upright lives.


July 2013

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