–March of 1999
We Are Holiness People
On the cover of this issue of the Revivalist you will see a distinguished vanguard of holiness theologians of this century who have nobly declared and defended the doctrine of entire sanctification for the various descendants of Methodism. These men were more than academicians. They were men who saw the holiness training as a doctrine to be believed, an experience to be enjoyed and a life to be lived. They were indeed holiness men.
As the holiness movement, internationally and nationally, has lost momentum and drifted toward mainstream evangelicalism, the identifying title “holiness people” is used less frequently. Some see it as an antiquated term associated with derision and scorn. (To them it conjures up images of snake handlers and holy rollers.) Others feel that it no longer identifies in any meaningful way what the holiness church really is.
I believe it is still a good term and we shouldn’t shy away from using it. I don’t think we should use it in the sense to advertise or emphasize our personal righteousness, but I do believe it is a term that identifies what we believe doctrinally and what we practice freely. We are holiness people…are we not?
Dr. Taylor points out in his article that holiness people are those who have found an answer to the problem of the “Christian’s wobbling” and the “church’s feebleness.” They understand that at the core of the unsanctified believe is the sinful self that seeks always to turn “to its own way.” They recognize the sophisticated antagonism of the carnal heart as a “hangover tendency” of self rule and self centeredness that needs to be cleansed by the refining fire of the Holy Spirit’s baptism. They still preach and teach that the sin nature can be and must be cleansed.
It is the holiness people who offer hope for the Christian who lacks love for the brethren, personal victory in the inner man, stability in the Christian walk and freedom from the love of this present world.
Holiness people offer a message of entire sanctification that promises: (1) the power of Spirit fullness that enables a person to be what God wants them to be; (2) a dispositional alignment with the plan and purpose of God for their lives; (3) a new thrust of single-minded devotion that will help one stay focused; and, (4) a passionate love for mankind that is grounded in a perfect love towards God.
Are you a holiness person in more than just name? Are we, indeed, worthy sons and daughters of such noble fathers? If not, why not seek to be so today? Confess your need, ask God to sanctify you wholly, and believe Him to do it. The assurance of inner cleansing can and will be yours.