- Holiness movement
The Holiness movement in
Christianityis composed of people who believe and propagate the belief that the carnal nature of humanity can be cleansed through faithand by the power of the Holy Spiritif one has had his or her sins forgiven through faith in Jesus. The benefits professed include spiritual power and an ability to maintain purity of heart (that is, thoughts and motives that are uncorrupted by sin). The doctrine is typically referred to in Holiness churches as "entire sanctification", though it was once known as " Christian perfection."
The roots of the Holiness Movement are as follows:
Reformationitself, with its emphasis on salvationby grace alone through faith alone.
Puritanismin 17th Century Englandand its transplantation to America with its emphasis on adherence to the Bibleand the right to dissent from the established church.
Pietismin 17th Century Germany, led by Philipp Jakob Spenerand the Moravians, which emphasized the spiritual life of the individual, coupled with a responsibility to live an upright life.
*Quietism, as taught by the
Religious Society of Friends(Quakers), with its emphasis on the individual’s ability to experience God and understand God’s will for oneself.
*The 1730s Evangelical Revival in England, led by
Methodists John Wesleyand his brother Charles Wesley, which brought Wesley's distinct take on the teachings of German Pietism to England and eventually to the United States.
First Great Awakeningin the 18th and early 19th Centuries in the United States, propagated by George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, and others, with its emphasis on the initial conversion experience of Christians.
Second Great Awakeningin the 19th Century in the United States, propagated by Charles Finney, Lyman Beecher, Francis Asbury, and others, which also emphasized the need for personal conversion and is characterized by the rise of evangelistic revival meetings.
In general the Holiness Movement sought to promote a Christianity that was personal, practical, life-changing, and thoroughly revivalistic. Four key concepts of the Holiness Movement are (1) regeneration by grace through faith; (2) entire sanctification as a second definite work of grace, received by faith, through grace, and accomplished by the power and ministry of the Holy Spirit; (3) the assurance of salvation by the witness of the Spirit; (4) living a holy life.
In the context of the Holiness Movement, the first concept is necessary to salvation and without it no amount of human effort can achieve holiness. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ who died for our sins, even ours.
The second concept refers to a personal experience after regeneration, in which one dedicates oneself fully to God, and is empowered by the Holy Spirit to lead a more holy life. Some Holiness groups teach that one can lead a sinless life, properly defined, but others teach that one becomes gradually more holy after this second spiritual experience. The third concept refers to an innate knowledge within the individual who has been regenerated or sanctified, with the evidence of gifts of the Holy Spirit that the spiritual grace has indeed taken place. This is sometimes described as receiving the Holy Ghost or “assurance of salvation.” The extent to which this must necessarily be evidenced by outwardly visible signs, such as
speaking in tongues, is an issue of some controversy within the movement.
The fourth concept is that of living a holy life. Most Holiness people interpret this as living a life free of willful sin or the practice of sin. The motive is to live a Christ like life and to be conformed to the image of Christ. Since Holiness, properly defined, is the supernatural work of a transformed heart by the Holy Spirit, many Holiness churches are careful to follow moral principals and what they perceive as the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Holiness groups tend to oppose
antinomianism, which is a theological framework which states God's Law is done away with. Most Holiness groups agree the moral aspects of the Law are pertinent for today, inasmuch as the Law was completed in Christ."
The Methodists of the nineteenth century continued the interest in Christian Holiness that had been started by their founder,
John Wesley. They continued to publish Wesley's works and tracts, including his famous "A Plain Account of Christian Perfection". Furthermore, numerous persons in early American Methodism professed the experience of entire sanctification, including Bishop Francis Asbury.
In 1836 a Methodist woman, Sarah Worrall Lankford, started the Tuesday Meeting for the Promotion of Holiness in
New York City. A year later, Methodist minister Timothy Merritt founded a journal called the "Guide to Christian Perfection" to promote the Wesleyan message of Christian holiness. In 1837 Sarah Lankford’s sister, Phoebe Palmer, experienced what she called “entire sanctification.” She began leading the Tuesday Meeting for the Promotion of Holiness. At first only women attended these meetings, but eventually Methodist bishops and other clergy members began to attend them also. The Palmers eventually purchased the Guide, and Mrs. Palmer became the editor of the periodical, then called the "Guide to Holiness." In 1859 she published "The Promise of the Father", in which she argued in favor of women in ministry. This book later influenced Catherine Booth, co-founder of the Salvation Army. The practice of ministry by women is common but not universal within the denominations of the Holiness Movement.
At the Tuesday Meetings, Methodists soon enjoyed fellowship with Christians of different denominations, including the Congregationalist
Thomas Upham. Upham was the first man to attend the meetings, and his participation in them led him to study mystical experiences, looking to find precursors of holiness teaching in the writings of persons like German Pietist Johann Arndt, and the Roman Catholicmystic Madame Guyon.
Other non-Methodists also contributed to the Holiness Movement. During the same era Asa Mahan, the president of
Oberlin College, and Charles Grandison Finney, an evangelist associated with the college, promoted the idea of Christian holiness. In 1836 Mahan experienced what he called a baptism with the Holy Ghost. Mahan believed that this experience had cleansed him from the desire and inclination to sin. Finney believed that this experience might provide a solution to a problem he observed during his evangelistic revivals. Some people claimed to experience conversion, but then slipped back into their old ways of living. Finney believed that the filling with the Holy Spirit could help these converts to continue steadfast in their Christian life.
William Boardmanpromoted the idea of holiness through his evangelistic campaigns and through his book "The Higher Christian Life", which was published in 1858. Also, Hannah Whitall Smith, of the Religious Society of Friends (also known as Quakers), experienced a profound personal conversion. Sometime in the 1860's she found what she called the “secret” of the Christian life, devoting one’s life wholly to God and God’s simultaneous transformation of one’s soul. Her husband, Robert Pearsall Smith, had a similar experience at the first holiness camp meeting in Vineland, New Jersey in 1867.
The first distinct "Holiness
camp meeting" convened at Vineland, New Jerseyin 1867 under the leadership of John S. Inskip, John A. Wood, Alfred Cookman and other Methodist ministers. The gathering attracted as many as 10,000 people on the Sabbath. At the close of the encampment, while the ministers were on their knees in prayer, they formed the National Camp Meeting Association for the Promotion of Holiness, and agreed to conduct a similar gathering the next year. Today this organization is commonly known as the National Holiness Association, although the official name is the Christian Holiness Partnership.
The second National Camp Meeting was held at
Manheim, Pennsylvania, and drew upwards of 25,000 persons from all over the nation. People called it a "Pentecost," and it did not disappoint them. The service on Monday evening has almost become legendary for its spiritual power and influence upon the people. The third National Camp Meeting met at Round Lake, New York. This time the national press attended, and write-ups appeared in numerous papers, including a large two-page pictorial in " Harper's Weekly".
These meetings made instant religious celebrities out of many of the workers. Robert and Hannah Smith were among those who took the holiness message to England, and their ministries helped lay the foundation for the now-famous
In 1871 the American evangelist
Dwight L. Moodyhad what he called an “endowment with power,” as a result of some soul-searching and the prayers of two Methodist women who attended one of his meetings. He did not join the Holiness Movement, but certainly advanced some of its ideas, and even voiced his approval of it on at least one occasion.
In the 1870s the Holiness Movement spread to
Great Britain, where it was sometimes called the Higher Life movement, after the title of William Boardman’s book "The Higher Life". Higher Life conferences were held at Broadlandsand Oxfordin 1874 and in Brightonand Keswick in 1875. The Keswick Convention soon became the British headquarters for the movement. The Faith Missionin Scotlandwas one consequence of the British Holiness Movement. Another was a flow of influence from Britain back to the United States.
In 1874 Albert Benjamin Simpson read Boardman’s "Higher Christian Life" and felt the need for such a life himself. He went on to found the
Christian and Missionary Alliance.
In the 1950s and 1960s, several small groups of people left the mainstream holiness movement to form what is known as the
Conservative Holiness Movement.
Growth of the holiness movement began to gain momentum by the Come to the Fire conferences first held in Olathe, KS in 2006.
Interchurch Holiness Convention
Daniel Sidney Warner
Clement A. Evans
J. Kenneth Grider
H. Orton Wiley
Higher Life movement
Christian Holiness Partnership
J. M. Humphrey
*Holiness (as a concept)
The Holiness Movement led to the formation of several Christian groups, including:
Free Holiness Church
Free Methodist Church
Church of the Nazarene
Christian and Missionary Alliance
Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A.
Church of God (Anderson, Indiana)
Church of God (Holiness)
Evangelical Methodist Church
Conservative Holiness Movement
World Gospel Mission
Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee)
The Church of God (Charleston, Tennessee)
The Fellowship (Australia)
Church of Daniel's BandIn addition, the Pentecostal movement's origins can be traced to the Holiness Movement, and there are many other Holiness-based organizations as well.
*Boardman, William E. "The Higher Christian Life", (Boston: Henry Hoyt, 1858).
*Brown, Kenneth O. Holy Ground, Too, The Camp Meeting Famil Tree. Hazleton: Holiness Archives, 1997.
*Brown, Kenneth O. Inskip, McDonald, Fowler: "Wholly And Forever Thine." (Hazleton: Holiness Archives, 2000.)
*Dieter, Melvin E. "The Holiness Revival of the Nineteenth Century" (Rowman & Littlefield, 1996).
*Grider, J. Kenneth. "A Wesleyan-Holiness Theology", 1994 (ISBN 0-8341-1512-3).
*Kostlevy, William C., ed. "Historical Dictionary of the Holiness Movement" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001).
*McDonald, William and John E. Searles. "The Life of Rev. John S. Inskip, President of the National Association for the Promotion of Holiness" (Chicago: The Christian Witness Co., 1885).
*Smith, Hannah Whitall. "The Unselfishness of God, and How I Discovered It: A Spiritual Autobiography" (New York: Fleming H. Resell Co., 1903).
*Smith, Logan Pearsall, ed. "Philadelphia Quaker: The Letters of Hannah Whitall Smith" (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1950).
*Smith, Timothy L. "Called Unto Holiness: The Story of the Nazarenes—The Formative Years," (Nazarene Publishing House, 1962).
*White, Charles Edward. "The Beauty of Holiness: Phoebe Palmer as Theologian, Revivalist, Feminist, and Humanitarian" (Zondervan/Francis Asbury Press, 1986).
* [http://mb-soft.com/believe/text/holiness.htm American Holiness Movement]
* [http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/H6565ME.html Holiness history from the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia]
* [http://www.nazarene.org Church of the Nazarene]
* [http://www.christian-faith.com/revival/pentecostal.html Origins of Pentecostalism]
* [http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/2004/002/7.22.html "The Cleansing Wave"] , article from "
* [http://www.crivoice.org/hmovement.html "Holiness Movement: Dead or Alive,"] article by Keith Drury "(CRI Voice)"
* [http://www.wlsessays.net/files/PanningPerfectionism.pdf A Look At Holiness And Perfectionism Theology by Armin J. Panning]
* [http://www.lcms.org/ca/www/cyclopedia/02/display.asp?t1=h&word=HOLINESSCHURCHES Christian Cyclopedia article on Holiness Churches]
* [http://www.biblicaladvancedbasics.com/Holiness.pdf Holiness - the False and the True by Dr. Harry Ironside]
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