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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Spring Edition 1999

How The Holiness Movement Can Be Reborn

    Praise God, we believe the good old-fashioned Bible Holiness-with-standards movement is now being reborn! Not that "holiness" itself is anything different than it ever was, for holiness is grounded in the nature of God himself, and he never changes. We are rather witnessing the rebirth if the Bible Holiness movement, with emphasis is on the word "movement."

    What is a "movement" anyway?

   A movement is an alignment of people that is "on the move."  A movement is going somewhere, is on the stretch to accomplish a stated mission, purpose, or goal. Inherent in the nature of a movement is the element of dynamism, which is the exact opposite of experiencing ham-strungness, debilitation, disintegration, or demise.

    None can deny the fact that God intended Christianity to be a world-wide movement.
"Go and make disciples of all nations," Jesus said, and based his great commission on the express declaration that God will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

    Clearly, the Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance! This can only mean that God is working to save the entire world now, in this present dispensation, through the power of the Cross. John Wesley believed God that will work to save the world, just as he works to save each individual soul, "not by forcing men, but by assisting them through grace to choose the better part."

    Wesley continually insisted on the truth that salvation was for all men, as opposed to Calvin's teaching that God's purpose for this age was to save only the elect. Yes, Wesley's plan was to save the ship, and not simply to take off a few individuals from a doomed vessel, as premillennialism suggests. 

    Francis T. Glasson, His Appearing and His Kingdom (p. 159) makes the following salient comment in support of the Wesleyan challenge:

    "Men's actions spring from their beliefs. If we believe that ... the present age will end in apostasy, that the victory of Christianity is no part of the divine purpose, we shall be satisfied ' with things as they are. But if we believe that the Church is the organ of the divine plan to reconcile all things to God, that a time is coming when through the power of the Cross, the knowledge of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, the whole spirit of our approach and our expectancy will be different. In any case, it is a fact that the roots of the modern missionary movement—a movement which has led to the emergence of the world church, 'the great new fact of our time'—were connected with a profound faith in the Latter-day Glory of the Church, as it was called."

    Compare this optimistic expectation of salvation within history with the theological dilemma of a contemporary writer, who looks for real moral redemption only beyond history:

"The present mission of the Church is not to save the world and thus establish the kingdom of God but to evangelize the world by the proclamation of the Gospel. . . . The Church is not to save the world; it is not to Christianize the world; it is not to transform the world so that it becomes the kingdom of God. This will be accomplished only by the glorious second coming of Christ" (George Elden Ladd, The Blessed Hope, pp. 7, 148).

    Friends, the fatal flaw in popular dispensational premillennialism lies in its application of the Calvinistic dogma of the unconditional election of individuals to the broad context of salvation history. Where this theory is accepted in Wesleyanism the Arminian synthesis is lost, and without the Arminian element in Christianity universalism or antinomianism must be the inevitable result.

    None can successfully deny that the purpose of the redemption offered in the Christian religion is indeed to "make men holy." And heart purity being the central idea of Christianity that it is, are not the "Christian" movement and the "Holiness" movement, in strict biblical parlance, inseparability synonyms?

    Yet, how many today believe in the cause of spreading scriptural holiness over these lands? How many of us are absolutely passionate about the prospects of world-wide redemption in this present age through the power of the Cross?

    The rebirth of the Holiness movement of which we speak, then, is nothing more or less than the recapturing of faith in the world-redeeming vision of Jesus Christ, and a willingness to lay our lives on the line to make it happen.

    Friends, it never will, until we give up our pessimistic predestinarian fatalism and start believing in the cause. If the foundations be destroyed what can the righteous do?

    They can begin at once to rebuild foundations! Amen?

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