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

The Logical Of Universal Holiness

    The "logic of universal holiness" is set forth most clearly in Acts 17:31-32: "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent; Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man who he hath ordained: whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."

The main points of the logic of universal holiness drawn from this text may be outlined as follows:

1. God is going to judge the whole world, not just a few especially devout saints with personal convictions. 

2. God's basis for judging the whole world will be a common standard of righteousness.

3. God's common standard of righteousness is a revealed standard. Men are not left to guess at what God requires. He has told it to them plainly in the Holy Book.

4. God's standard for holiness, or righteousness is, therefore, authoritative and binding upon the whole world. Revealed life-style holiness standards can never be relegated to a mere matter of anyone's personal convictions.

5. When the Bible speaks to the point in practical life-style matters relating to dress, hair, jewelry, divorce, Sabbath keeping, and a host of other real issues, such is a revealed standard that is authoritative and binding upon every son of Adam who has any intention of ever pleasing God. It is all part and parcel of a common standard of universal holiness by which God will judge the whole world in the last day.

6. The personal convictions approach to revealed Bible holiness standards is therefore false for two reasons:

    First, it is a cop out for the courage to stand for social righteousness. Having one's own personal convictions, while at the same time condoning the larger context of social unrighteousness in which one is involved is nothing short of hypocrisy. Not everyone who retreats into the privacy of the personal convictions approach to life-style holiness, however, is a self-conscious hypocrite. It can really, rather, be quite reassuring to view the matter of God's requirement for universal holiness in terms of one's own personal convictions.  One can congratulate one's self that one is not like other men, "extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican" (Luke 18:11), on the one hand, while at the same time one does not have to feel the heat of being responsible for what happens to society at large on the other—quite a comfort zone indeed, and one in which it is very easy to be rocked sweetly and gently to sleep to the nature of reality.

    Second, the personal convictions approach to revealed life-style holiness standards is wrong, because it encourages the disobedient to God's Word to continue in their disobedience. If holiness standards are only a matter of each one's personal convictions, then sinners are comfortable entering the fellowship of the Church of God though another way than that door of repentance and faith, which God has ordained. When confronted with God's call to life-style holiness to many sweetly rationalize the conviction of the Holy Ghost away by reminding themselves that that is only brother or sister "So-and-So's" personal conviction, not mine!

7. Brother or sister "So-and-So" is an Antinomian in his or her misleading of the truth-seeker to believe that what God universally requires can be limited to a matter of anyone's personal convictions. The personal convictions approach to revealed holiness life-style standards is clearly rooted in modern neo-orthodoxy, with its liberal view of the inspiration and authority of Scripture. Holiness people beware the subtle guise of yet another form of end-time satanic delusion.

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How The Personal Convictions Approach Always Leads To Worldly Compromise