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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Spring Edition 1997

What Is Conservative Holiness?

    "Conservative" is defined by the American College Dictionary "as a disposition to preserve what is existing or established conditions and institutions in opposition to innovation or change."
   
    Concerning the term "holiness" Samuel Chadwick in his book "The Call to Christian Perfection," (pp. 30-32), gives us this beautiful definition of Christian holiness:

    "It is complete deliverance from everything that makes the soul unfit for, and unequal to, the will of God; the adjustment of life to perfect harmony, and the adaptation of all its powers to the purpose of God; and the supply of all grace, wisdom, power, and whatever else is lacking for efficient obedience to every demand in the fellowship of God in Christ. It is life so completely saved that there is no defect, no disorder, no discord."
   
    What we are trying to "conserve" in conservative holiness, friends, is: (1) love, (2) unity, (3) brotherhood, and (4) the ability to work together in the common cause of discipling the nations to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The hindrances to accomplishing this are: (1) carnality, (2) ego, (3) ignorance, and (4) and infirmity. We believe that the experience of entire sanctification takes care of the first and second issues, and that grace allows us to bear with the other two.
   
    Now what most don't realize in all of the above, friends, is that historians tell us that John Nelson Darby, founder of modern dispensational premillennial end-time Bible prophecy theory, stoutly opposed the Wesleyan Methodist emphasis on "deliverance from carnality" as the central idea of Christian holiness. Could it be, then, that the divisiveness of his speculative end-time Bible prophecy theory, which was so evident in his own day (1800-1882), is being mirrored again in the legalistic versus libertarian squabbles that reproach the cause of Christ in some quarters of the Wesleyan holiness movement yet today?
   
    A carnal approach to the Word of God feeds carnality in the people of God. A divisive theory produces disunity and divisiveness within the organizations that it infiltrates. Was the Wesleyan Holiness movement  polarized and divided into squabbling sectarian semi-legalistic camps, as  much of it is today, before the rise of Darbyism in our midst, only within the last seventy-five to fifty years?

    At the time when the Wesleyan Holiness movement was unified in its desire to promote Scripture Holiness over these lands, was our mainstream intellectually "stuck in the mud," as it were, over dispensational distinctives? Were we heavy into pretribulational rapture escape--ism, postponed kingdom--ism, and Jewish Millennial reign--ism, in the heyday of our revival glory days, like so  much of our lay movement has now become, as a result of buying into the "Left Behind" mentality baloney being propagated by those whose religious affiliations are clearly outside the Wesleyan Holiness tradition?

Preacher, it is your duty to educate your people of better things. Get you people out of the divisive theory of dispensational premillennialism, and see what it will do to unify, motivate, and energize that flock to once again be the true people of God with a dynamic mission in, and to, the world.

We have more to do than to be intellectually mesmerized and/or motivationally paralyzed, by encouragement to sit on our bums  and wait to be evacuated from the earth in the secret rapture, dear friends. And how can we proclaim the kingdom while at the same time we are insistent upon "postponing" it?

The unity of the church lies in its commitment to the common message--the gospel of the kingdom--, and where the message is false, the unity collapses. True holiness churches are not immature, squalling, sectarian baby cribs of "congregations of Darbyites," who get miffed every time anyone crosses up their petty sectarian proclivities. All such nonsense roots in a "mentality" problem that can only be addressed when preachers and evangelists begin to speak to men's minds and hearts, and not only to their sentimentalities and emotions.

For those who may be looking for a rational answer as to why things are the way they are, it's just a bit of food for thought.

Now go chew on it awhile.

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