Posted by: thebylog | May 21, 2005

Holiness People

Last night, a choir from a Holiness Bible Institute (“Holiness” being a conservative Methodist denomination who teach entire sanctification, which roughly translates to: Even after you are converted, the Holy Spirit doesn’t fully come upon you until after you’ve been sanctified, and once this happens you will do no more sin) came to SMBI and sang. They’re very good at what they do. It’s a very different style from your traditional choral sound. A little more “Gospel” type songs, sung mostly full out with much gusto and fervor, accompanied almost exclusively by piano, and punctuated by earnest and passionate testimonies from both choir and director. For the most part, they sing in tune. The songs tend to be moving in a powerful way rather than beautiful in a finesse sense, with a full-bodied sound and soaring key changes and tags.

You won’t find a more earnest-looking set of young people anywhere. It varied – some were less expressive – but a significant portion of the group sang with looks of such rapture and devotion, you had to think either it was put on or these folks are experiencing spirituality at a level unknown to any but a few Christian elite. It’s almost a super-holy vibe that they put out.

In interacting with them afterwords, you realize it’s not like that at all. They love God, but I get the feeling that they tend to compartmentalize their earnestness and devotion. On stage they look one way. Off stage, it’s not near so much. It makes me, all the more, desire to be real in every area of my life, whether I’m up front singing and testifying, witnessing door-to-door, or attending a Stat Theory class at Penn State. Not to minimize, by the way, their devotion off stage. It just doesn’t come across the same way (for the most part) that it does when they’re singing in choir.

Theoretically, I whole-heartedly support the integration of life idea, that my passion for Jesus and spirituality seeps equally into all areas of my life. But I think back to my college experience and realize the incredible difficulty in living with a spiritual mindset when you are surrounded almost completely by a secular environment. In that case, my Christianity tended to become personalized, and though there were certainly points in my collegiate journey in which my faith came bounding to the forefront, mostly I simply went about my secular business.

Two reasons come to mind. First, being surrounded by like-minded Christians for six weeks at SMBI tends to bring the best out of a person spiritually. You lose some self-consciousness and gain some passion, and because everyone else “does it,” you feel more comfortable wearing your Christianity constantly on your sleeve. It is not so at a university. There are pockets of Christians and Christian activity, but mostly you’re on your own. Secondly, when my Christianity did come up at OSU, it was almost always the result of personal relationships. When I developed a relationship with someone that went deeper than simply classes or the local sports scene, I was able to share what was really important to me, at least in a small way. But since I didn’t do really well in developing those kind of relationships, my ministry was limited.

This will be the big challenge next fall when I start at Penn State. Real-ness and relationships. Living who I am and connecting with others. Those things, of course, and plugging in to some quality spiritual sources by way of church and campus groups.



  1. Holiness people
    I am one of those “Holiness people”. We do not teach sinless perfection as most people think and say. There are some who teach a form of sinless perfection, but they are very rare. The foundation of our holiness message was laid down by John Wesley who said over and over again that he does not teach sinless perfection. It pains my heart to read through many websites and see how often they mis-represent our message. None of the denominations in the Wesleyan conservative Holiness movement and the Free Pentecostal Holiness Movement teach sinless perfection.
    We teach that this sanctification of experience cleanses the heart of inbred sin and empowers a Christian to be effective in living and witnessing for God. This means that you will notice a real edge of victory over sin. But it does not mean you become sinless. You come to the place where the propensity for right is a lot stronger than the pull towards iniquity.
    Remember Sanctification is the will of God for the believer and it should be received by faith, but the bible always has warned us, and has always proven to us that there is always a possibility to backslid.

    937 660 8943

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