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Christian perfection, through entire sanctification, by faith, here and now, was one of the doctrines by which John Wesley gave great offence to his clerical brethren in the Anglican church. From the beginning of his work in 1739, till 1760, he was formulating this doctrine. At the last date there suddenly arose a large number of witnesses among his followers. Many of these he questioned with Baconian skill, the result being a confirmation of his theories on various points.
In public address he used the terms “Christian Perfection,” “Perfect Love,” and “Holiness,” as synonymous, though there are differences between them when examined critically. With Paul he taught that all regenerate persons are saints, i.e. holy ones, as the word “saint,” from Latin sanctus, through the Norman-Fr, signifies (1 Cor 1:2; 2 Cor 1:1). His theory is that in the normal Christian the principle of holiness, beginning with the new birth, gradually expands and strengthens as the believer grows in grace and in the knowledge of the truth, till, by a final, all-surrendering act of faith in Christ, it reaches an instantaneous completion through the act of the Holy Spirit, the sanctifier: 2 Cor 7:1 “perfecting holiness,” etc.; Eph 4:13, the King James Version “Till we all come …. unto a perfect man,” etc. Thus sanctification is gradual, but entire sanctification is instantaneous (Rom 6:6, “our old man was crucified,” etc., a sudden death; Gal 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live”). In 1 Thess 5:23, the word “sanctify” is a Greek aorist tense, signifying an act and not a process, as also in John 17:19, “that they …. may be sanctified in truth,” or truly. (See Meyer’s note.) Many Christians experience this change on their deathbeds. If death suddenly ends the life of a growing Christian before he is wholly sanctified, the Holy Spirit perfects the work. Wesley’s advice to the preachers of this evangelical perfection was to draw and not to drive, and never to quote any threatenings of God’s word against God’s children. The declaration, “Without sanctification no man shall see the Lord” (Heb 12:14), does not apply to the saints, “the holy ones.”
Wesley’s perfection of love is not perfection of degree, but of kind. Pure love is perfect love. The gradual growth toward perfect purity of love is beautifully expressed in Monod’s hymn,
“O the bitter shame and sorrow!”
The first response to the Saviour’s call is,
“All of self, and none of Thee.”
But after a view of Christ on the cross. the answer is faintly,
“Some of self, and some of Thee.”
Then, after a period of growing love, the cry is,
“Less of self, and more of Thee.”
After another period, the final cry is,
“None of self, and all of Thee!”
an aspiration for pure love, without any selfishness.
The attainment of this grace is certified by the total cessation of all Servile fear (1 John 4:18). Wesley added to this the witness of the Spirit, for which his only proof-text is 1 Cor 2:12.
2. Objections Answered: (1) Paul, in Phil 3:12, declares that he is not “made perfect”: (a) in verse 15, he declares that he is perfect; (b) “made perfect” is a term, borrowed from the ancient games, signifying a finished course. This is one of the meanings of teleioo, as seen also in Luke 13:32 m, “The third day I end my course.” Paul no more disclaims spiritual perfection in these words than does Christ before “the third day.” Paul claims in verse 15, by the use of an adjective, that he is perfect. In verse 12 Paul claims that he is not perfect as a victor, because the race is not ended. In verse 15 he claims that he is perfect as a racer.
(2) Paul says (1 Cor 15:31), “I die daily.” This does not refer to death to sin, as some say that it does, but to his daily danger of being killed for preaching Christ, as in Rom 8:36, “we are killed all the day long.”
(3) 1 John 1:8: “If we say that we have no sin,” etc. (a) If this includes Christians, it contradicts John himself in the very next verse, and in John 3:9, sin,” “Whosoever is begotten of God doeth no and John 8:36, “If …. the Son shall make you free,” etc., and in all those texts in the New Testament declaring sins forgiven.
(b) Bishop Westcott says that the expression, “to have sin,” is distinguished from “to sin,” as the sinful principle is distinguished from the sinful act in itself. It includes the idea of personal guilt. Westcott asserts that John refers to the Gnostics, who taught that moral evil exists only in matter, and never touches spirit, which is always holy; and, therefore, though guilty of all manner of vice, their spirits had no need of atonement, because they were untouched by sin, which existed only in their bodies, as it does in all matter. When told that this made the body of Christ sinful, they denied the reality of His body, saying that it was only a phantom. Hence, in the very first verse of this Epistle, John writes evidently against the gnostic error, quoting three of the five senses to prove the reality of Chrtst’s humanity. (By all means, see “The Epistles of John,” Cambridge Bible for Schools, etc., 17-21.)
3. Required for the Highest Success of the Preacher: The relation of this doctrine to the Methodist Episcopal church in the United States is seen in the following questions, which have been affirmatively answered in public by all its preachers on their admission to the Conferences: “Are you going on to perfection?”; “Do you expect to be made perfect in love in this life?”; “Are you earnestly striving after it?” The hymns of the Wesleys, still universally sung, are filled with this doctrine, in which occur such expressions as:
“Take away our bent to sinning,” ….
“Let us find that second rest,” ….
“Make and keep me pure within,” ….
” ‘Tis done! Thou dost this moment save,
With full salvation bless.” ….
5. Its Glorious Results: To the preaching of Christian perfection Wesley ascribed the success of his work in the conversion, religious training and intellectual education of the masses of Great Britain. It furnished him a multitude of consecrated workers, many of them lay preachers, who labored in nearly every hamlet, and who carried the gospel into all the British colonies, including America. It is declared by secular historians that this great evangelical movement, in which the doctrine of entire sanctification was so prominent, saved England from a disastrous revolution, like that which drenched France with the blood of its royal family and its nobility, in the last decade of the 18 th century. It is certain that the great Christian and humanitarian work of William Booth, originally a Methodist, was inspired by this doctrine which he constantly preached. This enabled his followers in the early years of the Salvation Army to endure the persecutions which befell them at that time.
6. Personal Testimony: On March 6, 1760, Wesley enters in his Journal the following testimony of one Elizabeth Longmore: I felt my soul was all love. I was so stayed on God as I never felt before, and knew that I loved Him with all my heart. …. And the witness that God had saved me from all my sins grew clearer every hour. …. I have never since found my heart wander from God.’ Now this is what I always did, and do now, mean by perfection. And this I believe many have attained, on the same evidence that I believe many are justified.”
We have Wesley’s only recorded testimony to his own justification in these words (May 24, 1738): “I felt my heart strangely warmed …. and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins,” etc.
DANIEL STEELE

(from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1996 by Biblesoft)

My thoughts:
Though, I do not fully agree with everything, this sheds some light on our current theological situation. For ministers who find themselves focusing on results, the nuance of love is lost. Love is the basis and spring of holiness. God’s active grace within the believer produces a passion for love and for holiness. I am especially chewing on point two. What do you think?

God bless

Pastor Jeremy

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Leadership…
Sometimes you have to let the game come to you. Take what the defense is giving.
I’m not talking about battling the enemy. When facing Satan we are be aggressive and decisive.

I’m speaking primarily about leading those God has entrusted to our care. As leaders we often have bold and daring visions of what the future must look like. However our people are often happy and content where we are now. They rarely see or feel a pressing need for change.
Casting vision, whether for more compelling and passionate worship or for more doing than hearing only, we as leaders, often must take what our defending congregations will give us. Incremental change is often the greatest path toward the radical future God has graciously impregnated within the leaders soul.
We must trust Gods sweet Holy Spirit to be the agent of change. Forced change, begged change is not true transformational change/lasting change. Only through the revelatory power of the Holy Spirit will true and lasting change transpire.

Leader; see the future, yes. But navigate the present.
Prayer, discernment, wisdom, knowledge and understanding from time I’m His Word and Presence are prerequisites for the journey.

Another thought (not really related but doesn’t have the merit to stand alone as a separate post)…

I have heard a lot about redemption and athletes that have blown it. (Vick and others) I love seeing people get a second chance. I love seeing people making well on these chances. However, I’m not too impressed with Christian leaders using redemption so easily. There is no true redemption without the Cross. I am unaware of these athletes spiritual journey. But, again, redemption cannot transpire without godly sorrow, repentance and the reception of pure abounding grace and the gift of His righteousness. I know, I know, I’m over spiritualizing the use of redemption…but someone needs to. Christian leaders and athletes alike cannot have true redemption/reconciliation without repentance and the Cross. There, I said it… thank you for indulging.

Sometimes I feel as if the local church needs a healthy theology of healing. I’m not speaking of my local church or any church in particular. I just wonder….

What is the responsibility of the local church toward suffering, sickness?

What role/function does the Bible demand of the local church?

Often the individual enduring the crisis is expected to muster the faith or bare the burden.

Does the local church need a more faithful theology of healing? A deeper exploration of Scripture and a pastoral paradigm of healing within the local church?

I’m close to really researching and writing about this..your thoughts

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your Name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Doesn’t true leadership begin with understanding? Understanding Who (and where) He is? Understanding how finite our perspective really is in comparison? Wisdom drips from this prayer. Most leadership styles prominent today are motivational in their theoretical foundations. Leaders motivate followers toward share aspirations. Nothing wrong with that. However, where is there room for us to come together and discern His will, His kingdom? Space for yielding to His vision? Corporate dying to our plan?
Spiritual leadership is more than merely forming clever words around motivating scriptures. True spiritual leadership is more concerned about hearing God and doing what He says.

Obviously, personal preferences, passions, desires and even agendas creep into play. After all, He did hardwire us, call us and equip us.

But it seems to me that there needs to be more room in our current leadership paradigms for His will, His kingdom and not simply our own ways. I know my prayers have often been, “Lord, bless my plan, incorporate my vision into Your will, Amen.” I just wonder if one of Christ’s other recorded prayers ever drips from our lips?…”Not My will, but Your will be done…” I shrink back from it too. But doesn’t He REALLY know best? Doesn’t He hold my future and the future of those I am serving/leading? (Well, servant leadership, humility, forgiveness, etc are all topics for another post—:)

Your thoughts….

Sports have statistics, businesses use performance reviews; what measurements, if any, should churches use to measure ‘success’? How should churches hold staff, lay leaders and members accountable? Accountable to what? I know many churches count attendance, baptism, membership (and of course the offering) but in what other ways should we measure ourselves?

Just a thought…..share your thoughts…

I got Chavonda’s permission to post this. Be encouraged that God DOES still heal and deliver!!! Oh, what ONE prayer can do! so more than counselors, Dr.s and medications!!! Praise God!

Hi Pastor Jeremy,

This is Chavonda, you prayed for me Wednesday night after service. Words could not express how I am feeling right now. I have been on a spiritual high ever since Wednesday. I would like to confess and testify that I have been healed and set free from depression. I was so distraught that night that I knew that I really needed prayer. My depression seemed to have been getting worse and I could no longer relate or identify with myself. I felt as if someone else had taken control of my body and mind and I was a robot or a foreigner to my own body. The prayer that you prayed over me was so powerful. The enemy chains have been broken in my life. Like the Bible says he come to steal, kill, and destroy. But God is all Powerful and Mighty and He broke that spirit of depression and set me free. I have not felt this good in awhile. It feels as if I could run a marathon, I am so overflowed with Love and the sense and presence of God around me right now I feel like my heart is about to explode with the power of his love right now. It is a feeling beyond words. Thank you so much Pastor Jeremy for prayer and holding my hand when I was on the floor crying my heart out to God in joy because I knew that it (spirit of depression) was broken and I was going to be alright. IT IS BROKEN!!!!!! HALLELUJAH. PRAISE TO THE MOST HIGH GOD. I HAVE BEEN SET FREE AND HEALED. THANK YOU, THANK YOU , THANK YOU. I WILL CONTINUE TO PRAISE HIM.

-Sincerely,

Chavonda

(By the way, in her follow-up email-she walked two miles, feels even better, praising God all the louder—well you just read it for yourselves 🙂

Pastor Jeremy,

I just got back from a 2 mile walk have not had the strength to do that in awhile it really felt good, but of course you are more than welcome to use my testimony on your blog and you don’t have to remove my name if you want to use my name, then do so. Again, thank you… and like you said many people do need deliverance and I realized that there is a real war in the spiritual realm that’s taking place this very moment, a battle over our souls, between good and evil. But we worship a real God and He is All Powerful. Jeremy you have no idea how I feel right now. I could not even put it in words, for words would not express or do it justice the power of Love that God is showing me, my heart is overflowed with joy and feels though I cannot contain it, its just that powerful. Again, thank you for being a great and anointed man of God and for obeying the calling on your life to be a pastor. God has some great things in store for you and He is going to use you and continue to use you mightly to advance His kingdom. Stay strong in Christ.

-Chavonda

I watched more of the NFL draft this year than all other years combined! I really enjoyed it. I posted a silly tweet about wondering if a team might call me on Saturday. I connected it to FB and got a reply…Ron reminded me that I already have lucrative eternal contract since I answered God’s draft into His eternal ministry team. My mind has been spinning ever since I read his comment.

You know, all these 20 somethings were waiting for a call from a coach or front-office rep for an opportunity to play 60 minutes of football 16 weeks of 52 each year for a handful of years. They wait as if their lives depend on it. Each one of us have way more power than any GM, Coach, or any front-office rep in any league. We (all believers) represent Christ and we are to daily be extending God’s draft invitations to all the dormant kingdom-talent around us. Help me re-instate the fire and the enjoyment in God’s powerful draft.

What do you think?….

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