Several years ago, I had the privilege of translating for Dr. Nina Gunter in the Holiness Summit held in San José, Costa Rica. Her message, as many of hers do, had to do with holiness. As I was reflecting on her words anew just days ago, I decided to reproduce her sermon this week, with her permission. The following is the introduction to her marvelous sermon.
Called unto Holiness
1 Peter 1:13-16
By Nina Gunter
A gathering of Wesleyan scholars and leaders explored the mission of the churches of the holiness movement. This Wesleyan Holiness Study Project asked serious questions, such as, “Is the concept of holiness relevant for Christians in the 21stcentury or is it a relic of the past?”
I offer these conclusions for the Church of the Nazarene:
- The Church of the Nazarene unequivocally insists that holiness is not only relevant but essential in the postmodern world.
- Nazarenes hunger for a coherent message that is compelling.
- Nazarenes have an opportunity, as never before, to embrace the emerging realities of this holiness doctrine and become catalysts for spiritual renewal and growth in the Christian church through the mighty power of the Holy Spirit.
- If Nazarenes would invest more effort in preaching and teaching holiness with conviction and clarity and in giving witness to the Spirit-filled life, there would be unprecedented victory and growth in our churches.
Illustration: A mischievous little boy caught a bird and thought he’d have some fun with a wise old man who was blind. The boy held the bird in his hands, walked up to the old gentleman and said, “Mister—if you are so wise—tell me. Is the bird in my hands dead or alive?”
The wise old man thought to himself, “If I say he is alive the boy will squeeze the bird to death. If I say the bird is dead, the boy will turn the bird loose.”
So the wise old man replied, “It’s in your hands.”
I ask you leaders in the Church of the Nazarene, will the doctrine and experience of holiness continue to be the blessed message, mission, and lifestyle of the people called Nazarenes? Or will holiness become a nice, quaint, but antiquated part of our story?