In the previous blog entry, I shared the introduction to a classic holiness message by Dr. Nina Gunter. Today and in the final installment of the week, I am providing the remainder of her sermon.
In the 11 pages of the Historical Statement of our Manual, the words holiness and sanctification are referenced more than 70 times.
Holiness is our calling.
Holiness is our impetus.
Holiness is our passion.
Holiness is our fire.
- People are asking questions about holiness.
- Mainline denominations are wanting to know more about the holiness movement.
- The Roman Catholic church is asking questions. In fact, they sent a representative to the Wesleyan Holiness Study Project meeting.
- Young people are drawn to the integrative force of the holiness message.
The Board of General Superintendents with general superintendents and bishops of the Wesleyan tradition participated, through Board representation, in a consortium to define the holiness movement.
The convenor, Kevin Mannoia, former bishop of the Free Methodist church and currently the graduate chaplain at Azusa Pacific University, released 10 phrases (the first five of which will be shared here, and the last five later this week) that are descriptors or characteristics of the holiness movement.
- Transformed character based, in large part, in the otherness of God.
We too will be “other.”
We have received the mandate: “Do not conform to this world.”
- Jesus prayed for His followers, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”
- As believers, we are “set apart.”
- Jesus gave Himself for us and purified for Himself “a peculiar people” or “a special people, zealous for good works.” Titus 2:14
- This does not mean we are extreme—if so, we would tend toward being sectarian. But we areto be a special people.
- The community around will then see the followers of Christ as a different people with godly values, Christian principles, right attitudes, and as honest, upright citizens.
- Across the years, all over the world, the Church of the Nazarene has gone where we were not wanted, stayed, and lived Christ-like until the community said, “Don’t leave. We can’t do it without you.”
- Responsible engagement based in God’s incarnation.
God was not satisfied to be “other”, but rather took the initiative to live with and in us.
As a result, we take the initiative to engage in that which is broken among us. This is the Missio Dei that derives from the nature of God.
Social and Missional engagement—incarnational expressions of personal and social holiness.
This includes ministry—making Christ-like disciples in all nations. You cannot separate holiness and missions.
This missional engagement is here—there—everywhere—and includes ministry among the poor, disenfranchised, and marginalized. It engages us to redress injustice. Now we join with God in His purposes. This is the optimism of grace. Grace brings wholeness out of chaos.
The Missio Dei (The Mission of God) is best understood in the language of the Kingdom. Kingdom living embraces God in worship in the midst of transnational, multilingual, multicultural, and transgenerational settings.
- Healthy relationships based upon the triune nature of God.
Relationships based on the Kingdom model of mutuality.
- Voluntary submission
- Unity out of diversity
There is no unity until first there is diversity. If there is no unity, there is no power.
- We disagree, but we don’t destroy.
It was said of the New Testament church, “See how they love one another.” That is, “See how they get along, accept each other, include each other.”
Healthy relationships are characteristic of a holy people—a holy church.
The Holy Spirit is the great unifier. The proof of the Spirit is the works of love. John Wesley spoke of a “pure love to God and men.” God sanctifies together.
- Wise decisions based on the free choice of God to impart free will.
God has graced us with the freedom of choice.
Determinationdoesn’t make sense.
Wisdomcomes from the presence of Christ in us.
“If we lack wisdom, ask God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
God gives us freedomto use the wisdom He gives us.
- Curious thinking based upon the awesomeness of God.
In His creativity God made us in His image. He releases His creativity in us. God is not a micro-manager. He is the Creator and He hands it off to humanity. God said, “You go rule over the earth. You take care of my creation.”
This curious thinking relates to our philosophy of liberal arts. We pursue God in all the disciplines . . . with all the adventures . . . all the great discoveries. We become lifelong learners of God’s truth . . . of His world . . . His people.
Therefore, the church embraces education—liberal arts—learning.
J.B. Chapman said, “We must build schools or die as a church. We must be spiritually right, intellectually correct and scholastically strong.” In a holiness movement, there is curious, critical thinking based upon the awesomeness of God.
***The rest of this sermon will be published later this week.