Why Preach Holiness?

By | Jul 15, 2017
     Much of this month’s article is taken from the writings of a former Nazarene Evangelist by the name of Howard W. Sweeten. His words expressed the burden of my heart so clearly and so scripturally that I wanted to pas it own to my readers. Thus he writes:
     “There are few subjects in the realm of religious matters that have furnished more ground for controversy and misunderstanding than the word holiness. The very mention of the word is to some a signal to build up a resistance and render a verdict, before ever they have heard the evidence.
     To those who are familiar with the history of the Church of the Nazarene, it is obvious that this institution was given birth by the urgent desire of faithful Christian men and women, in both the East and West, who sought to preserve the doctrine of the second work of grace, subsequent to regeneration. It is primarily and fundamentally to this doctrine that the church owes its origin. To those who desire to perpetuate the principles which gave birth to our church, it is apparent that we must not lose sight of the objective which brought us into existence. If as a church we cease to give emphasis to this particular truth, we have lost sight of our purpose, and are without excuse for trying to function on a lower standard than that for which we were originally called into being.
     We deeply appreciate the desperation of a minister whose success depends upon his building a work numerically and financially, and who is burning with zeal to succeed. We can also understand why, when he knows there is likely to be opposition and prejudice if he gives emphasis to this special truth, it is easy for him to take the path of least resistance and avoid the unpleasant task of displeasing some who are clamoring for lower standards. However, to neglect an obligation that is essential to the successful calling of the church, is to fail in fulfilling his obligation to the people whom God has entrusted to the ministry of that church which has been definitely called to spread scriptural holiness. The evangelist in the Church of the Nazarene who does not clearly and definitely declare his truth is a moral and a denonminational misfit.
     There are those who have been led to believe that holiness, or sanctification, is an advanced state of grace but that it is optional or rather a matter of personal discretion; that is inspirational, but not necessarily obligatory. This is a serious mistake, and the pastor or evangelist who fails to visualize the imperative aspect of this great truth, has either forgotten or never known the purpose of his ministry in the Church of the Nazarene.
     That holiness, or sanctification, is incorporated in the great redemptive scheme, may be seen by the fact that God designed it (Ephesians 1:4); that He provided it (Hebrews 13:12); that He has chosen us unto salvation by it (II Thessalonians 2:13); that He has called us to it (I Thessalonians 4:7,8), and last but not least, He has definitely commanded us to be holy (I Peter 1:15,16). To the unprejudiced person it must be apparent that this is as much a part of the method of salvation as repentance, faith, regeneration, forgiveness, conversion, or any other vital aspect of the plan to save man from sin.
     It is holiness of heart and life that give fitness for happy and harmonious fellowship with God both here and hereafter. It is absurd to suppose that anyone can be in harmony with God and deliberately harbor that in them which the Apostle declares, “is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” The cleansing of the heart from sin is as essential as the pardoning of our actually committed sins, if we are to enjoy the full heritage that is ours through the blood of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5: 25-26; Hebrews 13:12).
     We need also to emphasize this matter of holiness in our revivals that our people may be doctrinally informed to be able to give a reason of the hope that is within them. Some say that the day of doctrinal preaching is past, and that this generation does not want to hear doctrine. There may be some truth in their not wanting to hear it, for it is the only kind of preaching that tends to give information or involves obligation. Doctrine is the basis of both information and obligation. How can I ever know that I should repent if someone does not preach to me the doctrine of repentance? Ho can I ever know it is my privilege t be sanctified, if someone does not preach to me the doctrine of sanctification? Doctrinally preaching alone points the way to both duty and privilege; the duties of the Bible are made manifest by the doctrines of the Bible.
     Many preachers hesitate to declare the primary truths concerning this great experience, because they are led to believe that this is “old stuff,” and our people want something new. Let us remember that there are hundreds of people sitting under our ministry to whom this truth is just as new now, as it was to us at one time; and just as we needed this preaching to enlighten us others likewise need it today if they ever are to enjoy their full privileges in grace.
     Surely, the greatest need to which any revival can give emphasis is the need of deliverance from sin. Sin is the world’s greatest affliction, and holiness is the only means of deliverance. It is therefore indispensable to the soul that is seeking deliverance from the bondage of its galling yoke. Hence, “for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil”; and that we may enjoy a salvation that is adequate to our needs as well as our deeds.
     Why should we preach holiness in our revivals? Visualizing the origin and purpose of the Church of the Nazarene, as we see it, the question is not, “Why should we preach it?” but rather, “What excuse have we for not preaching it?”       End of Article
     This challenge is sent forth to all ordained ministers who vowed to faithfully proclaim the doctrines of the Church of the Nazarene to stay true to their vows and faithful to our heritage as well as our posterity. Let us not allow the faith of our fathers become the foolishness of their sons!

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