3/04/2008

I like old fashioned Holiness people

There aren't many still around, but I like old fashioned Holiness People...

21 comments:

Thinking in Ohio said...

Maybe what I appreciate most about this article is the grace-giving spirit behind it and the sincere appreciation you show.

Ten years ago I was graduating from an old school holiness Bible college, where many of us shunned and pitied our more liberal counterparts, less out of pride than concern. Then I moved to a seminary that took pride in its historical Methodist roots and today I'm serving on staff at a Willow-style evangelical church that chases after relevance and cultural adaptability for the sake of evangelism and growth.

But no matter what community I join there's something to be learned, cherished and appreciated. We really should learn from one another rather than striving to always be "right"

Chris said...

I'm a product of the CHM, and although I'm now a missionary with TWC, I still teach at a CHM college during home ministries (www.kccbs.edu didn't make your list). One thing I've heard Wesleyan officials say about the Church of God (Holiness) pastors who have come over to the TWC is that they are miles ahead in spirituality. Those leaders have left a gaping hole in the future of the COGH, but I think they have been a real boon to TWC.

a fellow sojourner said...

"Holiness, holiness is what I long for
Holiness is what I need
Holiness, holiness is what You want from me"

Many people joined Scott Underwood, the Vineyard musicians, and groups like Sonic Flood in singing these lyrics in the mid-90's. However, those lyrics, just like many of the sermons preached week after week, have failed to result in true holiness of heart and life.

In many of our Holiness churches the preaching has traveled down the Calvinist road. Pastors stand at the front, begging people to come forward and say the sinners prayer. We've become so intent on getting people into a relationship with God that we have forgot what it means to come alongside them and teach them to obey everything that Jesus has commanded us (an oft overlooked and forgotten aspect of the Great Commission).

Yet, strangely what we are seeing in our own local congregation is that when we call people to a greater level of commitment they are more likely to respond. In our small church of eighty, we have seen eleven teens come to not only know the Lord in the last few months; rather their desire is to tear into Scripture and learn all that they can about what it means to live a life that is honoring and glorifying to Christ.

Last evening, in fact, my wife and I hosted eight of those teens in our home for dinner and a discipleship class. Each Monday evening these kids come out for a half hour of dinner and almost two hours of Bible study- when was the last time we had adults who were willing to spend that much time studying Scripture?!

While at times, as Keith mentioned, the holiness message can err on the side of legalism that in no way warrants going to the other extreme of brushing aside the important life-changing and life-giving message of holiness of heart and life.

Kris said...

I credit growing up in Holiness like churches and attending intensive holiness like weekends (Emmaus Walk, Decolores/Deco-Tec) to my understanding of living a righteouss lifestyle and pursuing God in good-living, although I had some misunderstandings about grace during my early teen years.

I love tabernacles.

Chad McCallum said...

ok coach...

i was with you on #'s 1 - 9 but then came #10 and you lost me ...

"They serve the best food."

now, i agree that i have been a participant in more than one holiness cheese and gravy potluck in my day, but are you telling me that is the best you could come up with to land the list? good food? really? why don't you say that you like that they all drive buick regals (broad generalization intended)

i would like to submit a replacement (with no intended disrespect for you coach d.)

for #10 ... "they don't preach like every other photoshopped, highly marketed preacher/teacher on the airwaves today - think andy stanley, rick warren, robert (his friends call him rob) bell, etc.

For me I fear that preaching has become so much like the weatherman on the evening news that if i didn't attend church i might be tempted just to tune in to oprah for my daily spiritual fix.

i like old fashioned holiness people because they actually have some fire in the furnace and i like that i really do...so shout and sweat and spit all you want - I will be the 30 something in the back shouting amen!

Mark Schnell said...

I like your "I like" series. Keep em' comin'!

Wes McCallum said...

IF ONLY OUR FOUNDERS COULD SEE US NOW. The 1960’s Allegheny and Pilgrim schisms gave Wesleyans the freedom to pursue a more “culturally-relevant-holiness”. In a similar way, the 1840’s Wesleyan and Free Methodist schisms allowed the Methodist Church to pursue a more “liturgical-social-justice type holiness”. Both history and culture has now proven that WE ALL REALLY NEEDED EACH OTHER!

In the 1800’s, Methodists were called “evangelical”, and Wesleyans were called “holiness”. Today, Wesleyans prefer to be called “evangelical”, but avoid any “Methodist” or “holiness” label. Now Methodists prefer to be called “mainline” or “liturgical”, but avoid an “evangelical” label.

Keith Drury’s 1995 speech, "THE HOLINESS MOVEMENT IS DEAD”, was profoundly prophetic! Now a decade later, the Christian Holiness Partnership is defunct. The conservative Holiness movement is isolated from the Wesleyans-Nazarenes-Free Methodists. Likewise, the Wesleyans-Nazarenes-Free Methodists are isolated from each other. These churches and pastors are now influenced more by the WARREN-HYBELS-MAXWELL MOVEMENT than by their holiness heritage. Further still, secular culture has an even greater influence on the church. Also, the church planting movement has its own unique identity disconnected from a theological heritage.

By the year 2030, only the conservative holiness groups will have retained their distinctives, yet will remain small and pietistic. The larger “holiness denominations” will continue to grow and become “DIVERSIFIED EVANGELICALS”. By 2050, few of these larger groups will have retained any similarity to each other, much less to John Wesley’s style of Methodism. Even the name "WESLEYAN" may eventually become obsolete.

PERHAPS ONLY A WESLEYAN - NAZARENE MERGER COULD STOP THIS MISSIONAL - THEOLOGICAL SHIFT. By 2050 a few may look back and wonder. In the 1960's, a proposed Wesleyan - Free Methodist merger was narrowly defeated by a few votes. Subsequently, both denominations assumed very different identities.

PERHAPS WE ALL REALLY DO NEED EACH OTHER, NOW MORE THAN EVER! Collectively, all of the Wesleyan-holiness groups (including our United Methodist cousins) need to rediscover each other and pursue a common identity, theology, and evangelism strategy. This would NOT require a mega-merger. But it would require a mutual self evaluation and cooperation.

Stephen Ley said...

Reading this piece I felt transported back to my childhood and teenage years. You captured a lot of what is good about the "conservative holiness movement". I appreciate your irenic (not to be confused with ironic) tone. I'm now a convinced Reformed/Calvinist Presbyterian (yes, we care about holiness and holy living too), but I owe a great debt to my conservative holiness upbringing.

Grace and peace.

preacher1972 said...

I'm a third generation son of the conservative holiness movement. I pastor a COGH church in Fort Scott, KS.

I attended a seminary for my masters degree in one of the larger denominatinal schools. I had a few teachers that were scholarly and were in tune spiritually -- but for the most part I encountered teachers that were very diverse in their thinking concerning Wesleyan thought (Calvinistic, issue of living w/ sin in your life) and I was not the least impressed with their love for the willow creek - mega "holiness" outlook on life. (many want to become the methodist church of today) I was fortunate enough to have in my undergrad experience some professors who were academically astute and far above average when it comes to a careful walk w/ the Lord. These were the individuals that caused me to look for something more satisfying than a mere association with the word holiness but a love for the life, the work, and the people -- centered around the message of holiness.

Thanks for the thoughtful/encouraging article.

God bless,

preacher1972

Wes McCallum said...

OUT DATED HOLINESS TRADITIONS?
Here are some of the holiness traditions that I experienced as a child:

THE AGAPE LOVE FEAST
This was a time of Christian fellowship recalling the meals Jesus shared with the disciples. The service was informal and included hymns, scripture reading, prayer, and fellowship. Members broke bread with one another and restored their broken fellowship. Two songs stand out in my memory: Break thou the Bread of Life, and Come and Dine.

THE LORD'S SUPPER
The Lord’s Supper was the entire service and not just a quickie ritual squeezed between the praise team and the sermon. Every scripture, song, and sermon focused on the table. Members sensed that Christ was present and the consecrated bread and cup truly represented Christ’s body.

CLASS MEETINGS
These were small group meetings led by a lay-leader. They involved encouragement, prayer, and accountability. Typically, meetings were held after the Sunday morning service and separated the men and women. A lay leader asked personal questions about sin, forgiveness, relationships, holiness, etc. These members took sin and accountably seriously. They literally “confessed their sins to one another” and were healed (James 5:16).

REVIVAL MEETINGS
Meeting twice annually, every lost soul in town was personally invited and brought to the services. There was music and preaching, but the big feature was the “altar service” where sinners “prayed through”. People’s lives were radically transformed and new patterns of behavior were established. Camp meetings were similar, but focused more on seeking for sanctification.

CATECHISM
The Young Peoples Society met weekly before the Sunday evening service. The Catechism involved a series of questions and answers. I still remember the question on hell: What sort of place is hell? Answer: a dark and bottomless pit, full of fire and brimstone. How long will these torments last? Answer: the torments of hell will last for ever and ever. Somehow, I never forgot that answer.

FAMILY ALTAR and TABLE THEOLOGY
Our table discussions centered on bible reading, prayer, and theology. We didn’t talk about sports or politics, rather we talked about God. When my brothers and I all went off to college & seminary we easily passed our comprehensive bible exams. We knew the answers because we were discipled in the faith in the home around the table. Still today, theology is my favorite topic of discussion, but that love was nurtured by my parents as a child.

Greg said...

I grew up in one of the conservative holiness denomination. I graduated from one of their Bible colleges, Hobe Sound. I became a Wesleyan about a year after leaving Bible college and pastored for 13 years. I do not agree with every interpretation of scripture and all the rules; however, the principals of life that I was taught will never be forgotten.

I have since attended a not old fashioned holiness college for a year and found that most of the students had very shallow spiritual depth. The ministerial majors were noted to be the ones that would do the wildest thing. I had fellow students that lived together.

I am thankful for the foundation I had. I am currently working on my M.Ed. at a secular university and the work load is nothing compared to what I had to do at Hobe Sound.

No I don't want to go back to the rules but some of the principals would help.

Joel Byer said...

As a current young pastor in the Conservative Holiness Movement I read with interest your article about us. Thanks for a thoughtful and gracious article.

Believe it or not (and from your article I think you do) we in the CHM don't think that everyone in the "liberal" holiness movements are dying and going to hell.

I make no apologies for taking a stricter interpretation on the various issues you listed such as clothing, entertainment, etc., but at the same time I recognize that God has much to teach us from other groups as well. I concur with thinking in Ohio here.

I wish that there could be some magic formula to increase the interaction of the CHM with the mainline holiness groups without either side being or feeling manipulated into changing core beliefs.

Keep the "I like..." series coming! Any chance on doing a "What I don't like about..." series? ;-)

Randy Dewing said...

Coach, you are absolutely right about the respective standards sartorial judgement. The only people who have ever confronted me about me about my accustomed shirt and tie attire at work (this is, apparently, stuffy to the point of hampering one's ministry--and not simply professional? am I buying the wrong ties?) are both highly liberated "free-thinkers" --the last people one should expect to judge a man by his dress (and I've told them as much).

In contrast, the traditional, bun-wearing ladies back home have never chided me about ratty jeans, Tevas, and old baseball caps--not to mention jewelery and shorts. If they did, I am certain they would offer me earnest advice in love.

This is all anecdotal and unimportant, but I love the irony.

The Canfield Family said...

Thank you for the kindness that you have shown in writing about "my people". There is one thing I would take exception to though; I live in upstate New York, and Conservative Holiness people are few and far between, not "especially strong" as you wrote.

A question I would have for you is, "Why would you ever want to leave such a group of people"?

I was introduced to the old fashioned Holiness people at the age of 16, and a year later went off to, and graduated from a Free Methodist college. There at college, I saw the effects of liberalism in the church and never had a desire to go that way.

The Grahams said...

I'm another self-identified CHM-er who reads your columns! I agree with all of your points and appreciate the kind words.

I was raised in the Free Methodist church until my teen years and later attended Hobe Sound Bible College. Graduate school education led me back to a Free Methodist church for a time and we currently attend a conservative Baptist church (because we're in an area with few conservative Wesleyan or Nazarene churches).

We love to attend IHC and we love to watch the streaming services available through www.hobesoundbiblechurch.com

Thanks again. Looking forward to continued edification,

Andrew

James Bauers said...

I love what Brother Drury has written in this article. I grew up in the Pilgrim Holiness Church. Until it became Wesleyan and then I was a Wesleyan!! I walked away from the Lord in 1972 after I graduated H.S. In 1982 I returned unto the Lord through a Wesleyan Pastor and in Jan '83 started attending the now closed Untied Wesleyan College. I realized now that I walked away from the Lord not because of legalism but because I didn't want the Lord to have my life. The legalism was an excuse. I know that it has caused problems for folks, but as Brother Drury pointed out, a call to Holiness is a call to live as the Lord would have us to, not as the world would. Our thoughts, attitudes and desires must be based upon the word and upon what the Lord is after in our lives. I too love the books out out by Schmul. I've been a member of their Book Club for years. I rather read these types of writers over the Warrens and Bells. Not to say I won't read the Warrens and Bells. I am sadden by the demise of the Christian Holiness Partnership. It would be beautiful to see all the Holiness Churches merge, it would be a great witness for the Holiness message. We shouldn't be a divided people. Oh, but it would be hard to pull off, being fleshly folks when it comes down to it. Not wanting to let go of "OUR" name or such. Oh Lord, help us to seek You!

Justin Singleton said...

I wasn't raised in the CHM, but left the A/G to go to Bible College in Cincinnati at a CHM college (graduated 07). I have heard of the old conservative holiness Pharisees, and have met one or two, but I am glad to say that Dr. Drury is right when he says that the CHM are great people.

My wife, who also grew up in the Assemblies of God, is even succeeding in learning to make some of the delicious food.

I enioy the heavy emphasis on the word and the emphasis of teachers such as Philip Brown who say that we are to love God from within first, and then show that love in everything we say, speak and do.

David said...

One of the CHM links under the article is not appropriately included. It is the one for "Independent Conservative Holiness Churches". A brief look at it would verify that it is a Pentecostal group (though with definite similarities to the CHM.) This would not be a group that identifies with the IHC or the bible colleges, etc., that you listed.

I would like to suggest that you include the very nice website of the Bible Methodist Connection of Churches. This group includes most of the former Wesleyan Methodist
congregations in Alabama as well as quite a few from the old Ohio conference. You may know that almost all of the Alabama Wesleyan Methodist churches withdrew prior to the merger of the WM and PH churches. The presidents of the two strongest CHM schools (God's Bible School and Hobe Sound Bible College) are both Bible Methodist elders. The web address is www.biblemethodist.org.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us.

Bitty said...

I COMPLETELY agree about the food. I've been attending an Episcopal church for the last few months, and let me tell you what: NOTHING beats a holiness potluck. These Episcopalians were amazed at corn casserole.CORN CASSEROLE, a staple of the Wesleyan-Holiness side dish table. They thought it novel, and they cleaned it up. Well, they were serving leg of lamb with mint jelly. I think just as there is high church and low church liturgy, there's high church and low church eating. And while I love high church liturgy, give me low church eating every time!
(what is it? the rural associations? the farmhouse aura? you've gotta be able to picture a Mason jar full of lemonade, or the potluck's a bust.)

Randall Murphy said...

www.myspace.com/rmurphsmusic
The "Baby Cries OUT!!!!"

Our story is the result of "sin"... born out of and covered up by a holiness denomination... (not the wesleyans) ...you might say their loose cannon.

The day will come when the truth will be fully told.

Walking the fine line between grace and justice!!!!!

Thank You Keith.

Seth S. said...

Keith,
I really enjoyed this article. I grew up in an CHM church. Now I have been working with a pastor of an more mainline holiness church(Although he is more CHM). Now that I have seen both sides, I really appreciate the heritage of the CHM Movement. Athough there are abusive(and I have seen them)overall I believe the history of CHM and Methodist before them was to live an on-purpose Christian life. Although there has been legalism, most of the distinctives of us CHM'ers are a practical outworking of inner holiness. It should not be to be different for the sake of being different, but we have tried to live plain Biblical God-honoring lives. Also as Joel Byler has said, we do not all think that everyone outside CHM is going to hell. However it has seemed that many in more mainline denomination have no real clear understanding of holy living. There are extremes on both sides. For a excellent book on CHM that has just been published, read Steve Gibson book, "Held by Conviction". It is a balance view on CHM. Thank you Keith for your willingness to respect the qualites of CHM even if you do not agree with everything. I applaud you, and I can agree with you on many things, although not everything. Good Article!