Going Off Sin Cold Turkey

31 years ago people went of sin like they went off cigarettes--using the Cold Turkey method,


mommabear said...

Hog wash...
God's still the same, yesterday, today and forever.
He's still in the 'delivering' from sin business and the power of God it still the same.God doesn't change, people do and in this case , not for the better. Those who are into 'weaning' are missing that miraculous power that He still wants to demonstrate.
Enough said!

Chap said...

Wow mommabear...I'm presuming you are free from all sin? Never an impatient word? Never an extra piece of pie at Thanksgiving?

Personally I fall into the now and not-yet tension when it comes to freedom from sin. I know you weslyans (see I can't even spell it) believe in entire sanctification--but I just don't buy it from a number of theological fronts.

God bless all who choose the "cold turkey" deliverance thing however. I pray for deliverance from sin--but am still working out my salvation with fear and trembling.

Anonymous said...

I think the integration of pop-psychology into church culture has alot to do with the "weaning from sin" approach. Jesus told sinners to repent, I think he meant for them to do it NOW, not over time. Renouncing sin is a choice I think and making that choice to stop is hard for many. Of course defining sin today is also an issue, one man's sin is another man's lifestyle choice, who am I to judge?

pastorchris'place said...


Thought provoking and convicting as usual!

People tend to believe what is proclaimed. When we preached deliverance, people expected and experienced deliverance. When we preach Baby-Steps, deliverance in more rarely experienced.

What a tremendous challenge it is to stand before God's people week after week and proclaim, "Thus says the Lord." People really do practice what we preach...

Hugh said...

Doesn't scripture speak to both instant and gradual deliverance? I am thinking of 1 John 1.9, which speaks of God forgiving our sin and cleansing us of unrighteousness. I see sin as what we did and unrighteousness as why we did it. One is an event and the other is the result of a process. God meets us with event (forgive) for event (sin) and process (cleanse) for process (unrighteousness). If a person is sincerely desiring deliverance from evil, shouldn't we be celebrating and encouraging them in the journey regardless of how it is working itself out in their life?

tricia said...

I think God still works both ways, but I think the church attracts the stories of those that fit the current culture.

I remember baptism testimonies always being so dramatic at the 1st church I was a member of. (Sometimes scaring off those who wanted to be baptized but lacked the dynamic conversion) My current churches baptisms are filled with testimonies of people who have accepted God's salvation and are in process of working that out.

I'm sure both churches render some stories of God's wonderful work less visible, and on the other hand promote other ways God is at work.

me said...

Chap, I didn't quite understand entire sanctification until just recently. I've been a Wesleyan from birth and have a BA of Religion from a Wesleyan college.

God is still the same. Its our mentality that has changed. We offer instantaneous salvation though praying the "sinner's prayer." By having people repeat the prayer, we make liars out of them but not giving them an opportunity to come to a point of understanding or conviction in their own time. Many people today have no concept of or haven't thought it through sin as disobeying their Creator, being sorry and needing to ask forgiveness for their sins.
We fail to plant and water the seed because they could die tomorrow and go to hell or we want the bragging right.

All too often we fail to give people a chance to follow Jesus before choosing to make Him Saviour and Lord. Several weeks I ago I heard Christy Lipscombe speak about the call to follow Jesus. Jesus called Peter not once, but twice to follow Him (Mt 4:18-20 and John 21:19b). Jesus didn't call the disciples to believe in Him, He called them to follow. It was within those three years that they came to know and choose Christ. The two calls to follow are initial and entire sanctification (IS and ES)

I've come to believe that salvation or IS becoming aware that we are inadequate and that sin is trusting ourselves or someone/something other than God. IS is about starting a relationship with Jesus. ES, or being made holy, is often misinterpreted as being made perfect because of the term "Christian perfection."

So, at IS we realize our need for God, repent that our attempt (sin) falls short, and are forgiven of our sins. We grow and work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
At ES we realize that we are still have a bent towards sin, recognizing there is a disconnect between our head and our heart. We then seek for God to make us holy, cleansed from unrighteousness. It is at this point that we continue to work out our salvation through reconciling our heart to His. We are holy, being made whole.

All this to say- we don't wait for the Holy Spirit to convict of sin, we rush people to make a decision the altar and then wonder why they haven't changed... but on another note, do we then make disciples of them?

-Heidi B

tim smith said...

I agree with one of the comment that we’ve become so much more aware of sin—corporate, systemic as well as smokin’ and cussin’ that we hesitate to claim victory since we are likely to discover some failing which can only be labeled “sin.” And then what do we say?

Remember the Strategetic model PIC. I believe we’ve lost the willingness to say “I’m forgiven” because we still have the inclination and certainly the capability. Saying “I do” makes you married but it doesn’t make a marriage.

Ken said...

keith, i think that, in the past, claims of deliverance scared some people away because every now and then a few people relapsed - and a few of them big time.

as a result, people afraid of posting big stats shifted from 'instantaneous' to 'progressive' in their approach to battling or overcoming various personal sins.

these days, i personally believe in instantaneous deliverance from various sins (and teach/preach it as well), but my experience working with people tells me it's often more progressive in nature.

still, it makes me wonder - is it progressive because we don't teach/preach 'cold turkey' deliverance enough? is it because some lack faith? or is it because some have become so entrenched in various sins that finding freedom instantaneously seems out of reach? i think the answer is 'yes' to all these questions and then some...

at the end of the day, however, i firmly believe and know that with God all things are possible, so may we continue to preach 'cold turkey' deliverance, even while offering hope to those who can't quite shake their sin in a day or two.

David Drury said...

Let me try to answer your question this way:

One of the more facinating messages I've heard preached was from Rob Bell when I attended the Mars Hill "Isn't She Beautiful?" conference about the church. He did about 40 minutes just trying to answer the question: "How did Jesus tell people they could be saved or healed or delivered?"...

He jumped from one scripture to another, talking about what Jesus said in the gospels to every distinct person, the variety was amazing, and Rob's silence on the integration was deafening. He just ended each reference by saying, "Okay, so in order to be saved I need to do ___________" and he'd refer to what the scripture said.

He never really finished this sermon like most preachers. He just let it hang out there for everone to put the puzzle together. Quite risky. But with a room full of emerging church pastors and leaders the interpretation was pretty obvious: Jesus did two things: 1) interacted with each individual person in a way that presented what THEY needed for their next step in the journey, even so far as to tell one man he needed to sell everything he had and give it to the poor (not what he told everyone, just THAT guy needed to do that.) and 2) Jesus invariably drew all unto himself... the end result was not to draw people to a PROCESS or a PROGRAM but to draw them unto himself.

To be "IN HIM"... this is so much more than just "praying a prayer" or "getting sanctified" -- as though it's something you can attain by process or moment. Instead, we are to be IN HIM and he IN US.

Isn't that beautiful?

... so, my "answer" to your question is that "the way it was done in 1977" and "the way it is done now" are both only half-true. Both only half-wrong.

But perhaps I am too.


pastorchris'place said...

David --

Brilliant as always.

Question: Isn't "drawing someone" a process?

Your focus on the end (Jesus) is the proper one. The question dealt with how we get to the end, though.

The image of marriage seems to imply that there is a moment when we are not and then a moment when we are (married, Christ-follower.) This moment starts a life lived together.

alee said...

i think the main problem is what david hit on: we are always looking for a system, a program, a 12 stepper, or some absolute definite way of knowing who is in and who is out. There are lots of different sins and different types of sin. I think so often we focus on stopping a behavior, which can and does happen instantaneously, and we focus less on turning our hearts and desires towards God. It has to be instant and progressive. What keith seems to be postulating is that some sins we used to consider something we can stop cold turkey have moved, for whatever reason, to the progressive side. it is the whole progressive vs. instantaneous sanctification problem. the truth is that God uses a whole mess of different techniques and strategies to conform us to his likeness. it is scary, because we want to know who is in and who is out, mostly because we want to know am i in or am i out and we don't want someone to "get away" with something we could have done too.

Marc said...

I'm a skeptic of instantaneous deliverance. Not because God cannot, but that most people have failed to count the cost beforehand. I'd be interested in hearing/observing some of those instantly delivered over the long-haul. It can happen. It probably should happen.

Instant deliverance (what I'm assuming is the end of walking in sinful ways) cannot be confused with the end of the battle. Those who quit smoking still wanted a cigarette. I have a part of me that would still like to look at women lustfully but I make choices not to. Did I fail at receiving deliverance?

Romans 12 speaks of a continual renewing of our minds - so I don't suppose we could be delivered and there could be no more battle.

I sure would like to hear some of those powerful and lasting life changing stories that used to be told.


Marc said...

I think there is a lack of outrage and shame in the culture that validates a lot of bad behavior. So, a lot of people are not only wrestling with themselves and the devil but they are being told by a world that the behavior is valid. Thus, we not only have to bring people to a deliverance but also convince them that deliverance is necessary - continually.

David Drury said...

Hey Chris...

you ask:

Question: Isn't "drawing someone" a process?

MY REPLY: For us, it often is... for Jesus... yes and no... He drew people to himself in an instant--saying "come and follow me", and he forgave people of their sins when they hadn't even asked for forgiveness... but he also had those, like Andrew, who seemed to follow him from a distance, then closer, then post-resurrection, with great intimacy. Jesus "drew all unto him" not by a program of "drawing" but by simply BEING himself. Who he WAS drew people. Or at times even a curiosity over WHO he was.

I don't know. I guess the mystery is there--I can't equate the way Jesus seemed to do it with a "process"... at least it wasn't the SAME process in most cases. That was Rob Bell's point, I think. And I agree. So, it can be instant, and it can be a process. Sure.

You also asked:
Your focus on the end (Jesus) is the proper one. The question dealt with how we get to the end, though.

Ah, yes, you are right to call me out on not answering the Tuesday Column question as to actually HOW we get to the end. Yes, you are absolutely right that I did not answer that question. I engaged the issue of the salvation story and "how the process works" question with reference to the gospel of Christ and in no way did I answer the question. You're right.

That is all.


Anonymous said...

Having watched for many, many years in many, many people how well instant sin removal works in the holiness folks, I'm convinced it is heresy!

That aside, you can successfully argue both sides from the text if you well learn your Text!

pastorchris'place said...

Dave --

[Sorry Keith to sidetrack your blog to converse with your son so much. ;)]

Thanks for the reply.

Absolutely...this Christ-following is much more mystery than methodology...like falling in love. It's all about being with someone. As such all relationships are process. Some move more quickly, as you aply point out, and others more slowly. I am not trying to establish "the process" just that it is process. But at some point you realize, mysteriously, you're in love.

Anonymous said...

Let me remind you, it says there were some Jews who thought they were righteous when they were sent to Babylon. It is my recommendation that one be very careful how they think about themselves afterall, it does say not to think too highly of oneself! One may not be what one thinks they are and it is better to strive for, rather than gloat in, something one may not have and miss it in the end!

One can be certain of one thing, if God takes someone home, based on His assessment of them, then when they enter the gates and arrive home, there will be no sin for sure!

mommabear said...

Keith's article was talking about God's ability to free from sin instantaneously. That is not to say that as Christians, we do not have to keep "up to date" by searching our hearts and lives daily...but YES, He can do it again!!!Praise His wonderful Name forever.

Anonymous said...

So mommabear, are you saying that the instant sin removal does or doesn't take out the sin residing within. Afterall, it does say that outward sin comes from inward sin and there can be no outward sin if there is no inward sin. Therefore, if God has to do it again, He was incompetent the first time or it doesn't work!

Pastor Al said...

Banter is often meaningless play among friends. These conversations hold meaning only in real life example. I can remember when my wife quit smoking after 47 years.

She quit cold turkey because she wanted to please God. I loved her then...before she quit...and more importantly God loved her before she quit. My wife quit because of personal conviction...that the Holy Spirit said it was time to quit.

When she declared her intention, I held my breath for her, as one day led to another. I am so proud of her that she made it...with God's help. She shares her story occassionally, to strengthen others that feel like a cold turkey.

Before we became 'Wesleyans' God was preparing us for ministry. God stripped us of some external habits and attitudes...so that we would be found acceptable among Christians who adhere to the holiness movement.

There is always something that becomes sin...in that it is not the pure reflection of the Christ life. I think it is sinful not to grow in our Christ walk...in that sense it is a matter of weaning or being continuously shaped. We might be creating 'cold shoulders' by not establishing support structures, as a means of grace. Cold turkey is good...but turkey in the oven is good too.

Happy Thankgiving! Turkeys beware!

Russ Veldman said...

We no longer believe in instantaneous deliverance. We are so engrossed in a therapeutic view of change that process and gradual steps are everything. In the past, when seeing a brother or sister in some sin, the comment was made, "You should stop that. Go to the altar." The assumption was that God wanted you to stop it, and that he was not okay with you slowly ceasing to sin, and that he could deliver you right now, IF YOUR SURRENDER WAS WITHOUT RESERVATION. But that is too hard for us these days. We want it easy and we think that easier means step by step. Problem is, not too many of us finish the steps. And we think that God is okay with us as long as we are making progress - as though he doesn't count sin as sin as long as we are working on it, albeit slow. So basically our problem lies in a low view of the holiness of God, one that says God will tolerate sin while we are undergoing some weird spiritual therapy in the place of genuine repentance.

mommabear said...

amen Russ

davide said...

For the skeptics of instantaneous deliverance, I offer the following:

Paul is the father of three girls who attended our church's Christian school. Paul's lifestyle included drugs, drink, smoking, language, poor work habits, etc. Several in the church called on Paul for about five years and he very infrequently attended services. During a Sunday PM service, the Spirit powerfully moved on Paul and he turned in his pew and began to pray. After about 20 minutes of very fervent prayer at the pew and at the alter, Paul stood up an obviously changed person. That was about seven years ago. For starters, Paul calls the 20 minutes of prayer his "20 minute drug rehab program"...cold turkey...gone. Paul has probably distributed more tracts (thousands) and personally witnessed to more individuals (hundreds) than most of us bloggers will in a lifetime. He is faithful in church attendance; he is a cornerstone of our church outreach; he works regularly; and his actions and attitudes are thoroughly Christian. I think Paul would say that he has stumbled a couple of times, but he was not on the ground for over 15 minutes before he was up an following hard after Christ.

Yes, Christ does still deliver from sin miraculously and instantaneously (...he is God!) I think he is mostly limited by how much of ourselves we will truly give him.