What Wesleyan believe about Sanctification

Here's how we explain to students what Wesleyans believe about Sanctification.

So what do YOU think?


Austin, Darcy, Eli, Quintin said...

This was a very helpful explanation of Sanctification. As I am learning more about this, I am encouraged to draw closer to God. Thank-you! ~Darcy

Anonymous said...

Absolutely delicious!(Psalms 34:8) It should be clearly on every church bulletin.

Key emphasis are 'inbred sin' and the 'fruit of the Spirit.'

Thanks Dr. Keith! Give you a double distinction in grade!

Brad Harris said...

I'm reminded way back in the day in my second or so interview in front of the DBMD. They asked me give my explanation of Sanctification. So, I gave my explanation and they were not satisfied. So I gave it again in another way. They still were not satisfied. But then when I quoted how the Discipline said it they were content finally.

Craig Moore said...

"God will not be satisfied until believers present themselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, and do so entirely (our part). Only when we have completely consecrated ourselves to God will we be able to experience the "fullness" of the Holy Spirit and full power over sin and temptation (God's part)."

Sounds like the above statement implies that sanctification is earned? Do Christians earn sanctification and God rewards us by granting this "gift" of grace after we have "consecrated" ourselves. In my opinion the main flaw with this doctrinal creed is God's grace depends to much on what we do. Does God respond to what we do or do we respond to what he does?

Keith Drury said...

Good thoughts as always... and I agree that you are right that sanctification (or any work of grace) should be wholly credited to a work of God and not to any thing a human does—even consecration… Certainly I would never say that a person's consecration "causes" sanctification... I might say that a person’s refusal to submit, or refusal to surrender would hamper their sanctification—though I would say that of God wanted to entirely sanctify a person He could do so against their will—though I don’t believe He does that, or if so He does so rarely. But you are I are in the same corner on this one—with Wesley and Calvin: God alone accomplishing any and all sanctifying work in the believer… and I would go so far as to say that the popular “spiritual disciplines” approach to sanctification might even damn a person who trusts these as rungs of a ladder leading to holiness… I like the “means of Grace” approach more than “rungs of a ladder.”—the Means of grace emphasize God’s work more than our works.

Craig Moore said...

I understand what you are saying Keith and I agree with most of it. But this creedal statement of Wesleyan doctrine screams of human effort in qualifying for and earning God's grace. I can't imagine preaching this doctrine as stated.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion Matt 22:36-40 serves as the core and root meaning for the perception of consecration in this case.

Try preaching a sermon on what does it takes to absolutely live up to the first and second commandments. These 2 commandments look simple, yet demonstration and translation of these 2 commands in living reality is another challenge. It involves body, soul, and spirit, and area which we still don't fully understood.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

It sounds like Wesleyans like to "set themselves apart" by determining how, when, what and somethimes even where, another will understand and know and experience God.

This view leaves little room for individuality, because the "denomination" needs to "make sense" of "god" and "his ways". Isn't this short of determining/limiting "god"? or others, in their understanding?

I understand that one must be "a willing sacrifice", but isn't a denomination made from doctrines that are "set in stone"? Or do the Wesleyans change about their view on sanctification?

Judgement obviously about who is "in" and who is "out" depends on some sort of outside performance, which becomes the "guidance of the Holy Spirit"....and who is to determine otherwise, when the Holy Spirit has spoken?

bookworm said...

Except for paragraph d. the Wesleyan Church statement looks more or less like any non-Wesleyan doctrinal statement on sanctification. Some churches may place more emphasis on positional sanctification and, maybe, proportionally less emphasis on progressive sanctification - but I think not may professing Christians would deny progressive sanctification is part of God's plan for the believer.

If it is the "crisis of entire sanctification" doctrine that sets Wesleyans apart then non-Wesleyans ought to politely ask - and Wesleyans ought to answer - how did you arrive at that conclusion? Is there any precedent for this doctrine outside of Wesleyan theology? What scripture or line of reasoning led to Wesleyans holding this doctrine? I'm not saying at this point that the reasons aren't there, though (for the sake of honesty)it's not what I believe. I just say it's fair for the rest of us to ask the questions, and only fair to give Wesleyans a chance to explain.

Mark said...

IMHO, a "22 year old" graduate of IWU (or anywhere else for that matter) may not have every nuance of sanctification settled but they should understand that it is a central aspect of the Christian life and a core doctrine of our denomination. They may feel there are aspects of speaking in tongues that they need to study more, but they should know where our church comes down on the issue. If they are trying to get a fuller grasp on God's amazing and extensive grace and are rejecting the notion that God is waiting for a chance to boot us out of his family, no problem! In fact, GOOD!! Many may initially tend to lean toward eternal security out of a desire to lean away from "eternal insecurity." (I think that is very different than being committed to Eternal Security.)

However, coming down on the wrong side of errancy is crossing the line and if our perspective pastors aren't expected to have that issue CLEARLY settled, I hope those "old men" and "old women" as the case may be, will keep them out of our district pulpits until they fully resolve that issue.

I pray the Wesleyan Church avoids being drawn down the insipid path of nominalism that comes with eroding the inerrancy of Scriptures.

For what it is worth, the reference to "old men" seems less than respectful to our church leadership. But then again, I am getting older myself so... ;-)

Keith Drury said...

Thanks for your comments Mark..for what it's worth, only an old man can call other old men "old men." (I qualify) ;-)

MikeR said...

This post is in response to Craig’s comments. I am not a pastor, nor a great theologian, nor am I intending any harm or any ill will towards anyone. That being said I must disagree with the following comments and ask humbly to consider my rebuttal and tell me if you feel I am in error.

Craig said: "Sounds like the above statement implies that sanctification is earned?"

I am not sure how you can imply this if you read the whole article. In fact it says quite the opposite starting with part a. “We believe that sanctification is that work of the Holy Spirit” if this were our work it would not be a gift, and it wouldn’t be of the Holy Spirit but of our own making.

Craig said: "Do Christians earn sanctification and God rewards us by granting this 'gift' of grace after we have 'consecrated' ourselves."

Do we earn the gift by consecration, no absolutely not, but if you are implying we have no part in it I believe you are in error. If I follow your logic I could say a sinful man disobedient to God's will can expect an equal share of experiencing the fullness of the Holy Spirit and full power over sin and temptation because after all we don’t earn it so it must just be a random selection with no rhyme or reason. This obviously is not the case as anyone who has come to Christ can attest, sanctification will not happen without a full surrender of oneself to God. This is a step we must take before God will look at us and accept us, this is his rules not ours and certainly not an earned state that we find ourselves in.

Craig said: “the main flaw with this doctrinal creed is God's grace depends to much on what we do”

God's grace doesn’t depend too much on what we do unless you mean by our willingness to receive it. You cannot receive His grace without knowing that your internal condition is flawed, not until you have come to the end of everything you can do to be “right” with God and realized you can’t do it. You cannot close the gap through your own efforts. But, the fact that you have come to that conclusion, and confessed, “God I can’t do it, but I am going to give you everything I am just as I am” is the very step you have to take before God will bestow his “gift” upon you. So yes you have to “do” something in that you have to figure out you can’t do anything to earn your way into God’s glory.

Anonymous said...

Adam was living soul with a small 'i' before the fall. After the fall it became a contaminated 'I'. This 'I' followed us through the line of ancestry. Entire Sanctification occurs when when we ourselves can change the 'I' to an 'i', which is rare given our inbred sinful nature. God most of the time do the changing for us knowing our willingness but weakness.

Consecration is just our christian duty towards the prosess of changing our 'I' to 'i'.

Yea, God can grant entire sanctification if his divine eyes can see a struggling sinner crying out for a small 'i'.

Chap said...

I'm interested in knowing if Wesleyans feel that they are losing their "entire sanctification" distinction--and thus a need to revise/revive it? I see denominational distinctions fading in our evangelical ecumenism.
The Assembly of God is trying to revive their doctrinal distinction of speaking in tongues as well.

Finally, just previewing the document...Scripture reference seems fairly weak, which is the problem I've always had with entire sanctification.

Anonymous said...

I think Chap is right about Wesleyans not making this much an issue any more. I doubt if 10% of the pastors of the larger churches believe in any sort of entire sanctification like this statement states. Eventually Wesleyans will probably follow the Free Methodists and move to all-progressive sanctification, so this statement will soon become an antique for future scholars to study.

Craig Moore said...

MikeR...I have a problem with all Wesleyan theology. I used to be a Wesleyan and tried to believe most of this stuff. The problem I have is the human part of grace. Making the choice to receive Christ or consecrating myself in order to receive sanctification puts the determining factor of receiving grace on me with the nudging of the Holy Spirit. I do not see spiritaully dead and depraved human beings as capable of making these critical choices. I think God regenerates us, we repent of our sins and receive Christ by faith in that order. After salvation we live our lives in a process of sanctification. Maybe some have a second crisis experience that leads to a more holy life and love for God, but I do not see that as prevailing doctrine in scripture. At least not enough to base a denomination on. I am not sure if Wesley even taught what the old Holiness Movement used to teach.

I don't think Keith wants a debate on Calvinism on this post, so it's best not to go there now.

Keith Drury said...

You're right--not here or now, BUT I promise you a venue for such a discussion next fall--I thiink we might offer some light by a friendly open discussion... remind me next fall if I forget.

Anonymous said...

Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

If one can literally feels as stated above, THAT'S ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION AT ITS UTTERMOST!!!

Keith Drury said...

I know time is running out here.. but I wonder if some might be willing to post yur own statement (denomination's or personal) on sanctification... how do YOU state your "article of religion" on this subject? I've hung my denomination's out here for discussion, I wonder if anyone (even without your name) is willing to hang yours out too?

bookworm said...

I don't know if can call the Southern Baptist Convention
"my" denomination right now as I haven't attended a SBC church in about three years and currently attend a United Methodist church.

However, since most of my nomadic adult life I've been a Southern Baptist, and since who knows in my likely nomadic future, and since the following from The Baptist Faith and Message is my understanding of sanctification:

"Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God's purposes,and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person's life."

Keith Drury said...

thanks Bookworm... well stated and I think a solid Southern Baptist statement.