Entire Sanctification Is Nonsense And A Lie!!!

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#1
May 26, 2009
 

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Here is an article I found which refutes the Nazarene Doctrine of Entire Sanctification. This doctrine is a false doctrine and leads one to believe he can achieve perfection and live a sinless life. Entire Sanctification = Entire Nonsense
Mark Smith 1978, 1993, 2002
There is a little group that calls itself The Church of The Nazarene. They were started in 1908 by Phineas Bresee as a split off of the Holiness Movement, which itself was a split off of the Methodist movement, which was a split off of the Protestant movement, which was a split off of the Catholic movement, which was a split off the Christian movement, which was a split off the "John the Baptist" movement, which was a split off the Essene movement, which was a split off the Judaism movement… you get the picture. Anyway, they have a doctrine all to themselves, having looked around and seen a niche in the marketplace of religion. They call this doctrine...
Entire Sanctification
It’s like the “Instant Karma” that John Lennon sang about, in that it supposedly comes to you in an instant, but has less credibility than Karma. They claim that by its power one can be made into an instant “saint”, perfect in every way, thought and deed; sin-proof, so to speak. Sort of coats your soul with magic spiritual Teflon whereby evil thoughts and sinful desires just can't stick.
I recall a story from the pulpit of a (non-Nazarene) traveling evangelist having been invited to speak at a Nazarene Church. Whether this actually happened or not, you never know with stories from the pulpit- ministers do like to make things up. Anyway this is how the story went:
During the “testimony” period of the church service an old woman stood up and praised God that she had lived the past umpteen years sin-free, thanks to Entire Sanctification. The visiting minister (who never did like this doctrine in the first place) hatched an evil plan to deflate this gross spiritual arrogance. He strode back to the pulpit while her words were yet echoing off the walls. Speaking softly into the microphone, he first complemented her on such a feat. Then he sprung the trap on her:“You must be quite proud of such an accomplishment as this- living all those years without sin!” Of course she fell for the bait, and especially liked having been singled out for all that attention. She stood up, looked the Reverend in the eyes and said that yes, she was indeed quite proud of her sinless life. At that, the minister slammed down his twenty-pound Bible upon the pulpit as he raised his voice to boom out across the auditorium “Pride’s a sin!!! Now sit down, and learn what 1st John 1:8-10 means.”

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#2
May 26, 2009
 
Most non-Nazarene’s like that story, because few of us really enjoy the company of arrogant, self-righteous people, and the Nazarenes, with their special doctrine, are just that. And spiritual arrogance has to be about the worst kind of arrogance, for all the while the self-righteous twit also thinks they're more humble than you as well. Deep down inside, most of us enjoy it when arrogant, proud conceited religionists screw up. It helps to remind all of us that we all are human. The problem with the Nazarene’s is that everybody in the world EXCEPT them know they are far from being perfect. As for the Nazarene’s, to grow up around such a doctrine and believe that you yourself are indeed perfect, and then to live with the contrary reality, well, reality soon goes out the window and the Nazarene slowly encases himself in an air-tight cocoon of self-inflicted blindness- blind to all their own faults. They become brainwashed into thinking they are perfect, facts be damned.



John Wesley was the man who started all this nonsense about Entire Sanctification along time ago. On page 248 of his Plain Account of Christian Perfection he wrote that:

God usually gives considerable time for one to receive light, to grow in grace, to do and suffer the will of God, before he is either justified or sanctified; but He does not invariably adhere to this. Sometimes He "cuts short His work"; He does the work of many years in a few weeks; perhaps a week, a day, an hour. He justifies or sanctifies those who have not had time for a gradual growth in light or grace.
(for the full work, see: http://gbgm-umc.org/umhistory/wesley/perfect.... )



George Orwell could not have thought of a better example of “Double-Speak” than the Nazarenes did when we listen to them describe their doctrine of how they can become perfect and “sinless” via Entire Sanctification. One of their own Nazarene scholars , Dr. William Greathouse#1, tried to make sense out of the theory -vs- reality of it. First of all, who is Dr. Greathouse? Is he a recognized authority within the Nazarene denomination? Yes he is. According to a quick web search on Google:

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May 26, 2009
 

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Dr. Greathouse is a graduate of Lambuth University, Trevecca Nazarene University, Vanderbilt Divinity School, and holds a D.D. from Trevecca Nazarene University. He has spent a lifetime serving in the Church of the Nazarene as pastor, professor, Dean, President and General Superintendent. He was president of TWO Nazarene institutions of higher learning: Trevecca Nazarene University, and Nazarene Theological Seminary.



He is the author of numerous books. His two most recent books are Love Made Perfect: Foundations for the Holy Life (1997) and Wholeness in Christ: Toward a Biblical Theology of Holiness (1998). He was also voted "Preacher of The Year" in 2000.



He is currently a professor at Trevecca Nazarene University, and his homepage is:

http://homepages.trevecca.edu/faculty/wgreath...








Obviously, with such a list of credentials, even having been in charge of the entire denomination at one time ("General Superintendent"), Dr. Greathouse certainly qualifies as an authority on official Nazarene doctrine. Some may be asking at this point why am I going to such lengths to establish the credentials of Dr. Greathouse. This is the reason: I have received numerous emails from Nazarenes around the country who have never even heard of him, and thus question my using him as an authority. Such ignorance in Christians even about their own denominations is not encouraging, but is commonplace. Americans in general, as Steve Allen pointed out, are just plain dumb. So to all the Nazarenes out there who know their own religions less than non-Nazarenes, yes, Dr. Greathouse is a big deal in your cult- a VERY big deal- and qualifies as a spokesman for your group just as much as the Pope qualifies as a spokesman for the Catholics.



Dr. Greathouse, while giving the inaugural address at Nazarene Theological Seminary in 1969, described “Entire Sanctification” as being:



“…imperfect perfection”

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#4
May 26, 2009
 
That's a phrase that would have made Bill Clinton (Mr. "is-is") proud. Dr. Greathouse elsewhere describes the Nazarene concept of personal perfection by saying



“Christian perfection is not absolute”



And for another example of Double Speak, he says,



“Hence the fully sanctified man* feels deeply his imperfection”



*[NOTE: remember, this means the man who is perfect]



To fully appreciate the humor of this Double Speak going on here, you must realize that Entire Sanctification teaches Christian Perfection, which means a sinless life; the total removal of not only sin, but even the ability to sin. In other words, a good Nazarene could not make a mistake, a sin, even if he tried! In fact, he couldn't even THINK a sinful thought. Or as another Nazarene theologian#2 W.T. Purkiser wrote,



“…true justification in Christ does away with a life of sin.”





W. T. Purkiser (1910-92) was a prolific writer, respected scholar, and well-loved preacher within the Church of the Nazarene who also had a significant voice in the larger evangelical Christian community. He authored and contributed to some of the most widely disseminated and enduring works in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition. He was also the editor of "Herald of Holiness", the official magazine of The Church of The Nazarene.







The Free Methodist Church (NOTE: this is a close cousin to the Nazarene church) believes and teaches the doctrine of ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION, or SINLESS PERFECTION. Free Methodists believe that a person who has been saved and born-again can achieve SINLESS PERFECTION in this lifetime.
http://www.gospelcenterchurch.org/freemethodi...











Of course, regardless of what Greathouse or Purkiser or any other Nazarene may write, we know this is all horse-shit in that Nazarenes screw up like the best of us, but it’s still funny seeing their theologians trying to back-track out of the intellectual corner they’ve painted themselves into. From what I’ve heard, this doctrine is not taught much in their universities much past the undergraduate level- the more educated among the group are embarrassed by it. It is more for the sheep, than the shepherds of this group, and most of the youth of the church really don't have a clue as to what it is.



For any who wish to argue with the Nazarenes regarding this gem of a doctrine, they might want to use this Bible verse as their trump card. And by the way, this verse was written to Christians, not to non-Christians.



If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves,

and the truth is not in us....If we say that we have not sinned,

we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

1st John 1:8-10 NASB

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#5
May 26, 2009
 
#1) Nazarene Theology in Perspective, Wm. Greathouse, Nazarene Publishing House, 1970, pp. 23, 20, 21.
Also in: NAZARENE THEOLOGY IN PERSPECTIVE Inaugural Address/Naz Theol Sem/January 6, 1969



#2) Exploring Our Christian Faith, W.T. Purkiser, Beacon Hill, 1969, p. 318





**********





Additional Information & Documentation}





What We Believe (from the official Nazarene website)

13. We believe that entire sanctification is that act of God, subsequent to regeneration, by which believers are made free from original sin, or depravity, and brought into a state of entire devotement to God, and the holy obedience of love made perfect.

It is wrought by the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and comprehends in one experience the cleansing of the heart from sin and the abiding, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, empowering the believer for life and service.

Entire sanctification is provided by the blood of Jesus, is wrought instantaneously by faith, preceded by entire consecration; and to this work and state of grace the Holy Spirit bears witness.

This experience is also known by various terms representing its different phases, such as "Christian perfection," "perfect love," "heart purity," "the baptism with the Holy Spirit," "the fullness of the blessing," and "Christian holiness." ( http://www.nazarene.org/gensec/we_believe.htm... )

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#6
May 26, 2009
 
I might add this is the doctrine of most if not all Pentecostal Churches as well as so called Holiness churches. This doctrine is heresy and leads men to Hell.
Known by God

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May 26, 2009
 

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I've been reading Connersville Topix for a few days now. I continue to see 1INCHRIST post these very long constitutions regarding his/her beliefs. What I notice most of the time is that he/she copies & pastes much information that he/she reads(quickly) on the i-net. I'm sure they (he/she) can't expect that everything they post is read. Be careful whether or not you believe anything they (he or she) post. Satan does not want us to know the REAL truth. Satan is very alive (and decieving) You can find the TRUTH in the Word. Your belief should remain in the gospel of the water & the spirit.

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#9
May 26, 2009
 
Known by God wrote:
I've been reading Connersville Topix for a few days now. I continue to see 1INCHRIST post these very long constitutions regarding his/her beliefs. What I notice most of the time is that he/she copies & pastes much information that he/she reads(quickly) on the i-net. I'm sure they (he/she) can't expect that everything they post is read. Be careful whether or not you believe anything they (he or she) post. Satan does not want us to know the REAL truth. Satan is very alive (and decieving) You can find the TRUTH in the Word. Your belief should remain in the gospel of the water & the spirit.
So, what have I posted that was'nt truth? Would you care to enlighten me and everyone else.

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#10
May 26, 2009
 
Here is another good article on the same subject.

“The Doctrine of Sanctification,” Contending for the Faith 9.11 (November 1978) 1, 3-6.

The work of the Holy Spirit traditional has been divided into two general categories: 1) his work in the conversion of the sinner; and 2) his work in the sanctification of the saint. Though this is not a sharp distinction in Scripture, it is a pragmatic one. Each area has in its own right aroused considerable controversy, especially in early restoration history. We have, however, tended to neglect the latter area in our zeal to oppose Calvin’s theology of conversion. This “under-emphasis” is, I think, the source of much misunderstanding concerning the manner in which the Spirit dwells in the believer. More importantly, the lack of clear exposition concerning sanctification has permitted the false dogmas of Calvinism, Wesleyanism and Pentecostalism to form a beachhead in our brotherhood. Thus, I have undertaken this study of sanctification.
The verb “sanctify” carries two different though related meanings. First, it means to “set apart something for a holy purpose.” The seventh day, for example, was set apart (sanctified) as a special holy day for the Jewish nation (Genesis 2:3; Exodus 3:13; Deuteronomy 5:12; Ezekiel 20:10-12); and Jesus was set apart as the one who would die for the world (John 10:36; 17:19). Second, the verb may mean to “make holy” or “purify.” Christians are, therefore,“holy ones”(saints).
The definition of sanctification is rather simplistic, but the controversy arises when the nature and means of sanctification are considered. In this, there are major divisions among theologians. It is my purpose to discuss (rather simplistically, however, for the distinctions I shall make are not necessarily so sharp) these differences, and then to present a Biblical view of the nature and means of sanctification. In doing this, I hope to shed some light on the controversy which surrounds the manner of the Spirit’s indwelling of the believer.

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#11
May 26, 2009
 
Calvinism

Just as the Calvinistic theology of conversion is rooted in the dogma of Total Depravity, its theology of sanctification is rooted in the dogma of the Perseverance of the Saints. The sinner needs the direct working of the Spirit to enable him to respond to the gospel, so also the saint needs the direct working of the Spirit to enable him to persevere to the end (for the saint still possesses a corrupt human nature as the sinner. Westminster Confession of Faith, VI, v.) Therefore, Calvin concluded:“Christ has sanctified the faithful forever.”(Commentary on Romans, cv. 6:10). Thus, the means of sanctification is the same as the means of conversion which is the “supernatural work” of the Holy Spirit (Larter, Evangelical Quarterly 27:146).
The nature of sanctification is the same as that of conversion. It begins in that “initial experience of the Holy Spirit”(i.e. conversion) and “is continued directly by the Spirit through his indwelling in introducing us to, maintaining us in and making us grow into a new, truly human life.”(De Senarcleus, Reformed and Presbyterian World, 28:61, 63). In this work the Christian is “passive” as God accomplishes his predestined purpose in man through the Holy Spirit. It is this work that “enables” Christians to perform good works.(Marcel, Evangelical Quarterly, 27:133, 137).
This concept of sanctification presupposes a Calvinistic theology of conversion. The order of Calvinism is this:

An Experience of the Holy Spirit
Conversion (Definitive Sanctification)
Sanctification (Progressive)

Sanctification begins at conversion and is continued by the immediate working of the Spirit. Some Calvinists also place an “experience of the Holy Spirit” between conversion and sanctification; but they are a minority. It is only in this way that the Christian does not fall (indeed, cannot fall) from grace. I fear, however, that many brethren have this same “enabling” concept of the Holy Spirit. Such a contention actually presupposes Calvinism for it he must be directly helped to overcome sin in Christian living, then surely he must be directly helped to repent and respond to the gospel. In this way, many brethren implicitly affirm Calvinism.
The difficulties with this view are numerous. First, the saint, it is true, is in some sense passive for it is God who sanctifies (1 Thessalonians 5:23); but he is not totally passive because Peter enjoins the saints to sanctify themselves (1 Peter 3:15). Second, sanctification of the Spirit is effected by a means, not directly upon the saint’s heart. That means is the word of truth.(John 17:17). Third, how may we have a “supernatural work” without the miraculous? Presbyterians are presently struggling over this distinction, the charismatic Presbyterians maintaining that a miraculous baptism in the Spirit is that “supernatural work” of sanctification in the believer.(Skidmore, The Presbyterian Journal, p. 7). The non-charismatic Presbyterians are, therefore, in a difficult position for certainly any direct (supernatural) work of the Spirit is a miraculous work. The charismatic Presbyterians, then, are actually being consistent with their Calvinistic presuppositions. This miraculous nature of Calvinism was pointed out long ago by Campbell in his debate with Rice. Conversion is not a metaphysical change but a moral change. The former requires the miraculous; the latter demands only the influence of argument, reason and fact. Calvinism posits the metaphysical change of the sinner and the progressive metaphysical help of the Spirit. Therefore, it needs the miraculous. Non-charismatic Presbyterians find themselves denying and affirming the miraculous at the same time.

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#12
May 26, 2009
 
Wesleyan Theology

John Wesley reformed somewhat Calvin’s doctrine of sanctification. Wesley described sanctification in three stages. First, there is a sense in which one is sanctified at conversion; this is not “entire” or “full” sanctification. In this one receives the forgiveness of sins, but not the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
“After the first step—that of conversion—the believer seeking holiness invites the Holy Spirit to dwell in him and bestow on him the additional gifts needed for continued growth in holiness.”(Jorstand, The Holy Spirit in Today’s Church, p. 11). This holiness is culminated in “entire” or “full” sanctification which may be received in this life and is a “necessary condition for seeing God.” It is instantaneously appropriated by faith in a “sudden crisis,” a gift of God through the indwelling Spirit.(Marshall, Evangelical Quarterly, 34:78). This is called a “still higher salvation.”(Wesley, A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, p. 47). Though it is “instantaneous,” it is also gradual in the sense that it must be continually sought. It is only in this “crisis that one receives a new, clean heart.”(Wesley, p. 24).
The evidence of such an experience is a “deeper and clearer conviction than that he experienced before justification…his experiences total death to sin, and entire renewal in the love and image of God.”(Wesley, p. 52). The Christian’s knowledge of the experience rests on the Spirit’s witness (supposedly affirmed in Galatians 4:6), and “faith brings that inner ‘whisper’ that the work is done.”(Rose, A Theology of Christian Experience, p. 185). Hence, it might be added, the experience is so subjective that if one believed it could occur, any crisis of faith might induce one to think that he had received the witness of the Spirit.
Third, while this experience can only bring relative sinlessness (he no longer commits voluntary sin), entire perfection (freedom from all sin) is possible only in the presence of God.
Wesley’s order of conversion and sanctification is:

Conversion (Definitive Sanctification)
An Experience of the Holy Spirit (Progressively Sought)
Sanctification (Instantaneous)

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#13
May 26, 2009
 
Calvin and Wesley differed in three points: 1) Calvin did not believe in a “sudden crisis” after conversion; 2) Calvin thought the power of indwelling sin could never be broken while Wesley did; and 3) Calvin contended that the sanctified could never fall from grace while Wesley thought otherwise. The difficult question for Wesley is: how can the saint fall when he cannot voluntarily sin and he is totally dead to sin? Calvin, of course, denied that some Galatians had fallen from grace.(Galatians 5:4).
Wesley’s concept of sanctification is generally followed by the Methodist denomination today. This view has several difficulties. First, the indwelling of the Spirit is received at conversion, not subsequent to it.(Acts 2:38). The person who does not have the Spirit is not of Christ.(Romans 8:9). Is the converted, yet-not-sanctified persona a Christian? Actually, to be converted is not enough for Wesley because sanctification (Wesley’s experience after conversion) is a “prerequisite to eternal salvation.”(Rose, p. 187). The Bible speaks of persons who were sanctified at conversion (1 Corinthians 6:11); there is no intermediate stage between conversion and sanctification. All saints are Christians and all Christians are saints, but Wesley wants Christians who are not saints. Second, a clean heart is received at conversion because it is in conversion that one’s sins are “blotted out.”(Acts 3:19; 15:9; 22:16). Forgiveness of sins is “not enough.” Those who are forgiven, but not sanctified are “only Christians in part.”(T. Webb quoted by Hurst, The History of Methodism, III, 1252). This illustrates an extremely insufficient view of justification and forgiveness (Romans 3:23-5:11; Galatians 2:14-4:7). Third, the condition for seeing God is the new birth (John 3:3-5), and not some experience following conversion. The converted-but-not-sanctified (in Wesley’s sense) person is able to see God. Fourth, there is no record in Scripture of any “sudden crisis” as Wesley contends except that be a miraculous impartation of the Holy Spirit. Herein Wesleyanism anticipates the Pentecostal dogma of Spirit Baptism.

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May 26, 2009
 
Pentecostal Theology

According to Don Basham,“the New Testament makes it plain that baptism in the Holy Spirit is a second work of grace which follows conversion.”(A Handbook on Holy Spirit Baptism, p. 15). It is this experience which gives the Christian the “power to serve, to witness, and to overcome the enemy.”(Pat Boone, Dr. Baalam’s Talking Mule, p. 151). Just as the Calvinist thinks of sanctification, so Basham thinks of Holy Spirit baptism:“it is an empowering experience.”(p. 17). Like Wesley, Shirley Boone’s “experience” left her with the “sense of the presence of the Lord and an overwhelming feeling of love” in which the Holy Spirit “began to bear witness with her spirit.”(A New Song, p. 111). In fact the Pentecostal Holiness Church follows Wesley I that they “believe that entire sanctification is an instantaneous, definite second work of grace, obtainable by faith on the part of the fully justified believer.”(cf. any Pentecostal Holiness Advocate,“Our Faith,” 10).
Pentecostals are divided over whether sanctification precedes, follows, or is the same as Holy Spirit baptism. Generally, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is the instantaneous beginning experience of sanctification (cf. Syan, The Holiness-Pentecostal Movement in the United States, pp. 140-53). Thus, we have this order:

Conversion (Definitive Sanctification)
Holy Spirit Baptism (Instantaneous Sanctification)
Sanctification (Progressive)

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May 26, 2009
 
The Pentecostal dogma of Spirit Baptism results from a combination of the Calvinistic and Wesleyan doctrines of sanctification. Holy Spirit baptism is “supernatural” and “empowering,” reminiscent of Calvinism. It is “sudden” and therein the Holy Spirit begins to dwell in you, reminiscent of Wesleyanism. It is only one step from Calvinism to Wesleyanism (a change in time of experience), and one step from Wesleyanism to Pentecostalism (addition of miraculous manifestations). To underscore this relationship Wesley’s doctrine of conversion was for all practical purposes identical with Calvin’s (Marshall, pp. 75, 56), and the earliest Pentecostals were Wesleyan Methodists (cf. Syan, pp. 110ff, 140ff).“In Pentecostalism the theological focus is shifted almost entirely from Wesley’s goal of final salvation and sanctification which will achieve it to the baptism in the Holy Spirit and glossolalia which will assure it.”(Brunner, A Theology of the Holy Spirit, p. 38).
This confusion of baptism in the Holy Spirit and sanctification has caused Pentecostals to appeal to passages which refer to sanctification as proof for the contemporary availability of Spirit Baptism. Likewise any passage which refers to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is counted as Holy Spirit baptism. This confusion is the supreme difficulty in Pentecostalism, for how may one be a Christian without the Holy Spirit dwelling in him?(Romans 8:9). In Scripture we do find a distinction between Christians who do find a distinction between Christians who do possess miraculous ability and those who do not (Acts 8:12-17), but we do not find such a distinction concerning the indwelling of the Spirit.(Romans 8:9-16). The two cannot, therefore, mean the same, for all Christians have the indwelling Spirit, but not all have miraculous ability. Miraculous manifestations have ceased (JMH, A Teenager Speaks on Spiritual Gifts), but the indwelling of the Spirit has continued. The above criticisms of Wesleyanism also apply with equal force here for one to some extent presupposes the other.

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#16
May 26, 2009
 
Biblical Theology
In sanctification the subject is both passive and active. It is God who sets men apart fro his service and makes them holy, for Jesus prayed that he would do this very thing.(John 17:17-19). Paul hoped that God would sanctify the Thessalonians.(1 Thessalonians 5:23). As such the subjects are passive, and, in fact, the verb “sanctify” is used in the passive voice of Christians many times.(1 Corinthians 1:2; Acts 20:32; 26:18). However, sanctification is not exclusively passive, for Paul urges each Thessalonian to “possess his vessel in sanctification,” and that entails each person abstaining from fornication.(1 Thessalonians 4:2-7). The woman who is to be approved should continue in her sanctification (1 Timothy 2:15); and all men are required to follow holiness.(Hebrews 12:15). Peter specifically commands Christians to sanctify themselves.(1 Peter 3:15). Thus, Calvinism is erroneous in supposing that the subject of sanctification is totally passive. There is the divine and the human side of sanctification. If we meet the conditions of holiness, then God will make us holy.(1 Peter 1:15, 16; 1 John 1:7-10).
Sanctification is both definitive and progressive. The verb “sanctify” is found in the aorist tense in many passages.(Ephesians 5:26; Hebrews 10:29; 13:12). This signifies that these were sanctified at particular point in the past (i.e., at conversion). Particularly significant is that in the washing away of sins one is sanctified.(1 Corinthians 6:11). Therefore, there is a sanctification which occurs at conversion. However, sanctification is also progressive. Christians are urged to continue their sanctification.(1 Thessalonians 4:2-7). It is the Christian’s responsibility to remain holy (sanctified) before God. Scripture often refers to sanctification as that which occurred in the past and continues in the present by its effects. This thought is represented by the perfect tense in Greek. According to 1 Corinthians 1:2, the Corinthians stand in the position of having been sanctified, i.e., they are holy due to a particular action in the past (conversion), and presently are holy (effect of their conversion). Here sanctification is not something future but past.(Cf. also John 17:19; Acts 20:32; 26:18; Romans 15:16; 2 Timothy 2:21; Hebrews 2:11; 10:10, 14). The only sense of future in sanctification is the responsibility of the Christian to remain holy. If he sins, and asks forgiveness, then God will sanctify (make holy) him.(1 John 1:7-10). The seeking of further sanctification which is beyond that received at conversion (except it be that final salvation in heaven) is unfounded in Scripture. The duty of the Christian is to remain sanctified (Revelation 22:11), not to seek a “sanctifying experience.”
God the Father is the one who sanctifies.(1 Thessalonians 5:23). It is the sacrifice and blood of Jesus that makes such sanctifying possible.(John 17:19; Hebrews 10:10; 13:12). The Spirit of God is the agent of the Father’s activity.(Romans 15:16; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Corinthians 6:11). Calvinistic theology raises the question of whether or not the Spirit also works by a means, or does he operate directly upon the heart of the saint? Scripture also recognizes “truth” as an agent of God in sanctification.(John 17:17-19). Ephesians 5:26 concludes that Christ sanctifies (and cleanses) the church “with the washing of the water by the word.” Thus, the Spirit and the word are both agents of the

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#17
May 26, 2009
 
Father in sanctification.(Compare Ephesians 5:26 with 1 Corinthians 6:11). How, then, do they work together? Ephesians 6:17 provides the key for understanding this relationship. There Paul declares that we should take up the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Thus, the Spirit uses his sword (the word of God) as he operates upon the hearts of men. Further, the apostle Paul states that Christians are sanctified by “by faith.”(Acts 26:18). Faith originates from hearing the world of God.(Romans 10:17). God, therefore, sanctifies persons on the basis of Christ’s blood by the Spirit who wields his sword in the production of faith in men. Sanctification is neither a direct working of the Spirit nor a “sudden crisis,” but it is the working of the Spirit through the word, producing faith in men as they respond to the call of the gospel.
A Biblical view of sanctification may be outlined as below:

Conversion (Definitive Sanctification)
Sanctification (Progressive, remaining holy)
Final Salvation (in heaven)

According to 1 Corinthians 6:11 it is at the point of baptism (“washing”) that definitive sanctification occurs (cf. Ephesians 5:26). Progressive sanctification is putting on the “new man”(Ephesians 4:24) and mortifying our members (Colossians 3:5), the constant struggle against sin.(Romans 6). God provides aid to the Christian through his revelation, but he will neither grant miraculous ability to overcome sin nor assure one of the impossibility of his falling from grace except as he follows what is written.(1 John 5:13).
Alexander Campbell made this remark about such theologizing:“I hear too many prayers for the Spirit of God to convert the people as on Pentecost, to baptize them in fire, and to compel them by irresistible grace or power to believe and obey the gospel. These savor not of the New Testament, but of a more recent and mystic theology.”(Millennial Harbinger, VIII, p. 410).

“"Matt. 4:4"”

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#18
May 26, 2009
 
The Spirit’s Indwelling and Sanctification

Common to all the denominational theologies previously discussed is the contention that the sanctification of the believer is effected by the Holy Spirit through his indwelling of the believer. This is correct provided one has a proper understanding of sanctification for Paul declares that it is through the indwelling Spirit that we mortify the deeds of the body.(Romans 8:13). Sanctification is a comprehensive term for the work of the Spirit in believers, all others activities being included within its broad borders. Thus, the indwelling of the Spirit is the foundation for any work of the Spirit in the believer’s life. But the Spirit can dwell in the believer if an only if the believer has been sanctified, for the Spirit only comes into the heart of the believer after he becomes a Son of God (a saint), or at least simultaneously so.(Galatians 4:6). The foundation of sanctification is the indwelling Spirit, and the foundation of the indwelling Spirit is sanctification. The two functions of the Spirit are so inter-related that they cannot be separated or distinguished. Thus, by whatever means the Spirit sanctifies, it is by that means that the Spirit indwells the believer. The Spirit sanctifies through the word only.(John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26). Therefore, the Spirit dwells through the word only.

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#19
May 26, 2009
 
An objection to this argument might be seen as follows:“The Spirit’s work upon sinners is to be differentiated from his work in the believer. Surely, the Spirit works only through the word in conversion, but by the fact of his indwelling in believers, he may work directly upon the saint.” Not only does this objection presuppose a direct indwelling of the believer, but it makes, I think, an arbitrary distinction. Conversion and sanctification cannot be so sharply distinguished. Conversion involved sanctification, and that sanctification continues throughout the Christian’s life. The process by which the Spirit converts the sinner (which involves sanctification), is the same process by which the Spirit sanctifies the believer (a process begun at a conversion).
To establish this assertion the reader is directed to 2 Thessalonians 2:13. God at some point in the past chose (aorist tense) the Thessalonians unto (eis) salvation which was being effected through the sanctification of the Spirit and the belief of the truth. The Christians in this passage are striving toward (eis) salvation. A similar thought is expressed by Paul in Romans 13:11 where our salvation is now “nearer than when we believed.” Verse 14 of 2 Thessalonians 2 makes it clear that the “salvation” of verse 13 is the glory of heaven. Here Paul describes man’s response to the gospel (by which he was called, i.e., converted –note the aorist tense) and his continual striving for final salvation (unto which he was called, i.e., heaven). As such this passage has reference to conversion (definitive sanctification) and to Christian growth (progressive sanctification) the goal of which is heaven (final salvation). Thus, the distinction made by the objector is false, for sanctification is here connected with conversion and Christian living, and the same means is used to effect both (the Spirit and the truth).
In 2 Thessalonians 2:13 there is a conjunction of the Spirit and the word (truth). The two are not to be separated because the apostle has conjoined them in the fulfilling of both conversion (definitive sanctification) and Christian living (progressive sanctification). Since they are placed in conjunction, how, then do they work together? Either the Spirit works jointly with the word—but directly, or he works jointly with the word—but through it (mediately). There is no third choice (i.e., works mediately on sinner, but immediately on saint) for this would deny 2 Thessalonians 2:13 where conversion and Christian living are effected by the same means. Such a choice would destroy any continuity between definitive sanctification and progressive sanctification. Ben Bogard, the renowned Baptist debater, recognized that one could not have it both ways so he opted for the theory that the Spirit works jointly with the word, but directly upon the heart of the subject.(Hardeman-Bogard Debate, p. 31). However, this would ignore any meaningful instrumentality of the truth.(John 17:17; James 1:18, 21; 1 Peter 1:22). It ignores the fact that the word is the “sword of the Spirit.”(Ephesians 6:17). The proper view, I think, was affirmed by Alexander Campbell in 1843:

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#20
May 26, 2009
 

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…the Spirit and the Word of God are not separate and distinct kinds of power—the one superadded to the other, but both acting conjointly and simultaneously in the wok of sanctification and salvation…the belief of the truth is the instrument of sanctification and salvation.(Campbell-Rice Debate, pp. 721, 665).

A sharp distinction between conversion and sanctification is not possible. The means by which sanctification begins (in conversion) is the means by which it continues. If conversion is effected by the Spirit through the word only and sanctification begins in conversion, then sanctification is continued by the Spirit through the word only. The means by which the Spirit sanctifies, is the means by which he indwells. Therefore, the Spirit indwells the believer through the word only.
This study has not attempted to answer all the questions but it has introduced us to a sensitive spot in denominational thought. Our brethren need to restudy the doctrine of sanctification in order to prevent false concepts from making headway into our ranks. A consideration of sanctification in light of the controversy over the manner of the Spirit’s indwelling of the believer will, I believe, bring fruitful results. In conclusion, the following passage from Alexander Campbell sets, I think, the whole issue in perspective:

By the sacrifice of his Son the guilt of sin is taken from us; by the power and grace of his Holy Spirit the power of sin is subdued within us. Still we expect nothing from the Holy Spirit but through the truth; for he is the spirit of holiness because he is the spirit of truth. The holy truth is the instrument by which the Spirit of God works mightily in us to will and to do what is just and true.(Millennial Harbinger, IX, p. 153).

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#21
May 26, 2009
 

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This is a much better article than the first one and goes into great detail as to why this doctrine is false. The writer at the end does'nt condemn anyone as he should but proves his point.

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