Thursday, February 18, 2010


How essential is separation from the world to the cause of Scriptural holiness?

Here is what we know:

There are some who have confused the effect of holiness (separation from the world, the flesh, and the devil) with the cause of holiness, and in so doing they have entirely missed the heart of holiness (i.e. righteousness, joy, peace, and love). Their bitter, censorious, and harsh critique of those who do not live “by the book” (that book usually being the Church Manual) has turned many away from the highway of holiness.

In reaction against those who have accented separation from the world (especially in entertainments, adornments, and lifestyle), there has risen a large contingent of “Anti-Pharisees” who believe themselves to be “Super Saints.” Like the Gnostics of the First Century they suppose that they know the real truth, and so how they live their lives is not important. They criticize their critics and unwittingly fall into the same bitter attitude as those they despise.

Indeed “legalism has slain its thousands, while liberalism has slain its tens of thousands.” Sadly, both make shipwreck of their faith.

But God has brought us to the Kingdom for such a time as this! He is raising up a people who love heart holiness and who desire to live holy lives.

If God’s Word is inspired (and it is!), and if God’s Word reveals God’s will (and it does!), then God’s People will take seriously the spirit and the letter of God’s will as it is revealed in God’s Word and by God's Spirit.

To neglect separation from the world is folly, but to reject separation from the world is rebellion.

It is time for God’s people to stand for His standard and to march forward up the highway of holiness until we hear Him say, “well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

My father used to say, “All that is necessary to have a worldly church is nothing.” Let’s do something! And let’s say something!

Martin Luther was right! “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ.
Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”


It is the mission of the Church of Jesus to accurately and fervently speak the Gospel--the whole Gospel. For centuries the Gospel story has been the narrative upon which our Western Civilization rested. But the corrosive influence of modernism--with its viral skepticism, and the subsequent demise of modernism and rise of post-modernism, have left the West without any narrative or story upon which to build.

The story of Christ propelled the West forward because it is a true story that is filled with truth that transforms. Other cultures have had their own myths and narratives upon which they have built their civilizations. Those civilizations fell because their faulty foundations were not grounded in truth. The tragedy of our day is not that the Christian narrative, or truth cannot stand the strain of examination or the stress of experience, but that we have exchanged the rock solid foundation built on Christ our chief cornerstone, for sands of our own making.

Nearly 20 years ago Robert Jensen observed, "as the Church once lived and conducted her mission in the precisely post-Hellenistic and post-Roman-imperial world, remembering what had vanished but not knowing what if anything could come next, so the Church must now live and conduct her mission in the precisely 'post'-modern world."

If there was ever a moment when the Church of Jesus Christ needed to proclaim the old old story--of the blood that cleanses from all sin and of the Spirit that indwells and empowers and sanctifies believers--it is now! As all around our souls gives way--Christ is all our hope and stay! His Spirit answers to the blood!

But an intellectual affirmation of that old old story will only go so far. We must also have the Song in our hearts. The joyful melody rising from hearts "strangely warmed" and "purified by faith!"

Songs of "Victory in Jesus!" Songs of "Glorious Freedom!" Songs of "Holiness Unto The Lord...Now and forever!"

In seeking to win the teens and twenties of this generation, I have been struck with the stark contrast of their song, with my song. I listen to "He Touched Me!" "Because He Lives!" "The Old Rugged Cross Made the Difference" "I'm Free!" and "The King is Coming!" and my heart is stirred and memories of great Gospel services freighted with God's presence fill my mind. They are not stirred. They have no such memories. They have no song.

Only the mighty outpouring of Pentecost can produce that song in our souls! Without the Spirit, the dirge and the minor chords of defeat will characterize the nominal Christian. But where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, there is truth, there is joy, and there is holy love.

Our Story and our Song is not reserved for a time specific, it erupts in a life of praise, "all the day long!" It is no wonder that those who believe the Story, and who sing the Song, are so mightily used by God. The Holiness people have been at the forefront of moral revolution (i.e. Wesley's England), social justice (i.e. anti-slavery movement), and ecclesiastical reformation (i.e. the Salvation Army and Campmeeting movement).

So the blind poet Fanny Crosby saw what many of us are failing to see. Until we grasp that which she so passionately expressed, "This is my Story!" "This is my Song!" "Praising my Savior all the day long!"we will never possess that BLESSED ASSURANCE!