Pentecostal Perspective on Sanctification
One of the many challenges that one may come across when summarizing the Pentecostal perspective on sanctification is the fact that the Pentecostal Church embraces a broad range of Christian perspectives, some of which may turn out to be contradictory when compared directly to one another. Therefore, pinpointing the Pentecostal Perspective on sanctification involves a substantial amount of generalization. Overall, the Pentecostal Church considers sanctification to be a process launched by conscious separation from sin and compliance with foundational tenets of Christian ethics (Sider, 2005).
Strengths and Weaknesses
The opportunity to unite all Christians and help members of different congregations to reconcile their differences is one of the main strengths of the Pentecostal perspective on sanctification. Since the specified theological standpoint serves as the umbrella framework for different interpretations of sanctification, it allows people to familiarize themselves with an array of opinions, which will expand the horizons of their thinking. However, the Pentecostal perspective on sanctification also comes with the disadvantage of being quite vague (Dieter, 1996). Due to the attempt at combining a variety of opinions, it represents a blended version that requires further exploration.
The author does a stellar job at defending his point of view by drawing numerous examples and providing a string of logical conclusions when arguing the importance of the Pentecostal perspective in the theological and theosophical context. Specifically, the author examines the notion of the Pentecostal tradition very closely, thus showing the importance of its ability to blend different perspectives and worldviews. As a result, the author conveys the role of the Pentecostal tradition in the Christian faith as the method of spreading the word about Jesus and His teachings.
Pentecostal, Reformed, and Wesleyan Positions
Comparing the Pentecostal, Wesleyan, and Reformed approaches toward promoting Jesus’s teachings, one should point to the presence of disagreements concerning the idea of sanctification in the specified frameworks. In the Pentecostal tradition, complete cleansing from any wrongdoings and sins is seen as the opportunity for receiving sanctification and, ultimately, salvation. In Wesleyan philosophy, sanctification is achieved by reaching Christian perfection. Finally, the Reformed approach implied that suffering could lead to sanctification.
The Doctrine of Holiness
Wesleyan Tradition and God’s Love
The concept of God’s holiness and divinity is typically taken for granted and accepted as something that goes without saying. However, challenging the described notion further, one will realize that the concepts of holiness and love are approached from slightly different perspective in each frameworks. For example, according to the Wesleyan theology, the state of holiness is attainable and, most importantly, can only be reached when complying with the established Christian beliefs and standards. The specified way of framing the Christian narrative may lead to different ways of thinking about the issues at hand, including the possibility of salvation and redemption.
At this point, Sider’s idea of cheap grace deserves to be mentioned. According to Sider (2005), the notion of cheap grace suggests following the Gospel and the etchings of Jesus without delving into their implied meaning and the nuances surrounding the specified principles. Therefore, developing Evangelical conscience is prioritized in Sider’s (2005) writing. Arguably, the amplified emphasis on love and grace may lead to unforeseen outcomes that could affect an individual’s emotional and spiritual development, which is why the described notions are traditionally avoided in the discussion of the Christian discourse.
However, the threat of overemphasizing the role of love and grace in the Christian beliefs helps the specified episode to approach the issues of life and death, as well as believing versus non-believing, as critical notions. These notions are expected to lead an individual to the development of contempt for Christian values as inherently unnecessary since God will have endless love for every Christian regardless. Therefore, the concepts of love and grace may produce side effects when misrepresented to the target audience, especially when the specified audience is not ready to accept Christian principles wholeheartedly.
Meaning of God’s Holiness
When used as a means of describing God as an omnipotent being, the concept of holiness becomes much richer than it is typically seen. While holiness as a human property suggests the absence of sinful behaviors and attitudes, it takes an entirely new meaning when used to describe God. Specifically, in relation to the Lord, the notion of holiness is transformed into the idea of a powerful force that guides people and exerts justice (Sider, 2005). Therefore, when saying that God is holy, one typically suggests that, apart from embodying all that is good, God also represents an omnipotent and pansophical being. Therefore, when stating that God is holy, one suggests that God also embodies the very essence of holiness and becomes the definition of it.
In turn, the specified perspective on holiness as it applies to the essence of God entails several crucial consequences. Namely, the described perspective means that God’s holiness as the pinnacle of spirituality is so radiant and magnificent that one cannot possibly approach it. Therefore, maintaining spiritual purity should be seen as the way of keeping close to God and building a personal relationship with Him. Specifically, the idea of divine holiness demands that Christians should make a continuous effort to keep themselves spiritually, morally, and ethically pure.
Importance of Acknowledging Jesus Christ’s Humanity
The humanity of Jesus often becomes His defining characteristic and the main quality associated with Him or mentioned when describing Him. Indeed, the teachings of Jesus are typically seen as the foundational Biblical standards for empathy and compassion, with the focus on altruism and care for those in need as the main themes (Leclerc, 2010). However, the significance of understanding and acknowledging the humanity of Jesus and His words go even further than being able to develop the qualities that He promoted as the essential guide to being a decent and faithful Christian.
Specifically, emphasizing humanity in Jesus is central to understanding His role in the Biblical narrative and the significance of His sacrifice. Namely, being the human embodiment of God, Jesus combines the human form and the spiritual purity of God (Dieter, 1996). Thus, the earthly nature of His origins allows seeing Him as especially empathetic to and understanding of the needs of regular people. Indeed, the Bible emphasizes heavily the human nature of Christ, which helps to see Him as the mediator between the humankind and the notion of divine holiness. For instance, when Jesus is born, the Bible says, “To us, a child is born” (Isaiah 9:6, New International Version, 1984). Therefore, the Scripture places a reasonably heavy emphasis on the human nature of Jesus as a substantial part of His identity, thus allowing Christians to relate to Him, His struggle, and His teachings.
Humanity of Christ and the Concept of Holiness
As stated above, the humanity of Jesus Christ is one of His foundational characteristics that allows Christian believers to relate to Him and His teachings, thus embracing the idea of Him dying for the sins of the humankind. Moreover, the presence of humanity in Jesus imbues His sacrifice with specific meaning, making it the ultimate act of kindness, empathy, and love. However, the described characteristic is also tied inherently and inextricably with His holiness. Namely, the combination of the specified qualities in Jesus indicates that one can achieve holiness only by discovering one’s humanity.
Therefore, the union of humanity and holiness that Jesus represents is also indicative of the opportunity for salvation. By extending His love, empathy, and support to the humankind while retaining His holiness, Jesus has made it possible for an average Christian to reach the point of spiritual enlightenment that allows gaining holiness. As a result, the described properties are inseparable from each other in Jesus.
Role of the Holy Spirit in Bringing about the Salvation
The concept of salvation as the opportunity to be absolved of sin and reach the pinnacle of one’s spiritual development remains one of the central themes in Christianity. Consequently, the relation between the Triune nature of God and the concept of salvation remains an important talking point. Whereas the role of God and Jesus in the path of an individual toward salvation seems to be comparatively clear, the influence that the Holy Spirit has on one’s opportunity to reach salvation and the ultimate holiness is significantly more obscure.
In contrast to the directness of the roles of God and Jesus in guiding a Christian to salvation, the role of the Holy Spirit is much more covert. Namely, the primary function of the Holy Spirit in the process of an individual’s spiritual transformation and the search for salvation is that one of a guide and a mediator between a human and God. The outlined difference between the Holy Spirit and the rest of the Triune is communicated in the following passage: “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:32, New International Version). The described role allows filling the gap between the transfer from the guidelines offered by Jesus as the incentive for action and the unattainable pinnacle of spirituality represented by God. Therefore, the Holy Spirit serves as the guide toward salvation for the humankind.
Balance in the Understanding of Both God’s Transcendence and Immanence
The concepts of transcendence and immanence might seem to represent the exact opposite of each other, which creates an ostensibly unresolved conflict when ascribing the identified qualities to God. Indeed, on the one hand, God is deemed as indisputably transcendent since His presence remains ubiquitous. However, at the same time, God is immanent as the being that is constant and unchangeable. However, the specified characteristics can be embraced when viewing God as the being that is detached from the material reality yet is related to it as the entity that produced it. Therefore, God is both imminent and transcendent, remaining superior while maintaining presence in the lives of each and every person.
Dieter, M. E., et al. (1996). Five views on sanctification. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Leclerc, D. (2010). Discovering Christian holiness: The heart of Wesleyan-Holiness Theology. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press.
Sider, R. J. (2005). The scandal of the evangelical conscience: Why are Christians living just like the rest of the world? Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
The Holy Bible. (1984). New International Version. Zondervan.