S5:E13 The Holiness Movement

S5:E13 The Holiness Movement

Can a Christian go a day without sinning?

Can a Christian be holy? Can we go a week, a day, or an hour without sinning?

These are questions that modern Christians struggle with. They have their origin in John Wesley, a hymn writer, preacher, and one of the founders of Methodism. In this episode of Truce, we track how this seemingly simple concept got tied up in movements from fundamentalism to Pentecostalism.

This episode is going to seem a bit “out there”. But this information is important to fundamentalism. Keswick Holiness in particular created an “us and them” scenario where there are Christians who “get it” and those who don’t. The divide is between “carnal” Christians and those who are really saved. This impulse makes it easier for fundamentalists to see themselves as set apart from other Christians.

We’re joined by Chris Evans, author of “Do Everything” which is a biography of suffragette Frances Willard.

Helpful Sources and Links:

  • D.L. Moody: A Life by Kevin Belmonte
  • The Evangelicals by Frances Fitzgerald
  • John Wesley’s tract on perfection
  • Fundamentalism and American Culture by George Marsden
  • Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley

Discussion Questions:

  • How long can a Christian go without sinning?
  • Do you see yourself as “better” or “different” from other Christians? Why? How does that impact the way you treat them?
  • How did the holiness movement shape Pentecostalism?
  • Do you see history and ideas as straight lines, or as a tangle?
S5:E5 The Liberals

S5:E5 The Liberals

The Birth of Liberal Modernist Theology

George Marsden characterized Christian fundamentalism as “militantly anti-modernist protestant evangelicalism”. Right there you see that fundamentalism is a reaction against something. And that something is modernist theology. Modernism is a broad term used to describe a few different schools of liberal theology. In this episode, we discuss the Tubingen and Berlin schools.

Modernist theology is often marked by the desire to discuss the “historic Jesus”. This term can be a bit confusing because it is less about understanding what historic texts say about Jesus and more about discussing the non-miraculous aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry.

Our special guest this episode is Chris Evans, professor of Christian History and Methodist Studies at Boston University and author of “Do Everything” a biography of Francis Willard.

Discussion Questions:

  • What does it mean that fundamentalism is a reaction to modernist theology?
  • What is modernist theology?
  • Do you know any theologically liberal people?
  • Do you find it difficult to both love the Lord and love your neighbor?
  • What makes someone a Christian? Does your view include theologically conservative people? What about theologically liberal people? Where is the line for you?
  • How vital are Jesus’ miracles to your life and faith?
  • Is there a tension in Christianity where it is culturally difficult to be theologically conservative and still want to love our neighbors?

Helpful Links and Sources: