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?