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CHRISTIAN PERFECTION

 

The  term "Christian Perfection" is grossly misunderstood by most Christians, including a significant number of those in the Holiness Movement. The unlearned mistakenly identify the term with human perfection and are deeply offended by any mere human that would profess to be perfect. Christian Perfection has nothing to do with human perfection, for that is impossible, but it has everything to do with the completeness of the Christian Experience, and that is possible if salvation means anything at all. Please prayerfully read and enjoy these books and articles.

 

 

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COMMENTS

 

The Perfection of Believers in this Life

James Arminius

 

A brief commentary by James Arminius on his views of the perfection of believers in this life through the experience of salvation. He is defending his theology against the charge of Pelagianism and uses arguments from Augustine to support his position that the grace of Christ and the free will of man in cooperation with that grace enable the Christian to live the life God intends.

 

 

Christian Perfection

John Wesley

A sermon by John Wesley in which he explores the biblical concept of Christian Perfection. He addresses what perfection IS and what it is NOT. Mr. Wesley also addresses objections to this teaching, most of which are still brought up today. This sermon is of great historical importance because it is one of the first logical explanations of Christian Perfection since the time of the Apostles.

 

On Perfection

John Wesley

A sermon by John Wesley. Wesley understands holiness and perfection to be the same thing. He explains Christian perfection and then answers some objections. This message supplements the original teaching of Mr. Wesley on this topic.

 

A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

John Wesley

 

This is the final and definitive work by John Wesley on the subject of Christian Perfection. It is a defense and recapitulation of all the Mr. Wesley taught on the subject and it contains extracts from various sermons and tracts that he wrote.

 

Fletcher on Christian Perfection

John Fletcher

John Fletcher was the defender of John Wesley and essentially the first theologian of the Wesleyan movement. In this tract, Mr. Fletcher explains Christian Perfection and presents a sound biblical apology for, not just the belief, the experience and reality of Christian Perfection.

Christian Perfection

Asa Mahan, D.D.

Written in 1839 by Dr. Mahan, whose theological background was not Wesleyan, this book is one of the clearest and most concise discussions of Christian Perfection (also known as Holiness and Entire Sanctification) ever written. Dr. Mahan discusses this subject in eight chapters giving precise scriptural analysis to the topic and addresses the most common objections. This is a MUST READ for anyone interested in the scriptural view of holiness.

 

Christian Perfection

Charles G. Finney

A sermon by Finney from 1837 dealing with the subject of Christian Perfection. His five points are: (1) to show what Christian Perfection is not, (2) to show what is the perfection required, (3) to show that perfection is a duty, (4) to show that it is attainable, and (5) to answer some objections. Finney equates sanctification, perfection, and holiness. "Too long has the church been in the habit of thinking that the great design of the gospel is, to save men from the punishment of sin, whereas its real design and object is to deliver men FROM SIN."

 

A Defense of Christian Perfection

Daniel Steele

 

Published in 1896, this book is Daniel Steele's criticism of a book titled Growth in Holiness Toward Perfection written by Dr. James Mudge. The Methodist Episcopal Church was undergoing theological changes at this time, departing from its Wesleyan-Arminian roots, Steele defends the traditional view of Christian perfection long held by Methodism and passed on to the new Holiness Movement in the United States.

This is a good read and valuable lessons can be learned from Dr. Steele's work as present day holiness churches are fighting the same battle Dr. Steele fought over one hundred years earlier. Sadly, the Methodist Church lost the battle in favor of modernism; let's pray that holiness people will not follow in its steps.

 

 

The Call To Christian Perfection

Samuel Chadwick

 

The term "Christian Perfection" is grossly misunderstood, even by many in the Holiness Movement. Chadwick presents a practical and understandable explanation in this short book.

The doctrine and experience have been neglected and people have become comfortable with a lesser experience with God and a lower definition of salvation. It is possible to be evangelical without be evangelistic. There are thousands in the churches who have not so much as heard of Perfect Love as a present possession.

"He works in us that which He wills to do for us. He works in us to will His will and to do His good pleasure. The end of it all is that we so live as to be well-pleasing in His sight. That is Christian Perfection." (Chapter 13)

 

 

Chair-Talks On Perfection

Charles J. Fowler

This is a talk delivered by Charles Fowler in 1918 when he was president of the National Association for the Promotion of Holiness.

This is a sober and insightful discussion as to what Christian perfection is and is not. Christian perfection is founded in a moral relationship and awareness birthed in Christians by the Holy Spirit. Fowler encourages moving from the theoretical to reality in perfection.

Biblical Perfection

Peter Wiseman

 

No word has been the occasion of so much stumbling and controversy among Christians,” says Dr. Thomas Cook, “as this word ‘perfect.’ But the term is a spiritual one and is used more frequently in the Bible than any other single term to set forth Christian experience. It occurs one hundred and thirty-eight times in the Scriptures, and in more than fifty of these instances it refers to human character under the operation of grace. . . . Forty-five times the Israelites are commanded to bring sacrifices without blemish, and every time the word should have been translated perfect. By such impressive symbols God would teach that the heart of the offerer must be perfect before Him.

“Opening the New Testament we find the word ‘perfect’ dropping from the lips of Christ, and from the pen of Paul, seventeen times as descriptive of fitness for the kingdom of God; while the cognate noun ‘perfect’ is twice used, and the verb ‘to perfect’ fourteen times. Instead of finding fault with a word which the Spirit of inspiration sees fit to use with such persistency from Genesis to the Epistle of John, should we not rather endeavor to arrive at its true Scriptural meaning.”

 

 

Perfect Love

J. A. Wood

Written in 1880, this book is a re-write of a book by the same title that Wood wrote in 1860. "Our work has been to systematize, state more clearly, make stronger, enlarge, and add other important items."

Wood wrote this book in a catechetical form with 228 questions, each followed by an answer. The content covers Biblical, practical, and historical support and teaching on the topic of Perfect Love, which is the essence of Christian Perfection.

His last question is: 228. Will you relate your experience of regeneration, and of entire sanctification." This is his personal testimony; it is not unlike many present day testimonies on salvation from sin and holy living through the power of God.

 

 

The Present Possession of Perfection in First John

Ora D. Lovell

This is an excellent and brief analysis of the concept of perfection presented in the First Epistle of John. Lovell shows that understanding the grammar used by John is important for understanding the doctrine, and once understood, it makes more than a compelling case for the truth of perfection. The atonement provides both pardon for sins committed and cleansing from sinful corruption. There is no such thing as growth into holiness; there is only a transformation into holiness.

 

 

On To Perfection

Benjamin Franklin Neely

 

In this sermon by Dr. Neely, he points out that absolute perfection exists only in God. This is not Christian Perfection.

Christian Perfection is a subject little understood but plainly spoken of in the Holy Scriptures. It is a heart condition; a condition of perfect love introduced to our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

Dr. Neely presents the simple, biblical route to Christian Perfection.

 

 

The Idea of Perfection in Christian Theology

R. Newton Flew

 

This is a scholarly work unlike other works that appear on this page. The average reader may no appreciate everything that appears in its pages.

Flew traces the the concept of perfection through Christian theology from the teachings of Christ in the gospels through history to what were present days in his time (1934). He is selective in his sources, so it is not comprehensive in scope.

A theme that is prominent throughout this survey is that perfection in terms of Christianity is not limited sinlessness. It has taken many forms over 2000 years of theology. Of vital interest to modern holiness advocates is his presentation of the teachings of Jesus, the Apostle Paul, and the Apostle John in the first four chapters.

It may surprise some modern readers that the idea of Christian perfection is not unique to modern Methodist-Holiness type churches, it has been around a long time and in forms of Christianity with which we do not associate holiness at all.