The Center for Faith & Culture—Olivet Nazarene University


Competing Messages of the Holiness Mission

The spring of 1901 witnessed an interesting mix of holiness parties in the city of Chicago.  In March the Metropolitan Church Association began its highly publicized Chicago Holiness Convention.  In May the National Holiness Association held its General Holiness Assembly.   Since the Holiness Convention continued into May both groups met in the First Methodist Church but in different locations and at different times.   While several NHA delegates, including Nazarenes, attended and participated in the MCA convention, the two meetings revealed contrasting understandings of the holiness movement.   The General Holiness Assembly represented the more moderate holiness voices, some of whom remained within the traditional churches, while others had formed independent holiness churches like the Church of the Nazarene.   They focused their preaching on the doctrine of entire sanctification.  The Holiness Convention reflected an emerging radical holiness movement that called for separation from the traditional churches into independent holiness churches.  More importantly, they promoted other issues along with entire sanctification: physical demonstration in worship as well as unique views on church finance and divine healing. The radical holiness movement’s understanding of what it meant to live by faith gave them a particular perspective on finance and health care.   

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Emerging Church 101


Introduce the topic of the emerging church among pastors and church leaders and you will probably evoke a strong response. That response will tend to be either strongly positive or strongly negative. We're either "for" it or "against" it. The tendency is to categorically reject the perspectives of the emerging church or to uncritically affirm them. This article is an attempt to make our way into the conversation without being polarized. However we finally regard the critique and proposals of the emerging church conversation, it is an important conversation to be aware of and, in some constructive way, involved in.

The dynamic nature of the emerging church conversation makes it hard to simply define or categorize. Part of the ethos of the postmodern approach is to reject such categorical thinking. Nevertheless, we need to be able to have some orientation amidst the disorder if we are to make our way meaningfully. The characterizations suggested in this article are offered as tentative, or working, descriptions. I realize that they only serve to identify general tendencies or prominent themes and can't adequately or accurately portray the entire conversation or individuals in it.  But I think we can see some patterns that allow us to orient our thinking. I am not an authority on the emerging church but I am an interested observer. What follows is an overview of my observations.

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Tags: Emergent

Do You Have to Be Angry to be Emergent?



Do you have to be angry to be emergent? My most basic concerns about the emerging church conversation are really not theological. That is to say, while there are theological issues I would like to pursue in that conversation that is not significantly different from the ongoing theological conversation of the church in any time. What adds a problematic dimension to this conversation is the tone that seems to be characteristically present.

Let me acknowledge at the outset that any general consideration of the emerging church is an impossible task. The very nature of the conversation defies easy categorization. Proposals range from radical to incremental reform. So, any generalization can be easily critiqued. Nevertheless, it seems to me that there are some patterns that are, at the least, recurring.

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Hook, Line and Sinker: Swallowing the Emergent Church Schema

Few things stir me up these days as much as the subject of the emergent church. Most of the discussions I have had or seminars I have attended left me feeling like I had not been heard. At the same time, others have told me they didn’t think I was really listening to them. Perhaps we were both right.

Maybe the only thing implied in the emergent church language is just a way of talking about the methods and direction of the contemporary church. If that is so, then I guess we have nearly always have had some type of emergent church. The Protestant Reformation, signaled so clearly by Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses being nailed to the door of the castle church in Wittenburg, could have been a type of precursor for an emergent-esque praxis. Calvin, Luther, Wesley, among others, could be seen, as leading the way for an ecclesiology which was more “user friendly”. Personally, I can hardly imagine these three Reformers even tolerating such a term.

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Tags: Emergent