From a local church’s website, under “Beliefs:”
It is the will of God that each believer should be filled with the Holy Spirit and be sanctified wholly, being separated from sin and the world and fully dedicated to the will of God, thereby receiving power for holy living and effective service. This is both a crisis and a progressive experience wrought in the life of the believer subsequent to conversion.
I have a couple of questions about this. First, what exactly does this statement mean? Do any of the members—or the leadership, for that matter—of this church really understand this?
Second, and more importantly, what exactly is wrong—or right—with this statement?
I checked, and this statement of faith comes directly from the denomination. I had hoped, then, that the local church ignored this point of faith (it’s been known to happen), but unfortunately this does not appear to be the case; it seems there are even people in leadership who are suffering under some pretty heavy burdens. It is truly sad.
I found it quite interesting that the denomination’s version includes footnotes with Bible references, specifically 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Acts 1:8, and Romans 6:1–14, which must be twisted in order to support how this particular point of faith reads. I, at least, agree with the verses, but don’t agree at all with this item of belief. According to Paul, adding any attempt at human effort to the work of Christ totally eradicates the Gospel (I am finishing work on a book which should be out this summer that explains this in detail). Paul felt very strongly about protecting the simple truth of the gospel; I wonder how he’d respond to this church, seeing what he wrote to the Galatians:
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! (Gal. 1:6-9)
So, what is your opinion of this point of faith? How would you react?