III.A.7.b Wesleyan Holiness Baby in the Second Work Bathwater

Part III  –  Application to Pentecostal Theology

Subpart A  –  The Pentecostal Renewal

Article 7 – Finished Work Doctrine as Incomplete Pentecostal Theology

Section (b)  Wesleyan-Holiness Baby in the Second Work Bath Water

By Daniel Irving

This article may be viewed in video format at the Youtube link below:

i.  The Stumbling History of the Second Work Doctrine of Wesleyan-Pentecostals

ii.  The Lamp-Stand Model as Contradicting Wesleyan Pentecostal Teaching while Validating the Chief Feature of Wesleyan Teaching

iii.  A Powerful Revivalist History Thrust Aside by the Finished Work Teaching

Section (a)  Wesleyan-Holiness Thrust Out with the Second Work Bath Water

i.  The Stumbling History of the Second Work Doctrine of Wesleyan-Pentecostals

The seven sections of the previous article examined the Pentecostal Second Work doctrine and recognized several problem areas rendering it suspect as a sound theology.  These were that:

1.  the doctrine seems to misidentify as sanctification the event/work of experiential deliverance,

2. the doctrine is widely viewed within classical Pentecostalism as misinterpreting the experience of the baptism of the Holy Ghost as a culminating work subsequent to sanctification, when the common perspective of the baptism is that of being rather an entry point event theologically coincident with conversion (although not necessarily experientially coincident with conversion) that is available for the asking immediately upon the initial moment of faith,

3. the doctrine fails to adequately apprehend the baptism of the Holy Ghost as a receiving of Holy Ghost, and as one’s induction into the body of Christ,

4.  the doctrine tends to limit the purpose of the baptism of the Holy Ghost to empowerment for service rather than affirming His more fundamental purpose of ministering sanctification to the body of Christ,[1] and

5.   the doctrine fails to subordinate the spiritual principle of circumcision to the greater and more fundamental spiritual principle represented in the cross of Jesus Christ.

As brief review, we have studied how the earliest of the Pentecostals – adherents to Wesleyan Holiness teaching – stumbled in relation to their own Wesleyan doctrine when they misapplied it to the baptism of the Holy Ghost.  Having satisfied it for themselves that their baptism in the Spirit constituted a glorious confirmation of their sanctification, they tended to view themselves as completed; as accomplished in holiness.  Thus followed criticism of the doctrine that it tended to establish the Spirit-baptized within a corrupted dynamic wherein he/she would tend to either:

1)       backslide from faith when conscience discovered the principle of sin to remain an active principle within them, (or)

2)       cement the believer into a persistent state of denial regarding the truth of his/her own moral-depravity.

Further, in the years following the Azusa Street outpouring many thousands of individuals around the world were confessing to having received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues without respect to an experience wherein their carnal nature was powerfully wrought upon in an experience of deliverance.

Those operating within the Second Work mindset would understandably find it difficult to concede upon the evidence that something might in fact be unfinished in regards to their sanctified own state.  And consider this point as well: If Wesley’s doctrine – as that treasured principle for which the Holiness Come Outers had sacrificed so much- was correct; meaning that there did remain a Second Work to be performed bringing the believer into a deeper knowledge of God, then it appears its Pentecostal adherents had cut themselves off from the benefits of their own doctrine by  misconstruing the Spirit’s baptism as the end-all of sanctification!  If this was the dynamic at work, then the Pentecostal Second Work theological model was tragically self-defeating indeed!

One painfully obvious fruit of the doctrine was that it seemed to foster a spiritually damaging environment wherein those claiming to have experienced the Second Work prior to their Spirit-baptism were put in the position of questioning the legitimacy of the Spirit’s work in others.  Two of the most prominent stalwarts of the doctrine were Charles Parham (leader at the Topeka outpouring) and Florence Crawford (a leader at Azusa Street), and as stated by Robert M. Anderson in his book Vision of the Disinherited:

Parham, Crawford, and others delighted in pointing out that persons experiencing the Pentecostal Baptism in the Spirit without first passing through a second, definite experience of sanctification had in fact received a Satanic counterfeit. [2]

Derision and dissension grew within early Pentecostal assemblies struggling to understand what God was doing in this work of Pentecost and in their own lives.  Azusa Street was amongst those assemblies that fell into disorder and a deep malaise following the initial months of glory.  One of its pioneers, Frank Bartleman, describes Azusa as having failed God very early in its history, and that the mission soon grew doctrinally-rigid.[3]  He writes:

Many were too dogmatic at Azusa.  Doctrine after all is but the skeleton of the structure . . . We need flesh on the bones, the Spirit within to give life.  What the people need is a living Christ, not dogmatic, doctrinal contention.  Much harm was done the work in the beginning by unwise zeal. The cause suffered most from those within its own ranks, as always. [4]

In 1911 one of sons of Azusa Street returned to restore the vibrancy of that work.  William Durham had received the baptism of the Holy Ghost at Azusa Street in March of 1907 and now he was returning to declare war upon that doctrine that had served Azusa Street so poorly in its fledgling years and which had divided the unity and so crippled the cause of the restored Pentecostal truth.  Durham brought the message that the Spirit baptized must lay aside any focus upon a second work and simply return to the cross of Jesus Christ and place their hope of salvation firmly there.  This was the message the Spirit baptized needed to hear.  This was the message that brought the presence and power of God back to Azusa Street in what became known as the Second Azusa.

Durham’s efforts were met – however – with rigidness and hostility from many Second Work hardliners, leading to the drawing of doctrinal lines in the sand and causing a great divide between the two Pentecostal camps.  The Second Work camp would become somewhat isolated and exclusive in respect to the Finished Work denominations which did not tend to make the issue a basis for fellowship.

ii.  The Lamp-Stand Model as Contradicting Wesleyan Pentecostal Teaching while Validating the Chief Feature of Wesleyan Doctrine

The thesis of this treatise involves the interpretation of the golden lamp-stand of the tabernacle as a prophetic type and model for the plan of redemption and the witness of God in the earth.  Therefore we will relate this history of twentieth century Pentecost to that model developed earlier in Subparts A and C of this – Part Two – of our treatise.

Despite the lamp-stand model’s validation of a Wesleyan Second-Work doctrine, the model  actually contradicts the Pentecostal-form of the doctrine given that the intersection depicting the baptism of the Holy Ghost occupies the lower intersection that forms the foundation of the lamp-stand and which is joined within the principle of justification by faith.  Therefore the lamp-stand presents justification by faith with its attending principle of the baptism in the Holy Spirit as the foundation and containment for the work of sanctification.   What this tells us is that circumcision and the work of sanctification stand within the kingdom of God as principles subordinated to the principle of justification for reasons that have been explained.[5]

The Lamp-Stand model as constructed earlier within this treatise (Part I, Subpart A) clearly shows the existence of a subsequent – or more accurately, a – subordinated work that would vindicate the major feature of Wesleyan teaching.  This is represented at the second tier of the lamp-stand where its branches intersect from the witness of the Word and the witness of Water as depicting the operation of sanctification.  As related previously, the actual point of intersection with the central candlestick would seem to represent the principle of circumcision.  Therefore circumcision (as a prophetic type) would seem to represent that event that particularly empowers the principle of sanctification.

iii.  A Powerful Revivalist History Thrust Aside by the Finished Work Teaching

In teaching a second work following conversion wherein the believer is sanctified from original sin, Wesley found himself sitting on the opposite side of the table from the vast majority of Protestantism.  Wesley - John 02In fact, his teaching of a second work was not received even by many within Methodism in his own day.  In the decades following his death, even his own Methodist denomination fought with itself on the issue of whether to zealously proclaim a second event that every believer may expect from God, or to smother the doctrine as an unfortunate eccentricity of an otherwise astute church father.  Ultimately, Methodism chose the latter course and by the turn of the century true Wesleyan teaching became rare within Methodism.   This occurred when Methodism effectively ousted its Holiness ministry in the 1890’s leading to the exodus of the Come Outers from Methodism who left to establish a great number of Holiness denominations throughout North America.  The fact that Pentecost – when it was sent – was sent to these Come Outers from Methodism is not an observation to be casually dismissed.

It was Wesleyan teaching that had represented the primary doctrinal basis for revival throughout North America and Europe in the latter eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries.  It was the Methodists of England that had picked up the mantle of the Great Awakening there.  This fact was even more dramatic in North America where Wesleyan-teaching seemed to underlie almost every powerful revival that occurred on the continent.  For example, the Great Yorkshire Revival of the 1790’s and Cane Ridge arose from the work of early Wesleyan circuit riders spreading revival fires across the lower, mid, and upper parts of North America.

In America Wesleyan preaching constituted the primary catalyst for the Second Great Awakening  and its aftershocks.  The Healing Movement began when Ethan O. Allen received prayer from his Methodist classmates in 1846 and was instantaneously healed of pulmonary tuberculosis.  At that moment he heard an audible voice say to him; “Behold, I give you power over all the power of the enemy.”  Allen interpreted his experience within the Wesleyan theological model of sanctification wherein sin was purged as a second work of grace.   His itinerant ministry spread the message and experience of divine healing throughout the United States as many of those touched and healed through his ministry themselves became effective ministers of healing.[6]  Allen’s ministry profoundly impacted such men as Charles Cullis and A.B. Simpson, names synonymous with the healing movement in America.

Whenever Methodism would drift away from a Wesleyan orientation it would likewise fall into a religious mediocrity devoid of power.  When Methodism was from time to time reawakened it would be from the Wesleyan-holiness orientation dormant within its ranks as ground for the renewal. One notable example of this was the monumental revival of the early 1860’s in New England that spread around the world.

Whether coming under Methodism or another brand, the Holiness movement was characterized as that movement and the revivals associated therewith which held to the Wesleyan teachings of Christian Perfection and Wesley’s doctrine of an instantaneous Second Work of Grace.  The first stirrings of the Holiness movement occurred in New England in the late 1830’s where Phoebe Palmer’s teachings were promulgated by Methodist minister Timothy Merritt in his magazine Guide to Christian Perfection which served to renew interest in the Wesleyan view of sanctification.  Many remarkable nineteenth century revivals occurred within this movement.  After the Civil War, John Inskip, President of the National Holiness Association began holding powerful revivals in the South while great revivals were occurring elsewhere in the nation under Wesleyan-holiness preaching.   Richard M. Riss writes:

Individual churches were also scenes of conventions, and at Inskip’s church there was a meeting in the fall of 1870 at which he stopped to pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit to come upon the congregation and, “in an instant, very many in the audience began to weep.”  They all fell upon their knees, “some rejoicing, others in an agony of prayer for their friends.”  In the following year, Inskip took a party to Sacramento, Santa Clara, and San Francisco, where a witness reported that he saw many prominent leaders of the California conference “stricken to the ground by the power of God,” and lying for hours, “filled with the glory”.[7]

Wesleyan teaching and preaching led to the Higher Life and Keswick Holiness movements which constituted the peculiar vehicle of revival power in the latter nineteenth century. Ultimately and ironically, it was this Wesleyan-holiness orientation that was thrust out of Methodism in the 1890’s effectively curtailing Methodism’s involvement with American revivalism, and arguably with true moves of God’s Spirit.

Following the ouster of the Holiness movement from Methodism a new movement of God occurred when Pentecost was restored to the world through these Come Outers who stood firm to Wesleyan holiness teaching.  This remarkable history would seem to constitute compelling rationale against offhandedly discarding the Wesleyan teaching of a Second Definite Work of Grace.  However, this is essentially what occurred within Pentecostalism via its embrace of the doctrine known as the Finished Work.  The contextual history of Methodism and the Holiness movement must be contemplated as part of any analysis of Durham’s Baptistic doctrine of the Finished Work of Calvary; a view which has essentially thrust Wesleyan holiness teaching aside altogether!

Having reviewed this critical history we can now take a closer look at Durham’s Finished Work of Calvary doctrine and begin to assess its sufficiency as a restorative doctrine of Pentecost.

[1] This is obviously because Second Work proponents limit their view of sanctification to past work.

[2] Vision of the Disinherited by Robert M. Anderson © 1979  Hendrickson Publishing

[3] The full statement and testimony of Bartleman is available in an audio recording on this website.  See How Pentecost Came to Los Angeles under the heading AudioMP3.

[4] How Pentecost Came to Los Angeles, Second Ed., by Frank Bartleman – Chapter V

[5] See this treatise – Nicolaitan Error as the Non-Subordination of Circumcision for detailed treatment of this.

[6] For instance;  Sarah Musgrove and Sarah Mix, a black evangelist who became particularly gifted in the  healing ministry.

[7] A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America, by Richard M. Riss © 1988 Hendrickson Publishers pg. 21.  Riss quotes from The Life of Rev. John Inskip by W. McDonald & John E. Searles (pg. 210) and Called Unto Holiness by Timothy L. Smith (pg. 17)


About Lamp-Stand

I was converted to the faith of Jesus Christ in 1982 at which time I received water baptism and Spirit baptism. In the Spring of 2008 I was led of the Spirit through a process of repentance upon which I had an encounter with Christ that worked a profound change upon my inner being. I became aware that I had been forgiven a great debt of sin. I soon felt the Lord's direction that I close my office that my energies not be divided from the study of doctrine.
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