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Holiness Movement

The Holiness movement is an American off-shoot of Methodism which generally follows the Arminian doctrinal teachings of John Wesley. Holiness Christians left Methodism in the 19th and early 20th centuries because they felt that mainstream Methodism was failing to emphasize Wesleyan teachings on sanctification, particularly the experience of Christian Perfection, which Holiness theologians usually refer to as entire sanctification, following Wesley's colleague John Fletcher. Among the more notable Holiness bodies are the Church of the Nazarene and the Salvation Army.

The roots of the Holiness Movement are as follows:

  • The Reformation itself, with its emphasis on salvation by grace alone through faith alone.
  • Puritanism in 17th Century England and its transplantation to America with its emphasis on adherence to the Bible and the right to dissent from the established church.
  • Pietism in 17th Century Germany, led by Philipp Jakob Spener and the Moravians, which emphasized the spiritual life of the individual, coupled with a responsibility to live an upright life.
  • Quietism, as taught by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), with its emphasis on the individual's ability to experience God and understand God's will for oneself.
  • The 1730s Evangelical Revival in England, led by Methodists John Wesley and his brother Charles Wesley, which brought Wesley's distinct take on the teachings of German Pietism to England and eventually to the United States.
  • The First Great Awakening in the 18th and early 19th Centuries in the United States, propagated by George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, and others, with its emphasis on the initial conversion experience of Christians.
  • The Second Great Awakening in the 19th Century in the United States, propagated by Charles Finney, Lyman Beecher, Francis Asbury, and others, which also emphasized the need for personal conversion and is characterized by the rise of evangelistic revival meetings.



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