False Holiness, Outline
This is a brief outline of a longer
written by Mark Campbell. The condensed version is
Tom V., a struggling Assembly member, committed suicide. His suicide
raised questions, "If he couldn't make it, will I? Might I also
lose out, after struggling so hard to achieve a life of perfection? And
since the biggest concern of the leadership was not for Tom, but for how
his suicide might negatively affect the testimony of the group, could
there possibly be error in the teaching on holiness?"
Holiness: The Definition was twisted to become a tool for control.
Holiness was defined as total commitment to George and his "heavenly
vision" of the church.
- This introduced a new category of sin: Any criticism, questioning
or differing opinion would not be tolerated.
- Further, all desires and plans for one's life must be put aside
unless they would advance the "heavenly vision.”
Is this scriptural? Paul's disagreed with Apollos' plans in I
Cor. 12. His attitude shows that true holiness is not
unquestioning submission, even to a god-appointed leader. Peter
was entreatable to Paul's rebuke about freedom from any rules of
performance (Gal 2).
False Holiness: The Split Level Error
Salvation is divided into two parts.
- Initial salvation, the forgiveness of sins, is only the launch
pad for the Christian life, because a new believer does not yet have
the presence of God.
- To achieve the presence of God and attain “full salvation", a
person must now strive to attain holiness by having regular
devotions, attending all the meetings, obedience to the leaders,
resisting sin and going the way of the cross, etc.
Is this Scriptural? The Bible does not make a distinction
between initial salvation and full salvation. Salvation
includes complete forgiveness of sins (past, present, and
future), the very presence of God, sonship, inheritance, Heaven,
participation in the Bride of Christ, and so much more. At first
faith we receive all of Christ, and
all the blessings of His salvation. Faith is receiving a
gift, not an action taken by the believer to earn God's full
False Holiness: A Higher Life?
George taught that worldliness in the church was proof that his
message of “holiness” was desperately needed to awaken Christians to
their need of a higher and holier life. And to produce a church
that was a testimony to the world. This call to a higher life has
- The problem with this call to false holiness is that the flesh is
awakened and attempts to do; true holiness acknowledges what
God has done in Christ.
- Those who claim the greater determination become elitist in
their attitude toward their second class brethren
This elitism and pride creates a lack of love toward the weaker
individual, evidenced in the Fellowship’s treatment of Tom, who
False Holiness: Recovery
The same joy and peace you had when you first accepted Christ can be
yours again today.
- Recognize that true holiness comes from the Christian’s security
and full acceptance in the finished work of Christ on the cross.
Following the "heavenly vision" and the message of holiness will never
result in joy and peace.
- Even when a Christian is struggling "to get the victory", God is
still there ministering His restorative grace to the heart. He draws
near to the broken and contrite heart.
A succession of blessings follows deliverance from false holiness.
- First, a believer experiences rest. Rest because I know that
all the liabilities and care of my soul’s condition have been
taken care of in Christ, there is nothing more for me to do.
- Second, I experience a wonderful deliverance from the
self-preoccupation. I am no longer burdened with the constant
self-evaluation process that the false holiness message requires.
- Third, grace then leads to the true expression of holiness in my
life, which is love: love for God, love for the brethren, and love
for the lost. As Jesus said in John 4:14 the new life becomes “a well
of living water that springs up” and flows out to others.
The difference between false holiness and true holiness is the
difference between doing and done.
Read more on this topic:
The Galatian Crisis »»
Full Salvation by Devout Effort »»
Free to Be Righteous »»