“Let Us Preach it, Sing it, and Live it!”
Entire sanctification as a definite epochal crisis is bound to bear fruit in the life of its possessor. I remember so well that the Word of God was a new book to me. The illumination administered to my mind and heart by the sanctifying gift of the Holy Spirit opened the Book to me in a way that made it new.
This gives an enlarged vision of truth, and with this comes a passion for the truth which motivates and gives one the urge for its promotion. One becomes aware that what he possesses is an essential part of blood-bought salvation. Like Isaiah, he “sees the Lord high and lifted up.” He cries out of the deep passion of his soul, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts.”
This experience takes out of its possessor everything that draws back from anything in God’s Word. I remember an illustration that Dr. C.J. Fowler gave of this truth. Dr. Fowler was pastor of a Methodist church in New England, and he had a holiness revival.
He said that one evening at the close of a happy, victorious service where many witnessed clearly to the joy of full salvation, a very refined lady of his church came up to him and asked, “Dr. Fowler, don’t you think these people are making altogether too much of this question of entire sanctification?”
Dr. Fowler replied, “Sister, did it ever occur to you that you have something in you that kicks against the Word of God?” This question stung her with conviction. She sought and obtained the blessing. He said that ever after that she was always talking about and witnessing to the experience.
How many shrink from identifying themselves with this definite truth because there is a certain reproach accompanying it. It takes a consecration which involves death to reputation and death to position and a devotion to God and His Word which puts everything, including our church and our position in it, on the altar. My friends of fifty years ago shook their heads and said,
Butler was a promising young man, but he has run off with those holiness people.”
Yes, I have been identified for fifty years with the whole saving truth of God and of His method of applying that truth and making it effective, If I could stand again at the fork of the road and all it involved to identify myself with this truth, I would gladly and without hesitation make the same choice I made at that time.
I settled it to stand without wavering or compromise for the absolute authority of God’s inspired Word and of promoting second-blessing holiness. I stand now at the evening hour of a long life without regret for the choice made and the course I have followed.
I regret all personal failures and mistakes that I have made, but I have no occasion for changing the creed I have served during these years. The truths embraced then I have proven in all the vicissitudes of life, and they have grown dearer and sweeter with the passing of the years. I have found that truth, instead of needing any revision, needs to be held with unquestioning loyalty.
To my young brethren of the ministry, let me say, Do not shrink from the reproach of identifying yourselves with true holiness. Do not water down the crisis experience to fit the failures of anyone who professes it, but rather lift the standard to its true level so that all who are below that level will be awakened to their need and seek and obtain the blessing that makes us free.
Let us preach it, sing it, and live it until its beauty shall so shine from our lives that all who know us will become hungry to possess that which radiates from us.
The Rev. Dr. C. W. Butler (1873–1960) was a prominent Methodist evangelist, editor, and president of the National Holiness Association (1928–1942). This selection from his writing, abridged by the editor, is reprinted with permission from the Convention Herald.
The Rev. Dr. C. W. Butler (1873–1960) was a prominent Methodist evangelist, editor, and president of the National Holiness Association (1928–1942).