Holiness preaching is essential.
The apostle Paul states in his letter to the Ephesians that one object of the Christian minister was “for the perfecting of the saints” (Eph. 4:12). We must recognize this and give the doctrine of holiness prominence. For holiness preaching is definitely scriptural preaching, and there are several things that characterize it.
Holiness preaching recognizes the Bible terms to describe the various works of grace.
The Bible is for all ages and for all people. We hear a great deal about changing our phraseology and adjusting our approach to accommodate various schools of theology. How dare we claim to be truly scriptural in our message if we discard the scriptural terms which describe the experience of holiness, such as entire sanctification, perfection, dead to sin, baptism with the Holy Spirit, and perfect love?
Holiness preaching is doctrinal preaching.
We need to be reminded of the apostle’s exhortation to reject anything “that is contrary to sound doctrine” (I Tim. 1:10) and to speak only the things that “become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).
Thus we are exhorted to “preach the word, be instant in season, out or season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with long-suffering and doctrine” (II Tim. 4:2, 3).
It was when the Romans “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was declared” unto them that they were “made free from sin” and “became servants of righteousness (Rom. 6:17–18).
Holiness preaching is definite preaching.
“For If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” (II Cor. 14:8).
There was no uncertain sound in Peter’s preaching on the Day of Pentecost. It was clear and definite; and the people, being pricked in their hearts, cried, “What must we do?”
Definite preaching is heart-pricking preaching. It is definite on the twofold nature of sin and the twofold deliverance from sin. There can be no question or evading the scriptural teaching of two definite works of grace. It is this that distinguishes us from all others and brings light and deliverance to needy hearts.
We cannot be guilty of the practice of a certain pastor who, when explaining his method of preaching, said: “I preach holiness in such a manner that my people do not know what I am talking about; and since they do not know what I am talking about, there is no offense in my message.” No offense and no victory!
A layman, expressing his appreciation for the ministry of a certain evangelist, said,”I like that man and his preaching because you can understand his message. When he preaches, his congregation sees their needs, and many seek and find victory.” Definite preaching results in definite victory.
Holiness preaching is anointed preaching.
“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of men’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (I Cor. 2:4).
To preach with the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit is the privilege of every holiness preacher, for there is a fullness of power that only sanctified preachers know.
Holiness is the message that God has entrusted with us.
We must declare it. “Holiness,” declared Bishop Foster, “is definitely a Bible doctrine. It breathes in the prophesies; it thunders in the law; it murmurs in the narratives; it whispers in the promises; it supplicates in the prayers, it sparkles in the poetry; it resounds in the Psalms; it speaks in the types; it glows in the imagery; it voices in the language; and it burns in the spirit of the whole scheme from Alpha to Omega—from the beginning to the end. Holiness! Holiness needed! Holiness required! Holiness offered! Holiness attainable! Holiness a present duty, a present privilege, a present enjoyment!
Yes, preach holiness!
The Rev. H.M. Couchenour, Methodist author, evangelist, and educator, was once president of the National Association for the Promotion of Holiness. This article is reprinted by permission from The Convention Herald, April 1982.
The Rev. H.M. Couchenour, Methodist author, evangelist, and educator, was once president of the National Association for the Promotion of Holiness.