Holiness is a touchy subject in most of our churches.  We feel conflicted because on the one hand most of our ministers and congregations don’t really want to focus on it specifically…not very much, anyway.  (Though sometimes we bow to denominational pressure to do so.)  On the other hand, God’s call for us to be holy people is Scripturally undeniable.  This conflict arises in no small part because of the way we’ve defined & applied “holiness” in our movement, and now in the minds of most Oneness Pentecostal people the very word is fraught with tension.  This is the tension that exists between our awareness of God’s call, and our frustration with the traditional Oneness Pentecostal approach to it.

In spite of this tension, or perhaps even because of it, it’s more important than ever before for us to know what a “holiness ethic” is and why it’s important.  It’s important for us to grasp what having a holiness ethic might mean for us and our interactions with the world.  This understanding is important because God is holy, and because He has called us to be holy people.  A holiness ethic is important because our appreciation of God’s nature and calling must transcend a narrow, culturally delineated application of holiness.

But everything starts somewhere.  Every idea has a root, and ground from which it grew.  The Oneness Pentecostal movement’s focus on a particular view of “holiness” is not original with us nor unique to us.  The concept we generally embrace as “holiness” is an inherited one, and has been shared by other movements both previous to ours and contemporary with ours.  Having a basic understanding of how this particular heritage came to us would help us grasp the current focus…even while maintaining reservations about it.  Understanding where we are from and how we got to where we are now is important in order for us to truly appreciate where we are going.

Next; a brief history of the Oneness Pentecostal movement.

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