Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Renovating Holiness: Last Round of Contributors

The Renovating Holiness project is well underway.  Gen-X and Millennial Nazarenes from around the world are revisioning sanctification for the 21st century.  We have inherited a beautiful theological house that is in serious need of renovation. 
Photo Credit: "Nathan"
These are the topic summaries for our last round of contributors.

Christa Klosterman (Pastor, Idaho & Oregon)
For the last many decades, each denomination has had its own distinctive element of theology or practice, a way to be set apart from the others.  For Nazarenes it has been holiness and our distinctive doctrine on sanctification.  In these current days, the lines we once drew to separate us from each other have disappeared or have become blurry.  What might it look like for the people called Nazarenes to share holiness with the broader Christian community?  And what might Nazarenes learn about holiness from the broader Christian community?

Montague R. Williams (Eastern Nazarene College)
Holiness and Racial Reconciliation: Considering Possibilities and Limitations
Christians in the U.S. have been expected to participate in congregations that match them racially.  Because racial division is heightened among evangelical congregations, it is not surprising from a sociological perspective that one rarely hears about racial reconciliation in Nazarene churches and statements.  However, from a theological perspective, there is a great deal of space to consider the connections between holiness and the hope and practice of racial reconciliation.  Making use of insights from interdisciplinary sources, I would like to identify possibilities and limitations of leaning on the doctrine of holiness for racial reconciliation.

Chad Maxson (Trevecca Nazarene University)
God’s Church and The Lens of Christ
Martin Luther spoke of God seeing us through Christ.  Wesleyans have often discounted that notion of imputed righteousness.  In this essay, I will touch on Dunning’s four relationships (self, others, God, and world) to make the case that, rather than aligning the human will with God’s will, sanctification is about aligning our vision with God’s.  When we see ourselves, others, God, and the world through the lens of Christ, we see true. Thus we are restored to the image of God.  This process requires guidance, which means that God’s Church is vital to entire sanctification.

Sherri Walker (Northwest Nazarene University)
Holiness within the Stages of Development   
I would like to look at holiness and our expectations of the call to a holy life within the stages of development.  For instance, how can we talk to teens and young adults about a call to entirely surrendering their lives to Christ when they have only begun to develop an understanding for what that surrender entails.  We think the church is somehow failing our teens and young adults if they do not have a good grasp on what entire sanctification means.  Yet, how can one understand about full surrender when the life of a teenager and young adult still belongs so much in the hands of their parents.  How can we understand the stages of development better in order to communicate holiness to our young people in way that will grow with their development instead of cause shame and guilt?

Edgar Baldeón (South America Nazarene Theological Seminary)
I would like to focus on Mark, chapters 8 & 9 as a background to reflect on holiness. I would like to talk about holiness as a part of the Christian Life proposed by Jesus. We understand better who we are as disciples when we understand better Jesus, our master. His proposed life is an invitation: if anyone want to be my disciple

Greg Arthur (Pastor, Indiana)
Holy Love Making
There are few things we associate with holiness less than having sex. In our minds, and often in our experience, our sexuality and spirituality are compartmentalized from each other. Talking about sex in church or with other Christians usually feels awkward to say the least. If we are talking about sex and holiness together we are mainly talking about what holy people shouldn't do. Holy people don’t have sex before marriage. Holy people don’t lust. Holy people are able to overcome their sexual nature in pursuit of greater things.
But what if our sexuality is a powerful tool to understanding our spirituality? What if sex and worship are closely linked? What if sex actually can draw us closer to God? If we are to live into our call to holiness we must have a holy sex life. This goes far beyond abstinence or merely limiting sex to marriage. This is a re-imaging of our sexuality from the viewpoint of God.

Jameel Lee (Caribbean Nazarene College)
Dimensions of Holiness in the 21st Century
The discussion of holiness has been debated by the Church, and with greater interest by those of us after the Holiness Tradition, for centuries.  It is imperative that every generation, culture, and demography contextualize this holiness message to their circumstance.  While there is a plethora of ideas of what holiness should look like, one cannot properly express what you do not know.  In essence, holiness is the abandonment of selfish desires and the pursuit of the Christ-like lifestyle.  It is to do and be Jesus to the world.  This leads me to further explore the demonstrations of holiness that seem to have been forgotten that we must force ourselves to consider; albeit these considerations are not new but are easily overlooked if we focus primarily on simply a theological discussion and the do’s and don’ts of holiness.  These aspects include Social Justice, Stewardship, and Courtesy.
Social Justice --  From the Old Testament perspective of the responsibility of God’s people to be concerned about the down-trodden, oppressed, widows, orphans so that prayers can be answered.  Further, John the Baptiste was considered “holy” because he spoke out against injustice.
Stewardship – There is much disdain upon practices such as gambling.  The only thing that we can really use to disassociate ourselves from this activity is that of stewardship.  However, we must bring a closer attention to the application of this principle as a part of our Christlike lifestyle.
Courtesy – We are instructed to be courteous and gentle to all.  In the 21st century, how does this apply to the holy life in a world that has grown selfish, into itself and bustling?  Holiness takes the focus off of me and helps me to see the pain of others.  I see people through the eyes of Christ.
Holiness begins as an internal work of the Holy Spirit but must have a powerful demonstration in my daily actions and activities.

Samson Kalitera (Africa Nazarene University, Malawi)
Holiness: The Missing Link to Evangelization of Modern Africa
Although Christianity is now one of the two most widely practiced religions in African continent, the modern African person has become more adamant and suspicious than he was decades ago when most evangelistic tools appealed to him. The modern man truly hungers for the Gospel that is presented to him through an authentic lifestyle of those who labour together with Christ for the salvation of mankind. The unchurched are more open to receiving the gospel and the gift of the salvation that it brings when they see it lived out in the lives of those who share it.  Holy living becomes a key to evangelization of modern Africa.

Kevin Lambert (Pastor, Oregon)
Social Holiness and Alcohol
My essay will revisit the Nazarene stance on alcohol in light of our historical roots and our current global context.  The essay will describe my own experience growing up in the Church of the Nazarene where I was taught that holiness is about purity and that alcohol made the individual impure.  Then I will discuss how my definition of holiness changed from being about "individual purity" to being about the community of faith whose practices reveal Christ. I am going to argue that concerning alcohol, social holiness would mean we need to listen to the narratives of the moderate drinkers, the abstainers and the alcoholics among us and live out the gospel in light all those stories.

Kerese Harrinandan (Mesoamerica Region - English Field Office)
Holiness and Community Outreach: Emphasis on Youth Ministry
More and more, youth are walking out of holiness churches and into the streets where they are accepted, embraced and even given leadership roles. They slip through the cracks and some of us have no idea of where or when they went missing. This paper is based on the two commandments that Jesus gave which summed up the Law and the Prophets – “Love the Lord thy God…and…love your neighbor” (Matthew 22: 37-40). The objective of presenting this topic from this position is firstly, to call our church to consider that a great part of being holy is caring enough about the people in our communities to reach out to them. Discipleship is the mission of the Church of the Nazarene. We simply cannot disciple those we are not prepared to reach. The second objective is tied mainly to the fact that I am a youth and I have worked in youth ministry for the past 10 years or so. I want to encourage those who have been involved in youth ministry to not become weary in doing good, and to call those who have not been reaching out to the young people in their lives, to take the time to make an investment in the Kingdom of God by investing in youth now.

Tim Gaines (Pastor, OK)
Practicing Holiness in a Technological Age
By nearly all accounts, late modern humans are being formed by technological forces.  The ubiquitous use of technology has not only shaped our view of the world, but our relationship to it as well.  Late moderns believe, consciously or not, that we can master the world through our application of technology.  Time, space, and hardship can be overcome if we are to will it by making use of various technological media.  Further, technology in and of itself lacks a teleological bearing, a characteristic it shares with the classical image of the sinful person turned in upon the self.  I argue that among the convenience of the technological practices, an alternative set of practices is needed to direct us toward holiness of heart and life, leading us toward an end beyond ourselves, an end “lost in wonder, love and praise.”

Todd Bowman (MidAmerica Nazarene University, Indiana Wesleyan University)
Sanctification and Sustainable Sobriety: Relational Spirituality in Addiction Recovery.
In this essay I intend to explore the Neuroaffective model of addictive behavior that I have developed over the past 5 years, with specific attention being paid to the attachment/interpersonal origins of addictive behavior, as well as the parallel relationship between the emergence of personal holiness and sustainable recovery through the lens of a more intentional relational spirituality. Specifically, the themes of bondage and freedom will be explored in light of these two constructs, with bondage representing both sin and addiction, while freedom will represent holiness and sobriety.

Jay Ackerman (Northwest Nazarene University)
Free Indeed
Historically, sanctification has been described in numerous ways, some more helpful than others. In this essay, I will explore sanctification as living freely with God, with others, with the world, and with oneself by surveying how sanctification offers freedom for God, freedom from sin, and freedom in community.

Heather Ardrey (Harvard University)
Meditation on the Callings in Mark 1&2 - What are we called out of, and where are we called to go?
For the calling stories in the first few chapters of Mark, we see each of the disciples identified in different ways (fishermen, sons, working a tax booth) and called in similar ways (follow me). To answer that calling, the disciples leave the thing that identified them to follow Jesus - presumably to sites unknown. However, where he actual leads them is surprising - he leads them right back to their own town, their own church, their own house, their own family & friends. What does it mean to be called out of our identity only to be called back into deeper engagement in our own lives? Is this a helpful metaphor for holiness?

Rob Fringer (Nazarene Theological College - Australia)
Those who are ‘in Christ’ are already part of a new reality. In the words of the apostle Paul: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). While this passage has often been erroneously individualized, it is not foremost about us becoming new creations. Rather, it is about us joining God’s already-not-yet new creation.
The certainty of the future has broken into the present and we call it ‘hope.’ This hope is not given for our comfort, though it does bring comfort. It is not given so we can sit back and do nothing. Rather, this hope transforms us and moves us to action. Like love, hope is expansive in the present. As we reside in Christ and thus in this new age, we are indeed changed and made new, but more than that and more importantly, we are people who are helping to make all things new. We have been tasked with the great responsibility and the great authority to reveal the already not yet Kingdom to the world around us. This is indeed a great mystery and we are a part of the unveiling of it, helping to make it less mysterious to the world around us. This process of participation is holiness and is making us holy.

Gift Mtukwa (Africa Nazarene University)
Holiness and the Church of the Nazarene in Africa
This paper will investigate holiness preaching in the African church of the Nazarene. Questions that will guide the research include, does the African church preach the holiness message? What is the understanding of holiness in the African Church? In what way has the American understanding of holiness influenced the African church? We will trace the history of the church of Nazarene in African and see what we can learn about the passing on of the holiness message to the African church. Interviews will also be used to hear what contemporary African church leaders understanding of holiness.

Tim Crutcher (Southern Nazarene University)
One of the issues regarding thinking about holiness among the contemporary inheritors of the American Holiness movement is what we do with the “entire” in “entire sanctification.” American Holiness folk often made sin a thing that could be—actually, that had to be—removed. This created problems. In response, many Relational Theology folk today are leery of talking about sin’s "removal" at all, and they often talk as though it is a problem that never goes away. This essay will explore how it is possible to think of sin in relational terms and still offer the hope of an "entire sanctification" that still makes sense today.

Janine King (Pastor - Counselor, Colorado)
Holiness, Attachment Theory, and A Theology of Love: It’s Relationship
This essay compares thoughts about the importance of secure relationships for normal human development from John Bowlby’s attachment theory with Mildred Bangs Wynkoop’s, A Theology of Love. The blending of these approaches results in a concept presented by Dr. Jim Bond in his lectures on holiness. This concept being that holiness is all about “The Relationship.” Viewing holiness through the lens of attachment theory and the theology of love yields a relational aspect of holiness which results from God’s intimate relationship with humans and flows into relational agape love between humans. Loving relationships are the catalyst for creating holiness.

Donnie Miller (Pastor, USA/France)
John 17:16, “They do not belong to this world any more than I do.”
Holiness is about separation and re-attachment; separation from the Kingdom of the World and an attachment to the Kingdom of God.  As citizens of the Kingdom of God, our allegiance transcends any national loyalties and our worship gatherings and our military involvement must reflect this reality.  We can live out our identity and Kingdom people by keeping our worship spaces free from nationalism and our support of war based upon a conscience decision guided by Just War Theory rather than the ambitions of our national leaders.

Rob Snow (Ambrose University, Canada)
Holiness and the Gifts of the Spirit in Worship
This essay explores the theme of holiness and the gifts of the Spirit with special attention to the value of the gifts for the edification of the worshipping community (cf. I Cor. 14). Since holiness people recognize the centrality of the Holy Spirit for holy living, this essay argues that the gifts are an indispensable means by which the church as a worshipping community becomes holy. As a denomination, we cannot propagate a truncated view of the Holy Spirit whereby we emphasize the purity of the Spirit at the expense of his power.
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