Three Holiness Journeys
The instantaneous and progressive paradox of sanctifying grace is outlined in “Three Holiness Journeys.” Each model is a legitimate Wesleyan viewpoint.
The Shorter Way – sanctification now. Here is robust Wesleyan optimism, emphasizing that we can experience entire sanctification immediately, through a combination of consecration and faith. The outcome is deliverance from our inner inclination to sin, and the emphasis is on the immediacy of the experience.
Salvationist pioneers and early editions of the Army’s Handbook of Doctrine reflect this viewpoint.
The Middle Way – sanctification by seeking and receiving. This perspective does not diminish the optimism of “The Shorter Way,” but incorporates the need for further grace and more time.
In some measure, it filters humans’ capacity for immaturity and fickleness. However, there is confidence that with earnest searching and prayer, sanctification will be experienced and received.
The Longer Way – sanctification by process and growth. Here the emphasis is on sanctification as the outcome of pilgrimage and spiritual formation. The intractable presence of obstinate and stubborn sin influences this journey.
In this model, growing in grace and maturing through spiritual disciplines mediate Holiness. Such an approach is increasingly prevalent in current Wesleyan scholarship, and is somewhat reflected in the recent editions of our Handbook of Doctrine.
Now? Sooner? Later? Let’s paraphrase Paul: “He who began a good journey in you, will bring it to completion.”
by Colonel Richard Munn