I apologize to those of you who would like to read this article. I tried finding it online to put in a link to it and couldn’t. If you are interested in reading it I can email it to you. Below is part 2 to the article. In this section Dr. Leth covers holiness and “secondness,” holiness and love, and responsible grace.
4) Holiness and “Secondness”
We should understand entire sanctification as “theologically normative rather than experientially normative.” Theologically normative means this is what happens. Experientially normative explains how we may experience it. The problem with the latter, as Dr. Leth points out, is that people make their experiences the norm for everyone else. If someone didn’t experience it in the way you did then they didn’t really experience it at all. This should be avoided and we should have some room to wiggle around within the various ways a person can experience entire sanctification. Because we don’t all experience it in the same way.
5) Holiness and Love
Really being able to love means first of all that we love God. This is what we were primarily created for. I would agree.
This section was where I felt a little confused. I don’t think Augustine had it right when he said the fundamental human problem is that our love is misdirected. Isn’t the fundamental human problem the lack, or loss, of love in us that vanished after the Fall? I’m not one to argue with Augustine (because our mere human love is misdirected from God and others to only ourselves), but isn’t it hard to misdirect something you don’t possess?
Paul writes in Romans 5, “God has poured out his love (agape) into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” This love is not from us, it is from God. Isn’t this why the writers of the New Testament used the noun agape to describe Godly love? They had to come up with a totally different word for God’s love. Isn’t there a distinction between human love and the love of God? Isn’t this what entire sanctification is all about? Our love does become ‘perfect love’ (to borrow from Wesley) in entire sanctification because God fills us with His love. Harald Lindstrom points out that this is the chief mark of John Wesley’s view of entire sanctification (from his book Wesley & Sanctification, p 139). This is how we fulfill Jesus’ words to be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect (Matt 5:48).
This section was fuzzy and confusing. Maybe I was misinterpreting the message here, my ignorance makes that a frequent occurrence, but there was no talk at all about the distinctiveness of God’s love and the role it plays in entire sanctification. On a similar side note there isn’t really any mention in the 2005-2009 Nazarene Manual of entire sanctification being all about God filling us with His love. Why is that? How could we change and communicate that better?
6) Responsible grace
Dr. Leth believes in the believer working with the Holy Spirit but he affirms that spiritual formation is, “first and finally, God’s work.” I don’t believe practicing the spiritual disciplines will entirely sanctify us (neither does Leth) but they may help a person get closer to that crisis moment. I think Dr. Leth agreed with this. This is the amazing thing about grace. If God’s Spirit is working in us, all things will be worked together for the good of those who love Him.
What are your thoughts on this?