Renovating Holiness

February 4th, 2014 / 10 Comments

I’m sensing a renewed interest today in holiness. This renewal comes from many who are relatively young – Millennials and Generation Xers – and those living outside North America. But how these people talk about holiness differs from your grandma’s holiness!

This rekindled interest in holiness has gone largely unnoticed. This may be due to the fact that young people and Christians throughout the world often use new language, concepts, and emphases. The issues they care about differ in many ways from the issues that motivated holiness leaders of yesteryear. The word “sanctification” may not be used, but its various meanings are often at the fore.

Millennials and Generation-Xers tend to see the world through different lenses than previous generations. Research bears this out.  Of course, I don’t want to exaggerate the differences, because there is continuity between generations as well. Due to these different worldviews, sanctification – if that word is even used by younger Christians – looks different through postmodern eyes.

And then there’s the impact of globalization. The world seems to be shrinking! We’re finding out that not everyone thinks in the same categories as the folks in our own neighborhoods.  My experience traveling to every continent (except Antarctica) tells me that holiness looks different in various locations and is spoken of differently around the world. While we remain united in our belief in one holy God who seeks a holy people, the Spirit is doing new things in various contexts. Thank God for diversity!

Renovating Holiness Book Project

My friend, Josh Broward, and I have decided we want to offer a way for Millennials, Xers, and/or non North Americans to express their unique perspectives on holiness.  So we’re going to publish a book of essays on holiness and sanctification.

Of course, no book is big enough to contain all that could be said about holiness. So we’re looking for a sampling of around 100 contributors from around the world. And we’ve decided to restrict our pool of contributors to members of the Church of the Nazarene.

If you know someone who could write a fine essay for our book, would you contact Josh Broward or me? Send me an email (instead of responding to this blog) at tjoord @

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Richard Harper

This is right on target in my opionion!!! I am so glad to see this happening. Experience does not indicate holiness but a life lived our does.

Wade Sikes

This sounds like a very relevant topic.  As a Nazarene who came to the whole Holiness thing from another denominational perspective, I’ve often found much of the language used in holiness circles to be inaccurate at best, and off-putting at worst.  I look forward to reading your thoughts.


This is an exciting project. Is the target audience popular level or academic?

jack powers

looking forward to seeing how this takes shape. No doubt we have many views but one God who is Holy. The title of the blog “Renovating Holiness” caught my attention but the content didn’t seem to follow the same thread, e.g., “renewed, renewal, rekindled”. Thanks for taking this on

Thomas Jay Oord

Devan – The essays aren’t going to be academic treatises (although many will be academically informed), so we’re hoping the book will appeal to a wide audience.

Gerald Whetstone

A work like this will be welcomed! Thank you for taking on the challenge.

I trust questions like: How wide can the lens be to view biblical holiness and sanctification? I am not personally a fan of the term “worldview,” nonetheless, since you used the term above, how much should a worldview have on a discussion of holiness? Are the generational views that much different? I have found in my discussions that typically we are on the same page, though different terms and metaphors are being used? Gen X’ers and Millennials have a great deal to offer us and I look forward to hearing more from them.

Recommendations of contributors – Jeremy Scott, pastor of the Hingham Church of the Nazarene, Hingham, MA. Highly recommend him.

James Copple

A great enterprise. Language is critical to cultural context and examining how we express this most significant part of our theology is an important and needed task. Are there guidelines for submission?

Thomas Jay Oord

James – The main guidelines are…

1. Interest in holiness.
2. Born in or after 1960.
3. Member of the Church of the Nazarene.

But we work with those who meet these criteria to hone the subject matter they choose.


W.R. Crisp

A “Holiness” perspective (as with all perspectives/perceptions) are shaped by that which is heard preached. Doctrine must be taught from the specific to the general understanding. Error and heresy arise when what is perceived by the masses as truth is embraced as truth by well meaning clergy and presbytery. This error is then built upon and spread around and incorporated as gospel.
Holiness ,(understood as entire sanctification), discipleship preached will engender holiness in practice – in lifestyle patterns : from the teacher to the disciple to other converts, never in the reverse order.

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