Site Update 11/12/2012
I just left a comment at Morgan Guyton’s blog and got to thinking about how it reflects what I’ve been doing lately at this site.
Here’s part of what I wrote. This is in response to Morgan’s reference to himself as a “recovering evangelical”:
I am one of those people who is not willing to surrender the concept of “evangelical” to the political right wing, or to the inerrantists, or to the neo-Calvinists. I have a deep, abiding suspicion of the “liberal” (progressive?) Christian tradition — as something that never conveyed the Gospel of Christ to me, and is currently failing to do so (generally speaking) to the new generations that arise. To be evangelical is to love the Gospel and to desire to spread the message. It is to love the Bible and it’s teaching — not to be spreading misinformation about it. To be Wesleyan is to believe that that faith in Christ can both change a person’s life and positively impact the society around us — it’s a Kingdom message. I figure I’m a Metho-Pente-Ortho-Evangelical with a love for the theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg. Yes, I know there’s no going back. But, the holiness and Pentecostal folks that first preached the Gospel to me and modeled the Christian life for me set me on a road that I have been following ever since. If that has set me off from the typical contemporary evangelical, so be it. But, I’m still following, taking my cues from the folks who were initially faithful enough to share the Gospel with me. I want to share it with others. And, that’s “evangelical” in my book — whatever other people may think!
My problem is that (in my own understanding) I am not recovering from the message of the Gospel that I heard all those years ago at Camp-meeting. I’m still following, still trying (to the best of my limited understanding) to understand all that it means.
And, it reminds me now thankful I am that I heard the Gospel from people who advocated a holiness message — telling me that the Spirit of God could change peoples’ lives and fill them with love and power. Over the years I discovered that it was also an optimistic, socially progressive vision not opposed to learning — but embracing the best and the most helpful insights of Biblical scholarship.
Yeah. Well, that’s the way I read it anyway.
So, this explains my (what must seem to be) strange love for the writings of the 18th and 19th and early 20th Century Holiness writers. Yes, I know there are problems with some of their arguments and terminology and so forth — I am not defending it all. But, I believe in the experience to which they pointed, and I appreciate their passion for the Gospel and for the fullest experience of God’s grace and power that we can know.
It is like this: either our genuine, lived-out conformity to the image of Christ comes through our own efforts, or it comes by faith through God’s grace. It’s got to be one way or the other. And, if it’s by faith, then John Wesley’s message and teaching — and the experience to which he pointed in A Plain Account of Christian Perfection — is as real and relevant as it ever was! It is a Kingdom message at its heart and soul. It’s about changed lives and the hope of a changed world.
And, what’s making me so passionate about this is the work I’ve been doing in site redesign. I’ve been working on re-designing the “Old Books” pages — and that has renewed my passion for why I think those writings are still valuable.
So, that’s why I’m calling this post “Site Update” — to let you know what’s going on, and what I’m working on. The new Holiness Books pages are slowly going up and I’ll be editing the writings of my favorite holiness writer, Daniel Steele, for some time yet to come. And I will be uploading new files and deleting old ones for several weeks at least — more likely for several months. Here is what I’ve uploaded so far:
- Wesley on Perfection (compiled by J. A. Wood)
- Love Enthroned by Daniel Steele
- Mile-Stone Papers by Daniel Steele
- A Substitute for Holiness or Antinomianism Revived by Daniel Steele
The last one is a new addition: it wasn’t at the old site. (It is Steele’s critique of Dispensationalism.) If I don’t burn out first, I hope to have the complete works of Daniel Steele up on the web before I’m done. We’ll see.
The template is rather dark and doesn’t have a mobile version, but, still, I’m reasonably happy with it. And, everything has social media integration.
If this blog goes somewhat silent from time to time, it’s not from neglect — I’m simply working on other parts of the site.
Also: a Search page will be going up. I’ll have it up and running by the beginning of next week. In theory, it is up already, but it doesn’t work. When I’ve got it working, it will suddenly appear in the navigation bar at the top of the page. This will make the resources at this site more useful, by allowing users to search the entire site for information.
Yes, I know: the holiness movement — and it’s step-child the Pentecostal movement — are exactly what a lot of people are tying to escape! I can understand why. Really. But, don’t (as they say) through out the proverbial baby with the bathwater. There is really something there.
Well, I still think so, anyway.
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