A new theological manifesto marks an effort by historic Holiness churches to rearticulate their key doctrine for today. At the end of February, the Wesleyan Holiness Study Project (WHSP) released a document that had been in the works for three years.
According to Kevin Mannoia, graduate and faculty chaplain at Azusa Pacific University, this document also marks the first time these historic Holiness denominations have cooperated in this way. Each of the ten denominations provided funding and sent three representatives to participate in the three-year project. These included both Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal branches of the movement, as well as black and white denominations. The participating denominations are the Salvation Army, Church of the Nazarene, Free Methodist Church, Brethren in Christ, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, International Pentecostal Holiness, Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), Church of God in Christ, Shield of Faith, and the Christian & Missionary Alliance.
From the 1840s to the end of the19th century, key leaders believed that the culturally dominant form of Methodism had slipped from its original commitments and formed splinter groups to revive the concern for holiness taught by Methodist founder John Wesley. These groups served the poor and culturally marginalized, and taught them principles of holy living. Some split with the Methodist Episcopal Church over the issue of slavery. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Pentecostal movement sprang from the soil of these Holiness groups.
CT editor David Neff interviewed Kevin Mannoia, who served as chair of the WHSP steering committee, about the significance of the project. The Holiness Manifesto can be read at holinessandunity.org
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