Home » Welcome » Regional Course of Study » Courses » 8 TH102 Doctrine of Holiness

8 TH102 Doctrine of Holiness

Course Description

A study of the doctrine and lifestyle of holiness as taught in the Bible, historically in the Christian Church, and finally as developed in the theology of John Wesley and the Holiness Movement, with a special focus on the Wesleyan distinctive of entire sanctification or Christian perfection.

The student will be equipped to lead others (or themselves if needed) into the experience of entire sanctification.

Course Rational

The Wesleyan doctrine of entire sanctification, along with the supporting concepts of Arminius, forms a different theological hermeneutic than typically found in Reformed theology. It is a different worldview and not simply a re-definition of terms. It is extremely important that the student be exposed to this hermeneutic as well as to the experience that emerges from it.  It is required for ordained ministers in the Church of the Nazarene to testify to the experience of Entire Sanctification.  Preparation for those ministers cannot ignore the need of students to be clearly led into this experience and learn how to clearly lead others as well.

Program Outcomes


CN-6 Ability to explain how the theological foundations of Christianity proceed from the Scriptures.

CN-7 Ability to explain scriptural holiness from the Wesleyan-Armenian holiness perspective.

CN-10 Ability to describe Nazarene history in terms of events, personalities, and theology.

CN-13 Ability to explain the Nazarene position on speaking in tongues.

CN-15 Ability to demonstrate theological reflection that integrates the Wesleyan approach to Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience.

CN-20 Ability to explain the core values of the Church of the Nazarene and its global and local implementation.


CP-14 Ability to teach the position of the Church of the Nazarene on the doctrine of holiness.


CH-2 Ability to love God and neighbor with all one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to live out the experience of entire sanctification.

Activity Outcomes


ACC-1 Demonstrate a Christ-like character of submission, integrity and love in all relationships.

ACC-2 Explain and demonstrate how the Christian life of accountability is shown in relational integrity, leadership integrity, and financial integrity toward God, church leaders, within marriage, and in other relationships.


ADM-4 Tell the story of the history of the Church of the Nazarene and consider its mission, message, governance, and its place in the larger Christian story.


DIS-4 Use the reading of God’s Word to foster spiritual growth and for personal devotions.

DIS-6 Write and then share their conversion/spiritual journey narrative.

DIS-7 Identify holiness materials useful to congregations including classical Christian literature, audio, video (or other media) to assist their regular spiritual growth.

DIS-9 Describe the difference between a “works salvation” and the obedience that proceeds from faith.

DIS-13 Explain how sin affects humanity, i.e., the condition of humanity since falling into sin, and how God’s grace in Christ brings new life. Explain what effects of sin are cured through entire sanctification. Demonstrate how to lead a person to the experience of entire sanctification.

DIS-14 Prepare, organize, and deliver a biblically sound lesson or sermon using culturally sensitive techniques and skills.


FAS-1 Fast and pray for a designated time, in imitation of Christ’s experience in the desert. Explain how their life has changed because of fasting.

Personal Spiritual Development (Holiness)

HOL-1 Identify spiritual development practices that speak most to the students in their own spiritual growth. Explain that what the Holy Spirit has shown them will need to change in their own lives to make them more like Christ (PS 139).

HOL-4 Prepare a testimony about their personal experience of entire sanctification and deliver it in a non- academic environment. Students who are uncertain of their current experience should clearly identify where they understand themselves to be in that journey, and what steps they are taking to embrace the experience of heart holiness.


PRA-1 Model the prayers of Christ and His relationship to the Father through a strong passion for a life of prayer shown by devoting time to prayer and keeping a prayer journal, including a list of lost people for whom God has made them responsible.


PRE-7 Clearly explain either orally or in writing a Wesleyan-Arminian understanding of the Trinity, humanity as created in the image of God and fallen into sin, salvation in the person and work of Jesus Christ, the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, the inspiration and authority of the Bible, and the mission and ministry of the church.

PRE-8 Clearly explain various perspectives of holiness and its application to the Christian life from a variety of theological perspectives, e.g. Reformed, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox.

PRE-9 Identify several terms used to express experiential holiness, know their historical or Biblical context, and express their individual strengths and weaknesses in reference to the cultural context in which the students will most often find themselves.

PRE-11 Identify how holiness was experienced in the Bible and how this applies in the cultural context in which the student will most often find themselves.

Content 54%
Competency 21%
Character 18%
Context  7%

Course Textbooks

LeClerc, Diane. Discovering Christian Holiness: The Heart of Wesleyan-Holiness Theology. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 2009.

Greathouse, William. Wholeness in Christ. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1998.

The following are available with the Wesleyan Holiness Digital Library www.whdl.org:

Bartle, Neville. Holy God, Holy People.

Board of General Superintendents. “Core Values: Christian, Holiness, Missional.”

Dunning, H. Ray, and Neil Wiseman. Biblical Resources for Holiness Preaching, From Text to Sermon.

Lyons, George. Holiness in Everyday Life.

Lyons, George. More Holiness in Everyday Life.

Palmer, Phoebe. The way of holiness: with notes by the way.

The sessions and course readings may also be taken from the following texts:

Arminius, James. The Works of James Arminius – Vol. 1 Nine Theological Questions. http://wesley.nnu.edu/arminianism/the-works-of-james-arminius/volume-1/nine-theological-questions/; http://wesley.nnu.edu/arminianism/the-works-of-james-arminius/

“Becoming Holy People.” RIIE Course Module. Kansas City: Clergy Services, 2004.

Calvin, John. “TULIP.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvinism#Five_points_of_Calvinism

Drury, Keith. Holiness for Ordinary People. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 1992.

Greathouse, William M. The Fullness of the Spirit. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 1986.

Horton, Stanley M. What the Bible Says about the Holy Spirit. Springfield, Missouri: Gospel Publishing House, 2007.

Maddox, Randy L. Responsible Grace: John Wesley’s Practical Theology. Nashville: Kingswood Series, Abingdon Press, 1994.

Moore, Frank. Breaking Free from Sin’s Grip. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2001.

Purkiser, W.T. Conflicting Concepts of Holiness: Issues in Holy Living. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 1972.

Purkiser, W.T. The Gifts of the Spirit. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 1975.

Wesley, John. A Plain Account of Christian Perfection; Paraphrase, by David Phillips. For full edition, see The Works of John Wesley (1872 ed. by Thomas Jackson), vol. 11, pp. 366-446. Online version available at the Wesley Holiness Digital Library http://www.whdl.org/plain-account-christian-perfection-paraphrase.

Wesley, John. Compilation of various articles and books available at http://wesley.nnu.edu/john-wesley/

Course Requirements

Students will be formed into groups of three for the whole class. These teams / groups will form discussion groups that examine Biblical examples and various other discussion points. The group will rotate responsibilities, one opens in prayer for each of the team, one leads the discussion, and one reports to the class.

  1. The local school’s attendance policy should be placed here.
  2. Bible Reading and Prayer Journal: Students should read through the Bible as designated in the Master Plan for Bible Reading in the Course of Study. For this course, students will read 1 Samuel 15 – 2 Samuel 18 and John 7 – 13. The focus of the Scripture reading and prayer time for this course is on fasting. Students will choose one meal time per week. Instead of cooking and eating during that time, students will spend the time in prayer and fasting (if students are unable to fast food because of medical reasons, please talk to the instructor about other types of fasts). At the end of each week, students will reflect in one paragraph of 200 words in their journal on how God is growing them to be more like Christ.

(Outcomes CH-2, ACC-1, DIS-4, FAS-1, PRA-1)

  1. Testimony: Students will give an oral testimony of their personal experience and growth in the life of holiness. In this testimony, students will explain what Christ means to them and how the Holy Spirit is transforming them in their daily lives. The class will interact with students and offer constructive feedback. Students will take into consideration the feedback of the class and share their testimony with someone (preferably) in the community. As a final step, students will write a one page reflection on their experience.

(Outcomes CH-2, ACC-2, DIS-6, HOL-4).

  1. Team Participation: Students will be grouped in twos or threes to discuss the role of the Holy Spirit from a Wesleyan-Holiness perspective in the practice of living a holy life, including:
    1. the testimony of the Spirit in our entire sanctification,
    2. the gifts of the Spirit,
    3. the fruit of the Spirit, and
    4. the Nazarene position on speaking in an unknown tongue.

The group will select a spokesperson to report their discussions orally to the whole class.  (Outcomes CN-7, CN-13, DIS-6, HOL-1)

  1. Drawing: Students will draw a line (or diagram, picture, or Studymap) of life (grace of holiness continuum) designed to teach 12-15 year olds or adult learners in a Church of the Nazarene membership class. This will be an in-class exercise without notes (quiz). Scripture references will need to be provided for each component. The diagram(s) will depict the following:
    1. God’s prevenient pursuing grace before a person comes to Christ in salvation.
    2. The crisis (event) experience of the first work of grace in its various descriptions: regeneration, justification, adoption, redemption, reconciliation, initial sanctification. Give at least two Scripture verses (or passages) for each of these six descriptions of the first work of grace.
    3. Progressive sanctification (or growth in grace). Cite at least two Scriptures.
    4. The crisis (event) of entire sanctification, with cleansing, entire consecration, and the witness of the Spirit, and give at least four Scripture verses (or passages)
    5. Progressive sanctification following entire sanctification (more growth in grace, accessing the ‘means of grace’ for living the holy life), and the life of love made perfect.
    6. Final sanctification (or glorification). Cite two Scriptures.

The student will explain the drawing to the instructor or to a designated instructor’s assistant. (Outcomes CP-14, DIS-7, PRE-7)

  1. Accountability Groups: Students will be put in groups of twos and threes as spiritual accountability partners. They will spend a designated time during class sessions discussing their personal spiritual development as it relates to what has been discussed in class. Students will share a three-minute summary of their discussions with the instructor or a designated instructor’s assistant.

(Outcomes ACC-1, ACC-2, HOL-1)

  1. Role Play: Students will participate in a role play where they will try to lead a seeker toward the experience of entire sanctification with a prayer for cleansing, entire consecration, and the witness of the Spirit.

(Outcomes CN-15, HOL-4)

  1. Sermon: Students will preach in class a final 10 minute sermon on how to experience entire sanctification or growth in holiness of heart and life.

(Outcomes CN-6, CN-15, DIS-14, PRE-7, PRE-11)

  1. Exam: Students will be tested on their knowledge of the doctrine of holiness in at least one exam (can be divided or given orally in some settings). This exam can be fashioned like an interview before a District Ministerial Credential Board.
    1. List terms used for Entire Sanctification and their meaning.
    2. List key people in history who taught Entire Sanctification, choose one and describe his or her contribution.
    3. Explain the characteristics of the carnal mind with Scriptural examples.
    4. List individuals from the Bible who walked in faith and pick one to explain how his or her faith was made complete.
    5. Explain the difference between holiness through our own effort and holiness by faith.
    6. Explain the concept of perfect love or Christian Perfection.

(Outcomes CN-7, CN-10, CN-20, ADM-4, DIS-9, DIS-13, PRE-7, PRE-8, PRE-9, PRE-11)

Course Assessment

Journal                                               10%

Testimony                                           20%

Team Participation (Holy Spirit)          5%

Drawing                                              15%

Accountability Group Participation     10%

Role Play                                              5%

Sermon                                                20%

Exam                                                   25%

Course Outline

  1. Why We Believe in Holiness
  2. An Introduction
  3. Biblical Perfection
  4. Our Sin Problem
  5. God’s Grace Response
  6. What We Believe about Holiness
  7. Coming to Terms with the Terms: Regeneration—Justification—Sanctification
  8. Entire Sanctification, defined
  9. Preparation of Grace
  10. History Behind the Holiness Message: John Wesley
  11. More Readings from John Wesley’s Writings
  12. Holiness Movement
  13. How We Experience Holiness
  14. Objections and Obstacles to an Instantaneousness Second Work of Grace
  15. Hindrances to Holiness
  16. Living as Holy People filled by the Holy Spirit
  17. The New Testament Imperative
  18. Our Testimony before the World
  19. Holiness and Mission