Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Saved, Sanctified, Baptized & Filled With The Precious Gift Of The Holy Ghost"

Frank Bartleman. (1871-1936)
Frank Bartleman
"The early church came forth from the upper room fresh in her "first love" (Revelation 2v4), baptized with the Holy Spirit, filled with God, possessing both the graces and the gifts of the Spirit, and with 100 percent consecration for God. This was the secret of her power. She was all for God, and God was all for her. This principle will apply in all ages, both individually and collectively. No sacrifice on the altar means no fire. The fire of God never falls on an empty altar. The greater the sacrifice, the more the fire." ~"Azusa Street" by Frank Bartleman 
If one has been around the Pentecostal church for any length of time, one has either said or heard someone say that they are glad to be
"...Saved, sanctified, baptized and filled with the precious gift of the Holy Ghost and that with [a mighty burning]fire!"
The following is an attempt to display why that saying was important within what became known as the Pentecostal church and circles, and what, if anything, that it means today. One may also reference our previous article "What Does 21st Century Holiness Look Like?" for additional information on the holiness movement. 

Some Turn Of The Century Pentecostal History

The turn of the 20th century gave rise to what became known as Pentecostalism in the West. Originally termed "The Apostolic Faith Movement" people from all denominations and faith persuasions were drawn to a place in Los Angeles, California at 312 Azusa St., to witness, analyze and partake in what was a religious phenomena. You see, there was not only shouting, spiritual dancing, and a new level of freedom of worship, there was also an out-flowing of spiritual gifts, beginning with "tongues" according to Acts 2:1-4:

Acts 2: 1-4 ~ 1-And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2-And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3-And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4-And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

John Wesley  (1703-1791)
Those who took these teachings to heart and experienced the power of the Holy Ghost in this manner became known as Pentecostals. Initially, the primary adherents to Pentecostal teachings, were those who were steeped in the Wesleyan brand and doctrine of holiness named so after its chief proponent and founder of the Methodist movement and church, John Wesley. In his time, Mr. Wesley was a staunch leader in teaching the doctrine of holiness, and the Methodist Church was the leader in promoting holiness within the US after the Civil War and particularly during the late 19th Century.


Slightly before the turn of the century, in 1897, The Church Of God In Christ, Inc. Mem. TN (aka: COGIC) was originally formed as a holiness church following the Wesleyan tradition or formation. The church was reorganized some ten years later, in 1907 as a Pentecostal/Holiness church after Charles Harrison Mason, its founder, received the experience of Holy Ghost baptism according to Acts 2:4 in 1907 at the Azusa St. revival, conducted by William J. Seymour.

Holiness & Sanctification
Bishop C. H. Mason (1866-1961) flanked by
Bishop W. M. Roberts (Rt) & Bishop O.T. Jones Sr. (Lt)
The term "sanctification" was a very important term among believers especially during this time. The term was primarily used to signify what type of lifestyle that the believers had and the actions that they performed as an outgrowth of God calling them out of the world and unto salvation. (John 17:16) Most Pentecostal believers were termed "sanctified folk" or "holy rollers" in part because of the unfettered worship style that they espoused which certainly was an identifier. Another reason they were called "sanctified folk" was because most believers espoused and lived a predominately Wesleyan view of holiness and believed in what was termed a "definitive", "second work of grace".

This "definitive second work" suggested that when a believer came to Christ and received the first work of grace (salvation) that he/she also experienced immediate "sanctification" as a second work of the grace of God. This "sanctification" is a "definitive" work, in that it is simply something that God does to every believer changing their heart's disposition and destroying or paring the sin nature. Therefore, this work of God's grace would allow the believer to be able to make the choice of obeying the command, evidenced by the detachment of the person from the world through an immediate and instantaneous "sanctification" or cleansing of the heart and mind. Therefore, to be "sanctified" a person didn't look like, act like, or go where people of the world went and didn't do what people of the world did. One who was "sanctified" had new, different desires to please and serve God and not the flesh. 

Within Pentecostal circles, it was readily taught that one had to be "sanctified" BEFORE one could receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost according to Acts 2:4. In fact that is yet the teaching of most Pentecostal believers stating that God does not dwell in an unclean temple (aka: person of the believer)

Apostle William J. Seymour
1 Cor. 3:16-17 ~ "16-Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17-If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."

The Controversy

As I stated Pentecostalism drew many different individuals who had varying theological backgrounds and doctrinal views. The Pentecostal movement had been primarily birthed out of the Baptist and Methodist churches, with many of the leaders having a good understanding of those doctrines. The next wave of Pentecostal believer would come from the reform and evangelical traditions. Of course, many of them would accept the experience of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and other gifts of the Spirit even if so silently, such as D. L. Moody, of Chicago, who never preached about his "experience" while claiming that it revolutionized his life and ministry. Many others would maintain their theological views that they had prior to their experience. Therefore, we see fundamental differences in the teaching of sanctification and the application of spiritual gifts in churches and groups formulated within the Pentecostal tradition primarily after 1911 going forward with many of the groups maintaining the Wesleyan based tradition received prior to 1911. 

What Happened? 

William H. Durham 
Part of what happened was the advent of a teaching called The Doctrine Of The Finished Work. This "finished work" teaching took on popularity when William H. Durham also pastor from Chicago, IL. traveled to Azusa in 1907 as a critic, but returned a recipient of the Holy Ghost baptismal experience. From this time, Durham began to teach that the work of sanctification within the life of the believer was a part of the ongoing work of salvation. In other words, one was saved and sanctified as a first work of grace. A second part of his teaching expanded on the teaching that sanctification occurs in the life of a believer at salvation. He claimed that sanctification was a  "progressive" work and not necessarily an instantaneous one as most in the Wesleyan reformation believed and accepted. Durham recorded this regarding the modification of his teaching
"From that day to this, I could never preach another sermon on the second work of grace theory. I had held it for years, and continued to do so for some time, but could not preach on the subject again. I could preach Christ and...holiness, as never before, but not as a second work of grace."~ William H. Durham quoted in The Pentecostal Testimony, June, 1911. Quoted in BrumbackSuddenly... From Heaven, p. 98.
Now, I must be careful in relaying this, because Durham certainly taught that the believer is saved and has a change of life, heart and disposition when exercising saving faith,  however, he also taught that the believer does not receive a "definite second work" of sanctification whereby the sin nature is pared or obliterated as had been taught under the Wesleyan model. Therefore, the work lay in what was "finished" at the time of salvation, in that a believer was justified by faith, and not necessarily reliant upon a "second work" of Christ within the life of the believer. According to his teaching, sanctification was over time ( a progressive work as opposed to an immediate work). Under both teachings sanctification was also rooted in contingency that one had already been converted. 

Aside from the criticism listed below, this doctrine would yield ultimately to the thought that the sin nature yet existed after the salvation of the believer and a provision or excuse for resultant sin in the life of the believer was built in. In other words, since one was saved, but also being saved, then the performance of sin, whenever one did sin,  was not a traumatic spiritual event. This doctrine addressed that thought and question that if the sin nature was obliterated, why does one yet continue to sin on occasion? This was a poignant part of the teaching.

The problem and the difference was further driven home as many adherents to the Wesleyan brand of holiness had also entered into teachings geared toward sinless perfectionism. This teaching basically stated that one who was truly saved and "sanctified" could not sin. They would be both morally and spiritually perfect here on earth. In the minds of many Pentecostal adherents the "doctrine of the finished work" was much more palatable, than trying to explain why sin appeared when the sin nature had supposedly been obliterated by a definitive, second work of grace called sanctification.     

This method of teaching and understanding was certainly more palatable to believers who had no or very little training or experience with the Wesleyan brand of holiness. It was more in line to their Baptist, Calvinist and Evangelical theologies to believe that all that was necessary pertaining to salvation had been received as a result of the work of faith in the work of Christ upon the cross, and that practically one could never quit or abstain from sin in a complete sense.

2 Peter 1:3 ~ "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue"

Interpretations of the sort would eventually lead to believers, after having received the experience of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, to then revert back going as far as saying that the Holy Ghost baptismal experience was not necessary. In other words, for many, it was a full reversion  from where they had come and an eventual exit from what had become known as Pentecostalism.

Was There A Teaching To Counter This?

Early on Bishop Charles Harrison Mason would invoke scripture based on his holiness background against this position. The finished work doctrine as taught carried and element or thought that a person was not really fully sanctified, but would become sanctified over time. It also taught that the sin nature of a person was in essence simply "tamed" and not fully dealt with by Christ. This was an unacceptable position and Bishop Mason would preach against this doctrine using the following scriptures:

1 Cor. 1:2 ~ "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:"

1 Cor. 6:11 ~ "And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."

Bishop Mason would say, "The scriptures speak to those who "ARE" sanctified, not those who are "trying to be". 

In other words the scriptures support the thought that sanctification addresses the sin nature because a person can't be practically (or in practice) a sinner and yet be a Saint or considered to be "in Christ" while yet in their sins. After all, that was the teaching that the Baptist church espoused and Bishop Mason who, as a former Baptist minister, was well familiar with. Being "in Christ" according to scripture meant that there was a change in the life and actions of the believer that was supposed to be manifest:

2 Corinthians 5:17 ~ "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

Walking "in the Spirit" allows us to not fulfill fleshly lusts (Gal. 5:16) Walking "after the Spirit" also made us free from the law of sin and death. (Rom. 8:1) which not only includes the law of works of the covenant, but also the law of sin contained within the flesh. The Saint was to "reckon" themselves as "dead" to the deeds and sins of the world.(Rom.6:11)  This walk was a practice of the believer daily. However many taught and continue to teach that this is a sort of righteousness merely imputed upon the believer in a spiritual sense and not in a practical sense. One scripture supports the thought that sanctification is dealt with not only in a spiritual sense, but also in a practical sense is this:

1 Thess. 4:3 ~ "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification,  that ye should abstain from fornication:"

The thought was that sanctification leads to the "abstinence" from sin not to the further perpetuation of it. Therefore, for one to be "sanctified' meant that one is in an overcoming position, having the ability to choose rightly and live godly by the power of the grace of God definitively given to the believer AFTER repentance and conversion and according to the grace of God. These things can only be done IF the sin nature has, at the very least, been broken down if not destroyed through the acceptance of Christs work on the cross.

Colossians 2:13-15 ~"13-And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14-Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15-And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it."

Durham realized this conundrum and some who misinterpreted his teaching and sought to make sure that there wasn't a reversion to previous doctrines that allowed one to sin and yet declare themselves saved. He spoke the following in reference to the time immediately after he received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost:
"I began to write against the doctrine that it takes two works of grace to save and cleanse a man. I denied and still deny that God does not deal with the nature of sin at conversion. I deny that a man who is converted or born again is outwardly washed and cleansed but that his heart is left unclean with enmity against God in it... This would not be salvation. Salvation is an inward work. It means a change of heart. It means that old things pass away and that all things become new. It means that all condemnation and guilt is removed. It means that all the old man, or old nature, which was sinful and depraved and which was the very thing in us that was condemned, is crucified with Christ." ~ William H. Durham quoted in The Pentecostal Testimony, June, 1911. Quoted in Brumback, Suddenly... From Heaven, p. 99.
So as we can see "sanctification" and understanding what it took for one to be sanctified was a highly important and significant part of the preaching and teaching within the Pentecostal church. Later reformations such as the Apostolic church (The UPC and the PAW) would add variations pertaining to baptism and the nature of God, but the core would still be in tact, that holiness was essential in the life of the believer in order to experience the power of the Lord and the working of the Holy Ghost.

What Does "Sanctification" Mean Today?

In my post, "What Does 21st Century Holiness Look Like?" I pointed out the sharp contrast between what the standard of holiness was vs what it is now. Not all progress is bad, however, and we can think of a number of practices that are acceptable today, that once weren't among holiness believers. however we should also be aware that behind some of the practices that are considered unessential in modern times, was a reason that, in its time, was necessary for the believer to maintain a holy and sanctified life and represent Christ. This opens up another can of worms regarding objective biblical values within cultures, but I will not address that in this post. However the question is raised...are objective biblical values static or developing?

From my perspective, it appears that the phrase "saved, sanctified, baptized and filled with the precious gift of the Holy Ghost" has been reduced to a cliche in the modern Pentecostal church and church world. There is what could be considered to be an all time low as it pertains to both teaching and the outgrowth of sanctification and its impact within the church. The question is, do we believe that sanctification is essential?

Some fault the holiness movement for what has been termed "legalism". In their opinion, the teaching of "sanctification" was restrictive and didn't allow persons to experience life and was overly condemning. The weakness of the Pentecostal church was NOT its prohibitions, restrictions or teaching against certain sins. Looking at our communities now, we all wish that there had been much more teaching in the present on what to do and not to do. The weakness of Pentecostalism was opening the door to all sorts of behaviors in effort to "keep up" with those who said that Pentecostals were less sophisticated in their understanding of the word of God and non-inclusive because of its ethic and view of biblical morality.

If the modern Pentecostal church was dedicated to the premises of "sanctification" as had been traditionally taught during the onset of Pentecostalism, I'm persuaded that we wouldn't be dealing with rampant homosexuality within the church, clergy sexual abuse and misconduct, idolatry, undercover dealing for position and the list goes on and on as we are dealing with all that and then some within the modern church environment.

Being "saved and sanctified, baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost" should be more than a mere expression to identify one's self with men, or a phrase to get an emotional stir or response. It should mean that there is an active and vibrant position from which one serves the Lord and makes a difference in this life between clean and unclean and holy and profane. The old Saints realized this difference and exactly what was poured into the words that either ended or began a personal testimony or address to the congregation of believers.

Do you know what it means to be "Saved, sanctified, baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost"? Well if you didn't know ya know!


Another Post that may be insightful regarding this topic:
Are Works & Faith Inseparable?


  1. This is probably one of the most important posts on teachings found within Pentecostal circles that I have done. I wish that subjects such as these would draw more attention.

  2. I'm glad it's not discussed as much. I grew up in the Apostolic Faith. The teachings were twisted, taken out of context, spruced to human satisfaction....far from the Truth.


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