REVIEW


DISTORTING THE TEACHINGS OF HISTORIC METHODISM

The Entire New Testament on Holiness is advertized as a concise collection of the comments of John Wesley and Adam Clarke on the subject of Perfect Love in the New Testament. Schmul Publishing Company just reprinted this compilation by John C. Capehart, which was first published in 1923.

Part One is entitled "Baptism with the Holy Ghost." Although Capehart compiled twenty pages of comments by Wesley and Clarke on the baptism with the Holy Spirit, in not one instance did they ever equate it with perfect love, entire sanctification, or Christian perfection. That connection was made by the American holiness movement. Although such a connection existed in the mind of the editor, this is just another instance of an editor imposing his suppositions upon the author.

Part Two is entitled "Sanctification." It contains a fifty-seven page collection of comments on texts which, for the most part, contain the word "sanctification." The editor gave no consideration to whether the context dealt with initial, progressive, entire, or final sanctification. Apparently the editor failed to understand Wesley's comment that the term sanctification refers to those who are justified unless it is qualified by another word such as "wholly" or "entirely."

Part Three is entitled "Holiness." It is a ninety-three page assortment of comments on biblical texts dealing with either holiness begun or perfected. Disregarding the context of such passages as Romans 6 and 1 John 3:9, the doctrinal of initial sanctification, and statements by Wesley that "a Christian was so far perfect as not to commit sin," holiness is confined to the second blessing.

Part Four is entitled "Perfection" and although these comments pertain most directly to the editor's purpose, this is the shortest section containing only eighteen pages.

Ironically, Clarke himself complained that many interpret the very text of Scripture in light of their own preconceived doctrine. See his comments on Rom 12:6, where he was critical of those for whom the analogy of faith means nothing more nor less than their own creed. The practice Clarke criticized was the mode of operation followed by this editor. Therefore, the chief value of the book under review is that it states the views of John C. Capehart. It falls into the same category of books such as Wesley on Perfection edited by J. A. Wood in 1921, in which Wood omits the sections of Wesley's writings which did not agree with his theology. For example, chapter eight is entitled "Sanctification Instantaneous, by Faith, and Not by Growth in Grace." Wood simply omitted Wesley's teaching on progressive sanctification and misrepresented his teaching by only stating one side of the issue. It was during this same time period that many began to "improve" on the teachings of the founders. More recently Ralph Earle did the same thing with Clarke's Commentary [see "The Earle & Clarke Exposition," Spring 1994].

The holiness movement has been fed edited versions of what early Methodism actually was for so long that they really do not know the teachings of those who are claimed to be their founders. Those who desire to know what Wesley and Clarke taught should consult the primary sources.


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