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Chapter 8 is entitled “Partnership in Holiness Passion.” The title proves rather apposite in that while 1897 marked the beginning of the International Holiness Union and Prayer League –– which was a joint venture (or partnership) between Seth Cook Rees and Martin Wells Knapp –– the INHUPL was but one of many holiness associations that arose in the late 1800s. The INHUPL, like many of the holiness associations of the time, wasn’t so much a new denomination as it was an association of like-minded people (of various denominations) who banded together to promote full salvation and holy living. Adopting a similar structure to the Christian and Missionary Alliance, whose founder A.B. Simpson had a profound influence upon Seth Cook Rees, the Holiness Union made every effort to stress that it was not (yet) a replacement for local church and denominational membership.[1. Robert Black and Keith Drury, The Story of the Wesleyan Church (Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2012), 100.] Thus 1897 marked the birth if the International Holiness Union and Prayer League, a precursor to the Pilgrim Holiness Church. The Holiness Union did not see itself as a denomination, but rather as an association of like-minded people who were committed to preach/teach the message of holiness that has previously been preached, yet whose message had recently taken a backseat to a “less emotional and more ‘progressive’ approach to sanctification.”1
- The INHUPL seemed to have envisioned itself as a reform movement rather than the precursor to a new denomination.
- The INHUPL call for holiness was not entirely personal. There was a genuine concern for matters of social holiness.
- The INHUPL was heavily influenced by A.B. Simpson and the four-fold gospel (salvation, sanctification, healing, and the second coming). I suspect that the emphasis on the second coming of Christ, and a premillennialist understanding of said second coming, will be seen to have significant implications on down the road.
- Because the INHUPL did not understand itself to be a denomination, the bar for membership was low.2 The rather unsophisticated approach to membership reflects the association’s overall lassez-faire approach to organizational structure. I would venture to guess that as the movement continues to grow that this will change. Structures will necessarily become more developed (and rigid), as the movement becomes institutionalized.