We asked for sermons that you celebrated on the topic of holiness. One of the suggestions we received was from the holiness summit at Ohio Christian University in 2009 by Dr. David Case. Thanks to Wesley Rowan -Pastor, Hudson Wesleyan Church in Hudson, MI
Dr. Case has taught at Ohio Christian University since 1970. A graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University (B.S.), a Masters of Divinity from Ashland Theological Seminary, and a D.Min. from Trinity Lutheran Seminary.
Here are some things we thought were particularly helpful about this exploration of holiness from one of our own:
1. This is a Bible study more than a Sunday sermon.
While we were looking primarily for sermons, this audio file gives us a different genre of preaching and teaching to learn from. Sunday morning is not the only opportunity for the proclamation of the word. Pastors need to have more tools in their belt than the Sunday morning style sermon. Dr. Case shows us a more deliberate, more restrained, and more content rich form of proclamation that is often lost from church life: the bible study. Many Christians are eager for more. A bible study at a separate space and time is a time worn way to give it to them. The style of presentation will not fit very context, but the style is not what we want to highlight. Instead we want to focus on the deeper content, more deliberate delivery, and encourage pastors to create ministry environments where these things can happen.
2. Dr. Case celebrates the universal appeal of a doctrine of holiness.
He begins his Bible study with a quote form H. Orton Wiley, “All Bible believing Christian believe in holiness. All Bible believing Christians are in the pursuit of the holy.” Rather than trying to begin with the more debated sections of wesleyan holiness theology, Dr. Case focuses first on what almost all evangelical Christians can agree. Not only evangelicals, but Roman Catholic theology is shown to rely on a certain kind of “second work of grace.” You’ll be fascinated by that.
3. Dr. Case deals with the objections and questions surrounding his position
There is always a temptation to assume agreement between speaker and listener that does not actually exist. Preachers and teachers of scripture would be helped by listening to rhetoric’s advice to anticipate objections, consider them with empathy, and answer them in a way that satisfies the objector, not merely the speaker.
Given the context, a holiness summit at a university, the style is not something most of our pastors would use. The context was different. Yet there are other lessons to learn from this preaching. Those lessons are more about substance than style, more about content than context. May God help us deepen our churches with a compelling message worth an investment of our people’s time.