Pilgrim Holiness Church

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PILGRIM HOLINESS CHURCH

A church in the Holiness tradition with a strong emphasis on the Wesleyan principles of sanctification of believers and evangelistic missionary work. In 1897 Martin Wells Knapp, a Methodist minister in Cincinnati, Ohio, organized the International Apostolic Holiness Union to restore the primitive spirit of John wesley on "apostolic practices, methods, power and success." Twenty-five years later the International Holiness Church (derived from the Union) joined with the like-minded Pilgrim Church of California to become the Pilgrim Holiness Church. In 1968, the Wesleyan Methodist Church merged with the Pilgrim Holiness Church.

The church's stress on sanctification is based on Wesley's teaching that once a person is justified he may grow in holiness through his generous response to the Indwelling Spirit. This "second blessing" adds a sense of security that the sinner is now reconciled with God, and gives him an emotional experience that is unmistakable. In its accent on "true Wesleyanism," the Pilgrim Holiness Church holds that sanctification is both possible and commendable; that man's sinfulness has not deprived him of the capacity for a willing cooperation with grace. The church also professes belief in millennialism, i.e., the belief in the early Second Coming of Christ (see parousia). The Pilgrim Holiness Church further believes that the Second Coming will precede this 1000-year period of the highest spiritual and material blessings on earth as a prelude to the end of the world.

Bibliography: f. s. mead, s. s. hill and c. d. atwood, eds., Handbook of Denominations in the United States, 11th ed (Nashville 2001).

[j. a. hardon/eds.]