Wheaton College has not been a bastion of Wesleyan thought since Jonathan Blanchard became President prior to the American Civil War. When we were there in the mid-1970’s it was the flagship of Evangelical higher education with a predominance of Baptistic faculty in the religion department. I think of those great men and women of the faith as Evangelicals-at-large.
When we came to John 17:17-19, Dr. Tenney offered a personal anecdote to explain sanctification. In his New England hometown there was an old abandoned mansion in the heart of town. A wealthy industrialist purchased the house as a wedding present for his daughter. It was “redeemed,” purchased out of its neglected state for the purpose of being re-inhabited, but it wasn’t suitable for anyone to live in. While the couple was away on their honeymoon travels through Europe, the young Tenney observed as workmen came everyday to clean, remodel, and refurbish the old house. The gentleman scholar said it was made to look like new; it was suitable for the newlyweds to occupy; it was “sanctified.”
He continued, “but that wasn’t all. It was clean, but it was empty. Then one day the couple came home and moved into their house. Suddenly the house was full of life. The very reason it had been built, redeemed, and remodeled was now fulfilled. Like that house we must be redeemed, sanctified and filled with the Spirit.”
As a Wesleyan-Pentecostal I rejoiced, and continue to rejoice, in this illustration of my understanding of the order of salvation.
September 5, 2010