STEPHEN SOLOMON WHITE (Editor of the Herald of Holiness) *Three Accounts
We have heard many witness to the fact that they had received this blessing as a second
work of grace. This becomes authority for me when I accept their testimony. However, their word in this case is based upon experience rather than reason. Primarily, then, it is an argument from experience for them, while for me it is secondarily, an argument from experience. This means that the main argument from experience is always personal.
The real question is, what is the writer’s testimony on this debated matter? Do I have this
blessing, and if I do, how did I come into possession of it? The answer to this question is, that I have the blessing of entire sanctification, and that I received it after I had been saved. This testimony I give humbly, realizing that what I am, I am by the grace of God. He alone is to be praised. Further, I can keep and live this blessing only as God continues to help me moment by moment.
The above argument from experience is so important that I must give a description of what
happened in more detail. I was first saved when I was in my middle teens. After a time I backslid. It was in this backslidden state that I entered Peniel College at Peniel, Texas. There I was soon blessedly reclaimed. And then near the close of this same school year I was wonderfully sanctified wholly. This came only after quite a period of struggle as to a full and complete consecration. It was not difficult for me to believe after I had placed everything on the altar for time and eternity.
When I was reclaimed, as well as when I was saved the first time, the great issue was not
consecration, it was repentance for sins which had been committed. My guilt and the consequent penalty of death were in the limelight of my consciousness. When I faced entire sanctification, it was very different. There was no feeling of guilt as to actual sins committed. The great problem, then, was in consecrating wholly to God this self which had before been freed from the guilt and
burden of committed sins. This absolute surrender was necessary in order for God to fully and freely cleanse me from the sinful nature with which I was born. This cleansing was wrought by the baptism with the Holy Spirit and was entire sanctification. Altogether, it was a glorious experience, going beyond anything that had ever happened to me before. How well do I remember that night! The most noticeable effect was a peace that I had never known before. It was not peace with God, I had already experienced that when I was saved; it was the peace of God, a peace that passeth all understanding. It seemed that God had turned a veritable Amazon River of peace into my soul.
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The writer received this blessing instantaneously. This is an excellent place for him to
testify to the grace and glory of God. It was in the first year of my sojourn in Peniel College, Peniel, Texas (now Bethany-Peniel College, Bethany, Oklahoma). I was reclaimed during the first part of the school year. Then I went along until near the close of that school year before I was entirely sanctified. Soon after I was reclaimed I got the light on holiness but I struggled over making a complete consecration. I believed in it and I knew numbers of people who had the blessing. More than that, I was desperately hungry for this experience. Finally, after much prayer, I made a full consecration, trusted God completely, and He did the work at once. It took me quite some time to meet the conditions, but there was no delay in the reception of the blessing after I had done my part. How well do I remember the satisfaction and the wonderful peace, the peace of God which passeth all understanding, which filled my poor heart that memorable night. God did the work and to Him be all of the praise.
Source for first two accounts: “Five Cardinal Elements in the Doctrine of Entire Sanctification” by Stephen Solomon White
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Dr. Stephen S. White served as a preacher, teacher, and writer. When the Nazarene
Theological Seminary was started he was called upon to head the Department of Theology. In June of 1948 he was elected to the editorship of the Herald of Holiness.
My grandfather White was an active Christian layman in north Georgia. Having been
brought into the light of the baptism with the Holy Spirit, he sought and obtained it. Then, largely through his influence, my mother received this experience. Soon after this, Miller Willis came through that part of the country preaching entire sanctification. My parents attended this meeting and for the first time heard the doctrine of entire sanctification preached as a second, definite work of grace. One night Miller Willis called on all Christians who wanted to be sanctified wholly to kneel where they were. My mother obeyed his request at once. However, she was not on her knees long until the Holy Spirit informed her that she received this blessing when she was baptized with
the Holy Spirit. At once she arose. She did not need to seek that which she already had. Later, my parents moved to Walnut Springs, Texas.
At the beginning of the present century, Texas was a great center for interdenominational
camp meetings. Thousands of people would meet in these annual gatherings for ten days or two weeks, and hundreds would be saved or sanctified. As a result of these camp meetings, groups of holiness people sprang up all over Texas. These groups sponsored many brush arbor, tent, or tabernacle meetings. During the winter, the spirit of this work was kept alive largely through cottage prayer meetings. Here the holiness people could meet and sing, pray, testify, and shout without any interference.
My mother attended the annual Waco Camp Meeting at least once, and perhaps one or two
of the other camp meetings in Texas. These gatherings were always a means of grace to her. The same was true as to the few holiness meetings which were held in our home town. She supported them wholeheartedly with her presence, prayers, and money. She also faithfully attended the cottage prayer meetings. As just a boy, I often went with my mother to these Friday night gatherings. It was there that I received my first introduction to the holiness movement. I was much impressed by the spirit of those who attended them; they were so joyous and happy, in spite of the fact that they were meeting opposition on every hand. Some of the greatest preachers that the holiness movement has ever produced were turned out of the churches to which they belonged, not many miles from my home town. I wondered how any group of people could be so victorious in the midst of such persecution.
Another contact which I had with the early holiness movement was my acquaintance with
the preachers whom we had in our home. It was always open to ministers. They were not only welcome to visit us but also to come and stay for days. This was as true of the holiness preachers as of the others.
With this background of Christian parents, a mother who was actively a part of the holiness
movement, and a father who was friendly to it, it is easy to understand how I began to feel my need of entire sanctification soon after I was saved. But I was not at all sure that I wanted to take on the reproach which went along with being a part of the holiness movement.
In the meantime, interdenominational holiness colleges were started in several sections of
the United States. As I advanced in my high school work, I became interested in going to college. My mother was also eager for me to go on with my education. She was ready to give me financial assistance with some money which she had received from her father’s estate, provided I would go to a holiness college. I did not like this idea too well at first, but I finally yielded and entered Texas Holiness University at Peniel (near Greenville), Texas. This school later became Peniel College, and is operated today as Bethany-Peniel College at Bethany, Oklahoma.
During my four years at Peniel College, I roomed in a private home, since there was no
dormitory for young men. The mother in the home had family prayer every evening and insisted that all of her roomers attend. She also believed that all who were there should pray each time. I refused to pray when my turn came. Sometimes we had had family prayers at home, but my father or mother did the praying. Besides, I had not been encouraged to pray in public or testify in the
church services which I attended in my home town. The result of this refusal to pray at Peniel was that I backslid. Nevertheless, I was soon reclaimed in the services of the college and began to pray in public and to testify. From then on, I felt in a special way my need of being sanctified. There was hardly a day during that first year that I was not under conviction for this experience. Finally, near the close of that school session, I became so hungry for the blessing of entire sanctification that I died out completely to loved ones, friends, self, and selfish ambitions. I made a complete consecration, trusted God, and the work was done. I well remember that wonderful night. A peace which passeth all understanding came into my soul. It was as if God had turned a veritable Amazon River of divine peace into my soul.
The two outstanding characteristics of my sanctification were the complete consecration
which I had to make, and the heavenly peace which came when the experience finally became my possession.
After finishing my course at Peniel College, I entered Drew Theological Seminary. There I
met John Alfred Faulkner, Henry Anson Buttz, and Olin Alfred Curtis, as well as other great men of God. Dr. Curtis especially confirmed my belief in entire sanctification as a second, definite work of grace. He substantiated in a remarkable way the truth which such men as E. P. Ellyson, E. C. DeJernett, C. A. McConnell, R. T. Williams, and others had taught me, both by precept and example, at Peniel College. This great experience is real today, and I am happy in the work of the Lord.
Source: “Living Flames of Fire” by Bernie Smith
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HOW THEY ENTERED CANAAN (A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts) Compiled by Duane V. Maxey
Vol. I — Named Accounts