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Holiness Movement
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Definition:
The Holiness Movement developed in the United States as part of people's attempt to attain a sinless existence here in this life rather than waiting for heaven. Many members of holiness movements also participated in general revivalist activities, like camp meetings.

Originally, the Holiness Movement was a direct outgrowth from Methodism and the ideas of John Wesley. He had called for perfection to be a goal for all true, converted Christians because a God who is great enough to forgive sin must also be great enough to transform a sinner into a saint. Even during the early days of the Methodist church, one of the goals was to "spread holiness" across the continent.

In practice, however, this doctrine of perfection was generally ignored or given a secondary status by most Methodists. By 1843, however, a number of Methodist ministers withdrew from the Methodist Episcopal Church and formed their own Holiness church group named the Wesleyan Methodist Church. This church attracted quite a few people from poor and rural areas across the American South and Midwest.

Today there are a number of Holiness denominations in the United States, including the Church of the Nazarene and the Pilgrim Holiness Church. William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, had a strong Holiness background and included important Holiness doctrines in his own organization. Even today, Sunday morning services in the Salvation Army are described as "Holiness Meetings." The Church of the Nazarene is, however, the largest Holiness denomination today.

These Holiness churches tend to be very close to fundamentalism rather than traditional Methodism in terms of theological doctrines and social beliefs. There are also aspects of their doctrines which are similar to Pentecostalism and the doctrinal statement of the Church of the Nazarene has a couple of references to Pentecostal characteristics like divine healing.

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