Recently I had a conversation with friends (sisters in Christ actually) and I was sharing the major difference, that I am seeing lately, between Lutheranism and Calvinism. So, let me move on to that conversation because I realized this morning that even my Pentecostal past had its own overly-weighted focus on an Attribute of God that can really mess things up.
Perspective? It’s all there. Right there, in how you view things, ends up being reflected in how you say things. It is as true in everyday things as it is in spiritual things.
Growing up Pentecostal it was all about “Holiness Unto the LORD.” In fact, many of us members of that particular Holiness-Pentecostal Church had that verse hanging somewhere in our homes. I remember how at Pilgrim Camp (Brant Lake, NY), owned by the fellowship of churches I belonged to, had that hanging nearly in every room, in the Kitchen, Dining areas, even the bathrooms. The focus was “God is Holy” and “He is a consuming fire...”
We even had a hymn titled: Holiness Unto the Lord" That permeated everything you did, thought, said, how you interacted with others and your relationship with God. God was to be feared because He is Holy.
Now, I’m not saying God isn’t Holy for He is, but it’s the perspective and the weight of teaching that begins to affect your life. Everything you did was viewed as to whether or not it was holy unto the LORD. Which, of course, meant that you would need to be done at the altar either “surrendering all” again or actually getting saved for the fortieth or fiftieth time that year, summer, spring or what have you. Since we were not holy and were required to be holy you worked on the outward stuff: no drinking, no dancing, no card-playing, no radio unless it was ‘Christian’ radio, and certainly no smoking. This was simply because all of those behaviors were sinful in the eyes of the pietism-based religion of the Pentecostal movement. Many focused more on outward washing than what was going on deep within; jealousy, envy, bitterness, etc.