Testimonials

Not sure about Berean Holiness? Check out what our readers are saying! Listen to their stories, and allow real-life experiences to challenge and inform your perspective. (Some names have been changed for anonymity.)

“My entire picture of faith growing up was based on how someone looked or what they wore.”

Testimonials

“I can’t tell you how much your articles and posts encourage me. Finding faith after leaving the holiness movement was a struggle for me for a long time. I’ve finally wrestled long enough and the last year I’ve started really drawing close in that faith. I’ve actually began sharing my faith, and even recently joined a Bible study. It’s all very frightening for me — but I know there’s a huge body of believers out there that are welcoming people like me with open arms. I can truly say that my entire picture of faith growing up was based on how someone looked or what they wore. I didn’t even know if I believed the Jesus thing — but I knew rings were of the devil. It’s crazy what sitting under teaching that truly honors god can do. I’m now so secure in my faith in Jesus and it’s rocking my whole world. Please pray for me that I would be able to better lead my family.” 

– J.M.

“I want to say thank you for helping a ‘Holiness girl’ like yourself realize that I am not alone.”

“I want to say thank you for bringing to light so many issues that everyone else is afraid to speak about. I want to say thank you for helping a ‘Holiness girl’ like yourself realize that I am not alone. Within the last few years, I have gone through a lot of questions about what I believe. I truly understood where you were coming from when reading your article [Idolized Identity]. It made me realize a lot of what you were saying, I had been feeling. I just didn’t know how to put it into words. So I want to say thank you for speaking truth and being unafraid to do so. You have no idea how much your article helped me. It’s not that I want to be rebellious against everything I have been taught (again it sounds like you understand that). However, I have come to see that not everything I have been taught was correct nor biblical. It takes real courage to ask good questions and I am thankful Berean Holiness is doing that.”

– B.

“I was so afraid because she wasn’t apostolic… but I found the courage to attend. It changed my life.”

“Thank you. That’s all I have to say. I attended a cult like church for around 8 years and was continually subjected to cult like ideals in the years prior to that. I always felt like an outcast because I didn’t agree with things the pastor was saying and viewed as a rebel because of it. I am preparing to apply for masters and PhD programs in ancient Mediterranean studies and history has always been a passion of mine. The things I was told from the pulpit did not match the things I studied and knew to be historical fact. However, I was ‘wrong’ and ‘rebellious’ because of it. College professors ‘warped my mind,’ even when I had always believed and have never questioned the plan of salvation, ie. repentence, baptism, Holy Spirit. It got to the point I was so discouraged I didn’t know why I should even read my Bible. The pastor only taught on adultery, fornication, and the tribulation. Why would I read if those were the only things in there?

 
TestimonialsI had panic attacks, depression, and anxiety so bad that I couldn’t get out of bed some days. I nearly stopped eating all together. I felt like I was in chains. I wanted to know God but couldn’t bear to go to the church. I was looked at as ‘other’ for seeking a therapist and medication for my issues. Which I know know is OCD. My parents didn’t know what to do. My dad wanted to leave that specific church, but my mom feared we wouldn’t be saved. My friend, a non- apostolic, invited me to join a virtual Bible study with her. I was so afraid because she wasn’t apostolic that I was doing something wrong. I’m not sure why, but I found the courage to attend. It changed my life. I had never been taught about the simple topic of women in the Bible. The things they saw, did, and how they contributed to the kingdom. My dad always encouraged me to be independent and self-sustaining, my mom worked and encouraged the same. But the church taught a different message.
 
When I met these women I realized how happy they were to be a part of the church and it astounded me. They were excited, not fearful to discuss the Bible. My aunt had traumatized me with stories of the end since I was small and I was so afraid of dying in the tribulation I got sick almost every Sunday. I didn’t understand how the girls at my church could wear jewels in their hair but not on their fingers. How are pants ‘evil’ when they weren’t invented until 1000? I was lost and confused and burdened.
 
These women inspired me. I was able to leave the cultish church and found one, which I now attend… My life is so different now. I have learned so many things and have new thought process. I still have a lot to unlearn. But this account has touched on so many of those things. So thank you!“

 

– Victoria

“Part of me wants to cry with joy because you have confirmed for me what God has been doing in my life.”

“I came across your page from a young lady who shared your recent IG post. I started with one article and I’ve found myself hungrily devouring them one by one. Part of me wants to cry with joy because you have confirmed for me what God has been doing in my life. He showed me to leave my local assembly after years of being spiritually, mentally and emotionally manipulated along with my parents. God has been leading me to ministries and I’ve felt the witness of his spirit in specific teachings but was still afraid to talk openly about what has been revealed to me. There is so much I could say and want to say but there isn’t room. Its funny because many times in the last couple of months I’ve been studying or watching a teaching and I’d hear ‘berean’ in my spirit. I knew exactly what God was saying to me, so I appreciate you for what you are doing and I will certainly be praying for you and for Berean holiness. God bless.”

– Bethany

“There are people who doubt my salvation because I have not returned to the Holiness movement”

Testimonials

“I just wanted to send a ‘Thank you’ for your FB page and website. I am a 42 yo female who was raised in a Trinitarian Free Holiness church growing up. My dad pastored the church I grew up in. I attended Christian school for 7 years at a Holiness church. My whole life was centered around the Holiness movement. I left church and went into sin when I was 27. I identified as gay and lived a homosexual lifestyle. In 2014 I even married a woman. Even through all my sin, I loved the Lord, but not enough to live for Him. Then bam, COVID hit.  As a sinner I could see so many end-time related things happening in the world and it made me think about my soul. I started praying last year. There was a shift in my life and I knew I was saved. One evening while praying in my recliner, I was filled with the Holy Ghost. There I sat, saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. Yet I was in pants, had short hair, and was married to a woman. So the first thing I knew I needed to do was end my homosexual lifestyle. I got divorced and just begin to read the Bible for myself. Then a friend recommended your FB page. When dealing with a struggle I continually try to figure out if I feel something is wrong because I was told it was wrong, or if it is the Lord showing me it is wrong. I feel I am constantly trying to untangle the doctrine of the Holiness movement from my mind. Your page has been such a wonderful resource. There are people who doubt my salvation because I have not returned to the Holiness movement. All I can tell you is that I am saved and have the Holy Ghost. And in the past month alone I have been able to share my testimony with 3 different gay people who reached out to me. I lost my very best friend because she said I have changed. While it hurt, it actually encouraged me. I am a new creature in Christ who is still learning how to navigate this journey. Your FB posts so many times have been just for me. At the end of the day it does not matter what others around us think. I am only concerned with how God sees me and the truth. The truth sets us free. Thank you for sharing the truth with others and for the work you have poured into the Berean Holiness page.  I see the attacks from others and you all respond with such love. I appreciate all you do!”

– Tabitha T.

“We left the UPCI and were completely ostracized… Your posts are helping me see that we aren’t crazy”

Testimonials

“I found your Instagram page yesterday randomly (but clearly not by happenstance) and I have cried more in the past 24 hours than I care to admit. I’ve read most of your posts already and scrolled comments on them. This is the first account I’ve seen that is a concise, clear, scriptural, but loving documentation of holiness beliefs and its inconsistencies.

I was a 7th generation Pentecostal in the UPCI, who grew up in the church of my grandparents who were pastors and was truly conditioned to look down on anyone (but especially women) who didn’t ‘look the part.’ I always had questions about ‘standards’ and theological stances, but was always shut down from answers. Then, in college, I met my (now) husband who was also in a UPCI church, but was reading John Piper and Tim Keller and having a different idea about the process of salvation and necessity of ‘standards.’ 4 years ago, we left the UPCI and were completely ostracized, and frequently wondered if we had made a mistake.

Reading your posts are helping me see that we aren’t crazy, backslidden, ‘out of Gods will,’ or any other thing we’ve been accused of. While the point is not to feel validated in our beliefs or find confirmation bias, it’s just refreshing to see clearly articulated, well thought out articles and arguments that are free from undue judgement, sarcasm, and tribalism.

I guess that’s a lot of words to just say thank you. Thank you for doing what you’re doing, posting what you’re posting, researching what you’re researching, and loving online strangers with the truth. I will be looking forward to each new post! Soli Deo Gloria!”

– Megan

“I wanted to be as strict as I could so God would love me…”

“I would like to share my story with you…Testimonials

I, as a young ‘holiness’ woman, was this person. When I got saved and truly dedicated myself at 17 years old to the Lord, I immediately tried to look as holy as possible. I wanted to be as holy as possible and be used by God. I wanted to tell the world about the life-changing experience I had with Jesus. However, this came not through praying, but through changing my dress and living ‘stricter.’

 
* I would only wear ankle-length skirts with no splits. 
* I would not wear pj pants, just incase the Lord came back in the middle of the night, I did not want to be left behind.
* I would only wear 3/4 length to wrist length shirts. Never any t-shirts.
* I would take my two fingers and measure down from my collar bone. If a shirt was any lower than that, I would wear a cami.
* I dressed up a lot, as I felt that was how I represented the Lord, rather than attitude.
 
These are all the things I did. However, my best friends at church, who were more like my sisters, did not do all these things. I was so angry with them! I felt they were not holy enough!! I even confronted them at times! They would wear t-shirts sometimes. They would wear pj pants in the comfort of their own homes. And every now and then they would wear a mid-calf or knee-length skirt. In my eyes, they needed the same convictions I had!!!
 
Looking back, I’m ashamed. I never questioned if these things were Biblical. I truly assumed they were because so many within our fellowship did these things. Especially those who were anointed seemed to look a certain way. I also criticized my mother, who was a backslider. I would constantly ‘get on her’ for cutting her hair and leaving the holiness movement.
 
But once I left the Holiness movement, I was able to see Jesus Christ for who He really is. I actually experienced God in a Biblical way. I now know what His true love is like. I feel many are blinded to a deeper experience in God due to their ‘convictions.’ I found that many of the convictions I thought were from God, were not convictions at all. I was living a life of condemnation to please man and to try to please God. I wanted to be as strict as I could so God would love me and use me. Now, I see I can’t buy that. I’m so thankful for God’s grace and mercy. He delivered me.”

 

– B.W.

“I’ve appreciated the kindness and grace that comes through the articles Nathan and Natalie have written.”

“I came across the Berean Holiness site a year or so ago, and I was instantly captivated by topics and the tone of the writers. There are three things especially that have stood out to me about Berean Holiness. First, while too much of the writing from people that have left a more conservative background has tone of bitterness, I’ve appreciated the kindness and grace that comes through the articles Nathan and Natalie have written. Online articles are sometimes poorly researched and full of logical leaps, to say nothing for the substandard writing, Berean Holiness has a standard of consistent quality that I admire. And I am impressed by the courage and balance displayed by a small group of young people, and a willingness to make themselves vulnerable for the good of others and of the church. While I may not always agree with every argument or position of Berean Holiness, I find the articles invaluable in aiding my own thinking about these important topics. I pray God blesses the work they are doing.”

– M.B.

“I am left wondering how such doctrine could NOT be confronted by godly people.”

“Once you are courageous enough to begin the journey, it becomes amazingly beautiful. Beautiful as you see God opening your eyes to truth, to the difference between true guilt vs false guilt, and what the Bible actually says on so many topics. One example of the Lord opening my eyes to Biblical truth vs dangerous twisting of Scripture is when I researched the topic of grieving the Holy Spirit and ‘crossing the line,’ where preachers warned the congregation of someday wanting to repent but not being able to. I researched Hebrews 12:17, which was often used as their text. I was so amazed by The Truth. I am left wondering how such doctrine could NOT be confronted by godly people.“

– Hannah

“I lost that safety net, became ostracized by the members and was made to feel like a pariah… I [became] a self professed agnostic.”

“I became involved in the holiness movement at 14 years old. Coming from a dysfunctional home, I found ‘safety’ in the rules and sense of belonging. I was a faithful and passionate follower for ten years. Unfortunately, when I made a decision that was not approved by the pastor I lost that safety net, became ostracized by the members and was made to feel like a pariah. I made the decision to leave the church. I wasn’t hurt with God, but completely crushed by, what I felt was, abandonment from ‘my people.’ I never intended to walk away from God, but within a year of leaving the church I had become a self professed agnostic. I genuinely struggled to wrap my mind around the concept of salvation. I came to view it all as mythical and fairy tale like. Twenty years struggling to believe resulted in poor decisions with catastrophic results. But, I genuinely, no matter how hard I tried, could not find God. In that twenty year period I had three children, all of whom, were raised in a home without God or His influence. Again, it wasn’t deliberate on my part, I just could no longer believe.  
 

I was afforded the opportunity to fulfill a life long dream of attending law school. I wanted to attend the school closest to home to enable me to come home on weekends… The only downside (in my agnostic mind) was that [it] was a Christian university. Nonetheless, I swallowed my pride and moved. 

 
In my first week of law school, my mother passed away unexpectedly. Although I’d been a nurse for 20 years and had dealt with death on a professional level, I had never had it touch me so personally. And honestly, I didn’t know how to handle it. Her death made me question my own mortality. This caused me to question my beliefs, but I still found myself incapable of believing in God. 
 

TestimonialsIn my second year of law school, my first husband (father of my three children) passed away of a massive heart attack. Once again I was faced with death on a very personal level. I was also faced with the daunting task of offering comfort to my children. Although I had always encouraged them to explore their own faith independently, I had, by example, indoctrinated them in the lie of agnosticism. So once again, I found myself seeking God, but unable to find Him.  And absolutely helpless in how to offer comfort and reassurance to my children at such a devastating loss. 

 
As I mentioned previously, the law school I attended was a Christian university. I say this with the utmost sincerity: I sat under the tutelage of some of the brightest minds. Graduates of prestigious universities were recruited to teach at our institution and their intellect far exceeded mine. I felt so humbled and intimidated by their genius. However, what was exceedingly astounding to me was that many of the most intelligent professors also had an unwavering faith in Christ. In my last year of study, I sat in awe of their ability to believe so sincerely. I came to envy it. But, once again, despite my diligent searching, I could not seem to find Him. 
 

A month after graduating from law school, I had an opportunity to visit a friend I had not seen in over 20 years. This woman was an evangelist, and to my surprise was still traveling the country as an evangelist. I wanted to see her so I made arrangements to visit her at a church she was running revival. At this point, I had surmised that either I was a reprobate or that God does not exist, so the purpose of my attendance was not spiritual.  I simply wanted to see a friend.  What I found was that I felt God’s presence for the first time in two decades. On the third night of attending the services, I surrendered my heart back to God. 

 

It’s been almost 6 years since I rededicated my life to God. I can’t say it’s been without its challenges. I often struggle with the basic tenants of my faith. Because of the influence from my tenure within the holiness movement, I find it exceptionally difficult to find what I truly believe in regards to “standards”. I’m not judgmental, but I find myself initially questioning the spirituality of people who don’t look or worship a certain way. I tend to make them earn my respect rather than assume it. Something I don’t do with their counterparts (those who “look” the part). I don’t consider myself exceptionally bright, but neither do I think I am unintelligent. I mean, I must have some reasoning ability to have three college degrees (nursing, psychology, law). But, I have never been more flummoxed over a concept than I am over ‘standards.’ I am not looking for compromise! As a Christian, I am, as you are, happy to dress conservatively. I feel most comfortable in such attire. But, I feel the standards are so ingrained in my psyche that I am incapable of truly being consistent and logical in my feelings towards others who don’t share my convictions. Notwithstanding, I also find myself frustrated by the implications of the legalism ‘standards.’ I feel so very duplicitous!!!  

 
I have three children, a husband and lifelong friends who all look to me as an example of Christianity. I feel such a weight of responsibility to get it right in how I live. The last thing I want to do is deter them from the Cross! The scars from my 20 year estrangement from Him run deep. I desire that others be spared those hurts. 
 
With all that being said… I just want you to know I appreciate your efforts. I applaud your transparency. I admire your gentleness in handling criticism. There are so many of us that are struggling with what we believe. On days you feel you’re not making a difference, please know you are.  You’re causing us to “think”. Even if one doesn’t agree with a particular concept, your dialogue is helping those struggling to more firmly establish their beliefs. So, thank you, Natalie. God bless you and your efforts!”
 
– Sarah

“Berean Holiness has challenged me to think and go deeper than I ever have…”

“I just wanted to let you all know how much you encouraged me to search the Scriptures for myself, and not to live off of another’s experience. Berean Holiness has challenged me to think and go deeper than I ever have before even though at times the topic was really hard to look at from another point of view. I’m not perfect and I’m still trying daily to pursue the Truth of Scripture and to execute it with a Christlike love, but you all have had a great part in my own decision to pursue spiritual growth in the Lord. I’m forever thankful, and to God be the glory.”

– A.

“I would look down on other Christians… Yet, my personal religion was in the standards.”

“Being born in this Pentecostal Trinitarian Holiness Movement, I grew up on a church pew. I was raised by strictly Holiness parents who taught me the standards and traditions of the movement.

Young man reading Bible 1

However, for most of my life, I can look back and say I never had a true relationship with Jesus Christ. In this time, I considered myself Holiness, I lived up to the standards, and was convinced we were the only ones who had it right. I would look down on other Christians, I was proud of how fortunate I was to know the truth. Yet, my personal religion was in the standards.

It wasn’t until late 2017, having come to the realization that I had missed it, did I find Jesus, and received Salvation through faith in Him. However, this bright moment was short lived. Soon enough, I started to encounter problems. I now based my spirituality on my feelings. My spiritual relationship was up and down for the course of the next 2 years, until I hit a spiritual low point, starting in September of 2019. I would now hardly pray, hardly read my Bible.

It was about December when I found Berean Holiness. The articles instantly challenged me, specifically ‘Can Godly Women Wear Pants’ written by Nathan Mayo. I would read the articles, and they interested me. I began to read my Bible a lot more.

While I liked some articles, I was strongly set against those more controversial. I remember first reading ‘Can Godly Women Wear Pants.’ I expected the article to actually oppose Women wearing pants, and it shocked me when I realized otherwise. I remember I began to pray on this, reading my Bible, and thinking about it. However, I quickly realized that the case against pants was simply not there, and over a few days (I reread the article I believe 4 times in this time) I internally released this standard.

It was from this point that I continued onwards in my Spiritual journey. I read my Bible so much, and really studied it. I would spend weeks in various doctrines, reading, reading, and reading. I began to develop as a Christian, and have now learned to place my faith in Jesus Christ, and no longer in myself.

I appreciate Nate, Natalie, Cole and their ‘Berean Holiness’ for the role they played in helping my spiritual life develop. God Bless.”

– Andrew, 17

“Most of my life I just did what I was told, but never had a serious relationship with Jesus Christ.”

“God started doing a lot in my heart at the beginning of 2020. I started realizing that I didn’t know what I truly believed. Most of my life I just did what I was told, but never had a serious relationship with Jesus Christ. I started studying God’s word daily. When someone sent me Berean Holiness, I was so encouraged. Reading their articles about different subjects that I’ve had questions about was so helpful in my walk with The Lord. I’m thankful for the way they gracefully correct believers on subjects we may not be open minded about.”

– Jennifer Schwickerath, 21

“Because I am secure in my relationship with Christ, I know I am not in rebellion.”

“I am so thankful for Berean Holiness!

Over the past few years, I have been faced with some things that made me take another look at a lot of things I thought I believed. It was while I was in the midst of my own praying and searching that I saw the article  “Can A Godly Woman Wear Pants”. A friend shared it, it peaked my interest, so I took the time to read. I was immediately on guard because it made the point that I have always been told was a no-no. The point was that if men and women both wore robes in Bible times, then why is it a sin for women to wear pants that are cut to fit a woman today? I had been told when I was young, using that point was proof that my heart was not right. The article inspired me to begin re-reading, praying and studying more about a lot of things. I have been told since I was a teen, that if I questioned the traditions, I was in rebellion, my heart was not right and I was just trying to find a way to condone sin. I bought that logic, for about 25 years.

Woman with Bible in lapI have been prayerfully studying things out over the past few years. Because I am secure in my relationship with Christ, I know I am not in rebellion. Questioning traditions is not a sin. But teaching traditions and personal convictions as Biblical truth, is adding to the Word of God and that IS sin. For me it goes way beyond, can I wear pants and still be saved, is jewelry wrong or can I cut my hair?  It was more about trying to dig through the traditions and find the spirit behind those traditions. I wanted to know what God truly expected of me.

My advice to the younger generation is to continue questioning and continue to PRAYERFULLY, search for answers. Be careful not to fall in with those who are bitter, because your search will be tainted, and satan would like nothing more than to fill you with bitterness. Remember, just because the holiness movement may have got a few things wrong, does not mean everything we’ve been taught was wrong. The Bible IS, still the inspired Word of God, even though some things were distorted in the translation by well meaning individuals in our movement. Let the Holy Spirit be your guide, HE wants you to have answers and God is not the author of confusion.

Thank you Berean Holiness, for your research that served as my starting point in my own search for the answers I have been looking for since I was a teen. I will ever be grateful.”

– Elizabeth, 40

“I spent nearly the first 3 decades of my life in a holiness church.”

“I spent nearly the first 3 decades of my life in a holiness church. It was all I ever knew. It was where I learned to love God, love others and love holiness as the highest path one could walk as a Christian. I was a shy girl who had an extremely low self-esteem. Yet, I learned very quickly that if I adhered to every rule that was taught as a God-given rule of living that I found favor in the eyes of those who held a position in the church.

Three years at a Bible college gave me more exposure to the ministries of other holiness churches and provided opportunities to travel abroad. Influential men in the movement would say that holiness first begins on the inside and would eventually reveal itself on the outside but oddly enough it was the women who had to display the most obvious signs of “holiness”. My job required me to cross paths with many individuals who were more Christ-like in their attitude in behavior but could easily be labeled a “worldly person” by one inside our ranks. I realized that we (holiness people) were not a separated people but an isolated people. I was refrained from having a formal education. I was discouraged from having close friends outside of the movement. To ask questions concerning the teaching of the church was to openly display your rebellion against its doctrinal beliefs.

Finally, after a series of events, and weeks of reading the Bible with an opened mind instead of with a holiness-tinted lens, I made the decision to leave the movement. Over 80% of my friendships were within the movement. To leave meant possible shunning or tongue-slashing. What a relief to hear several say, “We will always love you” but then months later they will not respond to a phone call, message, or Marco Polo. I expected the messages that screamed, “You know better!” and “How can you walk away from everything you’ve ever known?!” but what infuriated me most were the comments that were made publicly by people who have many ways of communicating to me directly.

After 6 months, I am an independent woman who is constantly being welcomed by Christians of many different walks. I am encouraged to ask questions of the clergy in my new church, whereas there was a fear to even think of questioning holiness doctrine out of fear that I would be labeled a rebel. I am now rid of that fear and embrace opportunities to fight for social justice, stand up for the abused and believe the same doctrines that the early church fathers taught for centuries.

I am thankful for the effort that Berean Holiness makes in their research and the writing of their thought-provoking articles. Among the first that encouraged me in my search for answers while I was still in the HM are, Replacing Rules with Discipleship and Where Do We Draw the Lines? If there are any concerns or questions that a sincere seeker has then I urge them to write to any of these authors. I am assured that they will respond in a kind and gentle manner.”

– Elizabeth, 30

“I’m a young adult in the Holiness Movement who has struggled a lot with my faith…”

“I’m a young adult in the Holiness Movement who has struggled a lot with my faith since I was 14 years old.  From a young age, I have been considered an example of a good Christian in the movement. I’m a preacher’s kid who has kept the standard and has been active in ministry both inside and outside the church. However, questions have eaten at me immensely, and I see this in many other young adults and teenagers. However, we don’t know where we can turn to, because, we hear the judging comments made about other people who dared to question. Critical thinking and questions are often shunned, and instead of those we look up to providing us with answers, we are left feeling even more confused – lacking the answers we search for. Many are leaving the church because of it.

Woman looking at computer African American

There were times when I didn’t know what I believed in or if I believed, and I didn’t know who I could turn to with my questions, so, I searched for answers myself. 3 years after I initially started to form my own beliefs, I found this website before it was officially launched and have been following it ever since. While, I don’t agree with the authors on a lot of things; I do admire their search for the truth and their willingness to stand up for what they believe in. Their perspectives helped me see things in a different light and introduced me to a community of people who are searching for truth – not out of bitterness – but out of love for God and mankind. I want to see that community fostered in my church.

When did church go from being a help to the spiritually ill to where, sadly, in some churches today, it’s a show of who can appear to be more holy? There’s many Christians out there who we can love and fellowship with – rather than dividing over little things. If you want to win the world, the more you have on your side, the better. The body of Christ is to be as united as possible! Staying secluded and trying to hold onto what you have instead of sharing the Gospel like it needs to be shared, will only hurt the Kingdom of God. There are many things the holiness movement can share with the whole body of Christ that can propel His Kingdom. Even if we disagree, I will still love you and all I ask is the same in return. Have compassion for those who see things differently than you do. Let’s open the conversation and allow people to ask questions without judgment. We are all different and we need that diversity of thought to propel us to look outside of the norm and see that there’s a whole lot of uncapped potential we’re missing out on. That’s why I am thankful for Berean Holiness – they are willing to challenge and question despite the pushback, because they want to see the Kingdom move forward.”

– A. M.

“No Christian or Christian group has the license to interpret Scripture in isolation.”

“To draw from the words of the writing of St. Jude, Christians are called to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3 ESV). After all, writes Jude, we share a common salvation. His exhortation signifies a certain finality to the Gospel in the sense that the message is to be repeated just as it was received. In the same vein, the teaching and experience of each Christian should display some sense of uniformity. The Christianity I profess should not look different from the Christianity described by the Apostles, the early Church, and the orthodox Christians scattered across the globe today. No Christian or Christian group has the license to interpret Scripture in isolation. Rather, God’s message is to be received, considered, interpreted, applied, and repeated in the community of the catholic Church (the Church of all times and all places).

Bereanholiness.com serves the church in a meaningful, relevant way by employing the voice of the whole Church when grappling with difficult doctrines, opinions, and (dare I say) heresies. It aims to shine the light of tradition, history, and honest Biblical exegesis on issues that are otherwise interpreted in the dark. Each article, despite its reception, is thoughtful, well-intended, and well-researched. For the orthodox Christian professing the purest form of the Gospel, this site aids in sharpening his Christian diction and broadening his understanding of the history and Biblical context of the doctrine he holds. For the misled heretic, this site cuts out the “middle men” of opinion and Bible-abuse and points him back to the kind of Christianity that was “once delivered” and has been faithfully preserved throughout the ages.”

– Morgan Meadows

“Every friend I ever had no longer would talk to me.”

I grew up in a faith called “free holiness.” This faith is very similar to other Pentecostal/holiness denominations, but they certainly seem to set themselves, or try to set themselves apart from other religions with the same name. Free holiness beliefs included women not cutting their hair, women wearing dresses, men wearing long pants, and men being unshaven. We were taught to “abstain from the world” by avoiding places such as ballgames, movie theaters, bowling alleys, playing golf, and other things. Depending on what church you attended in this movement you may also be taught that Disney World, Amusement parks, and even the smoky mountains should be avoided.

Free holiness believe in receiving the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues. While these beliefs might not seem very different, there was one major caveat that does. Free holiness churches teach that it once you receive the Holy Ghost you are now able to live free from sin. Scriptures such as Hebrews 10:26 are used to scare those in the faith that if they do commit sin they are forever bound for hell with no hope of ever being forgiven. I received the Holy Ghost when I was 9 years old. I did speak in tongues, and I do believe that I truly received his spirit. After about a week of having the Holy Ghost my mom asked me if I had taken something from my sister that didn’t belong to me. Afraid of telling the truth and getting in trouble I chose to tell a lie by saying no. I knew what I did was wrong and I immediately began to fear that I had sinned with the dread that hell was my certain eternity. I didn’t tell anyone about my failure and went back to church. I remember service being really good, and I felt the Lord like I had before. I thought well I must not have been lying in God’s eyes because I’m feeling him. Little did I know this was the beginning of many missteps.

Man studying BibleSee, in free holiness, sin is kind of classified into those that are visible (i.e. adultery, fornication, drunkenness) and those that are “matters of the heart” such as wrath, malice, whispering, and backbiting. Anyone who commits sin is excommunicated from the church. That person is no longer allowed to participate in worship service. They are viewed as being in the eternal hands of Satan, and many shun the person who has chosen to leave the church. A year ago I made this decision. Every friend I ever had no longer would talk to me. People in the store who were still free holiness would turn the other way when they saw me to avoid talking to me. The friends I had suddenly stopped talking to me, and I was completely, utterly alone. My family still loved me, but they would have rather seen me be laid in the grave than to know I’d left the church. Many who leave have become hooked on drugs and alcohol due to the constant narrative that they are hell bound. I wondered around trying to decide if what I had been told was true. Was I really doomed to spend eternity in hell? Had I “given up the Holy Ghost?” We were told we’d lay awake at night with a dread of dying, yet I never felt this.

One day all I knew to do was get down and pray to God. After all, what did I have to lose? If nothing happened fine I’d just accept my fate, but if something did happen then maybe just maybe there was hope. I began to pray to God and all of a sudden I felt his spirit. I felt the same prescience I had felt for 25 years in the free holiness church. I was overwhelmed with happiness. What I had been told could never happen again had happened. I had felt God! My family has pretty much accepted my change. My true friends have came back around and no longer shun me. God has also allowed me to be connected with others who have left the church and have realized that there is hope. For anyone who maybe reading this do not give up! You are still his child! He didn’t leave the 99 to find a sheep that wasn’t his. He left to find that one who had wondered astray. Thank God for his mercy and his everlasting Grace!

God Bless,

– JC

“I pretty much thought that if anyone was in pants they were going straight to hell…”

“I grew up pretty strict Pentecostal Holiness and so did my parents. That was our lives. We knew how we were expected to dress and how to be “accepted” so to speak in these churches. But I really do believe that God used the Coronavirus shut down and the time away from our church to open our eyes to a lot of toxic and damaging things that were happening that we were conditioned to. I could go into detail but long story short my parents ended up leaving the church I grew up in. I grew up being taught (not necessarily by my parents but by my pastors) to have a “more holy than thou” attitude and I pretty much thought that if anyone was in pants they were going straight to hell and anyone who wasn’t from our church is going to backslide (I’ve literally heard my previous pastor say that). It wasn’t until I was around 18-19 years old until I started to realize that wasn’t the case. I got married this year and moved away from all of that and I can’t even begin to explain to you how much God has helped me to understand that he has children everywhere that aren’t “Pentecostal Holiness”. I had the privilege of being in revival services with a particular evangelist this year and I have almost never met a more dedicated and anointed family.. and his wife wears pants, earrings, makeup, etc.. several years ago I would have been convinced they were going to hell and that they have to be “false prophets”. Moral of the long story is.. Your blog, posts, pages have been an amazing source for me to work through a lot of the confusion I was facing coming out of the mindset I had seared into my brain from a young age. So thank you, and keep on!”

– M. R.

“I had some doubts about my non-holiness friends’ salvation…”

Woman studying Bible“I first came across Berean Holiness while searching for verses about what exactly a woman’s clothing should be. I had some doubts about my non-holiness friends’ salvation because of their decision to wear pants. The big question was this, “Are my Christian friends wrong for wearing pants?” This question was really important to me. Because if my friends were wrong for doing this as their Sister in Christ I should let them know lovingly what scripture says and encourage them to turn from their sin. Or if my initial opinion of what the scripture says about pants was mistaken I would see that my friends were continuing in their faith and just dressed differently because they were never taught the symbolic principles behind wearing a skirt (exclusive femininity, honor of past traditions, etc.) In the end after reading resources, examining scripture, prayer, and thoughtful consideration I came to the conclusion that modest clothing can include pants. Berean Holiness helped me come to a solid decision on my beliefs with their concise and unbiased examination and commentary. Love their site!”

– Naomi M., 16

“…We didn’t leave because we were bitter or wanting to quit living the standards.”

“We left the Holiness movement over a year ago and we didn’t leave because we were bitter or wanting to quit living the standards. I’m 31 and I still follow many of the Holiness standards. We left because of a lack of discipleship, evangelism and Bible study etc. I personally still agree with some of the doctrines the Holiness people teach. Although I do still agree with some doctrines and for the most part follow the standards I have been demoted from “sister” to sinner by many of them simply because I no longer faithfully attend a Holiness church.  There are many things that I love about the Holiness people for example their fear of God, their love for prayer, high standard of modesty, desire to be different from the world and the way they worship in church.

Last summer, my husband and I began to study our Bibles diligently and came to different conclusions than what we had been taught all of our lives. I’m saddened at the fact many people that leave their churches because of error and then live as if God isn’t real or in error. God’s Word is truth and we need more people devoted to studying out God’s Word and willing to accept whatever truths we may find even if it’s contrary to the way we were always taught. While I can appreciate Berean Holiness’ goal to search out truth and tell it in their many articles, I can also see how many Holiness people feel threatened by it. As a Holiness young person we were shown their doctrines and then told to pray through so you could “get it for yourself” and once you did you felt as if anyone who taught against that was devilish.”

– Stephanie 

“I grew up in a very conservative but dysfunctional Mennonite home…”

“I was delighted to come across Berean Holiness because I felt like I found some friends who are also trying to sort through all the religious and spiritual things we as Christians of different “denominations” are taught. Also the article that was just shared the other day that Natalie wrote on how to treat people who change whether it be churches or dress touched me deeply and brought tears to my eyes for it described in detail how I want to treat others despite being treated totally opposite except by very few people when I made changes in my life.

Woman standing in lavender fieldI grew up in a very conservative but dysfunctional Mennonite home, our transportation was horse and buggy mostly, a dress code, no internet or cell phones amongst other things just to give you an idea. As I grew old enough to understand the Bible I realized my parents did differently than the Bible taught which caused much confusion. My childhood was full of hopelessness and I didn’t know what love was either. Most of the time I dealt with suicidal thoughts and only fear kept me from attempting it. My mom had done Bible lessons through the mail as a young girl and wanted her children to also do them. When I was around 16 the one lesson had a prayer to pray if you want to be saved. I prayed it sincerely longing for something better. Over the next several years I felt no change and prayed that prayer several more times thinking perhaps I didn’t pray it right. (Looking back now I can see from that first prayer my desires started changing and I still remember the first time I made the hard choice to not run with the wrong crowd.)I started seeking God in the only ways I knew, reading the Bible and wishing I could know this God and not be afraid of Him like I was of my dad. The suicidal thoughts and hopelessness grew worse until my parents found out and sent me for help. Over the years through much counseling I gradually grew better to the point that I realized that the atmosphere at home was poisonous so I moved out.

After many moves, I finally had a place of my own and had a job working for a Holiness Pentecostal couple. I believe God had to get me alone and 5 hours away from my family so that I’d have the courage to step out. I gradually learned to trust my employers and they taught me so much and some questions I had everyone just gave opinions till I finally set down with the Bible and asked God to show me what to believe and He did. I came to the realization that staying with the denomination I grew up with would only be to please my parents and that with what God had showed me in His Word I couldn’t stay. So I chose to follow God. I lost all my friends. My relationship with my family is strained. I had to learn how to drive a car so I could get to church which is currently 3 hours from where I live as God has not yet opened the door for me to move. My pastor’s wife and a missionary friend are my closest friends. But God has been so good to me! He is so kind and gentle to me. I am so grateful that He kept me from taking my life and instead gave me a life beyond my wildest dreams. Out of that stems a gratefulness that compels me to reach, help, and encourage anyone I can because I believe that what God has done with my life He can do for anyone else. No one is excluded. Sure, I still have plenty of struggles, loneliness being one of the greatest ones, but being able to live for God with purpose far outweighs the bad! My daily prayer is that I could just be a vessel God can use to help one more person…

P.S. I wrote my story which you can find here.”

– Kathryn Hoover
www.lighthopetruth.com

“Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to change your mind.”

“It’s been said before and it’s true today. There is little more powerful than a changed mind.

In Acts 9, Saul made his way down the road of Damascus carrying papers justifying the murder of converted Christians. As he traveled no one expected the world was about to be changed. This once legalistic Pharisee and persecutor of the church had an encounter with Jesus that he or anyone else ever saw coming. A single changed mind that changed more than a name that changed the world

Our world criticizes a changed mind. If a politician changes their stance they are labeled as inconsistent, weak, and easily influenced. They are mocked by both sides of the political spectrum and their motive questioned. If you’re a CEO and change your mind on a policy; your authority and leadership ability is questioned and inevitably rumors spread and people wonder how much longer the leader will be there. If a believer changes their mind they are marked by those that once called them brother/sister, they are labeled a compromiser by once close friends and family often they are disowned by those they once held close.

In Saul’s case, after his meeting with Jesus, everything changed. His name was changed from Saul to Paul His ideologies changed, his mission changed, his purpose changed. His friends changed. Those he once worked for and alongside set out to see him discredited and destroyed. No doubt if you have been in the holiness movement any length of time you have heard more than one message preached about the radical transformation of Paul, usually accompanied with 2 Corinthians 5:17 “…If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away and behold all things have become new.” Its a great sermon, but it isn’t entirely accurate. Most preachers leave out the fact that Paul was a Pharisee, not a worldly sinner. Being a Pharisee meant that Paul was very educated when it came to Jewish teachings. He was a part of the established religious brotherhood, he sat at the feet of great theologians and religious leaders of his day. Paul was a part of the same religious system that put Jesus to death. Paul was not the drug-using, fowl mouth sinner many holiness preachers preach his conversion as. Paul followed all the rules, attended all the meetings, never questioning the brotherhood’s authority. If Paul was in the Holiness church he would be the ideal church member.

whenreadingthebible

As we see from turning the page. Paul’s changed mind makes him one of the greatest leaders of the first-century church, the author of nearly half the New Testament, and arguably the greatest influence to Christianity outside of Christ. His words have changed countless lives and impacted countless more. Truly his impact has shaped the world as we know it. All because of an encounter with Jesus and a changed mind.

As a new believer, I was the poster child for 2 Corinthians 5:17; truly overnight I experienced a radical shift in my life from a hopeless dope dealer to a hopeless hope sharer. Friends, family, others around me knew something changed in my life. I open carried my Bible to every class in the secular university I attended, daring anyone to ask me why. I was extremely zealous, to put it mildly. I assumed the idea of “the more I give up, the cleaner I live, the closer to God I will become.” And this idea came out in every conversation and relationship. I became dissatisfied with the church I was attending. After all, they were part of a denomination and not holiness enough for me. So I left that church and school and attended a popular school in the holiness ranks. It didn’t take long to realize the hypocrisy that surrounded my way of thinking. By my line of thinking 99% of Christians that loved God were on their way to hell because their skirt was too short (even worse if they had on pants), hair was cut, they had a tv in their home or God forbid they went to a race track. If rules were the answer for the lack of revival you would think we would have seen miracles, healings, wonders at least once a week however that wasn’t the case. There were no miracles, there was no supernatural experience with God, there was no evangelism, there were no lives being changed. The place I went to prove my holiness ideals were right instead started my journey down the Damascus road that ended with an encounter with Jesus and my mind being changed.

To the believer on your Damascus road. Your search for truth has lead you to this page. Maybe your story is like that of Paul’s you have listened to the words of a pastor or church leader your whole life and hold them in high regard but; while Jesus is telling you something different. Don’t be afraid of changing your mind! Your conformity to a set of rules and regulations does not make you saved. Your faith in Jesus Christ and his sacrifice on the cross does that all by its self. Many will call you compromised, disfellowship you, and slander you every step of your Damascus journey however, you are in good company. The words of the Pharisees couldn’t stop Paul couldn’t stop Jesus and don’t have to stop you. The church has done more to stop the spread of the gospel than the world ever thought of. It wasn’t the world who put Jesus on the cross, killed the disciples executed followers of Christ – a cold dead church did it all by their selves. Those who want to change the world will always face opposition from those content with the way their world is. So let your light shine! live the word. There is enough in there that you could never hope to live it all and there’s no room for extra baggage. That’s why God gave us the free gift of grace!

“Those who want to do great things for God must attempt great things for God” Those who want to meet the mission and mandate of the great commission can’t afford to waste their lives in the quest of attaining what a church, pastor, parent, says is holiness and must realize that holiness is an attribute of God imputed to those who follow Him.  If you want to follow the crowd and blindly do all the movement demands, go right ahead, but don’t expect to change the world. If rules worked, Jesus would have never come to the earth. If rules worked, Saul would have made his way to his destination and more believers would have lost their lives, if rules worked, why are there traffic violations, murders, human trafficking, gun violence, rape, or drug abuse? The answer for the world is not more rules, legislating morality never works. There have got to be changed minds and Jesus is pretty good at it!

I commend you for taking seriously your faith. So many fall into the routine of religious activities. You go to church on Sunday, Bible study, mid week services, maybe you serve in the nursery, in the worship team or ladies ministry. However your haven’t been blinded by the religious practice instead are searching for deeper truth. That search has brought you to this page. Whether you are looking for clarification on a specific issue or document, or a better understanding for what you believe, Berean Holiness is a wonderful resource! Knowing what you believe and why unlocks confidence and personal responsibility previously unknown. The articles on this page have been studied in depth, bathed in prayer and serve as a guide towards what biblical Christianity in 21st century looks like. Take the words of each author, pray over them for yourselves, search the scriptures for yourselves. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to change your mind.”

– Neal Gruer

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