Rose Madrid-Swetman

ā€” Random Thoughts, Stories of Life, and Questions about the Journey ā€”

November 12, 2008

Holiness Revisited

Category: All Posts,Community,Leadership – Rose – 3:44 pm

Holiness isn’t a word I use often and honestly not a word I think of often because something in me could not resonate with holiness being defined only in terms of morality. The following explanation from Brueggemann’s An Introduction to the Old Testament of “holiness” from a biblical viewpoint makes much more sense to me:

    Speaking of the Book of Leviticus Mary Douglas has proposed that chapters 18 and 20 provide a deliberate framework for chapter 19 so that the whole is arranged to show that love of neighbor has become the key component of a vision of holiness. Pg. 72

    …in Douglas’s interpretation, the arrangement of the materials serves to subordinate holiness and purity to justice. Pg. 73

This view of biblical holiness makes sense to me as I reflect on the overarching Story of Scripture.


  1. for me, holiness is character, not morality (although i guess)

    i have been meditating on the sermon on the mount this week and the beatitudes are not only character traits, but they require action.

    specifically, peacemaking and hungering and thirsting for justice.

    then, jesus says, be salt and light. it requires some action again.

    contemporary christianity is stuck on moral behavior for some personal gain, but personal gain is probably not what the triune god ever had in mind.

    Comment by jason smith — November 12, 2008 @ 5:17 pm

  2. I fully agree with what has been said, but yet some go too far in saying that holiness is no longer relevant in our post-modern world because of a knee-jerk reaction to legalists & bible-thumpers. Yet all throughout scripture OT & NT there is an unmistakble call for God’s people to be set apart for him from the things of this world including both loving one another and pursuing a blameless life, living “beyond reproach.” Yet so many today in our emerging church only seem to speak of love in regards to actions to the poor & exploited, and in so doing excuse any sin in their own life. I believe both are an essential part of what it means to be a Follower of Christ.

    Comment by greg — November 13, 2008 @ 8:44 am

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